A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A Challenge

I've set out below my instinct that Labour currently lacks a policy big idea to deliver in this term in government, let alone the big idea(s) for the next manifesto that will win us the 4th term.

So here's a challenge. Post your ideas here. Conditions - whatever its merits, changing the leader does not constitute a "big idea" (we're assuming that will happen anyway and we're talking policy not personnel here); the big ideas have to be ones that would unite the Labour Party not divide it; and they have to be ones either Blair or Brown might reasonably be expected to implement (so leaving NATO and joining a defence pact with Iran and North Korea is also a no-no). And in net terms they need to be designed to increase the Labour vote not reduce it. Also, none of these ideas can have already featured in the 1983 Manifesto as that would prove they failed the test just mentioned.

Scale - "big" - e.g. minimum wage, NHS, not cones hotline or citizens' charter.

Look forward to seeing people's thoughts.


Blogger Al said...

Devolve as much power from Whitehall to other (and maybe even new) centres of power as possible. And make it so such changes can't be easily reversed.

4:32 pm, August 22, 2006

Blogger kris said...

Hang on. You want us to post OUR big ideas so you can nick them in your next election. Sorry love.

5:06 pm, August 22, 2006

Anonymous Andrea said...

An elected House of Lords. But maybe it's not a "big" enough idea cause it doesn't effect voters directly.

5:10 pm, August 22, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm, well first of all maybe we shouldn't be so desperate for lots of new ideas - governing the country and continuing to make progress on poverty and making people better off, etc (ie all the things we are doing) ought to be enough.

But, if you insist: we could always try two things we were supposed to have done but haven't - have a referendum on the euro and on PR. I think they would both unite Labour more than they would devide it and ther would also put us on the side of progress (even if we did lose)

5:13 pm, August 22, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

This is quite worrying, so far I agree with everything people have suggested!

Kris, I was kindof expecting from the way I phrased it that only Labour people would respond. It cuts both ways - other parties could nick ideas posted here...

5:17 pm, August 22, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You believe in an elected house of lords? Yer going soft in your dotage Akhurst. Abolish the bloody thing.

Next thing you'll be telling us you've joined Charter88 and go tree hugging at the weekend.

5:20 pm, August 22, 2006

Blogger Quink said...

A less blasé attitude to the Tomlinson Report - and implementing its main substance - would be a good start.

5:49 pm, August 22, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Had already mentioned my support for an elected HoL here: http://lukeakehurst.blogspot.com/2006/08/lords-reform-day.html#links

Can we have a few social policies to add to the good list of constitutional ones so far? Manifesto is looking a bit lop-sided.

5:52 pm, August 22, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was wondering about a national maximum wage. Say if it was £10 million a year -- who could object to that and it might get the very rich to do other things (you could say they would be allowed to offset donations to charity against their allowance).

I would also think about ending all regional selective assistance and instead spending that money on world class engineering institutes.

I might ask for people to tender to operate a national free wireless computing service.

I would end national preference in defence contracts so that our troops got better equipment and taxpayers paid less for it.

I would follow the Irish lead on railways to end the farce of having to get bills through parliament to build the things.

7:52 pm, August 22, 2006

Blogger Patrick H said...

In the spirit of political cross-dressing, and in tribute to Kris's comment about policy theft above, I'm quite taken with Eleanor McHugh's contribution to ConservativeHome today.


Put public infrastructure in not-for-profit hands - seems a good alternative to the inefficiencies of state ownership and the malign effects of the profit motive in natural monopolies.

9:02 pm, August 22, 2006

Anonymous Antonia said...

Luke - bugger all this constitutional nonsense. We could forget about all that, and do something Labour, like ending child poverty. It's not like we don't know how to do it, and it's not like we haven't made a start, with 800,000 fewer children in poverty since 1997.

10:33 pm, August 22, 2006

Blogger A soft socialist said...

Raise the minimum wage and extend it to all workers.

Bring in PR so that political parties can actually define what they stand for.

Raise the top rate of tax to 50% and get rid of top up fees.

Stop having so many PFIs in the NHS as they aren't working.

Build more social housing.

Don't declare any more illegal wars or invade any more countries.

10:41 pm, August 22, 2006

Blogger Hughes Views said...

The best big idea? Let's have no more big ideas. Steady as you go gradualism should rule ok. Dull I know but an old Chinese curse is 'may you live in interesting times' I think .....

11:10 pm, August 22, 2006

Blogger kris said...

What really trouble me is that you've apparently run out of ideas so soon after the election....

11:34 pm, August 22, 2006

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

I'm with Antonia on this. I support the constitutional reforms but they are not core issues that will win us an election by themselves. I'd go with a "floor" to the income of families with children to eliminate child poverty + a big investment in free 9-5 childcare (nursery and after school) to help working parents of all income levels.

12:18 pm, August 23, 2006

Blogger JONATHAN said...

Genuinely free childcare for all. Popular with all sections of the electorate, huge impact on life chances of the poorest children. Probbaly staffed in most part by extremely well qualified immigrants from eastern europe thereby creating a better genral impression and understanding than the current "polish plumber" stereotype.

A comprehensive annual health check for everyone over 30. If it's good enough for BUPA it's good enough for everyone. Preventtive medicine is also very cost effective. Means healthy people feel they are getting something concrete from the NHS regularly.

Allow people the choice to register with a GP near work or near home giving them the choice not to have to take a day off work for a repeat prescription.

12:20 pm, August 25, 2006

Blogger El Dave. said...

Scrap the Lords, unicameral system, weaken the Whips, strengthen the Committees (viz. US), PR, low referendum trigger a la Denmark.

A single, written, codified consitution, with a particular provision about decisions to go to war always being made by Parliament (and subject to a referendum trigger).

Greater protections for sub-contracted workers.

Move to using the International Bac. instead of A levels. I'm coming roudn to the point of view that a large [problem with A levels is not which particular system you use but that it seems to change too often. IB is fixed and proven.

Renationalise the railways; a track-segregated train like Spain's AVE could do a lot for the regions, which people seem to be in favour of. Expensive, yes, longterm, yes, but worth it.

Free sports facilities for everyone. Might reduce ASBOs and obesity at a stroke (no pun intended).

Stop PFI/PPP/part (and full) privatisations.

8:43 pm, August 26, 2006


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