Why the Labour party needs this man


by Sunny
18th June, 2007 at 1:26 am    

But the Labour Party has lost its way. Its electoral strategy is driven by the imperative of power retention, with policy being formed out of an analysis of the preferences and prejudices of swing voters in marginal seats. This has led to the thesis that dominating the politics of the mythical Middle Englander is the only strategy to retain power. This ‘precision bombing’ of swing voters in super-marginals (about two per cent of the electorate) to win elections is creating a political vacuum elsewhere in the country.

This analysis is, as I see it, the fundamental and deep-rooted problem with the Labour party today. And guess who’s bold enough to say it?

Jon Cruddas MP, in an interview with the Power Inquiry website (via MMYC). He carries on to say:

The Party grew out of the working class and trade union movement, and has since lost its way in representing them. This is due in large part to the organisational form of the Party. Its centralised form means that the Party carries out their aims, but does it on behalf of the movement, telling the movement in effect to stay at home or convert itself to loyal supporter, or risk being marginalised.

I believe that in the right constituencies black and ethnic minoritiy shortlists should be introduced. But the problem must also be tacked at the root. The Party should make link with organisations representing Black and ethnic minorities. We should also tackle this inequality while black and ethnic minority people are at school.

If we don’t engage people when they are young, we are unlikely to engage them later on. We could take citizenship classes further. The style of politics turns people off across the board so fundamentally we have to change this.

Yes, I would favour having a written constitution. A written constitution would be a useful tool for maintaining checks and balances on a powerful executive. I believe in strengthening the position of parliament vis a vis the executive, especially on matters relating to taking our country to war. But more than this, a written constitution would be a unique opportunity to engage with the British people, whose input into the constitution and whose consent would be absolutely fundamental to the process.

I agree with almost all of that. The Labour party needs more than ‘a fixer’. It needs someone who will re-connect them to the electorate. Do people honestly see the others doing that? I don’t.

What I don’t agree with are ethnic-minority shortlists. I’ve debated this long and hard and have decided this is a poor strategy. EM candidates need to fight and win on their own merit rather than getting such shortlists. I do favour all women shortlists however. I think that should be a bigger priority for the country.

Vote Cruddas!! New Statesman is also backing him (via PCoE).

Other people who agree: Antonia Bance, Bob Piper, Politicalhack and Miranda.


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  1. Muhamad — on 18th June, 2007 at 9:38 am  

    So, you want EM candidates to win on merit. Would that include EM women candidates? If so, why would one need to mollycoddle other women candidates?

    Shouldn’t we judge everyone on merit?

    There’s an inconsistency in what you’ve said.

  2. neva4get84 — on 18th June, 2007 at 6:57 pm  

    As a Labour Party and Union member I have already voted for John Cruddas (you vote in rank order-so I put him first followed by Harriet Harman and then Hilary Benn). I really think he is best placed to act as a real link between the grass-roots of the party and the cabinet. I think he signifies a real move away from the spin of the Blair years.

    I am still undecided about the BME shortlisting as well as the women shortlisting. Is it reverse discrimination? Also regardless of the callibre of the person there will always be those that say “he/she only got it cos their black”. Although it can also be seen as action against embedded discrimination and personal biases.

  3. Mike — on 18th June, 2007 at 8:14 pm  

    from NSS

    http://www.secularism.org.uk/contenderforlabourdeputyleadersh.html

    Contender for Labour deputy leadership is anti-secularist

    Catholic Labour MP and deputy leadership contender Jon Cruddas has said that he is alarmed by the activities and growing influence of what he calls “intolerant secularists in the Labour Party”. In an interview with the Catholic newspaper The Universe, Mr Cruddas said: “I joined the Labour Party because it was a pluralist body that had room for different classes, people of faith and no faith.” He said that some of the debate around faith schools and gay adoption has “exposed a real lack of respect”.

    “This has even gone as far among some of suggesting that people of faith should not contribute in the public sphere,” he said. “I am uncomfortable with these developments and they are certainly at odds with the principles of the pluralist party that I joined.” He did not make clear who has made the assertion that “people of faith should not contribute to the public sphere”.

    Coming from an Irish working class Catholic background, Mr Cruddas is proud that everyone of his extended family went to a Catholic comprehensive school. “The Catholic school is a place where an identity can be forged, religious faith preserved and aspirations realised,” he said.

  4. douglas clark — on 19th June, 2007 at 12:44 am  

    “Coming from an Irish working class Catholic background, Mr Cruddas is proud that everyone of his extended family went to a Catholic comprehensive school. “The Catholic school is a place where an identity can be forged, religious faith preserved and aspirations realised,” he said.”

    Oops, not so liberal then?

    What, exactly, is this ‘forging an identity’ stuff?

  5. Sunny — on 19th June, 2007 at 1:33 am  

    I’m not sure how that stance is anti-secular or illiberal? I’ve given up on the NSS as a secularist org anyway.

  6. douglas clark — on 20th June, 2007 at 12:55 am  

    OK. Mr Hundal, Sir.

    I agree with you, in fact I thought it years ago. The idea of an atheist organisation is stupid. It is like asking nihilists, who leads them?

    And to be honest, that is what the National Secular Society is trying to be. Leaders of a rabble, of which I proudly proclaim myself. Certainly not led by them.

    The idea that atheists can make up their own minds too? Aren’t we all supposed to be identical? Well we bloody well aren’t. Has this any resonances for you? It ought to.

    …————–…

    Anyway, I thought the NGN was against secularism, as you and I understood it.

    The point being that John Cruddas is coming across as much of an identity politician as, oh I don’t know, our friend Inayat. There are identities to be played within ‘white’ politics too. Cruddas is making it particularily clear that he, for one, will not see secularisation of the states educational model as something to resist. In fact, he welcomes it.

    I stand by the idea that religion is a private zone, and should be separate from any state provision, particularily of education. Tell them, your kids, whatever you want in their ‘free’ time, but don’t expect me to subsidise the state in telling them porkies.

    For, let’s face it, not every religion can be right, can it?

    Although having it taught exclusively probably helps.

    I am as pissed off as you are with the NCS, however this baby should not be thrown out with the bathwater.

  7. douglas clark — on 20th June, 2007 at 8:47 am  

    Oops, I meant the NGN was for secularism, not against it. In the sense that education should follow the American and French state models. Apologies.

    Should re-read rants before I post them :-(

  8. Sunny — on 20th June, 2007 at 3:02 pm  

    Hmmm… yeah you’re somewhat right Douglas. I think the NSS is somewhat alarmist though, so I’d like to ask Jon Cruddas myself what he means rather than taking them at their word.

    Yes, NGN is for secularism broadly.

  9. douglas clark — on 20th June, 2007 at 3:27 pm  

    Sunny,

    The NSS is the equivalent of the groups you despise. It has no more legitimancy than they do.

    Think of them in the same way as you do of ‘community leaders’. Folk that put themselves up as mouthpieces. With no, real, connection to the folk they claim to represent.

    That’s the way I see it anyway. I am an atheist, but I am also tolerant of others beliefs. How does that square with the NSS? Not easily, I’d suggest, they see militantism as a tactic. Me? I think it is a nonsense. Though rile me and you’ll see the other side.

    Hopefully, you see the point.

    It is odd, is it not, that John Cruddas can proclaim his religion, and it’s right to a special place in society, when the majority of folk don’t go to Church. This is communalist politics, I think, and it stinks.

    I hope that helps.

  10. douglas clark — on 21st June, 2007 at 1:41 am  

    Sunny,

    I’d like to hear your views on 9. Am I right or am I wrong?

  11. Sunny — on 21st June, 2007 at 2:28 am  

    Yes, I agree with the first bit. As for Jon Cruddas playing communal politics. Given the NSS’ sensationalism, I’d like to see Jon elaborate more on his views before using that label.

  12. douglas clark — on 21st June, 2007 at 5:59 am  

    Sunny,

    Thanks for that response. You are quite correct about the NSS being sensationalist. I, on the other hand, am not at all convinced that education should have a religious context. Perhaps Mr Cruddas could be encouraged to post here? I’ll write to him and see what he says, or does. Now there’s arrogance for you. ;-) The idea that t’internet has any power whatsoever. Err, don’t wait up. :-)

  13. douglas clark — on 21st June, 2007 at 6:39 am  

    Well, after a number of false starts, I’ve asked him to respond here. Let’s see if he does.

  14. Arif — on 22nd June, 2007 at 12:25 pm  

    I don’t think it is worthwhile going on a witch-hunt against non-secularists. Some of us are quite nice people who have no problem being equally nice to people with different religious identities, and are liberal enough to want people to feel free to express their identities as long as they don’t threaten other people.

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