Comrades. Ask not what the Labour Party can do for you, but what you can do for the Labour Party.
I’m not talking to existing Labour party members – the long-standing or the newly signed up – who are already entitled to vote in the leadership election. I’m talking to you. Yes, YOU.
My guess is, however you voted on May 7, that you, like me, are not a member of the Labour party. And, like me, you’ve probably never been a member of any political party. Indeed you may well have voted for more than one party over the years, as I have. But you always vote and you care deeply about the future of your country.
Today, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is and stand up to be counted in the Labour leadership contest.
With less than 24 hours to go before Wednesday’s noon deadline to register as a Labour member, the clock is ticking down before, on current polling, Jeremy Corbyn, a committed socialist and unreconstructed loony-leftie, is elected the next Labour leader.
Some 65,000 new members have signed up to the party in recent months and, with a new YouGov poll suggesting Corbyn, a committed socialist, is set to win by a landslide in the first round, with 53 per cent of all votes cast, most of those new members are undoubtedly voting for Corbyn.
Former Labour spinner Alastair Campbell called it right when he said it was time for an “ABC” campaign – Anyone But Corbyn. But that will require not just existing Labour members but tens of thousands more to join up to vote for the most viable alternative.
Despite his newly created messiah-cum-rock-star image, the more sensible right-wing of the Labour party know that a Corbyn victory will bring certain electoral disaster and could even spell the end of the Labour party as a serious political force forever.
Now, if you are a die-hard Conservative, a passionate Liberal Democrat or a devoted UKIP supporter, you may well like the sound of that. But the consequences of a Labour collapse won’t necessarily be good for other parties or for the country as a whole.
If you genuinely want a Government – of whichever political hue – that responds to what ordinary people want and works for their benefit, then you need a Government that is scared of the alternative.
It doesn’t matter if you think Margaret Thatcher was the Second Coming or that Tony Blair was the Anti-Christ, whether you welcomed the Liberal Democrats into the Coalition Government of 2010 or squealed with delight when Vince Cable lost his seat on election night. That’s party politics for you. But that’s an entirely different entity from democracy.
If there is no alternative Government appealing to voters, then the sitting Government can do pretty much what they want, knowing that voters will just have to like it or lump it.
If there is no possibility of Labour winning the 2020 election, with a ragtag collection of LibDems and a sole UKIP MP left, what on earth is there to force Tory strategists to offer voters the policies they want?
If a blue rosette pinned on a donkey is enough to get elected in half the constituencies of England in five years’ time, there will be no need for the Conservatives to compete with Labour or other parties to win over floating voters, and it will be the country that will suffer.
Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Power with no end in sight has an equally chilling effect.
Politicians are not innately bad people but, like most of us, they don’t work any harder than they have to. Without a proper Opposition, they will barely need to turn up to keep getting re-elected.
So, even if you never want to see another Labour Government elected, if you really care about this country, I entreat you to spend £3 to help preserve our democratic process by joining the Labour party and voting for the most viable alternative to Jeremy Corbyn.
Realistically (and with all due respect to both Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall) the candidate best positioned to defeat Corbyn right now is the one trailing in second place, Andy Burnham.
It is time – regardless of whether you are a Labour supporter or not – to put your country first, before your party allegiance, and do your bit.
We need to save the Labour Party from itself.