Posts Tagged ‘Fabians’

Conflict or co-existence: Corbyn must decide

02/08/2018, 08:17:27 AM

by Kevin Meagher

For those of us left fighting for Labour to remain a broad church, these are demoralising times. Never before has the state of the party offered such wildly different and mutually contradictory interpretations.

On the one hand, Labour is well-positioned in the opinion polls, with the stench of decay emanating from Theresa May’s Downing Street. A general election looms into view. What once seemed impossible – Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn – now seems a plausible outcome following last year’s general election result.

Yet these are also the worst of times.

The leadership remains disconnected from the parliamentary party, which, in turn, is at odds with most of the new grassroots. Now in its eighth year of opposition after losing power at the 2010 general election, Labour finds itself struggling to hold together its disparate and increasingly fractious traditions.

An ugly and unseemly row about anti-Semitism lingers. Chatter about MPs defecting to a new party grows more febrile. The party is balkanised and the mood is sour. Longstanding councillors and activists complain of being outmanoeuvred by a new breed of left-wing member. They, in turn, complain about the lack of radicalism they find.

On one side are the party’s ‘moderates’ – a confederation of Blairites, Brownites, Fabian gradualists, social liberals and old right wing trade union types. They have now lost control of the leadership, the grassroots and the party’s machinery and in doing so, the very direction of the party they once assumed was their birthright.

Opposing them, the ‘Corbynistas’ – an assortment of socialist puritans, young idealists and aged Trotskyites who have, against all expectations (perhaps most of all theirs), found themselves in the ascendant under the unlikely leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.


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The fightback starts now: Pro-business Labour is starting to make its voice heard

19/01/2015, 10:29:01 AM

by Samuel Dale

It was an absolute delight to read the Fabian Society’s new research on paper on Labour’s woeful relationship with the private sector. It can be summed up in one damaging quote: “Business doesn’t trust Labour”.

As I have argued on this site, Labour has a horrific relationship with British business that could cost the party dearly this May.

The Fabian report, In it Together, authored by Ed Wallis and Robert Tinker and published on Friday, seeks to redefine Labour’s relationship with business.

It wants the party to make a “big, open and comprehensive offer “ and create a Charter for Business.

“Profit and social purpose are not only compatible objectives but the conditions of a flourishing economy and a healthy society,” says the Charter’s proposed vision. “Public health, environmental sustainability and strong local communities are integral to long-term business success, and cannot be delivered by government alone but by using partnerships between business and government.”

The Charter contains ideas such as not creating punitive and shock-value regulation, setting long-term targets beyond electoral cycles (something business cries out for again and again because how can you expect business to think long-term when politicians don’t?) and offering tax breaks to companies who contribute positive environmental and social change.


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Latest YouGov figures show over 1 in 4 2010 Labour voters have defected. Tories have higher core vote.

11/02/2014, 01:55:07 PM

by Atul Hatwal

Important new analysis from YouGov today. Peter Kellner has looked at all of YouGov’s polls across January – a sample of over 37,000 voters – and crunched the numbers to understand the shifts in voting intention for those who voted in 2010.

This is important because it gives a good idea of the core support for a party and the volatility of the electorate.

For Labour, the common refrain is that our core support is near the level of the vote at the last election. Last year, Marcus Roberts at the Fabians produced an interesting analysis which exemplified this view – he pitched Labour’s core vote at 27.5%.

Around the same time, Uncut commissioned some YouGov polling which found that Labour had lost 26% or just over 1 in 4 of its 2010 vote. Today’s findings from YouGov confirm this figure.

This places Labour’s core vote at 21.5%. The Fabian analysis suggests generational churn (e.g. older Tory voters dying and younger Labour voters coming into the electorate) could add roughly 2% to Labour’s core total, but even allowing for this, a Labour core vote of 23.5% does not set the party up for victory.

In fact, if all other elements of the Fabians analysis were proved to be correct (and this includes a debatable target of attracting an extra 3% of support from the ranks of non-voters ), the absolute maximum Labour could hope for at the next election would be 35.5%.

If this is the ceiling, its not difficult to see a potential, even likely, outcome where Labour posts a result in the low 30s.


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Labour history uncut: Fabians – don’t get mad; get pamphleting

08/11/2012, 01:30:56 PM

Pete Goddard and Atul Hatwal turn their attention to the Fabians as they look at the organisations that set up the Labour representation committee (LRC) in 1900

The Fabians germinated from very modest seeds.

In October 1883 Edith Nesbit, her husband Hubert Bland and their Quaker chum Edward Reese decided to set up a debating society. That was it. They were the first Fabians.

Nesbit was something of a J K Rowling of her day, mixing easily in political and literary worlds. Not content with founding the Fabians, Britain’s first political think tank, she also wrote a series of best-selling books.

Most pertinently for the modern generation, she wrote the Railway Children and thereby can claim the credit for introducing a generation of young men to Jenny Agutter. Thank you, Edith Nesbit.

Helping others even after death, Edith Nesbit’s grave doubles as a handy boot scraper


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Labour history uncut: in the beginning

30/10/2012, 03:00:44 PM

by Peter Goddard and Atul Hatwal

Education. Education. Education. You don’t have to be Blairite to believe in it. Here at Uncut we support the old dictum “those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” A solid understanding of the our past is important to understand where the party is today and what we need to do tomorrow.

But it occurred to us, aside from comparatively recent events, we didn’t actually know that much about Labour history. To summarise: there was a splendid fellow called Keir Hardie, a bad’un called Ramsay Macdonald, the glorious founding of the NHS, something about the pound in your pocket and then we’re all singing “things can only get better.”

Tragically we cannot look to the education system to fix our ignorance. The national curriculum devotes little time to the history of the party. Nor does it contain much in the way of jokes. And there are exams.

Labour Uncut would like to remedy these manifold problems so we are pleased to present an uncut history of the Labour party.  This will be an ongoing series of articles taking us from the birth of the party and the circumstances behind it, right up to the present day. Prepare to be educated.


The Labour website declares that the Labour party was created in 1900. And who are we to disagree?

This milestone in political history was not some random event. It came about because the demographics, political climate and industrial landscape of Britain were being transformed.

First, the working classes were just beginning to realise there was more to life than forelock-tugging and starvation. Conveniently, increasing numbers of them were also being given the vote, although not the female ones, obviously, for fear that their feeble thinking should lead to a kitten being elected prime minister.

Second, there was increased interest in socialism in Britain. A number of left wing groups were springing up with various aims ranging from having a bit of a think about social progress to storming barricades and kicking off the revolution.

And finally, there was a rise in union activity as the new mass of urban workers began to flex their industrial muscle.

Unions had enjoyed increasing membership and legitimacy over the previous 50 years, but they were well aware that their position was far from secure.

A successful dock strike led by Ben Tillett had made the Conservatives nervous. As a result, they had been busy doing what Conservative governments like doing best; using the full force of the law to mount an offensive against unions.

Gas workers’ union meetings traditionally finished with a rousing rendition of “I’m a little teapot”


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