Posts Tagged ‘Young Fabians’

The Sunday review on Friday: The Young Fabians’ jobs summit

16/03/2012, 02:35:50 PM

by Jonathan Todd

Earlier this week on Tuesday, the Young Fabians demonstrated their capacity to work for solutions to the most pressing of problems by holding their jobs summit in the week in which the ONS announced youth unemployment has topped 1.4 million – the highest since records began.

The discussion roved from the big, macro picture to very particular concerns. The willingness and capacity of young people to turn up on time for work and put a shift in was amongst the latter.

Punctuality isn’t just a challenge on the shop floor, though. The summit didn’t start on time. The star turn, David Miliband, we were informed by the chair of proceedings, Rayhan Haque, “had to do a bit of a vote”. The best laid plans and the NHS bill. Whether the lost time features on the risk register of the bill may never be known but the Young Fabians had become the latest to suffer from Andrew Lansley’s ill-considered reforms.

Manfully Will Hutton and his friend Sony Kapoor stepped into the breach created by Miliband’s absence. Many speakers at political events like to kick off with a joke. Hutton, in contrast, sobered proceedings by reminding us that we are living through the longest and deepest recession since the 1870s.

Comparisons with the 1930s are so 2008. We are now beyond them, with GDP still 3 per cent below where it was 4 years ago. Nobody living has ever lived through a recession as pronounced as this. Getting through this, Hutton insisted, is “the social democratic challenge of your lives”.

Helpfully he had come armed with suggestions for how this might be done: extending the kinds of business models that the ownership commission reported upon the day after the jobs summit; ecosystem policy, rather than industrial policy; a twenty-first century social contract, which would allow individuals to mitigate the risk in their lives; and a state-backed infrastructure bank. Some of these remained ideas thrown out to the room, unpacked and unpicked. Kapoor did, though, latch on to the infrastructure bank suggestion, pointing out that we are already serviced by one in the form of the European Investment Bank.

This was consistent with the strongly European flavour of Kapoor’s remarks. He provided a passionate and meaty articulation of the case that Europe, including the UK, now stands together or falls together. We shouldn’t be defensively building firewalls. We should be going on the offensive and taking advantage of the rock-bottom long-term interest rates across much of northern Europe to create an infrastructure boom.


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We need ideas as much as we need footsoldiers to deliver them

31/10/2010, 05:29:50 PM

by Adrian Prandle

As rival leadership campaign activists settle back into normal routine and the commentariat gets back into the groove of marking PMQs performances, Ed Miliband faces the job of leading Labour.

There are reasons for optimism: encouraging opinion polling, the shadow chancellor’s assured response to the CSR announcement, growing confidence, and no disasters worse than a leaked briefing. The party can be fairly happy with a stable month.

But let’s not forget the scale of the task facing Ed. It is the responsibility of party members to remind him of all aspects of the job with which he has been entrusted. Leadership (of this party, at this moment in time particularly) is more than just PMQs. The diversity of challenges right here, right now doesn’t allow for the eye to be taken off the ball; and our leader must be many things at once. From being a respected, popular and credible figurehead, to being the driver and organiser of a passionate, innovative and exciting campaigning force, to developing policy that can be understood and that will change lives. (more…)

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