Five candidates have been nominated for the position of Labour party leader. Left Foot Forward sets out the six areas that we want the debate to focus on.
With nominations now closed, we know that Diane Abbott, Ed Balls, Andy Burnham, David Miliband, and Ed Miliband will all be on the ballot papers that get sent out in early August. Left Foot Forward is hoping to interview each of the candidates before endorsing one.
Three weeks ago, we set out some ideas for the questions that the leadership contest should address and asked for readers to comment. After a lively discussion, for which we’re very grateful, we’ve adapted the questions. These are the questions that Left Foot Forward wants answered by the five leadership candidates:
1. Economy: The financial crash and consequential recession has called into question the party’s economic assumptions. Do you believe that the Labour government was partly to blame for what happened? Do you still believe that pursuing growth is the ultimate economic goal of government? If so, how would you encourage growth and what structural changes to the economy would you want to see (eg away from financial services)? Within that economy, how large a component of GDP should public spending be? How should we pay for that? And what is the state’s role once that level has been set?
2. Environment: Tackling climate change is more critical now than ever before. In the face of fierce lobbying by vested interests, and mounting public scepticism how do we inject a sense of urgency into addressing the problem? How would you take steps not just to build a clean energy economy – vital as that is – but also to dismantle the old, unsustainable economy in order that Britain can deliver on the targets set out in the Climate Change Act?
3. Society: David Cameron asserts that Labour was responsible for presiding over a breakdown in society. Do you accept the charge that new Labour encouraged a culture of individualism? Do you think it eroded civil liberties? Do you think David Cameron is right to want a “Big Society”? How else can Labour pursue a culture of community and solidarity? How do you see the debate about immigration fitting into this? And what about the pursuit of less inequality?
4. New politics: The coalition government is now committed to a referendum on the Alternative Vote, House of Lords reform, recall, and fixed term parliaments. The Labour government arguably failed to deliver on its promises in these areas. What explains our inability to deliver full constitutional reform? Would you be in favour of a referendum that proposed a more proportional electoral system as well as AV? Which system will you advocate for?
5. The election: Labour did see a large fall in support from so-called C2 voters, but it also lost DEs. Since 1997, the party has lost five million votes. What in your view explain this? How can the party win back trust and, ultimately, votes? Where else has support been lost? How should Labour try and win it back? Trust lost over Iraq?
6. The party: Across parts of the country – particularly London, Birmingham, and the northwest – good local campaigns helped increase some majorities, hold ultra-marginal seats, and win back councils. How should the party reform to embrace this local action? How should Labour learn from the “respect, empower, include” mantra of the Obama campaign?
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