Posts Tagged ‘trust’

Never let a good crisis go to waste. Labour’s sensible centrist MPs should seize their opportunity

01/03/2016, 05:31:46 PM

by Greig Baker

They say a recession is the best time to set up in business, because if you can make it then, you know you’re onto a good thing. Smart Labour MPs should look at Jeremy Corbyn’s political downturn in the same way. It might not feel like it, but if you are a sensible centrist MP with ambitions for the top job, you now have three things in your favour…

First, you don’t have a choice. If you or someone like you doesn’t come up with a plan to make Labour electable again and soon, you face either being rejected by the voters, deselected by your party, or a decade or more of a backbench job with less power and more acrimony than you’d get as a local Councillor. You can make a successful pitch for what you believe in, or join the political dole queue.

Second, in times of crisis, merit wins through. MPs with verve are ten-a-penny in three figure majority Governments. But, like the successful entrepreneur who beats a bad market, it takes special skill and dedication to create political success out of a downhearted shambles. Even better for you (and as much as it pains me to say this given that I used to work for them), the Conservatives are divided, unloved and performing poorly – so there’s plenty to get your teeth into.

And third, if your bid to bring Labour back into the black is going to succeed, you will need to fashion the party in your image. This means forging alliances with people you like, value, respect and trust, and who will be around for long enough to help you achieve real change – so the prospect of working with a genuinely capable executive team beckons.

From an outsider’s perspective, it looks like Labour’s political contraction is already well underway. However, the right moves by the right people could stop the “recession” becoming a “depression” – in every sense of the word.

Greig Baker is Chief Executive of The GUIDE Consultancy

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If celebrity endorsers come in for stick, will they put themselves forward in future?

02/04/2015, 04:13:06 PM

Here’s a question. Does the inevitable takedown of a third party endorsement during an election campaign still make the original endorsement worthwhile?

Just look what’s happened this week.

Monday saw Labour’s first election broadcast, fronted by actor Martin Freeman. The Office star subsequently found himself weighed and measured for sending his children to a school “which charges up to £12,669 a year” while rehashing a story about his partner’s bankruptcy, despite Freeman being worth “more than £10million.”

Next came the Tories’ endorsement from 100 business leaders yesterday. Many were accused of being heartless capitalist storm troopers, warding off any threat to their wealth from Labour’s mansion tax or proposed 50p top rate.

Then, last night, Labour put out its own list of endorsers, hours after it ran with its pledge to outlaw zero hours contracts. Cue this morning’s inevitable revelation that some of them have feet of clay, with the designer, Wayne Hemmingway, ‘exposed’ for making use of unpaid interns.

Freeman presumably sees no contradiction between his personal fortune and backing a redistributive Labour party – and probably regards media coverage to the contrary as a noxious invasion of his privacy.

Doubtless, business leaders seeing their motives traduced and financial affairs spread across the newspapers agree.

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Labour’s response to the Tories’ business letter has been an epic act of political self-harm

01/04/2015, 08:22:37 PM

by Atul Hatwal

When the history of the 2015 general election is written, the Tories’ business letter in the Telegraph will be seen as a pivotal moment. Pivotal because of what it presaged for the potency of a key Tory line of attack in the campaign and Labour’s inability to mount a convincing response.

For the Tories, the letter is not just a one-off story but part of a longer, sustained offensive that will build over the coming days and weeks. More business leaders will have been lined up to intervene to kick the story on, reheat it if it cools and bulldoze the central Tory message on Labour and the economy, into the public consciousness.

How do I know? Because I have a memory which stretches back to the 2010 campaign, something that Ed Miliband’s strategists evidently lack.

In 2010, the single most damaging intervention in the campaign was the letter from business leaders opposing Labour’s National Insurance tax rise. The manner in which more and more business signatories were rolled out by the Tories dominated days of coverage and shattered Labour’s fragile reputation for economic competence.

To paraphrase Tony Blair, the public might not cherish these business leaders as national treasures but they do believe that Britain’s CEOs know more about creating jobs and wealth than politicians.

In the end there were over 500 signatories of the 2010 letter running businesses that employed over 1m people, with all sectors and ethnicities represented.

Tuesday’s letter in the Telegraph is just the start.

Damaging as the Tory offensive is though, perhaps the worst aspect of the exchange between the parties has been Labour’s response.

On Twitter, Labour activists, candidates and Labour supporting journalists engaged in an epic, collective act of political self-harm as the story broke.

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After Reckless, Labour must understand the real message of UKIP

29/09/2014, 07:00:51 AM

by Jonathan Todd

When Douglas Carswell joined UKIP, James Kirkup asked, “what is UKIP?” It’s worth revisiting this question now that Mark Reckless has made the same journey. That Carswell and Reckless were both Conservatives seems to support the dominant answer. That UKIP is a dissident Tory faction.

“But there is another explanation for Ukip,” Kirkup wrote, “one that extends the party’s significance beyond the boundaries of the Conservative movement and into the way British politics is done.” He went on:

“In this view, Ukip isn’t about Europe, or immigration, or any other policy. It’s about trust, and its absence. It’s about a political system dominated by politicians who look and sound the same regardless of party, who go to the same universities and follow the same career path to Westminster, where they implement policies that are fundamentally the same.”

If UKIP are a Conservative problem, there must be a Conservative solution. David Cameron’s commitment to an EU referendum was intended to be this. But didn’t stop UKIP winning the European elections and the defection of two Tory MPs to UKIP. It is striking that both Carswell and Reckless put as much focus on issues that they feel undermine trust in domestic politics – the lack of a recall mechanism for MPs, for example – as the EU.

This might suggest that Cameron has been looking for the Conservative solution in the wrong place. If this is the case, if he were to fully deliver on, say, the Zac Goldsmith line on political reform, this would stem the seepage of support from his party. And certainly, in an attempt to limit UKIP mileage and isolate Labour, we will get a strong line from Cameron on one matter of political reform: EVEL.

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Ed Miliband needs to tell us what he stands for

04/06/2013, 09:55:11 AM

by Dan McCurry

So YouGov tell us that Ed Miliband is regarded as “honest but untrustworthy”? What to make of it all? I’m sure his speech on Thursday will sort out all the confusion. What I think he need is to show us what he stands for.

There has been recent comment about whether Labour should reveal it’s policies, with Alan Johnson arguing that Miliband has already “shown too much leg”. Others, including myself, argue that a lack of openness creates a lack of trust. We’re both right and wrong. The confusion is in the distinction between policy, and aims/values.

The media always demand to know what the policies are, but the public want to know what the aims and values are. Policies are a list of promises while aims and values represent what we care about and what kind of a world we want to live in. It’s our aims and values to stick up for the small guy. It’s the aims and values of the Tories to stick up for big business and lobbyists.

Both parties try to present aims and values through slogans. The Tories say “We’re all in this together”, while Labour talk of “One Nation”. The Tory slogan is better because it’s about their intention to reduce the deficit. Ours was created as an attack on Tory hypocrisy, but has since been shown to mean little else.

It seems to me that Ed Miliband is forever working on the manifesto, instead of communicating what he stands for. Welfare is an obvious example. He chose to rise to the bait when Cameron challenged him on welfare, but then failed to put a lid on things when the “bedroom tax” got out of control.

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Ed’s handling of Europe is eroding trust in his leadership

20/05/2013, 02:08:20 PM

by Dan McCurry

In 1997, Tony Blair won an election by occupying the traditional home ground of the Tories. In 2010, Gordon Brown fought off the Tories by creating a clear dividing line between us and them. Today, Ed Miliband’s strategy is less easy to define, but I contend that it involves avoiding debate with the Tories. This is not good. This can be extremely damaging.

Miliband said at conference 2012: “The Labour party lost trust on the economy. And under my leadership, we will regain that trust.” I don’t think he has increased trust in the Labour brand. In some ways it has been damaged since he made this speech.

The Tories have a far more coherent economic policy than we do. Even though the whole world agrees that we were right and they were wrong, they have a clear offer and we have a confused one. Ed Balls and Rachel Reeves did a terrific job of explaining the difference between austerity and Keynesianism, but our commitment to a Keynesian offer has been vague and tentative. This is in contrast to Gordon Brown who confronted and contrasted Tory policy with our own Keynesian plan.

Most of the debate on the economy is over now, and people have a settled view of the parties. It’s likely that we are returning to positive growth, although few would attribute this to the government’s policies, so it is questionable as to whether they will benefit at the polls, even if the feel-good factor returns. Trust, in general, is likely a more important issue at the next election.

The problem with trust is that it is a two-way relationship. Would you trust someone who doesn’t trust you? Of course not. Would you trust a politician who won’t tell you his policy? Of course not.

How about a politician who won’t tell you his policy, because the other guys will attack it, and he thinks that you are incapable of sifting the arguments? No, you wouldn’t take kindly to that either.

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Ed was right, we need to rebuild trust in Labour. Here’s how.

06/05/2012, 07:00:28 AM

by John Woodcock

With so many councillors winning the chance to serve communities who rejected Labour at the general election, Thursday’s election puts us back in contention. But only if we treat this boost as a spur to raise our game.

On Thursday many cast a vote of anger against what the Tories and their Lib Dem helpers are inflicting on families across the country; many cast a vote that recognised that Labour was speaking their language again; but most did not vote at all.

So Ed Miliband struck exactly the right tone the morning after the results. This is a moment for determination, not hubris. Ed was right to address directly the overwhelming majority of people who who didn’t vote at all on Thursday. The pledge to ‘work tirelessly between now and the next general election to win your trust’ is exactly what a weary nation deserves to hear.

The grim mood on the doorstep felt like more than the usual reluctance to engage with local polls mid-way through a parliamentary term. The particularly low turnout was a symptom of a genuine malaise: people are doubtful that the mainstream parties can offer anything that will make a real difference.

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The seven-year itch: a cautionary tale of tax, cuts and debt

18/09/2011, 12:00:14 PM

by Rob Marchant

There was this bloke. And there was this girl. They met, fell in love, got married, usual story. It was a big, special wedding, everybody went. A match made in heaven, everyone said. People came out of their houses to wave as they went to the church. The kind of wedding that fills everyone with hope for the future.

She was popular, always a lot of boys round her. But she was smart, knew what she wanted. Sometimes it looked like she wasn’t paying much attention, but she did when it counted. Didn’t stand for any nonsense. He, on the other hand, was a bit of a tearaway. Heart in the right place, but not very together a lot of the time. And a drinker. A long history, in fact. Lots of girlfriends, but in the end, they all went, because of the drink. But not this one: this time it’d be different.

So, on the day they married, he promised to her that that was it with the drinking. And it was true. Never touched a drop. Day in, day out, he would walk home past the pub, think how lucky he was to have found her, and kept straight on walking. Life seemed charmed. (more…)

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