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.