Saturday, 11 June 2011

So much advice for Ed M

Party leaders will never be short of unsolicited advice. Sunday's Observer contains plenty of advice for Ed Miliband from party thinkers, scribblers and wonks, though nobody thinks there is any easy solution for a party which got so badly thumped in the election a year ago.

Most of it is constructive, though there could well be some less constructive advice around in the Sunday papers too.

Here - in 200 words for 5 questions - is my contribution. (I said a little bit more about the overall direction of travel in Fabian Review when previewing the political year).

What would your main piece of advice be for Labour's leader?


What is your verdict on Ed Miliband's leadership so far?

He's doing better than many people say. A year since Labour got 2% less of the vote than the Tories in 1997, he understands the need to earn permission to be heard again. It's bound to take time. I know he has a plan about what needs to change – but nobody has heard it yet, even around Westminster. He needs to change that.

What "big idea" in terms of policy/strategy do you think Labour should pursue in opposition?

A credible economic argument is vital. But the next election must also be about choices for the future. So scrutinise the fairness of what this government does – are the next generation bearing too much of the cuts burden? – as the platform for the choices to keep the British promise of a better future.

Who should Labour be appealing to to win the next election? (Disaffected Lib Dems, soft Tory vote, the core vote?)

Labour's vote fell from 44% to 29% from 1997 to 2010 but with the Tories and Lib Dems gaining only 6 points each. So arguing about which voters Labour shouldn't want is silly — a recipe for defeat. Those who have switched from the Lib Dems are likely to stay; now the Tory-Labour battle must be joined too. But winning coalitions aren't built like patchwork quilts from demographic segments: it takes a coherent argument with broad appeal.

What would be your top tip for Ed Miliband to give steel to his leadership?

Articulate his strategy to get Labour into power. Promoting open debate has been good. This summer and autumn, we need to hear where the leader defines where he wants the rethink to end up.

What slogan would you suggest for Labour?

Let's invest hope in our future.

Sunder Katwala, General Secretary, Fabian Society


dandare said...

Truly crap slogan

Peter Scott said...

Labour MPs could move a motion to delay Tuition Fee increases until after the next election. This would help the economy in the short term and challenge the Coalition to either agree or call an early election