12 suggestions for the new Labour leader

Wednesday, 09 September 2015

Compass has today written an open letter to the new Labour leader with 12 suggestions for how they could use their office to to build firm foundations for the political transformation of our country. The open letter addresses the three main powers that the leader will have to develop if it wants to build a lasting political project – the power through the party, the power to convene and the power to reframe the debate:

  • Start a two year values, vision, organisation and policy review – make it as open and expansive as possible – and join the initiatives up – they must support each other.


  • If the party is what matters most then together lets find ways to enable the membership to democratically determine priorities and policy.


  • Make a reality of the community organising role of local parties, started by your predecessor but aborted all too soon. Look at ideas like a Movement Council to bring the party together with the unions and social movements locally and nationally.


  • In particular, help initiate a citizens and civil society led Convention for a New Democracy – learning from the Scottish Constitutional Convention –which built the ideas and forces to make democratic transformation irresistible.


  • Form a Shadow Cabinet of all the talents – be bigger than any recent party leaders by involving MPs from across the party’s spectrum.


  • If, as is possible, both you and the Deputy Leader are men, move immediately to reach agreement for the appointment of a second, female, Deputy who could be the female candidate who did best in the ballot. The party needs to do more to reflect the diversity of the population in what it is and what it does.


  • Show Labour takes the environment and pluralism seriously by inviting Caroline Lucas MP to chair a commission into the future of sustainability and the economy.


  • Jump on a train to see Nicola Sturgeon and with Leanne Wood and Natalie Bennett form an anti-Tory Progressive Alliance.


  • Bring in all the leaders of Labour councils across the country – there is so much we can learn from them and do with them.


  • Radically reform and rename the Whip system in Parliament to build consensus through negotiation not force.


  • Your first big event is the Labour Party conference, don’t make a long dull speech. Instead open it up and get delegates and visitors talking to each other – sitting in small groups – they know the answers already and can make them happen. We have found that this works really well in engaging and enthusing people at our own gatherings.


  • Start developing an open election winning strategy, building on Labour’s 30% share of the vote last May but with no presumption that any single vote is safe. Ask how do we forge an alliance of workers, the precariat, the professions, the cultural and creative sectors, social entrepreneurs, the self-employed, digital workers etc?


– Compass is a home for those who want to build and be a part of a Good Society; one where equality, sustainability and democracy are not mere aspirations, but a living reality.
– The full statement is available at http://www.compassonline.org.uk/labours-new-leader-the-power-to-transform/
– For more information or interviews please contact Neal Lawson 07976292522 / neal@compassonline.org.uk

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