Gordon Brown

Byelection battles

First published on Progressonline for ‘the Last Word’

The final furlong in Copeland and Stoke, the McDonnell amendment and a cutting Brexit intervention by Tony Blair – Richard Angell has this week’s Last Word

Theresa May cannot even back her own policies in Copeland and Paul Nuttall has a problem with the truth in Stoke-on-Trent Central. Labour is set to win both next Thursday. Taking nothing for granted, I will be out in the latter on Sunday and hope you can join me. It is not over until it is over. 

Last week I wrote ‘it seems more important to [Copeland] voters that they save the hospital rather than the Labour party’. If this was wishful thinking by Labour, May has given the choice a huge boost. Considering the prime minister has centuries-long conventions on her side – broken only by Gordon Brown in Glenrothes – the only reason for her to appear in Copeland is to stop the closure of maternity services or defend her cuts to the National Health Service. To stonewall a ITV interviewer is the worst of all worlds, but you will find no complaints here! Paul Waugh at the Huffington Post suggested if Labour wins it will be ‘Theresa what won it’. When voters read the front page of the local paper – the lady’s not for talking – they will not be lost for words. 

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Hammond must face the future

First published on ProgressOnline

Tomorrow is the autumn statement. It is the first economic intervention by the new chancellor since Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. But this is not the statement of a new government. This is the sixth year of this Tory government. What is unclear is if it is George Osborne’s apprentice or outrider that will be delivering the statement in the House of Commons at 12.30pm. There is little now that Philip Hammond can blame on the last Labour government. What he inherits is from Osborne, not Gordon Brown or Alistair Darling.

The sad reality is Britain goes into Brexit in a less than perfect state. The shock still to come to the economy means the fiscal framework will not be met pre, during nor post Article 50 being concluded. Britain’s ability to weather the storm to come is not what it should be. It might not all be of the Tories making, but they have hardly left us in the best place to go it alone. (more…)

Never think we don’t care

Scotland_tour-199x400.jpgFirst published on LabourHame

Ahead of the Progress campaign tour to Scotland’s central belt, Richard Angell – director of Progress and founder of @Lab3seats – outlines why UK Labour are keen to rally round.

The result in Scotland in May 2015 was a blow for everyone in the Labour movement. No one predicted it would be a near total wipeout. In Scotland itself fellow members are left with nearly no parliamentary representation and were plunged into not one but two leadership elections. Now you are straight back in the firing line trying to make the case for Labour against a resilient and insurgent Scottish National party.

You have had to take the loss, feel the pain and do it all again. Doorstep by doorstep. And, if some accounts are true, the environment seems even more aggressive towards us than last May, which in turn was worse than the referendum before it. I hear your pain. (more…)

Bedtime: Time to put the last Labour government to bed

Bedtime

Kitty Ussher, Jacqui Smith, Anne Begg, Stephen Twigg and Mike Gapes assess how Labour did. Richard Angell explains the motivation for this new assessment, and argues that the last Labour government should be the inspiration to be in government again – not the inspiration for the next government.

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Introduction Time to put the last Labour government to bed Bedtime it might be, but only so the Labour movement can awaken as a party of government again, writes Richard Angell

The mantle of credibility Trust in Labour on the economy was hard won, deserved, then needlessly lost, suggests Kitty Ussher

The bedrock of social justice Labour rejected the fatalistic assumption that public services could never really deliver higher standards or fairer access, reflects Jacqui Smith

The escape from poverty Labour made strong progress in the battle against poverty and unemployment, finds Anne Begg

Equality for all We must not forget the equalities legislation passed under the Labour government, writes Stephen Twigg

A more progressive world The new Labour government in 1997 was immediately internationalist in its approach, recalls Mike Gapes

Conclusion Principled and proud The last Labour government should be the inspiration to be in government again, not the inspiration for the next government, argues Richard Angell

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…)

Time for a new tune

First published on LabourList

Nostalgia is to modernising politics, what rust is to iron. Corrosive.

Modernisers in the Labour Party have been dealt a heavy blow. Our candidate Liz Kendall did us proud but the result shows the challenge we face to win over our fellow party members if we want to be able to put our case directly to the British public. (more…)

The truth behind the Tories’ pro-gay rhetoric

First published on Progressonline in the Young progressives column

The Tories have been falling over themselves to demonstrate their new ‘pro-gay’ credentials as a symbol that they are no longer the nasty party. But it is on their more recent record that they should be judged.

Many gay people will never forget that Tory Hate made Section 28, but people cannot deny that the rhetoric at least has changed – Cameron will do interviews with Gay Times, Boris will attend Pride. Though their words have altered, the lobby door they walk through has not! (more…)