We will have a new Labour leader today.
Whichever Miliband brother it is there is a clear need for them to move Labour left.
Let’s be honest: that won’t be hard. But I note the old beasts are still fighting back – saying Labour must follow the neoliberal line.
People are frightened in this country.
Frightened of what neoliberalism is doing to the country. What it is doing to them. To those all around them.
I believe a large number value and want what the state supplies.
I believe a large number will be willing to pay for it.
I believe Labour has to give them that choice.
And it must argue for jobs.
For a Green New Deal.
For tax justice.
For regulated banks.
For greater equality.
For more progressive taxation.
For more opportunity for most, not great opportunity for a few.
Most of all it must say people come first.
That means people before the City.
But also people having a right to be heard – yes – liberty is key.
And if that’s to happen Labour needs to commit to democracy – electoral reform, reform of the Lords, a commitment to a free press, a commitment to letting people earn their livings in their own businesses if they want, a commitment to people having a right to work for fair pay, a commitment to supporting the weakest in communities- and giving real opportunity to the rest and expecting them within reason to take it, a commitment to justice that is affordable and a commitment to equality that lets people feel proud to be members of their community. A commitment to fair tax for all, not just some. A commitment to providing essential services free at the point of supply. A commitment to the state when it is the best mechanism to supply services (as so often it is). A commitment to the employees of the state – and to treat them as respected members of the community, which is not the case under this government. And a commitment to business when it can perform best. A commitment to honour free speech, association and the right to dissent, to organise and protest. A commitment to deliver a state that enhances the well being of ordinary people above all else in this country – even if at the expense of some with power and influence.
That’s what moving left means.
That’s what this country wants.
It’s a benchmark tested by jobs being available, housing being affordable, pensions being meaningful, education delivering opportunity, health care liberating those who really suffer. And yet more than that – it’s tested by people feeling that they belong. That they can, as a result of what the government does, live without fear: the fear of inability, unemployment, homelessness, ill health, old age, misfortune and exclusion. And which then lets them take the risks that vibrant communities both encourage and foster.
That’s what a new Labour leader has to deliver.
That’s the benchmark I’m setting.
It is deliverable.
It’s what I want a government to do.
I hope a Miliband can.