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Fight on a Labour agenda and we will win

Conference 2013 5Conference this week has been upbeat: the platform concentrated on attacking the Coalition, which delegates have shown they want more of. Ed Miliband’s Leader’s speech was well received with the media acknowledging he is likely to be the next Prime Minister.

A series of progressive policies have been announced which will also strengthen our support. Scrapping the bedroom tax, increasing free childcare hours, ending bad zero hours contracts, tighter minimum wage enforcement, scrapping ATOS, aiming to increase house building and so on.

If the Party develops this agenda the voters will respond. This is likely to be undermined if we do little to distance ourselves from the Tory austerity agenda, and are seen to inward looking and divided over the union link.

The very positive response Conference gave Paul Kenny, speaking on behalf of all 14 affiliated unions, emphasised the extent to which Party members are unconvinced there is a need for change. Everyone accepts it is important to have more working class members and community involvement. But it does not follow that changing the relationship with the unions will lead to any of these goals. On the contrary, there is a serious risk that meddling with the party’s well established structures could to less working class influence and involvement.

Much of what is being said is little more than wishful thinking. We should not forget that the road to hell is paved with good intensions. There is also a serious danger that we will find ourselves on a slippery slope towards a reactionary agenda on immigration and related issues. Focussing our campaign on raising living standards is the way to undermine and defeat the Tories. That is why conference unanimously backed the ending of the public sector pay cap.

As has been evident this week, responsibility for any undemocratic functioning of the party does not lie with the unions but elsewhere. The interference in the CAC and NCC elections is all too reminiscent of the fixing seen in the Blair era. Also, several rule changes were illegitimately ruled out of order, including one that would create a Party Ombudsman. The latter would provide a way of solving such problems as Falkirk and provide redress against illegitimate interference in internal elections.

At this conference, delegates have shown an increasing determination not to be hemmed by the maze of rules and procedures that keep key issues off the agenda. But it was no coincidence that once the Lib Dems had made a commitment to free school meals that our CAC accepted appeals and reinstated the school meals contemporary motions to the agenda. Between now and the election Labour must campaign for an outright majority government, and not be side tracked by any talk of coalition. We must pull together and solely focus on this objective.


  1. Rod says:

    “We must pull together and solely focus on this [a majority Labour government] objective.”

    I get it now. No problem with the interventionist wars in Africa proposed by Jim Murphy? No problem in working within the spending limits imposed the Tories? No problem with conferences votes being ignored by an unacconrtable executive? No problem with Andy Burnham, who favours a non-privatised health service, being removed from the health brief?

    Instead, just focus on getting Labour arses sitting on the plushly upholstered seats of ministerial limousines.

    Peter, with respect, surely your not expecting mature adults to go along with this approach?

  2. swatantra says:

    The trouble with ‘universal benefits’ is that you are only stuffing the haves bellies and wallets with food and money they don’t really need, propbably at the expense of the deserving have nots.

  3. Robert says:

    In the end the middle class will decide who will rule the country will it be a Tory party, who will ensure that wages and work pay by lowering benefits, same with Labour.

    I think poor came up twice, hard working I gave up counting after 20 and affordable housing is now high on labour agenda it will help the middle class and the bank recover with mortgages, none of it does anything for the poor.

    I’m disabled and to be honest I will more then likely vote at the next election for me it will be the Welsh Assembly I will vote in the national and it will be a protest vote UKIP I want a vote on EU, not that I think we would get UKIP elected but hell why would I want a Tory or Tory lite party

  4. John says:

    In the end the middle class will decide who runs the country
    In 2010 Labour got more middle class votes than working class ones, this figure has been like this in Essex since 1992

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