If you are happy with where the Labour party is now, read no further. I want change and I want it for a purpose – to get Labour into government again.
There are too many politicians in the Labour party who are in denial.
Denial that we suffered a crushing election defeat; denial that our manifesto failed to resonate with voters; denial that Jeremy Corbyn was unpopular on the doorstep. We need to be honest about this so we can find the solutions.
Our members, who campaigned tirelessly for weeks, are more honest about what it was really like to face the voters every day of the campaign.
But the narrative in the Labour leadership elections has become about defending the status quo. That can’t be the way forward.
We can’t simply go on as we are, with a different voice and different face but the same message.
I want us to change, because that is the only way we will win power again.
If people don’t want change and are happy with things as they are, with an 80-seat Tory majority and many asking if the Labour party will survive, then I’m not their candidate – don’t vote for me. A continuity candidate would be their best bet.
I’m the candidate who wants to be in government.
I will never rubbish what the last Labour government achieved. I find it infuriating that people in our party are prepared to dismiss the life-changing differences we made between 1997 and 2010.
They should remember how they felt on 13 December last year, and then take a couple of minutes to watch the start of Gordon Brown’s speech to the 2009 Labour conference, where he listed just some of what Labour achieved in government – including lifting millions of out of poverty. No, it wasn’t a continuation of Thatcherism. It was using the power of government to deliver transformational change. I want our party to have that opportunity again.
That starts with understanding what we got wrong in the most recent election, and what we need to get right in the future. It means listening to voters in the seats we held, the seats we lost and the seats we may never win.
Central to winning is building broad coalitions of people with different and varied interests. That’s something I’ve achieved in the constituency I represent in every election I have fought. I have passed the “marginal seat” test again and again. I won in Edinburgh South because I know Tory, Liberal Democrat and SNP voters are not our enemy. They are all potential Labour voters, and we must reach out to them all.
And we must care about every single region and nation of this United Kingdom.
If elected deputy leader, I will take responsibility for the party’s approach to how the UK should be governed in a post-Brexit Britain, so that no city, town or community is left behind. Having a Scot at the top of the UK Labour party sends out the message that every part of our UK from the south west to the very north of Scotland matters.
I will launch a Labour Campaign for Britain’s Future, with our values of togetherness at its heart.
The Labour movement must make the case for a much closer relationship with Europe, restoring our reputation, and working to grow our economy on behalf of workers in every community, leave or remain. We should never rule out campaigning to be part of the EU again in the future if it is in the national interest.
The Labour party’s values of internationalism and solidarity are why we should always be a pro-UK and a pro-Europe party.
The best way of standing up for Labour values is to be clear about what we stand for.
Never again can we face both ways on the biggest issues of our time.
If we can’t stand up for the future of the UK and play a central part in Europe, then we stand for nothing. I can’t stand by and watch the party I love lose another election after losing four in the past 10 years. We need to change.
I have a detailed plan ready to go. I just need help from members to implement it.
The choice at this election is clear – changing to be a credible alternative government or staying the same and becoming a diminishing party of perpetual opposition. We owe it to every person in this country to provide the alternative party of government that Britain needs.
• Ian Murray is the Labour MP for Edinburgh South