An Open Letter to Owen Smith

Dear Owen

I hope you don’t mind me calling you Owen, after all in both your emails and your Text message you have used my first name and it made me think we were beyond formalities. It was nice to hear from you and you asked a very fair question, will I support you in the Labour leadership election. Now I could have just clicked on the button but I didn’t think that was very fair, after all it is so much better to know the reasons behind somebodies decision rather than just having a simple yes or no answer.

I can see you have done some homework and learned a few handy buzz words, ‘radical’ and ‘anti-austerity’ seem to be the favourites and that is nice. At least you are making an effort but, even the Tories seem to have started to make a move in that direction. I was also pleased to see some policies mentioned, not quite as concrete or detailed as I would like but to be fair you have not been in this radical left game too long.

You firmly are a product of the political establishment in a way that Jeremy has never been and it is nice that you acknowledge he has helped to radicalise the Labour movement. What worries me is that you would not be saying what you are saying if he had not won the Labour leadership. If I lend you my support I am not convinced that you will stick to those principles, I have a deep niggling worry that once you are in charge of the Labour party you will resort to saying whatever it is you think you need to say to win an election. For all Jeremy’s faults ( and there are more than a few ) I kind of believe what he says. To be blunt I think of him as a man of honour, something I am yet to be convinced you are. It’s a bit harsh but sometimes you need friends to tell you these difficult things.

I understand one of the things you are worried about, as so many people in the PLP are, is that Jeremy is unelectable. Again using that honesty that only friends dare employ I don’t think it matters one jot who runs the Labour party, the PLP have seen to it that they will not win the next election. The petty back biting and digs at Jeremy, the press briefings against him and the unwillingness to stand up and support the democratically elected leader of the party has made us a bit of a joke. How can such a petty and power hungry group of people be trusted to run our country for the best, especially if they just ignore democratic decisions because they don’t like it. Still that is probably not completely fair and I am sure you went into politics with the best of intentions, so I will make you a deal.

If Jeremy wins the leadership there are certain things you can do which will show that you actually have some honour. For a start you can denounce some of the PLP who have been stirring up trouble for Jeremy. Distance yourself from them, remind them that they are there to represent the membership of the party not the PLP. If they really don’t like it they could resign from the party and step down, a few by elections might be nice, we could then see them put their money where their mouth is. They could show that they actually carried the public with them in the same way that Jeremy appears to.

You could offer Jeremy your considerable political talents and unflinching loyalty in public. He will be your elected leader, stand up for him, don’t undermine him.

Bottom line is, if you start acting with honour and integrity I can see that you have a commitment to the democratic principles of the Labour party. If we then lose the next election I will support you in any attempt to stand for the leader without hesitation. Jeremy will have been given a fair crack of the whip, with a united party, and will have failed to gain power. You will be entitled to try for the next election. Like I say I am pretty certain the next election has already been lost by Labour thanks to the PLP so this should be a bit of a no brainer for you. If you take over now you will loose the election and be blamed for it, if you support Jeremy and he loses then you in your turn can be given a fair go as leader without twisted back bench plotting.

So Owen, to sum up. If you loose, shut up and pay your dues until such a time as Jeremy proves he is actually unelectable, and then you will have my support. For the moment though my answer has to be no. I will not vote for you as you have not done enough to make me trust you…….

Yet.

Love and Kisses

Saul

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