Should Labour lurch left?

Helen Goodman MP argues today that Labour should adopt policies that enhance liberty and equality. She says the party allowed its "bossy tendency too much free rein".

Labour MP and former pensions minister, Helen Goodman, argues today that, as it considers how to respond to the coalition government, Labour should adopt policies that enhance liberty and equality. Labour, in power, allowed its “bossy tendency too much free rein” and allowed other parties to “outflank us rhetorically and criticise our record on equality”.

In a new paper, published by Left Foot Forward, “Stuck in the middle? Should Labour lurch to the left or stay on the centre ground?“, Helen Goodman – who is supporting Ed Miliband in the leadership race – uses a liberal/authoritarian axis and an equality/inequality axes to argue that:

“There now seems to be a growing consensus (which I share) that we need to become more “liberal”

“[We also need] more energetic policies to deliver social justice and better communications [of those policies].

In relation to civil liberties, Ms Goodman says:

“we gather that in the coalition negotiations AV and the abolition of the DNA database were offered. On reading this, many of us were left wondering why we’d had them in the manifesto anyway! …

“there is also a good case for arguing that actually the last government did allow Labour’s bossy tendency too much free rein – and not just on the big issues like ID cards – also in allowing the development, especially at local authority level of a risk minimisation culture which is self-defeating.”

On equality, Goodman asks:

“How was it that despite the fact that our policies in government and our prospectus for the future (minimum wage, tax credits) were way more distributive than those of the opposition parties (inheritance tax cuts etc.) they were able to outflank us rhetorically and criticise our record on equality?”

Download the full paper here.

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