SHAPE THE FUTURE OF THE FABIANS

haveringfabians
  • No tags were found...

1USXU0h

Leader© Kenn Goodall / bykenn.comThe next chapterLabour will win again when people see that it admits past mistakesand understands the future, writes Andrew HarropLabour lost in May because the party believed 2010was its nadir. It seemed unthinkable that millionsof people who had voted for Gordon Brown, in themidst of economic crisis, would abandon the party fiveyears later. The Scottish polls seemed unreal and the UKpolls disguised the truth. But in the event, Labour lostmillions of its 2010 voters, not just to the SNP, but alsoto UKIP, the Greens and the Conservatives.Above all, Labour lost its grey vote, with Ipsos MORIreporting that support for the party fell among the over-65s from 31 per cent to 23 per cent. These voters, formerBrown and Blair supporters, sniffed the air and concludedthat a vote for Labour was too great a risk. If Labourhad secured their confidence and trust, it would be ingovernment.Now, the party has a mountain to climb. A recentFabian report estimated that the party needs to gain atleast 106 seats in 2020 to win a majority, reaching deepinto suburban and market town England. But to win, theparty can’t just shuffle to the right, because it also needsto convince liberal urban voters, the lost working classesand the Scots.The party’s opponents will seek to divide this broadconstellation of voters on lines of culture, values, andidentity. Labour’s task is to unite them – and it must doso by showing it understands Britain’s future and cancombine fairness and hope with competence and security.This is the challenge for Labour’s new ‘big tent’ politics.The first step is to avoid despair. Today Cameron andOsborne are at their peak, but five years is a long time andpolitical pendulums swing. The Conservatives will makemistakes, or be pulled from the centre-ground by theirown extremists. Recession could return, and if it does, theleft must be ready to pin its origins on our home-growneconomic vulnerabilities.So Labour must be prepared, as a competent, professionalopposition to pounce, when ‘events’ shift the politicalweather. That will mean taking tough decisions in theshort term, because the new leader must show that theparty has listened and changed. Labour must be true toitself, but its aim must be to earn a hearing from pensionersand private sector workers not its own activists.The party must not refight the battle it has just lost,nor turn back to the nostalgia of 1945, 83 or 97. It willwin again when it can show it has a story of the future;that is the party of the 2020s. That means combininga deep understanding of the trends that will shape ourlives – technology, inequality, ageing, climate, housing,tensions between global and local, the changing natureof government – with a hopeful account of Britain’snext chapter.It must not be a story of risk and rupture. InsteadLabour must prove that, in the uncertain world of the2020s, only the left offers a credible version of stabilityand security. Next time people – of every age – must say,the real risk lies in not voting Labour. F2 / Fabian Review


Cover story© Kenn Goodall / bykenn.com9 / Volume 127—No. 2


Credibility regainedLabour’s lost economic reputation will not be found ina transformational policy or particular deficit reductiontimetable. It requires a long, slow slog to establish the righttone on economic policy, writes Dan CorryDan Corry was a specialadviser in variousdepartments duringthe Labour governmentincluding DTI, Treasuryand No 10. He workedfor Labour’s frontbencheconomics team from1989–92 and was senioreconomist at IPPR 1992–97.In the immediate aftermath of Labour’s painful electiondefeat, every different colour of the progressive leftemerged to give its view as to why Labour lost. Eachparticular brand of progressivism was able to show that – loand behold – the data proved that a desertion from theirparticular creed is what lost us the election.As the dust begins to settle, there is probably a bit oftruth in every critique – whether that be lack of clarityabout what the party now stands for or not having a decentpitch to aspiration and to middle England.A particularly stubborn strand of the post-election debateis whether Labour did or did not spend too much in theyears before 2007. A subsidiary of this question is whetherwe should apologise for it in any case, whatever the truthmight be. In terms of the facts a paper I co-authored withProfessor John van Reenen of the LSE in 2011 still readspretty well. “In retrospect, it is clear that public debt levelswere too high for the stage of the cycle in 2008 in the UK(alongside many other countries like the US, Ireland andSpain) “but that “ the poor state of the public finances was aconsequence of the recession, not a cause of it.”But arguing endlessly with the public about whatwent right or wrong in the run up to 2007 will never getus anywhere, as our history clearly tells us. Most analysisof the Labour government of 1974–79 suggests that it didnot do too badly relative to other western countries overthis period. But in the immediate years after 1979, thatsimply cut no ice with an electorate who were sure thatthe high inflation, unburied bodies and rubbish piling up inTrafalgar square told the true and whole story. Depressingas it might be for those who gave it our all in governmentbetween 1997 and 2010, it is hard to believe that the public,who had to suffer the consequences of the Great Recession,will ever be prepared to agree that the Blair/Brown Labourgovernment did not in some way cause it.There is also psychology to deal with here. From theminute we lost in 2010, the chances were we would losethe next election. It is hard to imagine that after kicking a10 / Fabian Review


© Richard Saker/RexThe opportunityto serveDan Jarvis has hung up his army boots but now finds himselfenlisted in a fight for Labour’s future. “We are in for a battlefor our continued relevance”, he tells Mary RiddellMary Riddell is acolumnist for theDaily Telegraph14 / Fabian Review


InterviewShortly before the House of Commons rose for thesummer recess, Dan Jarvis allowed himself a rare breakfrom work and family. “I went out on my own for a bikeride. It was a beautiful summer’s day, and from nowhere astorm descended.” Jarvis cycled on through the hills near hisBarnsley constituency, cavalier in the face of risk.“Two people died in the Brecon Beacons that day. I wascompletely zen, but there was lightning forking all overthe place, and thunder and torrential rain. I thought howlucky I was. I’ve had the perfect apprenticeship for thisplace. Things have happened that could have finished meor steeled me. Basically, they steeled me.”The influences to which he refers are war and bereavement.A decorated soldier and a former major in the special forces,Jarvis served in Kosovo, Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone, Iraqand Afghanistan before leading a company of 150 men on asix-month assignment in Helmand Province. Though his unitof paratroopers all survived, several were badly hurt duringthe perilous mission to train Afghan recruits.Before he embarked on that foray, his wife Caroline hadbeen diagnosed with the bowel cancer from which she diedthree years later in 2010, leaving two very young children.In the following year, Jarvis was elected to serve as LabourMP for Barnsley Central, replacing Eric Illsley, who stooddown after being convicted of fraud for his part in the MPs’expenses scandal.“If I was getting deep with you, I would say that politicsis the most perfect distraction I could have had. For the firstfew months I was busy looking after my kids. Then I washere, and it provided me with a focus. This is a different wayof making a contribution.” Jarvis is settling into the officeonce occupied by Harriet Harman, and the walls are stillbare, apart from a snapshot of him, wearing fatigues andtouting a machine gun.Although Jarvis hung up his army boots four years ago,the dust of the battlefield clings to him still. While he doesnot draw any comparison between war and politics, hefought the last election with the same determination thathe once deployed in military action. Bar his cycle ride, hehas taken no time off since polling day, and he has the airof someone who runs on overwork and adrenaline.Some thought that, even before Ed Miliband lost, Jarviswas seriously thinking of whether he might stand as thenext Labour leader. Is that true? “No. Let me be incrediblyclear and straightforward. I gave it no serious thought beforethe election. I was essentially running on empty. I was onthe point of exhaustion. I’d been to scores of marginal seats[and] I had no time with my family. There was a bit of floridspeculation that if we didn’t win, people might come to me,but I never really seriously considered it. I never had time.”Jarvis, who had “sensed it [election victory] was drifting awayfrom us,” had barely come to terms with the scale of Labour’sdefeat when his phone began to ring. Weary as he was, he hadto weigh the pressure of MPs urging him to stand against hisresponsibility to his second wife Rachel, a freelance graphicdesigner whom he married in 2013, as well as to their threeyear-olddaughter and his two older children, now 12 and 10“My initial instinct was always that this was not themoment. I barely see my kids as it is. My son’s just off tosecondary school, and my oldest two have had a reallytough time with the loss of their mum. We’ve just nowfound our rhythm as a family, but my younger daughter’sfirst formed sentence was: ‘Why is daddy always at work?’ Itwas a pretty reasonable question.” Two days after the election,he gave his decision. “I made it clear that I would wantto do my bit in terms of supporting the party, whatever thatmight be, but that it wouldn’t be as leader.”Jarvis’s next task was to decide which candidate he wouldback. “I saw them all. I spent a lot of time interrogating theiranalysis of why we had lost and … what they thought weneeded to do.” While some colleagues had expected thatJarvis’s views would make him a natural ally of the mostBlairite candidate, Liz Kendall, their “robust discussion” didnot in the end elicit his endorsement.It was perhaps a foregone conclusion that Jarvis wouldback Andy Burnham, whom he had first heard speak in2010. “It was a very emotionally charged speech – brilliant,moving and uplifting.” Jarvis’s first wife was then onlyweeks away from death, and the fact that Burnham’s ownwife was undergoing major surgery provided a commonbond. “It was a tough time for us both. I never had thatconversation with him at the time ... but I think we havereflected back on it. He’s been very good to me.”There was, however, little room for sentiment in Jarvis’sassessment. “Who is the person best placed to lead theparty to a place where it can win in five years’ time? Mydecision was based purely around that analysis.” He agreesthat winning in 2020 will be difficult, even if his favouredteam of Burnham with Stella Creasy as deputy were chosen.“It’s a long and tough road back. We can be in a positionto compete in 2020, but it’s going to take a lot of doing.Business as usual is not going to work for us. We’re notin one-more-heave territory. The way we do politics hasfundamentally to alter, and the way we exist and functionas a Labour party needs to be overhauled. We have it in us,but it will take a great deal of pulling out.“Whoever is the next leader will have a tough time ofit, and they will require everyone to get behind them.” Butharmony and cohesion are hardly the hallmarks of an acrimoniousleadership contest and a split within the party overwhether the left winger Jeremy Corbyn should even be onthe ballot paper. The decision by Unite to endorse Corbynmust, I suggest, have dismayed the Burnham camp giventhat their candidate was expected to get the Len McCluskeyblessing. “I can’t say it [Unite’s choice] was the biggestsurprise I’ve ever encountered. What’s important is thatmembers of trades unions think about who is best placedto deliver a Labour government. I don’t think it’s JeremyCorbyn. I don’t think even Jeremy thinks it’s Jeremy Corbyn.”Might Jarvis still hope one day to run for the leadership?“We haven’t even elected the next leader of the party.Whoever it is will have my full support. I will do my bitand hope that person will be prime minister. I will do everythingI can to make that [happen]. But much more thanthat I have not thought about.”Jarvis’s current focus is on analysing how Labour cantackle the threat of UKIP. “We kept on saying that we weregoing to take on UKIP, but we never really did. We weremuch more comfortable taking on the Lib Dems.” Labourvoters defected to UKIP, in his view, partly because “ourpolicy offer just wasn’t broad enough.” While such votersrecognised that Labour would take on vested interests atthe top and protect those at the bottom, “what was left inthe middle was a gaping chasm.15 / Volume 127—No. 2


Interview“The ironic thing is that it was Ed Miliband who firstwanted to talk about the ‘squeezed middle’, but in the endthe middle was squeezed out. Millions of people felt we hadnothing to offer them. It got to the stage where, if I walked upa driveway and saw a white van, I knew what was coming –and someone who used to vote Labour was going to expressextreme disappointment.” Immigration, he believes “wasused as a proxy for a broader concern about a range of issues.”To win back UKIP voters, and to staunch any furtherdrift, Labour will in his opinion have to acquire a differenttype of recruit. “We don’t have enough people in theparliamentary Labour party who have done other thingsand who have real life credibility. If people understand youhave experience and challenges in your own life, you aremore than half way to winning the battle.“We need to get better at talent-spotting. We’ve gotsome amazing local councillors, but we’ve also frankly gotpeople who have taken the public for granted for far toolong.” Given the success of special advisers with powerfulpatrons (a definition that covers all the candidatesbar Corbyn), does he think that Labour should introducetargeted shortlists, along the lines of all-women shortlists?Jarvis is an admirer of the “future candidates programme”,which trains and mentors people “who don’thave long links into the party or the patronage of unionsor senior political figures.” Promising candidates should, inhis suggestion, receive financial backing because “there aresome extremely capable people who can’t even afford to beLabour candidates. If you could draw down resources, youare in a stronger position to compete. For Labour to excludeworking people because they don’t have the money or thetime skews the process from the outset.”The party should also focus much more heavily on education,skills and training, in his view, if it is to win back UKIPvoters. “What we were saying on education was ... tinkeringround the margins with no big appealing offer.” He also callsfor bold thinking on adult education and retraining. “I justdon’t sense we tapped into that agenda in the way we might.”Jarvis recently moved from a shadow frontbench rolewith the justice team to a shadow Foreign Office job. Oneof his first tasks was to frame a reply, with Harriet Harmanand other senior colleagues, to Michael Fallon’s move towardsendorsing military strikes on Syria. Having indicatedthat it would look carefully at any such proposal, assumingit met certain basic criteria, such as legality, Labour is nowawaiting developments.Almost all of Jarvis’s past life is bound up with the militaryworld. Although his parents, a college lecturer and aprobation officer, came from a civilian background, he wentto Sandhurst after graduating from Aberystwyth Universityand went on to serve with distinction in successive warzones. He met Caroline when both of them were workingfor General Sir Mike Jackson – Jarvis as Jackson’s aide-decamp,and his future wife as the general’s chef.While the instinct to serve his country runs as stronglyas ever in Jarvis, his fervour for military adventures doesnot extend to the political realm. Asked whether he wouldhave voted for the Iraq war, he says: “I think some peopleare mistakenly of the view that because I was in the armyI’m more [gung ho]. If anything, it’s the opposite.”In recent weeks he has called for an investigation intothe errors made during the Afghan war. That suggestionwas greeted with horror by some senior colleagues, whowrongly accused Jarvis of trying to instigate a secondChilcot inquiry and tried to warn him off. “There was significantconcern that any kind of inquiry would turn into awitch hunt. I’m not looking to hold individuals to accountbut to demonstrate to the public that we should look to the[Afghan] campaign to inform future decisions.“This was a campaign that ran longer than two worldwars combined, led to the deaths of 453 service men andwomen … and cost billions of pounds. Some people don’tlike it. But to me there’s an inescapable logic. We owe itto the people who lost their lives. And if someone has aproblem with that, I’m sorry. But there are a lot of grievingpeople out there. We must look back and learn.”In the future, he believes, Britain needs to ask much moresearching questions of our long-time allies who nurturedthe extreme Sunni movements that give rise to Islamic Stateand who fail to stop funding reaching terrorists. “Yes, I thinkwe do. One of the questions I asked about Afghanistan waswhether we were using our leverage to stop corruption.“It’s the same with [the Middle East]. Billions [ofpounds] are siphoned round the world, and we need to useour leverage to cut it off. Some of it comes out of the MiddleEast. We need to be very clear ... that we need to work with[allies] to stop the money at source and stop it funding theterror that it undoubtedly is funding. That involves havingsome tough conversations with our partners.” Such asSaudi Arabia and Qatar? “Absolutely.”Closer to home, he warns that the travails of Greececould have an impact on a Britain struggling to define itsown relationship with the rest of Europe. “We need to bemindful of our referendum,” he says, warning that “the falloutof a Yes vote could unleash a tidal wave of nationalismacross England. There are big questions on devolution. IfLabour wants to be sustainable over the long term, it has tobe at the heart of that debate.“We have been an extremely well-meaning but largelyamateur operation in recent times, against a ruthless Torymachine, largely run by [George] Osborne, who will probablybe the next PM and our opponent in 2020. We need toprofessionalise every aspect of our being. And we should beunder no illusion that, if we don’t, we are in for a battle forour continued relevance.” And perhaps for the party’s veryexistence? “Absolutely. There is no rule in politics that saysthere needs to be a healthy, functioning Labour party.” ShouldLabour founder, it will not be due to any lack of effort on thepart of Dan Jarvis. Affable and good company as he is, he hasdevoted himself to politics with an ardour that even he findsextreme. “My wife and I keep promising that we will get amoment to ourselves. You do need time with the family.”Though he is looking forward to a two-week break inAugust, he does not expect to get a taste for leisure. As hereflected, on the day he rode his bike through a lightningstorm, his priorities lie elsewhere. “The army wasn’t pretty,it was often tough, but it gave me the opportunity to serve.Now I have been given another chance to serve, and peoplehave invested their faith and trust in me.“I am not going to let them down. I work too hard, andI commit more to this than perhaps I should, but it is themost amazing privilege – fighting to build a better country.”Should Labour win that battle in 2020, Dan Jarvis will haveearned himself one more award for valour. F16 / Fabian Review


Featureshare many of our values – but they’ve lostconfidence that we have the right ideas torealise those values. That’s what we need toaddress to win them back.At the last election we had some excellentpolicies – our progressive housing policywould have helped the generation stuckin rented accommodation – but too manyvoters liked what we said, but thought welacked economic credibility and couldn’t betrusted to govern the country in their name.To win again we need to win back people’strust; we need to demonstrate we are readyagain for power. FBen Bradshaw is MP for Exeter“LABOUR IS NOT SIMPLYA MACHINE THAT KICKSINTO GEAR AT ELECTIONTIME BUT A MOVEMENTOF PEOPLE COMMITTEDTO SOCIAL JUSTICE”Stella CreasyIt’s a number of months since we lost theelection in May but still, for many of us, thepain of losing is unabated. With five longyears stretching ahead of us, watching theTories dismantling the welfare state, demoralisingpeople working in public servicesand destroying opportunities for our youngpeople, our challenge is to turn that pain intodetermination – not despair. This doesn’thave to wait until 2020 – as the Americantrade unionist Joe Hill once urged in thewake of defeat, “don’t mourn, organize”.In the course of a leadership and deputyleadership contest, there will be muchdebate over character and policy. But oneof the lessons we must also take from ourelection defeat is a willingness to ask ifour campaigning approach, which sawthousands of volunteers working incrediblehours to knock thousands of doors, needsto change too. Too often, a member’s knockat the door will be greeted with a reply that“we only ever see you at election time – youjust want one thing”. This rarely does justiceto the years of hard work that electedrepresentatives have put in, but it posesa very real challenge that the party has tomeet head-on.Voters need to know that Labour is notsimply a machine that kicks into gear atelection time to get some of us sitting on agreen bench in parliament, but a movementof people across the country committedto social justice. As deputy leader, I wantto bring a track record of innovation andcreativity to complement our tried andtrusted methods of working with the public.To help Labour become a movement again,not a machine.The efforts I led to crack down on legalloan sharks like Wonga would never havebeen successful if it was just me. We built acampaign with thousands of people acrossour communities and our country – andwe won. Now we must do the same for theLabour movement itself. Being out of officedoes not mean we are out of power – wecan campaign now for change to show thepublic what we stand for. But imagine whatmore could be achieved if we are returnedto power. To do that requires us to ask howbest to use the energy and expertise of all.We need to have new leadership, not justat the top of our party but throughout, byrebuilding a movement of 250,000 leaders,each being supported to develop campaignsand collaborate with their colleagues inorganisations like the Fabians on the causesthat brought them into political activism inthe first place.Much current focus is on who Labourselects as candidates and on having awider pool of possible MPs – but becominga movement means thinking not just offuture candidates, but future members andwhat support they need to take on this role.That’s why I am proposing measures suchas a development officer for Young Labour,to help us build the leadership skills of ouryounger members and supporters to beable to in turn recruit their peers to Labour.We also need an academy for campaigningto help build the skills and networks offuture Labour activists including councillors,organisers and CLP secretaries.Helping support the leadership skills ofour members as they campaign locally canonly take you so far – you need a strongmessage and compelling leadership too.But advances in technology make it possibleto change the way we campaign, so thatwe can really get to the heart of whatmakes voters tick, and build long termrelationships with them as individuals. Thisdoesn’t have to cost the earth: my ownCLP in Walthamstow, and other CLPs likeEdgbaston, Gedling and Copeland have allexperimented with new ways of using data.And it doesn’t mean everyone has to carryan iPad as they canvass. But it will makea big difference.So alongside using new technology in adifferent way, and new techniques for trainingmembers, using cash to help supportgrassroots activism will also empower ouractivists. As well as a dedicated diversityfund to support the involvement of thosecurrently underrepresented in our movement,I want us to directly match-fund newcampaigns and projects to engage withcommunities. Members, supporters andaffiliates often have great ideas – offeringfinancial support will not only help ussupport such activism, but also incentivisefundraising and enable them to link up withlocal campaigners who may share our valuesbut not our membership card.Renewing our movement in these waysand more will take time, patience and apassion for working with our people to getthe best out of them. You cannot undertakethis from a back room in Westminster, buthave to want to be out on the frontline goingCLP to CLP, community to community. ButI know it can be done.I have the passion for social justice, experienceof securing such change and confidencein our movement to be sure that if we workin this way, we can win again in 2020. FStella Creasy is MP for Walthamstow“WE FOUGHT A STATIC, TWODIMENSIONAL CAMPAIGNIN A DYNAMIC, THREEDIMENSIONAL ERA”Angela EagleLabour lost badly in May and there is nodoubt that the task of winning power in2020 is daunting. We will need to presentthe British people with a compelling offerthat responds to the economic and socialrealities of their lives. To do that we need to19 / Volume 127—No. 2


Featureask some serious questions of ourselves andlook urgently at how can we make Labourrelevant once more in a changing Britainand reconnect with our lost voters. Wemust also look at how we can connect withthe millions of people who are completelydisenchanted with the political process itself.I believe that Labour is a crusade or it isnothing. We have always fought injustice andoppression here and abroad. We were formedto ensure that those who had no power andno voice in our society could be empoweredboth in parliament and in the workplace.We have fought to make our society fairerand more equal. We have always believedthat such societies are happier and moresustainable. But the global banking crisishas ushered in the political triumph of smallstate economic orthodoxy and our society isincreasingly dominated by a few very powerfulinterests. Never before have our Labourvalues been more relevant. Following ourresounding election defeat it is obvious thatwe have to change both organisationally andculturally if we are ever to earn the chance tochange our country for the better once more.Culturally, Labour must end the stiflingtop down command and control party forgedin the Blair era. We need our members to bemore than just door-knocking fodder andthe background in a photo op. We have totrust our members more and open up theparty encouraging more people to join andget involved in a wider range of activities,embedding ourselves in every community.I also believe we need to communicate moreregularly with our members and have a moreinteractive website. Currently our membersonly tend to get a message from us whenwe’re asking them for money. We have togive the 50,000 new members who havejoined us since May 7th more than generalcommittee meetings to go to! Let’s makepolitics sociable and fun again.When I was elected to chair the NationalPolicy Forum I took the view that theentire process should be opened up to allowmembers a real say. I delivered the mostopen and transparent policy process for manyyears. By launching an online policy huband meaningfully engaging with all parts ofthe NPF we ensured greater democracy inpractice. This was a start and a break with thepast but there is much more that we needto do. We can start by embedding this openculture of real political debate in the party atall levels and we need new thinking abouthow this can be properly represented at ourannual conference more effectively. We shouldbe proud of our links with the trade unionsand other affiliates. They enrich our party andhelp keep us connected to millions of people.Organisationally, the party did what itcould in the election with far fewer resourcesthan the Tories had and there were someheroic victories. But there were many morelosses. All our candidates fought hard andnone deserved to lose. But we fought a static,two dimensional campaign in a dynamicthree dimensional era. Many marginal seatcandidates got to the count thinking theyhad won only to see their Tory opponentsincrease their majorities. This demonstratesthat we missed what was going on as well asthe pollsters. Our voter pool was too narrow.Even in my constituency of Wallasey, wherewe doubled the Labour majority with a 9 percent Tory to Labour swing, it was clear thatthe scaremongering about the SNP threat ina hung parliament was working. It was alsoclear that our clutch of retail policy offerswas adding up to less than the sum of itsparts because we hadn’t dealt with the falseTory narrative about the causes of the globalbanking crisis so we were not trusted onthe economy.In response to this we have to upgradeour voter contact infrastructure and buy intothe micro targeting databases which JimMessina used so effectively for the Tories.Our techniques haven’t really changed sincethe 1990s but the world of campaigning hasmoved on and we have to invest in state ofthe art know how to be competitive. All thisis possible and delivering it will make ourparty fit to win in 2020. FAngela Eagle is MP for Wallasey“OUR PARTY MUST ALWAYSASPIRE TO LOOK AND SOUNDLIKE THE COUNTRY WE SEEKTO REPRESENT”Caroline FlintThe Labour party exists to win elections toimprove lives and make the world a betterplace. But if the shock of our crushing electiondefeat is beginning to fade, the scale ofthe challenge facing us is only just beginningto dawn. It is no exaggeration to say that wenow face a fight for the very survival of theLabour party. It is a fight in which I wishto play a part, and why I am standing to beLabour’s next deputy leader.As the debate about why we lost and howwe rebuild in the years ahead intensifies, weare already facing contradictory demands forchange. Some say the answer lies with middleEngland, with greater emphasis on economiccompetence and rewarding aspiration. Othersargue that to win back Scotland we needto champion the NHS, public services andredistribution. Other voices say we mustconcentrate on winning back disaffectedworking class voters, who found us unconvincingon immigration and welfare.In all honesty, we do not have the luxuryof that choice. We lost working class andmiddle class voters. We lost support inareas that were previously described as ourheartlands and in middle England. We lostin the south and in the north. What all theseresults show – the rise of SNP in Scotland,the rise of UKIP in the north, our poorperformance even among natural Labourvoters in the south – is that not only are wefailing to appeal to floating voters, in manyplaces we were not even convincing our corevoters. Just about the only place we didn’tlose ground was in our big cities.So the challenge is not just about thecentre ground, it’s about the ground to thesouth, the north and in Scotland. It’s aboutcarving out new Labour territory – we needsupport from all classes, all backgrounds andall corners of the UK.This is more than a narrow electoralcalculation. Wanting to get on in life, to workhard, to make something of yourself, andto hope for a better future for your family,those are things I believe in, things that havealways been an essential part of Labour’sreason for being and always must be.We do not win the votes of people withdecent jobs and decent incomes, from thevan driver, to the sales manager, to thegraphic designer and the restaurant owner,by appealing simply for their solidarity withothers, or by merely telling them what we’reopposed to. We have to be for them as well– and without their support and the wealththey create, we will never be able to helpthose that most need a Labour government.But to change the country, we must havethe courage to change our party too. We didn’tlose this election for want of a better groundcampaign – and we owe it to the thousandsof Labour party members and supporters whoslugged their guts out during the election tobe honest about the causes of our defeat.One of the reasons people found ithard to connect with us at the election was20 / Fabian Review


Featurebecause there were too few people at thetop of our party who look and sound likethey understand what life is actually like formost people, let alone have the answers tothe challenges ahead. Our party must alwaysaspire to look and sound like the countrywe seek to represent. But there are still toofew women, ethnic minority and workingclass candidates, councillors and MPs. If I’melected as deputy leader, I’ll level the playingfield for candidates, so money and connectionsare no advantage in selections.We must also open our party to manymore supporters. As deputy leader, I wouldsupport reducing and simplifying membershipfees and recognising the role that ourmembers can play in the life of our party. Weneed our members for so much more thantheir subs or to deliver some leaflets. That’swhy I want to create Labour’s Got Talent, todraw on the talents, skills and contacts theycan share.Most of all, we need a leadership teamwho both members and voters can connectwith – a deputy leader who can inspire ourmembers to go the extra mile, inspire peopleto join our party and become our councillorsand MPs of the future, and inspire the voterswe lost with the confidence to support usagain and hope for a better future.As deputy leader, I will lead, inspire andfight for our values. We can reach out tothose who have turned away from Labour.Together, we can win again. FCaroline Flint is MP for Don Valley“TO WIN WE’RE GOING TONEED TO CHANGE A LOT OFVOTERS’ MINDS OVER THENEXT FIVE YEARS. AND TO DOTHAT WE’RE GOING TO NEEDTO CHANGE AS A PARTY”Tom WatsonThe hard truth is that we lost the 2015election because we lost touch with ourpeople. We let the Tories define the groundon the economy in the long, leader-lesssummer of 2010 and we never won it back.By 2015, people didn’t believe that we couldmake their lives better, including millionsof ‘natural’ Labour supporters who voteddirectly against their own interests andagainst a lot of their core beliefs.So what needs to change to stop thishappening again? We can have a longtechnical debate about whether the taskis to re-calibrate or to redefine. What’sclear, though, is that we mistook contactfor conversations, voter id for relationshipsand mobilising for organising. We nowneed to have the humility to recognisethat we didn’t even notice we had lostthe nation’s trust.To win we’re going to need to change alot of voters’ minds over the next five years.And to do that we’re going to need tochange as a party. In a world where ouropponents outnumber us so badly, thetruth is there aren’t enough Labour votersto just identify them between elections– basically just asking them ‘are you withus’ – and then turn them out come electiontime. And that’s why the old top-down,Westminster-knows‐best, machine politicshas to end.Labour’s future lies in movement politics:doing things with people, making allianceswith single-issue campaigns and communitygroups.It’s all about making change happenby listening, asking and acting together.Being even bigger than our quarter millionmembers. A proper movement doesn’t waiton broken polls to tell us what the votersthink, it knows instinctively because thebond with them is so strong.The tragedy is that we were going inthe right direction. We need to pick upwhere Arnie Graf left off: recruiting moresupporters, widening our membership andorganising in our communities to makechange happen on the ground.I worked with Arnie Graf when I wasLabour’s national campaign co-ordinator,and I’m not too proud to say he taught mea lot: the art of building relationships, givinga sense of power and agency to local people,developing leaders from the communitieswe represent.Labour people really liked it. Whenpeople told Arnie that they were in politicsto give a voice to the voiceless, he used totell them that they were capable of speakingfor themselves. Labour needs to be able tohear that.After all, how can we ask voters to trustus with the economy if we can’t even keepthe neighbourhood clean? Communityorganising work like this won’t bringelectoral rewards overnight, but over timeit will help grow our party and win backvoters’ trust.Councillors have to be at the heart ofour renaissance. No one knows better thehopes and fears of a local community thanLabour councillors and their activist teams.As deputy leader I’ll fight for a greater sayfor councillors in all the party’s decisionmaking: at shadow cabinet, in the NEC,at the NPF, everywhere. Labour in localgovernment is leading the way in renewingour party and it’s high time Westminsterlistened and learned.The way we organise as a party also hasmuch to learn from our trade union brothersand sisters. Over the last decade unionshave changed the way they campaign,combining smart analytical targeting withtremendous grassroots activity. A closerelationship of trust and co-operation canhelp us reconnect with many of the workingclass voters we most need to win back fromthe SNP or UKIP.And as your deputy leader I’ll intensifyour online campaigning into a true digitalrevolution, marrying communications withorganising so that we use email and socialmedia not just rally the faithful, but topersuade the undecided. I want to createdigital branches, some of which might beorganised around vocation rather thangeography, and all of which would allowmembers to participate in ways they can’tcurrently do.Three quarters of Labour party membersrarely or never attend local meetings orcanvassing sessions. We need to find newways to engage them. Why don’t theywant to come to our boring meetings?The question answers itself. Why do wekeep holding meetings three quartersof our members don’t want to come to?Good question.The way we recruit candidates willchange too. As your deputy leader I’ll creategrants and training programmes to expandthe opportunities for women, BAME andworking class members to becomecandidates.We need a Labour party that looks alittle less like a Westminster cocktail partyand a little more like the country we seekto serve.The good news is that all of these canhappen, and they will. The election was acrushing indictment of our method, but itwasn’t a complete rejection of our values.We must remember that. FTom Watson is MP for West Bromwich East21 / Volume 127—No. 2


In spiritThe ‘in’ campaign should turn the EU referendum intoa choice between two different stories of our national future– Danny Boyle and Nigel Farage, writes Mark LeonardMark Leonard is directorof the European Councilon Foreign Relations andauthor of Europe Wasthe Future Once… andhow it can be once again.He writes in a personalcapacityFor the next 18 months, Europe will dominate thenational political conversation. What part Labour willplay, however, is still up for grabs. Wary of sharing aplatform with David Cameron after the Scottish independencereferendum, some in the party see little to be gainedfrom getting involved in the cross-party campaign. Andthere is the added, nostalgic temptation of sitting by andwatching the Tory party rip itself apart over Europe – justas it did in John Major’s day. But if the Labour party standsaside from one of the most important debates about thefuture of our country in decades it will not just marginaliseitself politically, it will prove that it is not fit for government.So how should it engage?In essence, the referendum on EU membership will bein two parts. The first is a renegotiation that will last, mostlikely, until the end of the year. The second, a referendumcampaign proper, most likely next year.Labour’s role in the first part seems difficult to identifyas it is very much the David Cameron show. Cameron is ona tour of Europe’s capitals trying to secure agreement on hisfour main issues: reducing market regulation and signingtrade deals, changing the relations between Eurozone insand outs, enhancing the role of national parliaments, andchanging access to benefits for migrants.The prime minister hopes to wrap up his negotiations byDecember and take his package to the people. Meanwhile,for the ‘out’ side the renegotiation period is a chance to portraythe current EU as useless and try to foist on the governmentan impossible reform agenda. The wily Mathew Elliotand his Business for Britain group have put this strategyinto practice with their 1,000 page report, serialised in theDaily Telegraph, Change, or Go.In this first period, it is vital to forward a centre-left reformagenda to prevent Labour from looking like a bystanderwith nothing to say, ceding the ideological momentumto Cameron’s right-of-centre programme. A centre-leftreform agenda should balance the quest for liberalisationand reducing red-tape with the promise of growth andsocial protection, and measures to help the losers from freemovement and free trade. But it must also avoid the trap ofthe ‘out’ campaign, and ensure that this reform agenda isboth realistic and relevant to Britain’s interests.But as we move into the second, campaign phase, the‘in’ case cannot just be about arguing for a new, slightlyimproved (or worsened, depending on your perspective),transactional deal from Europe. Rather the ‘in crowd’should be putting forward the patriotic case for Britishmembership. In doing this, it should learn three lessonsfrom the Scottish referendum.Fundamental to this is balancing the rhetoric of riskagainst the narrative of hope. Clearly, the heart of the‘in’ campaign will be to focus strongly the risks of leaving.Frankly, the ‘out’ side’s arguments don’t add up andput the whole economy in jeopardy. But a cold-blooded,reductionist campaign may win the battle but lose the war.To win a decisive victory and avoid the risk of a neverendum,the ‘in’ side needs to anchor its accounts of the risksin a bigger patriotic story about what kind of country wewant to be.Back in the mid-1990s I experienced these debates witha report I wrote for Demos that argued for rebrandingBritain by drawing on its history as a diverse, multinational,outward-looking, creative island. The response of thepublic to an attempt by the left to define and engage withour national story was surprisingly enthusiastic – it showedthat it is always better for us to have that conversation thanto allow others to define what patriotism means. And manyof the stories we put forward at that time were picked upand brought to life by Danny Boyle in the 2012 Olympicsopening ceremony, endorsed by a Conservative prime22 / Fabian Review


Feature© Shimelle Laine, www.flickr.com/photos/shimelle/7656538630minister and mayor of London. It is that spirit that the ‘in’side needs to find now. It should turn the referendum into achoice between two different stories of our national future– between Danny Boyle and Nigel Farage.The ‘in’ campaign must avoid the trap of simply talkingabout economics while leaving the other side to ownnational sovereignty. Business for Britain and other groupslike them understand that the economic arguments arestacked against them. Their goal, therefore, is to confusethe issue. By shoving as many business spokespeople asthey can in front of cameras and microphones, talkingceaselessly about the problems of red tape, of Greece, ofausterity they will seek to show that while the economicsis contested space, the only way to regain control of ourborders and our sovereignty is to leave.The ‘in’ campaign will need to try to do the opposite– showing that they have a plan to make free movementfair while claiming that the economic argument is beyondcontestation. But I hope they do not leave it at that. The‘in’ campaign must do all it can to claim the mantle ofself-government.The lesson from Scotland is that the Yes campaignsucceeded in turning the referendum into a carnival ofdemocracy; voting ‘Yes’ was seen as a positive and affirmativeact. The pro-Europeans – who are, after all, offering thisreferendum – should try to make it into a similarly hopefulaction, in contrast to the backward-looking, gloom-ladenEurosceptics.Reframing the debate will help with this. Undecidedvoters in the referendum need to understand that thebiggest threat to Britain’s sovereignty is not in Brussels butin Beijing. As China begins to remake the world order, theheft of EU membership in reality gives the British people amuch greater control of their affairs. That’s not to say thatreform isn’t needed.In addition to supporting some of David Cameron’smeasures to strengthen national parliaments and thevoices of non-eurozone members, Labour should push fora root-and-branch change to how decision-making is donein Brussels. But pro-Europeans can show that leaving theEU – as Norway has done – hinders rather than helps thecause of self-government.At the same time as Britain contemplates its membershipof the EU, an epochal shift is happening to politicsin the continent. Across Europe, insurgent parties – Syriza,Podemos, Alternative fur Deutschland, the Danish People’sParty – are smashing the old political order, fuelled by arising perception of division between the elites and thepeople. And at first glance, the ‘in crowd’ looks like an eliteaffair. There will be all the leaders of the main political parties,the CBI, much of the business community and manynational newspapers on board. So the challenge for the ‘in’side is to break free from this perception, unless it wants torisk the ceaseless attacks of voters disenchanted with politicsas usual. To combat this, the ‘in’ side will need a pluralityof voices, and voices that ‘speak human’. And its narrativewill need to be more human too and develop less abstractarguments, dealing with how individuals and communitieswill be affected, rather than throwing around frightening,but essentially meaningless, statistics.Labour must go into this debate with confidence andconviction. By developing a vision of a more social Europeit can show how the EU can benefit people as well asthe companies they work for and the City of London. Byplaying a full part in the cross-party campaign as well asdeveloping its own organisation, Labour can help to wina vote that will be critical to the country’s national interest.And by putting forward a vision for a bigger future forBritain, Labour will also take a step towards proving it isready to be a party of government. F23 / Volume 127—No. 2


What kind of capitalismdo we want?Parties of the centre-left are most successful when theyhave a compelling account of what makes an economy grow.Labour must build on, not abandon, its debate about thedynamics of capitalism, argues David CoatsDavid Coats is the directorof WorkMatters Consultingand a research fellow at theSmith InstituteThe view that Labour became increasingly ‘antibusiness’under Ed Miliband’s leadership is nowwidespread and has become a central feature ofthe current leadership campaign. Some of the candidateshave made every effort to demonstrate their ‘pro-business’credentials, by disavowing much that has been done since2010. So far, however, the discussion is generating moreheat than light and is unlikely to offer the prospect of anew, distinctively Labour vision of what constitutes a ‘goodeconomy’.Most of the content of the 2015 manifesto was aboutdistributional questions: higher taxes for the most affluent,a higher minimum wage, the widespread adoption of theliving wage, student fees, rent caps and the energy pricefreeze. Each of these policies may have merit, but theyonly tell half the story. Parties of the centre-left are mostsuccessful when they embrace the politics of production– when they have a compelling account of what makesan economy grow. If living standards are to rise then theeconomy must be expanding. Companies must be successfulin managing people and processes more effectively toachieve productivity growth.Our case has to be rooted in the belief that we have abetter understanding of the dynamics of capitalism thanour opponents. Arguably Labour has lacked a compellingstory about production since the 1960s. The last serious effort,Harold Wilson’s white heat of the technological revolution,was exemplified by George Brown’s National Plan,a paler British version of the indicative planning that wasbelieved to serve the French economy so well at the time.Rational technocrats in Whitehall would work with the bestof British business, to boost investment, identify emergingtechnologies and sources of competitive advantage,rationalise uncompetitive companies and ensure balancedregional development. There was an element of hubrisabout all of this, perhaps, representing the strong currentin Labour thinking that ‘if you can plan for war then youcan plan for peace’. Unfortunately, the devaluation crisisin 1967, the underlying weakness of the British economyand the need to implement emergency measures put paidto these good intentions. Labour was left with a vacuumin its thinking about how British capitalism (or what wasthen described as a mixed economy) could be run moresuccessfully.By 1974, Labour’s winning story consisted of little morethan ‘we can keep the unions on side’; more ambitiousobjectives had been abandoned. The fundamental flaw inthat position was revealed by the Winter of Discontent in1979 and Mrs Thatcher’s first election victory. In 1983 weoffered a prospectus that promised a better yesterday, withpolicies that assumed the government was more capablethan business of delivering national prosperity. It wasback to dirigiste planning with a vengeance, a policy thatdelivered a Tory landslide.During Neil Kinnock’s leadership all of these ideas wereabandoned and some effort was made to demonstrate thatLabour could tell a distinctive and compelling story abouteconomic management. There was, for a time, a focus on24 / Fabian Review


Essayboosting productivity growth, flirtations with industrialpolicy and in Roy Hattersley’s Choose Freedom, a lengthyexposition of the role of the state in the economy. This wasan excellent start. Hattersley recognised that governmentset the rules of the market, identified that certain goodswould never be supplied by the market alone (transport tooutlying areas, healthcare free at the point of need) andargued that the state had a critical role to play in preventingmonopoly and oligopoly. In other words, the democraticstate prevented the exploitation of citizens by over-mightycorporations and acted as guardian of the public interest.In the early Blair period some attention was given todeveloping a strategy to make British capitalism moreproductive and responsible. The flirtation with stakeholdercapitalism, most famously espoused by Will Hutton’s TheState We’re In, promised much but delivered little oncethe extent of business opposition became clear. By thetime of the 1997 election Labour’s position was implicitlyto accept the post-Thatcher status quo. Of course, therewere critical commitments that changed the businessenvironment – the national minimum wage, signing theMaastricht Treaty’s social chapter, new rights for workersand unions and the implementation of a windfall tax – butwith the exception of the latter these changes were legacycommitments of the Kinnock and Smith leaderships ratherthan distinctively New Labour policies. The 1997 victory isbest viewed as a moment of great electoral triumph andprofound intellectual defeat. All that could be done was tofile the rough edges off Thatcherism and hope for the best.As long as the economy was growing and tax receipts werebuoyant the government seemed to have enough money toachieve Labour’s traditional social objectives.There is a case for saying that the situation was evenworse than that. Labour in government continued torejoice in the UK’s flexible labour market, celebrated thesuccess of light touch regulation and embarked on a waragainst the ‘red tape’ that was supposedly restraining businessgrowth. The capitulation to conventional economicthinking is described with some asperity in Roger Liddle’saccount of his time as Tony Blair’s Europe adviser in TheEurope Dilemma. He suggests that the government wascaptured by a particular view of “hyper-globalism”:Arguably, it subtly moved New Labour from being aproject of social democratic modernisation that had atlong last come to terms with the centrality of a competitivemarket economy, to one that made an over enthusiasticaccommodation with the excesses of financialcapitalism.This critique is also pertinent to those individuals whobelieve that Labour lost the 2015 election because it was‘anti-business’. It would be disastrous for Labour to revertto the pre-crisis New Labour common sense, simplybecause this contributed to the conditions that made thecrisis possible. Nor would it be wise to conflate the businessinterest with the public interest, or believe that being‘pro-business’ demands that we accept without questionthe strictures of lobby groups like the CBI. If we had gonethat far in 1997 there would have been no minimum wage,no windfall tax, no extra spending on health or educationand no return to the European social policy mainstream.For the avoidance of doubt, this is not an argument in favourof the approach adopted in the last parliament. As themanifesto demonstrated, Labour had no story to tell aboutwhat makes an economy successful. This is more than alittle surprising, principally because the leader’s rhetoricalambition at times suggested a more radical approach. Themuch-derided predators and producers speech could beread as an initial (albeit flat-footed) effort to identify what‘good business’ means – companies that are innovative,invest for the long term, offer decent wages and conditionsof employment and compete on quality rather than a raceto the bargain basement. No effort seems to have beenmade to enlist the support of responsible businesses in theenterprise and members of the shadow cabinet were unableto give examples of the predatory behaviour to whichEd Miliband had referred.Lurking somewhere in this agenda is a credible, progoodbusiness prospectus: it would be very unwise forLabour now to junk it entirely. The new leader cannot avoidaddressing really tough questions about how capitalismcan be managed more effectively to achieve inclusive prosperity,where all citizens benefit from economic growth.Questions about short-termism, the role of the state, thenature of the innovation system, the supply of skills andthe employment relations culture needed to sustain highproductivity may sound like abstract concerns of littlerelevance to the doorstep conversation. But our experiencein May shows that we need an intellectually credible policyprospectus. Cherry picking issues for their populist appealsimply failed to convince the electorate. In other words,Labour must be clear about why action is needed, what thegovernment will do and how policies will be implemented.Compelling answers to these questions could havebeen developed over the course of the last parliament.Unfortunately, an apparent lack of intellectual self-confidencemeant the party fell back on a minimalist approachwith symbolic commitments detached from a wider narrative.We had five years to develop a compelling accountof the politics of production and failed miserably to do so.A simple example may suffice to make the point. Theleader’s office commissioned Sir George Cox, formerdirector-general of the Institute of Directors, to examinethe problem of short-termism in British capital marketsand the impact on the real economy. This formed a companionpiece to the report on the same topic preparedfor the coalition government by Professor John Kay. Coxrecommended an innovative programme of tax reform (toprevent speculation) and corporate governance changes (tosupport committed ownership). Both proposals could havebeen integrated into a wider policy story about the foundationsof economic success. In the event, Labour proposedthat there should be a single worker representative on theremuneration committees of listed companies to restrainexcessive executive pay packages. Rhetorical ambition wasovercome by timidity in policy – and it is doubtful in anyevent whether one worker voice amongst many wouldhave had any practical effect.Other social democratic parties have managed todevelop successful growth stories that both win businesssupport and contribute to electoral success. Our Nordiccounterparts, for example, have always understood that thelogic of capitalism leads inevitably to ‘creative destruction’.25 / Volume 127—No. 2


Essay© www.davidwoolfall.com, www.flickr.com/photos/techcrunch/15583470505Old industries die, new ones are born. Blacksmiths andcarriage builders disappear to be replaced by steelworkersand auto-workers who in turn disappear to be replaced bypeople working in services (both high and low value).Creative social democrats know that competitive marketsand open trade drive innovation and technologicalchange. The task is to ensure that markets operate withina framework of rules and that the fruits of growth are fairlydistributed. The case for a strong welfare state is that securepeople are willing to take risks. Workers are much lesslikely to resist change if the government is committed tofull employment, makes every effort to ensure that unemploymentis not a financially devastating experience, andinvests in skills development so that displaced workers canfind a secure job in the changing world of work. The NewLabour mantra that economic dynamism and social justiceenjoy a symbiotic relationship remains true. Over the lastfive years we simply failed to develop a compelling storyabout the first part of that equation.Once again, this is surprising, not least because the intellectualtide is now running in Labour’s favour. Labour inthe 2015 campaign was clear that rising income inequalityis a problem, but this was presented as a matter of fairnessand social justice, not a question of economic necessity.Since 2010 the International Monetary Fund’s researchdepartment has published a series of papers all of whichconfirm that the social objectives sought by progressivesare of economic importance. For example, the IMF arguesthat economies with high levels of income inequality areprone to crises on the scale of the Great Depression andthe recent global meltdown. Rising inequality in a periodof low interest rates stimulates excessive borrowing bylow-income households whose living standards are underpressure because their real wages are stagnant. This isa consequence of a shift in bargaining power away fromthose on middling to low incomes. When interest rates riseor asset prices fall the tower of debt comes tumbling down,with devastating consequences for the solvency of banksand for the performance of the real economy. Inclusiveprosperity, in which everybody gets a fair share of the fruitsof growth, requires a lower level of income inequality. Thisis also essential for the sustainable generation of demandon which robust economic growth depends. A fairer societyis therefore in the interests of business and workers. Thisis not an argument that Labour made with real convictionbetween 2010 and 2015.Similarly, the IMF has shown that redistribution canhave a positive effect on growth by counteracting the forcesjust described. Ensuring that those on low incomes haveenough money in their pockets for full social participationcontributes both to growth and economic stability.One might conclude therefore that the UK’s problemsare not best explained by the interventions of the EuropeanUnion, ‘uncontrolled’ immigration or scroungers cheatingthe benefits system. Flexible labour markets, the collapse ofworkers’ bargaining power and the erosion of the welfarestate have much to answer for. The right-wing story issimply untrue.The same might be said for those who believe that excessiveemployment regulation or other forms of “red tape”are to be blame for the UK’s relatively poor performance.As we have already observed, by international standards,the UK is a lightly regulated (probably under-regulated)economy. The Organisation for Economic Co-operationand Development (OECD) has been unable to establishany link between the strength of employment protectionlegislation and employment performance over the courseof the economic cycle; decoded this means that tougheremployment laws do not necessarily destroy jobs.Paul Krugman, the Nobel prize winning economist, isnotorious for observing that “productivity isn’t everything,but it’s almost everything”. Creating an environmentwhere businesses are encouraged to make the best possibleuse of their workers and their assets is critical fornational prosperity. Labour should have enlisted the supportof good businesses in making this case, with an arrayof imaginative policies for innovation, the regions and theworkplace. The opportunity was there – and we missed it.Simply condemning the manifesto (and Ed’s leadership) asfrighteningly left-wing is too simplistic. Labour was neithertoo left-wing nor too right wing; we were just not goodenough.The challenge for the leadership contenders is to recognisethese weaknesses without accepting the Conservativegovernment’s economic policy story. There must be a distinctiveLabour narrative about how to grow the economyand achieve inclusive prosperity. Developing a credibleprospectus for the achievement of both objectives is essentialif the party is to have a decent chance of deprivingthe Tories of their majority in 2020. F26 / Fabian Review


the fabian society sectionSun, sea and socialismDeborah Stoate reveals what wenton at Fabian summer holidaysWho put the social in socialism? Surprisingly,the early Fabians. According to MargaretCole’s The Story of Fabian Socialism, earlyFabians such as George Bernard Shaw andLawson Dodd “enlivened the Society andprevented it from being the set of solemnprigs which outsiders were apt to conjureup”. They supported a proposition by MabelAtkinson – “a truculent, stormy element inEdwardian Fabianism” – to organise annualFabian holidays, or summer schools as theywere more soberly called.So the first summer school took placeand these Fabian holidays continued intothe 1980s, though they took a differentand more educational format as the yearsprogressed. They were immensely popular,financially profitable, lasted sometimes for 6weeks, and seemed to fulfil the first principleof the early founders – that socialists shouldlive in a community and work out theirsocial economic and political philosophytogether. And have fun. So study and debatecombined with day-trips, tennis tournaments,bathing and musical and dramaticentertainments.The earliest schools started with Swedishdrill led by “a cubical lady” called MaryHankinson who put everyone throughexercises before breakfast, made them allplay in the cricket team, do the washing upand go to bed at 10pm. Hankinson clashedfiercely with Beatrice Webb because sheexpected Beatrice to make her own bed. Accordingto Margaret Cole, Beatrice had herown views on that. Drill was performed inbloomers and there was a craze for sleepingout of doors. A Professor Joad was sacked asschool director for staying out all night withtwo young ladies, having already suffered arebuke for “excessive wenching”. MargaretCole noted in a speech in 1972: “One daymy brother came to visit us at the school. Itwas a fine afternoon and there was nobodyin the building so he went out into thegrounds. The first thing he encountered wasProfessor Joad wearing nothing but a hat…He left immediately.”Nude sunbathing was the norm, whichMargaret Cole in the same speech agreedwith, as “it did teach people to be more carefulin looking after their bodies so that theydid not look too bad without clothes.”Indeed Beatrice, after one of the moreriotous summer schools, wrote a stern list of“Points to be Remembered”. Point 6 – “Quietand freedom from noise is most important.Would it not be possible to exclude themore boisterous, larky entertainmentsand substitute something of the nature ofreligious music – or time for meditation?”Despite Beatrice’s exhortations, the‘larkiness’ continued and schools, accordingto Margaret Cole continued to be “prettyuninhibited” – they were once turned outof Frensham for indecency.To give the impression thatthe holidays were simply‘larks’ would be wrongAs late as 1951 at a school in Broadstairs,someone found some song sheets and forwardedthem to Kent County Council, whichfound them to be obscene and blasphemousand they were turned out. Music playedan important part in the Fabian holiday –participants regularly brought their musicalinstruments, a piano was hired if necessaryand in the early days, participants wereissued with ‘Songs for Socialists’. This hadbeen compiled by a committee (naturally)and included stirring socialist anthems andin later years, satirical and self-parodyingsongs. For instance, to the tune of ‘I Do Liketo be Beside the Seaside’:“Oh we do like a furious game of croquet,Or a swim in the coolest hour of night.And there’s lots of other things that the earlymorning bringsOn Frensham hillsides, or Frensham heights.”However, to give the impression that theholidays were simply ‘larks’ would be wrong.A director was appointed for each fortnightand their log books, which are in the Fabianarchive, make entertaining reading. Lookingat photos of the schools, it’s apparent thatolder children were also there which surelymust have curtailed some activities. LeadingFabians always attended – George BernardShaw (see photo), the Webbs, the Coles,academics and politicians – so ordinarymembers mixing with them identified morecompletely with the aims and work of theSociety. Familiarity brought confidence andthose who might remain silent in a meeting,might at a summer school find themselveschallenging Webb or Shaw. Schools werethus a great leveller for all involved.So the annual Fabian holiday providedelucidation of socialist thought, developmentof ideas on its practical application,cultivation of upcoming talent and throughcommunal living, cultivation of a friendlydemocracy. And fun.I can’t see it being revived today though.Imagine the Daily Mail headlines. FDeborah Stoate is local Fabian societies officer© Fabian Summer School 1922, with George Bernard Shaw second row27 / Volume 127—No. 2


ListingsBEXLEYRegular meetings.Contact Alan Scutt on 0208 304 0413 oralan.scutt@phonecoop.BIRMINGHAMFor details and information,please contact Andrew Coulson atAndrew@CoulsonBirmingham.co.ukBOURNEMOUTH & DISTRICT30 October. Karin Kristianson, GeneralSecretary of the Cooperative Party27 November. Andrew NoakesMeetings at The Friends MeetingHouse, Wharncliffe Rd, Boscombe,Bournemouth at 7.30. Contact IanTaylor on 01202 396634 for detailsor taylorbournemouth@gmail.comBRIGHTON & HOVE24 July. Professor Richard Wilkinsonon ‘Equality and SustainabilityDetails of all meetings from RalphBayley: ralphfbayley@gmail.comBRISTOLRegular meetings.Contact Ges Rosenberg for detailson grosenberg@churchside.me.uk orArthur Massey 0117 9573330CAMBRIDGEContact Cambridge Fabians atcambridgefabians@gmail.com www.cambridgefabians.org.uk www.facebook.com/groups/cambridgefabiansocietyCARDIFFSociety reforming. Please contactJonathan Evans at wynneevans@phonecoop.coop if you’re interestedCENTRAL LONDONDetails from Giles Wright on 0207 2274904 or giles.wright@fabians.org.ukCHATHAM and AYLESFORDNew Society forming. Please contactSean Henry on 07545 296800 orseanhenry@live.co.ukCHISWICK & WEST LONDONAll meetings at 8.00 in Committee Room,Chiswick Town Hall Details from thesecretary, Alison Baker at a.m.baker@blueyonder.co.ukCOLCHESTERDetails of meetings from Maurice Austin– maurice.austin@phonecoop.coop.Friends Meeting House, Church St.,ColchesterCUMBRIA & NORTH LANCASHIREMeetings, 6.30 for 7.00 at Castle GreenHotel, Kendal. For information contactRobin Cope at robincope@waitrose.comDARTFORD & GRAVESHAMRegular meetings at 8.00 in DartfordWorking Men’s Club, Essex Rd, DartfordDetails from Deborah Stoate on 0207 2274904 email debstoate@hotmail.comDERBYDetails for meetings from Alan Jones on01283 217140 or alan.mandh@ btinternet.comDONCASTER AND DISTRICTNew Society forming, for details andinformation contact Kevin Rodgers on07962 019168 email k.t.rodgers@gmail.comEAST LOTHIANCoffee Morning on Saturday 1 August at10.30. Details of all meetings from NoelFoy on 01620 824386 email noelfoy@lewisk3.plus.comEDINBURGHRegular Brain Cell meetings. Details ofthese and all other meetings from DanielJohnson at daniel@ scottishfabians.org.ukEPSOM and EWELLNew Society forming. If you areinterested, please contact Carl Dawsonat carldawson@gmail.comFINCHLEYEnquiries to Mike Walsh on 07980 602122mike.walsh44@ntlworld.comGLASGOWNow holding regular meetings. ContactMartin Hutchinson on mail@liathach.netGLOUCESTERRegular meetings at TGWU, 1 PullmanCourt, Great Western Rd, Gloucester.Details from Malcolm Perry atmalcolmperry3@btinternet.comGRIMSBYRegular meetings. Details from PatHolland – hollandpat@hotmail.comHARROWDetails from Marilyn Devine on 0208 4249034. Fabians from other areas wherethere are no local Fabian Societies arevery welcome to join us.HASTINGS and RYEMeetings held on last Friday of eachmonth. Please contact Valerie Threadgillc/o the Fabian Society, 61 Petty FranceHAVERING6 August. Deputy Leadership Hustings.7.30 Havering Town HallDetails tbc Details of all meetings fromDavid Marshall email david.c.marshall@talk21. com tel 01708 441189 Forlatest information, see the websitehaveringfabians.org.uk HaveringFabians:IPSWICHDetails of all meetings from John Cook:contact@ipswich-labour.org.uk twitter.com/suffolkfabiansISLINGTONDetails from Ed Rennie atislingtonfabians@hotmail.co.ukLEEDSDetails of all meetings from John Brackenat leedsfabians@gmail.comMANCHESTERSociety reforming. Details fromChristopher James on mcrfabs@gmail.com www.facebook.com/ManchesterFabians or Twitter @MCR_FabMERSEYSIDEPlease contact James Roberts atjamesroberts1986@gmail.comMILTON KEYNESAnyone interested in helping to set upa new society, contact David Morgan onjdavidmorgan@googlemail.comNORTHUMBRIA AREAFor details and booking contact PatHobson: pat.hobson@hotmail.comNORTHAMPTON AREAPlease contact Dave Brede ondavidbrede@yahoo.comNORTH STAFFORDSHIREPlease contact Richard Gorton onr.gorton748@btinternet.comNORWICHSociety reforming. Contact AndreasPaterson – andreas@headswitch.co.ukNOTTINGHAMSHIREDetails from Lee Garland: secretary@nottsfabians.org.uk, www.nottsfabians.org.uk, twitter @NottsFabiansOXFORDPlease contact Michael Weatherburn atmichael.weatherburn@gmail.comPETERBOROUGHMeetings at 8.00 at the Ramada Hotel,Thorpe Meadows, Peterborough. Detailsfrom Brian Keegan on 01733 265769,email brian@briankeegan.demon.co.ukPORTSMOUTHDetails from Dave Wardle at david.wardle@waitrose.comREADING & DISTRICTFor details of all meetings, contactTony Skuse at tony@skuse.netSHEFFIELDRegular meetings on the 3rd Thursdayof the month at The Quaker MeetingHouse, 10, St James St, Sheffield.S12EW Details and information fromRob Murray on 0114 255 8341or emailrobertljmurray@hotmail.comSOUTH EAST LONDONContact sally.prentice@btinternet.comSOUTH WEST LONDONContact Tony Eades on 0208487 9807or tonyeades@hotmail.comSOUTHAMPTON AREAFor details of venues and all meetings,contact Eliot Horn at eliot.horn@btinternet.comSOUTH TYNESIDEContact Paul Freeman on 0191 5367 633or at freemanpsmb@blueyonder.co.ukSTOCKPORT AREANew Society forming. Please contactMike Roddy at roddy175@btinternet.comSUFFOLKDetails from John Cook, ipswichlabour@gmail.com, www.twitter.cdom/suffolkfabiansSURREYInformation from Warren Weertmansecretary@surreyfabians.org.ukTONBRIDGE and TUNBRIDGEWELLSContact John Champneys on 01892523429TOWER HAMLETSRegular meetings. Contact: ChrisWeavers, 07958 314846 or E-mail,towerhamletsfabiansociety@ googlemail.comTYNEMOUTHMonthly supper meetings, details fromBrian Flood on 0191 258 3949WARWICKSHIREAll meetings 7.30 at the Friends MeetingHouse, 28 Regent Place, Rugby Detailsfrom Ben Ferrett on ben_ferrett@hotmail.com or warwickshirefabians.blogspot.comWEST DURHAMWelcomes new members from all areasof the North East not served by otherFabian Societies. Regular meetingnormally on the last Saturday ofalternate months at the Joiners Arms,Hunwick between 12.15 and 2.00pm –light lunch £2.00 Contact the SecretaryCllr Professor Alan Townsend, 62A LowWillington, Crook, Durham DL15 OBG,tel, 01388 746479 email Alan.Townsend@dur.ac.ukWIMBLEDONPlease contact Andy Ray on 07944545161or andyray@blueyonder.co.ukYORK Regular meetings on 3rd or4th Fridays at 7.45 at Jacob’s Well, OffMiklegate, York. Details from SteveBurton on steve.burton688@mod.ukSAVE THE DATESouth West RegionalFabian SocietyConference‘A New Beginning:Labour’s Way Forward.’Saturday 14 November,Miramar Hotel,Bournemouth.Details of speakers TBA.28 / Fabian Review

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines