Will Hutton is correct that public resistance to austerity and increasing support for tax and spend should provide a huge opportunity for Labour, but that its present stance on Brexit could keep it from power (“In Britain’s chaotic rail system – as elsewhere – we need a creative state to play its part”, Comment).
The reshaping of our economy that he advocates will also crucially need, particularly for those who voted Leave, to give people hope for the future by providing increased economic security in every community throughout Britain.
To achieve this, Labour will need to prioritise a massive nationwide green infrastructure programme that will help tackle climate change, is labour-intensive, consists of work that is difficult to automate and so could provide a secure career structure for decades. This would include making the UK’s 30m buildings and future new builds energy efficient and fitted with renewables, plus a concentration on rebuilding local public transport links.
Most importantly, as the Green New Deal group’s report of the same name shows, it will need to generate “jobs in every constituency”, including “left-behind” areas that played such a pivotal role in the Brexit result. It could also help ensure there is no repeat of 2008.
Colin Hines, convenor
UK Green New Deal Group
East Twickenham, Middlesex