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25.11.15

What next for Labour’s moderates

Labour moderates need a new name (not Blairite or anything redolent of), philosophy (vintage in tapping into the same revisionist traditions as the Third Way, while also being thoroughly contemporary), and (having been comprehensively out organised by the left during the leadership election) structures. Apart from that, everything is fine.

Acknowledgement of these profound challenges is not original. David Butler stressed philosophy here. Spencer Livermore elsewhere. Liam Byrne even wants to emphasise it through a new Clause 4. And renewed organisational vitality comes from Labour First and Progress.

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27.02.15

Optimism and relationships are in Labour’s DNA

I had this on Labour Uncut earlier in February.

The British economy is growing because of the hard work and ingenuity of businesses and workers. Crime remains in a long-term decline. Some public services are improving because of the efforts of public servants like those interviewed by Liz Kendall and Steve Reed in a new Progress publication.

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25.10.14

Where will we be in May 2015?

I had this on Labour Uncut last week.

Amid the fierce urgency of now, I look at possibilities beyond next May.

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27.09.14

Ballots and pay packets

I had this in the September edition of Progress magazine.

Did the relationship between voting and the economy change after May 2010?

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09.06.14

Progress Annual Conference 2014: Labour slowly faces up to reality

I had this on Labour Uncut after the Progress Annual Conference.

The Progress annual conference 2014 was a conversation in slow motion. The political context means there is little point in discussing much besides three questions: Is Labour on track to win next year? If not, why not? Given this, what strategy should Labour adopt?

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17.02.14

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.

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17.02.14

Be prepared

I had this in December’s Progress magazine.

Labour spent the decade prior to the crash in 2008 boasting about ‘an end to boom and bust’. This presumed to have overcome the cyclical dynamics that have always characterised capitalism. At the general election in 2010, the party failed to convince the public that Conservative spending plans went too far, because it failed to convince them that Labour’s went far enough. Then Labour bemoaned the ‘too far, too fast’ plans introduced by the Conservatives in government. This failed to appreciate that cyclical dynamics kick in on the downside, as well as the up. The economy was bound to turn the corner eventually.

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25.06.13

Charting a course to economic credibility

I had this on the Progress website a few weeks ago.

Today was the second time that I have gone to Canary Wharf to hear Ed Balls speak. The first time was the evening before his celebrated Bloomberg speech in the summer of 2010 in which he warned George Osborne ‘against ripping out the foundations of the house just as the hurricane is about to hit’.

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04.06.13

Labour must look forward, not back, to win in 2015

I had this on Labour Uncut last week.

Peter Kellner reminded us in his recent hard hitting analysis for Progress that the Tories’ central message in 1992 was that Neil Kinnock was a dangerous man who would lead Britain down the road to ruin. He also recalled that the same trick completely failed in 1997. This was because, he argued, Tony Blair had reassured voters that their jobs, homes, pay and savings would be safe with him.

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26.03.13

After austerity: Proper devolution

I had this review of the TUC ‘After Austerity’ conference on the Progress website earlier this year.

his government never tires of saying that it was formed in a moment of economic crisis. Yet three-quarters of positive growth had then been secured. Now we teeter on the brink of an unprecedented triple-dip recession.

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26.03.13

How to Make a Million Jobs

I had a review of Colin Crooks’ book on Progress last year.

There are two kinds of people in the Labour party: those that are born into it and those that choose it. My family have never been political. I look upon those born into the party and cannot comprehend childhoods snatched under tables in committee rooms. I spent my first 16 years kicking a ball against a wall. While my family are unfailingly supportive and my mum loyally reads all of my political writing (Hello, Mum!), they can be equally uncomprehending of my activism.

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26.03.13

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.

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