Jack gives a great analysis of the last General Election with a look back through the Labour Party's recent history
Luisa writes about the need for the new Leader and Deputy Leader to change the party's culture, introduce a proper complaints process and bring about a process of healing the divides so friends can stay friends
Deputy Leadership Candidate Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP gives her pitch to the young left - "I want to implement something similar within our Party by giving a much more important and visible role to the Labour youth wings, including the Young Fabians and others, both in terms of policy-making as well as grassroots activism and the public-facing profile of the Party"
Sarah Lunnon from the Political Circle of Extinction Rebellion calls on us to act to stop climate change as the last generation that can
Join the Young Fabians on Sunday Jan 19th at 11am where members of the Extinction Rebellion Citizens Assembly Circle will be doing a session at Fabian HQ in Petty France and learn more about climate activism
Call to young left Labour members from Daniel to not step back. It's time to step forward and have your voice heard in this leadership election, then unite for the good of this countries future
Brilliant from Eli Harris, Chair of Queen Mary University Labour Society, calling on the Labour Leadership hopefuls to do more to support young activists
As the old Labour voting coalition breaks down and more young people get interested in politics, Jude writes that the Labour Party must remake itself or follow the French Socialist Party's decline
Former police officer Milad Amini gives his take on the future of policing in the UK with a Conservative majority
Martin Edobor, previous PPC for the Labour Party, gives his take on how the Fabian movement is where the future thinkers of the Labour movement will develop.
Cathleen reflects on how we felt when the exit poll came out, and a rallying call to dust yourselves off
Capitalism has failed to ensure our actions increase the welfare of everyone in society. This needs to change.
Joe Pagani examines the similarities between the New Zealand, Australian and UK Labour parties, and what lessons we need to learn if we want to gain power.
John Morris, experienced Labour campaigner in the Midlands, analyses the result of the General Election, and suggests how to win voters back.
Adam Allnutt, new Young Fabian chair sets out the executive’s plan for the year ahead.
With a focus on regulation rather than behaviour change, there’s not a lot to like in the Government’s new Web White Paper
"New Social Media Code Gives Thumbs Down to Facebook Likes". This front page headline from the Times last week saw the futility of current proposals for social media regulation writ large.
The world as we know it is ending. There is a 30 year lag in the effect of the carbon we put into our atmosphere. We’re sitting on a climate extreme time bomb that’s counting down. I wonder if people even care that 40% of species on this Earth have been wiped out by us in the last 50 years.
We are in a climate crisis.
Our very exciting new environment network had their launch event - catch up on all the action here
Missed the BAME and local government network recent event on local authorities and hate crime? Anjali's got you covered
Israel’s upcoming election on April 9th, has an extraordinary backdrop of controversy and uncertainty.
"Constitutional issues rarely pique voters interest, and so parties have rarely had an interest in taking a line on regional devolution other than a vague aspiration"
"We need to connect up communities that were left isolated after the Beeching cuts in the 1960s. This would be an approach rooted in serving the needs of local people and recreating a sense of place that marries with our environment agenda."
"Scapegoating is nothing new, and since 2008 it has been the staple of British politics; but it is Labour’s responsibility to counter the deception more effectively and pull common sense in the UK back from the brink"
The Young Fabian Economy and Finance Network’s Response to the Spring Statement
Be present, go to the meeting, write the blog, volunteer for the cause you’re passionate about, change someone’s mind, organise, build, ideate, do - not - settle.
The Young Fabian International Network held a discussion with Jess Manville, who was previously an officer on the Network and is currently a Journalist for the Israeli TV station I24 News, covering her previous work at the YF, what she does now, and the current social and political climate within Israel.
Masculinity. A word who’s modern interpretation is now more of weakness than strength. And rightly so.
Last week, the Young Fabians Devolution and Local Government Network held an event with John Denham to discuss English Identity. Marian Craig, Chair of the Young Fabians Devolution and Local Government Network summarises the discussions.
"If we are to leave a sustainable planet for the generations to come then changing our diet is an essential part of it."
The Young Fabians held their AGM on 24th November in Fabian HQ, Petty France. The new executive was ratified, motions were debated and new networks were approved.
The young Fabians hosted an event in November to discuss Britain's relationship with the Middle East. the International Network Secretary, Nathaneal Amos Sansam, writes up the event below.
On Saturday 10th November the Young Fabians Economy & Finance Network ran a ‘Rethinking Economics Workshop’, hosted by Nadia Islam and Mark Whittaker and with three invited speakers. This was a timely event, coming off the back of an underwhelming autumn budget at a time when, as described by the IPPR, the economy ‘is not working for millions of people and requires fundamental reform’ and with the prospect of a potentially ruinous Brexit looming on the near horizon
"The key to the Preston model is spending local authority money and ‘anchor institutions’ funds locally with local contractors and suppliers."
This article is based on the Young Fabian Economy & Finance Network’s event in Leeds Civic Hall on 25th October 2018.
The speakers were Mhairi Tordoff (social housing professional and environmental activist), Prof John Barrett (UK Energy Research Centre), Ian Rigarlsford (Ecology Building Society), and Alex Sobel MP (Environmental Audit Committee and leader of SERA’s Parliamentary Network).
The Young Fabians Devolution and Local Network recently spoke to Lisa Nandy (MP for Wigan and Centre for Towns) and Jonn Elledge (Editor of City Metric). John Morris summarises the debate.
"The anti-semitism debate is another strike on the shaky foundations that Scottish Labour needs to build for its successful revival."
"We are tired of being told ‘that’s the problem with you feminists’, ‘be quiet’ and ‘you’re being too emotional about this’."
Earlier this year, we published Ash Lawton Dharmasingham's series 'East of Suez: A British Strategy for an Asian Century.
If you want to read the whole series as a single document, click here.
"To this end, and with my Fabian cap on, it would appear Labour’s fiscal credibility rule is nothing more than a timid mainstream step in the right direction, gradual it may be, progressive and radical - it certainly is not."
"The civil rights marches of the 60s and 70s called for British Rights for British Citizens. It is inexcusable that after decades of struggle, peace talks and progress, the UK government continues to shirk its responsibility of offering protection to all people in the UK"
Personally through my own experiences of the NHS, I have seen how empathetic, patient and hardworking most of the medical professional staff are; but I have also experienced unsympathetic, tired, stressed NHS staff who many are unable to deliver the nurturing services we have all expected for years
Learning should be life-long and through this collaborative, progressive approach of multi-industry placements, this can remain so.
Young Fabian writes up the Book Club event discussing Dismembered bu Polly Toynbee and David Walker
This article is based on discussion at an event co-hosted by the Young Fabian Technology Network and Economy & Finance Network on “A World Without Cash” on the 6th of July, 2018.
"For youth services to have a significant impact it must put sport and recreation at the core of its delivery."
"As socialists, we cannot shy away from taking bold policy steps to safeguard peoples’ rights, freedoms and economic empowerment in this Brave New World."
Elisabeth Lindberg of the Swedish Social Democrats writes on the upcoming Swedish elections.
Societies built on liberal foundations are an aberration in human history rather than the norm and they must be defended. History is the story of humanity lurching from one crisis to the next, but even with this in consideration the current political climate is deeply concerning.
"But we don’t need to wait for a Labour Government. We are involved in the administration of 134 councils across the UK- each of which have some control of procurement policy for their own councils"
"There is an obvious temptation to link the need for renewable investment only to climate change, but voters are driven as much by passion as by logic."
"Moderates have failed to engage with the way the world has changed. Not just in terms of the impact and aftershocks of the 2008 financial crisis or Brexit, but in the way in which politics is conducted."
"Ultimately, it is a political choice whether a government prioritises free school meals or breakfast clubs. The academic benefits are pretty even between both schemes, however the studies demonstrated that breakfast clubs have more wider benefits which will affect more children."
"Labour’s history of anti-communism is one to be proud of. The championing of liberty and democracy over fanciful utopias, the hard graft of improving people’s lives, is one to be proud of."
"When the benefits are so diffuse, across the world now and in the future, but the costs are specific and direct on individuals who stand to gain from exploiting new technologies or firms’ bottom lines, we cannot rely on them to make the right choice"
"The Labour Party and the wider anti-racist movement need to do better at placing counter narratives online"
"A future Labour Government could create a lasting legacy where the UK is able to lead on the resolution of humanitarian issues"
"The lack of equal marriage and abortion rights in Northern Ireland is a symptom of the problem of stubborn politicians clinging to power at the expense of progress."
"The NES will only be a success if it’s local, autonomous and with adequate investment. It has to be a true partnership between headteachers, governors, unions, educational charities like The Access project, and local government. A National Educational Service does not and should not look the same in London as it does in Birmingham."
"In short, to fundamentally change the status quo when it comes to work in Britain. A Labour government has the power to do this. But it will take time, political capital and a measure of luck."
The Young Fabian book club met up to discuss David Goodhart's The Road to Somewhere.
Chris Spencer writes up the event for our blog. Look out for the next edition of the magazine for the accompanying book review by Leon Alleyne McLaughlin.
"A more equal society is not one in which a mixed-race woman achieves status through her husband’s hereditary role in an archaic institution."
"No doctor or hospital can improve local economic opportunities, reduce hopelessness and so reverse the dramatic rise in drug related deaths. The best they can usually do is try and stop an overdose becoming fatal if the patient somehow makes it to A&E in time."
"Erasmus schemes include in not just university students, but also those taking up volunteering, teaching sports training and other staff work, and it is these other aspects of the scheme that are most at risk to government policy."
"There has been three fundamental failures of parliament in regulating this product; one of failing to act on evidence from the regulator originally, two of failing to adapt recommendations to an evolving marketplace and three a failure to ensure that there is independent oversight of the Gambling Market."
Charlotte Norton talks about her experiences of getting a Labour gain in an 'unwinnable' ward.
The Fabian Society’s Raising the Bar pamphlet seeks to understand why this has happened, and what policymakers can do to get household incomes rising again. The Raising the Bar launch event in April gave Fabian members a chance to hear more and ask questions of contributors including Annaliese Dodds MP, the political economists Prof Ozlem Onaran and Craig Berry, and John Mills (entrepreneur and Labour Party activist).
Mark Whittaker, chair of the Finance Network wrote up the event for our blog.
On election day, I found myself running round in the searing heat knocking on doors encouraging our supporters to get out and vote in Trinity Ward, Wimbledon. Though I lost, it was an amazing experience and there are many positives and lessons to take.
"Devolution is the logical solution for England; it will reinforce the union and equalise the four nations."
by John Hackett
"The provision of finance for social housing would follow the individuals who are deemed to need it, not the houses themselves. In this way, supply would expand to meet demand"
"It seems that for most young people today, rightly or wrongly, trade unions are considered rather inconsequential, tools harking back to a twentieth-century age of now declining industrial manufacturing professions, and not beneficial alliances for current popular graduate jobs."
"The problem with trade is that the costs and benefits are unevenly distributed. The former factory worker who lost his job due to low-cost imports has lost a lot more than you or I have gained from cheaper goods."
"People in rural areas feel that policy is done to them, rather than with them."
"The book also eloquently explains why the reasons behind Brexit can’t just be wished away by progressives"
Young Fabian, Ash Dharmasingham writes on British strategy in Asia.
Zeireen Fuzurally interviews Ava Etemadzadeh about Labour, Feminism and #MeToo
Review: Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain. “Frank and uncomfortable reading for every political tribe”
"Hired is uncomfortable, but essential, reading for anyone who wants to think seriously about how we solve the problem of precarious work and bring about genuine equality."
It is essential all young people are taught about neuro-diversity so we can understand and listen to our peers' needs.
Playing politics with a political minefield : The Conservative approach to Northern Ireland’s border issue
"Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson appear to be participating in a competition as to who can utter the most reckless, provocative and ill thought-out statements regarding this politically sensitive issue."
"Policymakers need to work with healthcare professionals across the NHS to discuss the errors that happen, from the most common to the most serious, why they happen, the contributing factors and the ways to prevent them happening"
The UK passports row demonstrates exactly why Brexit is a bad idea - but not in the way you think...
"Let’s put this bluntly. What exactly do we expect other European countries to do once we’ve exited the single market? Why on earth would it be any different to our own immediate demands for protectionism? Preventing this kind of reaction is the WHOLE POINT of the single market"
If we tackled this feeling of lack of opportunities and challenged the hysterical media coverage of foreigners and the EU it seems to me Britain’s outlook could still change.
Jeevun Sandher is a Young Fabian and member of the contributing writer team. Follow him on Twitter at @JeevunSandher
Mira Cornelia – a former student of Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, writes on Barbara Stocking and the cover up of sexual harassment.
"There are so many amazing women in the modern trade union movement, and the image of the average trade unionist is not as male, pale and stale as it once was."
So this International Women’s Day, I’d like to call on women to protect their interests in the workplace and join the trade union relevant to their workplace. Join up with your colleagues and create a force so strong that no employer can treat you unfairly or take you for granted.
As part of the Local Government series on innovation run by our Local Government liaison officer, Adam Allnutt, we held an event in Liverpool. Following a productive meeting, Sean Flynn writes on local government funding.
The United Nations Mercenary Convention Bans Killing For Money. So Why Has the UK Refused To Sign It?
"The use of mercenaries is a dangerous relic from the past which unfortunately continues to be propped up by policymakers"
But the customs union is not enough, we must be fighting for membership of the single market.
It is with municipal socialism that we can make a tangible difference in policy in the current political climate
Our European neighbours have more in common with us socially and economically than China, and if we are to succeed alone, there is still much we can learn from them.
If Theresa May has virtually eliminated the UKIP threat from the right, has Corbyn done the same with the Greens on the left?
Maura McKeon is a Young Fabian and member of the contributing writer team. She tweets at @maurapoppins.
All views are Maura’s own and not that of Durham County Council.
Arran Parry-Davies is a Young Fabian and member of the contributing writer team. Follow him on Twitter at @Arran8
Ellie Vincent is a Young Fabian and member of our contributing writer team.
Jeevun Sandher is a Young Fabian and member of the contributing writer team. He tweets at @JeevunSandher
Lily Madigan is a Young Fabian and member of the contributing writer team. She tweets at @madigan_lily
Noah Froud is a Young Fabian and member of the contributing writer team. He tweets at @yesah_
Fran Sellors is a Young Fabian and member of the contributing writer team. She tweets at @fransellors
Patch Thompson is a Young Fabian and member of the contributing writer team. He tweets at @PatchThompson92.
"Clearly, the economy has some significant issues which could benefit from the removal of cash"
Contributing Editor Ben Gartside writes on the essential role of local media. This article was initially published in the Winter 2017 Edition of Anticipations, “Local Government and Devolution”.
"The risk is that for the Palestinians and the wider Middle East give up on a diplomatic solution, and conclude that President Trump and the administration he leads are only paying lip-service to the idea of a renewed push for a peace agreement in the region"
"Younger people just don’t seem to value their personal data that much compared to older people, but perhaps because they don’t really understand what it’s worth"
Earlier this month, I interviewed the new Leader of Labour in the European Parliament, Richard Corbett. Richard has been an MEP since 1996, and led initial concerns about UKIP in 2004. We sat down in his Leeds office to discuss the left, the UK and the EU.
"The mental health crisis is real, and the NHS cannot cope."
Trigger warning: Mental Health, anxiety, depression
"We must treat exploited workers are victims, not criminals"
A big victory for the Brexit government on Friday? As Jean Claude Juncker announces sufficient progress in talks to move onto discussing a trade deal, let's rate our government's the main achievements on the three initial areas of negotiation:
If Labour doesn’t make any progress in this issue, then we will find our party continually losing on defence and Labour continually losing the confidence of the public
"For now, it makes it all the more important for those of us within the party who want to see mental health taken seriously keep fighting, so that progressive policies lead to permanent change."
Party members of all badges need to be quicker in calling out discrimination from our own side if we’re to stamp it out in our politics
"In increasingly polarised political times, calling out unacceptable comments from party colleagues can often come with a backlash"
"The agreement 40 years ago lasted just 18 months and was considered a failure in the years afterwards. Given that most polls currently suggested Labour would only be returned to government in minority it should consider looking back at its own history."
"As the left continues to reinvent itself for the modern world, accountability and democracy must sit alongside compassion as the core principles through which we understand the world. The way our money is spent to help the most needy around the world is no exception."
"If cultural shifts could see the Democrats collapse in what was once their Solid South, any equivocation over Brexit could cause similar erosions in Labour’s currently Neglected North."
The scrapping of these two-amphibious warship, what seems to be for the two new aircraft carriers is argued to be the worst procurement decision of the past half century.
Young Fabian, Ash Dharmasingham writes on British strategy in Asia. Over the last few weeks we have been publishing his research into this important issue. This week's topic is "Malaysia and Singapore". This post also includes the conclusion as the series has drawn to a close. You can access a PDF version of the entire document here.
The improvement in technologies, the rise of smartphones, and anytime, anywhere access to information can help to revolutionise public services, make them more accessible, affordable, and simplistic, but it must meet the needs of the public it serves.
"The 1967 Abortion Act Celebrates its 50th birthday this October. It was an important first step in trusting women with decisions over their own body. We must ensure that this first step is applied equally across the UK. I am fearful that if progress is made without parity, the women of Northern Ireland will just be left further behind. Women in all parts of the UK, with our allies, must fight together."
"We need to hurry along the process and call for the banning of all non-recyclable products."
"There’s a sad irony to the fact that the places worst affected by the NHS recruitment crisis are those that typically voted to leave the EU, with the north of England having the highest level of unfilled vacancies in the country."
The reason that the state will fund these innovations is that is not bound by profit motives. Its primary concern is solving problems for its citizens
Young Fabian, Ash Dharmasingham writes on British strategy in Asia. Over the next few weeks we will be publishing his research into this important issue. This week's topic is "India". Follow our blog to read next week's piece on Malaysia and Singapore
At a time when anti-Zionists on the Left are helping to drive up hate crime statistics, those of us who truly oppose racism have a duty to speak out.
Young Fabian, Ash Dharmasingham writes on British strategy in Asia. Over the next few weeks we will be publishing his research into this important issue. This week's topic is "Japan". Follow our blog to read next week's piece on India
"Adult education has a transformative impact on society, and we need to be its standard bearer."
These aspirations go to the heart of the Labour vision of the project: a desire not just to create greater amounts of wealth, but to also build a more inclusive, accessible and cooperative economy that would tackle society’s diseases of despair.
Young Fabian, Ash Dharmasingham writes on British strategy in Asia. Over the next few weeks we will be publishing his research into this important issue. This week's topic is "China". Follow our blog to read next week's piece on Japan
"The battle lines have been drawn, now time to push on every issue."
Young Fabian, Ash Dharmasingham writes on British strategy in Asia. Over the next few weeks we will be publishing his research into this important issue. This week's topic is "The case for a British Strategy in Asia". Follow our blog to read next week's piece on China.
Young Fabian, Ash Dharmasingham writes on British strategy in Asia. Over the next few weeks we will be publishing his research into this important issue. This week's topic is the introduction, setting out the themes that will be explored in the series. Follow our blog to read next week's piece on "The Case for a British Strategy in Asia".
For those of you who missed the International and Comms Network event on fake news, you can listen to our podcast of the event.
Britain’s left has a proud tradition of supporting just causes overseas, and a non-proliferation and disarmament platform could form the centrepiece of a new, human-centred Labour foreign policy strategy.
Recent events in the United States have been abominable and give great cause for alarm and concern. However, in our justified anger and well-intentioned desire to support one marginalised group, we must always make doubly sure that we do not end up stigmatising another.
We lost the 2017 General election just like we lost the Brexit referendum and the 2015 General election before that. Each time our generation expressed a clear preference and each time the opposing side won.
The differences and attacks become personal when we view those we oppose as traitors to the party and its history. This passion destroys our ability to work together and produce a clear message. While we cannot nor should not have a party without dissent or discussion, we need one where such disagreements can be productive and civil.
Whatever those in Westminster might think, they have to accept that power has been pushed out from the centre for good.
Nominations are open, for any Fabian Society member under the age of 31 on the date of the AGM (18 November 2017) who joined the Society before 13 May 2017, for the annual elections to the Young Fabian National Executive Committee.
Elliot Jones write on the future of Unions ahead of the Young Fabian Tech Network panel discussion. The panel is titled “Unions in the digital age” in Parliament on the 18th July with a panel compromised of Angela Eagle MP. Sam Tarry, a National Political Officer at the TSSA and councillor in Barking and Dagenham, Joe Dromey, Senior Research Fellow at the IPPR, and Becky Wright director of Unions 2. You can find out more about the event here.
Membership officer, Nathaneal Amos-Sansam writes on his membership profile research.
Tristan Grove, Chair of the Communications network was at our summer conference and writes up his thoughts
If Labour manages to do this, and if it makes sure that its politicising is based firmly in facts and grounded evidence, it will not only do a much better job at helping the victims of the fire, but it’s also much more likely to present itself as a party ready to take power.
Limiting life chances, creating poverty and resentment will inevitably drain the finances of the National Budget as it looks to socially support these individuals later in life.
Labour needs to be on an election footing, ready to build on the unexpected successes of the 2017 campaign and win those marginal seats in regions like Cornwall, that are needed to secure a majority and return a Labour government to power.
A response to ‘It’s time to re-write Britain’s constitution’
The DUP are in ascendancy, but democracy and peace in Northern Ireland will pay the price.
The Young Fabians are launching an exciting new project, which seeks to explore the opportunities for green policy’s integration into Labour’s platform and outline some key strategies for what a green Labour agenda would look like in the short term and the long term. The project will culminate in the launch of a policy pamphlet, outlining how Labour might harness a more impactful and integrated environmental agenda in the future.
Forget minority governments, and forget opposition. An Attlee 1945 style revolution is there if we want it and if we fight for it. The times are a changing
The No Barriers Foundation works to tackle poverty every day. We’re an education charity, set up in Manchester and founded and ran by a Young Fabian member. Our focus is on education as history tells us this is the surest and most sustainable route out of poverty. We’re hiring teachers in Bangladesh as well as resourcing schools in Guyana, Kenya and Tanzania
A written constitution could give Britain the strength and stability that the Conservatives have failed to deliver.
Two years ago the Fabians set out the mountain that Labour had to climb after that years’ election defeat. That peak has now been greatly reduced and victory is now more a very plausible outcome given the weakness of the government’s position. But given the fluid nature of British politics at the moment it’s a high stakes bet.
Ignorance of the progressive voices in Northern Ireland, and shutting ears to the cries of minorities in the province has allowed politics to fester.
- Conservatives 9 seats short of a majority government; forced into coalition with the DUP.
- Labour gain seats across the country, coming from third to win in Portsmouth South, making +29 net gains.
- Labour gain 7 MPs in Scotland, and make strong performances in London, gaining Enfield Southgate, Battersea and Kensington.
"If Labour loses the election, its persistent lack of fiscal credibility will be a contributing factor. Its fiscal policies, per se, will not be. This country is crying out for a progressive tax system in which the wealthy minority pull their weight in paying contributions."
To turn the internet into a truly effective weapon takes skill, money and power. It's time we all woke up, before the clock strikes 13.
May’s conservatism is a social one, a form of conservatism which is willing to wreck and ruin people’s living standards, people’s prospects, and our nation's prosperity in order to fit into a narrow minded ideology. A vision for a nation good, however the Conservative Manifesto has blinkers on. May seems to busy trying to right the wrongs that happened in her time as home secretary to see the economic calamity that is on it’s way.
Now, more than ever, the Labour Party must offer a credible, realistic means of dealing with our transatlantic ally.
"This is Labour at its best – protecting the many who are calling out for their rights, against the loud few who want to keep the status quo. "
"The right policies change, but the right attitude does not. With a modern agenda for change, promoted with a clear message from a strong leader, Labour can be unstoppable."
"Against Tory promises of ‘Strong and Stable Leadership’ Labour must make as clear in 2017 as in 1997 that you can never be sure with a Conservative. Today’s Conservative Party should not be allowed to hide its weakness behind Brexit. 1997 shows that a positive and principled alternative can be produced."
"New Labour’s campaign was forward looking, their policy focus was snappy and simple, and their message was unifying. It was an approach that appealed to those beyond traditional Labour strongholds."
"With more disabled Labour MPs in parliament, there will be more insight and better knowledge into the problems disabled people face in the world of work and hopefully better legislation can be drafted to ensure disabled people can compete in a 21st century workforce. "
Want to campaign but not sure where to start? The Young Fabians have worked together with other organisations to pull together a timetable of campaigning dates.
Please get in touch with any member of the exec if you have questions. Please also let us know if your organisation would like to add their dates.
"New Labour might have tried to update the party’s identity, but in government showed this really a con, and has never fully recovered. This has left a vacuum which shrieks of cosmopolitan elitism, with a lack of respect for the traditions that have developed British identity together for centuries, and appeal to many in Britain today. Without acknowledging them, Labour will continue to be soulless, and inevitably keep haemorrhaging votes."
Feeding the Fire: How New Labour’s attempts at neutralising the immigration debate unwittingly made it dominate the discourse
Labour must be a progressive force, and though immigration might now seem firmly entrenched as a negative in the public consciousness, with courage and vision, the current can be altered.
Labour needs to start gaining ground and winning back voters by making in-roads into these communities if it is to have any chance of winning a majority in future elections. Only then can we realistically deliver the Labour government that Cornwall, and the country, so desperately needs.
Robin Cook’s qualities are needed to take Labour back to 1997 style victory
I am concerned that our generation has yet to learn the lessons of pragmatism and compromise that facilitated that landslide victory and all the positive change that came afterwards. We should remain critical of the mistakes made in those 13 years, but throwing “Blairite” around as a swear word is doing nobody any favours.
"Labour can at least begin the process by reforming social security and striking back at right wing rhetoric that condemns those without jobs. We can champion education systems that enable everyone and anyone to achieve their goals and contribute to society, without the need to do so through employment. We must begin this change."
"The advocates for the adoption of new technologies and new ways of working highlight the opportunities that this will bring. However, as this article makes clear, we must proceed with caution, for the changing working practices can also bring greater income inequalities and lower standards of living. "
"The political right is not blind to the rise of automation either and the same ideology that has already gutted industry in Britain once before will not see the need to manage automation to meet human needs"
"If the Labour Party is serious about tackling falling rates of homeownership, then it needs to adopt a radical approach to property taxes. "
"In what could be Andy Burnham’s final act as an MP before being elected as the Mayor for Greater Manchester Regional Authority, he sets out in this bill a legacy that the Hillsborough campaigns, and the campaigners for many other justice campaigns, can be proud of."
"We need to make sure that our unions are able to defend our rights in all working spheres, and that we have policy in place that eliminates the risk of bosses eroding those hard fought-for rights."
"We can unite in defence of our economic record, take the Tories to task and win back some precious lost ground. The fate of our party may depend on it"
"This new policy is a welcome step in the right direction however and is a well executed piece of opposition. B minus, some good ideas, room for improvement."
"Focusing on depression this World Health Day serves as a reminder that thinking about health should not be limited to conversations about funding the NHS, although of course this is important. It’s also a call to consider how environments - from schools and offices to care homes – could better promote wellbeing, rather than stress and anxiety"
"While the disempowerment of white working class people is a key factor in the leave vote, we cannot hope to engage with people until we attempt to engage with both of the products of this problem; the legitimate and the illegitimate"
"Along with plenty of other woes, Brexit has brought us to a potentially dangerous deregulatory moment in which a vote to reign in elite power could be exploited to slash the protections we will inherit from the EU"
"Labour, as the party of the workers by its very name, has to shape the future of work and prevent the Conservatives plan to give ownership of digital skills development solely into the hands of companies. "
"Labour must be a voice for Britain in the choppy waters that are to come "
"Most importantly, Labour needs to immediately unite in opposition to the hardest Brexit possible."
"A job isn't just about earning an income, but also a way to develop and improve ourselves. A job can be an outlet where we share our potential and passion for the benefit of those around us."
"But as the new economy begins to replace traditional services, there is an opportunity to shape this discussion to look at re-aligning workers and businesses, rather than pushing them further apart. Finding new and positive ways to strengthen an individual’s bond with work is the most challenging question to be answered in an increasingly casual and agile economy."
Vice Chair, Ria Bernard sets out our charity of the year. Please contact Ria at email@example.com to get involved.
Oliver MacArthur and Joe Jervis write on on the importance of non-routine and creative skills as a policy focus to help address the challenges in the labour market.
Last weekend was the founding conference of a new Labour Party organisation called Open Labour. Tristan Grove, Young Fabian was in attendance and shares his thoughts.
"If we don’t have a serious conversation about how we break this costly cycle of failure, then the extra help and support that I received a decade ago will be much harder to deliver in the future."
"Education, education, education – The words of the 1997 election and I hope, the words of the 2020 election."
"We came here because of a friendship embedded in the consciousness of our peoples. That friendship is now at risk – let’s work towards a Labour government before it is irretrievably broken. "
"Where has the fight gone? Women in Northern Ireland are UK citizens and have been denied their rights. Labour needs to fight to get abortion rights in Northern Ireland back on the table."
"The modern British workforce however, is of a distinctly different breed. We have seen the development of a workforce that is rife with insecurity and gripped by a severe lack of power. It is this insecurity that I wish to discuss at this moment. "
"Let’s place this aim firmly at the top of our agenda. In an increasingly precarious labour market, it’s our moral duty to do so. And, with local elections approaching on 4 May, putting this goal front and centre might just save us from further embarrassment in Labour heartlands"
"It was apparent that the spreadsheet chancellor was spread thin by having to create a cushion for our entry into the unknown as we leave the EU"
"Education has the power to change individuals and communities, and we cannot let a socially unjust narrative win. We owe the country more than that."
Contributing editor, Ben Gartside writes on recent YouGov polling.
"It was not until the Great War that I fully grasped the strength of the ties that bind men to the land of their birth”
Anthony Jenkins has spent the last two years predicting that an ‘Uber moment’ will bring an end to the traditional model of banking. The former CEO of Barclays is even putting his money where his mouth is. He now runs a financial technology (‘fintech’) venture and recently joined the board of the digital currency start-up Blockchain.
The Chinese economy grew by 6.7% in 2016, as official data predicted, marking its slowest growth for over two decades. A shirking market with fewer calls for infrastructure projects, means that the demand for steel has fallen. Previous excessive capacity generated more sales by lowering international prices, which dragged the UK steelworkers into tough competition.
Rachel Megan Barker, Young Fabian member writes on last night's by-elections.
Young Fabian, Kerri Prince writes on last night's election results.
As the polls close in the by-elections, two Young Fabian members share their experiences campaigning.
How do we as a party adapt to being the third-most popular party amongst working class voters?
Recent case law has made it all too clear that the UK is failing when it comes to civil relationship law.
I am currently preparing the next edition of Anticipations on the theme "It's the New Economy, Stupid?"
Many of my peers who fall into the 18-24 category will (albeit embarrassedly) admit that they have little to no knowledge about politics. As we have gotten older some have ventured to educate themselves through reading the newspaper or watching the news, but they lack a fundamental understanding of our political system.
Labour must not shy away from tackling the failings in our education system
Joel Mullan reviews some of the insights emerging from the Young Fabians Education Network.
Northern Ireland. It’s tiny, it’s across a sea, and the main UK political parties don’t run there (whether they should is a topic for a different debate). Often, there is no incentive to engage with difficult issues because they won’t win elections.
However, the recent political scandals in Northern Ireland highlights just how important this small country can be.
Automation: it’s inevitable and it’s here. As humanity’s technological capability continues enhancing, we are developing smarter ways to make our lives easier.
Labour should see reducing University fees as a long term goal, not a priority.
It is an exciting and daunting challenge for me to take on the editorship of Anticipations against the backdrop of recent changes in the world. The UK voted to leave the EU, Donald Trump is president elect of the United States, and many of Labour’s sister parties in Europe join us hesitantly watching the rise of the “alt-right”.
In my years here in this House I have long heard the Labour Party ask: what does the Conservative Party do for women? It just keeps making us prime minister.’
Theresa May’s first PMQs identified a terribly kept secret - the fact that Labour is failing women.
Nowhere was this better demonstrated than during Angela Eagle’s six-day leadership bid.
Yesterday was the first full day of campaigning with the Florida Democratic Party.
Day 2 of the Young Fabian Campaign Delegation to Orlando, Florida began with a bustle of energy and enthusiasm. We launched our delegation with a visit to the local organising branch of the Clinton Campaign on East Colonial Road in the centre of Orlando. A full briefing on the city, the local issues and candidates followed and we enjoyed a thorough introduction to our work ahead.
We were excited to fly into Orlando, Florida and begin the final half of the Young Fabians Operation Stop Trump delegation.
The alternative right or Alt-Right, is growing right wing element, centred in the US. The ‘CEO’ of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is Steve Bannon, a prominent Alt-righter. This gives the movement credence and is arguably the de-facto political ideology of Trump.
For me and many others in Britain, Mental Health is an incredibly personal and important topic. The fact is Mental Health is a subject that most people can say they’ve had some kind of experience with. 1 in 4 people experience Mental Health issues in Britain, so whether it’s someone you know, or something you deal with yourself, it is a topic that most can relate to in some way. It is also something that people tend to shy away from; but they really shouldn’t. Even though at this moment in time Mental Health may be considered somewhat taboo or misunderstood, talking about Mental Health requires frank and open discussion that is conducted in a friendly manner. That is the way to beat the ever present stigma.
Even those most critical of Jeremy Corbyn’s concede that he is winning the battle on selective education, both within the party and in Parliament. At pre-conference PMQs we were presented with an ideological battle between two Grammar School alumni. Jeremy Corbyn - against on the grounds that social segregation is wrong; and Theresa May - in favour on the grounds that her present success is directly attributable to her education.
In the year I was born, a wall signifying the geopolitical divide between two global superpowers collapsed and Margaret Thatcher, the then British Prime minister had cemented a neoliberal consensus that would outlast a generation. That year was 1989 and since then the world has changed beyond recognition, globalisation has brought the world closer together as well as creating huge divisions in wealth and opportunity. Neoliberalism an economic system which was once praised is showing signs of terminal decline.
It is no secret that politics has a women problem. We may have a female Prime Minister but with 29% of Members of Parliament being women, equality has a fair way to go – and the Labour Party is still finding itself behind in this regard too. Much has been written about this, including by me in the last edition of this magazine, but it needs to be spoken about and challenged again and again. To end the Young Fabians’ executive year, and in time for party conference, I therefore wanted to put an issue I feel strongly about front and centre. So this edition of Anticipations is about looking at women in politics and in positions of power leading in their field.
Right now it’s a tough time for politics in the Labour Party, and it’s a tough time for women in politics. Never in my twenty years of Labour Party membership have I seen the kind of abuse and misogyny that our friends and colleagues are experiencing today.
The dismal state of centre-left politics worldwide left me in resigned despair. Charles Dickens inspired me to re-engage. Us Fabians are in dark days and hope is needed.
As a second, Corbyn victory might happen, it is time to consider where the Party goes from here if it does. Having held onto power, Corbyn now needs to find a way to weld the Parliamentary Party he has into an election winning force. In doing so it is important that Corbyn and his inner circle start to recognise the electoral mandates of individual Labour MPs. Labour is not an absolute monarchy, and power in the Parliamentary Party does not rest solely on the Leader’s office. I see only one way of satisfying this need without totally alienating the bulk of his supporters in the Membership. That is the partial reintroduction of Shadow Cabinet elections.
A highlight of the delegation for me was meeting Revolution Messaging, a digital campaigning company which has lived up to its name and been truly revolutionary this campaign season in their incredible work running Bernie Sanders social media campaigning.
In the grand yet homely setting of his living room, Thomas Frank embarked upon a discussion with the delegation about the hold Trump has over his supporters and the factors behind it. After the pleasantry of introductions and talk of his turntable and hiking to London for records, talk turned to Frank’s first book: What’s the matter with Kansas? The argument of the book follows the rise in the working class vote for the Republicans during the 1990s/2000s; the reason for this surge, the cultural backlash against the so-called ‘liberal elite’ who were an affront to American values – with their support for abortion, violence in films and evolutionism.
Rising before the sun the Young Fabian's US delegation set about getting ready for its fifth day. Departing for a breakfast meeting with the Arlington Democrats at Busboys and Poets, a community hub-come-trendy cafe where we experienced what can only be described as one of the most interesting and amusing meetings yet. Over numerous cups of much needed coffee, we found ourselves at a part-CLP meeting, part-social and part-election rally where we heard from delegates from the Democratic National Convention.
Day 4 of the Young Fabian Delegation to the United States started with a key meeting in the heart of the nation's capital: Washington DC. The HRC (Human Rights Campaign) represents the rights of LGBTQ people across America, and their allies. Founded in 1980, the history of the HRC is fascinating.
Anyone who knows me well will know that I love trains, so it was no surprise that I woke up nearly of my own volition on Wednesday to be there nice and early for the Amtrak to Washington DC. After coffee and more bagels, we grabbed our wheelie suitcases and trundled down to the bus stop. $3.50 was well worth the view of Manhattan.
In the rush to distance themselves from the New Labour era, many of the party’s brightest thinkers have failed to form a coherent analysis of the Blair/Brown legacy. It has become common parlance to criticise the last Labour government for overspending and to place the Iraq War at the centre of the party’s recent history. But in all the obvious finger pointing and distancing, more nuanced debates have been missed, particularly around Labour’s altering relationship with trade unions.
Having fuelled up on bagels and coffee, we set off to the centre of New York to join the Clinton campaign’s phone canvassing session. We were still amazed by the efficiency of the phone canvassing system, despite having used the system the previous day! Interesting anecdotes included some voters leaning towards Hillary and one voter who asked how Hillary could be President from jail. It seems that the allegations of Clinton’s email server misuse have left an impression on certain voters.
The Young Fabians delegation to Washington D.C. and New York kicked off with the delegates getting on the phones for Hillary Clinton's campaign and playing their part in talking to votrs across Pennsylvania about the upcoming Presidential elections. Many of the delegates were experiened Labour phonebankers, and drew important compatisons between the practices of both parties' telephone campaigning; we were particularly impressed by The Pennsylvania Democrats made good, efficient use of campaign technology.
We later made our way to an Irish bar near Broadway to have a chat with Richard Bruce, a member of the Labour International CLP. Each of the delegates pitched their research projects and engaged Richard in debate about their chosen subject. The delegates felt that it was interesting to hear from the perspective of a Brit observing US politics on the ground.
“Hast thou, spirit,
Perform'd to point the tempest that I bade thee?”
– William Shakespeare ‘The Tempest’
And Ariel did make such a storm – enough of a thrash to crash Alonso and his crew’s ship unto the frightening shores of the uninhabited island – but as fate had it, they weren’t destined to be damned forever.
American foreign policy has long been defined by its self-belief. After a hiatus during the Obama years, could American Exceptionalism be set for a comeback?
One of the most oft-repeated maxims of the past six months is that we are now living in a post-truth politics. It is so omnipresent, because, ironically, it is true, and it has been true about nothing else as it has been about the EU referendum.
I think it is important to not see the referendum as the previews to the American presidential election’s opening night, although it is tempting to do so. Although on a global scale many populist movements are rising-- many of them right-wing and reactionary-- none of them are identical in scope or character. Nigel Farage stood beside Donald Trump on a stage and spoke a similar language, but not the same one. One is clueless about governance, the other an old hand, and both claim outsider status. Donald Trump is winning despite having no experience. Nigel Farage is considered a maverick despite having been an MEP for 15 years. They are merely brothers, not identical twins, in sowing the seeds of division and hatred.
But they are taking advantage of similar levels of ignorance, where blaming your neighbour is easier than blaming market forces, and an extremely clear example of this is the public attitude to international trade in our new, increasingly globalised world. Donald Trump does not practice what he preaches, but it doesn’t matter. Of many, many examples, Donald Trump preaches the importance of American made, but favours Italian suits-- but when he does this, it's different. When he does this, it’s not a betrayal, but a sign of affluence, and, apparently, greed is good. He tells us so all the time, so that, too, must be true.
On the day of the referendum, I stood in the garden of a man who worked in the automotive industry trying to convince him that a vote to leave the EU could cost him his job. We live in a region that exports more than it imports, and which has a significant part to play in the international car industry. Car factories built in the North East of England were built to have easy access to the European Union, and throughout the referendum we heard numerous car companies insinuate or out-and-out state that they would seriously consider moving their factories if the UK voted to leave. I said this to this man, standing in his garden, in the blisteringly hot sun, and he said that it didn’t matter. We would sell the cars to somebody else, in South America maybe. I left that man’s garden knew that even though he said to me that he was undecided, he was going to vote to leave. It didn’t matter what he said to me, and it didn’t matter what I said to him: my facts wouldn’t change his beliefs.
This was a case where facts didn't matter. It is easy to say that we can trade with other countries, but it shows a lack of understanding of how trade works-- perhaps a lack of understanding that politics as-is fosters. Of course you can sell cars to South America, but first you have to get them there, and that costs serious money. Of course you can sell fruit to Australia, but first you have to make sure it survives the journey to ripen when it arrives. Of course you can sell to whoever you want, but deliberately sabotaging the biggest market you already have is something no good business adviser would ever tell you do to. But on the 23rd of June, we did.
From an American angle, we now live in a world where our trade relationship as it existed with the USA is now rendered obsolete. Our trade deals with the USA were negotiated through and signed by the EU, acting on behalf of its 28 member states. If we accept that we are leaving the European Union, which more than 17 million people have demanded we must, we will virtually be starting from scratch. TTIP -- the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership -- the massive trade deal which would have regulated American/EU trade in order to make it easier, is now effectively dead in the water, especially without the British government to push for it, as the Conservatives have always been its strongest advocates. It had been highlighted by some groups, including the AFL-CIO that TTIP had in theory the possibility that American labour standards could be improved, but this, too, is now probably an impossibility.
It is also, in theory, exciting to live in a world full of such infinite possibilities. It is unfortunate that in practice these possibilities are likely to be very bad for everyone who is not a multinational corporation. If we are doomed or blessed to live in a post-truth politics, perhaps the way to take back control of the narrative is to change it. An issue raised on the left about TTIP was that it was negotiated in secret, that the people who elected their negotiators wished to know exactly what it was being negotiated on their behalf. There are unlikely to be many good consequences of our exit from the European Union, but the hope of a more open world might at least be one.
Mercedes Broadbent is a Young Fabian member attending the USA Delegation
John. D. Rockefeller once said that he tried to turn every disaster into an opportunity. Equity markets have decided to do the opposite when reacting to the collapse of oil. Falling oil prices have historically been positive for the world economy, given the redistribution of purchasing power from producers to consumers. However, markets have focused on the direct negative effects of lower oil prices without looking ahead at the potential positive outcomes.
The deadly Orlando shooting of 12th June 2016 left 49 people dead in the popular gay nightclub, Pulse. This, just 5 months before one of the strangest, most unorthodox and at times unpredictable of US Presidential Elections reaches its conclusion on November 8th. With the stakes so high, and the balance of political power in play within the Senate, Presidency and Supreme Court, is all as well with Gay Rights in America as it may seem?
Rewind almost 12 months to 26th June 2015 and you would be forgiven for thinking that real and lasting change had taken place in America, at a pace not often associated with US Politics. The Supreme Court had ruled that state-level bans on same-sex marriage were legally unconstitutional and unequal in the eyes of the law, in the now famous Obergefell vs Hodges case.
Indeed, regular polls (including the Huffington Post’s) show support for same-sex – the cornerstone equality issue for LGBT rights in the States – is consistently above 60% and trending in an upward direction. But that of course does not mitigate against so-called “lone wolf” attacks such as that carried out by Omar Mateen in the name of, but not necessarily motivated by, Radical Islam. This was as much a hate crime carried out by a deeply disturbed individual as it was one inspired by a radicalised individual
So does this single terrifying instance (the worst shooting in US history) act as a symptom of a wider problem? Is this an issue that will be raised at the Ballot Box and how are the Two Campaigns addressing Gay Rights?
It’s fair to say (and encouraging) that the evidence for the first question leads to a pretty unequivocal ‘no’. But the second question has to be answered in the affirmative.
Clinton has been a high profile advocate for LGBT rights now for many years, long before it was fashionable. And although not always the first to do so, she has backed recent guidance from the Obama Administration on transgender students’ access to restrooms matching their gender identity; the 2015 Equality Act preventing discrimination through the sale of every day Goods and Services as well as the high profile Equal Marriage fight through the US Courts system.
Trump on the other hand has a much more chequered, some might say genuinely confusing, record. He has typically been in favour of ‘Traditional Marriage’ between a man and a woman, but has made comments in support of individual same-sex couples (including Elton John and David Furnish), suggesting that there is no clear, consistent animosity there. On the very current issue of ‘Transgender Bathrooms’ he believes it should be down to “States’ Rights” to decide this and issues like it, but strongly criticised North Carolina’s recent restrictive legislation on this issue. He also uses a complex, confusing and somewhat cryptic, New York Times profile piece analogy with Golf’s ‘Long Putter’ to describe further his position on Gay Marriage. Yet, surely the triviality with which he compares a human right to a peculiarity of the Game of Golf speaks to a wider concern about his temperament and judgement to be President of the United States. Certainly he showed no leadership of any kind in backing away from the ‘Platform Fight’ when the Republicans met in Cleveland for the quadrennial Convention in July, where a set of clearly conservative values were espoused, once more, by the Republican Party.
So where are we now with the Election itself only a little more than 2 months away? Well there has been scant polling on LGBT voters, with evidence showing that they make up perhaps around 5% of the US electorate. What polling has been conducted (the well-cited May Whitman Insights Strategies poll) suggests Clinton is far ahead, by 84% to 16%, and further so that even Obama, at 77% to 23% vs Romney in the campaign of 2012. However this polling did not include so-called ‘Third Party’ candidates – Stein and Johnson, who have since shaken up the race and are worthy of an article of their own at this juncture.
Overall however, it’s fair to say that Clinton remains the clear favourite with LGBT voters and this particularly active and vociferous portion of the US electorate will stand behind her slogan of ‘I’m With Her’ with quite some conviction in November.
Peter Ptashko is a Young Fabian member attending the USA delegation
Trump’s populist rhetoric encompasses the most emotive and populist issues on the far right of the Republican Party. Despite this, his stance on abortion and reproductive rights has been far from coherent, angering both sides of the debate. Does Trump’s rise – signifying the collapse of the moderateRepublican Party – further enable progressive reproductive policies? Or does his populism simply demonstrate how far the US has to come in this policy area?
I imagine that young people in the UK often taken for granted the accessibility of reproductive healthcare. Emergency contraception is readily available from local pharmacies, free contraception available on the NHS, and there are confidential sexual health clinics in most towns and cities.
The experience for many in the US is very different to this. Although the 1964 Roe vs Wade ruling remains in place – maintaining the baseline requirements that all states must permit a minimum period where abortion is legal – the ruling is becoming less effective, given that many counties in the US do not have any abortion providers at all. In Texas, a state almost three times the size of the UK, only 9 abortion providers remain. For women unable to afford transport – and too scared to ask for help - this proves an impossible situation. Between 2013 and 2015, reports showed that over 100,000 women in Texas alone had attempted to self-induce an abortion.
Like many of his policy positions, Trump’s stance on reproductive justice has often been incoherent, and often angering both Democrats and moderate Republicans alike. He has frequently commented that women should be denied access to abortion, stating that for women that do, “there has to be some form of punishment.” This serves to damage pro-life campaigners who have usually put forwards their case on the platform of religion, and the best option for the mother and the child. Discourse stigmatising female sexuality is often surrounding these claims, but often not promoted by ‘mainstream’ leaders of the cause.
Hilary has maintained her strong pro-choice platform, while being the first candidate in a primary race to have accepted an endorsement from Planned Parenthood. Furthermore, the “Republican Women for Obama” campaign, prominent in the 2012 presidential race, are again making appearances this year, following the libertarian principles that the Democrat stance on reproductive healthcare allows them (and their families) more autonomy than the Republican nominee would.
Despite the prominence that Clinton’s campaign has given to progressive reproductive healthcare policies in moderate spheres of US politics, the Republican Party is simply trying to play catch up with Trump. Like the threat of UKIP in the UK encourages anti-immigration populism among moderate politicians as a perceived vote-winner, Trump’s rise has shifted what it means to be a ‘moderate’ Republican politician, and further emboldened the pro-life advocates in the party.
The good news for pro-choice campaigners, is that this rhetoric from the Republican Party only satisfies the base vote and further alienates moderate voters. However, unless the Republican Party collapses completely, it is likely that Trump’s rise – and likely defeat – will only serve to accelerate the polarised geography of reproductive rights in the US.
Jenny McConnel is a Young Fabian member & will be attending the USA Delegation in September
Individual Electoral Registration (IER) was ushered in amongst cries of gerrymandering in the summer on 2012; by February 2013 it had been rushed through Parliament and was law. But love it or loath it IER is here to stay. The question now is what can the Labour Party do to ensure it’s not left at an electoral disadvantage?
There are two ways the Labour Party can adapt to this change in the electoral landscape, firstly through legislative and procedural changes – making sure that the system actually works. Secondly, by changing how we campaign. In both cases we can, and must, look to our American cousins for guidance on what to do and what not to do.
In the UK IER is not new, nor is it a Conservative idea, indeed it was in the 2010 Labour Party Manifesto and has been in place in Northern Ireland since 2002. But it brings with it unique problems – most notably the number of electors, and particularly young electors, who have fallen off the electoral register. Between December 2014 and December 2015 the electoral register became 1.48 MILLION voters lighter, despite a growing population.
IER is more of a problem for Labour than it is for the Tories for a number of reasons. Firstly studies suggest that Labour’s core groups of those from a lower socio-economic and the young are less likely to register and even if they are registered they are still less likely to vote. The transient nature of our core vote means that they are more likely to fall off the register as they need to resign every time they move.
So what can be done?
Here is where we can look to the USA for guidance. Although research by the Pew Charitable Trusts estimate that in 2012 at least 51 million Americans (24%) are not registered to vote there have been numerous studies which look to address this. They have highlighted two main paths to increasing voter turnout.
The first is by opening the number of avenues to registration. In 1993 the ‘Motor voter’ Act was passed which required states to offer citizens the ability to register when they renewed their driving licence. The act also allowed states to offer voter registration through public institutions such as libraries, schools and disability centres. In the UK, where electors have to register either online or by the post there is a clear case for opening up this process.
Additionally the Act allows states to implement same-day registration. Meaning that voters do not need to have remembered to register weeks before an election but can register as they are going into the voting booth. In the UK the website for voter registration crashed on the final day of registration for the EU referendum so allowing same day registration would seem sensible.
The second way of increasing voter turnout is to reduce the barriers to being able to register. In several US States the opposite has been happening, with some states attempting to implement ID restrictions on electoral registration. Earlier this year court cases were heard in Texas, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Kansas where the state had tried to restrict the ability of individuals to register of vote, under the guise of restricting voter fraud. This is particularly pertinent as Eric Pickles has recently called for photo ID to be required when voters attend their polling station, again under the auspices to trying to reduce voter fraud.
In the UK you need to know your NI number to register online. While this is not necessarily overly burdensome it does create a barrier to being able to register as not everyone will know or have immediate access to their NI number. Being able to register at government centres, with a photo ID could provide another avenue to easy registration.
But it is not just through legislative and procedural frameworks that the Labour Party must look. Being in government is the best way to ensure those changes and for now at least we are in opposition.
Therefore we must look at having registration drives as a core part of our long term electoral strategy, as they are for the Democrats. The principle behind this is simple, in order to win an election you need to ensure that your supporters vote, and to do this you first need to ensure that they are able to vote. It is essentially an extension of the Get Out The Vote (GOTV) strategy. Parallels can be drawn with the Labour leadership election in 2015 whereby Jeremy Corbyn was able to win by ensuring that the electorate was in his favour.
There will need to be careful consideration as to how this works in practice, previously we didn’t knock on doors where there was no one registered but this might have to change as it could be a house filled with unregistered, Labour supporters.
Labour now need to look ahead as to how it’s going to look to tackle these problems but it’s best chance of doing so successfully is by looking at where others have succeeded or failed in the past.
John Sailing is a Young Fabian member and will be attending the USA delegation in September
Hardly a day goes by when the leader of the Labour Party is not under threat of losing their position. The current leadership contest is unlikely to end the difficult and fraught debates on the direction of the Labour party. This appears the norm in British politics- an unease that the Labour leader is merely a temporary figure until the next electoral defeat. Labour has produced just six prime ministers, with only Harold Wilson and Tony Blair winning multiple general elections. What in particular made Wilson and Blair so electable?
The shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in 2012 sparked a movement that challenged, and challenges, US society to look at anti-black racism and state violence. Aided by social media, Black Lives Matter (BLM) is moving beyond borders and spreading across the world. It has also had a profound impact on the tone of the US Presidential election – a key moment of exposure being the disruption of Bernie Sander’s campaign rally in Seattle.
Just over 2 months ago, 51.9% of the UK voted to leave the European Union. Britain’s economy reacted as expected; the domestically oriented FTSE 250 index fell by 14% in two days, and the pound sterling dropped to a 31-year low against the US dollar at $1.32.
On the morning of the 23rd of June I woke up to a new nation, one treading an uncertain path towards an unsure future. I was saddened, heartbroken and disappointed by the news that the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. This is the most consequential decision our nation has made in modern times, sending the financial markets into turmoil and the future of the British union into doubt. This referendum result has exposed deep-seated division across our nation. However, regardless of my own opinion, the British public have spoken and the Government must now carry out the will of the people.
Imagine if your friend was trapped in a vicious cycle of desperation and inner conflict. Would you severely punish him and give him medicine that doesn’t work and at worst, could kill him? I would imagine the answer is no. Yet, this is what we are doing right now to around 25 thousand people addicted to heroin in the UK.
When the coalition first announced the tripling of university tuition fees to £9,000 a year in 2011, they sparked protests across the country. To our friends across the pond, that figure must’ve seemed laughably slight.
Picture a Donald Trump supporter; someone whom Bill O’Reily would call a ‘Real American’, a Wal-Mart shopping, gun owning, humble, hardworking American. Such stereotypes of Trump supporters are largely unhelpful and self-indulgen - however the latest polling suggests these stereotypes may be found to carry certain truths.
The tactics and overall strategy of Labour's self-proclaimed moderates have been disastrous. It's time for them to rediscover their radicalism - and maybe even some Marx - if they want to win again.
Donald Trump is a product of an age where we like our news in 140 characters. His outrageous comments scream to be made into memes. Trump is using social media technology to his advantage having accounts on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Vine, Instagram and Periscope. In a 24/7 news cycle he always gives the goods. Our instant news era means we have a constant demand for news however trivial. This has help enable Trump, who lacks serious political experience and expertise, to become the nominee of the G.O.P.
Women make up the vast majority of NHS staff, both in clinical and non-clinical functions, and make up the majority of medical students and people entering the health professions. But they are still a minority in the senior ranks of the profession and in senior management. This under-representation of women has the potential to affect the priorities the NHS has in terms of service provision. It also demonstrates quite starkly how even in female-dominated organisations, women have been held back, either deliberately or structurally, from getting to the top.
In this article I will argue that the regulator should not be concerned with the underlying technology of the blockchain, but rather concern itself with (1) its own use case of blockchain and (2) the regulation of firms that use the blockchain. The article was published on 20 June 2016.
My proudest moment as a Labour voter and activist is when I think of Labour's implementation of the Human Rights Act
The UK should be leading on environmental action - and not leaving it. The EU accounts for 10% of global emissions, but has a bigger role to play in setting standards for the rest of the world through legislation and regulation. With ‘Brexit’ threatening current UK and EU energy and climate policy, how can positive framing create a win-win for those keen on a low-carbon, European future?
After months and years of arguments, claims, counter-claims, protests, rhetoric, and anger, the BMA leadership and the Government have finally come to a compromise deal on the proposed new junior doctors’ contract. It’s not over yet. The precise wording of the contract has to be worked out, and the junior doctors have to vote to approve it in a referendum from 17th June to 1st July (having a referendum any time other than late June is inconceivable.)
The Labour Party is losing its ability to speak outside of the narrow community of members, activists, and loyal supporters. This is not a Blairite, Brownite or New Labour obsession. Tell that to the brilliant communicators of the new left-wing movements in Europe, Pablo Iglesias of Podemos or former Greek minister Varoufakis.
Three weeks ago Nick Srnicek (author of Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work) and Cllr Joe Goldberg (Cabinet Member for Haringey Council) spoke to the Young Fabian Technology Network about the effects of technological change on the future of employment.
Their perspectives provided an insightful summary of the different positions in the debate on how to respond to the increasing automation of work - Joe Goldberg argued a focus on education, training and investment (particularly in STEM fields) will provide people with the skills to adapt to these changes and retrain, whilst Nick Srnicek suggested trends such as automation and robotics will eventually replace most of the human labour required by our economy and we should attempt to build a society where income is detached from work.
Although these two viewpoints aren’t necessarily contradictory in the short term (state investment in science and technology are necessary for either), Srnicek argued capitalism in its current form has “run out of steam” and no longer produces growth - one reason why technological change will not create jobs to replace those destroyed as happened in the last industrial revolution. This, alongside recent data showing many of the fastest growing employment sectors don’t require a degree, suggest an increasingly low wage, low skill economy. Joe focused on generational changes such as having more geographical mobility than our parents, which, combined with few millennials having mortgages, means the next generation will have the freedom to change city and jobs far more frequently than their parents.
A large portion of the discussion centered around the idea of a Universal Basic Income. Goldberg proposed a version of basic income that replaces the current benefits system and protects people from the potentially devastating effects of economic and cultural changes that the next industrial revolution will bring, but rejected the idea of a “post-work” society; with the huge global shifts occurring across the world London’s attractiveness as a global hub is as much threatened as the economy would be if people were to stop working with innovative ideas and businesses. Both speakers agreed that other issues such as tax and housing reform would need to happen before a basic income would be possible.
Despite differences in their predictions for the future, there was an acknowledgement on both sides that capitalism has changed and the Labour Party must change with it, with Goldberg noting that the left’s traditional solutions are industrial solutions, unsuited to a post-industrial world.
An unjust tax system that favours the few only serves to hurt us all. Revelations of widespread tax avoidance unearthed in the Panama Papers has thrust the UK’s fiscal system to the forefront of public consciousness in an unprecedented fashion. The Labour Party must take this rarest of opportunities to hammer the Tories not just for their championing of tax havens, but for their pig-headed approach to taxation as a whole.
Over the last 48 hours, the world has been rocked to its core, following the biggest leak in history. The Panama Papers have shed light on the way in which the political and economic elite have been purposefully evading tax and shielding their wealth from the public eye.
If we are to appear as a government in waiting we must overcome the tenderness of discussing immigration policies, and we must do this fast. This starts by going straight to the core of this debate by asking ourselves, how do we actually intend to house new arrivals, particularly the most vulnerable?
You could be forgiven for thinking that Wednesday’s budget didn’t say much about health – other than that headline-grabbing sugar levy. And following the frontloaded increase in NHS funding set out in November’s Spending Review, you might think that the health service really isn’t doing too badly under this government.
But, as ever in health policy, things aren’t quite that simple.
“When I was your age” so the boring mantra your parents repeat goes, “I got a job and looked after myself”
Sometimes, listening to the Tories announce a budget and its measures to building success for the next generation (!) you can’t help but feel like Osborne is your dad, berating you for not trying hard enough.
The Young Fabians Education Network hosted in debate in Parliament in early February looking at the secondary school admissions system.
With access to the best schools often dependent on postcode, some parents are able to effectively buy their way into high quality state education, by buying or renting housing in the right catchment areas. The event looked at some of the possible alternatives, and the practical and political challenges involved in reforming school admissions.admissions system.
Following the event Joel Mullan wrote an article for Left Foot Forward on the key messages emerging from the discussion. It is reproduced below.
John. D. Rockefeller once said that he tried to turn every disaster into an opportunity. Equity markets have decided to do the opposite when reacting to the collapse of oil. Falling oil prices have historically been positive for the world economy, given the redistribution of purchasing power from producers to consumers. However, markets have focused on the direct negative effects of lower oil prices without looking ahead at the potential positive outcomes.
The 2016 presidential favourite will falter if she continues to use gender as her selling point
In an effort to avoid falling victim to Einstein’s definition of insanity, Hillary Clinton has used her gender as a qualifier for office, claiming that it is time for a female president. Yet if Clinton believes Americans will vote for her because she is a woman, initial results offer little reason to hope.
There is nothing sexy about energy efficiency, opined former Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee and Conservative MP Tim Yeo to explain the past failures of successive governments to address the UK’s leaky housing stock. He was arguing that energy efficiency fails to capture the public imagination or inspire MPs to act, to address this pernicious and prevalent infrastructure problem that leads to fuel poverty, excessive carbon emissions and tedious blog posts (well at least one).
The fall, rise and rise again of Barbara Castle’s 1969 white paper ‘in place of strife’(IPS)
Everyone has been in that situation: You’re sitting at the bar, five drinks in and suddenly the topic of conversation changes to the unions. The right-winger in your group says that in smashing up the miners, Thatcher did a hard but necessary task, the left-winger talks about Tube drivers being the last bastion of the well-paid working class worker and the Centrist... well the centrist has a faraway look tinged with sadness. “If only we had implemented In Place of Strife (IPS)…”
The Labour Party leadership contest, in addition to enabling debate on different policies, provided a valuable opportunity for members to reflect on the party's ideological core. The radically different visions offered by each candidate paid tribute to the many different readings afforded by Labour’s ‘democratic socialism’. Now is an apt time to re-evaluate an important but oft-overlooked interpretation – one which stresses the ‘democratic’ in democratic socialism’s – which can offer much use if applied within the context of the workplace. If taken to its ideational conclusion, its adoption would herald a profoundly positive shift in the relationship between labour and Labour.
The Labour Party was founded to provide Parliamentary representation for the trade union movement. Socialist societies, including our own [Fabians], provided the other foundational pillars. For as long as these core links to the labour movement remain intact, Labour remains a worker's party. Despite this, the contemporary Labour Party suffers a tendency of courting a liberal meta-narrative that seeks to de-legitimise the foundational remit of the labour struggle. Bombarded by the media and opposition parties with the message that trade-unionism is dead, out of touch and out of date, the public are often left without access to an alternative discourse. This in turn destroys the incentive of workers to rally behind the only party that institutionally represents their interests.
From the Archive
With numbers of trade union members plummeting, Usdaw the trade union for shop workers, is managing to buck the trend.
Anticipations editor, Ellie Groves talks to the General Secretary of Usdaw, John Hannett, finding out his big secret behind this success and what he thinks an ideal relationship between the trade unions and the Labour Party would look like.
In the 1970s, American Sociologist Mark Granovetter posited a theory of social action based on what he called ‘weak ties’. Granovetter argued that the strength of community and social movements comes from the amount of interaction they have with each other. He used the example of two American neighbourhoods, one white working-class (WWC) and one Italian, who were trying to resist redevelopment of their area. He observed that in the WWC neighbourhood, everyone worked in the same factories, drank in the same pubs, attended the same events etc. In contrast, the Italian neighbourhood was based primarily on strong familial relationships, with little interaction between families. In the end, the WWC neighbourhood were able to form a strong community resistance based upon the pre-existing ties between workers and friends and succeeded in protecting their area. In contrast, the Italians were never able to agree on who should be leaders of the movement and could not organise, and they lost their fight.
One of the principal reasons for the success of the C4 series Undercover Boss was the emotional punch packed by seeing wealthy individuals recognise the hard work and commitment of their employees. Often alien to the shop floor themselves, they went back to the boardroom with new compassion for their frontline staff.
It is great to be here tonight to talk about our party, where we are, where we could be going and what that might mean.
The past couple of months have been fairly eventful for all of us in the Labour party and the movement more broadly.
I think all of us here, we are a room full of Fabians after all, will have done some hard thinking about where we went wrong and where should be going.
The EU debate throws up emotive arguments – it is something that seems to affect us all. From holidays in Spain to the French cheese selection in the supermarket, we all come into contact with the UKs membership of the European Union someway or other. I have to confess that I am entering this discussion with a belief that generally referendums are a bad idea; we elect our politicians to represent us, and for something as important as our membership of the EU we should have research to back up the outcome not just emotion. But the reality is, for better or for worse, we have a referendum promised to us, and at an as yet undisclosed date we will be walking to our polling stations and voting to stay In or to Leave the EU.
Election campaigns are a means to an end, and a pretty clear end at that: winning political office. Yes, while it is true that some can flower into “movements” or “causes”, and become greater than the party or individual they are built to promote, when the dust settles on election day this is the only true measure of a campaign’s success.
“You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” This perceptive quote from the final scene of The Dark Knight aptly describes the challenge currently facing the Labour leadership. Jeremy Corbyn’s landslide victory on September 12 afforded him hero status in the eyes of his many disciples and an aura of infallibility that has so far proved impervious to reason.
In 1971 Norway legislated for the rights of employees to demand representation on company boards. This was the result of a debate dating back to before the First World War, about the right of employees to participate in the governance of companies. Among other things, concerns were raised with regards to lack of knowledge on the part of the employee representatives, but now the arrangement is uncontroversial.
On a difficult election night for many activists, Jess Phillips’ resounding victory in Birmingham Yardley was a rare good news moment for the Labour members who braved staying up to watch the results come in. Taking the seat from Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming on a mammoth swing of 11.6%, Philips has since been quick to make a name for herself and to become a darling of the Labour membership.
This is one of four articles by Young Fabian members outlining why they are voting for their chosen Labour leadership candidate. The views expressed below are those of the author only. The Young Fabians do not endorse any one candidate for the Labour leadership.
Okay, okay, so when I heard I would be writing a contribution for this four-way leadership blog battle it instinctively led me to sorting the candidates into Game of Thrones houses. You can probably guess that I’m backing Andy ‘Stark’ Burnham. But despite my locating of him in the far northern reaches of Westeros, I back Andy because I believe he has broad reach and appeal. He can extend Labour’s popularity from King’s Landing to Castle Black – and even beyond the Wall.
This is one of four articles by Young Fabian members outlining why they are voting for their chosen Labour leadership candidate. The views expressed below are those of the author only. The Young Fabians do not endorse any one candidate for the Labour leadership.
Like every other Labour activist who dedicated an exceptionally large amount of time and effort to trying to get Labour elected in 2015, I have spent a lot of time thinking about why we lost. I don’t believe we lost because we weren’t left wing enough, and I don’t believe we lost because we weren’t right wing enough - because most of the country doesn’t think in terms of left and right wing. We lost because we were not seen to be economically credible, because we let the Tories win on the economic narrative, and because we didn’t offer a holistic alternative to the Tories.
This is one of four articles by Young Fabian members outlining why they are voting for their chosen Labour leadership candidate. The views expressed below are those of the author only. The Young Fabians do not endorse any one candidate for the Labour leadership.
The Labour Party is a government-in-waiting. It is this which makes it distinctive among the chaotic rainbow of left wing groups in modern Britain. And in this leadership contest, Liz Kendall is the only one who has understood, and campaigned on, this fundamental truth.
Over the past two decades, Labour has shed supporters. Behind the headline achievement of three general election victories between 1997 and 2010 is a story of diminishing majorities and a declining membership which, by 2009, was more than 60% smaller than in May 1997. Though membership revived somewhat under Ed Miliband, and national vote share marginally increased, the party emerged from the 2015 general election with the support of 26 fewer constituencies.
“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule.” This saying, attributed to the United States' third president, Thomas Jefferson, rests uneasily on the ears of all who call themselves democrats. Yet in times of crisis, like those currently lived by the Labour party, it bears the ring of authenticity. Supporters of the different leadership candidates have succumbed to a mob mentality in their blunt and unrelenting attacks on one another. Hundreds of thousands of newcomers have joined the fray seeking to push the party into new and uncharted territory.
This misunderstands the nature of politics. The assumption here has to be that the electorate has become inherently right-wing and will remain that way. We are at 'the end of history' as Fukuyama might say. Well, leaving aside the political successes of Syriza, Podemos and the SNP, politics simply does not work that way.
This Labour leadership contest should sound the death-knell for the alternative vote (AV). A system that was ostensibly designed to allow the party to elect its “least bad” choice has instead led to a hopelessly complex situation in which ‘Anyone But Corbyn’ voters are relying on guesswork and dodgy data in order to come to their decisions.
Labour’s endless leadership election has badly damaged the party. Whoever is ultimately elected leader, one of their first challenges will be to unite a party only recently rejected en masse by the electorate. To take the fight to the Tories and to stand any chance of winning the next General Election, those who backed a losing candidate must be told: this is your party too.
Whatever the faults of Labour’s new electoral system, its rules were agreed some time ago and it was supported by loud voices across the Labour Movement. Therefore, any talk of “halting” the leadership election at this point should be dismissed for the hogwash that it is. Serious questions will have to be asked about whether “supporters” should really have as big a say as “members” in deciding who leads Labour, but that is for another day.
Nonetheless, the system we have is not going to change at this point and, whichever way the outcome goes, nearly half of the selectorate will be bitterly disappointed. The great swelling of Labour’s support since the General Election must now be built on by whoever leads Labour. Which is why I was so disturbed when someone added me to the below Facebook group a couple of night ago.
I have edited out the names of those involved and the conversations that took place because, to be honest, they would probably do a lot of damage to the participants if shared more widely. Now, the fundamental point that Labour MPs shouldn’t be mounting a coup against any leader – particularly one recently elected – is fair. But that hasn’t even happened yet, has it? So groups like this simply appear like pre-emptive, divisive witch hunts.
I don’t know why I was added to the group in the first place. I’m not backing Jeremy Corbyn and I find groups like this somewhat sinister. As soon as I was added to the group and saw what it was, I posted to suggest that it was a bad idea. This meant that I was immediately set upon in several comments for being “undemocratic”, “anti-Corbyn” and of course, “a Tory.”
Even more strangely, I was immediately made an admin. Laughably, this enabled me to add dozens of moderate members I know of to try and get the founders of the group to see sense. After a wave of condemnation from people explaining that this group was divisive, and hardly the right way to safeguard Labour Party democracy, it was taken down.
You may think that this is all rather trivial. I don’t. I don’t happen to think talk of Labour MPs forming a “resistance” group if Jeremy Corbyn is elected gives off the right message either. Perhaps you have been inspired by this leadership election. Well, good for you. But from the conversations I have had with passive observers outside of politics, the whole unedifying spectacle has merely served to push us further away from electability. And further away from helping the people who need us.
Those who support or are members of the Labour Party must remember we are the people who believe that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone. If, when the next Labour leader is announced, we do not heal as a movement, I guarantee you that we will fail as individuals.
So, please, whoever you are backing to be Labour’s next leader: remember who the real enemies are. And let’s beat them.
Sam Stopp is a Labour councillor for Wembley Central, a Young Fabian member and Chair of 'The Labour Campaign To End Homelessness'.
Sam is writing in personal capacity, and views are not representative of the organisation.
As soon as Ed Miliband stood down, I warned against the party having a long leadership contest. Fearing it would result in a lengthy period of boring platitudes without much of value being said, leaving the public disinterested in us while the Tories were able to set the agenda. More than that, I feared that social media would allow bad blood to fester between Labour’s camps, with not only rank-and-file members but MPs and grandees able to air their discontent in public. Sadly I feel I have been more than vindicated.
This Labour leadership contest has been one of competing nostalgias. It has been easy and lazy to dismiss both Corbyn as some kind of mid 80s ‘Bennite’ whilst Kendall can be labelled as a post-Blairite closet Tory. Apart from focussing more on the party’s past than on its future it highlights the key failures of both Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband as leaders of the Labour Party: neither have dealt with the legacy of Tony Blair.
As the Young Fabians embark upon a wide-ranging project to set out our view on the Future of the Labour Party, Jessica Toale talked to Peter Kellner about the General Election, the future of the Labour Party and the imperative young people have to bring a fresh perspective to politics…
The election result was categorical from the voters and harsh to the Labour party. Hate the Tories, as we do, there is no denying that David Cameron and George Osborne received two million more votes than Ed Miliband and Ed Balls. The latter even lost his seat. Miliband resigned from the leadership.
One of my favourite episodes of Doctor Who is called The Long Game. In it, the Doctor unveils a centuries-long plot by the Daleks to conquer Earth. The villainous pepperpot robots are discovered lurking on the edge of the solar system, patiently awaiting the perfect time to strike. When the attack comes, it is sudden and overwhelming. Earth doesn’t stand a chance.
"Let there be no doubt – May's election results were nothing but devastating. But out of such a low point, there is no alternative other than to keep our heads high. We must re-build and re-organise so we can look towards 2020 and win.
It was with this objective in mind that the Young Fabians hosted an event in Parliament last month on "the Path to Renewal". The event provided a space for members and guests – including Diane Abbott and Wes Streeting – to give their views on what went wrong, and what to do next.
On 18 June 2015, the Young Fabians hosted ‘What is the path to renewal?’ in the House of Commons to discuss the future of the Labour Party. The member-led discussion sought to be broad and inclusive by drawing on the views and experiences of ordinary members.
The fall of the Scottish Labour Party has been well documented as of late, especially by the right wing press, and the post-mortem has begun. Much soul searching is required if Labour is regain its presence north of Hadrian’s Wall, and the party may well have to evaluate some harsh realities.
It was not a perfect day.
On June 20th, I joined an ambiguous but nevertheless large amount of people who marched against austerity from the City to Parliament Square. I wish I didn’t have to. I voted to oust the Tories on May 7th in the only credible way to do so; by voting Labour. The protesters in this crowd, however, probably did not. They were from the SWP, TUSC, the Greens, Communists, Left Unity. It sometimes makes me wonder whether the left, or at the very least leftist puritans, enjoy being in opposition because they enjoy the outrage and opportunities to stage protests. The protest for me wasn’t a fun day out, it was a legitimate grievance of my fears and anxieties of, having grown up under the Tory-led coalition would now spend my early twenties under a Tory majority. I am anxious. Anxious because my future feels utterly bleak. It was not a trendy or fashionable day out, it was an expression of that fear. For some attending it was possibly the same, but I was as angry at the people who had pitted my future on voting TUSC or Left Unity at this protest as I was at the Tories overlooking us from their Whitehall offices.
On October 20 2012 I took part in an anti-austerity march through central London. I trudged down police-lined streets with comrades from my student days under a gunmetal grey sky, every now and then belting out the lung-busting chant: “David Cameron! Get out! We know what you’re all about! Cuts, job losses, more money for the bosses!”
More than any other event in the political calendar to 2020 the promised EU referendum has the potential to drive a wedge between the Labour Party and its voters in the deindustrialised areas of Northern England. Just as the Party suffered in Scotland from its association with the Conservatives and the wider establishment in the Better Together campaign, it may soon find itself campaigning alongside its political rivals in the battle to keep the UK inside the EU.
Amidst the wreckage of an overwhelming electoral defeat, there is one point of light to inspire Labour activists in the months to come: the chance to shape the party. The Labour movement is just that – a movement, driven onwards by thousands of people from across the country, north and south, rich and poor, young and old. We are the movers. The party’s future direction is ours to define.
On 7 May Labour faced an evening of disbelief and a night of saddened realisation. As a party we are now finding the strength to reassess, learn and rebuild. At the forefront of that process is the election a new leader.
“It is not seemly for you to mourn, it is not seemly for you to delay. You have received a legacy soaked in the heart’s blood of your brothers. The pregnant deed waits for you.”
Hannah Blythe and Callum Totten
As part of our bid to secure a Labour victory the Young Fabians recently held a ‘London Marathon’ session – campaigning in four seats over one weekend.
Canvassing is not just an opportunity to win Labour votes – it’s a chance to listen to people, be challenged and to understand what people want from their MPs. The marathon allowed us to share these conversations with fellow Fabians, other activists, parliamentary candidates and Labour councillors.
I have been enthralled by British politics for as long as I remember, but my involvement until recently has been limited. I have been a Labour Party member for three years, but I have been somewhat of an armchair supporter. This all changed, however, when the Labour Party came calling at my door a couple of months ago and asked if I wanted to help out.
Wes Streeting is one of the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) profiled in the new Young Fabians pamphlet 'Fifteen for 2015'. You can read the pamphlet here.
In politics, is it where you’ve come from or where you’re going that counts? Too often politicians are judged or even dismissed out of hand for coming from a certain background. Those that don’t fit the mould ‘don’t have what it takes’ to succeed in the cut-throat world of Westminster, say the doubters, and should stay on the side lines.
Jo Stevens is one of the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) profiled in the new Young Fabians pamphlet 'Fifteen for 2015'. You can read the pamphlet here.
Jo Stevens has a taste for campaigning. I ask her how she musters up the energy to go canvassing door-to-door in her constituency of Cardiff Central day in, day out, and the answer surprises me. “I get adrenaline from it, I enjoy it,” she says. This enthusiasm is reflected in her team’s voter contact rate. Jo claims the local party has talked to 13,000 people in Cardiff in the first three months of 2015 alone, and that many residents are being doorstepped for the third or even fourth time in the final push towards May 7.
Steve Race is one of the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) profiled in the new Young Fabians pamphlet 'Fifteen for 2015'. You can read the pamphlet here.
Few MPs deserve to be kicked out of parliament more than Hugo Swire. The Conservative representative for East Devon was recently caught on camera by Channel 4’s Dispatches programme joking that benefit claimants could afford to donate thousands of pounds to the Tory party at a glamourous fundraising ball attended by some of the wealthiest people in Britain.
Melanie Onn is one of the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) profiled in the new Young Fabians pamphlet 'Fifteen for 2015'. You can read the pamphlet here.
Grimsby is coming back. At its peak in the 1950s it was the biggest and busiest fishing port in the world. In the decades since it has experienced a slow decline as the forces of globalisation and economic change conspired to gut traditional industries. In April 2014, the town was named a youth unemployment blackspot by The Work Foundation with a jobless rate for 16-24 year olds of 25%.
Political disengagement amongst young people has been a problem for a while. In a post-expenses, post-Savile, post-phone hacking age, many established institutions are mistrusted, political parties most of all. Even the Lib Dems, who rode into coalition on the young vote, are in the doghouse after abandoning their tuition fees pledge. Younger people are incredibly interested in political issues and are hungry to find out more. Sadly, many don’t because they’re scared of asking the wrong thing or looking stupid – no surprise given the combative nature of UK politics. It’s really important to address those fears head on, which is why I hope Ask Amy can be a useful tool to hundreds of young people across the country in the run up to the general election.
Ollie Middleton is one of the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) profiled in the new Young Fabians pamphlet 'Fifteen for 2015'. You can read the pamphlet here.
Labour is a party that speaks to all generations. After all, the triumph of progress over reaction can only be secured by people of all ages, races, and backgrounds pulling together as one. It is therefore inspiring to see so many young Labour candidates standing for parliament this year engaging and organising their peers in the cause of a better society.
Amina Lone is one of the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) profiled in the new Young Fabians pamphlet 'Fifteen for 2015'. You can read the pamphlet here.
Many politicians fret over how to engage with voters. They spend hours of time and thousands of pounds learning how to connect and appear genuine in the public eye. To shape a perception that ‘they’ are in fact ‘us’. Amina Lone is not one of them. She is the voter.
“Which way do you want to go, left or right?” This was a question posed to me as we reached a street to leaflet in the Thanet ward of Cliftonville. We all face this stark choice at the next General election. But reflecting back on my experience campaigning for Labour’s Will Scobie in the seat of South Thanet, that question on everyone there is much starker.
Since joining the Labour Party in 2013, I have always stood behind Ed Miliband and his leadership; indeed, it was a good part of the reason I joined in the first place. It’s been a tiring time mainly consisting of getting annoyed at Dan Hodges columns and explaining to my parents why they were wrong every time they said ‘David would be better’. However, I believe Labour’s campaign going into this election has more than vindicated my support for Ed.
Veronica King is one of the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) profiled in the new Young Fabians pamphlet 'Fifteen for 2015'. You can read the pamphlet here.
Politics transforms people. It can turn the apathetic non-voter into a firebrand campaigner and teach the cynical to believe again.
It can also make some people very, very angry.
Amanjit Jhund is one of the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) profiled in the new Young Fabians pamphlet 'Fifteen for 2015'. You can read the pamphlet here.
"It’s all to play for,” says Amanjit of the upcoming election. “We are seeing the erosion of the two party system and the rise of new viable options for the electorate. This means every individual on the doorstep is going to make a difference”.
Rupa Huq is one of the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) profiled in the new Young Fabians pamphlet 'Fifteen for 2015'. You can read the pamphlet here.
When you first meet Rupa, you can’t help but feel at ease around her and inspired by her energy and affability. She’s charismatic, approachable and fun- qualities that make her great company, which is probably half the battle when you’re a candidate trying to convince floating voters in one of the most uncertain constituencies in this election. On the list of 106 Labour target seats, Ealing Central and Acton is number 56. If Rupa wins, Labour will pass the tipping point and Ed Miliband will be in Number 10.
James Frith is one of the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) profiled in the new Young Fabians pamphlet 'Fifteen for 2015'. You can read the pamphlet here.
I doubt you’ll find many Labour candidates who can boast that their rock band once entertained the same crowd as Kings of Leon at Glastonbury. But dig a little deeper and it’s not hard to see how James Frith, Labour’s PPC for Bury North, was inspired by the draw of the festival stage, and later by the pull of party politics.
Will Martindale is one of the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) profiled in the new Young Fabians pamphlet 'Fifteen for 2015'. You can read the pamphlet here.
After arriving to meet Will Martindale at the busy Battersea Labour office, it is immediately clear that there is no time for rest or downtime in the final weeks of the general election campaign. Multi-tasking is a pre-requisite for any parliamentary candidate, and true to form Will combines making tea for his volunteers, fielding my questions and caring for his expressive young daughter Aurelie.
Seventy five percent of the British Press endorsed the Conservative Party in 2010. Rupert Murdoch and Paul Dacre have deep links with the Conservative Party, something made exceptionally evident at the height of summer in 2012. Before Tony Blair’s now infamous meeting with Murdoch, The Sun among other prized possessions of Murdoch’s empire would try to spurn the most devastating vitriol they could to either prevent a Labour government, and if that failed, bring it down. It was clear in 1979, as it was in 1992.
Lisa Forbes is one of the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) profiled in the new Young Fabians pamphlet 'Fifteen for 2015'. You can read the pamphlet here.
There are some moments from our childhood that stick with us forever and shape the people we eventually become. Such moments can determine our attitudes towards work; others our attitudes towards relationships. Still others can indelibly change our outlook on society, and instil political beliefs that last a lifetime.
Rowenna Davis is one of the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) profiled in the new Young Fabians pamphlet 'Fifteen for 2015'. You can read the pamphlet here.
If you can say one thing about Rowenna Davis it’s that she’s not afraid to ruffle a few feathers. More than a decade before her rise to political prominence as the author of ‘Tangled Up In Blue’, Labour’s candidate for Southampton Itchen caused a stir by organising a new school ‘tuck shop’ to rival the much-maligned school dinners. Told by staff at her inner-London comprehensive she had “no hope” of influencing Serco due to its 15 year contract to provide the service, a 14-year-old Rowenna stood firm. Two weeks later Serco gave in, introducing a new menu with vegetarian options. Multi-national corporation 0. Community organising 1.
Emily Brothers is one of the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) profiled in the new Young Fabians pamphlet 'Fifteen for 2015'. You can read the pamphlet here.
Emily Brothers understands the value of solidarity. At the age of 10 her eyesight started to fail. Her home city of Liverpool did not have the facilities to provide the surgery she urgently needed, and her parents were on strike and couldn’t afford the fare to London.
Jess Asato is one of the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) profiled in the new Young Fabians pamphlet 'Fifteen for 2015'.
You can read the pamphlet here.
The Young Fabians are proud to call Jess Asato one of our own. A long-standing member of the executive committee and Chair in 2003/04, Jess continues to support the organisation that became her first political home to this day- speaking at events, writing for Anticipations, and flying the Fabian flag as a member of the senior society executive.
Today the Young Fabians launch their new digital pamphlet, 'Fifteen for 2015', profiling fifteen Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) standing for election across the country.
Each day, Anticipations will publish one of the profiles online. First of all, though, find below the pamphlet foreword written by Iain McNicol, General Secretary of the Labour Party.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
It's hardly the most inspiring mantra in politics. But in an election of deadlocked polls and scattered swings it’s one Labour may just have to swallow if Ed Miliband is to walk into Number 10 on May 8th.
First 100 Days Series.
International Network: regaining credibility on the international stage.
It is extremely difficult to predict what foreign affairs matters will be crossing the desk of the next Prime Minister in his first 100 days. Much of foreign policy is reactive and most crises, even epoch-defining ones, are unforeseen. Who would have predicted the War on Terror on 8th September 2001? Any number of currently under-the-radar conflicts could flare up, such as the situation in Darfur, or the Rohingyas in Myanmar.
First 100 Days Series.
Education Network: what is State Education For?
Taking office in May, the new leader of the Department of Education will have to take the lead in responding to a number of critical questions. What is the role of academies and free schools within the English state education system? How do you close the gap in educational achievement? How should you assuage a workforce which feels overworked and disgruntled? Though these issues are pressing and deserve immediate responses, they all implicitly presume that we know the answer to a more profound question: What is state education for? This critical question has rarely been on the political agenda, resulting in a state education system bloated with inadequate responses to these urgent issues. This piece seeks not to provide any answers, but rather argue that even just careful deliberation of the question could be catalytic for positive radical transformation of the English state education system.
First 100 days series.
Health Network: mainstreaming Mental Health.
Mental Health is often considered ‘the Cinderella’ service of the NHS. Mental health is chronically under-funded, given a lack of priority and there exists a huge disparity of esteem in comparison to physical health. So, the question is: will Ed Miliband be the fairy Godmother who finally ensures that mental Health patients receive the services that they deserve?
First 100 Days Series.
Finance Network: adapting to a financial revolution.
At the time of the 2010 election, the financial sector was still at a critical point post-crisis. The hoped-for global economic recovery was stuttering, international regulators were drafting a slew of new rules, and fundamental questions were being asked over the social cost of the bank bailout.
If there is one question which haunts the hearts of those of us on the left with an interest in international relations it is this: is there a place in foreign affairs for morality? In a field where Bismarkian realpolitik has long reigned supreme, where anarchy and the infamous security dilemma are the ground states of being, does morality matter?
Of all the half-baked ideologies the opposition has flirted with over the last five years, none is more repellent than Blue Labour. Yet like a particularly stubborn brain-chewer from The Walking Dead, it shambles onwards in the face of every adversity, gobbling up column inches and spawning forth platitude after platitude- hectoring, moralising, criticising, sniping, compromising and equivocating.
If you’ve seen the news recently, you’ll have noticed a row has flared up between two of the most unlikely people, namely Labour’s Shadow Minister for Culture, Chris Bryant, and James Blunt. The latter was angered by Bryant’s remarks that our media needs to be more diverse and gritty to better reflect contemporary Britain, and that currently it is too dominated by public-school elites and Downton Abbey type programming. This caused Blunt to lash out with a surprisingly vitriolic display resplendent of Thatcher-era rhetoric. He accused Bryant of being motivated by ‘the politics of envy’, stating “Mr Bryant's populist, envy-based, vote-hunting ideas” [are] more likely to hold the country back than "my shit songs and my plummy accent". He then continued to declare that his “boarding-school education had perhaps protected me from your kind of narrow-minded, self-defeating, lead-us-to-a-dead-end, 'remove the G from GB thinking' which is to look at others' success and say 'it's not fair'”.
Lucy Powell was perhaps the candid choice for taking on the role of Shadow Cabinet Office Minister and vice-chair of the election campaign. Despite being relatively new to the House, having become MP for Manchester Central in 2012, she is a staunch ally of Ed Miliband. She previously ran his leadership campaign in 2010, and worked as his Deputy Chief of Staff after that.
Now, however, she seems to be more in demand than ever. Her schedule already fully packed only three weeks into the job, we caught up with her about how it was all coming along.
An overview from Neil Coyle on his campaign strategy.
It is presumptuous to suggest we will beat the Lib Dems in Bermondsey and Old Southwark in May, given Simon Hughes’ majority and 30-year record. But we won a majority of councillors in the constituency this year on a 12.5% swing that would win us the seat if replicated again. Additionally, there is hope in that Lord Ashcroft’s local polling puts us neck and neck.
The Better Together campaign may have limped over the line in the Scottish Referendum, but in no sense was this an enthusiastic endorsement of the Union. A recent poll declared that a majority of Scots now favour independence, and there have already been mutterings from the SNP of another independence referendum in the near future. Meanwhile the bad-tempered devolution debate in the House of Commons on the 14 October was dominated by the West Lothian question and ‘English votes for English laws’. It seems that the Union is destined to fragment further, and questions surrounding England and Englishness will be become increasingly pertinent in the years ahead.
The Scottish referendum revealed just how powerful a force nationalism can be in politics. Many of the discontents expressed by the Yes campaign were no different from those felt across the UK but draped in the flag of national identity, they captured imaginations and inspired people on an emotional level which has been so conspicuously absent from the contemporary political arena.
What a week it’s been; we’ve had two ‘-gates’, #CameronMustGo and even #OsborneMustBeUrineTested. Furthermore, last Friday frenzied shoppers trampled each other into linoleum floors trying to pick up some (let’s be honest, not that great) offers on TVs and electrical items. But I don’t want to talk about any of that. I want to talk about that which we are ‘never allowed to talk about’: immigration.
As China continues its global expansion, the balance of the world economy is changing. Assessing this change and the future of China as a world player requires an understanding of the socio-economic narrative that underlies China’s growth. As China’s international investment presence continues to grow, the focus of this article will be to ask whether China’s ‘Go Out’ strategy towards overseas direct investment is a threat or an opportunity for the world economy. In particular, what are the implications of Chinese policy for developed countries such as Britain?
Cast your mind back to April 2010. While Gordon Brown’s unorthodox approach to winning friends and influencing people (step forward Gillian Duffy) will live longest in most people’s memories, the beleaguered PM wasn’t the only Labour heavyweight making waves on the campaign trail. John Prescott was also doing the rounds in marginal seats up and down the country. Armed with only a microphone and Labour’s fabled 1997 pledge card, Prescott tried to explain to voters that the party had delivered the brave new world that Tony Blair had promised 13 years earlier.
The 21st century UK is characterised by a paradox. The British state, business community and population are deeply connected to the rest of the world. Always an open, trading nation, we have been shaped by centuries of globalisation. However, while our networks of external engagement become ever closer and more complex, the domestic story is increasingly one of social, economic, and political fragmentation.
How much am I worth? Now there’s a tricky question.
First of all, what are you measuring? My entire life- tears, laughs, bumps, scrapes and all? What would you even use to price that? How much would you pay to take ownership of all that I am?
Amidst the backdrop of falling public expenditure, a limited flow of credit and depressed incomes, we are witnessing the emergence of a new kind of social economy. Unconventional actors and organisations are occupying a growing space between the public and private sectors, challenging established wisdom about how we create and distribute value in our society. Initiatives such as Care4Care, Community Land Trust and the Green Investment Bank, are working in new and innovative ways – somewhere between public services and the market – to deliver social and environmental benefits.
And so there we have it, the final Labour conference before the election is over. The battle lines are drawn and it is all but certain Ed Miliband will be the man who leads us into the fight. The months until this election will now be filled with dark mutterings questioning why our lead in the polls is not more significant and whether we have done enough to win a majority.
On the face of it, the UK’s higher education system has never been more socially inclusive. According to UCAS’ headline figures, in the wake of mid-August’s A-level results, more students from deprived areas than ever before have gained admittance into universities. What’s more, the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged admissions has also fallen to an all-time low: the most advantaged are now “just” 2.5 times more likely to enter university than the least advantaged. They were three times more likely in 2012.
Earlier this summer Young Fabians’ Campaigns Officer, Alvin Carpio, embarked on a 5-week Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship to New York, Boston, Washington D.C., and Chicago to find out how leaders are pushing for social change to help the most marginalised and excluded. Here are some of his experiences when he was in Washington D.C.
Together. A word that speaks of common endeavour, shared sacrifice, solidarity, and fellowship. In three syllables it tells you all you need to know about Ed Miliband’s plan for a Britain that, in his own words, has “lost faith in the future”.
The Scottish referendum has been declared a triumph of democracy. Fully 85% of the population voted either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to independence on Thursday. No matter who lost, the people won, said the TV pundits, as it was the people who had spoken and the politicians who had to listen when the sun rose on Friday morning.
The economy has recovered. Six years since the recession, the UK is finally producing more than it was in 2008. How much this is being felt in the pockets of ordinary Britons is a moot point, because even if you’ve been lucky enough to get a pay rise this year, it has more than likely been swallowed up by an inflation-busting rise in your rent.
“We do not see any borders from space. We just see a unique planet with a thin, fragile atmosphere, suspended in a vast and hostile darkness. From up here it is crystal clear that on Earth we are one humanity, we eventually all share the same fate."
The New Labour project represented the single largest policy shift in the Labour party since its creation, radically altering the electoral agenda of the party. No longer would Labour be fighting for nationalisation or "the common ownership of the means of production", instead Tony Blair would run a campaign based on a new platform of “social individualism”. Regardless of what you think of Blair, his policies were a compromise with the free market. He thought that the private sector was the most efficient, and pushed ahead with the task of privatisation set forth by Margaret Thatcher.
At the National Policy Forum on 19 July, Ed Miliband announced that Labour would develop and launch a 'Non-Urban' Manifesto for the 2015 General Election. This presents Labour with a tremendous opportunity to lay out a progressive vision of a non-urban Britain that is prosperous, fair and vibrant. In order to succeed, this manifesto must focus on young people.
The spectre of deflation is haunting the Eurozone. A sclerotic economy, stubbornly high unemployment, and a dearth of investment are conspiring to limit growth and push down average prices. Now it looks like the spill-over effects are splashing onto British shores.
The issues faced by working parents will dominate the next election. It will not be a new crisis that takes the Labour party to victory in May 2015, it will be what it can promise families. In particular, those families who have felt seen their living standards continuously deteriorate since 2010.
Ed Miliband’s One Nation Labour vision is focused on the idea of tackling inequality at its roots and devolving power away from the centre. One crucial step on the journey to realising this vision is to ensure women wield economic power on an equal basis with men.
“The language of priorities”, as Nye Bevan once told Labour conference, “is the religion of socialism”, and the time has come for a hallowed Labour party institution, the All Women Shortlist (AWS), to be subjected to some ritualistic scrutiny.
“A lack of language skills in the UK is costing our economy about £48bn. The shortage of Mandarin speakers is part of the problem. I don’t want young British people to get left behind.” –Vince Cable
As China’s economy and influence continue to grow, so too does the importance of Chinese language skills for UK businesses.
It seems unfashionable to back Ed Miliband. True, he may not be the best in front of the camera, he does bear an uncanny resemblance to one of my favourite childhood characters (Wallace from Wallace and Gromit) and he doesn’t look great when eating a bacon sandwich (who does?). But with the General Election, and the choice over what kind of country we want to live in, arriving next May, it’s time to put the superficial stuff aside and get serious. It’s time to come clean about the real Ed Miliband: a visionary leader with the bold ideas to make the country work for the many.
One hundred years ago the lights went out across Europe. The First World War plunged humanity into the most horrific conflict in history, incurring 37 million military and civilian casualties (a number equal to the total population of England and Wales at the time), including 16 million deaths.
“Crowdfunding” has become a buzzword in the past few years, and I would know; I have a little alert set up that lets me know every time the subject is mentioned online.
An Ambassador in Belgrade once said: “There is only one organisation which allows Ambassadors the chance to meet formally once a week, it’s unique; no one other organisation does it.” That organisation spans 57 countries across the globe: The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) covers over a billion people and is the world’s largest regional security organisation.
Growing up as a Muslim in this country means facing a unique combination of challenges. The Muslim identity is often seen in a negative light, thanks to the actions of extremists and a perception that Muslims isolate themselves from wider society.
In recent months, the Scottish independence debate has become the hottest of political hot potatoes. Passions are running high, with a recent ICM poll reporting that 21% of Scots questioned said discussions with friends and family had “degenerated into rows” (though this poll may not have taken into account the Scottish appetite for a good rammy).
Among Labour activists, and feminists in particular, it is a truth universally acknowledged that Cameron and Clegg refuse to promote the women in their parties. The accepted wisdom is that their front bench is almost entirely, and very deliberately, male, whereas ours has a much stronger gender balance.
Since the government’s welfare reforms came into effect, a family can now claim a maximum of £500 a week in benefits. It may sound a lot, being slightly higher than the UK average weekly wage of £449, but it won’t get you far in London. The average weekly rent for a family home in London is £379 a week, compared to £166 in the UK as a whole. When a home costs more than twice as much in London, does it make sense to cap benefits at the same level as everywhere else?
The recent controversy over the Uber taxi service has led to searching questions on the impact of technology on traditional industries and its effect on employment. It also challenges the centre-left to find meaningful ways to react to these changes. Every day we see the impact of technology on businesses, in apps like Uber, and even in our relationships with apps like Tinder. In retail, well-known supermarkets are expanding their use of technology at the expense of on-site workers in order to maintain profits.
Feminism is by its very nature the disruption of the status quo; it is truly radical politics that aim to completely transform society. For that reason, feminism is never going to be popular and it is never going to be a vote winner – it is a utopian vision that is ultimately very difficult to sell as a remedy to people's day to day concerns. The question must be asked, that if the Labour Party's strategy is promoting the politics of consensus, will the party be ignoring radical feminist reforms in the name of favourable polling? Whilst we could all do with following Caitlin Moran's advice of getting up on a chair and declaring ourselves strident feminists, there still remains the question about how this attitude can be implemented in popular policy.
Consumerism is an area where the left has a difficult but also a historically productive relationship. There is a role for the left in seeking to tackle issues such as the cost of living crisis and to support consumers; but there is also a role for the left in considering how consumers can become a force in themselves to drive forward our values.
The recent article from the Young Fabians on the need for Labour to win the youth vote in 2015 is bang on. The question is how.
The Young Fabians Ideas Series seeks to pin down the principles that Labour should adopt on a number of "-isms". Some of these, such as internationalism, have been an established part of the dialogue across the left for a long time. Others, such as patriotism, are already high on the agenda of topics Labour needs to address in order to win elections in challenging times.
Asked once at a political job interview what I understood by the term “big society”, I had to admit to only a vague idea of something to do with David Cameron spouting on about local government. And it is not just me. When it comes to anything involving terms such as ‘devolution’, ‘separatism’, ‘localism’ as well as the dreaded ‘Big Society’ - no-one else seems to have much of a clue either.
Patriotism is a tricky subject for Labour. And yet, who within Labour ranks could possibly claim that the Labour movement is anything other than a patriotic expression? We are a patriotic party, with a patriotic history.
Throughout 2014 the Young Fabians are running a series of commissions to explore the major ideological questions facing One Nation Labour now and in the future.
The recent Co-op AGM saw the ringing endorsement of Lord Myners’ proposals for rectifying the ailing institution. Myners’ original report made for grim reading. “Lay” individuals were elected to the board who felt unqualified to be there and, therefore, could not contribute to decision-making or participate in the overall management of the company.
From the ashes of Al-Qaeda and the Ba’athite party in Iraq a new and more terrifying threat has emerged. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) has already begun the process of annexing Eastern Iraq, executed over 1,000 soldiers and looted over $2 billion. They are now the richest terror cell in the world.
Lack of access to capital is still a constraint on the ambitions of Britain's entrepreneurs despite the fact the economy is now growing after years of stagnation.
On 6 May, the Young Fabian Health Network hosted an event looking at NHS reform. Debbie Abrahams MP, Private Parliamentary Secretary to Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham MP, spoke for Labour, while Jos Bell spoke on behalf of the London Socialist Health Association.
The UK’s claim to being a developed nation is increasingly fragile. We may have the sixth largest economy, a literate population, and a stable democracy, but we are failing to safeguard the health and wellbeing of millions within our own borders.
Over the weekend, as crowds gathered to watch a village football game, the town of Mubi in Adamawa state Nigeria was rocked by a bomb blast. Witnesses reported around 30 casualties. This attack occurred in one of the three states at the centre of President Goodluck Jonathan's fight against the insurgency group Boko Haram. Questions are being raised about the ability of the Nigerian government to deal with this persistent threat, as it has so far failed to stem the tide of violence.
What is “environmental justice”? The inaugural meeting of the Young Fabians Ideas Series on Environmentalism tackled this question head on, examining a wide range of issues and topics: from energy prices to attitudes towards recycling. However, it was the issue of equality that formed the focus of the discussion, as set out by our keynote speaker, Melanie Smallman, co-chair of the Socialist Environment and Resources Association (SERA), Labour’s environment campaign.
I trust many readers will remember the final lines to the opening of Star Trek: “to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and civilisations, to boldly go where no-man has gone before”. Fellow members of the commentariat will no doubt feel like a crew member on the Starship Enterprise over the next 18 months as the consequences of the European Union elections, Scottish Referendum and General Election slowly unravel throughout society.
“A win is a win”.
On the cusp of the football World Cup, these words, favourites of former England coach Sven Goran Eriksson, should be repeated by Labour supporters and strategists every day from now to the general election.
I'm sitting at a hotdesk in Google Campus, Old Street – an area in East London that has become known as Silicon Roundabout – the UK's answer to Silicon Valley. It's packed, and I'm surrounded by people who are working for start-ups like me, but I stand out. As I look around, a quick count reveals 19 men, and just one other woman. Once a week, our team works from IdeaSpace in Cambridge – a similar sort of space in ‘Silicone Fen’. There’s a wall of male faces representing the founders that use these offices. I can only pick out two women.
The success of UKIP in last week’s European and local elections has prompted much soul-searching within the Labour party.
First of all, we have come to realise that we cannot dismiss concerns regarding immigration felt by the worst off in society. As the Searchlight Educational Trust revealed in their groundbreaking report ‘Fear and Hope’, there is a “clear correlation between economic pessimism and negative attitudes towards immigration.” This in turn leads to a fear of the ‘Other’, leading to the Islamophobia and racism that now run rampant on the continent in the guise of populist and far right parties like the Front National in France. Now this fear has reached our shores under UKIP’s purple and yellow banner.
Giving patients a say on how their healthcare is provided should be at the heart of Labour's health and care policy, but the party’s policy review consultation ‘Your Britain’ currently lacks focus in this area. 65 years ago, Labour won the moral argument with the British electorate for a National Health Service. Labour’s policy on ensuring the health service is truly accountable to, and owned by, the British people needs to be just as innovative if the ideals of the NHS are to survive in the 21st century.
Recent peace talks between Israel and Palestine have come to an abrupt and disappointing end, leaving many supporters of the two-state solution despondent and pessimistic about the future.
YF Internationalism Launch Event
Over the past few years, international issues have taken a backseat to more pressing domestic issues. Even despite a strong tradition within the Party, the idea of internationalism as a key pillar of “One Nation Labour” is often met with mystified doubt.
This is why the Ideas Series project on Internationalism has the potential to be one of the more interesting explorations of the ideas and principles that underpin a Labour approach to governing in 2015. The launch of the project on April 30 aimed to explore some of the challenging issues that comprise internationalism and involve members in setting the direction of the project. Taking in a wide range of topics and perspectives, the event produced an impressive and lively debate amongst members.
David Cameron was once asked, “What’s your favourite joke?”
“Nick Clegg” came the reply.
That was a long time ago, before the 2010 election and before the “coalicious” government came to power. Now Nick and Dave are the best of friends.
As anyone who either is- or has a sibling- aged 15 or 16 will know, GCSE exams are on their way. But this isn’t a blog about the impending terror faced by the country’s school leavers. It’s about something that leapt out at me as I was helping my younger sister with her history revision: namely that demonising the poor and vulnerable at times of economic hardship has a far longer pedigree than many realise.
On May 22, England heads to the polls to elect councillors for 162 local authorities across the country. Thousands of Labour candidates are standing from Camden to Coventry, among them many young people hoping to make their mark in public service.
2014 marks two anniversaries of great importance for Europe. One is the centenary of the beginning of the First World War; the other, a quarter century since the fall of Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the eastern bloc.
The gulf between rich and poor in post-Thatcher Britain is shocking. Vast cuts to public services, runaway privatisation, relaxed financial regulation, and the cutting of the top income tax from 83% to 60% (later to 40%), have turned the UK into one of the most unequal nations in the western world.
Over the course of the last year the media rediscovered its fascination with feminism- a movement that is now going through its fourth wave. An unprecedented amount of articles tracking the progress women have made towards achieving genuine gender equality was published this International Women’s Day. The statistics they contained demonstrate why feminism is still very much needed in modern society. One in three women worldwide will be beaten or sexually abused in their lifetime. Two women a week are killed by an intimate partner in the UK, and only 1% of the world’s property is owned by women.
The Homeless Link 2013 report on youth homelessness has found that over half of all cases are caused by a breakdown with parents or close relatives. It also found that rough sleeping amongst young people has risen since 2010, increasing by 15% in London alone between 2012 and 2013.
Hadleigh Roberts is a candidate to the European Parliament for the South West of England and Gibraltar. A graduate from Bath University and possessing an MA in interpreting and translation, Roberts works as a professional translator (French/Spanish to English) with experience in French, Spanish, UK and European Union (EU) politics.
With the current focus on Maria Miller’s expenses fiddling, it is easy to forget that MPs and other public figures are often tied up in scandal. The most recent example is that of the former deputy speaker Nigel Evans MP, who was recently cleared of charges of sexual abuse. The acquittal of Nigel Evans, hot on the heels of actors Bill Roache and Michael Le Vell, makes now an appropriate time to review how the UK legal system deals with cases of sexual abuse and rape.
The Labour Party is losing the fight to save the welfare state. In railing against coalition cuts, Labour seeks to paint itself as a warrior against injustice, protecting the most vulnerable in society. However by assuming the role of valiant defender for the poor, the party risks undermining the very institutions it is looking protect. Put simply it’s time for Labour to bury the moral crusade and get on with politics.
On the weekend of March 22, I had my first experience of door-to-door campaigning for the local government elections. We were supporting John Howard, an excellent local council candidate in Aldborough Ward, Redbridge. Winning a council seat for John at this year’s local elections would be a first step towards winning back the crucial marginal constituency, Ilford North, in 2015. At present the Conservatives have a 5,000 strong majority here.
Last Saturday saw the Young Fabians begin in earnest our campaigns programme, as we headed to Ilford North for some canvassing on behalf of Wes Streeting, the Labour candidate. For some of us, including myself, this was effectively an introduction to canvassing and an opportunity to experience the kind of door to door campaigning that is so crucial in winning votes and seats.
Labour are in trouble. The wave of post-Budget polls spelled bad news for the party, revealing its lead over the Conservatives to have tumbled to a single percentage point from a high of nine in early March.
The next edition of Anticipations focuses on the Labour Party's relationship with the European Union, and explores the challenges and opportunities it faces in the run-up to the parliamentary elections in May and beyond. Young Fabians Member Oliver MacArthur asks what more Europe could do to end the scourge of youth unemployment.
The next edition of Anticipations focuses on the Labour Party's relationship with the European Union, and explores the challenges and opportunities it faces in the run-up to the parliamentary elections in May and beyond. London Labour MEP candidate Lucy Anderson lays out what's at stake when Europe next casts its vote.
Received wisdom maintains that the UKIP vote is made up of disaffected, older Tories who are dissatisfied with Cameron’s socially liberal policies and relatively progressive stance on Europe. But look closer and you will see this is simply not the case. While UKIP does disproportionately draw support from Tory voters, polling has shown they can also boast substantial support from working-class Labour voters too.
The UK is in the midst of a housing crisis with demand dramatically outstripping supply. According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, “Britain is heading for a property shortage of more than a million homes by 2022 unless the current rate of housebuilding is dramatically increased”.
Fabian leaflet 43 begins: “Vote! Vote!! Vote!!!” Its rallying cry against apathy reminds voters of the sacrifice of their forbears to win the franchise and asks them to “use what cost so much to win”. More than 100 years on and its message is no less important. Indeed, it has a renewed resonance at a time when political apathy, particularly amongst young people, seems to have become the norm.
This is a guestpost by Scarlet Standard blogger Emma Burnell as follow up to our writing workshop in February
Why I started blogging
I felt that I had something to say that was missing from the debate. I wanted to be helpful and offer my advice and expertise to the Labour Party but no one was banging down my door. Because I am a little bit gobby, I decided to create my own space and hope something came of doing so.
The following is a guestpost by Left Foot Forward Editor James Bloodworth as follow up to the Young Fabian writing workshop in February
My top 10 tips for writing and pitching:
1) Find out the name of the person you want to pitch to. Not ‘Dear Editor’ or ‘To Whom it May Concern’. Emails which begin like that will (and should be) deleted.
John Robert (J.R.) Clynes, born in Oldham on the 27th of March 1869, committed his life to trade unionism and politics, leading the Labour party during the breakthrough election of 1922, then becoming the Labour’s first Deputy Leader, and later Home Secretary.
Once the sole domain of providers like the Co-Op, over the past decade, the concept of socially responsible investing (SRI) has come to the fore as investors of all sizes consider the ethical credentials of their portfolios. It then begs the question, what level of SRI do we want in our own pension funds, which for many are their only contact with the equities market? Can we afford the ‘luxury’ of meeting minimum ethical standards when we face an upcoming pensions crisis, or should the primary concern be yield at any cost to prevent the next generation living in poverty? Moreover, as stewards of what is effectively large sums of public money (although not in the literal sense) do the largest pension schemes have an implicit duty to bring about positive change?
The fierce debate around Ed Balls’ pledge to reintroduce the 50p tax rate is set to rage all the way up to the 2015 general election. Few policy announcements could match it for symbolic resonance among the party faithful, or- as recent polling indicates- the wider public. The tax rise sends out a clear message about Labour’s priority in government: ensuring those with the deepest pockets contribute most to restoring the public finances.
Deputy Leaders of the Labour Party have included some of the most important and interesting figures in our movement's history. Throughout the year we will profile each of the 16 Deputy Leaders in separate blogposts. The first Deputy Leader was J.R. Clynes (1922-1932), a Fabian and Trade Unionist, who began working in a cotton mill when he was ten years old, helped form the Piercers' Union at seventeen years old, leading the Labour party in the 1922 elections before becoming Deputy Leader. In his final years as Deputy, Clynes shared the position with Scottish MP William Graham (1931-1932).
In this winter edition of Anticipations, Editor Louie Woodall interviews Shadow Minister for Housing. Emma Reynolds. See the magazine for the full version of the interview.
The shortage of safe, affordable homes is one of the most shameful failures of successive governments, both Labour and Conservative. The coalition’s single-minded commitment to austerity has only exacerbated the situation, and entering 2014 it is no exaggeration to say that Britain faces a housing crisis.
It is only right, therefore, that housing is a red-hot issue for Labour. The people’s party needs to demonstrate its commitment to providing appropriate shelter for all who live here, regardless of circumstances. It’s a tough ask. It needs someone just as tough to tackle it. Enter Emma Reynolds, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Housing and MP for Wolverhampton North East.
A policy of extensive, affordable childcare would have far-reaching benefits for working mothers and the economy.
The debate over welfare reform in the last few years in Britain has primarily focused on the cost and fairness of unemployment benefits. The Conservative and Liberal Democrat Coalition Government have primarily focused on punitive policies, punishing those out of work who they believe to be ‘scrounging’ off the benefits system. Instead, what the Government should be focusing on is welfare policies which actively support people into work. One of these policies would be the provision of childcare for all children aged between 1 and 4 years old. This would enable mothers, who are otherwise be constrained by the cost of childcare, to find work or increase their hours.
The next issue of Anticipations looks at the challenges facing young people and the wider population as we head into another winter of austerity under the Coalition Government. Young Fabian members will be treated to articles by Caroline Flint MP, Seema Malhotra MP, Sam Tarry of the TSSA, and Richard Angell of Progress, not to mention a special interview with Emma Reynolds MP.
Here, editor Louie Woodall sets out the theme for this issue.
Over the coming hours and days there will be countless tributes to Nelson Mandela from people better placed to honour him than I ever could. It would seem remiss though, for the Executive of the Young Fabians, to not mark the passing of a political giant who represented hope to so many people.