‘What’s the definition of the Soviet Union?’
‘Well, it’s where the workers pretend to work, and the bosses pretend to pay them.’
Of all the many jokes about the Soviet times that I heard during the three years that I lived in St Petersburg, this was probably my favourite. Why? Because that one short punch line tells you all you need to know about why so many Russians are so deeply cynical about rules, systems and institutions.Read more
(Photo Credit: The Times News Syndication)
Progress, Written by Stephen Kinnock and Joe Jervis
Labour’s next big social democratic project must be to unite our fractured nation
Britain has so much going for it – economically, democratically and culturally. Yet as a country we find ourselves more divided and polarised than at any time since the second world war. Young versus old, graduate versus non-graduate, city versus town – these have become the faultlines upon which modern Britain is built.Read more
Photo: The Times / News Syndication
Imagine driving through central London, at rush hour, with no traffic lights. Imagine the Merseyside derby (the fixture that has seen more red cards than any other in British football) being played without a referee. Imagine flights trying to land at Heathrow without any air traffic controllers. It probably would not end well, would it?
And now imagine that Britain exits the European Union with no Article 50 deal, and no prospect of a trade deal -– the so-called World Trade Organisation (WTO) option.
Much as we have all wished, even if just for a moment, that the offside rule did not exist, or that we could just jump that red light, ultimately we always come to see the value of rules, systems and the institutions that oversee them.Read more
Over the course of the last parliament the Labour party made several attempts to create a new narrative on the economy, and to stimulate a debate around the role of business within that narrative. Phrases such as ‘responsible capitalism’ and ‘pro-business, but not pro-business as usual’ were the watchwords. But they failed to gain traction, and the broad perception across the British electorate on 7 May was that the Labour party was lacking competence on the economy, and was somehow ‘anti-business’.Read more
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.Read more
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?Read more