Here is what Diane Abbott has sent to party members:
It is a privilege to be nominated as a candidate for the leadership of my party and the movement that has given me every opportunity in life.
I am well aware of the major achievements of our Labour government over the last 13 years.
But this is a “turn the page” election and I believe I am the “turn the page” candidate.
I am the people’s candidate, not the Westminster insider’s candidate. I believe that this is a strength.
There are three main reasons why I believe I am the right person to lead the party in the coming period:
1) Rebuilding and re-energising the party is essential. I have come up through the movement. I have done every job that it is possible to do in the Labour Party: collected subs at a local level; served as a City councillor; served as an elected member of the National Executive of the Party from 1994 to 1997. And I have been a Member of Parliament for 23 years. I believe I know the party better than my rivals and that I am more in touch with the grassroots. I am the candidate to rebuild and revitalise the party and build it into a fighting force to oppose the Lib Con cuts.
2) On issues of policy, I am closer to the heart and soul of the movement than my rivals. I called all the big issues correctly. I voted against tuition fees, I was opposed to the removal of the 10p tax, and I marched, spoke and voted against the Iraq war. No other candidate took these positions when it was difficult to do so.
3) I believe that in an era of 24 hour news, the party needs a good communicator at the very top. I have a proven record of being able to communicate with people. I am able to talk about social ideals in a way that engages people. Above all, I think I have a reputation as a straight forward, principled and consistent politician.
I hope that you will feel able to support me in the coming leadership election.
If you want to know more, you can visit my website www.diane4leader.co.uk
Or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/dianeforleader
Join my facebook group http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=105235839522326
Please forward this email to everyone you know
Yours in comradeship
Diane Abbott MP
I disagree with Diane on many things. But I think she would be excellent She is a person of clear vision and direction, and that is what the party needs now - not a trimmer who says what they think people want to hear. I do think however that she is wrong about Iraq. But there. My position is clear and always has been, and I believe it was more difficult for a person to vote for the war in 2003, as I did, in the teeth of foul abuse from Guardian readers, than it was for Diane, who was clearly and consistently opposed, or for anyone who pretended they were opposed but in fact abstained. But that doesn't matter now. I don't have a vote in the process as I am no longer a Labour Party member but belong to the Parti Socialiste of France (go Martine!), but I would urge those who do to vote for Diane. And I write this as a Blairite.
update: Alex Hilton has put it rather well on LabourList this morning:
under Diane, individuality would matter. Under Diane, we would have a leader with no hope of retaining power without engaging every faction, when each of the other candidates would need to build a factional dominance to keep power.