Stephen Beer, Blog, Stephen Beer

Stephen Beer (www.stephenbeer.com)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

2020 vision

What are we to make of Charles Clarke and Alan Milburn's website launch yesterday?

Certainly the media could not keep away from questions about the election for leader of the Labour Party. Messrs Clarke and Milburn did their best to stress they were interested in talking about policy renewal.

The website itself displays a number of messages from people in support of the initiative, including some serving Labour politicians. At first read through, it seems a little light on policy proposals but the point of it apparently is to stimulate debate.

It is true that Labour does need to debate policy. In CSM I have worked to ensure our voice is heard as much as possible and we have a programme of work ahead of us that can be found on http://www.thecsm.org.uk/ . In Vauxhall CLP we are keen to engage in policy development, as we did in the preparation for the local elections last year.

That was a useful experience. Yes we had our views as Party members. But we engaged closely with the local community. We listened. We developed policies that met the concerns people had. I am convinced that it was in doing so, combined with some dedicated campaigning, that we were able to win Lambeth back in May 2006.

So, a website to discuss policy, sure as long as that's genuinely what it's about (it's at http://www.the2020vision.org.uk/index.php/home/ ). But it needs to be open, engaging with all members and more than that, engage with the wider 'progressive consensus' and the electorate as a whole.

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