Watching Jon Cruddas MP address LFIG last week was a real eye-opener for me. It provided me with an insight into how LFIG has the potential to grow and scale the heights of Ed Miliband’s vision of One Nation Labour.
Narrative was the key. And narrative and mission need to be the drivers of change across our movement. In the past year our organisation crossed some major hurdles, such as an increase in membership, going through 250, co-hosting two very stimulating fringe events at this year’s party conference and making our presence known on the Twitter and the progressive conference circuit. And yet we still have so much more potential bursting at the seams of our business and industry movement.
As Labour, with the communitarian instincts of Ed Miliband and Jon Cruddas, changes, so must LFIG. We have progressed from the rather quiet fringes of yesteryear to the active membership organisation of today. Next year we should aim to become the movement for good business, even while in opposition, spreading our ideas, networks, knowledge and personnel around the country to promote good business and growth to heave this country out of the calamitous Coalition’s crude crisis.
If we take a look around, a number of the most successful enterprises and initiatives have the mentality of movements, unifying and empowering their workers as well as their users and customers, rather than just solely the stern efficiency motive. In fact, the idea of the enterprise as a movement helps maintain a higher level of efficiency as the employees are more likely to devote more time and effort to make the best product or service possible, while the users/customers are more likely to keep loyalty to the brand.
Examples of services which seem more like movements for change (no pun intended!) range from private firms such as Facebook and Apple to charities such as Teach First and even public services such as Academy schools. While none of these services are perfect and have encountered professional hiccups from time to time, they nevertheless contain the aura of a progressive cause of providing better services for the people who consume them and simultaneously enhancing people’s lives, rather than making a quick buck over promised efficiency.
LFIG wishes to invite existing and prospective members of LFIG, from Yorkshire all the way down to Bristol and beyond, to share their ideas on how we can take the organisation forward in the next year. We have already made significant progress, but we must always strive ambitiously for greater results on the next stage of our journey.
As we steadily approach the 2015 election, the Conservatives will no doubt still try to paint us as the soft minded spenders who have failed to reconnect with the enterprise and business community. LFIG’s mission is two-fold, to maintain its authoritative policy consulting wing, while also blending in elements of a communitarian business movement.
This would create a nexus of businesspeople, bankers, entrepreneurs and trades unions to resettle Labour as the party for the whole nation, socially mixed and connected, unlike the half-baked pretentions of Cameron’s Conservatism.
In the coming months, LFIG will continue to reach out to various progressive organisations and the wider Labour movement to spread the word of a progressive business movement. While the Conservatives adhere to austerity measures that have resulted in leaps of youth unemployment, collapses in SMEs and a deep hostility towards banks for their reluctance to lend to aspiring entrepreneurs, LFIG will help shape the view that there is an alternative: the Labour way.
Sharing membership expertise and enthusiasm with the Shadow Cabinet is good, but a movement for good enterprise, which values human development, opening up new possibilities for young and old, and creating an aura of confidence, trust and reciprocity is a good way for LFIG to fit itself into the forthcoming progressive Labour narrative.
LFIG is the movement to ensure that unlike one of the biggest misfortunes in 2010, Labour will surely have the backing of business and enterprise come 2015 and for generations to come.
James Gill is Research and Communications Officer at LFIG