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10 August 2015

Here’s why Usdaw members are backing Tessa Jowell

Winning isn't everything, says Usdaw general secretary John Hannett. But it's a start.

By John Hannett

They say that winning isn’t everything. And they’re right.

I know Tessa Jowell is the candidate most likely to win the London mayoralty for Labour. Poll after poll has told me as much. But that’s not why I’m backing her. As a committed trade unionist, I’m supporting Tessa because I know that, by winning, she can put her Labour values into action and make a real difference to the lives of working Londoners. And that, after all, is what our politics is all about.

Tessa’s One London vision has the power to inspire not just our movement, but our entire city. She wants to build One London, where everyone gets to share in the city’s success. That’s why she has my support, and the support of my trade union Usdaw.

Tessa has always believed in the partnership between trade unions and Labour. She has been a member of a union for 40 years; she agreed a progressive partnership with the construction unions to deliver the 2012 Olympic Games; and as a Minister she worked to close the gender pay gap and tackle bullying at work.

One London means every Londoner having a place they can call home. Tessa will set up Homes for Londoners, getting London building again for the first time since the 1980s – starting on the Mayor’s own land and without relying on developers.

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One London means providing Londoners with reliable transport they can afford, so everyone can get around the city without being left out of pocket. Tessa will freeze fares for the first year, introduce “one zone weekends” and end the two bus rip-off with one-hour tickets.

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Above all, One London means making sure every Londoner is given real opportunities so they can share in the city’s success. Today, too many Londoners feel like the opportunity in our city isn’t for them.

Tessa will change that. She’ll restore Sure Start in London, to give every child every chance. She’ll invest in skills and apprenticeships, to equip young Londoners for the future. And she’ll take action on low pay, ensuring Londoners are paid a fair wage for a day’s work.

These are the things which a Labour mayor could do. It’s about putting Labour values into action and delivering real change for the people who need it most. But of course, none of this is possible if we don’t pick someone who can win for Labour. Tessa has the support across the city to win in May and deliver her One London vision.

So, while winning isn’t everything, it’s the first step towards delivering the change that London  needs. That’s why I’m backing Tessa, and that’s why I urge Labour members, supporters and affiliates to do the same.


John Hannett is general secretary of Usdaw.