The questions for #Lab14

I had this on Labour Uncut at the start of Labour Party conference.

In 2010, Ed Miliband won the Labour leadership and started talking about the squeezed middle. The following year he gave us producers and predators. 2012 was the year of One Nation Labour. And last year the energy price freeze was the big thing.



Labour now has big questions to answer

I had this on Labour Uncut after the Scottish referendum result.

The Scottish referendum is the most tumultuous event in British politics in my lifetime. Writing on Labour Uncut in February, I anticipated that Scotland would stay together but potentially on bitter and cantankerous terms. What I didn’t see until much later was that Yes victory would seem a distinct possibility and that bitterness and rancour would spill from Scotland into the rest of the UK.



A tale of two very different Guardian interviews: Darling and Burnham

I had this on Labour Uncut a few weeks ago.

Decca Aitkenhead reported this weekend on Andy Burnham telling her that Labour must shout louder or risk election defeat. Some twitter reactionsuggests that this would help Labour on the doorstep. As with Chris Bryant’s Monday morning Today appearance, we might wonder, however, whether it is content more than volume that is causing Labour to fail the Daz doorstep challenge.



Osborne has dug his hole; Balls shouldn’t dig one too

I had this on Labour Uncut last year:

“What he is now doing is the equivalent of ripping out the foundations of the house just as the hurricane is about to hit”.



Small man, big world

I wrote this for Labour Uncut today.

The financial crisis was unprecedented and complex. But the left’s interpretation of it tended to be straight-forward. Banks and bankers were bad. Government and politicians were good. Government saved the banks from themselves and would stimulate economies. This enlarged role for government made a “progressive moment” inevitable. Yet government is now being scaled back and the left is out of power across Europe.



Obama should be bolder than Brown

In some ways American politics now reminds me of British politics six months or so before the last general election.

Let’s begin with the challenge posed to America’s elites by E. J. Dionne Jr in the Washington Post:



Budget 2011: David Cameron is Ricky Hatton’s Mum

I had this on Labour Uncut on the day of the Budget.

The current Spectator cover story claims that Conservatives are as struck by panic as they were in the autumn of 2007 when Gordon Brown seemed set to crush them by calling an election. George Osborne saved their bacon then and they look to him to revive them now. Everyone else is looking at Libya. Hence, the impact of the budget will be dimmed. But Osborne will try to pull a big enough rabbit out of his hat to wrest attention away from the middle east.



Miliband can own the future in a way that Cameron can’t

I had this on Labour Uncut today.

The longer Gordon Brown was prime minister, the harder it became, sadly, to picture him in post at the 2012 Olympics. His purchase on the future evaporated. Ed Miliband has to recover this to return to government. He has to convince that he has the answers to the challenges of 2015 and beyond. And personify these answers.



We must plan to do more for less

I wrote for Labour Uncut on Wednesday about the need for Labour to plan to do more for less.

“Facing a new world with new challenges, we need to think again about how we can best serve the people we seek to represent”.



Beware of Osborne’s traps on the economy

I wrote for Labour Uncut on Monday that we should beware of George Osborne’s traps on the economy. I’m proud that the New Statesman thought this one of the best five blogs of the day.

Ostensibly, Manchester hasn’t greatly changed since Labour conference was last here. The buildings are all in the same place. The distinctive cool and charm remains. The corned beef hash at Sam’s Chop House still does the job.



Balls and building Jerusalem

The evocative sound of a blind busker whistling Jerusalem resonated around the vast tube station as I emerged at Canary Wharf. This was apt as I was on my way to see Ed Balls speak at tonight’s Open Left event. Praise from Irwin Stelzer in this week’s New Statesman may have further fortified Balls to not let his sword sleep in his hand:

“Remember, Brown and Balls got it right when the financial crisis hit; this puts Balls in the best position of all the candidates to point out that the Tories got it wrong. And it is economics that government will be all about for the foreseeable future, for the solution to the deficit problem will determine the scope of the welfare state.”



Asia’s rise, British business and Mrs Duffy

HSBC commissioned the Futures Company to report on the key considerations for European business of Asia’s rise. The final product,  Looking East: The Changing Face of World Business, tells a daunting story. Globalisation has entered a new stage and the sooner its lessons are absorbed by European businesses, politicians and policy-makers the better.

Globalisation brings opportunities and threats. While this observation has become cliché, it remains true. But the nature of these opportunities and threats is rapidly changing. Failing to keep pace with these changes threatens the health not just of European business but also European society. Mrs Duffy confronted Gordon Brown with some of the insecurities generated by globalisation. These insecurities may become more visceral if the next stage of globalisation is not properly responded to.


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