It’s an interesting time to launch a new blog site. Capitalism’s biggest crisis in almost a century continues to unfold, a current of rage flowing through the streets of Athens and Europe’s leaders keen to stem the tide. In Britain, three parties jostle for office each having lost an election and each committed, sooner or later, to cuts “deeper and tougher” than Thatcher’s. And in the Labour Party, still more attempts to sideline and depose Gordon Brown are mounted, as noted by Tribune and Jonathan Freedland. Of all these things, you will read more on this site.
Interesting times are also opportune times. The Labour Left’s marginalisation under Kinnock and Blair, although effected by bureaucratic and often devious means, reflected the Left’s deep demoralisation and loss of confidence in the power of the state, a consequence of the collapse of Soviet Communism. The current economic crisis, exposing the inadequacies of the neo-liberal underpinning of both Thatcherite and New Labour ideology, presents an intellectual opportunity. New Labour’s electoral defeat – whoever forms the next Government – presents the organisational opportunity to review policies and structures and challenge for positions of influence.
So how does a website help the Left seize its opportunity? Like Roy Greenslade, we didn’t believe the hype about the internet election, but we’re delighted that, thanks to Clifford Singer and others, Ashcroft’s millions showed such poor returns. The point is to use new media for what they’re good at.
The Labour Left has, thus far, made little use of the web for campaigning and still less for developing policy. In the last year, the Labour establishment, through LabourList and Left Foot Forward, has successfully challenged Tory domination of the political blogosphere. Liberal Conspiracy has been more open to our politics but lacks the Labour focus. In spite of the efforts of some good individual bloggers, there remains a vacuum on the Labour Left to do the things we set out here, which we intend to fill.
We seek to change the Labour Party, to refresh its moribund grassroots on which future electoral victories will be built, to encourage back those who have deserted it and the generation that never joined. But we need your help, contributing, commenting, and visiting. Please contact me via this spam-proof e-mail link.