Scottish National party

The wrong Jeremy

First published on Progressonline for ‘the Last Word’

The NHS crisis, progressive alliance ploys and Momentum purges – Progress director Richard Angell has this week’s Last Word

Toby Perkins’ speech to the House of Commons this week on the death of his father was not only a brave personal intervention, but also an important contribution to the debate around the National Health Service. That the story he tells comes from the summer of 2016 shows that the current winter crisis in the NHS is no one-off. It is the result of years of Tory mismanagement, of ill-thought through reorganisation and failure to deliver the funding it needs. (more…)

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How IndyRef2 could become BrexitRef2

First published on Progressonline

Nicola Sturgeon believes that preparing the legislation for a second referendum on Scottish independence might be a way of calling Theresa May’s bluff on Brexit and Scotland’s place in the single market. If she tries, the bluff-calling might just be on the other foot.

In her Today programme interview this morning Sturgeon did her best braveheart routine, but the language was noticeably different. She talked about taking ‘control’ and questioned whether the future of the United Kingdom was the constant and status quo that it represented in 2014. Straight out of the Vote Leave script the civic nationalist checked off all the boxes in the English nationalist playbook. Chief Brexiteer Matthew Elliott has since the 23 June poll explained how Vote Leave had to make continuing in the European Union as risking as leaving. It worked. Brexit offers the same possibility for her second referendum – so Sturgeon hopes. (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…)

10 unanswered questions from the Beckett Report

If we don’t ask the right questions, how will we get the right answers?

First published on the Staggers

2015 was painful for Labour. A winnable election in which we failed through decisions, not destiny, to win. Like 2010, had Labour made the right choices, both of those elections could have been very different. Every year of the 21st century so far could have been under a Labour government. Now the pattern of the 20th century looks to be taking hold: Tory rule punctuated by short spurts of Labour.

It does not have to be this way, which is why the unasked – let alone unanswered – questions of the Beckett report must be confronted. I have 10 such questions – one for every seat we won from the Conservatives in May – that need to be addressed, quickly. (more…)

‘I want us to be a governing party’

First published in Progress magazine

‘No one wants to be called a “predator”’. Angela Eagle talks exclusively to Richard Angell and Adam Harrison

The office of the shadow secretary of state for business is no easy place to find. Hidden doors lead to long corridors and spiral staircases as if we have stepped into the magical castle made famous by the Harry Potter series. We find Angela Eagle in her eyrie at the top of a turret, her view a vantage point over the parliamentary estate; it is almost like Eagle is looking out for the party in the current precarious times.

If parliament is Hogwarts, then Eagle as shadow first secretary of state is Professor McGonagall to Jeremy Corbyn’s Dumbledore. The member of parliament for Wallasey is ‘looking forward’ to her ‘first bout with George Osborne’. The appointment means she will step up to do prime minister’s questions when the government puts up the chancellor. (more…)

Five lessons from seven seats

IMG_0182First published on Labour Hame

As the starting gun was fired on the general election campaign, the Progress team visited seven seats in Scotland to help some excellent Labour candidates – all standing for election or re-election for the first time – knock back the Scottish National party and knock out the Conservatives nationally.

Every Labour member of parliament returned to Westminster brings the Labour government that this country so desperately needs ever closer. More SNP MPs leaves only David Cameron rubbing his hands.

It was an exhilarating and exhausting two days as we stretched the three seat challenge (#Lab3seats) model to visit seven seats in 36 hours. It was fascinating for everyone on our tour. 1,078 contacts later, there are some lessons which I think are worth sharing. (more…)