My New Year’s resolution is to stop the hard-left lowering the threshold to stand for Labour leader from 15 to five per cent
First published on ProgressOnline | Featured in the Guardian
2016 was obviously a total disaster for those who want to see a Labour government in the not too distant future. Disappointing local election results, coming third in Scotland, losing the European Union referendum and the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn followed by near silence. Since 24 September 2016 there has been little done to unite the party, nothing done to flesh out of policy ideas, campaign days on grammar schools and the NHS were so poor few voters noticed and the Labour leader appears at prime minister’s question time and that’s about it. Labour finishes the year with a 25 per cent standing in the polls – some 17 points behind an unelected Tory leader that is bereft of ideas and vision. Only 18 per cent of the public like our economy team and just 17 per cent our leader. The Corbyn project has clearly failed and many who voted for him, even the second time, are rapidly coming to the same conclusion. (more…)
First published on Progressonline
It seemed clear to me at Labour party conference that Jeremy Corbyn did not know how to lead. His shrill demands for followership are not a replacement for leadership. ‘Unity’ demands something to unite around – a programme, a political strategy and plan for getting Labour into government.
But leadership is also about being both shepherd and sheepdog. Not just setting out a path – which Corbyn is still yet to do – but finding ways to bring the stragglers along with you – which, it seems, he is yet to try. (more…)
First published on Times Redbox
Politics is often guilty of ramping up the rhetoric beyond reality. But not this time. The existential crisis, for that’s what it is, that now grips Labour can only be solved by the parliamentary party showing a level of unity and purpose that is proportionate to the scale of the challenge.
Let’s take a step back and see how we’ve got here. Jeremy Corbyn had never enjoyed the genuine support of more than a couple of dozen of his fellow members of parliament.
The rest who ensured he was on the ballot paper last summer have already expressed buyer’s remorse, if not all as bluntly as Margaret Beckett. (more…)
First published on LabourList
In November I wrote an editorial for Progress magazine headlined We need to talk about… losing’. At the time the Labour Party was telling itself that the fact that 450,000 people voted in a Labour leadership election in September 2015 changed the fact 11.3 million people had voted Tory in May earlier the same year. If the present situation of a prime minister versus a mayor of London heading the opposing sides in the EU referendum serves one purpose, it is to remind us how far from power we are.
Since that editorial we have had the Beckett Report, which failed to ask, let alone answer, key questions about why we fell two million votes short. The former Foreign Secretary’s duty should have been to put on record why Labour lost and sketch out a route back to power regardless of how unpopular that was with the current leader’s office. When the party decides it wants to win again the blueprint for doing so should have been found in the pages of her report. Instead that work will need doing afresh. (more…)
First published in Progress magazine
Richard Angell talks to the former foreign secretary and Labour leadership contender about New Labour, ‘Next Labour’, and building a movement.
It’s the first weekend of David Miliband’s much-anticipated leadership campaign and the candidate is in buoyant mood. ‘I think the resilience of the Labour party, the determination of our voters to see through the money and the media that was being thrown at them, the power of real conversations that were happening in constituencies all around the country are encouraging and a source of pride to each of us’ says the former foreign secretary of this month’s general election results.
But Miliband is hardly sanguine about the scale of Labour’s losses on May 6: ‘It was a bad defeat and we lost more than 95 MPs. In the three southern regions of England we have got 12 MPs out of 209 MPs outside London. We were below 30 per cent of the vote and all this against a Conservative party that was fundamentally unconvincing and not particularly credible nor attractive to the voters.’ In short, he says, the party received ‘a kicking’ and there’s only one response to that: ‘The most important thing when you have been given a kicking, is to respect it, to feel it, recognise it and reflect on it.’ (more…)