Posts Tagged ‘labour leader’

The week Uncut

12/03/2011, 09:30:28 AM

In case you missed them, these were the best read pieces on Uncut in the last seven days:

Dan Hodges asks who will be the next Labour leader.

Atul Hatwal crunches the numbers to reveal the government’s total loss of grip

Tom Watson thinks Cameron would be lucky to get out of the pub alive

Kevin Meagher says Dave’s got nowt to say and Nick’s just scared

Peter Watt wants us to leave the cuts protests and join the fuel protests

Matt Cavanagh on Cameron’s shambolic foreign policy mistakes

Victoria Williams asks what this government are doing for women

John Woodcock says the Tories are failing to back British business

…and Uncut aired episode two of ‘Half a minute Harris’

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The new leader must learn a lesson from Cameron, says John Woodcock

27/09/2010, 09:55:23 AM

At a time when we are all rightly focussing on how to unite behind our new leader, I just need to say how bloody gutted I am for his brother.

I thought David Miliband was excellent before this contest began, and he rose significantly in my estimation as it progressed.

The Labour party, and ultimately the country, still need him. And, just as much as him, they need the people he inspired through this contest, and the ideas has brought alive.

But while I am so sad for David, I am filled with hope about the leadership that Ed will bring. A win is a win; and whatever the Tories may try to spin, the maths behind his victory and the manner in which he got there are ultimately likely to be of little interest to the public. What will matter to them is how he leads and how we respond from here. (more…)

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Vote for who you want to win, not who you think will win argues Simone Webb

05/09/2010, 12:50:33 PM

It is a common assumption that the next Labour leader will be drawn from limited ranks: the Milibands. It is an assumption which is in itself flawed; the number of ‘undecideds’ means that the leadership race is still an unpredictable affair. It’s hard to deny that the odds aren’t brilliant for the other candidates and I don’t intend to argue the case here for my own first preference candidate: Ed Balls, by the way, but I do want to explain why the Milibands will be coming last on my ballot paper.

Let’s take the current favourite, David. When phone-canvassing for Ed Balls, I’ve heard a lot of people say that David Miliband looks like a leader, and is handsome, young and charismatic. Leaving aside the “handsome”, which is debatable, and the “young”; a dubious description for a man of forty-five, one is left with “looks like a leader” and “charismatic”.


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Our new leader will need to ‘fess up, stop spinning and start inspiring, says Sally Bercow

20/08/2010, 11:30:10 AM

At a drinks party recently, I got chatting to someone who said that if Labour is to win the next election, it needs ‘rebranding’. This chap did something in marketing, so he would say that wouldn’t he. Nevertheless, it was rather depressing to hear, and in my view it is wrong to boot. Our party is not a packet of sweets or a jar of coffee awaiting new packaging; in fact that is precisely where the last Labour government went wrong – by substituting idealism and vision with spin. Our new leader must break decisively from the past; he (for it will be a he) cannot simply change the advertising agency (although he should definitely look at that), rehash what’s gone before and embark on a rebranding exercise.

Encouragingly, all five Labour leader candidates seem to appreciate this – at the moment. However, the persuasiveness of the spin doctors, advisers and pollsters that will flock around our newly elected leader should not be underestimated. They will bandy about empty phrases like ‘progressive centre left’ whilst arguing that Britain is fundamentally a deeply conservative country and so Labour dare not move more than a milimetre to the left of the Coalition. As a result, the temptation will be to tinker at the edges and carry on much as before, banking largely on the Con-Libs becoming increasingly unpopular. This will not wash. It does not, however, mean lurching drastically to the left on every issue. What it does mean is fashioning a new approach based on three concepts.

First, if Labour is to start to regain the public’s trust we have to be brutally honest about where we got it wrong and (dare I say it) where the coalition might be right. ‘Fessing up to a few oversights; even ones as significant as being too soft on the bankers and allowing the state to become too controlling, will not cut it. Our new leader should own up lock, stock and barrel – even though they might find it a bit awkward because they sat in cabinet at the time. With a bit of luck, the new leader will admit to Labour’s mistakes in areas including civil liberties, ID cards, prisons, housing (or more accurately the desperate lack of it) and the digital economy, then duly consign those policies to the scrapheap.

Simultaneously, and this does not come naturally to the more tribal amongst us, we will earn the public’s respect if we stop trying to score points for the sake of it and actually admit it if the Coalition has a case. It is simply not credible for the new leader to roundly condemn every single one of the coalition’s policies and planned cuts.

Second, on the back of such unflinching honesty, our new leader can go into battle. He must defend the last Labour government, who left a better, fairer, more tolerant country with transformed public services and an economy saved from depression. He must expose the chronic iniquity and manic ideology of the coalition’s policies and seek to thwart or temper them. And, most importantly of all, he must set out a clear, attractive and viable alternative.

Third, beyond adopting this new honest approach, Labour needs to develop a new programme. This should be done not by pandering to media prejudice, by shifting according to fluctuating opinion polls or by becoming overly cautious. Instead, we must craft an inspiring credo, driven by progressive Labour values, which has the potential to improve the lives of the mainstream majority in a way and on a scale that this right-wing government cannot imagine, let alone deliver.

It is time to rediscover our principles, our values and our idealism. An unerring focus on social justice – fighting for a fairer, more equal Britain – coupled with economic dynamism should be at the heart of our new programme. This focus on social justice will mean taxing the rich more, reducing the gap between the haves and the have-nots, creating more affordable housing, reducing the ugly disparities in educational achievement and thereby paving the way for a more socially mobile Britain.

Economic dynamism will mean an explanation of how we would reduce the deficit (by credible spending cuts and bold, but fair, tax rises) and over what timescale. In addition, we must develop a clear plan for growth and an active industrial policy (investing in manufacturing, green industries and apprenticeships), so that we can create a broader, more balanced economy, rather than the skewed, misshapen and city-driven creature of neo-liberal economic theory.

Labour’s new programme must not be imposed from the top but fed and informed by people in communities across the country who have something to tell us and hold our fate in their hands. Never again must we allow ourselves to become so aloof and out of touch. This means listening to and engaging with our councillors, activists, trade unionists, rank and file members and, above all, those who either deserted us in the polling booths or didn’t bother to turn out at all.

Every government runs into trouble and the coalition will be no exception. The biggest mistake would be simply to wait for them to lose the next election. Instead, Labour needs to ‘fess up, stop spinning and start inspiring millions of voters by fighting for a fairer, less divisive and more equal Britain.

Sally Bercow

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Come on candidates, let’s hear what you’ve got

31/07/2010, 03:16:45 PM

For those readers old enough to have attended a concert given by a proper ‘rock band’, you will be familiar with the role of a ‘roadie’. As well as lumping around heavy musical equipment, obtaining narcotics for the band and procuring groupies for the purposes of sexual gratification, their more mundane task is to make sure the band’s guitars are in tune.
With not long of the Labour Leadership World Tour to go, some of our prospective lead singers could do with a good roadie. Not to fulfill the more unseemly aspects of their job description you understand; but to fine-tune candidates’ rhetorical stratocasters. Because I don’t know about you, but my ears are starting to hurt a bit.  
Can I make a suggestion? Can we just take it as read that all candidates in this leadership contest are motivated by their “values.” That they all want to “reconnect”. That they are all committed to “renewal” and “fairness”. And that they all want to “listen?”


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