Rachel Reeves

‘Never more relevant’

Rachel Reeves tells Richard Angell and Conor Pope the subject of her book, Alice Bacon, would have a clear message for today’s moderates

First publish in Progress magazine

The Labour party is full of people whose stories never get heard. Who put in the hours, sit in the rooms where decisions are made and make sure that change happens. They make the history, but are often not recorded in it.

Alice Bacon is one of those people. She was a Labour parliamentarian for almost 50 years, 25 of them as a member of parliament, was a minister in the Harold Wilson government of the 1960s and sat on the National Executive Committee for almost three decades. Having grown up in a working-class community in Yorkshire and working as a teacher before her election, she was an early and tireless champion of comprehensive education, as well as a feared operator – earning the nickname ‘terror of the Trotskyites’ from Denis Healey. She was firmly against attempts to liberalise drug laws but key – alongside her boss at the Home Office Roy Jenkins – to the big liberalising battles of the 1960s, especially on abortion. (more…)

Marshalling for the ‘missing million’

First published on Progressonline

The priority of every Labour politician on television, radio and local media must be to make clear that the government has made a choice on tax credit cuts, that there is still time to change their minds, and that just a two year delay – elequently pointed out by Rachel Reeves yesterday – could limit the impact for so many.

However, in their constituencies, local parties and liaison with councillors and officials, the priority for Labour’s representatives must be electoral registration. Finding the ‘Missing Million’ could make a huge difference to the country, the poorest people and the fortunes of the Labour party. (more…)