Labour’s Shadow Levelling Up Minister Lisa Nandy MP is something politicians everywhere would die for - she's authentic.
She talks sense, is always totally on top of her brief, never gets phased in media interviews and, fundamentally, oozes compassion and credibility.
Lisa’s background is steeped in community action and support, she also worked in the charity sector for some years, and listening to her talk you feel here is a politician who understands the lives of ordinary people. She gets their problems and aspirations. You understand that Lisa is on their side.
After the chaos of Jeremy Corbyn, I liked the idea of Lisa Nandy taking over as Labour leader and was disappointed when it didn’t happen. The disappointment has eased a bit as Keir Starmer has done a great job in bringing the party to its senses and making it electable, not an easy task in the wake of Corbyn’s mess although the corruption, incompetence and sheer awfulness of the Tories have helped. In that sense, her not winning was probably for the best. But my hopes for Lisa are still there and when Starmer moves on I hope she will be a prime candidate to take over.
She said after her first Leadership bid she might not want to try again. I hope she changes her mind especially now her qualification to be a front-runner has been aided by her new book, just published.
‘All In: How We Build A Country That Works' is a general manifesto for Lisa Nandy's political philosophy, the major issues facing Britain today and how her brand of authenticity would ignite hope, recovery and fundamental reform - social and political - for the UK.
More a sprint through deeply held personal political values than a dense policy creed, the book covers a lot of ground from local to national and international concerns to the opportunities of green policies and new technologies and from the urgent need for reform in the way Westminster and regions govern, to boosting national and local accountability and democracy.
But, all through ‘All In’ it’s all there. Lisa Nandy is an authentic voice in the too often fake desert of modern political life. Someone who so obviously really cares, who doesn’t bullshit and who makes you feel that in her hands a government of the people would truly be for the people – and if ever there were times it wasn’t, she would tell you to your face and not hide in a fridge or bugger off on holiday paid for by someone else.
The essential thrust of the book is Lisa Nandy's wholehearted belief that power, political and social, needs to be put back in the hands of people at all levels – local and national. Given the democratic and institutional tools to get things done, people in their communities of varying sizes – the town, the city, the region, the nation – can change and influence things for the better. That all of us should be ‘in’, instead of the current reality in Britain today where so many, individually and collectively, are 'out' - excluded from decision making, over-ridden, given no voice, left on the outside.
The path of this great endeavor to hand power back may be a bumpy ride and there will always be unknowns but ‘All In’ is Lisa Nandy’s statement of intent that with the right level of leadership, the essential reforms and new ways of thinking are possible.
Lisa Nandy is a refreshingly authentic voice and her new book sets out an authentic direction of travel. She stands to be an ever-increasing force in the UK’s evolving political scene, either as a minister in the next government or as a party Leader.
Hopefully, it will be the latter.
* 'All In: How We Build A Country That Works' by Lisa Nandy MP is published by HarperCollins