We lost the General Election and Jeremy didn’t become Prime Minister. In 2017 we came close but it was not enough.
Some now ask what the future is for the left in the Labour Party. Some have left, demoralised.
My response is the Labour Party needs the left now , more than ever.
More importantly, our socialist ideas are increasingly vital for the future of Wales, the UK and our communities. We underestimate what we have already achieved: Jeremy inspired a whole generation of new , younger voters, our membership has increased to 580,000, and we have restored the sovereignty of our Labour conferences. We decide policy. We are no longer the top-down party we had become, and we can once again talk about socialism. We have in place a set of policies , a radical progressive programme of social and economic change: it is a manifesto for social justice, one that I have been waiting for all my 46 years of membership as a Labour member. We didn’t select Jeremy as leader or develop these policies by deserting the Party during the Blair years. We kept the faith and kept arguing and campaigning. WLG kept the flame of socialism alive amongst the grass roots in Wales throughout those years. The minimum wage, the Human Rights act, devolution , didn’t come from the right of the party, they came from campaigning socialists like Foot, Benn, Robin Cook, Audrey Wise, our trade unions and socialist societies and many others.
Socialism must never become dependent on individual personalities. They come and go. It is a set of ideas and values to build a more equal and just society free of racism, anti Semitism and discrimination. Leaving the party achieves nothing. Labour is the only realistic parliamentary force for democratic socialism. When Jenny Lee and the ILP left the Labour Party in the thirties Nye Bevan told her she had achieved purity by gaining impotence. He was right: The left must never embrace the luxury of political impotence.
The struggle for socialism never ends. Society and politics continually change , never more than now and that is why our agenda is so important. Labour’s policies , decided by the membership are policies for a radical green agenda, ethical employment, wealth redistribution, fair taxation, public ownership and co-operativism. We must debate , promote and propagate in the party and our communities. We have a Welsh Labour Government promoting progressive socialist policies, votes at 16, protecting the NHS, fighting to retain environmental standards, ending the right to buy, not-for-profit transport, public ownership of our airport, shortly to bring forward a radical social partnership Bill to use public procurement to establish a statutory partnership of government, trade unions and business to establish ethical standards of employment and collective bargaining and all within the most unfriendly of political environments with a right-wing Tory Government in Westminster.
Keir Starmer must become the next prime minister. If not we face a decade of a Dominic Cummings government. Our task must be to keep the Labour Party a membership-led party, to support the socialist manifesto and policies we argued for and won, and to promote a new agenda for change post-Covid, for our public sector workers.
To achieve this, winning a majority in the Senedd-Welsh Parliament elections in May is vital. Right now we must ensure we elect progressive voices to our National Executive Committee, support the left candidates and myself as the candidate for the new Welsh seat on the NEC.
The voice of you, our members and your commitment is vital to achieving this.
Attend your online constituency meetings and vote in the NEC elections.
As the old banner slogan said: Educate, Agitate, Organise.
Senedd-Welsh Parliament Member for Pontypridd
Candidate for the Welsh seat on the NEC – follow his campaign on Facebook: @mick4nec and on Twitter: @mickantoniw1