Posts Tagged ‘leader’

The nice party isn’t going to get into government

15/01/2012, 11:26:57 AM

by Dan McCurry

Ed Miliband has never attended the Cenotaph in his donkey jacket, nor has he screamed from a podium, “Yeeeaaaar alright”. But the difference is that those leaders existed at a time when Labour was ungovernable, or they made Labour governable, and it took everything out of them. Ed, on the other hand, was gifted a benign set of circumstances, but has led us into decline.

If there is a plot against him, then I’d hardly be the first to know. But if there is, it won’t happen until May. With the London elections such a knife edge business, no one wants to rock the boat. This means one of two things: either Ed has the chance of being the turnaround kid, or the Labour party (on the national stage) is in for a lame duck period.

Maybe it is too late for Ed Miliband. I’m not ruling out a bolt from the blue that will reignite his leadership, but I think luck tends to hang out with those who have chutzpah. And if Cameron can be admired for one thing only, he knows how to brazen it out.


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2012: the year we all need to become better leaders

03/01/2012, 07:30:06 AM

by John Woodcock

Every single Labour supporter woke up in 2012 wishing we were doing better.

But let’s be clear, that sense of painful dissatisfaction at being stuck in opposition while David Cameron runs the country is a good and necessary thing: we had better make sure we feel it in the pit of our stomach every single day until we win again.

So if we want 2012 to be the year that Labour gets back in the game and convinces the British people we deserve their trust to change the country, it is down to all of us to make that happen.

The harsh truth is this: there is no secret Labour party hidden behind a wall who will do all the work while we all sit around wishing things were going our way. It is down to us to get out there and make the case that there is a better way than the damage that the Conservatives are wreaking on the opportunities that future generations need to succeed.

As Michael Dugher wrote last week, we should take confidence in the fact that Labour under Ed Miliband has been in the right place on big issues. From Ed Balls’ warning that choking off the recovery would be disastrous for the economy, to our leader’s championing of the squeezed middle, epitomised this week by Maria Eagle’s announcement that a future Labour government will do more to protect commuters hit by soaring rail fares.

That confidence should fuel our determination to use 2012 to map a new course that will ensure Labour is a credible force at the next election.

Yes, this will be a year about leadership – it will be about the leadership each of us show at every level. From party activists willing to give up their Saturday mornings, to those, like me, privileged to represent people in the House of Commons.

We all need to show that we have the stomach and the stamina to take this fight to the Tories.

John Woodcock is Labour and Cooperative MP for Barrow and Furness and a shadow transport minister.

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The twelve rules of opposition: day five

29/12/2011, 03:58:14 PM

By Atul Hatwal

Rule 5: Be the change you want voters to see

How does an opposition leader convince the sceptical public that they have what it takes to lead?

Just as defeat means voters do not believe a losing party’s economic prescription, they equally have little faith in the leader to make the big decisions that will determine the fate of the country.

Even if an opposition elects a new leader, they are usually little known by the electorate and tainted with the failure of the past.

Starting from this position of deep public mistrust, the opposition leader needs to demonstrate that they are fit to take that 3am call.

And this has to be achieved without being able to make any actual decisions that will impact voters’ lives.

Making statements on national and international issues is expected, but ultimately it’s merely opining.  An opposition leader has as much actual power as a newspaper columnist or a blogger. (more…)

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The twelve rules of opposition: day four

28/12/2011, 11:33:08 AM

by Atul Hatwal

Rule 4: Recruit the right support team

Voters pick leaders as much as parties or policies. And what turns an opposition leader into a prime-minister-in-waiting is no accident.

This process has been completed seven times since the war. Although the politics of the moment have varied, and the individual matters enormously, there are still some common features to each successful transformation.

First, recruiting the right support team. Second, demonstrating leadership in the party. And third, showcasing the biography so voters understand their future leader.

Ensuring these three elements are in place will not overturn natural disadvantages if the leader isn’t up to the job, but they will help maximise the chances of success.

So much of the focus in defining a leader is on the individual, it’s easy to overlook the importance of their back office team.

So easy that opposition leaders themselves frequently miss it. (more…)

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It’s time for Labour to be nicer to Catholics, says Kevin Meagher

21/08/2010, 12:15:59 PM

Forget Ann Widdecombe. Or any of the other establishment talking heads rolled out to speak for the Church of Rome for that matter. Most Catholics in Britain are like me: working-class, from the North and ethnically Irish. And most vote Labour.  

But relations between Catholics and some on the left have traditionally rested on a delicate modus vivendi. We walk in tandem on economic and social justice. We both abhor war and starvation. We even have similar things to say on the environment (although the Vatican, understandably, stops well short of ‘Earth worship’ greenery). And we both have a penchant for moral absolutism. 

But we go our separate ways on abortion, birth control, gay rights, euthanasia and the ‘importance’ of marriage. And there it lies. Like Cyprus or Korea we have a demarcation line that is simply irreducible. The iron doctrinal differences on either side are simply not bridgeable.  

So, wisely, we try and avoid confrontation that will dredge up the full extent of our differences and instead focus on the significant areas where we do agree. But it’s not easy. Our time in office saw one flashpoint after another. Sometimes on big issues: Abortion adverts on television; the Mental Capacity Bill; euthanasia; faith schools; human embryology legislation and gay adoption. But sometimes on smaller issues too, like the British Secular Society’s splenetic call for hospital chaplains to be cut – which, sadly, saw no health minister take to the airwaves to denounce such mean-spirited nonsense.#


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Labour must have a woman on the ticket, says Lesley Smith

07/06/2010, 08:11:29 AM

Ten days ago Labour Uncut called, patronisingly, for “a credible woman” on the Labour leadership ballot.

I’ve rarely found myself making common cause with Diane Abbott, and nor is she my preferred candidate, but she has at least seen an open door and walked towards it. There should be a woman on the ticket – but not to save Labour’s embarrassment. It’s an indictment that none apparently wants it (even perhaps Diane) and that we’ve propelled so few women into recent positions of responsibility and recognition that any feel eligible or likely to be taken seriously.

Labour’s 81 women are 31% of the parliamentary party, the highest proportion ever, and include the first three Muslim women MPs.  But in terms of women’s voices being heard we’re behind the curve. The 22% of seats held by women in the Commons make Britain the fiftieth most female parliament, level with Uzbekistan, just ahead of China and Malawi but below Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is obvious that broadening participation, in terms of gender, ethnicity, background or experience, changes politics. So a ballot that includes only interchangeable, middle class white men is something of a failure for a party that has banged on about inclusion for three decades. (more…)

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Crowdsourcing the leadership election

05/06/2010, 11:23:19 AM

What are the leadership contenders like?  Can we trust them?  Would they make good friends?  Would they make good leaders?

These are basic questions to which it would be nice to know the answers.  A 30 minute interview between each candidate and each party member would be nice.

But not really practical.  There are, however, very many Labour members and supporters who, over the years, have had dealings with the leadership contenders.

Did Ed Miliband come to your GC?  Did you once play football with Ed Balls?  Was David Miliband the comedy brainy kid at your inner London comprehensive?  Do you remember Diane Abbott from Cambridge?  Did you do A levels at night school in Burnley with John McDonnell?

You did?  Good.  This is the place to tell your story.  Post your experience below and help the rest of us decide – based on what the candidates are really like in real life –  who to vote for.

This thread will be moderated and nothing off-topic, obscene or libelous will be published.

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Saturday News Review

29/05/2010, 08:17:20 AM

The Contest

Yvette Cooper leaves the door open for future leaders bid

“So whoever wins Labour’s leadership election, I’ll still be there alongside Harriet and others, campaigning for progressive help for women. And as for future leadership contests, who knows …” – Yvette Cooper, The Guardian

“The question Burnham has to answer is what does he really bring much that one of the front-runners doesn’t? His campaign website doesn’t provide any answers (at least, not without joining a mailing-list up front), and looks amateurish, to be kind. In fact, things like his campaign launch, media non-appearances and website all contribute to an appearance that he’s just not trying very hard.” – Political Betting

“We cannot afford to just have an internal debate within our party. And we must stay focused on our number one task – being a responsible and effective opposition and once again becoming a party that can win.” – Ed Balls, Tribune

“DIANE ABBOTT yesterday launched her bid to become Labour Party leader in the B6 College in Kenninghall Road in Clapton.” – Irish Times

“Front runners in the Labour leadership race are under pressure to help lessfancied contenders to clear the first hurdle by lending them some supporters.” – The Telegraph

“THE younger of two brothers in the leadership contest, Ed Miliband, said he would be happiest if all six declared candidates got onto the ballot paper. Aware of criticism within the party at the prospect of an Ed Miliband v David Miliband contest, he said: “I think it’s important the party has the widest possible choice.”’ – Wales Online


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Friday News Review

28/05/2010, 08:36:58 AM

Policy posturing

“There was nothing in this week’s Queen’s Speech for hard-working families – except a kick in the teeth if you are young and unemployed or an aspiring student or receiving home help.” – David Miliband, The Mirror

“Bosses earning huge amounts while their employees struggle were branded “immoral” by Labour leadership contender David Miliband last night.” – The Mirror

“Ed Miliband will seek today to stand out from the field of Labour leadership candidates with a campaign for a “living wage”. He will call for Britain’s five million lowest-paid workers to receive at least £7.14 an hour, instead of the current £5.83 minimum wage.” – The Times

“The result is that our conversation with the public broke down. We need to restart it with our most precious asset – our idealism for a better future.” – David Miliband, Tribune

“Ed Miliband will throw his weight behind demands for a “living wage” of more than £7 an hour as he seeks to bolster his bid for the Labour leadership.” – Channel 4 News (more…)

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