Three big challenges the next leader of the Labour party faces

20th May, 2015 8:10 am

Over the next few months, the Labour leadership candidates will seek to woo you with a non-stop assault of speeches, interviews, platitudes and policy documents. Not to mention endless retweets of endorsements on Twitter. There will be no escape.

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Given the mountain that Labour has to climb to win in 2020, what we need aren’t more endless cliches about ‘aspirational’ voters or ‘being pro-business’, we need a serious debate about the main challenges the party faces. Last week I spoke to Cambridge Uni Labour about three of them.

Grappling with English nationalism

It was partly the forces of nationalism that killed us. In Scotland it was the SNP positioning themselves as the new standard-bearers of the Scots. In England, by raising the dangerous spectre of Miliband being held to ransom by the SNP, it was a sense of English nationalism that killed us. People felt Labour just could not be trusted to protect England’s interests against the SNP.

But this isn’t just economic. A large part of Labour’s loss of connection with working class voters is cultural, not economic; they feel the leadership doesn’t connect with them. As the former MP John Denham pointed out:

When people cast their vote, many now think as much about what it means for their nation and their community as they do about party policies for economic and social justice. The role that class once played in defining ‘people like me’ is being replaced by a more communitarian sense of belonging. Labour activists usually wish this wasn’t true but it was. Our failure to recognise, let alone address, the central importance of the politics of belonging was the single unifying thread of our disappointment.

And Mary Riddell is right when she says:

Mr Miliband’s problem was not that he veered too far Left or Right, since Mr Farage and Ms Sturgeon outflanked him on either side, but that he failed to tell a national story that would touch the soul of voters.

The time for a serious debate within the Labour party on English nationalism – not as a reaction to others in Scotland, Wales and NI, but to include them as part of the conversation – has come. Only a Labour party confident about English identity can seriously learn to understand and debate Scottish nationalism.

Will any candidate grapple with this debate with honesty and eagerness? Can they show they can culturally connect with voters, not just reel out a list of policies?

Tackling inequality versus ‘aspiration’

Ed Miliband’s analysis of the economy was absolutely right – that it has stopped working for ordinary people – but failed to deliver a vision that was attractive to voters. He touted pre-distribution but ended up resorting to traditional tax-and-spend policies to reach voters (Mansion Tax, 50px etc).

So the dilemma for the next Labour leader is the same: how to fundamentally change the economy so it works for people, without scaring off Middle England.

Can they convince people that the economy needs deep, fundamental change?

What ideas do they have to raise the wages of the poorest?

How can they convince Middle England that inequality needs to be challenged?

There is little doubt that Labour has to appeal to wider pool of voters than we did over the last five years. But can we do that while still convincing them of our core mission? How?

Cosmopolitan voters versus Middle England voters

Labour voters are now primarily based in big cities across England. We cannot afford to ignore them, as the Economist’s Jeremy Cliffe pointed out in a paper last week called Britain’s Cosmopolitan Future. They like urbanisation, are comfortable with immigration and diversity, and liberal in their outlook. If ignored or dismissed, they will likely defect to the Greens or Lib Dems. They are now the Labour party base.

But they can’t help us win elections alone. London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool etc are not enough to win a majority in the Commons. So, Labour has to appeal to voters who went over to UKIP and/or see themselves as small-c Middle England. Just regurgitating harsh rhetoric on immigration or welfare won’t sound credible, and likely to alienate our base. So how can we culturally connect to these increasingly polarised groups?

Over the next few months the Labour leadership candidates will seek your votes. Based on the disastrous election we just went through, here is my advice: don’t necessarily choose the candidate you most like (they’re not that far apart).

Look for the candidate who recognises their own weakness and seeks to deal with them quickly. Choose the candidate who adapts, and is decisive and bold.Ask them about the big contradictions and challenges that Labour faces, and look for the one with the capacity and imagination to surprise you. That is the candidate most likely to win.

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

    As with so many articles right now on Labour’s demise, the underlying premises are all tactical. How does Labour broaden it’s appeal? What can you do to buy off middle England? The usual euphemism is appealing to “aspiration”

    The starting point should be what do you believe in – or else you look a fraud. Labour has to learn to love individualism and individual effort. It has to realize individual effort is a good thing in itself not just something to be accommodated in order to get the votes and thus power to do the stuff they really love – top down state driven stuff

    • grimble77

      Exactly, Labour needs to return to its core Values instead of doing whatever it thinks will return them to power, only then will they actually stand for something.

      The sheer panic in the media and the Tories with regard to the neocon agenda actually being at risk for once in the closing days of the election was palpable, And this was at the prospect of an objectively half hearted tiny shift to the left from the 30+ years of rightward momentum.

      Anecdotal i know, but i know many people that refused to vote labour because they still supported austerity. They rightly point out that its been debunked as a failure virtually everywhere its been tried by leading economists, to continue down this road showed that Labour still lacked the will to actually stand up for normal people.

      • IAS2011

        I, like many, was sickened by Labour politicians emphasising that they are for “working people” – and not also emphasising that they are for helping failed and challenged people who too are ASPIRATIONAL and supporting them, and local and national economies, towards GROWTH.

        Their sound bite of “for working people” was matched by the Tories and Liberal Democrats. How shameful is that!

        • grimble77

          indeed, it was shocking to see that was non of the major parties were interested in the slightest towards representing the disabled the young or the unemployed. They all seemed happy to pretend we don’t exist. every time i hear that “hard working families” crap its like a punch in the face that says your worthless, your feckless, please go away, we don’t want you …. not exactly inspiring.

          • IAS2011

            grimble77,

            yes, it’s also deeply worrying when the Powerful news media failed to ask such questions based on this, and hold politicians to account on how they will engage with the challenges and aspirations of such vulnerable and disadvantaged groups.

            Instead, all political parties were allowed to get away with saying “we are for hard working people”. What on earth does this mean – an inability to fight for those who are having to fight for themselves.

            Isn’t this a political system based entirely on weakness?? Or, is it one that is founded on the principle of taking advantaged of the failings that policy has produced and establishing growth for only those already rich and powerful?

      • John Wheatley

        I obviously didn’t make myself clear.

        We have to embrace individual activity as a good thing and get away from the collective. Rather than looking back to Attlee perhaps it should be Lloyd George. The liberal agenda has won – not unreasonably as we are a lot richer than we used to be. But how do you restrain it’s excesses without crippling individual effort. We need capitalism’s energy

    • Lucy

      I think Labour needs to break that supposed option of individual or state altogether. Community action is the third option. Too few of us live or act in any meaningful community, but it is a way of complementing / limiting state options without resorting to the selfishness of indiviualism.

      • James Chilton

        Why do “too few of us live or act in a meaningful community”? The answer to that question might explain that political centralisation is necessary in a modern society – if you hope to get any reforms made.

        • Peter Colledge

          I’ve just been reading Monty Don in the Radio Times. He suggests radicalising young people through extensive provision of allotments. Surely this can improve our sense of communities? No party leader mentioned them at all, as far as I know.

          • James Chilton

            I assume there’s a pun on the word “radical” (in its botanical sense). Growing root vegetables on allotments could be a revolutionary act.

          • Peter Colledge

            xxx

        • Lucy

          Well, we’re one of the most centralised countries and one of the most unequal, so I’m not sure what your claim is based on.
          An interesting point of history is that the Normans took over England thanks to one battle, because it was very centralised, whereas it took them 200 years to take control of Wales, because it was not. So centralisation also makes it easier to withdraw freedoms en masse.

          • James Chilton

            You said, “Too few of us live or act in any meaningful community.”

            if you can give reasons for believing this, I’ll get back to you with my reasons for claiming that political centralisation is inevitable in a modern democracy.

          • Lucy

            I’ve been to a co-housing community and seen what a meaningful community looks like and feels like, I don’t know anyone else who lives like that. I grew up in rural Cumbria and saw precious little there either so I don’t think it’s just an urban / rural split. By a meaningful community I mean that as well as having some private space, you live together and help each other and share resources.
            I’ve studied comparative political systems and I’d disagree that centralisation is inevitable in a modern democracy.

          • James Chilton

            Unless it’s funded by a philanthropist, a small scale housing community such as the one you describe, gets many resources either directly or indirectly from the state. Human co-operation is not enough; such projects need money from the government. Even if its only in the form of welfare benefits and medical care for the inhabitants of a “meaningful community”, money has to come from outside the community’s own resources.

            Self sufficient communities sharing life’s necessities in common, have existed as experimental societies. And idealists have often wished to see the social values of such communities become the “norm”. But we live in an age of global capitalism and the atomisation of societies into individual consumers competing for goods and security is crucial to its success. This requires that enough power be concentrated at the centre to keep the show on the road.

            Do you have any example of a democratic government with a modern economy, which devolves its (ultimate) powers to raise taxes, to maintain social peace, to provide national defence, health and education services, and all the rest of it. ?

  • Keir Softie

    It is a mistake to lump in Farage with English nationalists. Although Ukip does not get much support in Scotland it does not mean they have no presence there. The clue is in their name I suppose – ‘UK’ip.

    By the way, as I suspected, it was pointless for commenters here to gloat over the spat within Ukip, it was not a serious split after all, and the kippers have very rapidly resolved it, albeit by demoting the two main ringleaders Suzanne Evans and Patrick OFlynn. Ukip does not do endless navel gazing as we are prone to do.

    • grahamtriggs

      Although UKIP gaining a significant power base is likely to tip Scotland over the edge (if they don’t get there first anyway) in pulling away. There will be no UK with UKIP.

      • ReynardFx

        thats the elephant in the room with UKIP they are almost persona non grata in Scotland & Wales

        • Peter Colledge

          Although, UKIP now has a Euro MP in Scotland, and a Glaswegian to boot.

          • Keir Softie

            David Coburn. And he is homosexual too.

          • ReynardFx

            ok,I stand corrected 🙂

          • Peter Colledge

            xxx

  • A bit of common sense

    Labour should now become a membership party based on strong internal democracy. Grass roots, bottom up change will connect the party with the British public, not courting a Tory media.

    The top down controlling executive corporate model has not delivered success and has alienated many. If we have a lurch back to Blairite control freakery, how much of the grass roots party will decamp to the Greens? A fair chunk I suggest.

    Maybe the age of single party government is drawing to a close? Governing with 37% of the vote is no mandate. The nettle of proportional representation must now be grasped.

    • ReynardFx

      agree completely re: PR

  • Daniel Speight

    I would say the most important thing a Labour leader could do is find out what went wrong in Scotland from the end of last year up until now. I think discovering what went wrong there may also explain what went wrong in the rest of Britain.

    Funny that none of the candidates want to look too closely so far, or any of our LL contributors come to that.

    • Billsilver

      I think it went wrong years ago. Look at, for example, the differing mortality rates for Glasgow and London, and then picture all those flabby Glasgow Labour councillors and MPs doing absolutely nothing to improve Scottish health services. Wouldn’t you feel overlooked and your vote taken for granted? And then along comes Nicola loudmouth offering some lefty propaganda (even though their NHS services aren’t so hot) and where’s your vote going to go? Exactly.

      • Peter Colledge

        Many years ago I spoke to an SNP activist, and he told me that the sticking point for his party was to convince the big cities that the Labour party didn’t really care about the welfare of their citizens. He cited Glasgow specifically and even more specifically, the ‘Green’ (ie Catholic) vote. “When we can get them to see that the problem in these cities is the Labour administration failing to tackle the big issues like homelessness and worklessness, and that the SNP can effectively address these issues, we will win.” And so, thirty years later, it has proved.

  • gpkearns

    Someone here mentions “the Tory press”. A question arises: if the news media, especially the papers, had been completely neutral what would have been the result of the General Election?

    • IAS2011

      @gpkearns,

      Many would agree that the press should remain impartial – as it can, and often does, use its POWER to influence a false perspective of actual policy… and those most ignorant and vulnerable will be encouraged by it all.

      Many also will be angered at the constant use of the press and politicians on its night time newspaper shows. Why on earth doesn’t the BBC have community leader, volunteers… social and community enterprise ‘people’ on these shows that can highlight a different perspective of the news of the day – instead of establishment figures singing their own tunes, and benefiting from it all??

      We most certainly need change!

      • Patrick Nelson

        “Many also will be angered at the constant use of the press and
        politicians on its night time newspaper shows. Why on earth doesn’t the BBC have community leader, volunteers… social and community enterprise ‘people’ on these shows that can highlight a different perspective of the news of the day – instead of establishment figures singing their own tunes, and benefiting from it all??”

        The establishment (both the right and the left of it) is very comfortable how things are, why would they let real people have a voice when that may unsettle their comfortable status quo and challenge a system that unduly favours the wealthy over the less wealthy, the well educated over the poorly educated and the southeast over the rest of Britain??

        • IAS2011

          Patrick,

          I agree fully with your response to my earlier comment.

          I also agree with your other comment that refers to the satisfaction that must be felt by ‘establishment’ figures – as they take advantage of the vast amount of properties taken from those who were failed by recession policies.
          Thus, it seems as if they are all in it together.

    • Matthew Blott

      The press is a big problem. But we need to win power first to break up the monopolies and get rid of foreign ownership. So a more bulletproof leadership candidate than the ones we’ve offered the electorate in the past is essential.

      • ReynardFx

        the press is a factor without doubt

  • Carole

    “The time for a serious debate within the Labour party on English
    nationalism – not as a reaction to others in Scotland, Wales and NI, but
    to include them as part of the conversation – has come. Only a Labour
    party confident about English identity can seriously learn to understand
    and debate Scottish nationalism.”

    There is a tradition of English radicalism that is the opposite of UKIP’s flag-waving anti-immigrant faux-patriotism, which has its roots in late Victorian imperialism. The radical tradition has far deeper and far older roots, stretching back to the Civil War and even before that. It includes ideas around social justice, participation in democracy, devolved power and localism. It is from those English radical roots that the Labour party sprang, in part. Those roots also gave birth to Thomas Paine and the Rights of Man. Labour needs to tap into that radicalism.

  • salamisausage

    The biggest problem facing Labour is one of economic credibility.
    There is either a total lack of understanding in the Labour party regarding
    its culpability in the near collapse of the UK economy or there is
    the usual cover-up. The story coming from Labour central office is
    that “a worldwide banking crisis dun it” and that the New Labour
    coalition was innocent. Let’s look at the facts.

    There was no worldwide banking crisis. The crisis affected the USA,
    Britain and many countries in Europe. It was precipitated by the
    collapse in property values in Britain and the US. The property boom
    in the UK was driven by reckless lending by banks and building
    societies, encouraged by Brown to offer up to 120% loan to property
    value ratios and wide-spread self-certification. The motive behind
    this was to boost government income to further boost Brown’s spending
    splurge. This toxic debt was combined, diced up, and repackaged by
    investment banks in the USA and Britain and sold on the world market.
    Its impact was huge because of the size of the US property market
    and the size of British investment banks. New Labour, of course, had
    removed Bank of England oversight of these activities. This crisis
    is still hanging over us. RBS is currently facing additional fines
    in the USA of more than £5 billion.

    That is the banking crisis. What about the UK debt mountain? We are now
    seeing the candidates for the leadership of the Labour party finally
    admitting that Labour overspent and are now blaming the defeat in the
    recent election partly on the fact that Miliband refused to admit
    this. Brown’s spending spree continued up to the last few days of
    the New Labour coalition. Much of this expenditure was completely
    wasted: IT project after project abandoned, two enormous aircraft
    carriers (but no planes), one of which will never be used, a string
    of fire-fighting command centres never used but still costing us
    billions in upkeep, etc, etc.

    What about the deficit? Brown and Balls bequeathed the incoming
    government a budget deficit in size second only to Greece among
    developed countries. Much of this excess spending over government
    income goes to the bloated public sector, inflated by New Labour, and
    to the social benefits industry. Add in all the PPI contracts signed
    by Brown and Blair which are costing us billions and will run for
    many years to come, under which the UK tax payers are charged £150
    to change a light bulb. This budget deficit ensures that the UK
    sovereign debt will rise each year until the deficit is eradicated.

    In addition to a banking crisis, a debt mountain and a crippling budget
    deficit, what else did the New Labour coalition bequeath to the
    nation? How about a triple-dip recession, bigger than any other in peace
    time?

    I doubt that Labour will have any economic credibility until it admits
    its mistakes.

    • Matthew Blott

      Very good analysis. Thanks for this.

    • daisychain

      Well this is a pretty gross analysis. There was indeed a world wide banking crisis, and it emanated from the Thatcher/Reagan liberalisation of finance. Labour’s contribution was to accept that and not challenge such vile neocon policies, and it is culpable for that. And one of the main results of the Thatcher destruction was the disabling of union power. This was supposed to increase profitability which would lead to increased investment and higher wages, so called “trickle down”. It failed utterly, and led to stagnating wages and firms hoarding profit rather than investing. The only “investment” was for the massively richer rich to buy up the housing stock and rent it to people on inflated terms. One of the things conservatives are too stupid to understand is that you don’t get economic growth if people have no money. Labour, too scared to challenge even that legacy of Thatcher, allowed too easy credit to fill the gap. That contributed to the crash, but the Tory response has been to depress wages further, and firms have found another way out – get government to hand them public services which they can use as a cash cow, taxing people to give forms money. Labour’s mistake was to adopt Thatcherism, and it should indeed apologise for that. The massive spending spree after the crash was one of the few things it got right, leaving after a very short time a growth rate of more than 1%, double that of now, which Osborne ended and then feebly reversed in 2012 by broadly adopting Darling’s spending targets.

      • salamisausage

        Daisy,

        A truly bizarre reply. Thatcher and Reagan had departed the scene while you were still in nappies.

        Read my comments again and learn of the biggest problem facing Labour today. If you want references for your further education, let me know.

        • daisychain

          Ah well, I’m honoured to be educated by someone as wise as yourself, who believes that once a politician has departed the scene nothing they did has any effect any more. Are you on drugs?
          Thatcher/Reagan deregulated the financial markets causing the dangerously unstable economy we have today, an economy run by spivs for spivs, with accelerating inequality, which in turn gives almost total power to a tiny percentage of the population who are mega rich. That is what caused the appalling banking crash (which did indeed exist, perhaps it happened while you were on a high), and Labour have not found either the means or the courage to challenge it. Instead, from Blair onwards they have thought they could only manage a version of Thatcherism without the cruelty, but that illusion was crushed in 2008 (by that world wide banking crash which didn’t happen in your mind). Now when the right wing press, owned by some of those spivs, bully the left into being cowed by the neocon narrative, that’s bad enough. The real damage is done when patsies like you buy into it.

          • salamisausage

            Daisy,
            You’re welcome, glad to be of help.

  • IAS2011

    Firstly, why do potential leaders seek to ‘woo’ the public… with ideas.. policies…etc?

    Shouldn’t it be the case that in order to develop something special – new and refreshing that counters policy failings – leadership needs to ‘Assess’ the failings and challenges it has harnessed from ‘giving a Voice to the public; ‘Analyse’ data collated from community engagement; ‘Develop’ Aspirational policies that are progressive for the people and communities.

    Can we say this form of relationship actually exists between MPs, political leadership… and, in fact, media relationships with the public??

    • salamisausage

      IAS,
      You have hit the nail on its head. The Labour campaign was sunk by all the daft sloganeering aimed at “wooing” segments of the electorate. The “something new” you recommend should be honesty.

  • madasafish

    Labour has a problem… so keen to present unity they all jump over the cliff together.

    And then blame the Leader for being rubbish.. like Burnham and Cooper within less than a fortnight of supporting him 100%.

    Basically many Labour MPs appear to have no courage or cojones (I won’t use the English word for fear of misunderstanding:-).

    Vote for lemmings: and then you are surprised at the results?

    • Patrick Nelson

      That said, dissent in a party in the several months running up to an election is a big vote loser.

      • madasafish

        Ed chose his Core Vote strategy in c 2011. It was rubbish then and it was rubbish all the way. And anyone who did any electoral sums in England could see that.

        I would have expected dissent WAY before an election.. like 2012..

        And then he went on “predators” stuff. By 2013 it was obvious he was a loser. And lots of people said say. But Labour supporters accused them of being “Tories” or “trolls”.

        Which tells you all you need to know about political judgement.

        Any Party which has a choice of Leader – with front runners of Cooper and Burnham has a problem. They are unelectable. by normal standards.. too much baggage.

        Labour at present is inward looking…It does not reach out to non Labour supporters.. and that’s been the reason for this defeat and the likely 2020 defeat.

  • David Carr

    Hmm. Certainly Scottish self-determination was an issue for England, and certainly t stoked (and was deliberately used to stoke a sort of knee-jerk English Nationalism).

    But it goes back well before the election surely? All of the Westminster parties (can we still use that shorthand? I’m discounting The 56) have long been complicit in tipping the wink to a certain degree of British Nationalism, where ‘British’, as ever, tends to mean ‘English’.

    Carole, further down, rightly points out the fine tradition of English Radicalism. But there’s not a lot of that around, is there? (Billy Bragg – and…who…?) but to my eyes that doesn’t much feature in Labour.

    It seems to me, as an admitted outsider, that the problem of English Nationalism is not going to be tackled until all (and I do mean *all*) of the English Westminster parties get out their brooms and sweep it out. They’re still doing the opposite. UKIP’s electoral failings are wholly irrelevant, when set against their enormous success in pulling the political orthodoxy in their direction.

  • Lucy

    I think the uniting policy that could encourage middle England and the cosmopolitans is changing the policy context to enable community enterprises more easily. It feeds the green movement, has a long proud left wing history of cooperatives, helps communities get something for themselves, and encourages both communitarian thinking and agency rather than passivity in the face of globalisation – both culture changes we need to see if people are to engage with a more left wing vision.
    Not only that but it could be something local Labour groups could work on now, both to show that they are useful to their communities and to become familiar with the barriers that communities find so frustrating in setting up community enterprises.
    Imagine, rather than evicting social housing tenants, Labour councils helped them set up alternatives and showed their support for people desperately trying to hold their lives together. We’d be relevant, part of real life and part of the solution in a way that people could see for themselves and so wouldn’t have to read long intellectual debates on how we *could* change the economy.

  • ReynardFx

    without wanting to sound like a career politician Id say economy.aspiration and nationalism (perhaps in that order)

    • Matthew Blott

      If we nail the economy we win. Everything else is noise.

      • ReynardFx

        inclined to agree BUT aspiration has been regarded as a Tory virtue post Thatcher, it doesnt have to be

  • Sunny Jim

    1. Does the swing voter feel Labour will make their family financially better off than under the Tories?

    2. Do they feel public services will be better under Labour?

    2 x ‘Yes’ and the next election is won.

    ‘Yes’ to question 1 and there’s still a chance

    ‘Yes’ to q2 only and it’s not a big enough pool of voters to get a win.

    Simplistic but then so is the mindset of the average voter. Cut out all the crap and guff and focus on getting those two questions.

    • Liza Liza

      I agree need to keep it simple but my two questions would be

      1. Do Labour genuinely want to make my life/the country better
      2. Are the competent enough to do it

      In this case, q2 is probably the one that lost it for labour.

      Most people I speak to hadn’t even looked at policies and voted based on which party/leader they trust the most – or distrust the least.

      The only policies they’ve considered are headline ones that are picked up from press and/or TV – not social media, take note.

      I think we forget, as you say, that ‘we’, as in people BTL discussing what should be done, are not representative of the average voter.

  • paul barker

    Thinking about the election now the dust has partly settled I think Labour was extremely lucky.The polls were wildly out, overestimating Labour & underestimating The Tories. The Tories alone, could afford the expensive private polling which came much closer to the truth but it suited their purposes to keep it to themselves. By playing up the story that the race was on a knife-edge they managed to squeeze The Libdems & get those extra seats to give them a majority.
    Once the polling firms have worked out what went wrong & corrected it we will see just how much real support Labour have.

  • driver56

    The 4 basics of the labour party have never changed since day one. They are
    1.Good Health
    2.Good Education
    3.Decent House
    4.Decent Job
    We as a party can and should have these as the main thrust of all our policies. I believe Yvette Cooper is the only candidate who has grasped this and has the know how to deliver, We should never fear the Tory smears as we can disprove them as quick as the Tory press can throw them. We have a great party but we need to unite it. We should be attractive enough to the ordinary person to have them apply to join us. One member one vote is a good start. we need to reinvigorate the branch system. I believe the whole party can be reinvigorated if we all take part and have our say. I believe we can rise from the wreck better and stronger, wiser. There is a book called Harry’s last stand, It is a modern day version of the ragged trouser philanthropist, I would urge people to read it and learn from it. They say everything is a circle and this book proves it. I say we don’t have to make the same mistakes.

    • salamisausage

      Driver,
      Your four imperatives are common for all political parties, except for those on the extreme left. Most would add a few more: security, fairness, tolerance, etc.
      It is what you do to achieve these imperatives that counts.

  • Gor Don

    When people cast their vote, many now think as much about what it means for their nation and their community as they do about party policies for economic and social justice.
    ————————————
    The above comment has more to do with regionalism, religion, social beliefs and ethnicity. With perhaps more relevance to Roman Catholics, Sikhs, Muslims, blacks and South Asians than white English nationalists.

  • Riversideboy

    As said in my comment on another article. Labour need to go back to Clause Four and implement policy that puts power wealth and opportunity in the hands of the many. It also as another commentator said needs to have confidence in its members who did put forward policy that would reflect that statement such as Rail going back to public ownership and many other ideas that moved money from the few back to the many. Tackling tax fraud and using that money to pay down the deficit by introducing a country by country reporting of profits Bill and fighting for this to become law across Europe.

    • Patrick Nelson

      “Labour needs to go back to Clause Four and implement policy that puts power wealth and opportunity in the hands of the many.”

      Yes that would be a very good (but unlikely) thing indeed, so long as it was done in a context of any real hope of success and not of certain political ruination. I always think that if Labour ever does return to the real Clause 4 it needs be careful to avoid falling into its earlier mistake of coming equate the idea of securing..

      “…for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution, and
      exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.”

      ..solely with centralised state ownership and control, when for most productive human activities independent Cooperativism is a better form of organisation than state ownership. It is also near impossible for independent cooperative enterprises to be sold of to the wealthy by an extremist Capitalist government, thus if a benevolent government wants to rebuild common ownership and extend it beyond rail and utilities etc, I’m sure that nurturing the creation on a plethora of independent cooperatives and and setting them free, hopefully to flourish and grow, is the way…

x

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