Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Labour's future, take two

I am always keen on an ideas-based debate about Labour's future.

One doesn't have to agree with Charles Clarke's view of the party leadership to think that his Progress lecture was among the most coherent assessments of Labour's political challenges this Autumn.

There are several other people in the Labour Future group I admire, such as Parmjit Dhanda, my hyper-energetic Fabian Denis MacShane and the excellent and often underrated Malcolm Wicks.

So Fabians should certainly not be protectionist about plural spaces for debate across the party. The Demos Open Left project has begun well. New ideas from every direction are needed and welcome.

But news of the high-profile launch of a policy discussion website, mixed up with media excitement about whether it is a coded leadership challenge vehicle, did give me a strong sense of what the legendary Yogi Berra called deja vu all over again.

Remember the 20:20 vision website?

No? It was a major focus of the news cycle for 96 hours at the end of February 2007, when launched by Alan Milburn and Charles Clarke.

But I never heard anything about it on political strategy and policy after that.

If you visited it a few months later, there was a polite message saying something like 'thank you for your contributions: the project is now closed' - without any archive of what those ideas are.

Today, all is silence at

So good luck to Labour Future - who will be at

It looks like a bit more spadework has gone in to start with too. So let's hope they can sustain it and help to supply some of the ideas and debate that we need.

1 comment:

Letters From A Tory said...

Any attempt to create a Labour vision gave way to political firefighting a long time ago.

Besides, the visions provided by the Blairites and the socialists will never match.