This is the last in the series of emails from the Labour leadership candidates. Andy Burnham's entry into the race has certainly raised his profile and in public appearances he's done an excellent job attacking Tory plans to dismantle the NHS. But at present I'm undecided whether he'll get my fourth or fifth preference. I will blog more about the vote before the end of the week. In the mean time, if this isn't enough Andy for you here's my take on his 'aspirational socialism'.
It’s time for us to be Labour again
As the Leadership contest enters the final stages, I’m giving everything I’ve got because the cause is a great one – I’m fighting for a different kind of Labour Party.
I am asking for your first preference vote today – because I need your help to rebuild Labour from the bottom up.
Our Party has been in the grip of a warring political elite for too long. They have dragged us down with their factional battles. They are out of touch. So it’s time to put power back where it belongs - with you, the members.
Going forward, we just cannot have more of the same.
And yet, that is what some of the Party’s senior figures want. They are making this contest a battle between old and new Labour.
It is the last thing we need.
It threatens to entrench factionalism in our Party for another generation and doesn't represent the views of our members.
As I travelled the country in my Battle Bus throughout August, members everywhere told me that they are sick to the back teeth of old versus new Labour, Blairites versus Brownites. We are Labour – and proud of it.
Both old and new Labour had their strengths – but neither fully reflected mainstream Labour opinion. Old Labour was too often out of step with public opinion. New Labour, whilst right for its time, became hollow and disconnected.
So it’s time for us to be Labour again.
I am offering you that choice. A chance to rebuild our Party from the bottom up, with power returned to members; our councillors valued and listened to; and a grassroots force in every community.
In recent years, we were frightened of our own shadow, taking only modest steps forward. That must change. A Labour Party that listens to its members will rediscover the courage of its convictions and get back in the business of inspiring ideas that bring big social change and a fairer country. That is what is needed to lift Labour hearts, enthuse people to join our Party again and put us back on people’s side.
So, throughout this campaign, I have spoken for mainstream Labour opinion and for the values of the British people. My detailed Manifesto – Aspirational Socialism – brings together the best of old and the best of new Labour, leaving the negatives of both behind. It sets out bold and progressive proposals in the best traditions of our Party such as:
• a free National Care Service funded by a new 10% Care Levy on all estates – giving peace of mind to all older people in this century of the Ageing Society and helping them protect their homes and savings
• a radical reform of the tax system, with a Land Value Tax replacing Council Tax, Stamp Duty and Inheritance Tax – bringing fairness to the system and helping all people get on in life
Both embody Aspirational Socialism – that by working together, and supporting each other, we can help everyone be the best they can be, fulfilling their hopes and dreams.
These are the biggest ideas that any candidate has put forward. I have done so – underpinned by my own philosophy - because I believe politics going forward needs to be more than just marketing and PR.
You can hear more about my proposals here.
I am in this contest to win because I know that our Party needs to change. I have listened and heard what you have been telling me about how it needs to change.
I was equally loyal to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Not everyone can say that, but I can. My first loyalty has always been to the Labour Party, not any faction or clique. This is why I am best placed to move Labour forward beyond the old battles. And this is why I can break the grip of the elite.
I don’t have the support of any establishment in this race - in the media, the unions or our own Party. But I don’t want their support - they don’t want things to change. I want your support to rebuild our Party.
I will unite our Party – members, trade unionists and councillors.
I will be a Leader you and Britain can believe in.
With your first preference vote I will make you proud to be Labour again.