We welcomed Jon Cruddas MP at our LFIG meeting on 6th November. The meeting was very positive and fruitful. Jon is leading the Policy Review for the Labour Party and he outlined his vision and strategy. There followed a lively Q & A session, which allowed LFIG members to better understand the direction the Party is moving in. The creative energy was great, with much optimism that the Party can win the next General Election with the One Nation banner.
Jon gave a short speech about his role and purpose of the Policy Review. He sees his role as a facilitator to ensure this creative process engages with the views of party members as well as external opinions. He sees this review not as a choice we made, but a fulfillment of political obligation.
We are at a stage where we need to develop a timeline for the next 20 months in order to have policies ready by the next general election. He added that the Party will also learn from Labour local governments’ successful innovative policies. He believes energy, vitality and transparency are key ingredients to the success of this review.
In his speech, Jon urges the Party to move on from our defeat in 2010 and focusing on the telling of a successful story of hope, a story of modern nation building. Ed Miliband’s speech on One Nation is just the beginning of this story and the Party must ensure effective delivery of this story to the voters.
He identified the main challenge that the Party will face is time. There has been no precedent in the Party’s history that a story of modern nation building is developed and widely communicated in two years.
The review is focusing on three main themes: Economy, Society and Government. This will includes policy development on topics such as long-termism, well-being, citizenship, localism, public services reform, healthcare and community engagement etc. He sees silo as a major obstacle and will encourage cross-departmental cooperation under these umbrella themes as a way to tackle the silo mindset.
He used housing as an example since it can be an engine of economic growth as well as providing families a sense of belonging. There will also be close cooperation between two policy making processes within the Party. He revealed that there are currently eight policies agreed by both Shadow Cabinet and Labour policy making at national level.
From the Q and A, many ideas were put forward to Jon. Policy ideas range from healthcare to public engagement at community level. Economic issues were addressed extensively. Jon talked about the need to tell the voters how the Party can build a resilient economy.
Unlike current model where there is no boundary, Jon sees an economic model that cultivates duties and virtues. The Party could rebuild its credibility through tackling long-term economic challenges. It is vital for the Party to create a reputation of “creator” rather than “spender”.
Communications will be the key to our success. He sees the need for the Party to own the language of the debate and show the voters our authenticity in policies. Party members need to connect with the voters and deliver the One Nation message.
It is important for us to lead by example through solidarity under the One Nation banner.
Christopher Ng is a policy researcher at LFIG