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  1. Politics
15 June 2015

This is why I’m voting for Liz Kendall

Labour will spend the next five years outside power - with Liz Kendall, we can make sure it's not ten.

By Alison McGovern

Politics can get complicated. Maybe it’s time to keep it simple.

So says Liz Kendall, anyway, and I think she might be correct.

Somewhere to live, something to do, something to look forward to and someone to love.”

These are the things people need. It’s our job to try and help them.

The problem is, though, that these things — jobs, homes, ambitions, love — are hard to get. We’ve had growth for two years, but more than 100,000 more people started working two jobs over that time. 1.2 million people earn the minimum wage, and 156,000 of them have done for the past decade. Nearly 3000 people sleep rough every night. More than 90,000 children live in temporary accommodation.

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So, we have to be honest and clear. Here’s the things we can do now; other things, just now, are out of reach. This might sound tough, but I think it’s better to be clear and tough, than to sound nice, but know that you can’t get anywhere close to changing the country. I think Liz is clear. And I think she’s tough.

Some other things that are now clear since polling day: it’s not just what you pledge, but whether people believe you can do it that matters. It’s no good promising that you will pay for the kind of public services that are wanted, if there is doubt as to whether you can manage the budget.

The deficit hung over the last seven years, and because of failed Tory economics, still remains. Osborne’s stop-go growth has acted like a heavy weight on our country’s chances. First, there was the private sector recession, then the long, drawn out public sector recession as year by year he gave away responsibility for the deficit to those least able to manage.

Balancing the country’s budget matters because controlling our finances makes our country strong enough to help those who need us. A balanced current budget keeps our borrowing at a reasonable level, and so we can invest in our future. Our causes require us to be competent. Our purpose really does require prudence, and that has never changed. I want a leader who has the confidence to make this clear. Liz is that person.

But most of all, here’s what I know: the reason for being in politics is to try and help people find happiness and achievements, through change and uncertainty. Our job is to build a platform for others to stand on, to build up from. We are Labour because we believe in solidarity.

In the general election hustings, when my constituents asked me what I wanted their vote for, I told them this.

The most important moral value is love. Our success is only good enough if it means success for everyone alongside us as well. We are made to take care of each other, and show that love. Politics is the practical application of these values. We only get to build that platform if we win the next election.

So. It’s time to pick ourselves up, and remind ourselves that we never, ever, give up. Let’s fight for the things in life people want: something to do, somewhere to live, something to hope for, someone to love.

We won’t be able to promise the earth, but we can promise something worth having, that people will believe that we can achieve. These are the reasons why I am Labour, and these are the reasons why I want Liz to be our leader. We can win if she is. And, for the sake of those I love, I want to win.

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Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
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