New Statesman

Articles by Richard Angell that appear on the New Statesman blog, The Staggers

What Jeremy Corbyn should say to Michel Barnier

Jeremy-Corbyn-Chatham-HouseKeeping the UK in the single market is worth fighting for.

First published on The New Statesman

Jeremy Corbyn travels to Brussels today to meet Michel Barnier, the European Union’s chief negotiator. What he says in the meeting really matters. (more…)

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Language matters if you want LGBT politicians to succeed

LGBT candidates perform well at election time, but have to contend with dog whistle politics.

First publish on the Staggers

In the run-up to the 2010 general election, I presented a paper to the committee of the organisation LGBT Labour to set up a fund to help openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans candidates standing for parliament. While there were considerable barriers for LGBT people being selected, the message continually coming back from those who had tried to get selected was that members feared how an openly LGBT would be viewed by the electorate at large. We therefore decided to use the funds raised not to help with selections but to offer a financial dividend to the local party: if you select an openly LGBT candidate they will have additional resources to help put their argument forward. It was joking referred to as “Dorothy’s List” but when we realised it was raising considerable sums of money it was formally renamed the “Chris Smith List” This was in honour of the former cabinet minister who in 1985 made history when he told an assembled crowd in Rugby: “Good afternoon, I’m Chris Smith, I’m the Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury and I’m gay.” (more…)

Labour has to give people something to hope for, not just offer despair

Labour’s latest party political broadcast is well-made, moving – but politically, a repeat of the old failed strategy. 

First published on the Staggers

The latest Labour party political broadcast is well-made and clear in its message. It is, in fact, the video Ed Miliband should have released. It is a brilliant manifestation of the 35 per cent strategy: if you hate the Tories or are hard done to by the Tories, vote Labour. It is better than much of what Miliband put out over the last five years, and it gives a personal touch to what Labour was putting in press releases. (more…)

10 unanswered questions from the Beckett Report

If we don’t ask the right questions, how will we get the right answers?

First published on the Staggers

2015 was painful for Labour. A winnable election in which we failed through decisions, not destiny, to win. Like 2010, had Labour made the right choices, both of those elections could have been very different. Every year of the 21st century so far could have been under a Labour government. Now the pattern of the 20th century looks to be taking hold: Tory rule punctuated by short spurts of Labour.

It does not have to be this way, which is why the unasked – let alone unanswered – questions of the Beckett report must be confronted. I have 10 such questions – one for every seat we won from the Conservatives in May – that need to be addressed, quickly. (more…)

Labour has to be honest about the hole that it’s in

First published on The Staggers

Labour suffered a “hidden landslip” at the polls last week. Getting out of the hole requires some frank conversations.

Let us be in no doubt how bad last week’s result was. We lost – I repeat – lost eight seats to the Tories, and of the 88 seats we were targeting to win from the Tories we gained just 10 and reduced their majority in only a further 10.

Our prospects at the next election now look more distant than ever. Had we this time around gained 3,000 net votes per seat from our closest rival we would have gained 49 seats. Next time, if we rose 3,000 net votes against seats’ new majorities we would gain just 24. Just as Joan Ryan identified the ‘hidden landslide’ – 2005 seats won from Labour by the Conservatives which massively increased their majorities against us in 2010 – this time we witnessed the ‘hidden landslip’  of our party sliding further away in the seats we need to win just to get near a majority. The Staggers’ own Stephen Bush has calculated the large swings Labour would now need to secure in target seats if it is to return in 2020. (more…)