Fabian Society

Uncertain times

All of the party’s interventions in the next 12 months should be measured by three tests, writes Progress director, Richard Angell

First published on the Fabian blog

Never has an opposition proved itself so unfit to meet the 12 months ahead of it. Just 12 days into 2017 and two policies have been proposed, critiqued and reversed by the Labour leader himself. In fact, both happened in the same 12 hours.

Whether you see Jeremy Corbyn’s new year relaunch as ‘let Bartlet be Bartlet’ or Trump-lite, it has been laid bare. More importantly it has been found wanting. We had five years with Ed Miliband as ‘his own outrider’. It resulted in him being out on his ear. This cannot last. I predict 2017 will see at least one, if not more, further Corbyn relaunches as the leadership struggles to do enough to show the party it can at least go through the motions.

To end 2017 stronger than it has started might not seem hard but it will require focus. All interventions should meet one of three tests: first, whether it makes the Tories feel the heat; second, whether it changes Labour in the eyes of the voters; or, third and even better, whether it gains Labour new levels of support. (more…)

Politics by People: A new charter for democratic reform

At Fabian Society New Year conference 2017
Saturday, 14 January 2017 | Friends House, 173-177 Euston Road, London, NW1 2BJ

Speakers included:

  • Stella Creasy MP (Walthamstow) – 20.08mins
  • Wayne David MP (Caerphilly) – 15.22mins
  • Katie Ghose (chief executive, Electoral Reform Society) – 5.59mins
  • Richard Angell (director, Progress) – 10.29mins
  • Deborah Mattinson (founder, Britain Thinks) – 1.50mins

A new prime minister, a new president, a new relationship with Europe… and a divided Labour party. After a tumultuous 2016, our January conference looks ahead to a critical year for the UK and asks where next for Britain, and where next for the British left? The morning will focus on the big challenges facing the left: what we believe, who we speak to, and how we win. The afternoon sessions will examine the global dilemmas we face: populism, globalisation and the age of Brexit and Trump. The conference will feature keynote speeches, panel debates and interactive delegate discussions.

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…)

The jury’s out: can the campaigns persuade the ‘undecideds’?

Fabian summer conference
12.30pm, Saturday 21 May 2016
TUC Congress Centre – 28 Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3LS

  • Brendan Chilton (general secretary, Labour Leave)
  • Rachel Barker (Stronger IN)
  • Richard Angell (director, Progress)
  • Nic Conner (Vote Leave)
  • Chair: Felicity Slater (exec member, Fabian Women’s Network)

My article ahead of the event is published on the Fabian blog. The full agenda is published here.

Campaigning and being heard in the new multiparty era

This Labour party conference fringe event was held by the Electoral Reform Society, in partnership with Compass, the Fabian Society and Progress, and discussed the rise of smaller parties and what it means for the way we do politics.

Campaigning in a multi party era audio

It was joined by: Richard Angell (director, Progress), Olivia Bailey (research director, Fabian Society), Katie Ghose (chief executive, Electoral Reform Society) and Neal Lawson (director, Compass), chair: Matthew Goodwin (professor of politics, University of Kent).

Why Labour must win over Tory voters

First published on the Times Redbox

On Wednesday this week, the chancellor George Osborne used the first majority Conservative budget to implement much of the Tories’ manifesto for Britain – and no small part of the Labour one. Labour members of parliament were open-mouthed at the spectacle of a Tory chancellor shaking up ‘non dom’ status. They were in outright shock at his creation of a new minimum wage rate for the over-25s and the audacity of calling it a ‘living wage’.

Many were left simply depressed. As Labour looked on and made its protests about the detail, Tory MP after Tory MP took to the airwaves to repeat the same lines over and over. They were so effective that I can already repeat it verbatim: ‘Moving from a low pay, high tax, high welfare society to a high wage, low tax, low welfare one’. As the comment rolled on there was one statement that never got muttered by Tories of any wing, stripe or faction of the party: ‘that Osborne is just Labour-lite’. (more…)