Londonderry Labour member Liam Gallagher is backing old-school socialist Jeremy Corbyn in his bid for the party leadership branding ‘New Labour’ attacks on the North London MP a “disgrace.”
Mr Gallagher, who is also a senior local official of the Unite trade union, which is also backing Mr Corbyn, said the Labour leftist has breathed new life into the party locally and right across the United Kingdom.
“He has energised the Labour Party and tellingly he has done so by focusing on policy rather than personal attacks,” said Mr Gallagher.
“When you read some of the allegations levelled against him by those who are left of what was ‘New Labour’ I think it’s been a disgrace but it’s telling that he has come out and refused to engage in these kinds of personal attacks.
“Instead he’s concentrating on policies, which I certainly, would support, such as renationalising the railways and the post office, the protection of the National Health Service (NHS) and fighting against austerity and the sale of public assets to Wall Street-type institutions,” he added.
Mr Gallagher said the Labour Party constituency organisation in Northern Ireland has nominated Andy Burnham - who is the Unite union’s number two - and that the Liverpool native’s pledge to allow local candidates stand for the party in elections in Northern Ireland, is appealing.
However, Mr Gallagher believes selecting Mr Corbyn as leader will allow the party outline a credible left wing alternative to the centrist approach followed in the years following the Thatcher and Major governments.
“The arguments being made by the neo-liberals in ‘New Labour’ are that the party lost the election because it failed to attract ‘Middle England’ Tory voters.
“But if you look at the SNP in Scotland and the Greens who polled 3.8m the opportunity is there to stand up for public assets in public ownership and to stand up for working class people across the board.”