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Dragon Interview: Angela Gunning on the Labour Party Leadership Election

Published on: 20 Aug, 2015
Updated on: 23 Aug, 2015
Cllr Angela Gunning

Cllr Angela Gunning

Angela Gunning, is Guildford’s only Labour borough councillor, representing Stoke ward. The Dragon asked for her views on the current leadership election campaign currently underway.

What do you think of the new system of electing a Labour party leader? Do you think there are enough checks to ensure that significant numbers of non Labour supporters won’t be able to vote and affect the result?

Selecting the new leader for the Labour party has been interesting and stimulating. The debates and interviews on national TV and radio have been a great opportunity for the candidates to make their case to the widest possible audience. Members have received daily emails from all candidates; and via post as well. No excuse for not knowing what the candidates stand for.

As for non-supporters trying to affect the result – we have a lot of data on voters’ political preferences thanks to very wide spread door-knocking of the constituency during the election. Yes, there are a lot of new members, and supporters in Guildford, and we have checked them all thoroughly as far as possible. Some fakes have been detected, and rejected of course.

Personally I don’t think that one or two ‘jokers’ will have any significant influence at all on the final, national result.

Who do you support in the leadership election and why?

I am considering voting for Jeremy Corbyn.

Why? Because we are looking for a leader, not an expert on economics, foreign policy etc. There is a big difference between a leader and an expert. People have become very cynical about ‘politicians’, and his appeal is that he comes across as offering different, simpler politics. Prime Minister’s question time in Parliament is the worst kind of exhibition – just two politicians shouting at each other. No wonder there is voter apathy and cynicism.

Do you think Jeremy Corbyn’s candidature has been damaging for the party? Do you think the Labour party is electable with him as its leader?

All four candidates are experienced and capable people. Jeremy Corbyn’s candidature has certainly raised the profile of the Labour party, and made people think hard about what this country needs, and the nature of leadership.

Why, despite his lack of popularity in the centre ground, has he caused so much enthusiasm amongst some parts of your party, especially the young?

He is left-wing! He represents radical politics, fresh thinking and inspirational ideals. That’s why young people are attracted to what he represents.

Why do you think that the Labour party still has to elect its first permanent woman leader?

A lot of women are repelled by the ‘bear-pit’ politics of parliament; but I think local politics is a good starting point for women aspiring to higher office in Government, so without doubt there will a woman leader in the future.

Given your party’s current standing in the polls, especially in Scotland, do you really and truly think that the Labour will win the next election?

Winning in 2020 – of course I believe the Labour party will win. That’s why I stay in politics. What campaigner does not aim for success?

Who, in your view, was the best Labour leader since the war?

Depends on the circumstances. Neil Kinnock was an enthusiastic leader; Gordon Brown was a very capable, and yet modest leader. Hard to say.

How long have you been a Labour party member? What made you join?

I have been a member for about 35 years; I have always held socialist ideals and was brought up in a left-wing home. I joined because a member of the Labour party asked me to.

Angela Gunning keeping up with the news.

Angela Gunning keeping up with the news.


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Responses to Dragon Interview: Angela Gunning on the Labour Party Leadership Election

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    August 20, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Well said Cllr Gunning. I believe in voting for the person not the party – so at best can be described as an apolitical voter.

    We are generally in this country voting for the party of the least worst option, rather than picking the best people to run our country, a sad reflection of how politics stands in our country today.

    We need some inspirational people to lead the United Kingdom not robotic clones wearing different colours.

  2. Jenny Procter Reply

    August 21, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Yes, well said. It is refreshing to see a desire to move out of the endless see saw of the ‘safe’ option in our election choices. Which, in fact, have often proved to be not so safe, especially when, after achieving a given objective, they then run away with their own agendas.

  3. Sally Parrott Reply

    August 21, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    Superb interview – thank you, Cllr Gunning and The Guildford Dragon.

    I haven’t seen such long queues for lively political meetings since waiting to hear George Brown in Hull over 50 years ago.
    Jeremy Corbyn has certainly energised the debate and enthused many young people.

  4. Stuart Barnes Reply

    August 22, 2015 at 10:33 am

    It looks as though Jeremy Corbyn will win the contest – much to the delight of what used to be the Conservative Party.

    Voter infiltration seems to be from the extreme left including communists, Trots, Greens, etc. But once they have got their hero elected as leader what chance have they got of making him PM?

    The normal electorate will be so terrified of his policies that even someone as useless as David Cameron (I know he is not going to stand) would win without even trying.

    • Sally Parrott Reply

      August 25, 2015 at 10:53 am

      I’d love to know what poll Stuart Barnes uses for his prediction that the ‘normal’ electorate will be terrified of Corbyn’s policies.

      The Independent of 23 July lists nine of his policies which polls suggest have public support, including rent controls, taking the railways back into public ownership, and (with hindsight) opposition to the Iraq War. The tragic queues of people fleeing from Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya (among others) resulting from the ‘bomb and buzz off’ policies of the US and UK, cannot be blamed on Mr Corbyn.

      • Stuart Barnes Reply

        August 26, 2015 at 9:40 am

        I could run through his policies but it is easier to refer readers to the result of the last general election when “Red Ed” with left wing policies was thumped, and to the comments of Brown, Blair, Prescott, et al.

        As a neutral observer my attitude to the shambolic leadership election could be summed up in two well known quotes: “One would have to have a heart of stone not to laugh” and, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn”.

        However, I do find it puzzling that the Labour party is giving what is the worst Conservative government in many years, an open goal.

        One thing that I will give Corbyn is that he can enthuse an audience in the same way that Nigel Farage does. Politics would be more interesting with both of them in the Commons, each with a group of supporters. If our voting system were fairer that would happen and the ungrateful Scottish Nationalists pushed to the margins, as they should be.

  5. Sue Fox Reply

    August 25, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    Yay, good for Angela Gunning. How refreshing to hear someone talking sense. Jeremy Corbyn the most inspiring and in touch candidate this century.

    I’d love to have voted for him but guess I’d have been rejected.

  6. Bernard Parke Reply

    August 26, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    I am not a member of the Labour party or indeed any other party now, but I sincerely hope that this election is not corrupted by people wishing to cause mischief. We should remember: “Weak oppositions lead to weak governments.”

  7. Brian Walter Reply

    August 27, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    How sad that policies seeking to improve life chances for the many – decent housing, schooling and healthcare which aren’t dependant on ability to pay, affordable travel especially for commuters – are seen as ‘left wing’ (and therefore somehow ‘extreme).

    Angela Gunning’s interview was just what we needed to see locally – and I for one have already voted for Jeremy Corbyn in the hope of a fairer Britain under his leadership.

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