Posts Tagged ‘renewal’

Labour’s right must find a new clarity of mission

26/09/2015, 03:35:02 PM

by David Butler

Saturday September 12th was perhaps the worst internal defeat ever suffered by the Labour right. The scale of Corbyn’s victory was as vast as it was stunning. To recover, the Labour right must rediscover a clarity of mission and craft a new story to tell the party and the country.

This defeat was worse than Michael Foot’s victory in 1980 and the internal setbacks of the late 70s and early 80s.  Foot was picked by a divided and fearful PLP. A minority of ideologically uncompromising activists drove the Bennite surge. Corbyn’s victory was, by contrast, a popular one; the Party’s members, supporters and affiliates dealt the blow.

Like the Liberals in 1906, this may be a victory from which the left of the party never recovers. Yet Corbyn’s failure, if that occurs, will not be sufficient to win back the hearts and minds of the party faithful.

Phil Collins argued that internal regeneration has three parts: intellectual, organisational, and personal. Intellectual renewal precedes the latter two. This involves not just reflecting upon ideology but also the strategic context that Labour operates within. Critically, it is also about finding a new clarity of mission.

The leadership election had a clear message: dry arguments about process, policy and electability are not enough to win. Too much time spent on these and too little time on developing a vision cursed the three moderate candidates in the race. The candidates of the right, unfairly or otherwise, came across as hollow.


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The world has changed: but we’re still partying like it’s 1995

22/09/2011, 11:14:07 AM

by Peter Watt

Since the general election it is fair to say that the Labour party, probably the left generally, has been struggling with exactly what it is there for. In simple terms, what is it that the Labour party wants to do that the government doesn’t?

The problem has been that there has been a divide in Labour’s ranks over the handling of the economic situation, the cuts, the Blair and the Brown legacy. So when it comes to key questions we struggle for coherent answers. Would we have needed to cut? Should we tax more or less? Should we defend public sector jobs? What about the role of the private sector in delivering the public services? Is there a “progressive majority”? On so many issues there is a divide on the left.

The government, in contrast, seems to lack none of this uncertainty. It makes mistakes, but at its heart it is playing a pretty mainstream tune. Mainstream in the literal sense that its overall message resonates with, well, the mainstream of voters. It’s a message of economic prudence, balancing the books, prioritising spending decision and localising decision making. It celebrates family and tradition but looks to the future. It is comfortable with enterprise and would prefer lower rates of tax.

Those “right wing extremists” have become the mainstream and the Labour party is becalmed on the fringe, apparently struggling to find answers to the problems of the day. The government is a security blanket in a scary world. And that is before we know the full extent of the Eurozone crisis. (more…)

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Mandelson: the great returner

23/06/2011, 05:08:47 PM

by Dave Talbot

Moments after the close of the first debate of the general election, Lib Dem officials were breathlessly rushing around the Granada studios in Manchester. They were hailing their leader’s performance as a potential “game-changer” in an election that had seemingly been thrown wide open. I had travelled up north, more in hope than expectation that Gordon Brown would defy all his critics and speak in Shakespearian tones that would galvanise the nation. It was not to be. Somewhat bored and slightly tired, I turned to a Spanish journalist next to me:

“Nick Clegg did well”, I ventured.

“He has been like a gift from God for me”, he replied in his Catalonian tones. “There was no interest in the election before, none. But now Mr and Mrs Clegg will be on the front page. The Spanish people still fantasise that five hundred years after the Armada we are finally going to put a Spanish catholic woman in Number 10”.

“Probably not”, I replied. “Who had the Spanish press found the most to write about thus far”, I asked?

“Well Clegg, of course. But my favourite is Mr Mandelson. He is the most grotesque character”.


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Renewal Eds are better than red Ed, says James O’Keefe

30/09/2010, 09:59:04 AM

There were two winners of the leadership contest: both the Eds. We are a meritocratic party and these two merited their respective victories – they ran the best campaigns and both achieved the best outcomes that their teams could reasonably have expected.

More importantly, they were also best in that they connected better by recognising the dual essences of what the party requires at this time: authenticity and renewal.

Authenticity because weaved into the DNA of both these campaigns was an understanding of the need, and a willingness, to push out of the constraints of the New Labour campaign doctrine that served us so well for the last decade: they were prepared to say things that the Daily Mail and the Murdia (Murdoch media) wouldn’t like but that the party has been subconsciously pleading for.

This was writ large in the new leader’s conference speech on Tuesday. (more…)

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