working class

The class pay gap

First published on Progressonline for ‘the Last Word’

Alan Milburn leading the way on social mobility, Clive Lewis’ campaign team, May’s US speech and Holocaust Memorial Day  – Richard Angell has this week’s Last Word

Alan Milburn is doing the Labour party’s job for it … again. His work on social mobility continues to chart a path towards achieving Labour’s historic mission: breaking the link between the postcode you are born into and where you end up in life. In fact, few in Labour other than Milburn have looked seriously at how to tackle social mobility in the United Kingdom. The only exception I can think of is Tristram Hunt’s work on character education, that he commended back to the party in his recent letter resigning from the House of Commons. Based on a report commissioned by the all-party parliamentary group on social mobility and conducted by the Education Policy Institute. Ed Miliband, who never gave a speech on the issue or primary or secondary education in all the time her was leader of the opposition, had such low regard for the issue ‘there was more in Labour’s 2015 manifesto on handrails in old people’s homes than education’, an extremely frustrated Hunt told a post-general election Progress audience. (more…)

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Opening selections back up to working people

First published by ProgressOnline

I was really pleased to see Paul Cotterill write a reply to my recent article, Selective Memory, on the increased time and financial costs recently added by the organisational subcommittee of the NEC to Labour’s selections process.

In the piece I argue that Labour should establish two principles when developing its selection process. First, that the part of the process with the membership list, where aspiring candidates need to go door-to-door, fit into statutory holiday entitlement, time off for working people so hard won by the trade unions and the Labour government. Second, that aspiring candidates shouldn’t have to incur costs before being guaranteed a place on the shortlist and the right to make a speech to the whole membership. (more…)

Selective memory

First published in Progress magazine

New rules will not bring more working-class candidates

Last year’s conference saw Labour adopt a rule change which pledged it to ‘select more candidates who reflect the full diversity of our society … and to increase working-class representation’. In its first meeting of the new year, Labour’s organisation subcommittee of the National Executive Committee set about implementing this new rule.

The need to increase working-class representation has been recently reiterated by Ed Miliband, and endorsed by figures from across the party. From Unite general secretary Len McCluskey to former home secretary Alan Johnson, everyone agrees that we need a more diverse mix of people elected to parliament. (more…)