I know this has been a long time in coming, for which I apologise, but I wanted to let readers know about the progress being made on submitting the New Ideas for a Renewed Movement series to the Party.
Over the summer, LabourList invited readers to submit policy proposals for the next Labour manifesto. In September, the 25 most repeated of those suggestions were each given the space to be advocated for and promoted on LabourList. At the end of the month, throughout Labour Party conference, readers voted on their preferred three policy pitches.
981 votes were cast and the top 25, in their order of preference among readers, were as follows:
Pleasingly, Labour have already signalled that some of these proposals are likely to be adopted: phasing out hospital car parking charges in England; the National Care Service; and the expansion of childcare. A national high-speed rail service is also on the cards. Over the coming months, we will revisit these results to try and ensure that those policies are followed through in the manifesto or the last session of this Parliament.
In the meantime, I have now sent the following letter to Ed Miliband, who is co-ordinating the manifesto for the general election:
November 22nd, 2009
This summer, readers of LabourList submitted hundreds of policy proposals to our New Ideas for a Renewed Movement series, which you opened with your article dated July 31st.
As you know, new policies were initially pitched in comments and articles on our website, in Tweets, on Facebook and by email.
The most repeated of these policy proposals were given full advocacy space in which experts and those who initially suggested them made supporting arguments for their adoption by the Labour party in the manifesto.
After the period of discussion, LabourList readers voted for their favourite three policies between Friday 25th September and Friday 9th October.
I’ve now had the chance to collate those results, and the most popular five policies, as voted for by 981 readers, were:
I believe these policies represent some of the best and most relevant aspects of British social democratic thinking today. Together, they demonstrate our need to develop policy that advances genuine democratic reform, fairer distribution of national income at a time of hardship for many and a renewed focus on providing the modern public services that will be so crucial for further economic recovery and future growth.
Some of these policies have already been discussed and some were at least partially announced by the Prime Minister in his speech to party conference on September 29th. I hope those commitments will make up a core part of the final manifesto.
However, the commitment to increase the basic rate of income tax to £10,000 has so far only been proposed by the Liberal Democrats. If we in the Labour Party are to reconnect with the electorate we must surely commit to lifting those on the lowest incomes out of taxation as a matter both of principal and sound economics.
At this challenging time for our party, it is imperative that Labour listens to its supporters’ concerns and desires and to those of the general public. I hope that you will consider the above 5 policies – properly costed and developed – for the full manifesto for the 2010 general election, on which you are currently consulting.
Thank you and I look forward to your response,