Huffington Post

Articles by Richard Angell that appear on the Huffington Post

Less Charlie Kennedy And More George Galloway

First published on the Huffington Post

Those of us in the Labour party who have been staunchly sceptical of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership from the beginning often stand accused of not taking him or his supporters seriously enough. At Progress, we are keen to rectify this perception, and apply rigorous intellectual scrutiny to the Corbyn project.

That’s why in this month’s Progress magazine, the main feature – alongside fascinating interviews with shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer and the Labour leader in the House of Lords Angela Smith on holding the government to account over article 50 – is an essay on The Corbynite Ideology.

Rather than the normal ‘it’s all going wrong’ type piece that some have come to expect from Progress – regardless of how fair or true that might be – historian Richard Carr of Anglia Ruskin University looks in depth at the Labour leader’s world view. What Corbyn really believes, who continues to inspire him – spoiler: Tony Benn – and what gets him out of bed in the morning – another spoiler: Stop the War rallies.

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Testing the Tarry approach

First published on the Huffington Post

Managing the Labour party in a United Kingdom general election is surely one of the most difficult campaign jobs in British politics. The daily media cycle, the Murdoch press, the key marginals, pressured candidates, a lack of resources and currently an 18 point polling deficit.

What a relief it must be to those nervous Labour members of parliament looking at that huge Tory lead to know that Dagenham councillor Sam Tarry outlines in a thorough interview with the Huffington Post his desire to run the campaign. (more…)

You cannot win with the Corbyn coterie

First published on the Huffington Post

The first victim of the bullying that surrounds the Jeremy Corbyn leadership personality cult and the associated Momentum crew was not a former leadership candidate or a ‘red Tory’ who served under Gordon Brown – or, worse, Tony Blair’ – but a lovely woman who only joined the House of Commons in 2010. Pat Glass did not support Corbyn over the summer but both served and took promotions (not one, but two) when well-meaning colleagues resigned or were sacked. In January, after Pat McFadden was singled out for calling terrorists ‘adults’ in charge of their own actions, she was asked to replace him, and did. When Lucy Powell resigned, she stepped up to be the shadow education secretary. None of this stopped her local Momentum group standing against and defeating her husband as campaign coordinator of the local party and threatening her with deselection. After two days shadowing Nicky Morgan, she resigned the frontbench and said she will stand down from parliament at the next election. The referendum campaign had been ‘bruising’ and taken too much of a toll. (more…)

Modernising Modernisers

First published on the Huffington Post September 2015; updated 24 September 2016

The result of the Labour leadership election was hurtful – to pretend otherwise would be untrue. I think the candidate that I supported did a brilliant job – tough though her task was. As Jeremy Corbyn said, Liz Kendall ‘absolutely stands up for what she believes in’. Yvette Cooper came out and changed government policy on refugees. Andy Burnham showed he was one of the nicest guys in politics. Congratulations are due to Jeremy Corbyn and his team.

It is horrid losing elections. Internal ones are often more painful. While May’s general election result was hard to take, losing within the party for which you have worked your whole adult life is more personal, especially when your very motive for doing so has been brought so firmly into question. (more…)

Calling it wrong

First published on the Huffington Post

Emily Thornberry, keen to prepare the ground for moving on from the ‘chaos and distraction’ of the leadership election, has written a very private message to all her Islington South and Finsbury Labour followers on Facebook, a message which managed to find its way to the Guardian. It contains a ‘plea’ to her ‘fellow MPs’ to ‘stop the internal division, unite as a party, and take the fight to the Tories together’. Given that Thornberry now occupies a senior position in the party, as shadow foreign secretary, her words matter for how the party regroups after the election result. (more…)

Now More Than Ever, Labour and the Country Need a Pro-European Leader

First published on the Huffington Post

Jeremy Corbyn took the opportunity to visit the European Union at the height of the referendum on Labour’s continued membership of the world’s most successful peace project. Not to make a speech, speak truth to power in Brussels – but to holiday. Portugal saw more of Corbyn than whole regions of England did. The Labour leader didn’t visit the north-east once, where the EU is vital to the economy.

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The Safety of a Gay Bar

First published on the Huffington Post

When I was 18 I worked in a village pub. One evening two customers did not really like my style behind the bar. I did not know what I had done to annoy them and carried on with my tasks, and the evening passed. The two in question were some of the last to leave, something I thought little of at the time. I left at the end of my shift and drove home. Within seconds of leaving the drive my clapped-out Micra was pelted with stones and some very unpleasant words about my sexuality followed in the same direction.

I was not hurt, nor was my little car (not that you would have been able to tell) but I was shaken. Instead of heading to bed I went on auto pilot to a place called Pink Punters. It is Fenny Stratford’s finest, just outside Bletchley/Milton Keynes off the A5. It’s a curious location for a gay bar but it was the scene of many a good night out in my teens. It was a place of joy. On this night, it was a place of safety. (more…)

Modernising markets

First published on the Huffington Post

Labour is in need of a new political economy. Not socialism with an iPad or a Little Red Book, but a radical, transformational and credible view of markets, wages and the wider economic framework. This has got to be the work of everyone who wants a Labour government again. More than that, at a time like this, getting to grips with the big questions surrounding jobs, business and innovation becomes nothing less than an existential question. Can we in Labour rise to this challenge?

For this reason, December’s Progress magazine – which I edit – is dedicated to the issue of ‘responsible capitalism’ and how we grapple with the politics and policy challenges it throws up. (more…)

Why It’s Time to Put the Last Labour Government to Bed

First published on the Huffington Post

BedtimeBeing backward-looking is a curse in politics. We need to know our history, so that we do not repeat the wrong bits. But pining for a bygone era, or looking to recreate something that has been and gone, never works. Worse still it stops you being able to shape the future. As centre-left people who want a Labour government, this is our task.

Today, at the Labour pressure group Progress where I am director, we launch Bedtime our stocktake of the record of the 1997-2010 government. It takes an audit of those thirteen years across five big areas of public policy: the economy, pubic services, welfare, equalities and human rights and foreign policy. We do this not to harp on about bygone days, but to help put those days firmly behind the Labour party – and to play our part in helping it move on. To put behind us, the inheritors to the party’s modernising tradition, once and for all, the idea that we are simply looking to pick up where Tony Blair left off in 2007 or Gordon Brown left off in 2010. (more…)

Modernising modernisers

PROJXXXX_Mag_October_22.09.15_FrontCover_RGB_SFirst published in Progress magazine and on the Huffington Post

The result of the Labour leadership election was hurtful – to pretend otherwise would be untrue. I think the candidate that I supported did a brilliant job – tough though her task was. As Jeremy Corbyn said, Liz Kendall ‘absolutely stands up for what she believes in’. Yvette Cooper came out and changed government policy on refugees. Andy Burnham showed he was one of the nicest guys in politics. Congratulations are due to Jeremy Corbyn and his team.

It is horrid losing elections. Internal ones are often more painful. While May’s general election result was hard to take, losing within the party for which you have worked your whole adult life is more personal, especially when your very motive for doing so has been brought so firmly into question. (more…)