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Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite, James Stafford
With the left in a strengthened position and the Labour party enjoying something of an internal truce, this issue takes the opportunity to investigate the normative foundations for a twenty-first century social democracy.
The automation revolution demands an active state: one that promotes investment in new technologies while securing good jobs for all workers.
Nick Srnicek, Lise Butler
Nick Srnicek in conversation with Lise Butler
What is the story of the economy in Britain? Who gets to shape public opinion about what it’s for, how it’s broken and how it can be fixed? And how can progressive forces tell a new story to help accelerate the shift to a new economic system?
There is a growing recognition that decentralisation and localism should play a key role in a future Labour manifesto. Where should Labour look for lessons about effective localism? The party’s own past provides valuable lessons about how to forge a progressive localism.
Peter Lee offers an example of Labour politics rooted in a local community and founded on finding practical solutions to local problems. To follow his example today, Labour needs to work to localise power, build an industrial strategy based on the needs of the everyday economy and democratise the way our economy works.
Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite, James Stafford
Labour transformed the electoral map in June. Though the Conservatives form the largest party in the House of Commons, Labour has turned many safe Tory seats into marginals, loosening Theresa May’s grip on her own parliamentary party. Labour now needs a relatively small swing – just 3.57 per cent – to win a majority of one at the next election.
Since the Brexit referendum, cultural and identity explanations for the polarisation of British society have saturated public debate. A comparison between students’ and Brexit voters’ attitudes to economic insecurity, however, reveals surprising similarities between these supposedly opposing groups. Reforms to higher education and the welfare state could be the key to winning a governing majority for Labour.
It’s commonly assumed that the Brexit referendum exposed pre-existing faultlines in British society. But we need to take seriously the idea that voting produces divisions and identities, rather than simply measuring them. If we consider the sorts of subjects and identities our current modes of voting in elections and referendums produce, we might be prompted to embrace more reflective, and more deliberative, democratic practices, in order to bridge rather than entrench divisions in British society.
Stuart Holland, Martin O'Neill
Few living figures can match Stuart Holland’s range of experience and insight into both British and continental European politics. As an advisor to Harold Wilson, Willy Brandt, Jacques Delors and António Guterres, Labour MP for Vauxhall 1979-89, and as a leading light behind Labour’s economic programmes in the 1970s and early 1980s, he has profoundly shaped the political economy of the Labour left and the case for a ‘Social Europe’. With the left now ascendant within Labour, the EU locked in permanent crisis, and the UK struggling to come to terms with Brexit, Renewal caught up with Stuart Holland in Coimbra, Portugal.
The international political environment will inevitably affect the UK government’s ability to pursue its trade policy goals after Brexit. Global trade politics is marked by significant institutional fragmentation, creating a difficult environment for a ‘middle power’ like the UK. In order to safeguard progressive policy objectives, the UK should pass a Trade Bill that would bring trade policy under domestic public scrutiny.
The NHS in its current form is good at keeping people alive but not at keeping them well. Labour should be championing a fundamental change to how we fund and provide health and care, with the aim of keeping people well, and supporting people with long term conditions
Frederick Harry Pitts, Lorena Lombardozzi, Neil Warner
Basic income may not be the ideal response to automation and technological unemployment envisaged by its proponents. In fact, it risks embalming our current economy – defined by low-skilled, low-paid, and unrewarding work – for longer than would otherwise be the case.
Inequality is one of the most pressing issues of our time. It has long been the Labour Party’s lodestar. We need to take a clear-eyed look at its causes and consequences in the twenty-first century in order to put together coalitions and policies to tackle it effectively. The challenges are great, but there are new analyses and ideas on the left that should give us hope.
Income inequality may soon start to fall, but this isn’t a cause for great optimism. Inequality is at far higher levels in Britain than other large European countries, with hugely damaging effects for society and quality of life, as well as for politics: high inequality tends to go along with political disengagement and high levels of far-right voting.
The left has traditionally viewed the fight against inequality through the lens of the poorest in our society. But the stagnating real incomes of those in the middle of the income spectrum means we need to reframe it as a majoritarian issue, and tackle it with a comprehensive plan that attacks inequality from different angles.
Mike Savage, Sam Friedman
Britain’s class landscape has changed: it is more polarised at the extremes and messier in the middle. The distinction between middle and working class is less clear-cut. The elite is able to set political agendas and entrench their own privilege. The left needs a clear narrative showing how privilege leads to gross unfairness – and effective policies to tackle the ‘class ceiling’ so entrenched in our society.
Climate change will only break out of its eco bubble if we understand not only the impacts, but also the opportunities that tackling it effectively can open up for greater economic and social justice.
Joe Guinan, Thomas M. Hanna
The left must quickly recover the capacity to offer a radically different political economy or reap the consequences.
George Morris, Yasmine Nahlawi
For too long the Labour Party has failed Syria. But there are policy measures that Labour could promote which would contribute to a just peace in the country.