As the Labour leadership campaign enters the end game, each of the final leadership pitches of the five candidates are being sent out by email to members. As not everyone who reads this are Labour members but may nevertheless still be interested in what they have to say, I will be reproducing their statements here as I receive them.
Throughout this vital leadership election, I've said that Labour must change to win; that we should be discussing how to implement a living wage, how to reward good businesses, and how better to protect workers in the future, rather than merely defending the past.
Now, with just a few days left before our ballot papers arrive next week, I am asking for your first preference vote so that together we can make that change and win again for Labour.
Between 1997 and 2010, we lost five million votes. Our progressive majority fractured over time because we became technocrats of the state, and we lost touch with people's lives. We lost 1.7 million middle class voters, two thirds to the Lib Dems. I am the candidate who can win those voters back for Labour -- by placing liberty, equality and aspiration at the heart of our party's mission.
But what many in this leadership election choose to ignore is that Labour has lost too much support amongst people on lower incomes, and those struggling to get by. During our time in office, over 3 million working-class people abandoned New Labour as they felt New Labour abandoned them. The result was that our traditional "core vote" became the new "swing vote". Many people chose to vote Tory; too many others simply stayed home.
So we must have the courage to change, and to reshape the centre-ground again. We must reach out to those who have turned away from Labour since 1997. We must use this once in a generation realignment in British politics to draw new support from all those people across Britain who believe in fairness, hard work and opportunity. We must build an economy that works for people, create a more equal society with the space for everyone to flourish and forge a more accountable and more democratic state that works for everybody.
To do that, we need to escape the New Labour comfort zone. We must not go into the next election still as the party that defends the Iraq war or that says tuition fees and ID cards are here to stay. We cannot continue with the mantra that public is bad and private is good. We cannot fight the Tories arguing that low-wage, low-skill jobs are good enough or that we don't need to radically overhaul our banking sector.
To win back the five million voters we lost and to build a new progressive coalition for our century, Labour must change.
I'm campaigning to make that change: for a foreign policy based on our values; for a fairer system of funding for Higher Education; for a living wage; for rights at work; for a high pay commission; and for more active support for British industry. I'm offering change on how we campaign, so that every party member and every trade union member has a voice in our movement. And I'm offering change on style, pledging to put an end to the factionalism of the New Labour years and to unite our party for good.
Those are the values I've fought for in this leadership election. We've always said that while we may be out-spent in this election, we would not be out organised. And so it has been -- as our new video shows, over 4,000 people have signed up to volunteer to be part of the change and over 700 have given small donations to help drive our campaign. The result is that we are now neck and neck in the final days of this contest.
You can be part of the change we need to win again. Please click on the link below, watch our latest video and pledge to give me your first preference vote:
This is a defining leadership election -- together, we can be the change we need to win again.