We are getting close to the time for the ballot papers to go out to Labour party members old and new. I would like to see some better questions put to the four candidates so we could know more about how they would conduct the Opposition in the next year when a number of important issues will be before Parliament. Their voice and vote could be immediately relevant to national decisions, given the small Conservative majority in Parliament.
1. Should Labour support or oppose bombing in Syria?
2. What should Labour demand from the renegotiation with the EU?
3. Are there any circumstances in which they would lead Labour to vote for Out of the EU?
4. What is their view of EU austerity policies? If they are against Euro and EU austerity policies what could they and the UK government do to amend or stop them?
5. Do they wish to reduce the level of migration into the UK? If so, what reduction do they seek? How would they achieve it?
6. Should Labour support Conservative measures to reduce EU migrants access to benefits and subsidised housing?
7. Should Labour vote against English votes for English needs? If so, what would they propose to give some justice to England in some other way?
8. Would rent controls and a private sector tenant right to buy diminish the supply of rented housing?
Labour has the power to decide whether the UK bombs Syria or not given the likely number of Conservative rebels. Labour could also have some influence over the renegotiations with the EU if they were prepared to engage and accept that the EU currently has too many powers.
Let’s hope our independent media puts these questions more clearly to the candidates soon. These are decisions Labour will soon have to make as a Parliamentary party and as the UK’s official opposition.