Liz Kendall

Jim McMahon is a man to watch

Council leader and Labour’s byelection candidate

First published on the Times Redbox

“Labour’s recovery will come through local government,” remarked Liam Byrne in his speech to Policy Network on Tuesday, predicting a 1930s return to “municipal socialism” and the days when Herbert Morrison clawed Labour back to credibility as leader of the London county council.

For those despondent about a Labour recovery, there is good news. We do not need to wait. Since Labour left the Whitehall stage, a generation of exceptional local government leaders have come to the fore. They are dynamic, innovative and charting an exceptional path for Labour. In the most challenging fiscal environment they are creating jobs, transforming services and winning powers from central government. However, the parliamentary party has yet to find a way to harness this energy. (more…)

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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 hard left is not the heart of this party

First published on LabourList

The debate goes that Jeremy Corbyn is the heart, Liz Kendall is the head. He speaks to true Labour values. The latter can convince once-Tory voters – critical to Labour’s future prospects – back to our party. The others split the difference.

Many appear excited at the politics Corbyn’s is giving voice to. But the reality is that what he represents is not pure form of Labour politics but an extreme one.

Corbynistas, neo-Bennites, or just simply Bennites and I want the same ends: a fair and equality society where the postcode you are born in does not determine the achievements of your life. That much we can agree on. (more…)

Burnham and Cooper must move towards the centre

First published on the Times Redbox

The chances of Jeremy Corbyn seizing the Labour leadership have consumed the debate this week. Corbyn will not become leader of the Labour party. Instead, what is currently being missed is the impact that he is having on the race: dragging Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper to a position that could win them this selection, but not the 2020 election. (more…)

Gone are the days you can tack left to win the party and then to the centre to win the country

Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper should be careful about trying to court Jeremy Corbyn’s second preferences

First published on Independent Voices

The six o’clock news led with the story that 35 of Jeremy Corbyn’s parliamentary colleagues had seen fit to put him on the ballot paper to be Labour’s new leader. Shortly after a family member rang me to ask: “Is he a serious candidate?”

David Cameron’s time as leader of the opposition was characterised by symbols – hug a hoodie, huskies on the polar ice cap and the like. Labour seems to be offering its own symbols to the electorate. Harriet Harman’s attempts to move Labour towards the centre – and therefore towards the voters – on the difficult issues of welfare and cuts will be one. The party’s recoiling from her position will be another – and not in a good way. Anything making Corbyn appear as a serious contender will compound matters. Reports of private polling suggesting he could win or secure a place in the shadow cabinet if he does not win, will bring home the point. In a race that is inspiring to so few, these facts risk scaring so many we need to win back. (more…)

Labour leadership interview special

Labour-leadership-specialRichard Angell and Adam Harrison speak exclusively to all the leadership candidates for Progress magazine

‘The best antidote to anti-politics is grown-up politics’

First published in Progress magazine

Labour needs to be at the heart of a broad campaign to stay in Europe, Chuka Umunna tells Richard Angell and Adam Harrison

Thought by many to be one of the strongest contenders for the Labour leadership election, it was a surprise when Chuka Umunna withdrew from the contest. Now out of the glare of the spotlight, we took time to catch up with Labour’s shadow secretary of state for business after arguably Labour’s worst defeat. (more…)