Watering the Rose: 100 Pledges for a Renewed Labour Party
'Democracy, Strength and Solidarity' A trifecta for a reformed Labour Party
Richard J. Clynes
About the Author Richard John Clynes is the current Labour Member of Parliament for Bootle in North West England. He has represented the constituency since 2001 and in recent years has become an MP popularly known for standing up for his constituency and his belief, rather than his party's whip. A man with a strong background in the trade unions and the Labour Party, Clynes has been an active participant in the debate surrounding his party and his ideology's future. Richard Clynes describes himself as a 'modern, democratic socialist in the mould of Wilson, Callaghan and Smith. Over the New Labour years he was a regular contributor to both Progress, a Blairite forum within the Labour Party and Tribune, a Labour journal who often opposed Tony Blair from the left - attacking and defending various parts of New Labour's policy agenda. Clynes has also stated that he is a 'liberal conservative' in an interview with the New Statesman in 2006, he said; 'I am what you might call a liberal conservative, I'm all for the protection of civil rights of those who have earned them. Those who break the law or abuse the liberties they are afforded - well, I'm hardly liberal in my attitude to them!' Clynes is what you might describe as a modern working class warrior, he is the last of a dying breed, a politician with experience of manual labour and trade union organisation. Richard's paternal grandfather happens to be the late John Robert Clynes who led the Labour Party into their breakthrough election in 1922. His roots were firmly working-class and so too proved to be his upbringing and his politics. Richard didn't go to university in his later teens, instead he went through an apprenticeship scheme with British Aerospace and began work on the warehouse floor thereafter, learning many more practical skills 'on the job'. In his early twenties Clynes became a keen trade union man, and was often at the forefront of workplace disputes. It was there that he earned his reputation as a strong negotiator and those who have dealt with him in politics have often said that he hasn't yet lost his touch. During his late twenties and early thirties Richard began to pay more attention to national political happenings than he had previously done. In his early days at British Aerospace and in his trade union, it was factory politics that had taken up most of his attention now his socialism had become more acute, and began to stretch beyond British Aerospace and so Richard began to acquire some political ambitions. He was well grounded in the trade unions and well respected, he knew that he had the capacity to form key alliances and to gain influence through which he could fight for his values, which he felt were 'Real Labour' in the face of Tony Blair's 'New'. Somewhat out of tune with his interest in economics and his trade union background, Richard Clynes became the Labour Party's election campaign crime spokesman at the election. In that capacity he toured around much of the country, particularly his native North West espousing the merit of Labour's judicial and policing reform policies. He attended and spoke at Labour's Rock the Vote event in Portsmouth where he campaigned under Labour's central message on justice of 'More Bobbies on the beat, less targets to meet'. Mr Clynes also took charge of Labour's initiative to unveil a regional manifesto in each of the ten regions on the British mainland during the election. Clynes was also a high profile campaigner for British withdrawal from the European Union, but also in favour of the reintroduction of capital punishment for convicted serial killers. Now he turns his attention to what may prove to be the campaign of his life - the campaign for a renewed Labour Party.