There’s been a lot of words caused by Labour in Communication’s publishing of their report Fit for the Future. This was covered by Labour List, who majored on Neil Kinnock, who wrote a forward and gave an interview. Much of the press and labour party comment followed this lead and talk about the ongoing purge which Kinnock, surprisingly, suggests is a distraction. The usual culprits are banging on about the unacceptability of legacy Blairite politics and how Kinnock lost the next two elections after he expelled the Militant. This is not helpful and suggest that the report has not been read.

At “All That Is Solid … ” Neil Kinnock’s Timely Warning“, @philbc3 brings some much needed balance, he suggests that Starmer needs to get it right soon, or the rug will be pulled from underneath his feet.

Thing is, those piloting the Keir Starmer’s ship to its inevitable wreck aren’t serious about winning elections doesn’t mean this is true for all the Labour right. …. unease is abroad in the party, and it’s not confined only to a maligned and wilfully misunderstood left. Kinnock is reminding the leadership that things have got to change, or the leadership will, in due course, itself be changed.

Phil BUrTon Cartledge

Having read the document, which is not so much a series of policy promises but more about policy formulation & strategy and while some of it is written in the most appalling marketing speak, some of its headlines such as “Bring back pledge cards” seem inane. With a deeper reading, and once past the spaghetti vocabulary, there’s some interesting stuff that the legacy leadership and those surfing their coat tails aren’t going to like.

This is clearly written by committee, with separate sections on Broadcast & Print & Digital, followed by sections on Brand & Vision. Oddly in the section on Print and Broadcast, they state that purges are not going down well, as it shows a continued obsession with internal affairs.

However, this focus has also led to an unhealthy communications obsession with internal friction, which continues to tell a disinterested public that Labour is not yet ready to govern again

Fit for the Future Broadcast & Print

The section on Brand is the bastardised blue labour narrative nonsense that we have come to expect from people that consider themselves the outriders for the leadership, although I wonder how welcome this ‘help’ is. This argument is put forward by people who subscribe, to New Labour’s “they have no where else to go” theory of coalition building. They were wrong then and wrong now and Labour today is paying the price of that attitude. These policies and strategies/slogans will drive away members of the new coalition away, the young, (and university educated), city dwelling workers.

On Policy they note that Labour has made 200 policy announcements and yet, people don’t know where Labour stands, they add,

Our recommendation to Keir and his team, therefore, is to ensure that policy announcements stemming from the Policy Review possess clear reasoning, and are etched into a blueprint for the future. The titanic issues of climate change, social care reform, unprecedented inequality and the future of the Union are all policy areas that are crying out for Labour to demand change. …..

Fit for the Future POLICY

I add that getting to a position before the Tories might help; see the current furore around National Insurance and last year’s “get the back to school” statements. For a unifying narrative, how about “For the many not the few”, Oops that’s been taken.

Yet even then the four point plan (in the Vision section), equality, climate justice, crime and safety a great place to work and live is one most of Labour could agree with although whether if can win back the Red Wall is another matter, but it is a useful platform to consolidate and possibly expand Labour’s new coalition.

On reflection, maybe pledge cards would be good; if they promised something worth while and central to our offer, the problem with them before was that were a distraction and an attempt to reduce ambition. within the party. There are some who think this is not a bad idea.

This article is based on some thoughts I put on Twitter, which can be found on threadreader.


Fit for the Future

4 thoughts on “Fit for the Future

  • 8th September 2021 at 10:30 am
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    The section Digital, something that at least I know about, at leas the technology and the ecosystem, the report is pretty meaningless, although I would agree that the centre should listen to the CLPs and leverage their community links and relationships [ where they have them]. If this is such a good ideam then , of course, firing the community organisers might have been a poor idea. I like, “Employ experienced digital strategists and designers and match the Tories spend on digital whilst ensuring efficiency”. Yeah, experienced campaigners, that’d be good. If you want to see a critique of Labour’s digital strategy, then look at “System Update Required“! It highlights the downside of, and let’s use Kinnock’s words here, “… people in the Labour Party – fortunately never a majority – who value power in Labour greater than power for Labour”. I’d say, while never a majority, it would seem that some often achieve that power.

    To the authors of Fit for the Future, social & digital is more than Facebook and it looks like it won the referendum for vote leave. This needs to be done right.

  • 8th September 2021 at 10:35 am
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    The report’s references to policy making, also raises the question of which policy review, the rules based yet anaemic National Policy Forum review based on the contract between members and the Party, or the front bench led policy review which has yet to publish how to submit evidence. I argue that one of the reasons that the 2019 manifesto failed was that some policy was not socialised within the party and surprised both the electorate and the party and it wasn’t defended on the doorstep or in the social media. This year, the leadership has treated the NPF as an enemy to be outflanked, although Corbyn’s leadership was not much better. (I have explored the necessity for democratic policy making in Ideas, alliances and promises.)

  • 11th September 2021 at 9:53 am
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    Sometimes I get it wrong, the Tories have engineered a trifecta of unpopular policy, on social care, which resurrects the spectre of the ‘death tax’., its payment using NI, and the suspension of the pension triple lock. The result is that there has been a poll swing to Labour with YouGov reporting a Labour Lead. Perhaps its true that Govts lose elections, rather than oppositions win them, however, another axiom of political strategy is that pensioners vote and these are an attack on their interests. I remember that Cameron’s Tories overtook Brown’s Labour after a row about inheritance tax.

    • 13th September 2021 at 11:29 am
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      This misses the point that the Social Care plan’s wealth caps will not satisfy their voters in the south of the country.

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