Uncut Review: New Labour’s Old Roots, edited by Patrick Diamond

I had this on Labour Uncut a few weeks ago.

“This is the culmination of a long period in which the voice of moderate opinion in the Labour Party has been drowned by the clamour of an active and articulate minority”. Reading Atul Hatwal recently on Uncut on the monstering of Blairites and humouring of leftists, this feels a commentary on our times. But it comes from the Campaign for Democratic Socialism’s (CDS) 1962 manifesto.



Transforming the market

I had this on the Progress website last month.

Speaking of responsible capitalism and ‘predistribution’ to ease the squeeze on the middle and reduce the cost of living has sometimes seemed appealing slogans in search of robust policy to make them real. As the general election draws nearer the premium on such policy will sharpen for Labour, making Patrick Diamond’s Transforming the Market: Towards a new political economy likely to be an increasingly valuable resource.



David Cameron and Ed Miliband are both sons of Gordon Brown

I had this on Labour Uncut yesterday.

There is probably a significant degree of cross-party agreement that Douglas Carswell is wrong to argue that the present government is a continuation of the last. Even David Cameron’s critics in the Conservative party would claim that he is an improvement on Gordon Brown, while many Labour party members see Cameron as the worst prime minister since Margaret Thatcher or perhaps even worse.



The Purple Papers: Labour means work

I made this contribution to the Purple Papers series on the Progress website last year.

On a few occasions, as Steve Van Riel notes in The Purple Papers, the Labour government did suggest people should pay more for better public services. When it was a rise in national insurance for the health service, this was largely popular. When it was a levy on inheritance for social care, it was not.



Ed needs to be clearer about what one nation Labour is not

I had this on Labour Uncut in February.

“‘You know something? It’s really quite satisfying when you help people to fulfil their dreams like that.’ ‘Christ, you fucking fascist,’ Tim said.”



Labour needs to choose freedom

I had this on Labour Uncut earlier this week.

“The success of Thatcherism did not lie in the immediate popularity of its programme, but its ability to command the cultural landscape of Britain … The most enduring threat faced by the left is not only to be perceived as an incompetent manager of the economy, but to be out of touch with major cultural advances and the contemporary zeitgeist.”



Sunday Review on Thursday: Progress Political Weekend 2012

I had this on Labour Uncut earlier this year.

Peter Mandelson was there but, pace Michael Meacher, the Progress Political Weekend 2012 was not a meeting of the Bilderberg group. For one thing, I imagine, the Bilderberg Group comes to conclusions.



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.



Southwark Labour Party Conference

Labour, of course, returned to opposition after being in government for 13 years in May. At this time, however, Labour also regained control of 8 London boroughs, including Southwark. This means that Labour now controls 17 London boroughs, as compared with the Tories who control 11 and the Liberal Democrats who control 2.

How this strength in local government can be a springboard to Labour regaining power nationally was a recurring theme at yesterday’s Southwark Labour Party conference. The conference was well attended and brought together both seasoned and new activists, who, while still visibly delighted to have returned to power in Southwark, are fearful of what the Tory-Lib Dem coalition cuts will mean for their communities and the borough.