Posts Tagged ‘David Prescott’

Really refounding Labour

25/06/2011, 01:22:44 PM

by David Prescott

So the party’s consulatation on how it operates has drawn to a close.

I know the cyncial among you might think that it was a waste of time. Personally, I think it has been a significant opportunity to help people who genuinely don’t have many ideas on how to restructure the party. This really was blank page politics and the following was my little doodle.

During the last general election, as director of campaigns for go fourth, the campaign for a Labour fourth term, I helped to organise and deliver a key seats tour of the country.

In a hired Ford Transit, financed by small online donations and Unite, we managed to cover 70 marginal seats in those 30 days of the short campaign and 30 more in the long campaign (from January to April).

It gave us a fascinating insight into what worked and what didn’t work in the key seats.

It became very clear, during the course of the tour, that some were far better prepared than others. A good test would be to see how well organized the visit was and how many activists attended.

The better ones would have more than 20 activists and supporters, a good location with strong footfall and journalists lined-up for interviews. The worst ones would let us meander down a street with no clear direction, purpose or media.

But the clearest indicator was the result and swing. (more…)

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The big week uncut: what next?

03/10/2010, 02:00:39 PM

As Dan Hodges noted in Friday’s column (below), Labour reached the end of a long road in Manchester. If anyone needed closure on the New Labour project, we had it last week.

It was a journey which had begun where it ended: at Labour party conference.

Neil Kinnock’s 1985 speech in Brighton marked the start of a fight back which took 12 years to come to fruition and 13 more to end in failure.

Neil was the father of New Labour, but he was never part of it. With the passion that he showed in that brave and beautiful speech, he knew that we needed it. But he wished we didn’t. He would have preferred it the old way. By the end, he even knew that what we needed wasn’t him. (Just as he knew that it wasn’t John Smith either). But he could only be himself.

That is why he is so attached to Ed, who isn’t New Labour either. Ed was a contented but never ideologically committed member of the outer circle. He often notes that he wasn’t factional. This was helped by his not being political either.

There is nothing new or unusual here. Blair and Brown, for instance, were fellow travellers in Peter Hain’s Tribune group during the 1980s. It was a necessary accommodation with the prevailing orthodoxy.

Nor is it a weak position. It was Stalin who issued the Blairite dictum that “theory guides practice, but practice is the criterion of ideological truth”. And, whatever he was, Stalin was not weak.

Ed Miliband’s ruthlessness is beyond question. If he has a lack which comes to seem weak, it will be consistency, not cruelty.

Many whom one would call New Labour or old right very actively campaigned for Ed Miliband. And it is those influential individuals, not the facile nebula that is the term ‘the unions’, who are mainly responsible for Ed Miliband’s victory.

Which term (responsible) is apt in two senses: both cause and obligation.

So it is to them, as much as to Ed himself – and to his brother staked out in Primrose Hill-les-Deux-Eglises – that we pose the week’s overwhelming question: after New Labour, after permanent revolution and endless victory, what next?

Jonathan Todd warns of Osborne’s traps on the economy

David Prescott on David Miliband’s big speech

Kevin Meagher looks at the new leader’s in tray

Siôn Simon sketches Ed Miliband’s big speech

Peter Watt says the last thing we need is a membership drive

Jamie Reed MP looks beyond London for the shadow cabinet

Dan Hodges responds to Labour’s extraordinary week in Manchester

Sunder Katwala on Labour’s top baron: BAME voting in the leadership election

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David Prescott reports from David Miliband’s big speech

27/09/2010, 03:35:45 PM

It was like seeing a former girlfriend you’d taken for granted and finally parted from. Only to realise that you loved her after all.

Problem was, she’d moved on.

I predicted the other day that David could read the Manchester Yellow Pages and bring the house down.

But boy did he do his homework, and the media missed out on the big message.

It was the best conference speech since Blair’s inaugural address in 1994. (more…)

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David Prescott on a crowdsourced “shadow communications agency” for the new age

25/09/2010, 10:30:40 AM

So we’re more than £20 million in debt. £16m in the red with a further £11m in loan repayments.

Short money of £4.5m a year will help the shadow cabinet and their spads with their transition from government to opposition, but we won’t be able to touch a penny of it for party campaigning or reducing the debt.

So Labour’s going to have to think smarter and, well, cheaper if it’s going have any impact against the Tory-Lib Dem government.

But here’s the good news – campaigning isn’t expensive as it used to be.

Take our Go Fourth campaigns against RBS, that private members bill against the minimum wage and abolishing NHS Direct. (more…)

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