One Nation Labour conference: Liveblog

18th April, 2013 10:52 am

16.50: Cruddas says there’s a real opportunity for Labour to work with the trade unions to build “a more resilient capitalism”

16.44: Kendall says that too often in the past Labour has done things to people not with them.

16.38: Liz Kendall says One Nation is intrinsically about the future, especially in terms of the long term issues surrounding an ageing population in his policy area of social care.

16.31: Duncan Leary from Demos says that the problem with an idea like One Nation is that everything becomes “One Nation”, unless it’s clearly defined what it means.

16.20: Cruddas also says establishing major policies now would be “putting the cart before the horse” – and that the scale of the defeat means the party must aim for a significant change.

16.16: Cruddas says there’s a “quiet revolution” and a “cultural reformation” around the way the party is campaigning – especially in terms of moving towards community organising and away from a pure Voter ID model.

16.10: Apologies for the lack of updates in the last 90 minutes – but I’m back online ready for the final session on “Building One Nation Labour Politics”, which includes Jon Cruddas. Whilst I was offline there was a debate on one Nation Society – one of the contributors to that session, Claire Annesley, has written a piece for us which you can see here.

14.37: Glasman says that the financial bailout was “the greatest transfer of money from poor to rich since the Norman Conquest”.

14.17: An intervention from the back of the hall that’s worthy flagging up – a former Kinnock staff member (I’m afraid I didn’t catch the name) says that One Nation was often inserted into Kinnock speeches but was always removed.

14.05: Glasman says that Gordon Brown was wrong to argue that Labour’s purpose was to save the global banking system. He argues instead that “The purpose of the Labour movement is to give hope to people who don’t have it.”

14.04: That Mark Wickham-Jones piece I mentioned earlier is now up on the site – you can read it here.

13.59: Glasman says that 6 weeks after 1066 98% of the freehold in England was held by 12 Frenchmen, and it has been pretty much uphill ever since.

13.51: Glasman says that “things can only get better” was an inaccurate slogan as that’s not necessarily true. It’s still very popular at Labour Students disco at party conference, but I’m not sure Maurice knows that.

13.50: Glasman says “Labour has to learn to have more conversations with human beings, without interrupting them in the first sentence to tell them they’re wrong.”

13.49: Next up is Maurice Glasman, who says he’s going to talk about the return of Labour organising.

13.44: Wickham-Jones says One Nation was a constant theme for Labour from 1994-1999, and was emphasised in the publication “New Britain”. But this shouldn’t be overstated, there’s shared language, but not a shared platform. They also share a concern with division.

13.39: Wickham-Jones says Ed Miliband’s conference speech can be described as 2010: Difficult 2011: Much improved 2012: orientated to One Nation Labour

13.37: Mark Wickham-Jones is first up in this session, and notes – to the amusement of the audience – that One Nation labour was being mentioned back in 1995 by the party’s then Deputy lead John Prescott. Wickham-Jones has written a piece on the origins of One Nation labour, which we’ll be posting this afternoon.

13.36: And we’re back. The next session is “Blue and Red in One Nation Labour” – featuring Maurice Glasman, which could be revealing…

12.24: It’s lunchtime at the One Nation conference – I’ll be back at 1.30, when Maurice Glasman is speaking…

12.11: Blond says that what people value is “equity not equality” and that people want to feel that they get out of society what they put in. However that assumes, as Labour people on the whole don’t, that the market can perfectly reward people for their efforts or (perhaps more importantly) that the market and society provide everything with the opportunity to contribute.

12.04: “Forgive me if I get a bit philosophical” says Blond. It’s like he’s reading my mind…

12.01: The issue with the points Blond is making is that they are incredibly abstract. That’s par for the course in academic terms, but it’s still quite hard to take any clear policy ideas from it… Essentially, it sounds like he’s suggesting a sort of small c-conservatism that sounds rather like large C conservatism (but not, it must be said, Thatcherism). Even my description sounds abstract, doesn’t it?

11.58:Blond asks if the Left can think of Universalism differently – not that everyone gets the same, but that everyone gets what they need. He suggests that a true One Nation Labour approach would be more personalist, less centralised and more local.

11.56: Red Tory Phillip Blond is up next. He says that One Nation was destroyed by the Left – and the economic liberalism of 1979. He’s arguing that Socialism existed pre-Marx, and that it doesn’t need to be about centralism.

11.45: As well as covering today’s conference, we’re also publishing pieces around the idea of One Nation today – first up is Kate Green, who takes a look at polling, and the need for clarity of purpose from Labour about what we believe.

11.35: Fine says One Nation Labour has so far been about mitigating division, but nation rhetoric, she argues, always involves having to decide who is included within the nation. And of course, who is excluded?

11.25: Sarah Fine from King’s College London is now responding to Kenny. She suggests One Nation Labour should be interested in (and perhaps exists in) where Red meets Blue – where change and conservation intertwined.

11.19: Kenny says Labour’s reluctance to engage with Englishness could be costing it dear. He argues that there are Labour politicians – like Jon Cruddas, John Denham and David Blunkett – who are engaged with the idea of Englishness and its importance, but they are exceptions.

11.15: Mike Kenny’s analysis of Englishness and its importance to Labour policy shouldn’t be understated. As well as being invited to this (Labour policy review organised) conference, Kenny also wrote this for Jon Cruddas’s week of Guest Editing LabourList.

11.12: Mike Kenny from Queen Mary University says that there is section of English society who feel unhappy with both unions of which they are members – the UK and the EU. He also warns that we shouldn’t get too carried away with state-backed one off patriotic events like the Olympics, which are atypical.

11.05: Wood’s speech has finished, so we’re now moving onto the first panel discussion of the day on “Labour, England and One Nation”.

11.00: Wood says “it can’t be right” to have individuals living a hundred yards apart and have no common link between them, as was the case in areas hit by the London riots last year.

10.54: Wood says that government action under the Tories – and Labour – became about supporting those at the bottom of society as a means of rectifying the failure of the Labour market. He says we need to change the nature of markets to “bake in” equality – but that won’t be easy and won’t be acheived in four or five years.

10.50: Wood says that One Nation Labour is about attacking division in society and a supply side revolution from the Left. He also argues that we need a new settlement on how to “pay our way in the world” but rejects Cameron and Osborne’s strategy of a “deregulatory race to the bottom”. He says we need to “explicitly challenge the trickle down approach” and aim for “a different kind of growth”.

10.45: Welcome to our liveblog from the One Nation Labour conference. We’ll be covering all of the speeches and debates throughout the day. Up first is Lord Stewart Wood – Ed Miliband’s consigliere and Shadow Cabinet member.

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