Brexit and nostalgia: a narrative for social democrats?

The return of blue passports, or the royal yacht Brtiannia; gunboats being sent to Gibraltar; the return of imperial measures – it’s not difficult to see the world of Brexit Britain as a sort of contemporary version of Passport to Pimlico, with the symbolism of empire once again dominating Britain’s political discourse.  And it is […]

The choices before the Labour Party

Countless gallons of cyber-ink have been spilled over Labour’s unexpectedly disastrous performance in the 2015 General Election.  A leadership campaign is now under way – one that so far has produced, in my view, little that is positive.  Among much muttering about Blairism, aspiration and were we too left-wing, there is little suggestion that we […]

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 […]

Full employment is not enough

George Osborne has announced that he wants to make full employment a key policy goal – and that Britain should aspire to the highest employment rate in the OECD.  It sounds like a significant shift in policy from a party that has previously accepted unemployment as a price worth paying to achieve its policy goals. […]

Labour’s jobs guarantee – addressing the big questions

Ed Balls has today announced that Labour’s jobs guarantee scheme – likely to be a centrepiece of its programme at the next election – will be extended for the lifetime of the next Parliament if Labour wins the election. It’s hugely important that Labour gets this right.  As a society and an economy we continue […]

Rachel Reeves and social security – looking beyond the short term

Unlike a lot of people on the Left, I thought it worth waiting to read what Rachel Reeves actually said in her keynote speech on Labour’s social security policy before taking a view.  Indeed, it has been interesting to see large numbers of people who presumably are not among the Sun or the Telegraph’s most ardent […]

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 […]