Fabian Review How to get tHe election year rigHt: PlUS

Fabian Review
Winter 2009/10
How to get the election year right:
the next majority, the state, the debate, the
Tories, the Labour case, the manifesto
Mary Riddell interviews Alistair Darling
Julian Le Grand defends one of Labour’s
greatest achievements
The quarterly magazine of the Fabian Society
Volume 121 no 4
But what about the ‘80s, Dave?
Progressive posing isn’t enough; Cameron needs to criticise Thatcher to be
credible on poverty
It is only twenty years since John Moore,
the little remembered Conservative
Secretary of State for Social Security,
declared the Thatcher Government’s
belief that it had abolished poverty in
Britain. That the right says it now accepts
not just that poverty exists but agrees
with the left that inequality matters
should be cause for celebration.
But this will not be more than political
mood music, while the real work of cuts
goes on elsewhere, if it does not lead to a
serious and evidence-based debate about
poverty and inequality. Our major new
book The Solidarity Society, drawing
on a two-year Fabian study, supported
by the Webb Memorial Trust, therefore
challenges all of the major parties to
ensure their anti-poverty strategies learn
from the evidence of what works and
what doesn’t.
A rather more impressionistic sketch
was offered in David Cameron’s Hugo
Young memorial lecture at The Guardian.
This sought to correct, or contradict, his
party conference declaration that big
government was the cause of every social
ill. The Conservative leader dutifully
began to analyse poverty trends across
the century, before an astonishing Rip
Van Winkle moment saw him fall
asleep in 1968 and wake up after 1997
without finding a word to say about the
sharpest hike in poverty in any western
democracy in the last half century.
Was this case of ‘don’t mention the
‘80s’ because poverty doubled from 12
per cent to 25 per cent from 1977 to 1992,
precisely as the Government sought
to roll back the state and roll forward
society? To be fair, David Cameron’s
analysis of why poverty and inequality
rocketed under Thatcher might differ
from ours – but we don’t know because
he hasn’t been able to give some account
of what it is. If Cameron cannot show
what he learnt from that history, the fear
must be that he will be condemned to
repeat it.
The evidence is clear that
redistribution matters. Simply asserting
the opposite ignores the wealth of
comparative data, painstakingly
compiled in recent years by a major
project at the University of North
Carolina. Far from causing poverty, this
demonstrates government spending has
been the major determinant in reducing
poverty and inequality. There are
dangers too in the renewed popularity,
given fiscal pressures, of the apparently
‘common sense’ idea of targetting help
on the poorest: history shows this creates
a ‘them and us’ dynamic which sees
support for the poor withering away
over time.
Yet the left needs more than a critique
of the right. Defending universalism and
arguing for redistribution are necessary.
But they are not enough if this is not to
be as good as it gets on poverty for a
The new Fabian study presents
important challenges to poverty
campaigners on the left and in civic society
too. If we are to understand how and why
welfare was turned from a badge of our
equal citizenship to a pejorative term, the
fear that reciprocity has been lost should
be taken seriously. The answer is certainly
not more ‘welfare crackdowns’. But a new
welfare deal, which is more generous
to those currently trapped in poverty
while requiring contributions to socially
valuable activity, is an idea which antipoverty campaigners should embrace to
make deeper progress possible.
However much may have changed
about our society, important lessons
endure from Beveridge’s plan that
everybody put something in and
was protected from the worst risks
in life. That idea was too powerful
to be trumped by claims that an age
of austerity made a fairer society
unaffordable. That spirit must again
inspire new campaigns for our times.
Winter 2009/10 Fabian Review 1
Image: Adrian Teal
December sees
the publication
of The Solidarity
Society. This is
the final report
of the two-year
Fabian Society
Memorial Trust
research project
Fighting poverty and inequality in
an age of affluence, commemorating
the centenary of Beatrice Webb’s
1909 Minority Report to the Royal
Commission on the Poor Law.
Current anti-poverty measures
have gone as far as they can go, argues
the report, setting out a new poverty
email your views to: [email protected]
prevention strategy, built on a vision
of the generous welfare state that
would enshrine equal citizenship and
foster a sense of mutual independence.
The Independent said: “the
future the report paints, of a return
to ’Victorian levels‘ of inequality
and sharp social stratification by
area, housing and employment, is a
warning that deserves to be taken
seriously. And whatever the merits
of the case, this contribution from the
left means that, at long last, something
like an argument can now be had.”
In the last issue of the Fabian Review
we reported that Fabian Research
Director Tim Horton had taken on
Newsnight’s Politics Pen to propose
reversing this year’s planned increase
of the inheritance allowance. It seems
the idea is catching on: The Observer
recently reported “Alistair Darling is
considering freezing the threshold at
which the tax becomes payable, as
part of plans to cut the deficit.” This
would not only be good news for the
deficit and for those that find the idea
of extending an unearned windfall
to an already well-off minority
distasteful, but will throw into even
sharper sharp relief the increasing
albatross that is the Tory pledge to
cut inheritance tax for millionaires,
recession or no recession.
Fabian events and news are now reported at our blog, Next Left.
Join the debate at www.nextleft.org and here are some recent
highlights. We are also now on Twitter @ thefabians
Wednesday 29th September 2009
Saturday 7th November 2009
Darling says no to high pay commission
David Miliband’s lessons from Obama
“I’m worried about the bonus culture... but it is worth reminding
banks and ourselves it isn’t a case of having a go at banks,”
said Chancellor Alistair Darling at the Fabian Society’s
Economics Question Time at Labour Party Conference.
Talking at the Fabians’ recent ‘The Global Change We
Need’ conference, Foreign Secretary David Miliband
recalled watching Obama’s Chicago speech on television
from Belgrade and why he remained optimistic about the
transformational agenda of the administration.
He added: “It is in their interest as much as it is in all of our
interests that the system is cleaned up” and argued that it’s
about getting a “properly regulated, properly supervised”
system so that a global credit crisis wasn’t set off again.
Finance select committee chair John McFall said: “We
need good corporate governance... The lack of corporate
governance means that people have got away with murder.”
CBI director-general Richard Lambert argued that the financial
sector should put ethics at the centre of it’s actions. “If business is
not going to exercise the judgement that needs to be taken, then
they will be regulated. You need a conversation about ethics.”
But Darling said that the Government was not considering a
high pay commission: “It would be extraordinarily difficult for
a government to operate something like that.”
Posted by Rachael Jolley
2 Fabian Review Winter 2009/10
One audience member asked him what personal lessons
he had taken from Obama’s campaign and his personal
style. Miliband said he felt that the biggest lesson of both
the campaign and the year since was that movement
campaigning had to extend beyond election day: “‘You
campaign in poetry, but you govern in prose’, as Mario
Cuomo said. But the biggest lesson is that you have got to
campaign in government as well as in opposition, or in the
campaign, that you do not get sucked into governmentalitis.
There are enormous pressures for that - but you have got to
ensure that you are a persuader in power.”
Posted by Sunder Katwala
Fabian Review
Fabian Review is the quarterly journal
of the Fabian Society
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Tom Hampson
Assistant Editor
Ed Wallis
Fabian Review, like all publications of
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General Secretary
Sunder Katwala
Research Director
Tim Horton
Research Fellow
James Gregory
Editorial Director
Tom Hampson
Editorial Manager
Ed Wallis
Events Director
Jemima Olchawski
The politics of 2010
The route to the next majority
Will Straw
The state of things to come
We need to talk
Jonathan Rutherford
Denis MacShane
Don’t wait for the big idea
Tory tactics for 2010
James Crabtree
Stella Creasy
Do the manifesto differently
Sunder Katwala
The Fabian Interview
The calm amid the storm
Mary Riddell
The Fabian Essay
A national treasure
Julian Le Grand
The carrycot under the desk
Fatima Hassan
The Fabian Society
Events Manager
Richard Lane
Events Manager
Fatima Hassan
Events Manager
Genna Stawski
Head of Communications
Rachael Jolley
Fabian office
Finance Manager
Phil Mutero
Local Societies Officer
Deborah Stoate
Membership Officer
Giles Wright
Katherine Street
Ollie Haydon-Mulligan
Philip Edward Reynolds
Laura Bradley
Matthew Murray
Maddy Powers
Lawrence Mak
How has society
changed since
Where will
renewal come
What’s next for the
Why should we
protect the Child
Trust Fund?
Fabian Women’s Network
Seema Malhotra
[email protected]
Winter 2009/10 Fabian Review 3
Navigating the
politics of 2010
An existential crisis is
not a good look for
a political party in an
election year. Time
after time it is the party
Ed Wallis
that doesn’t appear to
is Editorial Manager
have its act together
at the Fabian Society
that is punished at the
polls. On one level,
Labour’s position and messaging are clear: a list of tangible
achievements over the past 12 years in power; decisive action
taken to save the economy in the wake of the financial crisis; and
a core belief that fairness can’t be left to the whims of the market
but requires the support of a strong state.
Recent weeks have seen a resurgence in spirit in the Labour
camp. But the politics of 2010 still look incredibly tough for
Labour, and both before and after the election we shouldn’t shy
away from asking the deeper questions about the reality of the
political landscape and what Labour wants power for. Resist
calls for a pre-election blackout on debate: the current state of
the electoral maths is, in part, because we haven’t done enough
of the ‘what does it all mean’ thing whilst in government.
So the challenges that are considered in this Fabian Review
are ones that will be with us for years to come; and, in a makeor-break political year, the way we go about them now will
inform not only the next election, but the longer term inquest
into where next for the left.
4 Fabian Review Winter 2009/10
The politics of
The route
to the next
Labour needs new research
to make sure it isn’t stuck
fighting the battles of the past
Will Straw
is Founding Editor
of Left Foot Forward
Labour has never been here before:
12 years into office and contesting an
election for another four or five.
Some believe the party is heading
towards defeat. When this has happened
in the past, there has often been a
protracted period of internal division
and outward confusion.
It took three election defeats and
nine years of opposition in the 1950s
before the circumstances were right for
social researcher Mark Abrams to carry
out his survey-based investigation –
published as Must Labour Lose? – which
argued that old class-consciousness was
disappearing and the party could only
win if it contended with rising affluence.
It then took even longer (13 years
and four defeats) under Thatcher and
Major for Giles Radice to write Southern
Discomfort, which used qualitative
research to highlight Labour’s weakness
in the south. Radice’s Fabian pamphlet,
coupled with the role of pollster and
focus group ’guru’ Philip Gould, paved
the way for the ‘Middle Britain’ strategy
that dominated Labour’s thinking in
1997, 2001 and 2005, with its focus on the
aspiring middle classes.
There is nothing inevitable in politics,
and that includes the result of the next
election. But this time, we must not wait
for opposition before asking ourselves
how we can build a winning coalition.
It would be wrong to stick blindly to the
Middle Britain strategy without, first, an
honest appraisal of what worked and
what did not, and second, considering
what has changed in the near two
decades since Radice set out his thesis.
That task will require new research and
honest analysis.
Protagonists argue that the Middle
Britain strategy was an overwhelming
electoral success, heralding an
unprecedented period of Labour
governance which has delivered a list
of achievements so long it took Gordon
Brown minutes to read through them
at this year’s Labour Party Conference.
But another interpretation shows that
Labour’s 13.5 million votes in 1997 was
lower than the 14 million that John Major
achieved in 1992 and, because of low
turnouts, fell to 10.7 million in 2001 and
to 9.6 million in 2005 (fewer even than
the Tories recorded in 1997).
There is scant academic evidence that
the focus on ‘Mondeo Man’ worked in
electoral terms. Research by Dr Malcolm
Brynin at the University of Essex found
that “neither of the main parties can
woo supporters from the opposing main
party in sufficient numbers to make a
difference.” From an annual survey of
5,500 British households, Brynin found
that of those who said they supported
the Conservatives in 1991, only 9 per
cent supported Labour by 1999. But as
many as 24 per cent said in 1999 that they
supported no party.
And in The Rise of New Labour,
academics Anthony Heath, Roger Jowell
and John Curtice show that many of
New Labour’s key assumptions “were at
best half-truths.” In the words of Dr Joe
Moran, “They show that the success of
the Tories in the 1980s and new Labour
in the 1990s had more to do with class
de-alignment (the establishment of a
broad base of support across classes)
than class realignment (the winning over
of a particular type, such as ‘Woking
man’ or ‘Worcester woman’).”
Putting these findings together
suggests that the targeting of ‘mosaic’
groups was not the key to success that
many thought it was. On the other
hand, there was clearly merit in seeking
broad support. By bringing together
Winter 2009/10 Fabian Review 5
ideas from the left and right, this is what
the 1997 manifesto sought to achieve.
Ed Owen, who worked for the party
through Blair’s three victories, says,
“reaching out to as wide a constituency
as possible was absolutely right and
absolutely successful.”
But did this pluralistic approach
break down once in office? Neal
Lawson, chair of Compass, certainly
thinks so: “We governed – despite the
strength of the economy, the weakness
of the opposition, and our massive
majority – like young people who gatecrashed a party and hung around in the
kitchen waiting to be chucked out.” In
doing so, Blair defined himself against
elements of the party’s base (the “forces
of conservatism”) and leant too far
towards the Daily Mail, the CBI, and the
City as he sought to ‘triangulate’ and
outflank the Conservatives.
Jessica Asato, acting director of
Progress, says, “There is some truth in
the criticism that in order to win we
skewed too much of our policy directly
to their [Middle Britain’s] interests.”
But she adds, “On the other hand,
those who say we can ignore Middle
Englanders would end up with a party
that wouldn’t govern in the interests
of all the people. These people are the
backbone of Britain and we should look
to persuade them in a more progressive
direction rather than kowtowing to
them on the one hand or ignoring them
on the other.”
The most damning critique of the
Middle Britain strategy is that it created
no organisation able to support its aim
and, instead, haemorrhaged support.
According to Owen, “we haven’t been
able to remobilise people and that’s
partly down to spreading ourselves so
thinly.” Lawson is more critical: “the
problem with defining yourself against
the party is that we stopped being a
Labour movement.” But although
membership is now a sixth of the 1950s
level, the decline is common across
parties in most democracies. Indeed Blair
initially bucked the trend as membership
increased from 266,000 in 1994 to 405,000
in 1998. As Nick Anstead and I argued
in the Fabian book The Change We
Need earlier this year, to reverse this
requires a completely fresh definition of
membership and engagement to bring
the party into the 21st century.
6 Fabian Review Winter 2009/10
Building a new movement will not
be easy. But the task will be harder still
if the party doesn’t think hard about
what has changed since 1992. While
the mixed record suggests it would be
wrong to continue without questioning
the Middle Britain strategy, it would be
equally foolish to hark back to a romantic
notion of class-consciousness. Changing
demography, geography, values, and
political reality should all have a bearing
on Labour’s next strategy.
There is nothing inevitable
in politics, and that
includes the result of the
next election. But this
time, we must not wait for
opposition before asking
ourselves how we can
build a winning coalition.
First, although more subtle than the
decline of the manual working classes
in the last quarter of the twentieth
century, there have been profound shifts
since Labour was last out of power.
Society is older, better educated, more
culturally diverse, and more likely to be
working in professional or managerial
jobs. We know little about what this
means though. Take participation in
higher education: “There has been a
three to four-fold increase in university
graduates since the 1980s,” Professor
Geoffrey Evans, an expert in the
sociology of politics at Nuffield College,
told me. “Graduates tend to be more
liberal and that gives more of a basis for
tolerant attitudes … But what we don’t
know is the degree of heterogeneity
within this increasingly large category.
We need more research there.”
Second, over the years, deurbanisation has meant that Labour’s
heartland constituencies in the north
have become smaller, giving the party
a bias under Britain’s first-past-the-post
system. This probably won’t survive
a Conservative Government, though,
who plan a 10 per cent cull in the
number of MPs, many from overrepresented Scotland.
Third, values have changed. The
decision by David Cameron to embrace
environmentalism and liberal social
attitudes, and his professed desire
to tackle relative income inequality
are victories for progressives. But we
should press home the advantage
in what appears to many to be a
progressive moment. A recent survey
conducted by YouGov for the TUC
found that 53 per cent of all people,
and 62 per cent of those with earnings
in the middle quintile, believed that
responsibility for solving economic
and social problems lies mainly with
the Government rather than ordinary
people. Meanwhile 73 per cent of the
same group (compared to 68 per cent
overall) believe that ordinary working
people do not get their fair share of the
nation’s wealth.
Finally, we need to contend with
seismic shifts in the political landscape.
Devolution has opened up new
flanks which Labour must defend.
The expenses scandal has shattered
the power of incumbency while third
parties’ representation has doubled
since 1992. A hung parliament is a
statistically more likely outcome of
our electoral system than ever before
and therefore meaningful electoral
reform to a more proportional system
may be fairly close. If that took
place the calculus would shift once
again with alliances and successful
coalitions rewarded as they were for
the first eight years of devolved rule
in Scotland. Again more thought is
needed to understand these dynamics
but PR could strengthen those pushing
Labour in a progressive direction.
These apparent changes suggest
Labour’s values are shared by a majority
in the country, but that we need a
new approach to bring that coalition
together. Putting time and energy
into understanding these shifts is the
challenge of the next year.
Aneurin Bevan complained of
Abrams’ work that “this sort of thing
will take all the poetry out of politics”.
It needn’t. New Labour’s great mistake
was being too cynical about society
and too fearful of upsetting right wing
newspapers like the Mail. The next
Labour strategy must understand the
country it seeks to govern, but remain
clear about its roots and its values.
The politics of
The state
of things
to come
Once again the state has
emerged as the key political
dividing line between
Labour and the Tories.
Jonathan Rutherford says
the left needs a radical
vision for new times.
Jonathan Rutherford
is Professor of Cultural
Studies at Middlesex
University and editor
of Soundings journal
uk). His latest book is
After Identity (2007).
The economy will dominate the General
Election, but controversy will centre
on the role of the state. What do we
want the state to do and how shall we
pay for it? The question will define the
political fault-line between Labour and
the Conservatives.
The Tories have come out of
Conference season trying to paint
Labour as the party of the
unreconstructed ‘big state’. This is a
politically powerful charge, with
a feeling amongst the electorate that
Britain has become over centralised.
However both parties are trapped in the
discredited ideologies of the neo-liberal
decades, and neither are able to provide
credible answers for the future. For
Labour to have any hope of recovery
in the next year it needs to accept its
historic mistakes and articulate a new
and compelling vision for the state.
British social democracy has been
wedded to the state, but the state has
never belonged to social democracy. The
levers of power have been consistently
kept out of reach: an upper class club land
has given way to a technocratic elite, and
bureaucracy has been partially replaced
by outsourcing and the indirect rule
of arms-length regulatory bodies, but
the British state remains undemocratic,
highly centralised, imperial, and in service
to financial capital. Labour has lacked
the ideology and political confidence
to confront the vested interests that
sustain this anachronism. The impact
of New Labour’s reforms on human
rights law, freedom of information, and
devolution has been as much inadvertent
as planned. Since coming to power, it
has avoided democratic reform of the
centre and focused ‘downstream’ on the
modernisation of public services and on
rebuilding infrastructure after the long
years of Conservative neglect.
But New Labour’s market state
has not been the people’s friend.
Marketisation and the privatisation of
services do not enhance democracy nor
people’s capacity to live self-determined
lives. They replace paternalism with
new kinds of impersonal, technocratic
and discursive forms of authority. New
Labour modernisation has been a cause
of the low synergy between individuals
and public institutions and this has
been reproduced in the political sphere,
intensifying the widespread popular
disaffection from political parties and
the formal institutions of representative
democracy. Labour’s failure to redefine
the use of government power has
infected the whole political system and
allowed anti-state sentiment to become a
resonant political calling card – one that
the Conservatives hope to exploit at the
next election.
Winter 2009/10 Fabian Review 7
The financial crisis should herald a
progressive moment for the centre-left.
But it is floundering in the ideological
vacuum left in the wake of New Labour.
It has neither the alliances across civil
society, nor the collective political
agency to secure a new radical electoral
agenda. It has no story that defines what
it stands for. The ideology of liberal
market capitalism might have lost its
credibility, but it remains the only story
of economic life on offer.
Renewal of the centre left must
begin with a new political economy.
Britain is now the only major economy
still in recession. It has to make the
transition from casino capitalism to a
balanced, low carbon, more equitable
form of economic development. The
transition demands an economics whose
principles are ecologically sustainable
wealth creation, durability, recycling,
cultural inventiveness, equality, and
human flourishing.
It is possible to make this shift and
be politically viable, especially at a time
of such social and economic insecurity.
We need to develop a democratised,
redistributive, social activist state
capable of regulating markets and
asserting the public interest in the wider
economy, but which is also decentralised
and responsive to individual citizens
and small businesses. It will be an
elements of its sovereignty in global
alliances and institutions, contributing
to internationally agreed goals – we
must commit to the political battle for
a social Europe. A social democratic
state requires the introduction of
proportional representation in national
elections, and a new system of party
funding to remove the influence of
rich individuals and interests. We need
an elected House of Lords and the
revival of local government tax raising
powers in order to deepen and extend
democracy through society.
In the decade ahead, the
effervescent quality of wealth creation
will demand secure social foundations.
Business must be made accountable to
employees through forms of workplace
participative democracy. The advocacy
roles of civil society organisations, in
particular the trade unions, need to be
strengthened. The welfare system will
have to support flexible and fragmented
8 Fabian Review Winter 2009/10
employment, as well as new emerging
markets and changing needs around
an ageing society, well-being and
health, social care and education. On
current trends this social economy will
become the biggest sector by value
and employment. We will need to
develop novel ways linking the formal
and informal economy in ways that
protect the latter from the downsides
of monopoly profit-seeking. The state
needs reconstituting so that it is capable
of interacting with the complexity
and values of social and community
organisations, and devolving real
power and decision making to workers
and users.1
Making public services more
mutual and democratic can avoid
the problems of the market and
bureaucracy, and create new social
spaces for innovation and social
development. Achieving a balance
between freedom and security,
efficiency and conviviality, for both
workers and users will be immensely
difficult, but essential. One radical
idea that should be considered is to
underpin this social economy with a
citizen’s income – an unconditional,
non-withdrawable income payable to
each individual as a right of citizenship
(www.citizensincome.org). To meet
Minimum Income Standards it will be
need to be worth £10,000 per annum,
paid for through income tax. To make
this more politically acceptable, an
interim partial Citizen’s Income of
£4600 – the same as children’s Citizen’s
Income – could be introduced.
A Citizen’s Income challenges
big cultural prejudices around the
puritan work ethic, the deserving
and undeserving poor, and the ‘hardworking families’ ethos. But we are now
in the end game of an old paradigm, and
the birth of the new will require some
radical thinking. The period of austerity
we are entering will involve a shift from
a culture of private consumption to the
consumption of public goods. It will
mean wealth and resource redistribution
and a state capable of fostering new
kinds of democratic, convivial publics.
That will be the political challenge that
will define politics for years to come.
1 R
obin Murray, Danger and opportunity Crisis
and the new social economy, NESTA, 2009
The politics of
We need to talk
More open debate is politically essential – before
and after the election says Denis MacShane
Where are the Tory ideas? And where is
Labour’s debate?
Even the most loyal of Tory
columnists are worried at the absence
of thinking on the Tory side. The oncelegendary Conservative Research
Department – home to Enoch Powell,
Chris Patten and John Redwood who
were all original thinkers whatever
one thinks of their politics – is barely
alive. Phillip Blond, who invokes
early English nativist (and often antiSemitic) communitarians like Hilaire
Belloc and GK Chesterton, is the
Cameron’s beau du jour. But despite
the catchy ‘Red Tory’ label there is
no applicable system of governance
emerging from Blond’s vapourings.
Iain Duncan Smith is more serious
and wrong, as some of his proposals
in the reports he is producing are
often substantial. Other once-serious
Tory think tanks like Policy Exchange
have been captured by obsessive
Europhobes, wasting time defending
Tory allies on the right of the right in
Eastern Europe.
Cameron, as Steve Richards of The
Independent has pointed out, is not heir
to Blair but rather a William Hague
with hair, which gets blacker and
more bouffant at each Prime Minister’s
Questions. Dave is not even close to
the sophistication of the Blair-BrownMandelson invention of New Labour
and there is no sign of the One Nation
Toryism that allowed the Conservatives
to hold power for more than a decade
after 1951, let alone the British version
of neo-liberalism that kept Labour in
opposition between 1979 and 1997.
But if Cameron’s millionaire shadow
cabinet is ideas-light why cannot
Labour gain traction? Is it because we
have lost the art of debate? Different
outfits, from Compass to Progress, or
the eternally young Fabians stake out
positions. Papers are produced. Some
become Government thinking. A
few years ago I proposed in a budget
amendment a financial transaction
tax. It was rubbished by the Labour
Treasury team. Now Gordon Brown
promotes it with evangelical fervour. He
has even persuaded President Sarkozy
that this Anglo-Saxon idea to control
excessive global financial behaviour is
worth backing. Labour, thanks to the
energetic pushing of Alan Johnson and
les frères Miliband, are also edging close
to electoral reform.
Labour has allowed
debate to be replaced
by the pulpit; the sermon
read out at the Labour
Party Conference and the
terror that competing ideas
should be tested and voted
upon has vitiated Labour
But to test these and other ideas
we need to debate them. Columns in
The Guardian are not a debate. Labour
has allowed debate to be replaced by
the pulpit; the sermon read out at the
Labour Party Conference and the terror
that competing ideas should be tested
and voted upon has vitiated Labour.
Policy ideas are to be welcomed. But
they are worthless if they are presented
as stand-alone pet projects not subject
to the dialectic of debate. Instead of
happening inside political parties, the
most popular mass meetings in Britain
are organised by a debating forum called
Intelligence Squared, where grown
ups bored rigid by the sterile shouting
matches and point scoring of Question
Time and Newsnight pay money to hear
Denis MacShane
is a member of the
Fabian executive.
for-and-against speeches and then vote a
proposition up or down.
During 2010 – both before and after
the election – Labour needs to start
debating ideas again. Which is the best
way of reducing inequality ­– creating
more businesses to employ people or
taxing the better earners in the middle
class? Is the minimum wage the
endgame in delivering social justice or
must more be done to help workers?
Will all-women or all-BME lists for
parliamentary candidate selection
finally remove as MPs those who do
not have a university qualification
and is this desirable? Has the balance
against secular Enlightenment rights
swung too far in favour of religious
ideologues dictating what women
wear or who controls reproduction and
sexuality? What do we do about the fact
that more British soldiers have died in
President Obama’s war in Afghanistan
than in the Bush-Blair war in Iraq. All
the squillions spent by DfID have seen
an increase in inequalities and poverty
in the world, so do we need to rethink
the categories of UK global policy?
Would an independent Scotland be
a disaster and does Labour need an
English policy? If some immigrants
reject with contempt British values, is
it racist to discuss this? What would a
coalition between Labour and the Lib
Dems look like and how would it work
given our adversarial parliamentary
political culture?
These are questions for debate; and
I offer no views until invited to open or
oppose a motion on any of them. But
what was heresy months ago becomes
orthodoxy today. So it should. Labour
must never find itself as after 1931 saying
‘No one told us we could do that.’
Between now and the election the
debate of ideas with a clear ‘for’ and a
clear ‘against’ has to re-enter Labour
Winter 2009/10 Fabian Review 9
Don’t wait
for the big
Anyone expecting a new
grand theory for the left
will be disappointed –
instead we need energy
and resources for many
new approaches, says
James Crabtree
James Crabtree
is an editor at
Prospect magazine,
and tweets at
10 Fabian Review Winter 2009/10
I’ve ploughed through enough Renewal
essays and sat through enough Fabian
conferences to know exactly what is
coming. Labour is going to lose the next
election, and immediately following the
defeat there will arrive a small tsunami
of events and articles calling for root and
branch ideological surgery. The r-word
will be deployed with glee. We must be
genuinely radical, they’ll say – as if there
is anyone out there who really just wants
a little slice of a fairer society.
Underlying this will be a tempting
but ineffective archetype of political
renewal. Labour, unlike its pragmatic
Tory opponents, goes oddly weakkneed over an ideological overhaul. This
approach, which one might dub ‘waiting
around for another Crosland to turn up’,
undergirds much of the time we all spent
talking about reinvented progressivism,
and the sorry cul-de-sac of the Third
Way. It is a model of politics genuflecting
to Thatcherism: if you don’t have a major
ideological break, with some Hayek in
your handbag, something isn’t right.
And post-election, man alive, Labour
is going to want some firm Thatcheresque renewal badly enough to do itself
a mischief.
The move from old Labour to new,
and in the US the shift to the ‘New
Democrats’ in the late-1980s, were both
broadly in keeping with such a change.
Both movements combined a rejection
of the ideas, institutions and political
divisions of the past. Both were wrapped
up in the veneer of eventual electoral
success. And don’t get me wrong:
such pushes for Big Renewal can be a
splendid thing, if they come off. That
James Purnell quit the Government to
try and pull off something a little bit
like this with his big thinking Open Left
project at Demos is an admirable thing –
and more power to him.
But moments of comprehensive
renewal don’t come along that often.
You can’t rely on them happening. Just
calling for them won’t make them appear.
Indeed hoping that an individual sage
will eventually bring a new synthesis is
almost certainly a mug’s game. Phillip
Blond has just about managed it for the
Tories, but he is a sui generis figure way
outside the mainstream of his party.
The chances of an intellectual renewal
so brilliantly bold, imaginative and
sweeping as Red Toryism on the left
are slim.
Having pre-emptively assigned that
to the bin, what should we do instead?
To dust off an over-used analogy,
Labour should follow a strategy more
like Isaiah Berlin’s fox, and less like his
hedgehog. Berlin split the world into
two philosophical camps. Some theorists
were like hedgehogs, in that they had
one big idea about how the world
works. Think Plato, Kant, or Rousseau.
Others were more like a fox, in that they
wanted to consider many different ideas.
Aristotle, or most liberal thinkers, are in
the second camp, along with foxy old
Berlin himself.
Moments of
comprehensive renewal
don’t come along that
often. You can’t rely on
them happening. Just
calling for them won’t
make them appear. Indeed
hoping that an individual
sage will eventually bring
a new synthesis is almost
certainly a mug’s game
Stretching the analogy, Labour
thinks it wants a hedgehog renewal:
one big brilliant re-imagination of social
democracy for the 21st century. But
much wiser to go for a foxy renewal, in
which we try to build many different,
competing, sometimes contradictory
strands of rethinking, and hope that
good things come from it. As social
theorists Michael Hardt and Antonio
Negri might put it, here, we want the
At the risk of delving yet further into
the predictable, Labour has much here
to learn from the Democrats. The first
and most important lesson, however,
is perhaps the least obvious: we should
ignore Barack Obama himself. Hoping
for a British Obama to turn up is even
less likely than wishing for some kind
The politics of
Sipa Press/Rex Features
of super-charged Geoff Mulgan-onsteroids to dream up an entirely new
vision of social democracy.
Instead we should look more at
the period of democratic renewal that
occurred roughly between 2004 and
2006. As New York Times journalist Matt
Bai details in his book The Argument,
after John Kerry’s defeat some high level
Democrats decided something needed
to be done. And as I was told the story
when I worked in DC back in 2006, the
process of renewal came down to one
man called Rob Stein, and a PowerPoint
slide deck.
Stein’s slides detailed how the
Republicans, between about 1970 and
1994, had invested many hundreds of
millions of dollars – a lot of money,
but not that much money – to renew
their political infrastructure. The result
had been a slew of new think tanks,
leadership development groups,
NGOs, help for candidates, and so on.
Stein touted his presentation around
elite progressive politicians and rich
liberal donors, and explained how the
conservatives really had created a ‘vast
right wing conspiracy’ – it was just a
rather humdrum conspiracy housed
in the plush offices of the Heritage
Foundation and Focus on the Family.
The millionaires were receptive. “So
what you are telling me” they seemed
to say to Stein “is that the Republicans
bought the American Government for
an investment of not much more than a
billion dollars?” And, having heard this,
some of them decided they could do the
same. Stein teamed up with some astute
operatives, like Simon Rosenberg at the
think tank NDN – and, eventually there
followed a feverish process of institution
building. Groups like the Center for
American Progress, Media Matters,
Center for Progressive Leadership, and
a host of others (along with money for
existing progressive groups) were the
result. And when Barack Obama arrived,
this new progressive architecture was
ready to go. He fired the weapons with
skill, but Hillary Clinton could have
done nearly as well.
Obviously, Labour doesn’t have
a billion dollars. But a concerted
programme of institution building
need not cost much. The Cameroon
renewal has bequeathed a rich array
of largely inexpensive new institutions:
Policy Exchange, the Centre for Social
even Phillip Blond’s newly launched
Respublica. And on the progressive side
too, Compass took over the left of the
left with one full time member of staff
and a minimal budget. That they have
achieved so much with so little is an
entirely repeatable political miracle.
Elsewhere there are other examples.
Geoff Mulgan’s Young Foundation isn’t
strictly party political, but he still built
it into the biggest thinking institution
in the UK in under five years. (They
now have about 60 staff.) Look also at
the close to miraculous reinvention of
Demos under Richard Reeves. At the
other end, what about Will Straw’s
new Left Foot Forward blog? Again,
one member of staff, and a budget of a
lot less than £100,000 – already a daily
must-read, and doing damage to the
Tories. Here one might also add the
Fabian Society’s own Next Left blog –
likely run on a budget of almost literally
zero pounds, and a useful source of
ideas and debate.
So a foxish approach to progressive
renewal would realise that what we
really need is another dozen – no,
actually, make it two dozen – new
institutions. At least one new serious
big league think tank, to go alongside
IPPR. A leadership academy for
young activists and thinkers. A group
to develop a post-crunch progressive
political economy, and another to
think through trade and globalisation.
A media monitoring organisation, like
Media Matters, to keep tabs on the right
wing press and blogosphere. And a
bottom-up version of Policy Network,
to link up thinkers around the world
(rather than wining and dining just
their presidents).
What else? A handful more decent
wonky group blogs, like Left Foot
Forward, but on strategically important
areas of policy like climate change,
Asia or devolving power. A web
development outfit to help progressives
tool up for the new era. An organising
institute to help the Labour party itself
change its structures and approach.
An intellectual strategy group to do
socio-demographic analysis. And some
intelligent single issue campaigning
groups, on the same model as Health
Care for America Now in the US, which
just helped to plan Obama’s health care
bill. And so on.
The left needs good ideas, and
perhaps just as importantly, good people.
It’s not an original thought, but Labour
faces an ideological context changed
utterly since 2005, let alone 1997. That
the checklist of issues is familiar, from
China to carbon and back again, makes
it no less pressing. And the best way to
prepare isn’t to expect one big theory
to reinvent the centre left. Instead, why
not swarm it? If progressives ditch the
radical talk and really put their backs
into it, there is a fighting chance the left
can have Lord Cameron back in Notting
Hill, by 2015.
Winter 2009/10 Fabian Review 11
tactics for
Whether to savage the
Tories as barely-reconstructed
Thatcherites, or take seriously
their ‘progressive’ claims is
a key strategic dilemma for
Labour. Stella Creasy argues
Labour needs to show what
progressive really means.
Stella Creasy
is Labour’s candidate
for Walthamstow at
the next election
Today’s Tories wear their progressive
credentials on their sleeves. Gone are the
days in which Thatcher said there was
no such thing as society. Now David
Cameron emotes about child poverty,
Nick Hurd professes love for the
voluntary sector and Eric Pickles wants
to be a co-operator.
Those of us on the left should
resist the temptation to dismiss these
statements as merely soothing noises
directed at voters concerned they are
the nasty party. Instead we must show
how the issue may be progressive,
but their intent is not. In setting out
what progressive administration offers
Britain‘s future, we need to show how
and why only Labour has the politics
and the policies to make this a reality.
Progressive political movements seek
to advance social justice; recognising
that whilst talent is evenly distributed
across society, the opportunity to get
the most out of it is not. The outcomes
progressives chase are those that rectify
12 Fabian Review Winter 2009/10
these inequalities. We are passionate
about the benefits to all of investment
in everyone achieving their potential.
We put people and possibility first, not
profits and privilege.
These principles also drive our
practical agenda, giving purpose and
priority to the nitty-gritty of service
Tory talk of progressiveness as a
reflection of our success in government.
Whether belatedly accepting the
minimum wage or championing
international development, their
Damascene conversion speaks to how
Labour has changed the terms of debate
on the priorities for contemporary British
Yet today’s Tories still try to apply
yesterday’s solutions. As they try to
reconcile interest in social mobility or
community cohesion with the deification
of the free market, they revert to type.
This manifests itself in a mantra that
whatever the issue, the ‘state’ gets in the
way of progress through clumsy and
expensive bureaucracy.
For today’s Tories, to be
progressive is to ‘roll back the state’
so the voluntary sector and the market
can take charge, supposedly able to
respond to needs in a way that statebased services cannot. Promoting civil
society may appear progressive, but
as a replacement for the state it is
spectacularly socially retrogressive.
We know this not least from the
history of progressive movements and
reforming Conservative Governments.
Whether the Butler education reforms
or Disraeli’s public sanitation, some of
yesterday’s Tories understood public
provision was an effective mechanism
for social progress. Co-operatives
were born out of absence, not as an
alternative. The original pioneers
didn’t work together to act against
the state, but because there was so
little to protect communities from
the cataclysmic impact of nineteenth
century industrialisation.
In modern Britain where the
society and state are interwoven, the
consequences of such an approach
would be to cripple progressive
action by both areas. Not only does
today’s voluntary sector receive much
of its funding from public sources,
its very nature is a response and
development from the actions of the
Government itself. To shrink one would
fundamentally alter the condition of the
other and vice versa. Today’s state isn’t
separate to community, citizens or the
market but a framework within which
each combines.
Remove the support collective
provision and regulation offers and
little guarantees community groups
or market forces could respond
effectively, let alone do so in a way that
advances rather than damages social
progress. Depending on civil society
to become a surrogate for the state
is as callous as leaving communities
at the mercy of the market – or their
failures. There is nothing progressive
about leaving the pursuit of social
justice to chance.
In contrast, we understand the
benefits to be gained from working
with the voluntary sector and the
market within a progressive state. In
partnership with a thriving public
sector it is a mix that can create a
society where opportunity is easier to
realise for all. Those who gain from
going to co-operative run schools also
prosper from living in a country that
invests in early years education and
youth services.
Instead of waiting for the market
to act, our progressive principles
challenge us to be pro-active across
public, private and social spheres for the
common good. And as we look to the
future, we apply this to addressing the
inequalities created by the challenges
of globalisation. Whether planning for
economic stability, addressing climate
change or stubborn social immobility
we know we can achieve more together
than we do alone.
In the face of Tory attempts to
espouse progressive interests, we
must stand firm as to the importance
of pursuing progressive outcomes.
That George Osborne can claim to be
progressive because he cares about
poverty highlights how we far we have
to go to win the debate about what a
concern for inequality means in practice.
Simply stating that something is
progressive doesn’t make it so. It is not
enough for us merely to tell the Tories
this; Labour must do more to show how
and why we are the real progressive
choice for Britain.
The politics of
Do the
Labour is running a
different kind of election
campaign this time, argues
Sunder Katwala – that
requires a different type of
Sunder Katwala
is General Secretary
of the Fabian Society
What sort of election manifesto should
Labour publish to make its argument for
a further term in government?
On one level that is a question about
the policy agenda which the party puts
forward. The next few weeks will see
one final round of debate about policy
ideas, from party activists keen to see
bright, bold and popular ideas to push
on the doorstep and myriad civic society
groups pressing their issues and causes.
It is, in reality, rather late for major shifts
in political and policy direction, though
the financial and political crises of 2008
left more in flux for longer during this
electoral cycle.
But it is also a question about how
Labour pitches its core argument to
the voters. The theme of its last two
campaigns was, in effect, ‘much done
but more to do’.
“Large chunks of our 2001 and 2005
manifestos were more or less word-for-word
identical”, one Labour Minister tells me.
It is easy to understand why. Language
has been carefully crafted around which
the party can coalesce. The statistics on
progress made were updated, and the
next steps of the policy agenda set out.
This had the virtues of being contentful
and serious, though it suggested too
that a party aware that it must govern in
prose felt it might be prudent to leave the
poetry out of its campaigning too.
The 2010 manifesto is shaping up
similarly. Labour effectively published,
without much fanfare, a draft manifesto
in embryonic form in its ‘The Choice
for Britain’ document on the last day
of the party conference. It suggests
another manifesto similarly conceived
of as a report of work-in-progress from a
reforming government.
This is strange. Labour is clear that
it is the ‘underdog’ in this election:
that it needs to run the insurgent
campaign of a party challenging
for power, seeking to disrupt the
assumption that David Cameron
has won. Taking that idea seriously
should make the dynamic of the 2010
campaign very different from that of
2005 and 2001. That should include
doing the manifesto differently too.
We risk publishing an enormously
policy-rich manifesto, including every
statistic you would need if ‘the Labour
government since 1997’ was your
specialist subject on Mastermind.
This risks turning the manifesto
into a box-ticking exercise, not a tool
of public-facing political advocacy:
the issues of every ministerial team
and government department, the
concerns of every policy stakeholder
and progressive pressure group
acknowledged, yet with the overall
argument buried deep within.
Very few people will remember
much of the content half an hour after
looking at it, including those about to
go out and knock on doors to persuade
others of the case.
An excessive focus on policy can
crowd out values too. Campaigning is
about contrasts; The Choice for Britain
ends with twelve things Labour would
do which the Tories would not. These
are presented as policy differences, but
each (implicitly) speaks to a contrast
of political priorities and values too.
Unfortunately, the reader - whether
an activist ready to campaign, or a
voter themselves - has to derive those
principles for themselves.
By all means, let’s publish before
the campaign begins an audit of the
Government’s record, the lessons
learnt in power, and the detailed future
agenda across the range of policy.
But that isn’t the manifesto we need.
That should be a work of political
advocacy, not just a policy report. Why
not publish the necessary detail
alongside it?
What we need at the core of the
manifesto is an argument: what does
Labour think is right and wrong about
the condition of Britain in 2010; and
about why the values of fairness are
The manifesto should contain more
politics, and less policy, and remember
that five statistics are almost always
less effective than one. It should not
need translating into non-wonk speak
to be advocated on the doorstep.
Of course, clarity about Labour’s
future vision and how the policy
choices – from tax and spend, to care
and green jobs – signpost those values
are more important than the form the
argument takes.
But we should ensure that the
manifesto doesn’t get bogged down
in the details. Make it memorable for
those taking the message out to others.
And keep it short.
Winter 2009/10 Fabian Review 13
The calm
amid the storm
Alistair Darling has come
through the economic crisis with
his political stature enhanced
– but with constant economic
aftershocks, colleagues after his
job and the toughest election in a
generation, things aren’t getting
any easier for the Chancellor,
reports Mary Riddell.
Rex features
14 Fabian Review Winter 2009/10
Mary Riddell
is a columnist for the
Daily Telegraph
Number 11 Downing Street is a no-frills
place. Next to the shabby sitting room
where I am to meet Alistair Darling is
a Fifties-style kitchenette, in which an
aide to the Chancellor offers instant
coffee and forages in the fridge for milk.
We squint at the label on the bottle and
discover that the contents are, in theory,
too ancient for consumption.
This tableau suggests either frugal
husbandry of public money or a
government past its best-before date.
Naturally, Mr Darling would discard
the latter metaphor. The election
looms, and he is “ready for the fight.
This election, coming on the back of
such traumatic economic events, will
define the shape of the country for the
next five or ten years.
“The decisions made by the next
government will be absolutely critical.
I’m not going to stand back and hand
it over to people who, in my view, are
going to take us back 20 years. There’s
everything to play for. Anyone who
says the election is decided is talking
utter nonsense.”
While many might question such
bravado, Mr Darling knows a bit
about survivalism. His limpet-like
adherence to his own job recently
won him the Spectator’s ’Survivor of
the Year’ award – an accolade that he
accepted with customary modesty,
explaining that his last such honour
came when, as Transport Secretary,
he was twice named ’Most Boring
Politician’ by Truckers’ Weekly.
“An obscure sect in the transport
world,” he says now, but he does not
sound displeased. The survivor gong
acknowledged his refusal to be ousted
from the Treasury; an episode about
which he is also sanguine. When I
say it’s no secret that Ed Balls came
close to supplanting him, he says: “If
you’re going to be the Chancellor,
you need broad shoulders whatever
is happening. You stand your ground
when you need to.
“Of course you’ve got to get on
with colleagues and work collegiately.
I don’t have any problem with a
colleague who wants to do this or
that. I think just at this time, though,
every one of us needs to have our
shoulders to the same wheel. We have
a job of work to do.” It is vital “that
every single one of us is pointing
in the same direction. I think that is
happening now,” he says, in what
might be a final warning shot across
the bows of Mr Balls.
His limpet-like adherence
to his own job recently
won him the Spectator’s
’Survivor of the Year’
award – an accolade
that he accepted with customary modesty,
explaining that his last
such honour came when,
as Transport Secretary, he
was twice named ’Most
Boring Politician’ by
Truckers’ Weekly
Despite the hour (not long after
dawn) and the rigours of the job (he
routinely works all weekend), Mr
Darling is a calming presence. Rising
smoothly through Cabinet, he seemed
untouched either by failure or great
success until he became Chancellor.
At first branded a dullard, he was later
called a doom-monger for predicting,
restrainedly as it transpired, that
Britain faced the worst economic crisis
in 60 years.
Although his handling of the
meltdown has earned him much
respect, most days provide some
new aftershock. We meet soon after
the revelation of emergency Bank
of England loans of £61.6 billion
to HBOS and the Royal Bank of
Scotland, made with the Chancellor’s
knowledge and kept secret for
14 months.
The episode, which appalled
opponents, served him as a reminder
of the stakes. “The authorities
across the world were doing similar
operations because that’s what was
necessary to keep the banks going.
Anyone who doubts that should look
at what happened to Northern Rock,
when it was much more difficult for
the Bank of England to do things
on a more confidential, covert basis.
It didn’t help one bit that people
knew Northern Rock was getting
assistance. They went round and got
their money out.”
He was, he says, “living on the
edge for a while. There were many
days when I knew that unless the
Bank was making interventions like
that, then literally banks would have
had to shut their doors and cash
machines would have been switched
off. People should be in no doubt that
the world banking system was on the
brink of collapse in October 2008.”
It was, he concedes, a lonely and
frustrating time. “I suppose it’s partly
my Hebridean background. You just
have to think no one’s going to help
you, you’re on your own, and you
have to try and make the right calls. It
was [irksome] to have people sniping
at the edges, saying: ‘You should have
done this or that’ when I couldn’t
disclose what I was doing. I couldn’t
have said: ‘By the way, the banks
are about to collapse, but I’m doing
something about it,’ because the very
act of saying that would have been
disastrous. You just have to put up
with it.”
I had not expected such a sense
of isolation, especially since Gordon
Brown has sometimes seemed only
too eager to alleviate his Chancellor’s
aloneness by doing the job for him.
Their close relationship – which did
not deter the Prime Minister from
trying to eject his old friend – is
one of the most singular in politics.
When I suggest that familiarity has
made Mr Darling under-awed by the
legendary wrath of Mr Brown, he
offers a wry smile.
“As you say, we’ve known each
other a long time. But even if I’d only
known the PM for ten minutes...there
are times when, if you think something
should be done, you need to make your
Winter 2009/10 Fabian Review 15
argument. There can’t be a relationship
between PM and Chancellor where
there aren’t healthy tensions. [Or]
sometimes unhealthy tensions...”
Presumably he means rows? “If
everybody agreed with one another,
something would be very wrong.
Of course you have disagreements
from time to time. On differences
of opinion, living in the same place
helps. I bumped into him just now –
an unscheduled meeting if you like.
You can talk to someone much more
easily like that.”
No doubt many corridor conclaves
are devoted to a major alleged tension
between Nos 10 and 11 – Mr Brown’s
eagerness to talk up growth and Mr
Darling’s focus on reducing the highest
national debt since records began.
“I’ve been saying two things since
the Budget: that we need to support
the economy and, when recovery is
established, we need to live within
our means, getting borrowing down
to an acceptable level.”
He is scathing of the Tory shift
away from talking up austerity.
“It wasn’t working as well as they
thought, so they flipped to being in
favour of growth, except that they
haven’t any means of delivering
it.” Maybe so, but Labour has also
flipped, abandoning Mr Brown’s
omerta on cuts. Mr Darling claims
he has always been for focused tax
rises, pointing to the squeezes he has
placed on the rich.
“I think the emphasis on growth
is absolutely right,” he adds loyally.
“Gordon and I may say [things]
slightly differently, but it comes to the
16 Fabian Review Winter 2009/10
same point.” And what’s his current
growth forecast for 2010. Still 1.25?
“Yes, that’s the midpoint. We forecast
between 1 and 1.5 per cent. But you’re
going to have to wait.”
We are talking ahead of the PreBudget Report, on which Mr Darling
lips must be sealed, but there is little
hint of harmony with Mr Brown, who
recently put himself at variance with
his Chancellor by predicting 1.5 per
cent growth next year in an interview
with the Daily Telegraph.
On the tone of the PBR, Mr
Darling says: “The best thing you
could look at is the consensus at the
time of the Budget, where [everyone]
said I was wildly optimistic. Look
at where they are today. Most are
just a wee bit more optimistic than
me...I’ve been very clear that you
don’t just bounce back and behave as
if nothing has happened.
“It will take time...I said it [the
economic crisis] was going to be
more profound and long-lasting than
people thought, and I’ve seen nothing
since to indicate [otherwise]. The tone
is going to be very cautious. We’re not
out of it yet. Unemployment will rise
into next year.”
This gloomy prognosis is bad
enough, I suggest, without the
intervention of Mervyn King, the
governor of the Bank of England,
warning Mr Darling that his cuts aren’t
stringent enough and that the UK
risks losing its Triple A credit rating.
“Well, [he] said he didn’t think there
was any risk of that. But the governor
is independent.... No one disputes
that as recovery is established we’ve
got to get our borrowing down.”
Do the two of them get on?
“We get on perfectly well,” he says,
adding, slightly wearily: “I’ve seen
the governor more times than either of
us intended. We met in 2007, and I’ve
probably seen him every week since.”
I ask if he has any role models
among past Chancellors, but sets little
store by precedent. “A Chancellor
is defined by events. A hell of a
lot depends on your judgment at
particular times. You’re not the club
treasurer. It’s a highly political job,
you’re a pivotal part of government.”
With the economy “central” to
who wins or loses the election, Mr
Darling may indeed be the fulcrum of
victory or defeat. “It will be up to all
of us,” he says. “I get my retaliation
in first.” While few Chancellors
have been as tested by fire, he wears
the trauma of the last year with an
equanimity that may be rooted in his
non-political background.
The eldest of four children, he
comes from a middle-class Edinburgh
family of hybrid party allegiance.
His political interests at Aberdeen
University, where he studied law,
focused on fixing rates for student
canteen food rather than Marxist
theory. Years on, he can ultimately
take or leave his chosen profession.
When I ask whether he plans to
stay in politics for the long term, he
says: “I’ve always thought that if you
live a life of 100 per cent politics, you
are missing out on a huge amount.
Your normal friends and neighbours
have normal lives and go out with
their families. You’ve got to have that
“I wasn’t a professional politician.
I was elected when I was 34, and
I think anyone who says they’re
going to be a politican until they’re 65
or 75 is being pretty presumptuous.
Secondly, I don’t think it does anyone
any harm to contemplate that there is
a perfectly good life outside politics.”
How does he keep a toehold on
the real world? “This is the worst
time to ask me. When I’m not here,
I’m in the Treasury. Margaret [his
wife] and I did get out to Gandhi’s
[his favourite Indian restaurant] last
week.” Even his reading list suggests
an ambivalence. When I ask what he
wants for Christmas, he says: “What
I really like is a good book that isn’t
about politics. I’ve been reading The
Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stig
Larsson.” Though eager to receive
the rest of the detective trilogy, Mr
Darling is also looking forward
(though not perhaps so avidly) to
Skidelsky on Keynes.
Will he ever go back to the law?
“Oh, I don’t know. Would you go
to a doctor who hasn’t practised for
22 years? I enjoyed the law.” Then,
as if aware that this sounds rather
wistful, he adds briskly: “All of us are
concentrated on the election. That’s
the most important.”
On whether he will stand down
afterwards, he says: “No, far from it.
I’ve said I’m ready for the fight. There’s
everything to play for. No election is
decided at this stage.” George Osborne,
snapping at his heels, recently accused
him of being “obstructive” on green
issues. Does he mind?
“A Chancellor is defined
by events. A hell of a
lot depends on your
judgment at particular
times. You’re not the
club treasurer. It’s a
highly political job,
you’re a pivotal part of
“Osborne playing at politics has
never bothered me one way or the
other. If he spent rather less time doing
that and rather more time solving
bigger issues, he might do himself a
favour,” he says, fairly pointing out
his own emphasis on green recovery.
“Look at his [Osborne’s] green ISAs,
for instance,” he grumbles. “They’ve
admitted they’ve got no money for it.
It really is a sham.”
Mr Darling avoids, possibly to
a fault, the “focus group politics”
he deplores in the Tories. Asked if
he would mourn Trident, he repeats
Gordon Brown’s offer of reducing four
submarines to three. He does seem,
however, to sound the death knell for
ID cards. “Most of the expenditure is
on biometric passports which you and
I are going to require shortly to get
into the US. Do we need to go further
than that? Well, probably not.”
On a Tobin tax on financial
transactions, a Brown favourite, he
says: “It could be made to work..,
but you’d have to have international
agreement.” On Labour’s core
purpose, he is bolder. When I ask
if he sees Labour as a party of
reditribution, he says: “There’s been
far more redistribution than people
realise. In the first two or three years
of government, you dare not mention
the word, but in any civilized society
you have to have the right balance.
Yes, we’ve got a long way to go, but
we’ve made big changes. People of
lower income are getting a far better
start than they would otherwise.
That’s something Labour should be
very proud of. They should make no
apologies for it.”
This may signal further measures
against the rich. Certainly, it reflects
Mr Darling’s contempt for his rival’s
policies. Might Mr Osborne, though
young and inexperienced, not make a
good Chancellor?
“My criticism of George Osborne
is not his age. That’s got nothing to
do with it. It’s just that he consistently
gets things wrong. That’s fine when
you’re in opposition. It’s a calamity
when you’re in government.” Mr
Darling’s visceral dislike of the Tories,
and especially Mr Osborne, is striking
in so mild a man. That animus is, I
suspect, a driving force in his politics.
Maybe the impulse to crush the Tories
also made him cling on so fiercely
when his job was under threat.
Combativeness is, however, quite
different from personal ambition. It
is easy to guess why Gordon and
Alistair, for all their rows, have
never replicated the poisoned pact
linking Tony and Gordon. The PM,
his Chancellor says, is “first among
equals.” Besides, he does not want
his job.
When I ask if he would like to
become leader, he looks at me as
if he can think of no more grisly
fate. “Me? No, not remotely.” That
won’t encourage his admirers. “But
it’s relatively easy to understand
the answer, I hope,” he says dryly.
Almost no senior politicians rule
themselves out of the leadership and
mean it. Alistair Darling, clinging
to his shrinking hinterland, is the
exception to the rule.
Winter 2009/10 Fabian Review 17
A national treasure:
Defending the Child Trust Fund
from the Tories
With all politicians looking for things they can cut, Julian Le Grand
says Labour must fight to preserve the Child Trust Fund.
18 Fabian Review Winter 2009/10
Julian Le Grand
is the Richard Titmuss
Professor of Social
Policy at the London
School of Economics
and an ex-No 10
One of the greatest achievements of the current Labour
Government has been the setting up of the Child Trust
Fund. That young people should set out on their adult lives
not only with appropriate education and training but also
with an endowment of assets or capital was an imaginative
idea – championed in Britain originally by the Fabians
and by the Institute of Public Policy Research.1 Since the
Government set up the Fund in 2003, the idea has been
translated into a successful, popular programme with the
potential to transform the lives of its beneficiaries.
But the Fund is now under threat. The Conservatives
have described it as a ‘luxury’ and have proposed limiting
it to the poorest sections of the population. The Liberal
Democrats have suggested abolishing it and putting the
money into education instead. This seems like a good time
to remind ourselves of the initial rationale for the scheme,
and to publicise more widely its successes.
In the UK we invest heavily in youth, but almost entirely
through education and training. Though obviously very
important, this neglects a key area of potential investment:
capital or asset-holding. There is evidence that the having
even a relatively small amount of cash in the bank at the
beginning of adulthood can make a considerable difference
to the young adult’s subsequent life chances. For instance,
capital or asset holding at the age of 23 has strong links
with time spent in full time employment between 22-33 for
men and women, earnings at age 33 for men, and the health
of men and women at 33, even when other conditioning
factors such as income, family background and education
are controlled for.2 Preliminary findings from a recent
study found a positive wage premium associated with
asset-ownership, again after other relevant factors are
controlled for.3 There is also evidence from the United
States that individuals and families who own capital tend
to have better health, more marital stability, higher levels of
self-employment, lower levels of domestic violence, lower
mortality rates, better educational outcomes for children,
and higher savings when those children become adults.
Again this remains true even when family background,
past income and education levels are taken into account.4
The precise mechanism of causality has not been fully
researched, but there are several plausible explanations for
these relationships. The ownership of capital gives people
psychological and economic independence; it encourages
them to invest, to save and to think about the future more
widely; it enables them better to weather the vicissitudes
of life such as unemployment or the onset of acute illness
that lead to unexpected income loss; and it puts them less
at the mercy of others’ decisions. More generally, as the US
academic Michael Sherraden has put it:
‘Income only maintains consumption, but assets change
the way people think and interact in the world. With assets,
people begin to think in the long term and pursue longterm goals. In other words, while incomes feed people’s
stomachs, assets change their minds.’5
In practice, of course, as we all know, asset ownership
is very unequal. In the UK, 50 per cent of marketable
wealth is held by the top 10 per cent of the population
and 7 per cent by the bottom 50 per cent.6 And this
inequality is particularly acute among the young.7 This
is not surprising for, in the absence of their own savings,
the young have only two sources of capital: family gifts or
inheritance (which are very unequal in their distribution),
and the capital market (which is not usually accessible to
the young in general and to the children of less well off
families in particular).
The ownership of capital gives
people psychological and economic
independence; it encourages them to
invest, to save and to think about the
future more widely
Arguments such as these led to the introduction of the
Child Trust Fund. This is an account set up in the name of
each child born since September 2002, with the Government
putting in £250 for every child, and an additional £250 for
the children of poor families. The Fund may be invested
in saving accounts or in shares in packages offered by
selected financial institutions. The parents can choose
which type of account they want and which financial
institution will provide it. To protect children from loss
through investment delay, the Government opens an
account on behalf of children whose parents do not find
the time to open an account themselves within a year.
Parents and others can save into the Fund; and the income
from the fund is tax–free. The Government adds an extra
sum to the Fund when the child is seven years old. The
money stays in the Fund until the child is 18, when it can
be used by the young adult at will.
The Child Trust Fund has proved to be both successful
and popular. Research by the Children’s Mutual has
found that more than 4.6 million children already have
open, active accounts, with approximately 70,000 being
opened each month. 75 per cent of children are having
their account opened voluntarily by their parents before
the permitted year is up, an engagement rate far superior
to other financial products such as occupational pensions.
Savings rates with leading providers have trebled and two
million parents are saving for their children each month.8
The monthly amounts being saved for children are up
from £15 to £24, a huge 60 per cent increase.
All this includes low income families, 30 per cent of
whom add monthly to their child’s Child Trust Fund. In
fact, 97 per cent of the Child Trust Fund’s Government
Winter 2009/10 Fabian Review 19
investment goes to families with household income below
£50,000.9 Moreover, a recent study found that parents in
poor families are enthusiastic about the policy, preferring
it to spending extra public money on education or income
support. They also welcomed its universality, and the
fact that they could not touch it. The last feature of the
scheme was particularly important since it removed the
temptation to raid their children’s savings and encouraged
other members of the family, such as grandparents, to save
for the children.10
Already the Fund has resulted in more than £2bn
being invested in children’s futures, with the equivalent of
£2.4bn entering the economy in 2020 and yearly thereafter.
It is acting as a catalyst for new financial education
initiatives in schools. And more than 100 British companies
are involved in supporting parents by giving access to
Child Trust Funds.
Politicians take note: the public are very much engaged
with, and very supportive of, the policy, as the following
results from questions in a recent Children’s Mutual
study show:
To what extent do you agree with the statement ‘The
Child Trust Fund has encouraged me to start saving for
my child’s future?’
Of those who expressed an opinion 86 per cent of ABC1
and 94 per cent of C2DE agreed or strongly agreed with
the statement.
To what extent do you agree with the statement ‘The
Government should scrap the Child Trust Fund and use
the money to pay for smaller primary school class sizes?’
Of those who expressed an opinion 74 per cent of ABC1
and 100 per cent of C2DE respondents disagreed or
strongly disagreed with the statement
To what extent do you agree with the statement ‘Any
political party that planned to scrap the Child Trust Fund
would make me less likely to vote for them at the next
general election’
Of those who expressed an opinion 73 per cent of ABC1
and 81 per cent of C2DE respondents agreed or strongly
agreed with the statement
So there are plenty of reasons why anyone concerned with
the long-term health of British society and its people, especially
the young, should support the development and indeed
expansion of the Child Trust Fund. But it is also of direct
20 Fabian Review Winter 2009/10
relevance to the current economic crisis. Most economists
would agree that this has been brought about in large part
by excessive levels of debt, by instability in the markets,
and by irresponsible, ill-informed borrowing and lending
behaviour. Arguably, the Child Trust Fund addresses all of
these. It encourages savings behaviour, thus reducing debt.
The savings are sizeable and long-term, thus encouraging
market stability. And it promotes financial literacy among both
its young recipients and their parents, thereby reducing the
likelihood of irresponsible and ill-informed behaviour.
The policy’s merits have been recognised by other
countries as diverse as Hungary, Canada, Singapore, South
Korea and the United States, all of which have adopted or
are considering adopting similar schemes. An EU–wide
version – a ‘Bambini bond’ - has even been proposed.11 For
Britain, the Child Trust Fund is a national treasure – both
literally and metaphorically. It must not be allowed to die
in its country of origin.
1 J. Le Grand and D. Nissan A Capital Idea: Start-up Grants for Young
People London: Fabian Society (2000). G.Kelly and R. Lissauer.
Ownership for All? London: Institute for Public Policy Research
2 J. Bynner and S.Despotidou Effects of Assets on Life Chances.
London: Institute of Education: Centre for Longitudinal Studies
(2001). See also J. Bynner and W.Paxton The Asset Effect London:
Institute of Public Policy Research (2001).
3 A. McKnight and C. Z. Namarzi ‘Evidence of an asset effect?
Estimating the impact of financial savings and investment on
future wages’ London School of Economics: Centre for Analysis
of Social Exclusion Discussion Paper (forthcoming)
4 G. Kelly and R.Lissauer (2000) Ownership for All London: Institute
of Public Policy Research (2000).
5 M.Sherradan Assets and the Poor New York: M.E.Sharpe (1991)
6 http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=2
7 For data on this for the UK, see J Banks and S Tanner Houshold
Savings in the UK London: Institute for Fiscal Studies (1999).
8 Statistics from the Tax Incentivised Savings Association whose
members cover approx 70% of the market
9 Calculated by the Children’s Mutual using Child and Working
Tax Credit data.
10 R. Prabhakar ‘Attitudes towards the child trust fund: what do
parents think?’ British Journal of Politcs and International Relations
9(4) 713-729., 2007
11 J. Le Grand and M. da Graça Carvalho ‘Investing in youth: Bambini
Bonds’ European Commission Bureau of Economic Advisers Monthly
Brief: Special Issues Social Agenda Issue 16, June 16, 2008, 18-22.
The carrycot under
the desk
Shirley Williams fought both personal and political battles
to become one of our best loved public figures, writes
Fatima Hassan.
With the expenses scandal having
diminished faith in our elected leaders,
very few can say they have won the
admiration of the public, but Shirley
Williams remains something of a
Fatima Hassan
national treasure.
is Events Manager at
She is the daughter of Vera Brittain, but
the Fabian Society
it was actually her father, George Caitlin,
a respected political scientist and failed
Labour parliamentary candidate, who
framed much of her political thinking. In
its title alone, Climbing the Bookshelves
is a tribute to a father who is credited
with driving Williams’ self-confidence
and political awareness – encouraging
his young daughter to discover the books
within his dusty library and ultimately
laying the foundation for her future
career in politics.
Climbing the
She sees common ground here
with the other members of that all–toothe Autobiography exclusive club of women who scaled
the heights of twentieth century British
By Shirley Williams
politics: “I came to realise how often the
achievement of women politicians grew
out of their father’s belief in them…
Margaret Thatcher, Barbara Castle,
Jennie Lee and I were all examples…
of daughters living out their father’s
aspirations.” A deeply honest admission
from Williams, whose ambitions
observers have more often attributed
to her mother’s legacy than her father’s
At Oxford she befriended Bill
Rodgers, her future ‘Gang of Four’
colleague. Rodgers became General
Secretary of the Fabian Society in the
1950’s and was followed by Williams
in 1960. She recounts taking a different
approach to the Society to Rodgers
though: his involvement in the
Gaitskellite Campaign for Democratic
Socialism clearly aligned him with one
side of a deeply divided party. In fact
she shared many of Rodgers’ political
views (as later became apparent) but she
successfully steered clear of controversy
and kept the Fabians from being tied
to a particular political grouping of the
Her time as General Secretary of
the Fabians highlights how often the
personal and the political clashed in
Williams’ life. Her term required a careful
balancing of work with motherhood,
which meant keeping her baby daughter
in a carrycot under her desk in the
Fabians’ Dartmouth Street offices. The
male-dominated Westminster inner
circle often kept Williams at arms length,
leading to what feels like a deep seated
resentment towards them. Williams is
light on the details of the schisms and
fallings out that influenced her decision
to leave the Labour Party for the SDP in
1981; there is honour in this approach, of
course, but it does leave many questions
Williams does provide some
personal insight into contemporary
debates, calling for lessons to be learnt
from the Government’s management of
the 1956 Suez crisis to the Iraq War
in 2003; warnings of the internal rifts
caused by Eurosceptics during her time
in the Labour Party; and the alienation
felt by Cabinet Ministers under a
micro-managed system – which often
diminished morale and authority.
Throughout, Williams remains an
acute observer of British politics, offering
words of wisdom to a new generation of
politicos who grapple with a new global
order, and calling on the strength of
hope during the most difficult of times.
Winter 2009/10 Fabian Review 21
These pages are your forum and we’re open to your ideas.
Please email Tom Hampson. Editorial Director of the Fabian
Society at [email protected]
Membership rates
On 14th November the Annual General Meeting of the Society agreed an increase
of £2.00 in annual subscriptions to help fund our programme of events and
publications. The annual rates are now:
Cheque/Standing Order Direct Debit
Ordinary £37.00 £35.00
Reduced £19.00 £18.00
Retired members, students, unwaged and unemployed members may pay at the
reduced rate.
The six-month introductory offer remains at £9.95 (£5.00 for students).
Fabian Fortune Fund
North West Regional Conference
Winners: David Yorath, £100;
J.R. Hartley £100
Saturday 13 March 2010
The Mechanics Institute, Manchester
A note from Local Societies Officer, Deborah Stoate
Half the income from the Fabian Fortune
‘Progressive Politics – the Choice for 2010’
Fund goes to support our research
Forms available from Giles Wright,
giles.w[email protected]
Keynote speech by Rt Hon Andy Burnham MP
Details from Graham Whitham at [email protected]
New Year Conference – ‘Causes to fight for’
Saturday 16th January 2010 | Imperial College London
Tickets are priced at £30 (£15 concession ticket) and can be bought through our website
at www.fabians.org. If you are not already a member and would like to join, you can take
advantage of our special introductory membership offer: £35 (£20 concessions) for a ticket
to the Conference plus 6 months membership.
For further details please email Richard Lane at [email protected]
22 Fabian Review Winter 2009/10
A note from Local Societies Officer,
Deborah Stoate
I would like to pay tribute to Frank Billett who is retiring from
being secretary of the Southampton Area Local Fabian
Society after nearly 40 years in the job. Along with Pat
Haynes, John and June Solomon and Ian Taylor – all long
serving Local Fabian Society officers – Frank has been a
loyal, dedicated and hard working secretary who will be
much missed. Southampton Society have decided to have
an annual Frank Billett Lecture and the inaugural one is
to be given in late January by Sunder Katwala.
All meetings at 7.00 in the Birmingham
and Midland Institute, Margaret
Street, Birmingham. For details
and information contact Andrew
Coulson on 0121 414 4966 email
[email protected] or Rosa
Birch on 0121 427 3778 or [email protected]
8 December. Christmas Party
29 January. Jessica Asato, Director of
Progress on’New Labour’s Legacy and
where the Party Goes Next?’
26 February. Professor Alan
Whitehead MP on’Housebuilding –
More or Better?’.
All meetings at The Friends
Meeting House, Wharncliffe Rd,
Boscombe, Bournemouth at 7.30.
Contact Ian Taylor on 01202 396634
for details.
New Group forming. If anyone is
interested in joining, please contact
Celia Waller on [email protected]
Regular meetings. Details from Maire
McQueeney on 01273 607910 email
[email protected]
New Society forming. Please contact
Ian Leslie on 01227 265570 or 07973 681
451 or email [email protected]
Details of all meetings from Jonathan
Wynne Evans on 02920 594 065 or
[email protected]
Regular meetings at 7.30 in the Cole
Room, 11 Dartmouth Street, London
SW1A 9BN. Details from Ian Leslie
on 01227 265570 or 07973 681451
New Society forming in Northwich
Southampton Local Fabian Society was formed in
January 1910 so the Frank Billett Lecture will coincide
with the centenary of the local society. When it was
formed, Sidney Webb, George Bernard Shaw and
Edward Pease, one of the founders of the Society, were
on the Fabian Executive Committee and there were 46
Local Societies including ones in Toronto, Christchurch
N.Z. and Melbourne.
area. Contact Mandy Griffiths on
[email protected]
Enquiries to Mike Walsh on 07980
contact Kay Thornton on
[email protected]
3 December. AGM followed by
Steve Pound MP on ‘The Labour
Party’s Election Prospects’. 8.00 in the
Committee Room at Chiswick Town
Hall, Heathfield terrace, London W4 4JE.
Details from Monty Bogard on
020 8994 1780 or [email protected]
Details from John Wood on 01206
212100 or [email protected]
Now holding regular meetings.
Contact Martin Hutchinson on
[email protected]
New Society hoping to get
established. Please contact Andrew
Maloney on 07757 952784 or email
[email protected] for
Helston area. New Society forming.
For details contact Maria Tierney at
[email protected]
28 January. Dan Whittle of Unions 21
Regular meetings at 8.00 in the Ship,
Green Street Green Rd at 8.00. Details
from Deborah Stoate on 0207 227
4904 email [email protected]
Regular monthly meetings. Details
from Rosemary Key on 01332 573169
New Society forming, for details and
information contact Kevin Rodgers
on 07962 019168 email [email protected]
Sarah Boyack MSP, Shadow Minister
for the Environment, on ‘Labour
and Climate Change’. Tuesday, 8
December 2009 at 7.30pm in the Buffet
Room, the Town House, Haddington.
Details of all meetings from Noel
Foy on 01620 824386 email noel.
[email protected]
10 December. Andrew Dismore MP
on’Human Rights in the UK’. 6.30 in the
Grimond Room, Portcullis House
Regular meetings at TGWU, 1 Pullman
Court, Great Western Rd, Gloucester.
Details from Roy Ansley on 01452
713094 email [email protected]
21 January. Gareth Thomas MP
Details from June Solomon on
0208 428 2623. Fabians from other
areas where there are no local Fabian
Societies are very welcome to join us.
29 January. Sonia Klein on ‘Similarities
and Differences of Political Campaigns
in the USA and UK’.
AGM on Friday 21 February at
Fairkytes. Mike Gapes MP on’Britain,
Europe and the World’
Details of all meetings from David
Marshall email david.c.marshall.
[email protected] tel 01708 441189
Regular meetings. Details from Robin
Cherney at [email protected]
For details of all meetings contact
Jessica Asato at [email protected]
Details from Graham Whitham
on 079176 44435 email
[email protected]
and a blog at http://gtrmancfabians.
New Society formed in
Shrewsbury area. Details on
www.MarchesFabians.org.uk or
For details of this and all other
meetings Ellie Robinson on
[email protected]
Further details from Joe Wilson on
01978 352820
For details and booking contact Pat
Hobson at [email protected]
New Society forming. If you are
interested in becoming a member of
this new society, please contact Dave
Brede on [email protected]
Anyone interested in helping to reform Norwich Fabian Society, please
contact Andreas Paterson [email protected]
Meetings at 8.00 at the Ramada Hotel,
Thorpe Meadows, Peterborough.
Details from Brian Keegan on 01733
265769, email [email protected]
Regular monthly meetings, details
from June Clarkson on 02392 874293
email [email protected]
2 December. Dan Norris MP and Cllr
Peter Ruhemann on’How Safe are our
Vulnerable Children?’. 7.30 at the Friends
Meeting House, 6 Church St, Reading.
10 February’Paying to Change the Planet’
Winter 2009/10 Fabian Review 23
24 March’Question Time for Local PPCs’
Both meetings at 7.30 at RISC
For details of all meetings, contact
Tony Skuse on 0118 978 5829 email
[email protected]
Regular meetings on the 4th
Thursday of the month, 7.30 at the
Quaker Meeting Room, 10 St James
Street, Sheffield S1. Details and
information from Rob Murray on
0114 2558341or Tony Ellingham
on 0114 274 5814 email tony.
[email protected]
For details of all future meetings,
please visit our website at http://
selfs/. Regular meetings; contact
Duncan Bowie on 020 8693 2709 or
email [email protected]
27 January. Inaugural Frank Billet
Lecture. Sunder Katwala, General
Secretary of the Fabian Society.
For details of venues and all
meetings, contact Andrew Pope on
07801 284758
Monthly supper meetings, details
from Brian Flood on 0191 258 3949
14 December, 19.15 at the Westoe Pub,
Westoe Rd, South Shields.
For information about this Society
please contact Paul Freeman on
0191 5367 633 or at [email protected]
A new Local Society in the Rugby
area, details from Mike Howkins
email [email protected] or J David
Morgan on 07789 485621 email
[email protected]
All meetings at 7.30 at the Indian
Centre, Edward Street Rugby CV21
2EZ. For further information contact
David Morgan on 01788 553277 email
[email protected]
For details of all meetings, contact
Peter Coghill on 01986 873203
Regular meetings at Guildford
Cathedral Education Centre. Details
from Maureen Swage on 01252
733481 or [email protected]
All meetings at 8.00 at 71a St Johns Rd.
Details from John Champneys on
01892 523429
The West Durham Fabian Society
welcomes new members from all
areas of the North East not served
by other Fabian Societies. It has a
regular programme of speakers from
the public, community and voluntary
sectors. It meets normally on the last
Saturday of alternate months at the
Joiners Arms, Hunwick between 12.15
and 2.00pm – light lunch £2.00
Contact the Secretary Cllr Professor
Alan Townsend, 62A Low
Willington, Crook, Durham DL15
OBG, tel, 01388 746479 email alan.
[email protected]
Regular meetings at Swansea Guildhall,
details from Roger Warren Evans on
[email protected]
Details from Jo Coles on [email protected]
New Society forming. Please contact
Andy Ray on 07944 545161or
[email protected] if you
are interested.
If anyone is interested in helping to
form a new Local Society in the Wirral
area, please contact Alan Milne at
[email protected] or
0151 632 6283
Fabian Quiz
In the current financial crisis Keynes has been taken out of his cupboard,
dusted down, consulted, cited, invoked and appealed to about why events
have taken the course they have and how a rescue operation can be
effected. In Keynes: The Return of the Master, Robert Skidelsky looks at why
we have gone back so emphatically to the ideas of an economist who died
fifty years ago.
PENGUIN HAS GIVEN US five copies to give away – to win ONE,
answer the following question:
Keynes’ most famous book is ‘The General Theory of Employment, Interest and
Money’ written in 1936 but what was the title of his first published book?
Please email your answers and your address to [email protected] or send a
postcard to: Fabian Society, Fabian Quiz, 11 Dartmouth Street, London. SW1H 9BN.
Answers must be received no later than Friday 12th February 2009.
24 Fabian Review Winter 2009/10
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