The Guardian (Comment is Free): Hear Labour’s new rallying cry: power to the people

Thursday, 11 September 2014

The shadow of Scotland will be cast over everything for at least another week as the party leaders wake up to the threat of the end of the union. Meanwhile, one politician has been pondering the new politics of self-determination for a while and today makes a timely intervention. Labour’s policy review is necessarily taking time to take shape. After the second- worst defeat in its history and against the backdrop of a recession it had a hand in, intellectual revival was never going to be easy. But important patterns are emerging and become stronger today with the publication of One Nation: Labour’s political renewal by Jon Cruddas and Jonathan Rutherford.

Earlier in the year, a host of Labour-orientated thinkers signed a letter in the Guardian demanding this localism and devolution agenda. It caused a flurry, and ever since other party figures have at least been miming the words of this real “power to the people” tune. But the coherence, pace and authenticity of this approach now need to be stepped up.

What happens to Labour when the industrial culture that spawned it dies and the work that is left is bereft of dignity, a common culture or even wages on which you can securely live? In essence, the challenge posed is this: can Labour shift from being a party of labour to a party of citizenship?

As imperfect as it must be, Cruddas is pointing the way to a future in which there might just be hope.

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