The art of politics

Winter 2015

Jon Cruddas talks to Ben Little, Doreen Massey and Michael Rustin

Is it possible to overcome the tensions between big ideas and electoral contingency? 

Michael Let’s start by going back a little bit and talking about your experience in the Labour Party Policy Review - what do you think went right with it and what went not so right?

Jon Well, from a personal point of view I had a fantastic time! In 2011, when Ed first invited me to take a look at the policy review, the discussion had been largely within the shadow cabinet rather than the broader party, but we then widened it to include the wider party. So changing the process was an important first step. But the main task was to take some of the ideas and frameworks Ed was developing - predistribution for example - and to build a contemporary policy agenda from those; to try and turn the page from New Labour, if you want. And in the early days there was a real freedom to set up all sorts of different independent commissions and projects. The strategy was to have the One Nation Framework developed throughout that period and then in 2014 to deliver a substantial piece of work to consolidate as national policy for the party and then the manifesto. So we commissioned a lot of projects - there were about 25 different commissions or reports. And the discussions they produced were fascinating. […]

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