I am fan of the ideas behind the Open Left project at Demos. It argues that there has to be an open debate in the party about values and goals.
I like that its starting point is about rediscovering the Left’s idealism and radicalism.
So, the first question it poses ‘What does it mean to be on the Left today?’ has got me thinking.
For me, the answer can be summed up in one word: Aspiration.
I think that what essentially motivates people in life is aspiration and ambition.
Families aspire to own their own homes. Parents aspire to send their kids to a good school and then on to university. I aspire to have a successful career. We all aspire to go on holiday once a year. We all want our friends and family to be looked after and cared for when they are in need. We all aspire to lead the good life. A better life.
And I think only the Left which is committed to putting power, wealth and opportunity in the hands of the many and not the few is capable of delivering this.
Only the Left, which delivered universal health care, comprehensive education, the minimum wage, the expansion of higher education and training opportunities for the young has the values and ideas which will allow people to achieve their goals.
Working class, middle class, white or black, male or female – this doesn’t really matter, because we are all motivated by the same thing. Labour is strongest when it recognises this.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Conservative Party. It is committed to defending the status quo. It is incapable of helping people to realise their aspirations and dreams because it is too conservative, too reactionary, not interested.
Left wing politics, for me anyway, also comes from a place of anger.
I look around and see terrible injustice and poverty and inequality. It makes me furious. I know that in the UK, there are millions of households living in fuel poverty. I know that in Africa there are thousands of deaths every day that could be prevented because of malaria or HIV. I know that inequality in Britain has never been greater and we seem a less happy society.
If Conservatives look around and think that the status quo is worth preserving, worth defending, worth conserving then more fool them.
The Labour Party has to be about helping people fulfil their dreams. The Left has to be about change and progress and hope and idealism. Without these values, we are nothing.
This is a sometimes 'cheesey' blog about British and American politics and anything else which tickles my fancy!