I didn’t vote for Jeremy as leader in 2015 or 2016.
Not because I do not agree with him. It was nothing ideological – I just didn’t think he could win. In fact I thought we were heading for disaster.
I am delighted to have been wrong.
No we didn’t win. We have a similar seat count to 2010 albeit, this time, in a two-party election. But this campaign was a success and that was largely down to the resolve of Jeremy and his team.
I still believe that much of the last 18 months was disastrous.
Much of that was down to mistakes made by the leadership team – the election doesn’t change that.
But it cannot be denied that these were furthered by the divisions in the Party. The leadership spent too much time firefighting and some in the party spent too much time thinking about replacing Jeremy.
I believe they did so not because the vast majority disagree with him on the economy, austerity, education or healthcare – on building a fairer society – but because, like me, they thought he couldn’t win.
And that wasn’t irrational.
We had net losses in consecutive local elections, with the vote share down 6% on Ed Miliband’s 2012 result and failed to gain mayoralties we should have. Pollsters who correctly projected the general election result during the campaign projected catastrophic defeat before it. All the evidence prior to June indicated a disastrous result.
But something clearly changed during the campaign. It could be seen in the polls and on the doorstep. People were willing to listen and Jeremy was willing to lead with a popular platform and a passion to change things, for the many not the few.
Jeremy changed public opinion in a way that thought I thought he couldn’t. The people who placed faith in Jeremy were right. I’m delighted to say: I was wrong.
We are now in a position from which we can win and we must ensure that we do.
Nearly eight years of Tory misrule have driven our country into the ground and people are struggling. We cannot afford to let down the people who need us in government again.
All our efforts must go toward winning every marginal constituency and ward, as a united party.
The campaign didn’t end on June the 9th. As Jeremy has said, we are now in the permanent campaign – ready as a government-in-waiting for the opportunity to serve; fighting together to ensure that we can.
I didn’t think we’d be here and I’m delighted that we are, so thank you Jeremy – now lets change the country.