Diane Abbott has followed Ed Balls to become the last leadership hopeful to launch their website. With parts of the site unfinished, however, the launch seems somewhat premature. In a message to 80,000 members on Labour’s email list, Abbott says “If you want to know more, you can visit my website www.diane4leader.co.uk“. But at the time of writing the “About Me” section is completely blank, there is no information on policy and the blog is empty. There is, of course, nothing wrong with a live “work in progress” – but why send this to tens of thousands of potential supporters?
Abbott used the email to reiterate the “turn the page” refrain heard at hustings. The main body of the message reads:
It is a privilege to be nominated as a candidate for the leadership of my party and the movement that has given me every opportunity in life. I am well aware of the major achievements of our Labour government over the last 13 years. But this is a “turn the page” election and I believe I am the “turn the page” candidate. I am the people’s candidate, not the Westminster insider’s candidate. I believe that this is a strength.
There are three main reasons why I believe I am the right person to lead the party in the coming period:
1) Rebuilding and re-energising the party is essential. I have come up through the movement. I have done every job that it is possible to do in the Labour Party: collected subs at a local level; served as a City councillor; served as an elected member of the National Executive of the Party from 1994 to 1997. And I have been a Member of Parliament for 23 years. I believe I know the party better than my rivals and that I am more in touch with the grassroots. I am the candidate to rebuild and revitalise the party and build it into a fighting force to oppose the Lib Con cuts.
2) On issues of policy, I am closer to the heart and soul of the movement than my rivals. I called all the big issues correctly. I voted against tuition fees, I was opposed to the removal of the 10p tax, and I marched, spoke and voted against the Iraq war. No other candidate took these positions when it was difficult to do so.
3) I believe that in an era of 24 hour news, the party needs a good communicator at the very top. I have a proven record of being able to communicate with people. I am able to talk about social ideals in a way that engages people. Above all, I think I have a reputation as a straight forward, principled and consistent politician.
I hope that you will feel able to support me in the coming leadership election.