We’re delighted to say that Alex Sobel, the candidate chosen by Labour party members here in Leeds NW, has also been endorsed by the Co-operative party. He will stand – and, we hope, win – as a Labour and Co-operative party candidate. You’ve seen Labour’s manifesto; you know what being a Labour candidate means, and what having a Labour MP here in Leeds NW will mean. But the Co-operative party endorsement tells you something more.
The Co-op is a sister party of Labour, committed to the same principles. But it adds its own emphasis
– a belief in spreading power through community- and worker-ownership, through giving a voice to consumers and workers;
– -a belief that ‘things work best when ordinary people have a voice, and when services are accountable to the people who use them. Railways run as a partnership between passengers and staff. Tackling the housing crisis through co-operative housing. Fans having a say in their sports’ club’.
‘Co-operatives are businesses owned and run by their members. Whether these members are customers, employees or local residents, all are given an equal say in what the business does or a share in the profits.’
The Co-operative movement is actually older than the Labour Party in the UK – going back to the Rochdale Pioneers in the 1840s. It represents a very important and old-established strand of British left-wing thinking.
In modern terms it often means questioning whether ‘big state’ solutions are best; whether services as well as goods are best delivered closer to the people who need and use them, whether that makes them more sensitive and accountable to ordinary people.
The Co-operative party does not endorse all Labour MPs. There were 26 Labour/Co-operative MPs in the last parliament. The party has endorsed just 51 candidates for this General Election.
It’s no surprise that it has chosen Alex as one of those.
He has worked with social enterprises and co-operatives for much of his career. He used to run Co-operatives Yorkshire and Humber. He’s helped create and organise co-operative enterprises like ‘Enabled Works’ here in Leeds, a not-for-profit workers co-operative which is owned and run by its own disabled workforce. He’s worked with co-operatives and social enterprises throughout Leeds North West, from Hyde Park through to Otley.
The Co-op party’s endorsement is a recognition of that work. And, for us – and you – it is an endorsement of the kind of person Alex is, the values to which he’s committed.
As we said – two for the price of one.