John Prescott writes:
It was an extremely disappointing set of election results for . Disappointing, that is, for the Bitterite MPs and the media who’d hoped to say Labour had done badly.
Sadly for them, we held two by-elections – increasing our share of the vote in Sheffield Brightside, Wales was stable and we held on to 41 of the 42 Labour councils up for election when many said we’d see huge losses.
In places like Crawley – a marginal seat we need to win to get back to power – we actually gained councillors.
We also won the London, Liverpool and Bristol mayoralties and gained the Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner post, which I lost in 2012 on second preferences, from the Tories!
Yes, Scotland wasn’t great but that was a hangover from the divisive independence referendum.
But still the complainers traipsed around the news studios, such as Emma Reynolds on Radio 4 at 6.30am.
The problem was their script, written weeks ago, didn’t match up!
I’ve campaigned for Labour since 1945 and I can tell you these were the dirtiest set of elections I’ve ever seen.
In the Police and Crime Commissioner election for Humberside Police, Tory MP Andrew Percy and Leader of the House Chris “Failing” Grayling cowardly used parliamentary privilege to smear our Labour candidate.
And even the NightMayor of London Boris Johnson, in the European Referendum accused President Obama of being anti-British because he was “part Kenyan”.
You’d think Labour would be able to capitalise on this negativity and put a positive case.
Sadly, has been shot at by all sides, including the Israeli ambassador.
There’s no doubt a small minority of Labour people have said some very wrong things about Jewish people that are rightly seen as offensive and anti-Semitic.
And ’s comment that Hitler was a Zionist was beyond contempt and it’s absolutely right he was suspended.
Ken was never a team player and has undermined the party for years, even standing as an independent against Labour in the mayoral elections.
But I will not accept that Labour is an anti-Jewish/Semitic party.
This is a party that has a proud history of standing up to fascists and racists – from Germany to South Africa.
But it wasn’t helped by John Mann.
His pathetic camera-chasing public barracking of Livingstone ensured the story ran for days.
Mann didn’t give a damn about the Labour candidates and activists campaigning in elections across the country.
It was all about getting himself on the TV and in the papers and attacking Jeremy.
And the people on the doorstep I talked to all felt that Mann was as bad as Livingstone, especially during Labour’s biggest election challenge.
Anti-Semitism is wrong. But so is the persecution of Palestinians.
Labour must not feel compelled by this media storm to fall silent on the Palestinian cause.
For me, the issue of more devolution and power to our regions is a huge opportunity for us all. I’m not surprised Andy Burnham is considering standing for Mayor of Greater Manchester.
Labour is already achieving so much at council level. To replicate that on a regional level, it is important to stand up to a Tory government in Westminster.
A Devolution Revolution is coming.
And Labour must lead it again, just as we did before when we handed power to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and London.
These are the issues we should be discussing. Not coups to remove the leadership.
Finally, we have a crucial European Referendum in six weeks’ time. Our future prosperity, co-operation on global issues and the protection of workers’ rights depends on it [quite].
So can we stop the complaining and start campaigning.
For Labour, not a new leader.