the personal and the political

It was shortly after 9.15 on the morning of Friday 4 May, 1979. We were gathered for the first lesson of the day. Our teacher asked us, a class of ten-year-olds, what important event had happened in the news. My hand was one of the first in the air. ‘Britain’s first woman prime minister!’ What … Continue reading the personal and the political


learning from labour

Government or opposition? This is the question intensifying already deep divisions within Germany's Social Democrats (SPD). Initially intent on opposition after a terrible General Election performance, the SPD leadership has been negotiating terms for another ‘grand’ coalition (‘GroKo’) with Chancellor Merkel's Christian Democrats — despite a slump in support for both parties. At the SPD's … Continue reading learning from labour

after the election: which way for the greens?

A week on from the General Election and the road ahead still unclear, what should Greens make of it all? With the exception of co-leader Caroline Lucas’ deservedly brilliant result in Brighton, it’s fair to say the hard work and passion that went into a particularly tough campaign wasn’t reflected in the results. Naturally there now … Continue reading after the election: which way for the greens?

a healing process: labour’s future (conference report)

‘Political renewal and the future of Labour’. This was the title of a recent conference convened by Labour Together, bringing various groups and interests within the Labour movement together for the first time to exchange and explore ideas in a common space. The conference aimed to initiate discussion: how should Labour ‘rediscover its sense of historic … Continue reading a healing process: labour’s future (conference report)

reaching out: what’s on your mind?

Jeremy Corbyn is confirmed as the leader of the Labour Party, with an increased mandate, after a contest that seemed to be mainly about MPs vs grassroots members and Westminster vs everywhere else. Now Labour has to overcome two big challenges: bringing together its own membership and transforming its grassroots supporters into voters. Both are … Continue reading reaching out: what’s on your mind?

electoral reform: time for a sense of proportion

Electoral systems aren’t sexy. But we’re hearing more and more about them. In the UK and in Canada, debates are taking place about alternatives to the First Past the Post (FPTP) majoritarian system. This blog looks at one of those alternatives — Mixed Member Proportional Representation (MMP) — and answers some common questions and concerns, … Continue reading electoral reform: time for a sense of proportion

the faces of labour’s leadership conflict (part two)

This is the second of two posts offering a theory-based interpretation of the current Labour leadership crisis. Part One set out the various faces of the party — the party in office/parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) and the grassroots membership and activists (party on the ground) — and how Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader has upset … Continue reading the faces of labour’s leadership conflict (part two)