How we build One Nation Labour

November 13, 2012 10:35 am

The breadth and ambition of the political project Ed Miliband outlined at party conference requires a transformation of the way we do politics. It sets a significant but exciting challenge to the party. All of us from staffers to supporters to elected politicians, will need to change our approach to campaigning, so that we can make our values live again across the country. We have begun to change and must continue to change – so we can rebuild trust and win a mandate for changing the country. That’s why the party is changing – so we can rebuild trust and win a mandate for changing the country.

It’s an exciting time: we have already begun to shift the party’s resources to the frontline and have established a top team that can create a movement inspired by Ed Miliband’s leadership. Already the first wave of organisers and candidates are in place in our frontline seats. Appointing and selecting the second tranche of those frontline forces is only a small part of the task for all of us in the next year. Everything in the next twelve months will be focussed on us growing the movement, involving more people and empowering them to create the change we need.

The many by-elections, mayoral and police elections we are fighting right now reveal the scale of the challenge. I am confident we will be able to deliver electoral success, but we cannot allow ourselves to lurch from one capacity crisis to another: that is why we must build a movement, inspired by the possibilities of change.

Without this outreach, deepening our relationships with people as well as widening our appeal, it will be more difficult for us to win in 2015. Our current levels of activity and levels of paid staff may not get us over the line. This is the harsh truth and to counteract this we must build a movement.

Everything; from our policy development process to our fundraising activities, will have one overarching goal: building capacity. We will increase the numbers of people who will believe in us, work with us, join us.

This will mean a huge culture change: respecting members, and volunteers, rather than treating them as though they are only good for delivering leaflets. Thousands of people have joined us since party conference: we need to know and understand, respect and act on their motivations for getting involved.

There is already an enormous groundswell of enthusiasm for change, not only from our new members and supporters but from the backbone of our campaigning operation.

2013 will be the year of extending that enthusiasm and growing the movement.

Our Training Academy will mean all of our professional staff and our super-volunteers will learn about organising so that every local party can grow its volunteer numbers by significant numbers. The campaigns we adopt on the basis of talking to our communities will involve and empower people, and offer change now. Energy switching is a powerful tool because it is people, party members and supporters, building a network, demanding change, which uses their collective force to deliver a good for all. Campaigning against legal loan sharks doesn’t just gather people names on a petition but offers answers for people’s daily crises, as well as shaping the national conversation.

Our online and offline policy development process will help more people to be involved in deciding our priorities and contributing to the shape of Britain we want to see. Our councillors show, in the face of a fundamental attack on support for the working families and the vulnerable, what Labour can achieve when there’s little money to go around. They will be at the heart of developing a platform for change – giving people a sense of what One Nation Britain will look like.

Changing the perception of Labour in our own communities is a task that falls to all of us. We will focus on evolving the party from being a machine for harvesting votes to being a movement of people, inspiring and making change happen. This won’t be easy; all of us must do our bit to rebuild trust. Campaigners are connecting with people Old Labour never reached, and those that New Labour left behind, mobilising and inspiring them. And it’s an essential step to shifting political activities from transactions to relationships. That is how we build One Nation Labour.

Iain McNicol is the General Secretary of the Labour Party

This piece forms part of Jon Cruddas’s Guest Edit of LabourList

  • PaulHalsall

    I *do* see the idea behind “One Nation Labour*, and it is certainly better than the “get the support the 60% over the 40% at the bottom” view of the Tories.

    But I find it hard to applaud any notion that derives from Disraeli. This seems like Blue Labour in new clothing.

  • http://twitter.com/PeterKenyon Peter Kenyon

    Dear Iain

    Can you be more specific about how members are to be be given a say in making the policies that will frame our next General Election manifesto?

    Our CLP 2012 Labour Conference delegate reported that little more than lip service was paid by the leadership and conference platform to debate, and in answer to questions admitted to being generous. I’m still waiting for a response from Jon Cruddas, this week’s Labour List guest editor to my question about how his role relates to the Labour Party’s official policy-making process(es).

    Peter Kenyon
    secretary, City of London Labour Party

Latest

  • News Miliband speaks out on anti-semitic abuse targeted at Luciana Berger – and calls on social media companies to act

    Miliband speaks out on anti-semitic abuse targeted at Luciana Berger – and calls on social media companies to act

    As we reported last week, Labour MP and Shadow Minister Luciana Berger has been the victim of a sustained torrent of disgusting online anti-semtic abuse. Ed Miliband has hit out at Berger’s abusers today, calling on social media companies to be more proactive in tackling sustained, orchestrated abuse. He told Jewish News: “The anti-Semitic abuse that Luciana Berger has experienced over recent days is utterly appalling and has absolutely no place in our country. We must have no tolerance for this vile […]

    Read more →
  • Comment The debate about building ‘the homes we need’ has to go beyond numbers

    The debate about building ‘the homes we need’ has to go beyond numbers

    Big numbers abound in housing debates and rightly so. Two-hundred thousand new homes – the number the Labour frontbench has committed to building annually – is a response to the housing crisis that is starting to approach the scale we need. But the debate about building ‘the homes we need’ has to go beyond numbers. To make the point, look at the extreme case of ‘buy-to-leave’ homes that are bought off-plan as investors’ latest fancy and sit there empty in […]

    Read more →
  • Comment The mansion tax is a progressive tax and Labour in London should support it

    The mansion tax is a progressive tax and Labour in London should support it

    For those of us who believe in progressive taxation the last few weeks in London Labour have been pretty dismal. We seem to have an array of Labour MPs (mainly wannabe London mayoral candidates) and council leaders rushing to the press denouncing the proposed mansion tax as a’ tax on London’ (or if they were more honest a tax on the rich parts of London). Yes the promotion of the Mansion Tax has been inept and it would more accurate […]

    Read more →
  • Comment It’s time to put the Green Belt back on the table

    It’s time to put the Green Belt back on the table

    The UK’s housing crisis has finally been recognised across the political spectrum as an issue that needs urgent attention. Yet despite this consensus, political inertia on housebuilding has seen subsequent governments fail to create policies that address the issue coherently and strategically. Labour’s recent Lyons Review demonstrates a commitment to house-building, with a target of constructing 200,000 homes a year. Yet while the Review recognises that the housing crisis is not evenly spread, requiring different solutions in different places, there is […]

    Read more →
  • News Scotland ASLEF backs Neil Findlay for Scottish Labour leader

    ASLEF backs Neil Findlay for Scottish Labour leader

    Neil Findlay has become the first Scottish Labour leadership candidate to pick up Trade Union support. Rail union ASLEF have backed the MSP this afternoon, becoming the first union to formally endorse a candidate (although it looks like Unite will back Findlay too). Their General Secretary Mick Whelan released the following statement: “We are supporting Neil Findlay in his bid to become leader of the Scottish Labour Party and, we hope, First Minister in 2016, because he has the character, […]

    Read more →