Labour did not overspend in office. So why do Labour’s leadership candidates keep saying so?

Perhaps the most depressing aspect of the Labour leadership contest is hearing the candidates acquiescing in the myth that Labour in office overspent – and, by implication, accepting the Tory framing that Labour crashed the economy.  Of course it is more nuanced than that, but the outcome of the recent election shows that this is […]

One Nation Labour and the search for an economic narrative

I have spent some time carefully reading Jon Cruddas and Jonathan Rutherford’s pamphlet One Nation: Labour’s Political Renewal.  It aims to give an overarching rationale for the outcome of Labour’s policy review.  It is ambitious and in many respects offers a powerful diagnosis of a society that has become disillusioned, impoverished, unequal, unambitious.  There are […]

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 […]

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 […]

Poorer than our parents: the politics of the bleeding obvious

A new report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, showing that the generation born in the 1960s and 1970s is less well-off than their parents’ generation, is generating a lot of news coverage this morning. Among other things, the study concludes that: the 1960’s and 1970s generation experienced a much slower growth in income between […]

The case for a basic income – time to rethink incomes and work

Britain is facing a cost-of-living crisis, one that is driven by falling real pay.  There is growing concern, not just about the level of unemployment, but about under-employment; people who are in theory in work but in practice cannot earn enough to make a decent sufficiency.  The biggest cohort receiving benefits is people in work; […]

A six point plan for a One Nation economy: the speech Ed Balls should make today

But sadly won’t …. Conference, We meet at a time of unprecedented economic crisis.  Six years after the financial crash living standards are in freefall. Real wages continue to fall while the price of essentials soars.  Housing has become unaffordable in many parts of our country, especially for the young.  The ghost of a recovery […]