I think it’s time to think positively about post-election blogging.
In doing so I want to make clear that I am not going to be devoting lots of time to the Labour leadership election campaign.
I want to devote even less time to the machinations of groups who want to discuss anti-semitism, the failings of the media, or Brexit recriminations.
Of course I will be interested in how the political economy develops in this post-election period. And I will continue to note the attacks of Tories on the political paradigm we have known, which indicate how far they have moved outside it. Their latest attack on the BBC is some indication of that and is something the left should, perhaps, muse on.
But most of all I am interested in ideas for the future.
Some of those ideas will be on the issues I am working on, many of which focus on accounting and green issues now, in addition to tax and monetary theory. I will be unashamedly discussing these. Issue politics continue, and can prosper, even when the mainstream political narrative seems hostile. These then are routes to reform in themselves.
But I will also want to think about 2024, presuming that is when the next election is. This seems to be the most useful role for this blog right now. By this I mean the focus needs to be in what the Left needs to do regain political power.
I admit I will take risk in making my suggestions. Precisely because single-issue politics can continue I do not presume all is lost because of an election defeat. Indeed, some of the changes I am interested in may be little impeded by that. But I do, of course, worry that without power the overall emphasis within government will be wrong. The direction of travel will be neoliberal, pro-market, favourable to the dismantling of public services and unfavourable to communities, whatever a supposed outbreak of interest in the North might imply. And I think this matters.
I will get to core ideas fairly quickly. That’s because what I am most interested in is core ideas. That is, what it is that really matters. By which I mean what it is that would identify the real benefit of having a left of centre government. In other words, the things that would really suggest that it was making a difference for the people it should be serving.
And then I am interested in how those policies might be delivered, including their funding.
After which I am interested in narrative building.
I suggest all the rest is peripheral for the next five years. Literally, if it doesn’t win a lot of votes from those aged 45 and above in lost constituencies, then forget it, because it’s not going to make anything happen.
I am interested in suggestion as to what those core policies are. No more than five pleas per person. There will not be more than five of them if the Left is to succeed, I suspect.
And I will offer mine. But I am asking because I am open to persuasion. And that’s because I am quite convinced already that this is the only way to win again. My comment will come in a number of blogs over the next few days.
And to be open-minded, I am also seeking negative comment, or in what should be consigned to debating history for now. Here it’s easy to start. Nationalisation is one non-starter that is an obstacle to re-election. So too is Remain. HS2 might be, but only if managed well, meaning better alternatives are proposed. And most attacks on the private sector per se are off-limits, because they alienate. Specific issues are worth considering. Attacking the private sector when it employs five out of six people is not. That’s just a plan to make sure people think the Left will threaten their job. And that makes no sense at all if power is the aim.
Remember there is just one goal. And that is winning. Which means convincing older people in out of London constituencies that they need to vote progressively again.
What are the policies to do that? That is the question.