An economy of purpose and resilience

Until we win the war of ideas, the policies will fail Labour’s recent travails over the fiscal charter were a ‘Groundhog Day’ moment. Back in July we fell right into George Osborne’s traps around the welfare bill; fast-forward three months and there we were again, disappearing down another hole that had been dug by the chancellor, only this time right beneath the fiscal charter. On both occasions Osborne successfully exploited the fact that the Labour party is lacking a cohesive alternative economic strategy, and every day that goes by without clarity offers the chancellor an opportunity to continue to play his games. The debacles of the welfare bill and the fiscal charter have taught us, in no uncertain terms, that cohesion is a pre-condition for credibility. Continue reading

Check The Reality, Re-capture The Essence

IWA On 7 May a sickening feeling spread through the Labour Party. It started with the exit poll and continued through to the early hours of the morning as it became clear that David Cameron was going to command a parliamentary majority. The picture across the UK was mixed: a boost in London but obliterated in Scotland and soundly beaten across most of middle England. The Welsh result was equally as mixed: gains in Cardiff Central but the Vale of Clwyd and the Gower, held by Labour for over 100 years, both lost. Overall the Labour vote went up in Wales but so too did the Plaid, Tory, Green and UKIP vote, and UKIP became the third party in Wales. If in England Labour were too left wing and in Scotland Labour were not left wing enough, then where exactly did we sit in Wales? Continue reading

Winning The Game Of Shadows

Threatening force against Assad would lead to an explosive stand-off with Russia and Iran, whilst bombing Isis in Syria now would represent a triumph of tactics over strategy. Only pro-active diplomacy can resolve this crisis. For some time the Syria debate has revolved around whether or not UK military power should be deployed against Isis. This week, however, the focus seems to have shifted to the imposition of a no bombing zone, to be underpinned by the threat of using force against President Assad and/or the Russians. That is grasping at tactical straws when the compelling need is for effective strategy. Continue reading

The time to renew, not to retreat

Progress Online Throughout his impressive and highly effective leadership campaign Jeremy Corbyn made it clear that he wants a truly open, inclusive and constructive conversation about the future of the Labour party: how can we craft an inspiring new vision and narrative? What should our new policy priorities be? How can we regain the trust of the British people, become an effective opposition, and ultimately return to government in 2020? Continue reading

Renew, not Retreat

Labour List Only Labour can build a United Kingdom of Purpose, Patriotism and Resilience When the exit poll appeared on our screens at 10pm on 7 May, the floor gave way beneath the Labour Party. Like me, every candidate, activist and supporter across the country felt a sickening sense of disappointment and disbelief. It got worse than we all feared at that moment. We got a majority Conservative government. Continue reading

We Must Not Go Back To Wilderness Years Of 1980s

Sun On Sunday When the exit poll appeared on our screens at 10pm on May 7, the floor gave way beneath the Labour Party. Like me, every candidate, activist and supporter felt a sickening sense of disappointment and disbelief. It got worse than we all feared – when we got a majority Conservative Government. Where did it all go wrong? For me, the fundamental weakness in our last five years was we talked a lot about what we were against but little about what we were for. We rightly expressed our outrage about growing inequality and injustice but did not speak enough to people’s hopes or ambitions. Continue reading

A New Nation

Jeremy Corbyn’s meteoric rise to the leadership has had a profound and far-reaching impact on the Labour Party, and on the political landscape more broadly. Throughout his impressive and highly effective leadership campaign Jeremy made it clear that he wishes to initiate a truly open, inclusive and constructive conversation about the Labour Party’s future: how can we craft an inspiring new vision and narrative? What should our new policy priorities be? What needs to be done if we are to construct a plan that will enable the Labour Party re-gain the trust of the British people, become an effective opposition, and ultimately return to government in 2020? A New Nation: building a United Kingdom of Purpose, Patriotism and Resilience is my ‘starter for ten’ contribution to the debate that Jeremy has launched. In it I argue that the UK’s economic, social and constitutional foundations are cracking beneath our feet, and that the Labour Party now has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to set out a reform programme that is ambitious, radical, and built to last. Continue reading