Look Left – One Nation Ed, One Nation Education, and reforming housing

Shamik Das looks back at the week’s politics, including our progressive, regressive and evidence of the week.


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• Ed Miliband’s One Nation Britain speech shook the political world to its foundations this week – changing attitudes, challenging perceptions and instilling belief.

As Will Straw wrote on Left Foot Forward, Miliband’s “One Nation” framing is the perfect strategy – setting out a positive vision for Labour, projecting a division with the Tories on their own turf and setting out a challenge to his party.

Though the speech was relatively light on policy, throughout the week in Manchester, there were fresh announcements amongst the shadow cabinet speeches, as Richard Bassford pointed out on Left Foot Forward – ideas theoretically and thematically consistent and compatible with the theory of predistribution and the narrative of fairness and responsible capitalism.

• The one policy area he did go into in detail, though, was education.

He spoke of the “forgotten 50 per cent”, outlining reforms to education and apprenticeships – giving more hope and a better future for the half who don’t go to university, so the nation can unite together to “rebuild Britain” and overcome the economic crisis.

And today, shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg expanded on the policies behind One Nation Education – which include restoring successful Labour policies Michael Gove axed from school sports targets to work experience, and launch of the new Technical Baccalaureate.

• The other major policy announcement was on housing, with Ed Balls on Monday calling for 100,000 more affordable homes to be built.

As IPPR’s Graeme Cooke wrote on Left Foot Forward, there is now a growing recognition housing is a priority not just to meet a pressing social need, but also as a key element of a growth strategy. The construction industry, for example, has been amongst hardest hit sectors in the recession. A house building boost, as proposed by Balls, would revive the sector, creating jobs and increasing demand.

For more on IPPR’s ideas on housing and the need for a fundamental rethink of strategy, see here.

Progressive of the Week:

There can only be one winner, Mr Edward Samuel Miliband, who delivered one of the great gamechanger speeches this week – now more than ever, the keys to Number 10 are there for the taking.

Regressive of the Week:

Former Tory transport secretary Justine Greening, now at DFID, whose failure at DfT to prevent the West Coast Main Line debacle makes a mockery of claims she has an “accountants eye” for detail, going through “line-by-line” all that crosses her desk. See here for more.

Evidence of the Week:

Lewis Baston’s paper for Progress, “Marginal difference: Who Labour needs to win and where” (pdf), which examines the 2015 electoral victory strategies available to Ed Miliband, looking at the voters he needs to win and where. See here for more.

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