We need a commitment to radical devolution from the Labour leadership candidates

by Alex Croft

Winning back Remain and Leave voters. Rebuilding the ‘Red Wall’. Appealing to Britain’s working-class. Just some of the claims from the Labour Party leadership candidates as the campaigns to replace Jeremy Corbyn heat up.

As the ballots land this week, Boris Johnson’s Government is busy veering left on major issues facing the country – speaking to parts of the electorate in the North of England which put their trust in the Tories for the first time. HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail for example – two critical components of the UK’s future transport network – have been spun as evidence Boris Johnson is delivering on his election promise to ‘level up’ the country.

During Labour’s time in office the North received record levels of investment, including devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The leadership candidates should be shouting loud and proud about how they are going to build on the successful elements of devolution and rectifying the parts that do not work for some parts of Britain.

‘Taking back control’ and the ‘left behind’ towns have become synonymous with the UK’s decision to leave the EU. But what is the magic potion required to build the coalition of voters needed to win the next General Election? Labour’s leadership contenders should commit to full throttle fiscal devolution – giving the North a ‘Barnett’ type formula so local leaders make decisions which are in the best interests of local people. For too long working people have been tired of Ministers and bureaucrats making decisions from behind their desks in SW1, which have a major impact on places like Merseyside. Devolution will help the party get closer to people – making sure their ideas or concerns are listened to rather than ignored by elected representatives. Giving voters the power to create their own destiny is an ambition which should not be scoffed at or, indeed, underestimated.

Local leaders in the North West have always banged the drum for greater decision making. Metro Mayors, Mayors and Leaders have all expressed a burning desire for more powers from Whitehall. After all, how it can be right that outcomes for residents in the Liverpool City Region are produced over 300 miles away in Westminster?

Keir Starmer, Lisa Nandy and Rebecca Long-Bailey promise to possess the recipe for all of Labour’s woes. But if the party wants to face up to its worst election defeat since the 1930s, giving people the chance to have a proper say over their own lives – through radical fiscal and economic devolution – would be a step in the right direction. All of the candidates should follow Labour’s lead locally by making that commitment.

Alex Croft is a campaigner and former political adviser to Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram. 

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12 Responses to “We need a commitment to radical devolution from the Labour leadership candidates”

  1. Lee River says:

    Great piece. Parliament and Gov departments should be devolved to the regions and cities too.

  2. Tafia says:

    Winning back Remain and Leave voters.

    The only way you will win back Leave voters is to stop interfering in it, support it fully without reservation and renounce any attempt to rejoin.

    Trouble is, Remain (which is a bollocks position – we are out so you can’t Remain) will abandon you if you do that, where as Leave won’t come back to you unless you do.

    As for the Red Wall. that is easy:-

    Stop thinking you know better how people should live their lives. You don’t.

    Stop telling your core voters they are wrong – they are not, you are.

    Do what they want you to do, not what you want to do – and don’t be so arrogant that you think you know what they want or what’s best for them.

    Your ex-core vote up in the Red Wall wants low tax, small government, tightly controlled immigration. Unless you move to that position you are pissing in the wind.

  3. Anne says:

    Good article. Both Andy Burnham and Steve Rotherham have been successful Regional Metro Mayors. Once the leadership elections are complete – the leader elect should then support the Mayoral candidates in the upcoming elections – these are important posts.
    How many weeks is it since the general election? – to think we have another 4 – 5 years of this disastrous government is truly a nightmare.
    Are we supposed to celebrate Johnson’s news of becoming a father again for the sixth or seventh time (does he know how many children he actually has). Hardly good dad material- do we ever see any of his children visiting him? If he can’t look after his own children how is he supposed to look after the nation. It is said Johnson is to chair the Cobra committee regarding the Corona virus – this is hardly reassuring with his blustering limited knowledge of infection control – help us all.

  4. Tafia says:


    to think we have another 4 – 5 years of this disastrous government is truly a nightmare.
    Unemployment down.
    Employment up.
    Wages rising faster than inflation.
    GDP rising.
    Housing market stable.
    Energy costs falling.
    etc etc etc
    Long may the ‘disaster’ continue.

    chair the Cobra committee
    For God’s sake this is supposed to be a serious blog. There is no such thing as the Cobra committee. COBRA is a room – Cabinet Office Briefing Room A. There is also a COBRB, COBRC etc etc Meetings take place in COBRA all the time. Some are chaired by the PM, some by Ministers, some by Civil Servants. The make-up of each meeting depends on what is being discussed.

    Can’t be bothered with the rest of what you wrote, it’s all rubbish.

  5. Anne says:

    Oh dear, seem to have hit a note of truth with someone. Perhaps they recognise some similarities – Tory Party is full of bullies.

  6. Vern says:

    Anne, you would do well to read Tafia’s entries over the past 5 years. Tafia is one of the few reasons that I still tune in to Labour Uncut. I don’t know who Tafia is but His/Her commentary is usually a well balanced view point. I imagine it comes from being “grounded” and a realist who listens to others and observes what is really happening out there.
    If I read your posts Anne, my initial thoughts are that they look like and sound like a Guardian headline or something Long BAiley, Burgon or Mcdonell might say. The Guardian is Lazy biased journalism loaded with hate, fuelling division in society.
    Personally, I read from multiple sources including newspapers with a Labour, Conservative and Liberal viewpoints. It helps to find balance.

    If you read what Tafia wrote and then your own words again you may find Tafia has the high ground here.

    The Tory Party is full of bullies- again, just let that sink in for a bit. You may hate them Anne, and hate is clearly distorting a sensible view but do you genuinely believe it is “full” of bullies?
    Over the past 20 years Labour would easily trump most parties on bullying!

  7. John P Reid says:

    Sure all parties have bullies
    Difference is when labour people mess to ur kiss the argument
    They dont say they’ve been bullied to save face
    And the Tories are better at winning elections

  8. John P Reid says:

    Labour has suspended Trevor Philips for revealing there’s Muslim grooming gangs
    We’re finished

  9. Tafia says:


    Just so you have an insight into my background.
    Originally from N Wales
    Raised on a run-down council estate in the north west as one of four to an abandoned mother, via the 1970s social security system – which was real poverty.
    Spent time in local authority care
    Passed 11+ and went to grammar, left at 16 with 6 O Levels
    Have a degree equivalent in Business Administration.
    Served a full 22 years in the Army as a combat infantryman ( I know Tory MP Bob Stewart – an outstanding officer and gentleman)
    Knew the disgraced Labour MP phil woolas
    Mother is a friend of Neil Kinnock
    Testified at the Hague in war crimes trials over Bosnia as a technical witness
    Did low level intelligence in Northern Ireland
    Have worked in Police, Army, agricultural labourer, building labourer, warehousing, pub licensee, database loading, tele-sales, specialist security.
    Total time out of work since leaving school in 1975 – 10 days. I am very strong work ethic – if there is a job you are capable of doing – even if you hate it, its better than the dole and you must do it. If you are capable of work and there is work, then work you must.
    Have been a member of and activist in Young Socialists, Labour, SWP, Plaid Cymru
    Voted at every level in every election since mid 1970’s.
    Voted Leave
    Voted Tory for first time in 2017 and again in 2019
    Threw Nick Griffin (BNP) out of one of my pubs
    Was highly active in Oldham ANL during the rise of the BNP in the early noughties
    Was targetted by the extreme Right on the infamous ‘RedWatch’ site and at one point even had to wear a police personal alarm.
    Got one off-spring who is a baker overseas, and another who is an NHS consultant.

    The Labour Party is now a joke – and Starmer is going to take them nowhere – he’s just the least worst of three dire candidates and a Deputy level it’s piss-poor.

    If you want to see how utterly corrupted Labour is now, check out two very very highly followed facebook groups. Probably up near the top two:-

    Wear Red Stand Up And Be Counted – openly despises working class Labour voters, paricularly northern ones. Infested with deranged students, Momentum activists

    UK Parliament Debate – A largely middle class liberal-left dominated echo chamber where dissent gets you suspended for 24 hours. Seriously believes people over 50 should not be allowed to vote unless they have a degree and anyone who voted Leave should be expelled from the Labour Party. Very pro-Corbyn and already committed to resisting any attempts at undoing his ‘good work’. Demanding the expulsion of Trevor Philips “for being an open racist”

    Both are demanding Labour commits to immediate re-joining of the EU upon winning an election, without a referendum.

  10. Tafia says:

    *baker overseas*

    That should be ‘banker overseas’

    Missed off that I have lived in Germany, Hong Kong, Belize, Brunei, Fiji, Italy, Holland, Sweden, Canada, USA. And also done disaster relief in Guatemala, plus visited loads of other places for 3 weeks or more such as Mexico, Iceland, SrinLanka and others

  11. Vern says:

    An impressive life and CV Tafia, thanks for sharing. I will check out those other Facebook groups too

  12. Richard I. Crawford says:

    What a staggeringly bd piece. So, the problems of the working class will be solved by takingpower from the bourgeois bureaucrats in London and giving it to the bourgeois bureaucrats in Leeds and Dudley. Really? ‘avin’ a laugh?

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