With the leadership campaign getting stickier and stranger by the second, I decided it was time for a look at the parallel contest.
At first I wasn’t all that excited about electing a new deputy leader – but soon one particular candidate grabbed my attention, and that was Angela Eagle.
To those of you who don’t know, Eagle is certainly the most experienced of the candidates, and not just in the top roles either. Angela has experience from every level of the Labour Party – from the grassroots organisation as her CLP’s chair to being the chair of both the NEC and the National Policy Forum, it can be said that she knows the party inside out, and unlike many, wasn’t simply parachuted in at the top through the so-called ‘spadocracy’.
Angela also has some strengths that really put her above most politicians full stop – in her own words, she “can chair meetings”. This isn’t as mundane as it sounds either – back in 1998, Eagle chaired an environmental council of ministers at an EU summit, in which she managed to quickly and efficiently come to a good compromise between diametrically opposed parties. One of the ministers she brought into line was none other than the formidable future German Chancellor Angela Merkel – so bashing heads together in the Labour Party should be a doddle for her.
Angela is a passionate women’s and LGBT rights campaigner – two causes that matter a lot to me as feminist as well as a socialist – and has championed women only shortlists. Considering the risk that the top jobs in the Labour Party are both going to be occupied by males, this is more important than ever, and by electing a lesbian deputy, we’d also be showing that Westminster’s leading progressive party means business about LGBT rights (which the Tories only superficially support, considering the hostility of many of their MPs).
Eagle is neither a careerist nor a single issue politician, but a passionate, straight talking candidate who’ll ensure cohesion in the party. With her negotiation skills, breath of experience and non divisive attitude to politics, it’s a no-brainer as to who’s going to top my ballot paper for deputy. I’m backing Angela, and I’d encourage you to too.