Posts Tagged ‘Marc Stears’

Revealed: Identity of Miliband advisers who helped frame report calling for shadow cabinet members to be sacked

02/12/2014, 05:56:14 PM

by Atul Hatwal

Stewart Wood, Jonathan Rutherford, Marc Stears and Peter Hain MP are just some of the Miliband loyalists whose views shaped an academic report from Aston University’s Professor John Gaffney on Ed Miliband’s leadership, which called for members of the shadow cabinet to be sacked if they do not improve their performance.

The report garnered headlines this morning because of its stark conclusions about the troubles facing Ed Miliband and the need for decisive action, but only now have the names of key contributors emerged.

Steward Wood was ennobled by Ed Miliband and plays a pivotal role in knitting together the disparate factions within the leader’s office while Marc Stears and Jonathan Rutherford, old college friends of Miliband’s, are central to shaping his ideological approach and the content of his speeches.

Peter Hain, meanwhile, led the first major party initiative under Ed Miliband, Refounding Labour, and at the height of the recent PLP wobbles over Ed Miliband’s leadership, was the loyalist voice on the Today programme urging unity behind the leader.

In one of the most striking passages, the report states that Miliband must have a team that do not, “simply mumble their support whenever party plot rumours surface.”

These words echo frequent press briefings to the effect that the shadow team is not pulling its weight and the identity of the report’s Milibandite contributors will only serve to exacerbate tensions between the shadow cabinet and the leader’s office.

Several of the report’s recommendations have been greeted with suspicion by shadow cabinet members, wary of an attempt by Ed Miliband’s office to shift responsibility for Labour’s poll woes onto them. One proposal, that shadow ministers produce a “five point crib sheet for each policy,” was greeted with particular incredulity. A shadow ministerial adviser retorted,

“If we were ever allowed to do anything, of course we’d have a bloody crib sheet.”

The report was compiled following interviews with 30 Westminster players, ranging from those close to Ed Miliband to those more sceptical about his leadership.  Its central contention is that, “Miliband fails to inspire his followers because he is not getting the narrative of leadership right.”

For an impartial academic such as Professor Gaffney to come to this conclusion, even with the full contribution of those who are seen as Ed Miliband’s praetorian guard, will be taken as a sign of the level of gloom permeating the Labour leader’s inner circle about his position within the party and prospects for the next election.

Atul Hatwal is editor of Uncut

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Moral reform: what it should mean for Labour

26/09/2012, 10:08:14 AM

by Jonathan Todd

The moral reform that I see as vital to Labour would not abandon the traditions of mechanical reform that politicians like Roy Hattersley upheld. It would, however, recognise and adapt to the limitations of this mechanical approach. Matthew Taylor’s concept of pro-social behaviour and Marc Stears’ of active equality could be crucial to this adaptation.

But what is not needed is preachy piety. Moral reform might conjure notions of Labour politicians reaching for self-appointed hallows and demanding that others do as they say. There may be latter day Beatrice and Sidney Webbs who think they know best what people really want. This isn’t how I see Labour’s future. Nor I do hanker for my political leadership to come from the “moral arbiter of the nation”.

I do, though, think it matters that parents support their children in doing their homework and take seriously their other family responsibilities; that we take sufficient exercise and eat well enough to be physically well; that we take the actions needed to be mentally well; that we take up employment when we are physically and mentally able to do so; that instead of littering we reuse and recycle where possible; and that we avoid anti-social behaviour and destructive drink and drug taking.

It matters, in sum, that we adopt pro-social behaviour, which might be thought of as behaviour that minimises or eliminates where possible the social costs of our behaviour (“the negative externalities”) and maximises the social benefits (“the positive externalities”). The blunt truth is that we will not have the thriving schools or safer neighbourhoods or any of the things that voters say they want until more of these voters or citizens themselves behave pro-socially and become the change that they profess to want.

To recognise the responsibilities that we all have to build change is not to extricate the state of its responsibilities. Roy Hattersley noted Douglas Alexander’s praise for the minimum wage when reviewing The Purple Book, while claiming that the minimum wage is “a product of the ‘heavy-handed centralist approach’ that many other contributors to The Purple Book excoriate”. But would any of these contributors favour the abandonment of the minimum wage?


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