On Saturday, Progress holds its annual conference which will give Labour activists and interested observers of centre-left politics another weekend opportunity to reflect on the election and chart a new strategy for Labour in opposition.
The morning kicks off with Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, who will give an analysis of the last thirteen years. As a critical friend who saw Labour in government up close, his analysis of how Labour reconnects with its roots will be instructive.
Following this, Douglas Alexander, Labour’s general election co-ordinator, will be joined by Ed Miliband, the first of three leadership contenders appearing at the conference. Miliband will share the lessons we can draw from the 2010 election with Peter Kellner, polling supremo, and Jackie Ashley, the Guardian’s well-loved columnist.
Andy Burnham – our second leadership contender to speak – will be a star attraction in the morning’s workshop sessions asking whether Labour can reconnect with working-class communities. Margaret Hodge will be joining him straight from her victory in Barking as will hardworking NEC member, Ellie Reeves, and former Housing Minister, John Healey.
Lord Adonis, as someone who was at the negotiating table with Nick Clegg, will join Caroline Flint, Jack McConnell and Emily Thornberry to debate what happens to the idea of a progressive century now we have a Lib-Con coalition.
The final morning session on who Labour lost and why, will bring together Sally Keeble, who recently lost her seat as an MP, Ben Page, who is Chief Executive of Ipsos MORI, and Liam Byrne, author of a recent Progress pamphlet on the subject.
After lunch, sessions will take a look at Labour’s future, how we tackle the Tories, what Labour’s new economic policy should look like, party reform and whether Labour should change its approach to public services.
The favourite afternoon session at the time of writing includes Philip Collins, leader writer for the Times; Jacqui Smith, former home secretary; Michael Stephenson, general Secretary of the Co-operative Party and Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, on public service reform.
The crescendo of the day is leadership frontrunner, David Miliband. Outlining where next for Labour, how we reconnect with those voters who have abandoned New Labour since 1997 and the future of the Labour movement. David will talk directly to Progress members about his leadership bid.
With nearly 400 people attending from all around the UK – from Glasgow to Exeter – the conference promises to be one of the first comprehensive discussions post the general election. Members will leave the conference following a vibrant day of policy and politics so we can put to bed the idea that Labour is bereft of ideas. The fightback starts here.
Richard Angell is the new deputy director of Progress.