May’s weakness exposed, leadership in local government and an impressive start for Open Labour – Progress director Richard Angell has this week’s Last Word
The Tories in 2015 told Britain not to vote Labour because Ed Miliband would be a disaster for the economy and he would be pushed around by Nicola Sturgeon. If it was not for the fact that the National Health Service was in crisis and the government’s only idea for improving schools is to bring back grammars, you might have to pinch yourself to remember who won.
The morning after Sturgeon ambushed the country and announced her intention to legislate for a second referendum on Scottish independence, the Times ran with a government source saying: ‘This timing is completely unacceptable … it would be irresponsible to agree to it and we won’t.’ If half of what the first minister said about being kept in the dark about how Brexit might proceed is true, the fault in many ways lies with Theresa May and her operation in No 10.
May likes to maintain that her ‘thoughtful’ style is a strength and shows that she is considered. It is anything but. The weakness of No 10 and her inability to know her own mind is why so much of Brexit is still unclear and why she cannot show her own colleagues, let alone parliament or the devolved administrations, the respect and consideration they deserve. (more…)
A picture of Ed Miliband appears on the wall in the Australian Labor party campaign headquarters. Above the sign reads “don’t be them”. United Kingdom Labour’s high expectations and crushing defeat in 2015 had huge implications for social democrats the world over. No more so for our older sister party down under. At the time they knew a general election was due within 18 months and that while they were up against an unpopular Tory party that had just suffered a big defeat. Yet the whole party had been entangled in a huge personality battle between the previous government’s biggest figures. Sound familiar?
So why have the ALP turned their fortunes around so quickly and brought themselves to the brink of government in less than three years of opposition? (more…)
It all feels very personal. It is not that I cannot believe it or that I hate my fellow country-folk. But I do worry about what our country is becoming. Leaving the European Union is a body blow to Britain, as we are seeing in the markets. I respect the decision but think it was a very wrong one for everyone.
On the tube this morning a group of friends were talking about Brexit, Boris and Trump in the same worrying breath. A mixed race guy told his friend that he ‘felt like an illegal immigrant in his own country’. The first cross word I have ever had with my grandma was over this divisive referendum and Facebook seems full of families arguing about who took what side. There is an unrest in the air that this decision is fuelling not quelling. (more…)
Never again should Labour play fast and loose with working people’s lives
The Labour party is full of idealists; it is one of the things I like about it most. But its ability to wish the situation to be better than it is sometimes has no bounds. Ed Miliband’s Labour party had this in abundance. Central to all this was one assumption: that the economic crash had moved the centre-ground to the left; that, because markets had failed, people’s trust in an all-powerful state had been restored. There was almost no grounding for this theory, other than wishing it so. The very reason Labour was in opposition was because the voters, following the crash, had replaced Labour with David Cameron’s pro-austerity Conservative party. No incumbent centre-left party in office since the crash has been re-elected across Europe, yet the centre-right in Germany and elsewhere has been. France was the only place the left was winning, but that has hardly gone to plan or been a model for British social democracy. (more…)
Episode 2 of Head To Tozer is here! Watch Ben Tozer interview the director of Progress – Labour’s progressives, Richard Angell.
We are rhubarbTV. It’s an acronym. Royal Holloway’s Unique Broadcasting and Recording Brand. And that is exactly what we do, broadcast and record. We aim to cover an array of events both on and off campus in order for clubs and societies to reach a stronger audience with what it is that they do.
At the Fabian New Year Conference 2016 titled ‘Facing the Future‘ I was asked to join a panel of excellent speakers to debate and take questions on how Labour wins in 2016.
Saturday 16 January 2016, 9.15am-5pm
Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL
The mountain to climb: how does Labour win in the 2020s? Richard Angell (director, Progress), Ellie Mae O’Hagan (journalist), James Morris (partner, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research), Olivia Bailey (research director, Fabian Society), Chair: George Eaton (political editor, New Statesman)
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…)
‘In May we lost everywhere to everybody‘ was the verdict of former policy chief Jon Cruddas after Labour’s second avoidable but disastrous defeat. Labour lost Scotland, eight seats to the Tories – including one never held by anyone but Labour, Gower – and saw the Tory majority increase in 68 of the 88 target seats where we faced David Cameron’s party. We won just 10 seats from the Conservatives, and reduced their majority in a further 10.
The 10.01pm exit poll put large swaths of the party into shock. Still wrapped in the post-trauma tin foil blanket, the result is still seeping in, as are the consequences. Labour still has not issued an apology to the 9.3 million who voted Labour and wanted an end to the bedroom tax, the zero-hour contracts, the selling-off of the NHS to the lowest bidder. Those who relied on a Labour government to change, not just their immediate lives, but their whole trajectory, are left in pain on the sidelines. Some at least have Labour members of parliament, councils or councillors who can be on hand to help; too many have no one on their side. (more…)
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…)