Yvette Cooper

May in meltdown

First published on Progress Online for The Last Word

May’s weakness exposed, leadership in local government and an impressive start for Open Labour – Progress director Richard Angell has this week’s Last Word

The Tories in 2015 told Britain not to vote Labour because Ed Miliband would be a disaster for the economy and he would be pushed around by Nicola Sturgeon. If it was not for the fact that the National Health Service was in crisis and the government’s only idea for improving schools is to bring back grammars, you might have to pinch yourself to remember who won. 

The morning after Sturgeon ambushed the country and announced her intention to legislate for a second referendum on Scottish independence, the Times ran with a government source saying: ‘This timing is completely unacceptable … it would be irresponsible to agree to it and we won’t.’ If half of what the first minister said about being kept in the dark about how Brexit might proceed is true, the fault in many ways lies with Theresa May and her operation in No 10. 

May likes to maintain that her ‘thoughtful’ style is a strength and shows that she is considered. It is anything but. The weakness of No 10 and her inability to know her own mind is why so much of Brexit is still unclear and why she cannot show her own colleagues, let alone parliament or the devolved administrations, the respect and consideration they deserve.  (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