How Ed Miliband’s £8 per hour minimum wage pledge will create jobs

In the run-up to the Labour Party conference, Ed Miliband has announced that a Labour government will raise the national minimum wage to £8 per hour.  It’s an important announcement, and one that builds on Labour’s commitment to ensure that people in work are able to earn a decent sufficiency. It will be attacked by […]

Devolution: Why Ed Miliband is right not to back Cameron’s plan

Following the rejection of Scottish independence in yesterday’s referendum, David Cameron immediately announced his decision to set up a review to ensure that Scottish MPs could not vote on English affairs – presenting this as a constitutional change that would result in a “fair and balanced” settlement – and expressed a hope that this would […]

Scottish referendum: morning after thoughts

So Scotland voted to stay with the Union – the silent “no” vote giving a bigger “no” majority than once seemed likely, on the back of a huge turnout.  Immediately, David Cameron appears before the cameras to start talking about English devolution, calling for a cross-party consensus. For the British political establishment, this has been […]

Hard Work: why we need to change the way we think about work, pay and benefits

The concept of work is at the heart of contemporary political and economic rhetoric.  Slogans about work – about hard-working families, about backing the people who work hard, about being the party of work – pepper political discourse across the political spectrum.  But work is in crisis in a way that you would find hard […]

Ed Miliband’s vision redefines the role of local government – and the Council Tax debate in Brighton and Hove

Ed Miliband has made a major announcement about how local government will be reformed under a Labour administration.  It’s a complete game-changer; a big vision and, for those of us who aspire to be Labour councillors, a hugely challenging one. Building on the Adonis review, which calls for massive devolution of economic power to the […]

Fringe parties and the dangerous allure of apolitical politics

Imagine a political party. Its public face is a single, easily identifiable figure who receives considerable media exposure and is regarded as having a genius for self-promotion, while somehow avoiding the scrutiny that more mainstream politicians face.  Despite the fact that our public face is a seasoned and accomplished professional politician, the party seeks to […]

Memo to Ed Miliband: can we please stop talking about “hard working families”

It was too good to last.  One of the things that led me back into the Labour Party last autumn was hearing Ed Miliband’s speech at the Labour Party Conference (or, to be more accurate, following it through a very dodgy Guardian live feed) and realising how far Labour’s rhetoric had changed – how more […]

Why Ed Miliband is right to target the “squeezed middle”

In an article in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph, Ed Miliband makes an unashamed appeal to what is often called the “squeezed middle” – people who are working, apparently reasonably-off, but who have been hit hard by austerity.  It’s an approach that has caused some consternation on the traditional Left, wary of the legacy of New Labour […]

Labour, low pay and immigration – and a double standard that must be addressed

In an article in the Independent, Ed Miliband has set out proposals for ensuring that the use of illegal immigrant labour, often paid far below minimum wage, is not allowed to bid down pay and employment prospects for all.  He writes: Instead, we will reform an economy hard-wired into a cycle of low wages, low […]