THE LABOUR leadership election appears to be never-ending – but now that ballots have dropped, Redaction Politics has a duty to endorse a candidate.
The editorial board, however, could not come to a consensus.
Instead of pulling a New York Times and endorsing two candidates, the three content editors will instead lay out their argument for their choice of Leader and Deputy Leader.
Leader: Lisa Nandy
Deputy: Richard Burgon
In many ways, Jeremy Corbyn was the ideal leader on foreign policy, if nothing else.
However, Rebecca Long-Bailey does not have the same decades-long record of anti-imperialism, despite being the left’s chosen successor.
Look instead to the “brave” choice – Lisa Nandy.
Let us ignore her superior domestic credentials – strong on Brexit, strong on towns – and look to her international outlook instead.
As a second-generation immigrant, Nandy knows the importance of decolonisation and anti-imperialism. Her commitment to remove ‘Empire’ from OBE awards shows this.
As Chair of Labour Friends of Palestine, there is a clear willingness to stand up for the powerless.
Do any candidates share such experience in an internationalist role?
Her preferred ethos – looking to be an internationalist party rather than a eurocentric one – is key to regaining the trust of the working clas.
Richard Burgon will make an excellent deputy – he has previously spoken out on Cuba, Venezuela and Iran with solid, anti-imperialist arguments.
The two will make a wonderful balancing act in both the domestic and international spheres.
Leader: Rebecca Long-Bailey
Deputy: Richard Burgon
The next Labour leader needs to take a strong stand on the out-sourcing of UK foreign policy to the Trump White House.
We heard this week that US supplied nuclear warheads are set to replace Britain’s Trident missile deterrent.
The fact this news was announced by Pentagon officials points to the slow surrender of UK policy making.
An independent policymaker in her own right Rebecca Long-Bailey is well-placed to reclaim ownership over Britain’s approach to global issues.
She has already been vocal on how a merge with Washington over foreign policy is simply incompatible with a Labour government’s desire for peace, human rights, international law and global justice.
Be it on opposing US in arms sales to repressive governments in Honduras and Colombia that attack trade unionists, or arguing against Trump’s dangerous plan for Palestine.
Long Bailey sets a different course, patriotism combined with internationalism – one Richard Burgon as Deputy would bolster.
His plan to see CLPs in UK towns and cities twin with communities in places such as Palestine and Kashmir in solidarity speaks to the core spirit of this new international approach.
A foreign policy which is not just right for the world; anti-racist, anti-colonial, but is also rooted in our communities and their proud trade union traditions.
Leader: Lisa Nandy
Deputy: Dawn Butler
Foreign policy has not played a prominent role in this leadership campaign, which has itself been top-heavy with a myriad of hot takes on the reasons for Labour’s catastrophic defeat in December.
One such comment came from none other than Tony Blair, who was quick to decry what he saw as Jeremy Corbyn’s “deep hostility to Western foreign policy.”
A risible statement on a number of levels.
Not only is there the clear subtext of Blair’s attempt to exonerate himself for his own foreign policy failings, but the notion that such policy is popular is equally ludicrous.
One need only look at the size of the crowds that marched in opposition to the invasion of Iraq.
The next Labour leader must continue to oppose imperialism and promote international solidarity at every turn.
While Long-Bailey’s commitment to a “party of peace” is highly commendable, Lisa Nandy is ultimately the strongest pick.
In addition to case that KJ lays out above, her comment in tonight’s Sky Labour Leadership debate where she criticised the Tory government’s bridge burning with our European neighbours at a time when co-operation over the coronavirus outbreak is essential demonstrated her diplomatic insights.
None of the candidates on the stage appeared to endorse a return to abject Blairism, least of all in terms of foreign policy, which should give any committed anti-imperialist some level of comfort.
Labour has a long struggle ahead to win back the heartlands it lost last year. But a fresh alliance of the northern and the London bases – represented respectively by Nandy and Dawn Butler – would represent an assured step towards regeneration.