New Year – New Mayor
As 2022 ushers in another year of attacks on the left and continuing expulsions of long-standing Labour members, the left has an opportunity to reclaim some ground with the campaign to elect a new mayor for South Yorkshire.
As Starmer struggles to suggest he is a socialist – see his extraordinary interview where he failed to answer the question – those seeking the Labour nomination for Mayor are busy trying to persuade Labour members to back them.
The right has championed Oliver Coppard – well known to Sheffield Hallam members as the failed parliamentary candidate in 2015 who then disappeared only to reappear as a vitriolic anti Corbyn figure.
SLL has chosen to back Lewis Dagnall as the candidate most likely to shift the Labour Party locally towards the left.
In a statement of support, SLL has said: “We believe that Lewis standing as the Labour candidate for mayor helps bring some of the vision required to challenge the shift to the right that is taking place on a political level.”
Lewis has put forward proposals to bring public transport back into public control and ownership, redirect wealth in the area back into the community and boost training and retraining with a distinct focus on a green economy.
He has secured important backing from key trade unions such as Unite and the GMB and, particularly important for his transport proposals, the support of transport unions in ASLEF and TSSA.
The other candidates are Jayne Dunn, a Sheffield councillor from Sheffield Central and Rachael Blake from Don Valley CLP.
The ballot opened on 5th January and closes on the 26th when Labour’s candidate will be announced to fight for the position vacated by Dan Jarvis. The election in May will choose a mayor to serve a four-year term and Labour’s chances of securing the post are good given in 2018 Jarvis secured over 122,000 votes with the Tory coming second with just under 38,000.
With a national leader who in an interview with a national newspaper asked, “what does that mean?” when quizzed if he was a socialist, Labour members are in desperate need of a genuine boost in a real poll – as opposed to the recent spate of opinion polls focusing on Johnson’s corruption and incompetence.
Labour cannot continue to play the “we are not the Tories” card and expect the electorate’s approval. A left leaning mayor standing on a practical platform of real policies would be a shot in the arm for all local activists despairing of Starmer’s dead hand tactics and lack of vision.
The Tories are determined to corrupt the democratic system in their favour – a Labour mayor in South Yorkshire with a supportable manifesto would be one step in fighting back.