If the policy review is being “parked”, Cruddas needs to get it moving, not trash it

29th June, 2014 9:18 am

Recently I was at a event when a member of the Shadow Cabinet tapped me on the shoulder. They wanted to know if I thought the Tories might be at the event, perhaps recording what they said and poring over it in detail, attempting to trip them up. I said it was possible – they’re everywhere at the moment. And they are. Which brings us to the front page of today’s Sunday Times…

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Labour’s National Policy Forum meets in three weeks for a hugely important meeting that will define the shape and scope of Labour’s policy offer in the run up to the next election. It’s not just me that thinks that, Jon Cruddas – Labour’s policy chief – has been saying as much for months. Except in private, it sounds like he’s been trashing that same policy process. The Sunday Times(£) have a recording of Cruddas speaking at a meeting held by Compass. He appears to criticise recent party announcements as “cynical and punitive” and says that parts of the policy process have been “parked”. Here are some of the most damaging quotes:

“Over at the IPPR they produced this report covering the whole gamut of social policy right from early-years interventions through to adult social care,” he said. “[It is a] really interesting report; they’ve taken nearly two years of work . . . We managed in the political world to condense it into one story about a punitive hit on 18 to 21-year-olds around their benefits.

“That takes some doing, you know, a report with depth is collapsed into one instrumentalised policy thing which was fairly cynical and punitive.”

“My job is to look at Labour’s policy agenda . . . and I can assure you that these interesting ideas and remedies are not going to emerge through Labour’s policy review. We set up independent reviews to rethink social policy, economic policy, democracy, local government — they come up with ideas and they’re just parked, parked.

“And instead instrumentalised, cynical nuggets of policy to chime with our focus groups and our press strategies and our desire for a top line in terms of the 24-hour media cycle dominate and crowd out any innovation or creativity.”

“The paradox is there is all sorts of creativity alongside a profound dead hand at the centre. I’d love to say why we don’t just appropriate this idea or that idea — but honestly it ain’t going to happen at the moment, even though the clock’s ticking, with a profoundly important general election.”

The National policy Forum meets in three weeks. So why in all merry hell did Cruddas think that attacking the Labour Party – and Labour Party policy – now, of all times, would be a good idea? Labour policy chief slams policy review? How is that ever going to be a good headline? He’s smart enough and has been around the block long enough to know that this isn’t the way people of his standing in the party are supposed to behave. Look again at this line “these interesting ideas and remedies are not going to emerge through Labour’s policy review”. What were you thinking Jon? I like you – I think you’re a force for good in the Labour Party. But what were you thinking? Your job is to make sure that interesting ideas make their way through the process, not argue the opposite before the process has even finished.

cruddas

For many in the party – having staked a great deal on Cruddas and his policy review – this is a depressing report. And now the policy review needs to exceed expectations to avoid its epitaph being “interesting ideas and remedies are not going to emerge”.

Of course, predictably, Cruddas’s comments – especially around the “dead hand at the centre” – have been written up as an attack on Ed Miliband. But to me, it reads as just the latest ham-fisted critique of those around the Labour leader – in this case, those who Cruddas feels are boiling the big ideas he’s been searching for down to smaller “policy nuggets”. If that’s the case, then we’re back in the territory of “shrink the offer”. But instead of complaining about a dead hand at the centre, Cruddas needs to understand that as far as the party is concerned, he is the hand on the policy tiller. He’ll be judged on the outcome of the policy and manifesto process. He needs to decide whether he’s going to concentrate on winning that battle and delivering something worth fighting for, or whether he’s going to complain about such hurdles.

That’s not to say that he doesn’t have a point. It did feel like the IPPR report – weighing in at nearly 300 pages after 18 months of work – had been boiled down to two or three smallish policies. There’s far more of interest in that document than the few plans that Miliband was willing to announce. The tendancy – not only from Labour but from all parties – to boil big policy ideas down to the simple, lowest common denominator headline for the press is one of the most distressing and consistent drawbacks of the way politics is conducted in 2014.

But whilst it’s disturbing to hear of what sound like two parallel policy reviews – one that we’re hearing about and one which is “parked” –  Cruddas must remember that he is meant to be the person driving the policy review. If it’s been “parked”, then it’s his job to damn well get into the drivers seat and make sure it’s moving again.

On a day when the party will want the focus to be on plans to devolve £30 billion to local government (a proposal that’s far from a “cynical policy nugget”), the attention is take by the head of the policy review bashing his own party and their own plans. Worse – Miliband’s piece on devolving power and funding from Whitehall is an exposition of a position that Cruddas himself has been at the forefront of. In short – Miliband has made a major announcement in the Sunday Times(£) about the big changes a Labour government wants to make. The man who has been pushing for those big changes then knocks Miliband off the front page by saying that the changes aren’t going to be that big after all.

This is not good. This is not good at all.

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  • Leon Spence

    We are now less than a year out from a general election.
    We know that right wing media don’t want to see Ed in Downing Street and yet our leadership are seemingly giving them red meat almost every day by briefing, misplaced comments and straight forward cockups.
    Unless we put up a unified front right now and concentrate on winning in 2015 we will be handing victory to David Cameron on a plate.

    • treborc1

      How can a party be unified when your own party has a split left and right when the right tells the leader to attack the Unions over what was an attempt to get another right winger elected as an MP.

    • Jen The Blue

      What right wing media? The BBC is leftist leaning and supports Labour as much as it can.

      You mean a few newspapers like the Mail, the Sun and the Telegraph….but then you have the Mirror, the Grauniad and the Independent supporting Labour.

      • Duncan Hall

        I can never understand this “BBC is leftist leaning” thing. Have you ever watched it? I might agree that its cultural/artistic output veers towards liberal (though hardly left) but it’s news output is now pretty unapologetically Tory.

      • PoundInYourPocket

        Are you talking about the Bilderberg Broadcasting Corp. or the Bulingdon Broadcasting Corp ? Where every journalist is either a Tory or even an ex Tory candidate ? I can’t even watch it anymore. The last (only) time they interviewed a socialist they insulted him so much he had to be invited back for an apology. Massive protests come and go with NO mention on the beeb. Best to watch Al Jazeera, it’s more balanced.

        • Jen The Blue

          Yes, this is an age old tactic from the left….pretend the BBC is unbiased to perpetuate its exixtence.

          Check out some websites that monitor it……check out some of the comments ex-BBC employees have said……check out its stance on global warming………Check out how many Guardians it buys compared to Telegraphs….Check out the appointments of Duncan Weldon, Ian Katz, James Purnell……Check out what Mark Thompson said about the BBC……

          Not that it surprises me ……most left wingers wouldn’t recognise impartiality if it sat on their faces and wiggled.

          • Duncan Hall

            I don’t think it’s unbiased, I think it’s right wing.
            Check out the comments of Robert Peston, or the public political views of Paxman, Robinson, etc. Or the appointments of that old leftie Chris Patten.
            The BBC has become the official mouthpiece of the moderate (ish) wing of the Conservative Party. Of course, that is terribly left wing for many of those that often bleat about its apparent left-wing bias, but for most of us it is a right-wing position and it is no longer even particularly subtle.

          • Jen The Blue

            Peston was continually biased in his comments at the start of the coalition – always playing down any good indicators . Paxman was one of the few impartial people on the BBC – the fact he has since described himself as a “one nation Tory” is neither here nor there.

            I know a few Guardianistas have got hot under the collar about Nick Robinson…..but honestly they should see the relentless leftist deluge we have to put up with.

            I have never heard anything remotely right wing on the BBC – they have whined for four years about “savage cuts” when a look at the figures show government spending has barely been scratched. how is that right wing bias?

            As for Chris Patten – the less said the better – he is a soft leftie but he has no editorial control anyway.

          • Duncan Hall

            Chris Patten a soft leftie? He was in Thatcher’s government!! This government has hardly been challenged on the impact of welfare policies or NHS reforms – it’s a disgrace actually.

          • Jen The Blue

            Let me put it this way vis a vis Chris Patten. I am presuming here, because I obviously don’t know the details of your political views…….but…….I would think that if you listed Chris Patten’s opinions on all the major issues of the day you would find his views are nearer to yours than mine, or indeed most right thinking people’s.

          • Duncan Hall

            How right wing are you? But I think your argument actually supports my point, that those who think the BBC has a left-wing bias do so because from where they’re standing, a mainstream Tory view looks left wing… (I very much doubt Patten’s views are closer to mine than yours, incidentally…)

          • Jen The Blue

            Not especially right wing. I am libertarian who believes in freedom from the state. I would point out that is in no way supports your argument, because impartiality is supposed to be an and even handed approach to all opinions – it is not an average of opinions. Mark Thompson admitted the “massive left wing bias” in fact.

            I don’t blame the BBC for deliberately doing it, it is just a self perpetuating situation where they hire people of like mind who, like you are quite left wing and therefore have trouble undertanding what a neutral stance is. They may well think they are being fair to the right.

          • Theoderic Braun

            I’m giving you a +1 for being dumb above and beyond the call of duty. You are a credit to your kind. Well done for making us all feel so superior.

          • i_bid

            Ah, freedom from the state. So, ‘Jen the Blue’ can we take it you’ll disband the state-backed police, army, and the judicial system that helps protect your private property and privileges. If Yes, than I’ll trouble you no further. If No than you add to the laughable hypocrites that I’ve come to expect from said ‘ideology’.

          • Jen The Blue

            A true communist eh? Did I detect a hatred of private property there?

            No, of course I do not wish to see the police, army and courts disbanded. (Though the police and courts need major reform as the former are institutionally corrupt and the latter are now political.)

            I am not an anarchist (though in an ideal world that would be best.) Neither I am a hypocrite. Just because I do not want the state making most decisions for me (it usually makes the wrong ones) does not mean I that I do not believe there are few areas where it is a necessary evil.

            What I don’t like is the state stealing nearly 1/2 my money, wasting it on things of which I do not approve, telling me what I can eat or drink or hunt, telling me what I should believe on moral issues and indoctrinating my children with lies about global warming and sexual perversion in its schools.

          • PoundInYourPocket

            The state isn’t “stealing” half of “your” money, it’s permitting you to enjoy some of the peoples’ money on a temporary basis. You’re being rather over-possesive of this stuff called “money”.

          • Jen The Blue

            Who earned it? Interesting idea that I work for the state and it kindly lets me keep some.

            If it never belongs to me, then why should I bother working? I certainly don’t do it for you.

          • i_bid

            Is this Tory naivety? The exact same quandry has been asked by countless working men and women who watch as they work (to bone) their life away for the enrichment of other people – and are held there because it’s *enforced* by the state. If you (consciously) don’t work, you don’t eat – and even if you do eat, by way of the welfare state – you get to look forward to a lifetime of harrassment from said state to do so.

          • Jen The Blue

            “”If you (consciously) don’t work, you don’t eat “”.
            As general principle, is there something wrong with that? Ignoring those who are unable to work (a different case altogether), why do those that work owe those that don’t a living?

            As to the welfare state, well it isn’t there as a lifestyle choice for those able to work. So people (able to work) owe those supplying their subsistence the duty to look for work.

          • i_bid

            So, not a libertarian – just a Tory attempting to wrap her “I want the state to do the things I like, and the state to get off our backs for the things I don’t” into something that sounds more robust and less self-serving – and failing.

          • Jen The Blue

            No. The less the state does the better because we then make up our minds about what we do and what we spend the money WE earned on. There is very little I think the state should be spending money on. It does it so badly.

            And yes, a libertarian. I have no desire to impose my views on others. People should be free to make up their own minds. I am quite happy for those who disapprove of fox hunting to not go foxhunting and they should leave me in peace to do it. Similarly, while I view homosexual acts as immoral I have no desire to ban them and force my views on those who take a different view.

            The state however has interfered in both these matters.

          • i_bid

            Haha, the state does a lot more than criminalise hunting or sexual freedom: it creates – and adjusts – the state currency, it enforces the current economic system and the laws that go with it; it defends – and often invades other countries. If you really believed the maxim ‘the less the state does the better’ then you’d argue for the removal of the judicial, defence and policing spheres from it – but of course, you don’t, because it’s clear that you’re quite happy with the state enshrining/enforcing/handling said things. Hence your laughable ‘there is very little…’ qualification – because you implicitly do want it to do things, just the things that have traditionally supported the comfortable to retain their level of comfort, whilst arguing that all the things the working class stand to benefit from should be removed – for liberty’s sake – what you neglect to mention is much of the working class won’t have any money ‘to decide what to do with’, because your state will be busily enforcing an economic system that gravitates towards exploitation. Evidently the fact there are masses of people in full-time work who still need the state to top up their wages to subsistence levels because the inherent expansionary inequality your system upholds, or that there are millions unable to find a job because your economic system doesn’t guarantee full employment doesn’t factor into your “let’s give people their ‘liberty’/(state-mandated) money back to decide” nonsense.

          • i_bid

            Haha, the state does a lot more than criminalise hunting or sexual freedom: it creates – and adjusts – the state currency, it enforces the current economic system and the laws that go with it; it defends – and often invades other countries. If you really believed the maxim ‘the less the state does the better’ then you’d argue for the removal of the judicial, defence and policing spheres from it – but of course, you don’t, because it’s clear that you’re quite happy with the state enshrining/enforcing/handling said things. Hence your laughable ‘there is very little…’ qualification – because you implicitly do want it to do things, just the things that have traditionally supported the comfortable to retain their level of comfort, whilst arguing that all the things the working class stand to benefit from should be removed – for liberty’s sake – what you neglect to mention is much of the working class won’t have any money ‘to decide what to do with’, because your state will be busily enforcing an economic system that gravitates towards exploitation. Evidently the fact there are masses of people in full-time work who still need the state to top up their wages to subsistence levels because the inherent expansionary inequality your system upholds, or that there are millions unable to find a job because your economic system doesn’t guarantee full employment doesn’t factor into your “let’s give people their ‘liberty’/(state-mandated) money back to decide” nonsense.

          • Jen The Blue

            Your whole argument is shot through with illogic.

            Why, because I say I wish the state to butt out of my life, can this only be a consistent position if I remove the state completely? It isn’t.

            I have already said that the defence and judicial systems are necessary evils in an imperfect world. That doesn’t mean I think it is great the state forces me to have its health care, bans me from fox-hunting and steals nearly half my money to blow on things i dislike.

            If tax rates were much lower the “working class” as you call them would also have considerably more money. The reason there are some people in full employment who need state assistance is largely due to the tax burden.

            We need a minimal state, not an interfering state. The state doesn’t provide food or shelter so why the hell does it insist on providing health care? Why does it tell me how to view sexual morality? Why does it use my money to murder unborn children?

          • i_bid

            Erm, because as I’ve just listed, the state is the basis for our currency and economic system. For a ‘libertarian’ to argue consistently that it needs to butt out of your life it’d need to relinquish that role – along with many others. What you actually mean by “butting out of our lives” is drop the policies that benefit the working-class – and the working class are net beneficiaries of our current tax arrangement (although obviously completely the opposite in relation to our economy) – they get more than they put in, so cutting their (relatively little) taxes as well as everyone elses, and dismantling the welfare state (which they rely upon) is transparently not doing them a favour (although it *is* doing the middle-class ‘Libertarian’ Tories a favour).

            The state does provide food and shelter – although in the last three decades has been doing it’s utmost to stop that – and why does it provide that – and health? Because it enforces a system which makes all of those artificially scarce (I notice how you don’t even tackle the unemployment issue) through private monopoly. Which makes your “minimal state” vs “interfering state” dichotomy sound as absurd as it is: and who “needs it”? Not me.

          • Jen The Blue

            I am not an anarchist. Your arguments are deliberately perverse.

            As far as I can tell the state doesn’t pay for food and shelter. At least if it does, i am missing an opportunity to get some tax back.

            The idea of a safety net is something different altogether, and I never said I was against that, though again, it isn’t certain the state is the best institution to supply it but I am willing to accept that with reform, that could be made to work.

            If we are playing the “I notice how you don’t tackle the” game, I notice you haven’t responded as to why the state should care whether i hunt foxes. Or how much salt I eat, Or whether i smoke and drink.

          • Duncan Hall

            At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I don’t think the BBC is impartial, I think it is biased towards a moderate Tory viewpoint. I do think a right libertarian perspective gets more representation on the BBC than left-wing perspectives (Question Time panels, for example, have a lot more libertarians than socialists) and Andrew Neil is a right libertarian, and I can’t think of a left-wing presenter with a comparable platform in political broadcasting, but in general I agree with you that they should strive for an even-handed approach to all opinions rather than an average of opinions, and I think they fail in that respect very badly.

          • PoundInYourPocket

            50,000 people at the anti austerity demo – no BBC coverage.
            350 people at the pro-austerity demo – BBC coverage.

          • Theoderic Braun

            This is too silly. Cris Patten, Conservative MP for Bath, last Governor of Hong Kong, Minister for Overseas Development, Secretary of State for the Environment, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster under Margaret Thatcher and Chairman of the Conservative Party under John Major is a soft leftie?

            Are you clueless? Or mental? Or both?

          • Jen The Blue

            Patten was a centrist when he was an MP. Certainly not on the right of politics. I am sure had his background been different he would have been happy on the right of the Labour party.

          • MikeHomfray

            Robert Peston isn’t right wing…..Robinson certainly is

          • Duncan Hall

            I agree Peston isn’t right wing – I meant his comments that BBC News followed the Daily Mail’s agenda…

          • gunnerbear

            “Or the appointments of that old leftie Chris Patten.”

            Good of you to say so – there are plenty in the Blue Mob who do think CP should be in the Red Mob.

          • i_bid

            Including yourself?

          • gunnerbear

            Ahh…I suppose Fat Pang did okay as Governor Gen. of Hong Kong. At the very least he didn’t f**k the handover up.

          • Theoderic Braun

            Butt not Margaret Thatcher who presumably was also a closeted leftie to have thought so. Sorry, I have to laugh.

          • PoundInYourPocket

            Check out Robert Preston in the Radio Times saying that it’s obvious to anyone that the BBC has a right wing bias, and to the research by Cardiff University that proves it.

          • Theoderic Braun

            Wow! This is some really crazy paranoid jazz. Are you saying that the BBC lies and falsifies? Just out of interest can you offer one or two examples of reports in which the BBC has reported untruthfully about anything the current government has done? Obviously, being the government and being in charge the Beeb is going to report mostly about what they are doing rather than what the Labour party is up to and such like.

          • gunnerbear

            “Are you saying that the BBC lies and falsifies?”

            The BBC does not lie nor falsify. To do so would place it breach of its charter.

            However, to borrow some thinking from the great Sir HA, the BBC does at times commit, however inadvertently and without malice, terminological in-exactitudes and of course editorial misjudgements do regretfully take place from time to time.

          • Theoderic Braun

            I would be interested if you could refer me to some examples so that I can better understand what you mean because I haven’t noticed any. Quite the opposite in point of fact. I have heard the BBC reporting information/propaganda served to it by the coalition as fact when it isn’t and allow representatives of the government to openly lie on screen and radio without being challenged and exposed because the interviewer and/or chairperson is too inexpert and ill-informed to notice.

            All this nonsense about left-wing bias in the media is redolent of the kind of paranoia associated with McCarthyism where not only were there Reds in the media, professions and trades but Reds under the bed as well, or so those nutters would have you believe,which must have ruined many a rabid right-winger’s sex life (assuming they have one of course).

            It’s hard to believe that adults can still believe in Bogeymen.

          • gunnerbear

            “John Humphrys was inaccurate in Middle East report, rules BBC Trust – Presenter inadvertently broke accuracy, but not impartiality, rules by referring to Golan Heights as being part of Israel” (Mark SweneyThe Guardian, 29th January 2013)

            “BBC News website inaccurate in reporting of Lib Dem MP’s ‘the Jews’ comments” (Gavriel Hollander, Press Gazette, July 2013)

            “BBC error: Unfair and inaccurate – Telegraph View: The BBC owes Primark more than an apology for damning it by use of faked material.” (Daily Telegraph, 16th June 2011)

            Or how about when the BBC, in November 2012 allowed Lord McAlpine to be falsely implicated in child abuse scandal.

            Or how about when the BBC decided to run the story that Bob Geldorf was aware that some cash raised for famine relief had in fact been spent on weapons.

            Or even before that when the BBC fought tooth and nail to stop the release of the report of how it reported on the Middle East.

            Ohh, did I mention the Hutton Enquiry…..and the reporting surround the sad and tragic death of Dr. David Kelly.

          • Theoderic Braun

            I am worried about you.

          • Jen The Blue

            That’s quite touching…thanks.

      • Michael Murray

        The Guardian openly supported the Orange Tories at the last general Election. So indeed, as far as I am concerned, did the Independent. The only paper that has consistently supported Labour for decades has been the Mirror, God bless it. As for the BBC, its journalists, particularly the celebrity journalists, hate Labour people because they are terrified that Labour will win and increase taxes on their massive salaries. You can tell by the contempt and animosity they speak to Labour representatives and their hostile body language. But this goes for all broadcast media and the Press which is stuffed with Right Wing media lackeys. Why do you think they are all so keen to promote UKIP? Because UKIP pomotes a flat tax and they are hoping the Tories will emulate this policy. And why does the Press and broadcast media support the Tories? Because the Tories reduced the media fat cats’ taxes from 50p to 45p.

  • Tokyo Nambu

    “I can assure you that these interesting ideas and remedies are not going to emerge through Labour’s policy review.”

    It’s nice to have one’s own predictions about the futility of Cruddas’s self-indulgence pseudo-academic waste of time confirmed by the man himself.

    Actually, it isn’t, because I’d like to see a Labour government with a genuinely innovative manifesto elected. But even when the news is bad, there’s a guilty pleasure in having called it correctly.

  • swatnan

    Who the hell is in charge of Election Strategy? God knows.
    Cruddas is right; As he said at COMPASS, last week, the Policy Process is so convoluted that what emeges at the end is pretty bland, designed to attract the uncommitted and don’t knows and couldn’t care less. Nothing revolutionary; nothing radical; nothing that will change but just paper over the cracks. Take Ball’s proposals to get tax dodgers, you know before the words are out his mouth that they won’t work; tax dodgers will already have got wheezes worked out to counter them the moment they are on the Statute Books.
    Take Reform of Local Govt and Devolution mentioned at the Fabians yesterday; there has to be fundamental reform of LG, like Regional Govts and RDAs, like Mayors in every Big City like more powers given at the localest level, the Parishes/Communes, and SuperUnitaries, and getting rid of County Councils. And isn’t it about time we reformed Council Tax?

    • channel.fog

      ‘Nothing revolutionary; nothing radical; nothing that will change but just paper over the cracks.’

      But hasn’t that been the record of the Labour party since 1951?

  • Rex Hale

    Bitching in private is a bad idea, always – unless you intend what you say to be made public. The problem with this situation, though, isn’t that Cruddas has spoken indiscreetly, but that his analysis –

    “cynical nuggets of policy to chime with our focus groups and our press strategies and our desire for a top line in terms of the 24-hour media cycle dominate and crowd out any innovation or creativity”

    – is spot on. This is exactly the problem. This is the thing on which left and right of the party tend to agree on. It’s probably the ONLY thing. None of us are that happy. It’s ironic, absurd, and now pretty much un-fixable.

    And I suppose that’s at the heart of why Cruddas felt able to commit this indiscretion – it doesn’t really matter now because it’s too late to change anything much. The damage is done, fixed, and settled.

    • MikeHomfray

      Problem also isthat it has been like this for a while and it doesn’t appear much better in the other parties.

  • Neuron Therapy

    Whatever happened to Excalibur and rapid rebuttal? The leadership needs to sharpen up the press office pronto. Ed Balls did his best, but the damage was done. Any Labour Party member whose comments might get picked up and twisted by the Tory press needs to be ultra-careful now not to allow Labour’s credibility to be undermined and land us with another – and much worse – five years of right-wing government.
    There’s a difference between getting elected and governing. The former requires sound bites on the 24-hour news. Most of the Party swallowed Blair’s wars and now Jon Cruddas gags at Ed proposing to encourage out-of-work 18-21 year-olds to get training? Come off it!

    • PoundInYourPocket

      I think Excaliber is churning out 280 page documents for the IPPR , that is when it’s not being used to translate Cruddas speak into human. Thanks for the historical reminder about “Excaliber”. Any idea what type of computer it was ? BBC micro ? ZX Spectrum ?

  • Daniel Speight

    We managed in the political world to condense it into one story about a punitive hit on 18 to 21-year-olds around their benefits.

    Isn’t that spot on though. Why did it end up that way? Was it done by Ed’s office or does it have the smell of Douglas Alexander on it? Looking at Labour Uncut it does point towards progress-think.

    • Duncan Hall

      It’s hard for him to complain too much about that, though, because that policy WAS in the document (one of very few actual POLICIES in the document) and it was a document he heralded with great fanfare. If, actually, he didn’t like the policy content, just the mood music, he should have been a bit more cautious in its presentation.

      • Daniel Speight

        I guess it points to who is running the party. It’s still new labour, and whether they are Blairites or Brownites makes little difference. Cruddas has found a brick wall. There will be no big offer the public, just Tory austerity with a bit of spin to try and lighten it. Balls guarantees that Britain will keep the lowest rate of corporate tax in the G9. He obviously doesn’t care if it turns into a spiral of death. Anyone who thought that there would be a real break from New Labour will be disappointed.

        Just nine days ago I said the following on Amy Lamé post, http://labourlist.org/2014/06/labour-need-to-remember-were-talking-about-real-young-people-not-just-facts-and-figures

        Well said Amy. It’s not only a very doubtful policy to begin with, it was also rather cynical for Labour’s spin doctors to publicize it instead of some of their other ideas.

        Now if I, thousands of miles away from being a Westminster insider realized that, how can Mark who is in the bubble take umbrage at Cruddas pointing it out? Mark sets out to shoot the messenger here, not the cause of the problem. Has Mark been to some of those Balls/Cooper Friday pasta nights? It would be good to hear who asked him to brief against Cruddas, who as I say elsewhere in this thread doesn’t strike me as one of our bravest souls.

  • guidofawkes

    Seems like only yesterday that John Woodcock was recording Tory meetings… remember Howard Flight?

    • gunnerbear

      The thing is that more than a few of HF’s warnings about the dangers of HMG’s rampant spending and lax spending controls actually were quite accurate.

  • nana

    IPPR are unelected.Glassman,and Adonis unelected.Adonis was a social democrat,then a lib dem,and now labour.what next tory or ukip? the voting public don’t like ‘split’ parties.who the hell are we now? we seem to have been reduced to mere soundbites.where has the soul of the labour party gone? too many London unelected so call ‘big brains’ are changing labour for the worst,not the better.very sad indeed

  • PoundInYourPocket

    Issuing a 280 page doc just 10 months from the election date was a foolish decision. Those big ideas need sorting out and embedding years up stream from an election. As they were over the period 90-96 as Labour reconfigured what it was. Cruddas & Compass should now get the message that their agenda has timed out, leave it for 2020, or even 2025. It’s now 10 months and the message needs to be stable and solid. Whatever that message is it needs to be simple and easily digested as the media and the electorate aren’t going to interpret a 280 page policy doc. , at least not in the way you might expect. They just pick out the sound-bites. Even I didn’t read it, too much policy waffle. Time out – back to basics – tax & spend.

    • gunnerbear

      ” As they were over the period 90-96 as Labour reconfigured what it was.”

      Is that code for moved from Left to Centre in a cynical ploy to get elected as socialism in the UK is stone dead.

      • Doug Smith

        Blair made a very radical offer in 97: stakeholder economy, ethical foreign policy, tough on crime and the causes of crime etc.

        There was even talk of taking the railways into public ownership.

        His radical promises won him a landslide which was wasted when he didn’t deliver.

        • gunnerbear

          “stakeholder economy”

          Because we all know now that means, “….throw money at the public sector, create millions of non-jobs’ and hope they’ll vote for us plus while we’re at it, we’ll open the gates of the UK to all and sundry and let ’em at the benefits system and I’ll let the CotE wreck the occ. pensions framework….”

          “tough on crime and the causes of crime…”

          Yeah that was b*****ks as well (along with “Education, Education, Education”).

          • Doug Smith

            Stakeholder economy? It could mean managing the economy responsibly for the benefit of all.

            Instead Blair threw money at the private sector with the marketisation and privatisation of the NHS, with monumentally daft PFI schemes where borrowing was more expensive and risks were never transferred to the private sector. And with lax regulation of the City, allowing the Blairites to create thousands of non-jobs in the Square Mile.

            Not to mention the £billions wasted on disastrous, unnecessary wars.

            Instead of the mythological ‘trickle-down’, we were bequeathed an ‘up-torrent’ of wealth to the elite and increased inequality.

            No surprise that Miliband and his Blairite chums have a credibility deficit.

            What is needed is an alternative to the LibLabCon, not more of the same.

          • gunnerbear

            “Stakeholder economy? It could mean managing the economy responsibly for the benefit of all.”

            And that’s I thought he meant too….not exactly rampant capitalism nor the TU’s controlling everything either.

            I also agree PFI was (and is) a disaster.

            “And with lax regulation of the City….”

            Can’t blame TB and GB entirely for that as people on all sides were calling for much less regulation of pretty much everything.

  • Anniesec

    Third attempt… looking for lessons in this technology….
    I am sure I am not the only constituency secretary (or chair or policy lead) who came straight off the front line in local elections to lead our party members trhough putting forwards amendements to the policy review. Yes the process is flawed. Yes the current draft documents lack some big ideas. Yes they lack a clear vision. But lots of party members are looking at that. My own regional reps gave up yet another Saturday free of charge yesterday pouring over hundreds of suggestions from around our area. The IPPR document was good – and yes we should listen to people outside Labour. But the day blokes with big bucks and a free ticket to see leaders become more important than the thought of us footsoldiers is the day we cease to have a grass roots Labour party that means anything, So give the National Policy Forum a chance. Then let the leadershiop (and Jon Cruddas) fill in the gaps.

    • Paul

      This is the most intelligent and balanced comment i’ve seen at Labourlist for some time, from someone who actually gets (however reluctantly) the need to balance the stuff coming out from IPPR with informed party comment.

      As a branch we’ll be critiquing the IPPR doc and sending comments to our NPF reps in advance of the forum.

    • gunnerbear

      “But the day blokes with big bucks and a free ticket to see leaders become more important than the thought of us footsoldiers is the day we cease to have a grass roots Labour party…..”

      Sorry, that’s already happened to all the parties. Otherwise you’d have direct input into policy and be free to pick and choose your own candidates.
      For the record, the Blue Mob don’t seem much better either.

      • Anniesec

        Ironic that. I have just come back from several hours interviewing prospective Parliamentary candidates. Our members will have a chance to choose from all four of them. Angela Eagle is woking hard on opening up the NPF – and yes I have the email addresses of all the regional NPF reps – who I help elect. Yes it is a flwaed system, but I will work to imporve it, not dismiss it as failed.

      • Anniesec

        Ironic that. I have just come back from several hours interviewing prospective Parliamentary candidates. Our members will have a chance to choose from all four of them. Angela Eagle is working hard on opening up the NPF – and yes I have the email addresses of all the regional NPF reps – who I help elect. Yes it is a flawed system, but I will work to improve it, not dismiss it as failed.

  • Doug Smith

    “changes aren’t going to be that big after all.”

    That will be the outcome of Labour’s ‘dead-hand’ driven policies.

    I heard a Labour shadow cabinet member interviewed on the radio this morning (Shabana Mahmood, aged 33, previous political experience: President of the Junior Common Room, Lincoln College, Oxford University). She sounded like a teenager as she over-eagerly assured listeners of Labour’s pro-business stance.

    Well, what about ordinary people? Isn’t it about time we elected politicians who are prepared to put people before profit?

    • treborc1

      I’m afraid when they said New labour was dead, what they meant it was having a nap, well it’s back now.

  • Monkey_Bach

    The question is: What would Britain look like after five years of One Nation Labour?

    If Labour were to win the next election, at the end of their term in office, will fewer people have to resort to using food banks? Will there be less poverty generally? Will there be less homelessness? Will the sick and disabled be better treated? Will men, women and families be more secure in their homes be they mortgaged or rented? Will a large number of social homes be commissioned and built to ease the housing crises? Will more people find themselves in worthwhile gainful employment doing jobs with enough hours to reward them with a decent wage? Will social security be rescued from Iain Duncan Smith’s vandalism and misrule and made fairer and more accessible with a much juster sanctions regime? (Something like 55% of food bank usage happens because of punitive sanctions against claimants often for the most trivial mistakes or delays in receipt of benefits that they are genuinely entitled to.) Will the society in which we live and move and have our being be a kinder and more civilised place where people do not fall through any safety net into the gutter and no child is left behind?

    (Things like this matter in the real world to real people, folks.)

    If Labour cannot answer every one of these questions with a resounding “Yes!” then what is the point of the Cruddas review, IPPR report, or the Labour Party itself? This isn’t a p*ss*ng contest to see who can urinate highest up a wall. When all is said and done it’s what you do that counts not what you would like to do or just how big you ego is.

    Forget the philosophical bullsh*t; concentrate on the practical and get real!

    It shouldn’t be about you at all but all about the British people.

    (Personally I dislike both the IPPR and Jon Cruddas’ meanderings.)

    Eeek.

    • JoeDM

      I’ll tell you who’ll win the next election. The One Society Big Nation LibLabCon establishment !!!

      And very little will change.

      • gunnerbear

        Tell you who’ll be losing the election: the voters.

    • sartoris

      These things matter to the poor, the weak and the disabled, the homeless or nearly homeless, the unemployed and those on social security. But these people are a minority and their problems aren’t going to decide the next election because they don’t matter to most of the electorate who will vote for whoever they think will improve their prospects, not the prospects of the poor, weak, homeless, unemployed etc

      • Monkey_Bach

        If you are right and people have no moral conscience, or compassion, or humanity and will vote selfishly for whichever party looks set to do them the most good, no matter how much suffering or harm is inflicted on others, then, even then, the Labour Party should end up with a working majority because, in the long run, Tory policies will unravel from end to end and Britain a much worse country for a majority of its citizens as sure as death.

        In my experience almost all men and women are not motivated wholly by selfishness and self-interest, hence the countless millions upon millions of pounds selflessly donated by British citizens to charities to help alleviate disaster and suffering of foreign strangers overseas.

        The British people are a much greater people than you seem to believe.

        Eeek.

        • sartoris

          It is not that they don’t have a moral conscience but that they have a different moral conscience that puts self-interest and the interests of one’s family before the interests of others.
          They also see that you cannot help others unless you help yourself first and make enough to have some left over for others.
          Another point: it really doesn’t matter to the electorate what might happen in the long run. They are only interested in what might happen in the foreseeable future.

          • Monkey_Bach

            We are clearly different people you and I.

            I don’t receive any benefits, or live in a rented home, nor am I sick or disabled or disadvantaged I face no real difficulties or distress, nor do my children; we are lucky and our lives are pleasant. Even though I am not in a suppressed minority I would NEVER vote for a government committed to giving me (or letting me keep) more while creating a country unfit to live in; some vile and ugly place where my children would have to get used to stepping over rough sleepers, or see the poorest families turned into virtual nomads as they are habitually forced to move from one expensive short let to another, or see the sick and disabled literally condemned to an early death because of swingeing cuts to the support they receive, or witness any similar kinds of targeted and deliberate wickedness perpetrated upon those less fortunate than me.

            I can’t think of a single member of the enlightened middle classes that I know that feels differently. I cannot remember a single individual I have ever met who thinks that their taxes should be slashed and massive deprivation be let loose like a ravening monster in the cities, town, villages and hamlet of the United Kingdom. I can’t think of a single man or woman who is doing well who would advocate tax cuts and sweetners for themselves if the cost is more child poverty, homelessness, or premature death, which, let’s make no bones about it, IS what we are discussing here.

            However, thinking as you do, I would advise you to vote for the Conservative Party or UKIP, both of which a eager to give you a taste of what you seem to want.

            Eeek.

          • PoundInYourPocket

            “I can’t think of a single man or woman who is doing well who would advocate tax cuts and sweetners for themselves if the cost is more child poverty, homelessness, or premature death”

            Well there’s the entire conservative party, UKIP, most of the liberal party, almost all Labour MPs, most business leaders and business owners, all the engineers I’ve ever worked with, most contributors to this site, journalists, celebraties and TV presenters, Sun readers , daily mail readers and of course taxi drivers, and church goers. Time for a banana monkey !

          • gunnerbear

            Brutal, harsh but accurate.

          • JoeDM

            Real life is often brutal and harsh.

          • Monkey_Bach

            Only if we allow it. Eeek.

          • Monkey_Bach

            Sorry. I was thinking about the people I know and associate with, all of whom are intelligent and educated and none of whom are Tories let alone Sun reading Tories! As if! Eeek.

          • Jen The Blue

            But it isn’t at the cost of child poverty etc. It would have precisely the opposite effect by growing the economy. The answer to child poverty is not state handouts, it is money people earn for themselves and their families.

            Actually, I would prefer tax cuts for businesses in the first instance.

          • gunnerbear

            ” Even though I am not in a suppressed minority I would NEVER vote for a government committed to giving me (or letting me keep) more while creating a country unfit to live in….”

            And good on you if that’s the case. Meanwhile back in the real, real world……….

          • sartoris

            It may be that your social circle is quite narrow so you do not meet members of the enlightened middle classes who hold opposing views to yours.
            Not that long ago the highest marginal rate of Income Tax was
            98%. It was slashed by Margaret Thatcher to 40% and Gordon Brown kept it at 40% for nearly 13 years. It is now 45% (with exceptions) and hardly anyone is advocating a rise above 50%.
            The reason – as Gordon Brown agreed for nearly 13 years – is that lower income rates actually generate more tax in total and can be used to help reduce “child poverty, homelessness and premature death” etc.

          • Monkey_Bach

            My social circle is quite large.

            It’s your intellect and mind that are narrow.

            Eeek.

          • sartoris

            Thank you for that broadminded reply – shows some intellect too!

          • Monkey_Bach

            See above.

            The reply to JoeDM should have appeared here.

            Eeek.

          • JoeDM

            Mmmm… a sure sign of a losing argument is when insults start being used.

          • Monkey_Bach

            Sorry about that, I had something better to do,

            You have failed to understand my point which is that people are not grasping and entirely selfish entities who only care about their own fate and that of their children (which you implied) and were completely uncaring and unconcerned with the fate of others and other people’s children as long as they continued to prosper (or prospered better at the cost of another person’s misery).

            I really don’t know a single person who would admit to that. Are you personally really saying that you yourself would welcome a cut in direct taxation knowing that, in order to receive it, more young children would be cast into poverty?

            I was talking about cuts in income tax deliberately funded by cuts in social security to the poor, e.g., giving the richest 1% of people a 5p in the pound tax cut while throwing widows out of their homes by the Bedroom Tax. What was talking about was reducing the deficit on the backs of the poorest of the poor and targeting most of the pain upon such people rather than those most able to bear it without bad result. I am talking about 2014 not 2010. when Gordon Brown was unelected Prime Minister, who, at the end of his miserable time in office actually increased the top rate of tax to 50p as I remember it. Lower taxation, particularly to poorer workers, is a good thing during boom times, provided enough revenue is collected to fund public services adequately, but tax cuts coupled with swingeing welfare cuts during a time of recession is an awful thing to do because the poorest are forced to bear the brunt disproportionately.

            What is happening social security-wise is ideological more than practical. Despite Osborne’s claims in respect to Labour profligacy welfare spending has NOT fallen under the Coalition; in point of fact the Coalition has spent £18 billion more than it has saved and over a three year period the current government borrowed THREE TIMES MORE than Labour did in THIRTEEN YEARS in office. The overall tax take in the UK is undershooting predictions significantly which is odd because employment in the UK has “officially” reached record levels, although 40% – 50% appear to be of a “self-employed” nature and a lot of the rest of the new jobs created of a temporary low-paid nature. Nobody know whether the current “recovery” is real or built on the sand of quantitative easing and ultra-low interest rates, which, once they begin to rise, will suck spending power away, especially from mortgagors who will be forced to use more of their earning to service their loans and we could end up in a worse position than we were before.

            What happen then?

            Unending cuts to social security made to fund tax cuts to the working, enabling them to stand still or at least not sink beneath the waves quite so quickly is wrong in my opinion and in the opinion of every intelligent person I know. All of the low hanging fruit in social security has been picked. Swingeing cuts in the future will be incredibly painful and deadly in the case of the very ill. I am not against tax cuts when they can be afforded but am against them when they are paid for by cuts in entitlements to the poor.

            Eeek.

          • gunnerbear

            “….a 5p in the pound (10%) tax cut…”

            I thought a 5p in the Pound tax cut was a 5% cut. Where did you get the 10% from?

            “…their homes by the Bedroom Tax….”

            The spare room subsidy was introduced by Labour. The same party that stood by when HMG extended it via a welfare bill that was given the tacit support of the Labour Party. It’s almost as if the Labour Party wanted the bill to go through but did not dare say so.

          • PoundInYourPocket

            The difference is that the “bedroom tax” under IDS is retrospective. It has been applied to existing tenants AFTER they’ve already taken up the tenancy at an agreed rate. If it was just a change in terms and conditions prior to agreeing the tenancy ther’d be no fuss.

          • gunnerbear

            So if it so terrible why didn’t more of the Labour Party vote against It when they had the chance?

          • PoundInYourPocket

            They did…those that didn’t turn up are part of the “partnering” that MP’s do , otherwise all MPs would have to be in westminster for every vote. The Labour MPs that didn’t vote were teamed-up with Tories that were away on business but would have voted “yes”

          • gunnerbear

            So all the talk in the press about Ed. ordering an abstention was rubbish then?

          • PoundInYourPocket

            The only votes I know of are the ones where Labour voted against. Some Labour MPs didn’t vote as they were “paired” with abscent Tories, and that was misinterpreted as Labour MP’s abstaining.

          • gunnerbear

            Fair comment!

          • ColinAdkins

            There obviously is a point where this doesn’t work as you would be suggesting a 1% tax would raise the most. Economists have probably developed a curve to demonstrate.
            On the subject itself I would retain the 45p but introduce it at 80-100k. I would also increase the ceiling on NI. This will generate more income.

          • David Battley

            Indeed: it’s called the Laffer Curve

          • Duncan Hall

            The only two bits of the Laffer Curve that are indisputable are that a 0% tax rate and a 100% tax rate would probably bring in no revenue (although there is some debate about the latter) – nobody serious thinks we are anywhere near the point where the “curve” starts to plateau or go down in the UK. The argument is misused on a daily basis.

          • Steve Stubbs

            Can you point to any properly researched and empirical data that suggests that? Everything I have ever seen suggests 38% to 42% is the optimum. Perhaps some of the more financially aware respondents on this site may care to join in?

          • Duncan Hall

            Will find you some links later, but most studies suggest around 70% (approx.) but it’s overly-simplistic because it assumes a flat rate of tax. I have seen one American study that suggesting something more in your region, but no corroboration. Calculating what higher rates of tax on higher earnings are possible is probably far to complicated to successfully model, but the logic of the argument would suggest that it would be higher than that 70%.

          • Duncan Hall

            There have been some models that suggest that actually the curve would continue upwards to 100%.

          • gunnerbear

            “Calculating what higher rates of tax on higher earnings are possible is probably far to complicated to successfully model…”
            Even HMT have admitted as much via their dynamic modelling.

            Presumably this suits the major two parties as it gives them a chance to have a row over something really arcane and not actually have to put pen to paper and work something out.

            I might be wrong (happy to stand corrected) but I think John ‘The Vulcan’ Redwood did some pieces about taxation on his blog. They were, umm, really, err, ‘interesting’ – about as gripping as watching Terry Griffiths and Cliff Thorburn swap safety shots for an hour (TG and CT playing snooker – there’s a reference for the kids!).

          • David Battley

            Any sort of evidence for your assertion would be fascinating.

          • Duncan Hall

            You could have a read of this (I don’t recommend reading the whole thing, but he concludes the optimal point is somewhere between 65 and 83 per cent). http://ftp.iza.org/dp4937.pdf

            Or if you can bear to read this… http://www.ecb.int/pub/pdf/scpwps/ecbwp1174.pdf
            To a certain extent I think both studies are humouring Laffer, who personally I think is pretty-much discredited.

          • David Battley

            Thanks for these. I’ll have to read in more detail, but on first glance at the ECB one I’m not sure it can be said to be humouring or discrediting Laffer, as it seems to be the entire basis for the study, and I don’t immediately see the 65-85% range being mentioned (indeed it specifically says Denmark are the wrong side of the curve, putting a top boundary to this at the lower end of that range).

          • Duncan Hall

            Sorry expressed myself badly – I meant that I didn’t particularly like either study as they were based on the idea that the Laffer Curve actually existed, whereas I’m personally very dubious. The first study posits a couple of curves and that’s where by 65-85 range comes from (70% is the most often quoted number if you look elsewhere) – the second one suggests Sweden and Denmark are on the “wrong” side of the curve in that they argue that they could cut tax and raise more revenue, but it’s very questionable in my view. In any respect it suggests the UK is a significant way off that figure.

          • Hackney Hal

            “I don’t receive any benefits, or live in a rented home, nor am I sick or disabled or disadvantaged I face no real difficulties or distress, nor do my children; we are lucky and our lives are pleasant”
            And boy don’t you feel guilty about it ?

          • Monkey_Bach

            No. As I said I am lucky and happy to pay my full whack taxes some of which will be used to help those less lucky. Eeek.

          • treborc1

            These days I am, and I guess so are a lot of others.

          • PoundInYourPocket

            ” you cannot help others unless you help yourself first”
            Are you sure about that ? What about those team excercises where you cross a river together ?

          • sartoris

            As you say, there are team exercises but they are games played under the eyes of judgemental referees, not real life.
            In real life you have to put yourself and your family first.

          • PoundInYourPocket

            You don’t “have” to, you choose to. Which is a selfish choice and leads to an individualistic “I’m allright jack” society. If that is you still belive that society exists. I hope we never meet in the desert with only one bottle of water.

          • gunnerbear

            “I hope we never meet in the desert with only one bottle of water.”
            S’okay, no need to panic.

            While the arts grads are staggering around with heat stroke, the engineers will have built a pool, got it filled, got power on and will be kicking back with a beer in hand and already got communications underway so that the pizza’s can be air-dropped in.

        • PoundInYourPocket

          Sadly, I think times have changed. Try suggesting to a voter that they should pay just 1% more in tax so that people on job-seekers don’t have to suffer sanctions or eviction. Of course there are still decent people who will, but not enough. It’s worth looking at the British Survey of Attitudes (BSA) section on attitudes towards welfare. I don’t think we’ve all become more callous but too many people have lost trust in the welfare state thanks to the usual media stories. You can’t win votes by talking about poverty or welfare these days, eventhough they may be the most crucial issues.

          • gunnerbear

            “Try suggesting to a voter that they should pay just 1% more in tax so that people on job-seekers don’t have to suffer sanctions or eviction.”

            Ehh? Are you mad? There are people who can get up to £26K in taxpayer funded benefits. How much more do you want them to get…..try selling that on the doorsteps.

          • gunnerbear

            “I don’t think we’ve all become more callous but too many people have lost trust in the welfare state….”

            And why is that? Ohh, that’s right….because more than a few people on benefits always seem to have a nice car and manage to get away on holiday…..’White Dee’ ring a bell?

            If the stories of benefit abuse weren’t there, the Press wouldn’t print them.

          • PoundInYourPocket

            6 million people on benefits. How many stories ?
            It’s like objecting to morphine because one in a million patients have side-effects. The White-Dee’s exist, and they’re the exception but the reason you see them is because TV shows track them down. Just like Channel 5 and the man with 26 kids. True but a rare “side-effect” of the system. If you wanted a balanced view, there are less sensationalist documentaries that show the reality of life on benefits , made by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and it’s not White Dee.

          • gunnerbear

            “The White-Dee’s exist, and they’re the exception but the reason you see them is because TV shows track them down.”

            Are they the exception? I wonder just how many do a ‘bit on the black’ and get away with it.

            How would you get the long term unemployed back into work? Road mending? Coal mining?

          • Monkey_Bach

            I have no idea who the heck this White Dee character you keep talking about is, so what you are writing makes no sense to me. (I wish people would stop assuming that all of us watch sensational TV on Freeview/Freesat.) Repeatedly offering up the same example over and over doesn’t help your case and more than me blathering on about Jeffrey Archer or Jonathon Aitken would be a convincing argument that all Tory MPs are perjurers and criminals.

            Eeek.

          • gunnerbear

            “more than me blathering on about Jeffrey Archer or Jonathon Aitken would be a convincing argument that all Tory MPs are perjurers and criminals.”

            Unless evidence is offered to the contrary, I make the presumption that all Ministers are chancers on the make and all are capable of being economical with the actualité when it suits ’em.

          • Monkey_Bach

            You really are too silly.

            Of course there are bad examples of people on benefits. There will be in any large group of persons you care to nominate. There will be vicars and priest that molest orphans and choirboys: there will be Members of Parliament who fiddle their expenses and take backhanders: there will be policemen in the pay of criminals: there will be teachers who sleep with their pupils: care-workers who are violent towards the elderly: parents who neglect their children – you name it! – in any large enough group of human beings there will ALWAYS be some bad eggs. But to formulate social policy, that affects millions of completely innocent individuals, by citing individual cases amongst a relatively infinitesimally small number of cheats and rogues is not only ridiculous but ignorant and incredibly stupid to boot.

            I really wish you would try to stop being so dickish.

            All you are doing is making yourself look like an idiot.

            Eeek.

          • gunnerbear

            “But to formulate social policy, that affects millions of completely innocent individuals, by citing individual cases amongst a relatively, almost infinitesimally small number of cheats and rogues is not only ridiculous but ignorant and incredibly stupid to boot.”

            It’s what HMG does all the time – think of the handgun ban or every time ‘something happens’ so ‘something’ must be done. Think of how some on the left are calling for a minimum price for alcohol because of the actions of a few…..

            ….I was, you could argue, saying the same thing – except this time the targets are the Left’s client groups, not the hard workers who are responsible and don’t f**k up under the influence of alcohol.

          • Monkey_Bach

            The Daker and the Murdoch press have poisoned the well as far as social security is concerned. Many politicians decided to ride the wave of vilification and demonisation of certain minorities for political purposes, including Labour politicians, with disastrous results, e.g., physical attacks on disabled citizens increased markedly. As I type these words the DWP is in absolute chaos and little is being said about it in the media. Whenever the BBC mentions such things during reports Iain Duncan Smith writes whining letters of complaint claiming that the corporation is more of a danger to his abortive welfare reforms than the Labour Party. (Which rather sadly is true.) If the general public really knew what was going on in respect to social security the Tories would be finished for the foreseeable future.

            With my hand on my heart I would bet my life on it.

            Whatever the British Survey of Attitudes says.

            Eeek.

          • PoundInYourPocket

            Enjoyed reading your post. It is well worth taking a look at that BSA report as it shows how attitudes to welfare have changed over the last 30 years, and suggests reasons for those changes. If you enjoy a good read there’s nothing quite like the blog by “johnny void” for socking it to IDS. Also I recently read a fascinating book about the changing nature of the welfare state by Chris Jones and Tony Novak in (Poverty, Welfare and the Disciplinary State) in which they chart how welfare systems have since the early 80’s become “disciplinarian” , although still a little more tolerant than that described in the reign of Edward VI when someone that remained idle for a period of 3 days, would be branded with the letter “V” and could be used as a slave for the following 2 years. I hope IDS doesn’t hear about that one.

          • treborc1

            Even I have lost faith in the welfare state, sadly Blair and his cronies worked that one well.

      • i_bid

        Even the middle-class think their university fees should be reduced; their utilities nationalised and the minimum wage raised.

        • gunnerbear

          Like b*****ks. Keep University fees. Why should I pay for someone’s child to go on the p**s for three years while they ‘study’ Dance with Pan Pipes from the Uni. of Central Neasden.

          • PoundInYourPocket

            You’re losing it – put the bottle down.

          • gunnerbear

            PIYP,

            But why should taxes be wasted on Uni. ‘non-subjects’?

          • Tokyo Nambu

            “But why should taxes be wasted on Uni. ‘non-subjects’?”

            I love the smell of philistinism in the morning. It smells of, well, philistinism.

          • gunnerbear

            You call it philistinism….I prefer to call it the directed use of scarce public resources to achieve the best outputs for society.
            Engineering, medicine, science etc – no fees. Everything else to be paid for by the student.

          • Tokyo Nambu

            Outcome: politics, the civil service, the law, all become the preserve of the rich even more so than they are today.

          • gunnerbear

            Okay, throw in law as a freebie subject if you must.

          • Tokyo Nambu

            Fact: very few senior lawyers, particularly barristers, have law degrees. The standard pathway is a top-quality essay-based humanities degree, followed by law conversion. Your policy would grant access to being a salaried employee of a high-street solicitor to the poor people, while the barristers and senior solicitors were all from rich backgrounds.

            You haven’t answered my point about the civil service.

          • gunnerbear

            You’ve lost me on the Civil Service bit.

            If you want more subjects taught for free – fair enough but only the top 10% go for free to Uni. Everyone else pays.

            How’s that?

          • Tokyo Nambu

            “If you want more subjects taught for free – fair enough but only the top 10% go for free to Uni. Everyone else pays.

            How’s that?”

            Given I went to university under that regime, and my children would also fit into that regime, selfishly I’d be no worse off, and the scarcity of degrees wouldn’t harm my children’s job prospects.

            Whether you do it by subject or by number, the idea that what this country needs is fewer people with post-18 education is ludicrous. You’re heading straight into the vocational trap that France’s screwed-up system has, where you need a degree in X to do X and your degree in X is only of relevance to X (essentially, treating degrees like qualifications in plumbing). Most people end up doing things only tangentially related to their degree (very few physicists, for example, end up working at CERN, and a large proportion of them end up on dealing floors; very few historians end up working in the archive on a new theory of Stalinism, and a lot end up as senior civil servants). The idea that countries are improved by either restricting education or by channelling people into vocational qualifications is just Daily Mail stuff.

          • David Battley

            I’m reminded of the joke that always went round the Chemistry faculty:

            Q: “What did the duck say to the history graduate?”
            A: “Big Mac and fries please”

            Of course it’s clearly nonsense: no self-respecting duck would ever eat at McDonalds!

          • gunnerbear

            “Victory to the white middle classes!
            (Which, of course, would also win under subject-based restrictions: have you seen the demographics of science degrees at selective universities?)”

            Aren’t all Uni’s supposed to be selective or are you admitting that some Uni’s are producing ‘degrees’ that are’t worth the paper they’re written on?

          • gunnerbear

            “The idea that countries are improved by either restricting education or by channelling people into vocational qualifications is just Daily Mail stuff.”

            I never mentioned chanelling. I simply said made the point that out in the real world not all degree’s are equal or of equal use. I’d rather drop the costs for a physics degree and ramp up the cost for media studies and I’d also get back to Poly’s and Uni’s.

          • Tokyo Nambu

            Perhaps if you’d done a humanities degree, you wouldn’t think the plural of degree is degree’s, of course.

            Most people with physics degrees end up working in something other than physics. I believe that for most of the RG courses, the largest single employer of physics graduates is banking. That’s also the case for physics PhDs. Why should people get discount fees for a course whose main purpose appears to be getting a job in the city for a decent salary?

          • gunnerbear

            “Perhaps if you’d done a humanities degree, you wouldn’t think the plural of degree is degree’s, of course.”
            Good spot. Thanks!

          • gunnerbear

            “scarcity of degrees.”

            Degree’s are supposed to be scarce. Now of course a post-grad qualification is deemed necessary as Uni’s have turned into degree printing sheds.

            We’re doing our young people a disservice if we’re telling them that all Uni’s and courses are worth £9K a year when they are clearly not.

          • Tokyo Nambu

            “Degree’s (sic) are supposed to be scarce”

            Oh, so we should reduce the number of people doing them, in order to increase the value of them to the lucky people who get in? So much for social mobility. Do you think the number of people from (a) Eton or (b) housing estates in former mining towns would reduce more were tighter controls to be placed on admission. When’s your golden age for take-up? My parents went to university when takeup was about 2% of the population, and even then my father was told in 1952 that the standard of degrees had fallen now that they were letting grammar school boys in. I went in the early 1980s, and plenty of people said that 12% takeup was too high. Tell us the number of people you think should get a degree?

            I also think snobbery about the quality of degrees would be more convincing if you could, in fact, spell “degrees”.

            “We’re doing our young people a disservice if we’re telling them that all Uni’s and courses are worth £9K a year when they are clearly not.”

            If your degree doesn’t result in a job paying reasonably well, you don’t pay the money back. It’s a one-way bet. David Cameron and Ed Miliband seem to have done well enough out of theirs, and neither of them have degrees on your list.

          • gunnerbear

            “I also think snobbery about the quality of degrees would be more convincing if you could, in fact, spell “degrees”.”

            You call it snobbery, I call it realism. Not all degrees are equal, not all institutions are equal. To pretend otherwise really is doing a disservice to our young people.

            That might be harsh but let’s be honest, it’s only how employers really think and they always have done.

            Imagine if only say the top 10-15% went to Uni – no need for fees at all……but that would be harsh selection wouldn’t it. Almost as harsh as employers are today.

          • Tokyo Nambu

            “Imagine if only say the top 10-15% went to Uni – no need for fees at all……but that would be harsh selection wouldn’t it. ”

            A return to the 1970s. Something of a counsel of despair, wouldn’t you say?

            “That might be harsh but let’s be honest, it’s only how employers really think and they always have done.”

            It’s how _some_ employers think. Motorsport recruits from Oxford Brooks (and Warwick, to an extent). Accountancy and banking recruit from “the big six”. The older parts of the civil service recruit from a similar handful of institutions.

            But are you seriously saying that the NHS rejects students who’ve been to the wrong medical school? To the wrong nursing school? That we should massively reduce the number of school teachers (because at 10% university takeup, there would be essentially zero people doing PGCEs)? That schools should cease to teach anything other than Gradgrindian facts (because who is there going to be qualified to teach history and yet willing to work for teaching wages?)

            And you’d also complain like mad, were you to still alive, when the judiciary went back to being 100% privately educated.

          • gunnerbear

            “But are you seriously saying that the NHS rejects students who’ve been to the wrong medical school? To the wrong nursing school?”

            Is there such a thing as the ‘wrong medical school’ or wrong nursing schools given it’s the NHS that pretty much drives what those schools are doing. Sorry, you’re not comparing like with like.

            Hugely talented indivuals who go into nursing or become doctors are just about ‘dead certs’ to be employed by the NHS. Not quite the same as leaving the Uni. of Neasden with a Desmond in English.

            Why does a teacher need a PGCE? Have you seen our latest educational world rankings. How about being radical and having teachers who know their subject.

            “because who is there going to be qualified to teach history and yet willing to work for teaching wages?”

            And the taxpayer underwritten pension and the £35K+ per year and the holidays and the fact that it is just about impossible to be sacked for not doing your job.

          • i_bid

            The disservice is telling our young people they have to pay £9k for university education full stop (highest in the world?).

          • gunnerbear

            No, the disservice is telling them that their degree in English from the Uni. of Neasden will be treated the same as a degree from the RG of Uni’s.

          • i_bid

            Nice swerve.

          • gunnerbear

            Okay, I’ll add, “….after they paid £9K a year for it.” Good point!

          • gunnerbear

            Okay then, I’ll add, “…especially if they’ve just paid the Uni. of Neasden £27K for the ‘priviledge’.”

          • David Battley

            To be fair, an alternative outcome is a greater proportion of scientists in these offices, which is not necessarily a bad thing…

          • Tokyo Nambu

            Nothing’s stopping people with science degrees applying for those jobs now, is it?

          • PoundInYourPocket

            So social sciences are OK then, that’s a relief.

          • gunnerbear

            Social science? Is that a real subject?

          • PoundInYourPocket

            Is that a philosophical question ?

          • gunnerbear

            The “napalm in the morning scene” is a great one.

          • Duncan Hall

            This is one of the silliest arguments I ever hear about fees. Of course university education benefits everybody in society and not just those who receive it. The fact that we’re even having this conversation is party thanks to a range of graduates. When I see a doctor I am benefiting from his/her education. Even when it’s a service I’m paying for, I’m paying for the service not for the education that developed the skills; so fine, you pay your accountant and that’s probably enough of a contribution to their uni fees, but what about the person who taught your accountant Maths at high school? How many people are benefiting from that person’s degree? If you think some degrees aren’t valuable, then make that argument, but don’t try and defend people paying £9000 a year for the privilege of developing skills you and I depend on.

          • David Battley

            To be clear, are you advocating a uni fee subsidy for STEM/medicine/other “critical” subjects to encourage/prevent cost being a barrier? If so, I support that view wholeheartedly.

            If, conversely, you are advocating removing fees entirely, I would ask: and pay for it by raising taxes where, or cutting what in its place?

          • Duncan Hall

            I am advocating removing fees entirely and I would pay for it out of general taxation. It will barely be noticed in the overall expenditure as we have to find the full amount now (as no money will come in from the new system for some years and even then it will be a fraction). If it can be paid for by only new and future graduates effectively paying a tax of 9% over £21,000, arriving into the system incrementally starting in 3 years time, I don’t really need to start listing what I’d cut to transfer that into general taxation today.

          • gunnerbear

            As I’ve said previously, chop the fees for subjects that the country needs e.g. medicine, nursing, engineering, the sciences.
            Any thing else, the students can pay for themselves.

          • Duncan Hall

            Who’s going to be the arbiter of which subjects “the country needs”? You?

          • gunnerbear

            I was thinking more the Uni’s themselves and HMG. We all know we need more engineers, scientists, doctors, nurses and the like. I’m not 100% we sure we need some of the other degree courses like ‘Media Studies’ or ‘Golf Course Management’.

            It’s a case of making scarce resources go as far as possible so I’d say either chop the number of courses or drastically reduce the number going to Uni. so it is free for the top 10% who do go.

          • Duncan Hall

            Trouble is, the money isn’t really paying for the students tuition – never has – it’s just a necessary subsidy to universities. It is only allocated to specific students in the way it has to be paid back, not in how it is spent. Undergraduates pay for themselves several times over – because no bank, shop or corporate sponsor would go near a university were it not for the captive market of undergraduates. The universities would not have attractive conference facilities without their undergraduate raison d’etre. Really, new graduates are subsidising research, which the government now gets on the cheap (and from which they benefit a little by being taught by active researchers, but mostly only benefit in the way all of society benefits). Furthermore, the courses you favour are much more expensive to teach and run than the ones you dislike, but students are charged the same – so the “redistributive” funding is already happening. In the summer term of the final year of a lot of social science courses they might be getting one or two hours a week tuition, for ten weeks (while hopefully spending the rest of the time writing their dissertation) and paying £3000 for the privilege, while a biochemist is probably in labs 9 to 5 and paying the same.
            To a certain extent I can agree that government and universities could prioritise which courses/places they’re prepared to fund (and therefore run) – some of the more niche courses are a product of fees rather than being challenged by them – if people are prepared to pay for Harry Potter Studies or whatever, somebody will take their money from them; if the university had to decide how to allocate their direct grant from the government then their perspective would be a little different.
            But if governments made those decisions, you could have situations where a course was funded one year and not funded the next and that would be impossible to manage (and iniquitous).

          • gunnerbear

            “In the summer term of the final year of a lot of social science courses they might be getting one or two hours a week tuition, for ten weeks (while hopefully spending the rest of the time writing their dissertation) ”

            So why can’t they do their degree in two years, properly full time? Why three?

          • Duncan Hall

            There could be an argument for making degree courses shorter, but it should not be made out of ignorance. The idea is that they are writing a dissertation – this doesn’t require lots of tuition – it requires effective supervision. But it does require time. The point is that the it is the student doing most of the work, and therefore one could question whether they should be paying the same amount “for tuition” as somebody who is getting daily tuition. They should both get it free, because the money doesn’t pay for their tuition anyway, it’s a scam.

          • Tokyo Nambu

            “‘Golf Course Management’.”

            That old chestnut.

            It has 100% employment, there’s only one course in the country which is massively over-subscribed, it is jointly funded by the private sector employers so doesn’t cost you much and has high entry requirements (at least ABB and playing off a single-digit handicap). Since your test of a degree appears to be “is there a job at the end of it?”, “do employers want it?” and “is it hard to get onto?” it passes on all three fronts. Why the scorn?

          • gunnerbear

            So in essence you’ve just described an HNC / HND. It’s a purely vocational course especially as employers are directly funding it.

            I’m also not sure of the entry requirements as the ‘Golf Management’ I’m looking at states “2 A levels at grade C or above..” but there is one at Birmingham that does have AAB (or a whole host of other qual’s).

            Is it really worthy of being called a ‘degree’?
            I still think we need to spend less on academic ‘uni’s’ and more on creating proper vocational poly’s.

          • Tokyo Nambu

            I was under the impression the one at Birmingham was the only one. As you’ll see, it’s funded by the PGA, so isn’t costing you a penny. If there are other, lesser, qualifications your point is made.

            The argument that purely vocation qualifications funded by employers and tied to one occupation should be HNDs is a good one. Let’s start with medicine: if there’s a decision to downgrade vocational qualifications and make them of less status that full degrees, why isn’t an MBChB just a bunch of HNDs, rather than being two first degrees?

          • gunnerbear

            You mentioned downgrading, I didn’t.

            I’ve always viewed the HNC/D as the working mans degree as the person generally has stacks of working knowledge too (although the Foundation Degree is taking over from HNC / HND and they don’t even teach the subject I took any more).

          • Tokyo Nambu

            “I’ve always viewed the HNC/D as the working mans (sic) degree”

            with which you cannot go into teaching, including FE, or do any sort of post-graduate study.

          • gunnerbear

            Ohh, I know that….but that’s always been an issue with qualifications in this country.

            Still, more than one of the Chartered Institutes will accept HNC plus lots of practical work plus a case study as being enough to get Incorporated Engineer status.

          • gunnerbear

            “why isn’t an MBChB just a bunch of HNDs, rather than being two first degrees?”

            Don’t know on that one…..you’ve got me.

          • Steve Stubbs

            How about the Department for Education, who is I believe about to remove some 87 exam subjects from the higher education syllabus at schools as they are either duplicates, or of no value.

            He who pays the piper calls the tune.

          • Duncan Hall

            I’m not sure it’s quite as many as that, but they are removing several (and insisting the boards rewrite some others). Of course, if they did pay the piper in terms of university offerings, they would be in a stronger position to interfere. As they have contracted the debt out to graduates (no doubt to be passed on to a private company at some point in the future for a fraction of its current value for a quick buck) they have rather abdicated that responsibility.

          • gunnerbear

            Don’t be silly otherwise the course list would be damn short. In any case, if young people want to study something esoteric, why can’t they get sponsorship from firms or patrons if the subject is so vital?

          • Duncan Hall

            Surely there would be a stronger logic to suggest something like Engineering could get sponsorship, from employers. I don’t support that position – I think employers should pay for it through general taxation, along with the rest of us. I’m surprised you’re that hot on fees really, gunnerbear, as they were originally brought in to kid on we weren’t borrowing the money so that met the convergence criteria for the Euro, and are now used to kid on that we’re not borrowing the money in order to pretend we’re reducing the deficit. It’s just an accounting trick and we should be honest with this – if we think higher education is valuable (and I think it is) then we have to pay for it.

          • gunnerbear

            Three major employers I know of do sponsor people to attend Uni (either P/T or via a bursary).

          • gunnerbear

            “This is one of the silliest arguments I ever hear about fees. Of course university education benefits everybody in society and not just those who receive it.”

            How does some one doing the History of Fine Art benefit me? I’d rather they paid top whack for their place and we chopped fees for nursing and medicine and engineering…..you know useful stuff.

            Why on earth would you think I have an accountant?

          • Duncan Hall

            It enriches the society of which you are a part. As I say elsewhere, that student is much cheaper to teach than an engineering student but pays the same. If anything you could make a “market” argument that medicine and engineering should cost more as the market benefit of the degree to the individuals is more obvious. BUT, both actually pay for their own places by their presence. Universities make a lot of money out of undergraduates before they take a penny in fees.

          • Steve Stubbs

            “Of course university education benefits everybody in society and not just those who receive it”£

            And to use your own phrase, “this is one of the silliest arguments I ever heard about fees”. I am not too often in agreement with gunnerbear, but I would bet that any serious research would show that more than half the subjects being “studied” at university are of no benefit to everybody in society. They may benefit some, but very few benefit everyone. e.g. What benefit does studying classics at Oxford bring to the whole of society, apart from reducing the out of work numbers?

          • David Battley

            +1 for drollery alone…

          • gunnerbear

            It’s my fault, I didn’t make myself clear. Chop fees for certain key subjects otherwise the students pay.

          • i_bid

            Why should you pay for someone’s child to nick off school and smoke cannabis all day? Because a) it’s a sily caricature and b) because without which our society and economy would soon crumble (unless you’re quite happy importing people for skills?). As others have articulated, all you’re really doing is cementing the top jobs for the middle-class (and I’m fairly sure you’re quite happy with that arrangement).

          • gunnerbear

            Right, I’ve no objection to paying taxes for schools or healthcare or defence or the welfare state but why should taxes be used to fund ‘non’ subjects at Uni?
            Look up the UCAS booklet and see if you think there aren’t some courses we could chop and use the cash for more useful, important subjects.

          • i_bid

            There’s all sorts of degrees because there’s all sorts of jobs needing them. Restrict our universities down to core spheres and you’ll just have students piling into them, resulting in a deluge and subsequent unemployment. Not all school subjects are equal: are we to argue that there should be fees, pushing students towards the ‘right’ GCSEs? The whole thing’s completely subjective and sillier they are, the less likely they are to continue.

          • gunnerbear

            Schools should be pushing children towards harder GCSEs. That way the bright children have a chance to stand out and progress.

            Mind you at 14, there should also be selection available for those children that want to attempt selection for entry into a selective UTC / Technical & Trade School.

          • i_bid

            …and those less bright are hopelessly overwhelmed that they do worse than they could have otherwise?

            I wasn’t talking about difficulty – your argument could be used to question, say, RE, PE or Spanish’s future benefit for employability and decide those that ‘waste’ money choosing those as their GCSEs should be subject to extortionate fees (like our university students are), with fees introduced across schools. Do you support that, and if not, where’s the distinction?

          • gunnerbear

            Every child has to go to school – a good thing (whether they need to be there for 13 years is another matter) but Uni. is optional.

          • i_bid

            “…or the welfare state”.

            Could’ve fooled me. Sure you haven’t forgot what you wrote above?

          • gunnerbear

            Eh? I’ve never said that I object to paying taxes for the welfare state. It should be a valuable safety net but I do think that the cap on benefits of £26k is way to high (and millions of other voters think so as well).

          • gunnerbear

            “cementing the top jobs for the middle-class (and I’m fairly sure you’re quite happy with that arrangement).”

            Sorry, you’ve lost me on that one.

    • Michael Murray

      “What would Britain look like after five years of One Nation Labour?”
      From the examples of anticipated achievements you give, hopefully the kind of country you and I would both like to see. Which is why I shall be voting Labour, as always. This has been Cameron’s worst week politically and we are leading the Tories in one poll by 9%, yet the media lackeys have been able to divert negative attention from Tory woes onto Labour yet again and portray us as the party that is at war with itself. That’s not good news for the oppressed and vulnerable . When will we learn? Only discipline will stop us snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. For millions of people out there Labour is the only hope of a better life.

      • sartoris

        Many more millions believe that the Conservatives are the only hope for a better life for them.

        • Michael Murray

          Oh, you mean all those who sent Cameron past the winning post last time?

          • sartoris

            Exactly – in the 2010 General Election, Conservatives got 10.7 million votes, Labour got 8.6 million.

          • Michael Murray

            Doesn’t mean a thing. This is a First Past the Post paerliamentary democracy. If there was such a big appetite for the Tories Cameron would have passed the winning post, just as Blair did, Just as Thatcher did.

          • Theoderic Braun

            Erm. Even during the worst recession in living memory and Gordon Brown as the unelected Prime Minister blamed for it the Conservative party scooped up only 36.1% of the votes cast, i.e., 63.9% of voters wanted another party to govern them. Not exactly a ringing endorsement considering all the advantage the Conservatives enjoyed in 2010.

        • Michael Murray

          Then why aren’t the Tories 9% ahead of us instead of 9% behind us?

        • Theoderic Braun

          But not card carrying Conservative Party members it seems, over half of which have left the party since David Cameron became leader.

        • PoundInYourPocket

          In purely selfish terms it might make sense to vote Tory if you and your family never have recourse to rely on or use any public service, and never leave the confines of your own home. Not the best life.

    • DWWolds

      What would look like after 5 years of One Nation Labour? In a word, bankrupt!

      • treborc1

        It’s bankrupted now according to all politicians, so maybe it would be a new world order.

        • DWWolds

          It was bankrupt when Labour left office.

  • channel.fog

    Two things go through the leadership’s mind: a) the coalition is so bad we’ll walk it in 2015; b) things are so bad we’d rather the coalition or the Tories had another five years after 2015. Remember, they don’t actually believe in anything, it’s just a job.

  • Pingback: In (angry) defence of Jon Cruddas | Though Cowards Flinch()

  • Jimmy Sands

    “Your job is to make sure that interesting ideas make their way through the process,”

    Yes, if only he’d thought of doing that.

    Surely whether or not he should have said it is less important than whether or not he’s right?

  • Daniel Speight

    Here’s the problem. If there’s one thing we know about Cruddas it’s that there is not a lot of fight in him. He would rather retire and go fishing in Ireland than take on the ones behind this. Who they are is pretty obvious. The election campaign is going to be run on a very limited offer so if you are really expecting to see radical policies to differentiate Labour from the others, it’s unlikely with the present set up. The people in charge of the campaign possibly have in the back of their minds that a defeat next year may be more beneficial to their own careers than a win. Maybe Harman saw it too. They need to get Douglas Alexander out of the job and give it to someone like Watson. To continue as it is would be crazy. Cruddas needs some courage and Miliband needs to help by giving him some support. It’s a shame but not everyone can be brave and become a hero and Jon is proof of this.

    • gunnerbear

      “The people in charge of the campaign possibly have in the back of their minds that a defeat next year may be more beneficial to their own careers than a win.”

      That is cynical.

  • derekemery

    I would have thought that Cruddas’s comments mean that he already knows his review is being ignored.

    • treborc1

      He himself stated this review was not for 2015 but will be better used in 2020, the problem is Miliband is so desperate for policies and Idea’s he has jumped the gun. When Cruddas was given the task of changing the labour party and the country it was so big that Cruddas said nothing will happen over night it will take many years.

      But when desperation takes over steal a few idea’.

      • Jen The Blue

        Ah it has become clear. Labour have all the answers to the UK’s problems…..but not until 2020.

        • treborc1

          Why not do you think the others have any answers, you watch we are in recovery now watch out for the recession.

          • Jen The Blue

            Well I think that UKIP are nearest to having the answers. I think the Conservatives are far too timid, but nearer than Labour to having the answers.

            Labour would do what every Labour government has done….spend money we don’t have and wreck the economy leaving us with even worse debts and a bigger, more intrusive and bloated state.

  • Duncan Hall

    What Cruddas doesn’t understand is that no leadership could sell this crap. It was 300 pages, yes, but it said very little indeed. Does Cruddas really want Ed to get up and ramble on about being radical and conservative and predistribution and so on? A policy review requires policies, not sixth form “thinking”. The test will be what happens to the policy ideas that come from CLPs, not how they managed to make any sense of that IPPR bilge.

    • llanystumdwy

      You seem to be saying that the leadership should ignore policy reviews. But that is exactly why voters have lost faith in Labour. If the leadership is only interested in headline grabbing gimmicks and focus group opinions, as Blair and Brown were, then it shows that Labour are filled with careerist, power hungry individuals without any principles who happen to wear a red rossette.

      This is precisely the reason why so many ask the question “what is Labour for anymore ?”. If the leadership don’t know, then they don’t deserve to win power.

      Thank goodness that people like John Cruddas still exist in the Labour party.

      • Duncan Hall

        I’m certainly not saying that, I’m saying that the “policy review” should be the product of internal party democracy. The amendments and ideas I’ve read from CLPs have overwhelmingly been excellent and made up of clear policy proposals rather than just poorly-expressed ideas. If Ed and co ignore what comes from the party then I’ll be furious; them not being able to do a lot with that IPPR thing does not overly concern me.

    • MikeHomfray

      I think its more a question of what practical policies might emerge from it. I haven’t read the full document so I can’t say

  • Jen The Blue

    I heard that paragon of veracity Ed Balls on the TV this morning saying Cruddas was actually perfectly happy with everything.

  • Matthew Blott

    I usually agree with Mark Ferguson but there are occasions when I don’t and this is one of them. However this is the first time I’ve been really annoyed with something he’s written. I understand Miliband would want to get his damage limitation exercise underway after this morning’s headline in the Sunday Times but I hope Mark Ferguson isn’t in on it. What riles me is that he (Ferguson) is making Cruddas the fall guy. A quick read of the comments make it apparent that is how it has been interpreted by readers.

    • David Battley

      Quite so. In this I personally hear the classic outpouring of frustration of any worker who does not feel he has the ear, or support, of his boss and doesn’t know what else to do…

      • Rex Hale

        Exactly.

      • Matthew Blott

        Quite. And it wasn’t briefing against his boss, Cruddas was just being frank in what he assumed was a private meeting.

    • Daniel Speight

      It’s even less common for me to find much to agree with Matthew, but in this case I do feel the same. Mark was shooting the messenger here for some reason. I wonder on whose suggestion he was doing it. Looking at today’s papers could it possibly be Ed Balls? Could it be on behalf of Yvette becoming the next leader?

  • Chas999

    “Of course, predictably, Cruddas’s comments – especially around the “dead hand at the centre” – have been written up as an attack on Ed Miliband. But to me, it reads as just the latest ham-fisted critique of those around the Labour leader”. This reminds me of the stories of Soviet citizens languishing in the gulags and saying that if only Uncle Joe Stalin knew of their plight he would sort it all out and release them back to their families. Why is it always ‘those close to Miliband’, but never the great leader himself?

    “The tendancy [sic]…to boil big policy ideas down to the simple, lowest common denominator headline for the press is one of the most distressing and consistent drawbacks of the way politics is conducted in 2014”. Nicely placed in the passive tense as if politics is being ‘done’ to the Labour party. Please remember that Labour, though the evil influence of the mendacious Alistair Campbell and others, invented this hateful way of conducting politics. If you don’t want any of your ridiculous policies distilled into sound bites, then stop distilling them into sound bites. Don’t complain about it as if it is being done to you, and is entirely beyond your control.

    Perhaps the real problem is that every time Labour gets into power, it wrecks the economy and any decent British institution it has time to wreck before it gets booted out. Cruddas admits in his talk that they blew all the money last time because they thought Brown had abolished the economic cycle. Over the last 100 or so years a myriad of hideous socialist ideas have been tried out on the poor British people, and a myriad have failed. Miliband, Cruddas and the rest of the crowd now have a blank slate (because they need to abandon all the dreadful New Labour policies) and are having no end of trouble trying to find anything to write on it. Perhaps they should just give up and go home.

    • Matthew Blott

      You make an amusing valid point in your first paragraph but then descend into unhelpful hyperbole. I wish you hadn’t posted.

      • Chas999

        Yes, I’m sure you do!

  • MikeHomfray

    Sounds like some git decided to do the dirty by releasing information from a private meeting. Mist of what Jon Cruddas said is right.

  • Colin McCulloch

    Labour snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Maybe the Scots should vote yes after all.

  • Pingback: Labour’s policy process: Ed’s five mistakes and the “dead hand” of central control | Left Futures()

  • jonathanlindsey

    Heard
    a challenging talk by Jon Cruddas at UEA, a while ago, basically
    (very), he was trying to invoke the necessity of “passion”
    as a way of opposing the Neo-liberal calculus as a necessity for a
    free market based society. On the left there are of course passions
    about inequality and also strong evidence that gross inequality is
    strongly correlated with social and personal breakdown. On the right
    passions abound about freedom to create wealth and the right to
    dispose of it as one wishes (regardless of the consequences, although
    Rawl’s Theory of Justice is invoked as a means of ensuring there are
    no losers in anyone’s gains by Neoliberals . This trickle down
    has been well debated and dismantled by writers such as Amaryta Sen
    as a meaningless move.) It looks at one level as if Crudass’s level
    of feeling can be catered for by what he seems to resist -roughly – a
    realignment of wealth through taxation and living wage
    legislation. Yet if we extend these opposing attachments – to
    redistribution, versus appropriation, It would seem that we find
    ourselves up against differing views of identity, not simply a
    collective belonging versus an individual striving for recognition as
    having and exhibiting a “capacity” to transcend their
    situation, a condition recognised through wealth – but an identity
    that transcends to disengage from others apart from the medium of
    exchange – money as a measure of the other.Heard
    a challenging talk by Jon Cruddas at UEA, a while ago, basically
    (very), he was trying to invoke the necessity of “passion”
    as a way of opposing the Neo-liberal calculus as a necessity for a
    free market based society. On the left there are of course passions
    about inequality and also strong evidence that gross inequality is
    strongly correlated with social and personal breakdown. On the right
    passions abound about freedom to create wealth and the right to
    dispose of it as one wishes (regardless of the consequences, although
    Rawl’s Theory of Justice is invoked as a means of ensuring there are
    no losers in anyone’s gains by Neoliberals . This trickle down
    has been well debated and dismantled by writers such as Amaryta Sen
    as a meaningless move.) It looks at one level as if Crudass’s level
    of feeling can be catered for by what he seems to resist -roughly – a
    realignment of wealth through taxation and living wage
    legislation. Yet if we extend these opposing attachments – to
    redistribution, versus appropriation, It would seem that we find
    ourselves up against differing views of identity, not simply a
    collective belonging versus an individual striving for recognition as
    having and exhibiting a “capacity” to transcend their
    situation, a condition recognised through wealth – but an identity
    that transcends to disengage from others apart from the medium of
    exchange – money as a measure of the other.The means by which money for such individuals is created – the country – the workforce are simply means that could be substituted elsewhere. There is no passion about the country one might reside in, and this passion was brought to the fore in Cruddas’s talk as something that needs recognition and a role. Hence, for example, taxation as a simple redistribution seems to many as a denial of their identity, rather than a value that is added to both the place where it is produced and to the general welfare of the country. Of course there are exceptions, but the general thrust is towards a disengagement into abstract wealth rather than passionate engagement. To simply increase tax without making it and marking it as a contribution to the nation and its well being is simply to reinforce the abstraction and hence the resistance to taxation. A few words on a difficult topic, but i hope it makes some sort of case for Cruddas’s position.

    • PoundInYourPocket

      I struggle to read anything by Cruddas as he is so verbose and mystical. Well done for getting through one of his talks. I’ve followed the old Blue Labour Glassman ideas, and having understood them have in the main rejected them. But Cruddas still causes me immense frustration as I never quite get what he is struggling to say. Your post makes more sense than Cruddas. But, in summary, is he trying to say that many of the electorate have reached their “taxation threshold” and that we can’t expect them to contribute any more ? And is his solution that we need to make those recalcitrants more “included” in the community and more like co-beneficiaries rater than just “taxed” ? And if so – how exactly ? I wonder if that book company could issue an “idiots guide to Cruddas” ?

      • MikeHomfray

        It does help if you have a sociology degree.

        • PoundInYourPocket

          Do they still teach that ? But, whatever the subject, if you have a clear understanding of it and a desire to communicate it to others you should be able to so so without relying on in-house terminaology that excldes all of those outside your own clique. It depends wether you’re trying to communnicate or just posturing.
          We once had a maths proff who could explain the most obscure theorems in just a single phrase. Hope he never meets Cruddas.

          • MikeHomfray

            Most subjects have a language of their own with particular jargon. Yes, I fully agree with you, which is why I sometimes find Cruddas frustrating. I have three sociology degrees! (BA, MA, PhD)

          • PoundInYourPocket

            I’ve read some of your papers/articles and despite being an engineer I understood and enjoyed reading them. It’s the labour so called “gurus” I take issue with, Giddens, Glassman, Cruddas etc. There’s almost an intention to beffudlfe rather than elucidate ideas. The “knowledge economy” , “blue labour”, “the third way”. Whereas someone like Guy Standing or Colin Crouch can communicate complex ideas with perfect clarity.

          • MikeHomfray

            I strongly agree. It is a frustration of mine that so much of my own academic discipline specialises in the most impenetrable prose known to humanity. There was one particular book which I used to read an excerpt from to students, when we were discussing postmodernism. I then asked them what it meant and what they thought of it. usually it was embarrassed silence, but every so often, someone had the courage to say ‘its bollocks’, to which I replied that it was and gave them a chocolate bar. I’m not saying all postmodernist sociology is that bad, but quite a lot is, and I see very little point in writing anything which can’t be understood by the vast majority of its readers

      • jonathanlindsey

        I spent a lot of time trying to work up some of his ideas into something (for me), coherent and applicable. I ended up with many pages of the most abstruse stuff and I just popped some of it in this article on Jon Cruddas before I write something more extended (perhaps). I used the notion of “passion” and very briefly tried to apply it to the issue of taxation. I wanted to get beyond the redistribution motive and (for me), taxation attitudes don’t make much sense unless one connects it to how people attach to wealth and what it means to them. This was not Jon Cruddas’s application (or not one I was aware of), but was one I “developed”, working on some of what he said at the talk – he – what he said – was the inspiration to do so.

        • PoundInYourPocket

          It’s an odd situation when it takes someone as dedicated as yourself to toil away at interpreting the word of the prophet. Did you do sociology or the classics ? It’s just that the dead-sea-scrolls come to mind.

          • jonathanlindsey

            I did think at some brief point of entering a Monastery and writing a sequel to Augustine’s City of God, but no I am not the scholar of the sayings of Jon Crudas. I trained in Biology, and later Philosophy and Linguistics, later still a branch of Computing, later still Mental health.

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