Looking back (and ahead)

17th November, 2011 2:43 pm

Labour’s storming victory at the first by-election of the parliament in Oldham East seems a long, long time ago. It was just after that Ed Miliband gave his speech to the Fabian New Year conference.

Looking back now, it’s clear to see how much of what happened in 2011 for Labour was sketched out in this speech. Talking to a packed hall of Fabian members, Miliband set out the three challenges Labour must face to win back power.

The first challenge was the need to understand why our economy has stopped working for the majority of people. This line of argument showed clearly the thinking that led to the good/bad capitalism theme which formed the centrepiece of Miliband’s conference speech. This theme is now at the heart of political debate. From Peter Oborne to the Occupy LSX movement – discussions about the failure of our economic system and its effects on people are taking place across the political spectrum.

As well as the economy, Ed Miliband set out two further challenges in that speech: How to move away from managerialist policy-making and reconnect with our communities; and moving politics away from vested interests and renewing our democratic spirit.

The Blue Labour agenda – one of the most colourful internal Labour debates – was precisely about the need to reconnect with communities, and the Fabian Society continue to be at the heart of this discussion. How we reengage locally without dismissing the important role that the active state can play will be a major focus for the Fabians and the Labour Party in the coming years.

The challenge of taking on vested interests was seen no more clearly than in the phone hacking scandal. Miliband’s capturing of the public mood over the summer gave the ultimate platform to this central challenge which is now a central part of his economic message. Vested interests and asset strippers have been identified as part of the problem. Renewed democratic participation and wealth creators are some of the solutions we now explore. Whether this was in the Refounding Labour process or laying out the challenge for taking on monopolies in the energy industry – the agenda was set out back in January.

Today, as we reach the last few weeks of the year, the news is that we are to miss our deficit reduction targets, while youth unemployment has hit 1 million, and we hear murmurs of contagion fears in the Eurozone crisis. The coalition said there was no alternative, but one is very much needed. It is against this backdrop that we prepare for Fabian New Year Conference 2012: The Economic Alternative, where Ed Balls and a host of other leading commentators will set out their stall on what that alternative should be.

How we engage with the big questions on the economy are now the key to being seen as a credible government-in-waiting. Once again, if you want to be at the heart of the debates driving Labour in 2012 – there is no better place to start than the Fabian Society New Year Conference.

An extended version of this post can be seen at Next Left. Tickets for the conference are available here.

To report anything from the comment section, please e-mail [email protected]

  • Anonymous

    I’ve a feeling the majority of the public would like to see less immigration to the UK, but not in any way shape or form what Blue labour wanted. I mean Labours open door let them pile in was totally wrong, May is in trouble for allowing  people in, but Jesus she has a long way to go to meet New labours immigration.

    But I think the public would say why did you not  do something about the firms when you spent thirteen years in power, do not tell me Labour is a different party, it’s not it still has a lot of the New labour Blair-rites in positions.

    Labour plans on welfare is well known, Labours idea on social housing is well known, Labour idea on  working for benefits is well known, and when you put it together it very much in the same vien as the Tories all your saying now is spening and borrowing is the answer, and I doubt a nation who is trying to repays it debts want to hear right now is a labour party saying go on borrow another 100 billion.

Latest

  • Local Government News Scotland Weekly survey: Elections 2016

    Weekly survey: Elections 2016

    Labour faces its first major electoral test under Jeremy Corbyn on Thursday – and we want to know how you expect Labour to perform. Scottish Labour has been polling behind the SNP for several years. Will Kezia Dugdale’s team win enough seats to avoid coming third behind the Conservatives? Labour needs at least 30 seats in Wales to maintain a majority. However, with the rise of UKIP and threats from Plaid Cymru some think they will only be able to achieve a minority […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured Local Government Uncategorized Police and crime commissioners can cut crime – so let’s overcome the apathy

    Police and crime commissioners can cut crime – so let’s overcome the apathy

    Following selection as the Labour candidate for police and crime commissioner for Devon and Cornwall in February 2016 I have campaigned across this vast constituency of 1.3 million voters and the most common response I have received is “Election? What election?”. It is utterly shocking that the Government has failed to promote the Commissioner’s post and, most importantly, the elections taking place across England and Wales on Thursday. After introducing the post following their 2010 manifesto pledge anyone would think the Conservatives – and Theresa May […]

    Read more →
  • Europe News New Labour figures throw weight behind In campaign

    New Labour figures throw weight behind In campaign

    Major New Labour figures are throwing their weight behind the campaign to keep Britain in the EU, with a series of major interventions – including a possible return for Tony Blair. Former Chancellor Alistair Darling has warned that a vote to leave the EU could cost the UK £250 billion in lost trade, while Peter Mandelson has hit out at the anti-immigration rhetoric of the Out campaign. Darling said that pulling out of the single market would introduce greater trade […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Campaign round-up: Two days to go

    Campaign round-up: Two days to go

    It’s two days until voters go to the polls – here’s a quick look at how the elections are shaping up across the country. Quote of the Day “Only a Tory Government with as warped a sense of priorities as this one could issue a statement lauding the roll-out [of Universal Credit] on the same day an independent expert report from the Resolution Foundation shows Tory cuts will completely undermine work incentives in the programme.” – Owen Smith, on the warped […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Local Government News Corbyn: We will not lose any seats

    Corbyn: We will not lose any seats

    Jeremy Corbyn has issued a defiant message to his internal critics as he vowed Labour would defy predictions and not lose any seats on Thursday. The under-fire Labour leader confirmed he would “of course” stand in any future leadership election as he told activists to look for electoral gains around the country. Corbyn was speaking in London as he unveiled a new election poster saying: “Elections are about taking sides. Labour is on yours”. “We are not going to lose […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends










Submit