‘Perhaps we needed to tip the whole thing over’: Jon Cruddas on Jeremy Corbyn's Labour

Ed Miliband’s policy chief talks about why Labour lost and the decline of the Blairites

19 September 2015

8:00 AM

19 September 2015

8:00 AM

Shortly before the last election a group of Labour MPs approached Ed Miliband to ask him what he would do if he lost. They suggested he could provide stability by staying on as leader for a while, as Michael Howard had done, and that his last duty should be to oversee an inquiry into what went wrong at the general election. Miliband, still convinced he would win, did not entertain the idea, to the dismay of his policy chief, Jon Cruddas. After the election, Cruddas decided to go ahead and do an inquiry anyway.

The results will infuriate the Labour left. The inquiry found that Labour’s anti-austerity message put voters off. The inquiry divided Labour’s supporters into three groups: Jeremy Corbyn’s tribe of affluent, socially liberal, metropolitan ‘pioneers’; the less starry-eyed pragmatic ‘prospectors’; and socially conservative ‘settlers’ concerned with home, family and national security. As recently as last November, it found, Labour’s support covered all three. By the election only the diehard ‘pioneers’ still had warm feelings.

It’s a bleak picture. But when I meet Cruddas, he seems excited by what’s going on. ‘Something quite extraordinary has developed through the summer and a lot of it I find really quite positive,’ he says. Corbynmania even swept his own family: his mother, two of his brothers and sisters and his son joined Labour. ‘None of them joined when I stood for elected representation!’ he says.

Cruddas seems unfazed by the apparent crisis within the party. ‘Would it have been better to have a very quiet summer, and possibly a boring leadership election, with all these issues left to fester?’ he asks. ‘Perhaps what was needed was to actually tip the whole thing over.’

‘This process will force people into thinking: hang on a second, where is this party going, what are we going to do about it?’ The last time that happened, he says, was 20 years ago, when Tony Blair became leader. ‘In 1994–97 there was an ideological renewal of the party which was about the aims and values of the party.’ This led to the ‘political strategy and the development of New Labour’. So the scene is now set for ‘an equivalent renewal across the organisation, the ideology and the political strategy of the party’.

The destruction of the Labour sandcastle is good because it provides an opportunity to build something more substantial. ‘Cumulatively, I’m not unhappy about what’s happening,’ he says. ‘But it is a high-wire act.’ Given the chasm between what his inquiry found and what Corbyn and his shadow chancellor John McDonnell want to do, isn’t he worried that Labour might fall off the high wire?

Cruddas says Labour’s new leader has a vision: that the party has been ‘austerity-lite’ and failed to confront ‘neoliberalism’. ‘There is a coherence to that argument,’ he says, ‘but I don’t see how that is reconciled with the data. We find — however uncomfortable this is to swallow — the evidence suggests that actually we weren’t supported because we were seen as anti-austerity.’

What about Corbyn’s argument that the public is concerned about the deficit because no one has bothered to persuade them about the dangers of austerity? ‘That might be right,’ Cruddas says, slowly. ‘I don’t know.’ But he worries the party is talking too much to itself and not enough to voters, and that emotion may be supplanting reason.

‘Orwell always used to talk historically about the self-righteousness of the metropolitan left. You can see a bit of that coming back into play in terms of its absolutism, its purity. The danger is a chasm emerging between the membership and the tempo of the country.’ Labour needs to operate ‘on the basis of where the country is and try and contest that rather than assume [voters] are elsewhere’.

What seems to have shocked Labour MPs is they assumed the party membership was elsewhere, too, and so Corbyn could never win. Blairites are particularly bewildered. Cruddas — who nominated Corbyn but voted for Andy Burnham — has little sympathy. ‘The Blairites now can’t understand what’s going on because they are operating within a totally shrunken framework,’ he says. ‘They woke up to find a party that has totally disappeared in front of them. They don’t know what to do, and now they sound like a sect.’

Cruddas spent his summer reading Blair’s early speeches, and is struck by how different early Blairism was to what it became at the end. ‘You discover a marriage of economic and ethical Labour traditions which creates a powerful political language, and a policy agenda far richer than the collapsed project which, by the end, just fetishised some public service reforms.’ It is as if he regards Blairites as traitors to their own cause.

The collapse of Blairism created a vacuum, he says, now filled by Corbynism. ‘Labour lost that emotional power of our political project. So we became transactional, instrumentalist, remote, managerial, technocratic, blah blah blah. Then Corbyn comes in, with this ethic of principle versus power. He is allowed to put a wedge into the whole leadership thing because we’ve lost the principal ethical contribution which was, actually, the hallmark of the whole New Labour project.’

Cruddas says the new leader ‘could be’ prime minister but avoids saying whether this would be a good thing. His concern is how to rehabilitate the intellectual and political renewal he thinks that Blairism once represented. He says he is ‘not interested any more’ in serving in an official role and is instead setting up a group involving MPs and local government leaders that will use his review on why the party lost to make the case for change. ‘I don’t think this is going to be sorted out within the shadow cabinet — or the front bench in Parliament, really. It is a deeper project of renewal that’s needed which we dodged post-2010.’

‘The leadership election has shown there is a desperate need for a new platform for ideas and reform within Labour. Neither the centre right of the party or the soft left had anything meaningful to offer. This needs to be driven by ideas.’

If the party leadership refuses to do the thinking, Cruddas will do it for them. His new group might be quite useful for the next Labour leader if, as most expect, Corbyn fails. ‘I’ll be worried about where it will all end up whoever is the leader. The backdrop to this is not Corbyn triggering a crisis for the party, it’s the party facing arguably its greatest crisis in history.’

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  • WhiteVanMan

    No one has bothered to persuade them(the public) about the dangers of austerity

    Either they have no knowledge of either Greece, or labour in 1974 trying to buy its way out of a recession, or they missed the greens saying it

    Other wise they heard it and no matter how much persuading was said about borrowing to invest, they didn’t buy the idea
    And being against neoliberalism, doesn’t make you against austerity

    • mickey667

      Mate the IMF and US Federal reserve rejected austerity at least 4 yrs ago as a way out of this. Only us and Greece (who are a debt colony of german) are still cracking on in this way. It is only orthodoxy here in the UK.

      And that is on the back of a massive ideological attack (unchallenged by Labour) on the lowest paid, disabled people, people on housing benefit (almost all of whom are in work) as somehow the enemy within.

      We’ve poisoned ourselves with it. Country is bitter, mistrustful and nasty, and unnecessarily so.

      • Luke Leatherbarrow

        it’s certainly not orthodoxy in economics, the profession has been marginalised with the exception of one paper, which contained an excel spreadsheet error…

      • Frank

        Austerity is a wonderful word, helpfully obscures the fact that the government is simply trying to reduce government expenditure to a level commensurate with the government’s income. You can rant all you want, but if the government (or you) keep spending more that it earns (or you earn) the wheels will come off the bus. You do not need a degree in economics to understand this.
        The IMF recognised not long ago that it got it wrong and Britain had been right to follow this path. As for the Federal Reserve, they are in a very difficult position, want to increase rates but fear the impact that will have. Had they focussed on cutting debt, their current options might be better.

        • alexw

          You have no clue on what you are talking about. The gov is not a household where it can cut and expect other economic actors to take up the slack. It cannot simply reduce spending and think its income is independent of that as households do.

          Remember, all the things the gov spends money on provides jobs, income and work for the wider economy. It fixes a road, the private company makes money on it, that company pays its workers with it, those workers then spend the money in shops or on petrol or on utilities. Those then have an income which they also pay tax on and employ people, etc, etc.

          Private sector spending does this too of course but gov’s role (or one of them) is to balance private sector spending, so that when the private sector doesn’t spend it must to take up the slack and do the above. In a damaged economy such as we have now the private sector clearly would prefer to pay down its debts, and so by necessity the gov must do its duty and take up that spender of last resort role. The idiot Osborne isn’t doing this (he has no background whatsoever in economics) and is causing extreme damage to our economy and society as a result.

          Undertaking cuts ends up in a self-defeating cycle. It cuts spending which shrinks the economy, that shrinks tax revenue, which means the gov needs to cut spending more. The evidence on this is extremely clear –


          This is why we had a completely flat economy between 2010-2013. By shrinking gov spending as it did, the gov killed off all potential economic growth between 2010-13. The only we are recovering now is because the gov pretty much stopped all austerity in the run up to the 2015 election. Worse still to make up for absenting the gov from what it should be doing he has gone and encouraged another house price bubble. Now if Osborne turns on the austerity taps again as he plans to it will flat-line our economy once again and the bubble will bust. He is an idiot and a disaster in the making.

          • Frank

            There is a huge difference between funding acts which create economic growth and doing nothing/increasing the state’s expenditure that is wasteful. Additionally, the government is very inept at spending money, so as much as possible should be left in the hands of the public. Our very slow crawl out of recession has mainly been to do with the actions taken by the private sector and virtually nothing to do with the government’s supposedly helpful actions. I do however agree with you that pumping the house price bubble will just add to all our woes!

          • alexw

            In a demand depressed economy no spending is wasteful. If you have an unemployed person, any spending that puts him to work is better than no spending so that he ends up sitting there doing absolutely nothing on the dole. Heck even if you gave that unemployed person money to do nothing then at least his spending would create demand and work for someone else who is unemployed.

            Also you do not understand how the economic system works. It DEPENDS on gov’s and other economic actors spending more than their income. It is actually vital that they do so. That spending itself generates the growth that then generates the return to service the debts used to generate that growth. That is how a debt-based monetary economy functions. This is what we have been doing for god-knows how many hundreds of years, with nation-states including the UK running deficits almost in perpetuity. To try to do otherwise is extremely damaging and the longer we try to do otherwise the more damage that will be done to our economy.

            And lastly our slow crawl out of recession is 100% due to gov actions. The data is 100% clear on this. The austerity tap was turned off in the run up to the election, combine that with Osborne’s house price stimulative policies and well we are where we are.

          • jonkle

            Evidently, the electorate backed Osborne’s austerity measures and rejected Milliband’s anti-austerity manifesto. Are you saying that you and Milliband were right and that the electorate and Osborne were wrong ?
            That being the case, what evidence do you have, bearing in mind how wonderful a thing hinsight is ?

          • alexw

            Yes, I am saying Milliband was right – because he was.

            The electorate backed Osborne because they don’t understand economics and equate their household expenditure with expenditure by the gov. As a household if you spend £30K a year but your yearly income is £25K then the solution is to cut your spending by £5K a year right? So then gov must act the same way, right? Actually counter-intuitively that is completely and utterly wrong.

            As for evidence there is plenty –

            Austerity slows economic growth, and the more you have the greater the slowdown. Do enough and it will shrink your economy –

            That then causes tax revenues to fall, necessitating further cuts as I’ve described above (if you believe in austerity that is)

            Gov spending is not like household spending and gov can run deficits in perpetuity. I cannot find graphs that go back hundreds of years but they will show the same thing as this one –


            Almost perpetual deficits from 1966. It is not the deficit that matters but economic growth and for that you need to run deficits to invest in the economy to grow it.

            Exceedingly few macro-economists believe austerity has been helpful –

            And the difference is clear in economic outcomes between the US which did stimulus to grow their economy and the UK which did austerity and killed off economic growth –

            Thus we have the slowest recovery in 300 years including the great depression –

            Let me know if you have more questions or want me to continue….

          • jonkle

            Are you an economist ?

          • alexw

            Semi-trained yes. Self-trained also. My background is high level hard sciences but I took an interest in economics after the 2008 crash to try and gain some understanding of what happened so that I would not be blindsided like that again.

            As a result I have a deep anger over Osbornes incompetency and lies on gov spending and austerity that he has spread for selfish political reasons. He is doing deep harm and getting away with it.

          • jonkle

            And the next question, are you on the left or the right on the political spectrum ?
            Being a scientist you would realize that this might colour your judgment on economic issues.

          • alexw

            It depends. On some things left some right. Left on economics mostly because I actually understand it or a lot of it anyway. On other things such as immigration, middle of the road, I’d like controlled immigration. On others I’m not sure where I stand, for example on tax credits I’d like to see them phased out but at the same time the system changed so that there is no need for them and wages are significantly higher at the lower end of the wage spectrum. That would then force companies to invest and make their workers more productive (we are 20% less productive than France or Germany). A country becomes richer by making smart use of its people and investing in automation not by throwing more cheap bodies at tasks.

          • jonkle

            Well I’m neither an economist nor a scientist, but as far as I can understand, economics is not a precise science, too many variables and too many uncertainties. I don’t believe you can do economics in a test tube, accurately predict outcomes, then replicate them and expect the same results.
            What intrigues me most is the sense of certainty in your analysis, nobody can be that certain, not even academics who’ve spent lifetimes studying the subject.
            Are you sure there isn’t just a tiny hint that you are, perhaps unintentionally, making the analysis to fit a predetermined conclusion, maybe based on a predefined political mindset ?
            That said, I wish you well in your endeavours.

          • alexw

            You are right there are a lot of variables in economics and a lot of uncertainties do exist. But there are *some* certainties within this field, or at least things that have held true for a couple hundred years.

            A lot depends on the context – how the economy is doing at a particular moment in time. So for example if the world economy and demand across the globe was expanding strongly, then gov austerity would be fine. The gov could cut spending and that could be offset by shifting resources from the gov sector to the private sector to increase exports. But we are not in that world.

            So no I am not making my analysis fit a pre-determined conclusion. What I am saying is what the vast majority of those who have looked at Britain’s economic situation have said.

            Standard and Poor’s has said the gov should be increasing investment spending and that we would benefit from it more than practically every country in the world –

            The IMF, OECD, business groups, and square mile economists all say we should borrow to invest –

            But all this has been drowned out by Osbornes must cut the deficit megaphone.

            And thank you. It is good to have a proper discussion on these threads than listen to fanatics raving on about the evils of socialism, gov spending, or some such.

          • Tim Chiswell

            You allude to context, the global economy, and using times of economic expansion to pay down debt (refreshing to see that someone, at least, seems to understand this, as our last several Chancellors clearly havent – or else it has suited them to feign that they didnt!).
            The grand irony is that we have had 13 years of a Labour government that (I generalise here, of course) spent when it should have been cutting, followed by 6 years of a tory government hell bent on cutting when it should be spending.
            Of course both managed to control the national dialogue and perception well enough to receive popular support for doing exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time… but then that’s politics for you.
            Milliband didnt lose for being ‘too anti-austerity’ (in reality he wasnt anti-austerity at all, the debate in the election was about what kind of austerity we should adhere to, not about whether it should be practiced), he lost for being *perceived* as being anti-austerity, against a background of 5 years of the tories being left unchallenged to assert that austerity was the only option (while simultaneously increasing government borrowing to previously unheard of heights – the current national debt is more than double that which Osborne inherited… the single largest and fastest increase in British history).

          • alexw

            I haven’t looked at the pre-2008 data closely, or at least not recently anyway. Still I would not say the then labour gov should have been cutting, but rather that it should not have increased spending as it did to the extent it did and on the things it did. So it spent too much in ways that boosted internal consumption when it was an ideal time to increase spending in ways that restructured our economy away from its over-dependence on consumptive housing bubbles. Because remember if the gov had not taxed and spent, because of how our economy is structured way too much of it would have simply ended up as household consumption as opposed to gov consumption, and that would not have solved anything. What it needed to do most of all was take out the heat of the UK’s borrow to consume economy. Overall however if it had done this I expect tax revenues would have been lower which would have meant lower gov spending anyway.

            As for Osbornes doubling of national debt – that is what happens when you flatline your economy and so destroy potential future tax receipts. Sadly most people think its because he didn’t cut fast enough or hard enough. They don’t get that austerity in a time of low world economic demand is a self-fulfilling prophecy – gov spending is your income which is its income – so killing gov spending ends up killing its own income, etc.

            Myself I support Corbyn. In truth I think some of his ideas (leaving nato for example) are bat shit crazy but I’m hoping and praying that he can open up a wider debate on the direction of our economy and how it is being run. Because we are doing so much that is truly destructive for our long term prosperity, and I see noone else being willing to widen that debate. All of new labour, conservatives, lib dems, UKIP, etc, will not step outside of their narrow self-imposed parameters for fear that it will offend some subset of their voter base. TINA (there is no alternative), as Margaret Thatcher put it, dominates all discussion.

          • alexw

            Just to add if you want to learn more, there is an economics lecture given at oxford university that discusses much of what I said as well as much more –


            And discusses the reality of the UK’s appalling economic situation.

          • jonkle


        • Tim Chiswell

          Frank, you simply repeat the austerity mantra, on which its whole, shaky ideological edifice is built, that ‘government income’ is somehow a fixed quantity.
          Such assertions (along with their closely-related relatives, the metaphors that compare national budgets to family ones) do not become true simply through repitition – however much neoliberals would like to claim otherwise.
          Government income is, in reality, a highly fluid figure that falls with cuts and economic contraction, and grows with investment-related expenditure.
          By your reckoning, many of the most important industries and businesses on the planet would be deemed a failure, since you consider only total income and total expenditure, and make no allowance for capital assets and projected future income

          • Frank

            Rubbish. It is fairly simple on earth. If you spend huge sums of money on benefits, green subsidy measures, poor procurement decisions, etc, etc, you will eventually run out of government money, eventually you will also destroy the government’s capacity to borrow. There is nothing particularly unique about the UK. If its expenditure on benefits, green subsidy measures, poor procurement decisions, etc, etc, are very much higher than like sized neighbouring countries, then that suggests that you can probably trim government expenditure! Possibly you don’t remember when the UK had to beg for finance from the IMF because the government’s expenditure got out of control? I could go on but it is boring to have to state the obvious.

          • Jaria1

            I dont tell anyone how clever I am to ensure they give my opinion respect.
            Certain instances and articles however do remain in my memory.
            I should mention that i believe the Treasury has an enormous say in what the Chancellor or the day says. Some chancellors , for example the Jnion man before Brown was at least honest enough to say he knew next to little on the subject. Was Clarke that clever to form a financial policy the was working so well that Brown was forced to continue with it for several years.
            Then we have Darling and Osborne calling out for a deep austerity programme.
            This reminds me of an economist that wrote that the Lib Dems had watered down Osborns Austerity programme by so much it achieved next to nothing.
            This is why I am assuming Osborne is going to go for the deep one that Darling called for.
            Yhe Economist I mention stated our debt was so huge it was unlikely that even with the deepest austerity measures it would be decades before we could expect to balence the books.
            Not my opinion I cannot compete at the same level as those that know as opposed to say how well they understand the subject

      • Bertie

        Eh, where’s the austerity in the UK?
        In the 5 years of the coalition government the UK borrowed an extra £500bn!!!! The national Debt has risen since £740bn odd in 2010 to £1.55 trillion now. ie More or less doubled.

        If you think that’s austerity I’d hate to see your version of profligacy!

        2010 £760bn
        Where’s the austerity?


  • WhiteVanMan

    What is Cruddas new group ,saying the firings were the public thought labour were anti austerity, he ought to watch himself, his CLP is full of Jez supporters, in the north part, he could find them deselecting him ,if he speaks out.

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  • Bobby Mac

    Cruddas identifies one of the major problems in the Kendall, Burnham and Cooper leadership candidacies – the lack of vision and inspirational ideas. However I’m not sure what the new Cruddas group can achieve that’s any different from, say, the Umanna-Hunt Common Good group. Labour needs an alternative to the Corbyn vision that isn’t New Labour Mkll, but it isn’t obvious what that might be.

    • Simon

      Be more socialist in Scotland and the North and address the problems created by immigration. Not complicated really….. Someone can explain to Jez socialism starts at home. That is to say sort out the UK’s problems before getting involved in other countries… Reduce poverty created by austerity, i.e. ensure that taxes are shared equally. Ensure “good” education is not the province of the rich… Don’t sell off public housing stock (to your developer mates) created for the “poor” until more housing for the “poor” is developed, etc. Its easy to find where the Tory’s have done damage to the country.

      • global city

        To make headway in Scotland they would have to be more Scottish, rather than socialist, as it is Scottishness that is driving support for the SNP….and nothing else.

    • Sarka

      Strikes me that Sadiq Khan is an interesting chap.
      Funny how little it has been reported across the board, but having been one of the “frivolous” Corbyn leadership backers, and gained the mayoral candidacy with the help of the Left, he has now attacked Corbyn very robustly – everything from Anthem and attitude to the Queen to “silly economic policies” and flirtations with antisemites.

      The Speccie itself gave him a Most Promising Politician award a few years back. He is not Corbynite or Blairite…
      The London Mayoral campaign is going to make him very publicly visible over a longish period…And now that Khan has attacked JC, the Corbynites face rather a nightmare…a rather media-savvy Labour mayor candidate who is outspokenly critical of Corbyn while not being an obvious Blairite. He only has to do well in London (he is unlikely to win – but has an outside chance) to have positioned himself very well for a future leadership bid…

      • Bobby Mac

        Yes, I agree. Whether the country is ready for a non-white Prime Minister remains to be seen, but I think Khan will do well in London. Chuka’s advantage is that the business community likes him, but that may not play well with many Labour members.

  • Matthew

    Great interview, thank you. I only hope he works together with Hunt, Umunna etc. in their ‘Labour for Common Good’ group because I think they have lots of common ground.

  • Simon

    What no mention of the “essentially” socialist Scottish whitewash of Labour or Labours immigration policies?? If Labour had set out socialist policies in Scotland and said they would address the problems created by immigration their austerity measures wouldn’t have been so important. Still thinking like Tory-lite it seems.

    • Bobby Mac

      Labour could offer Scotland the same ‘socialist’ policies as the SNP, but I doubt that would win back many voters. Immigration is a major issue that must be tackled and it is ideally suited to the ‘Common Good’ approach. But putting together a suite of policies does not add up to a vision or narrative that will inspire Labour Party members and, crucially, get the votes of 40%+ of the electorate.

    • Clive

      The SNP are in favour of immigration.

      Labour cannot have much of a debate on immigration as long as they are pro-EU because the vast majority of immigrants to the UK come from the EU.

      All of the publicity about Syrians, etc. does not bear on the immigration issue in the UK as long as we are in the EU.

  • Clive

    The problem with Corbyn Labour and especially Corbynomics is that it is based on spending on top of the costs of the society we already have.

    This spending is underpinned by a false prospectus of savings on tax avoidance; corporate tax debt recovery and ‘People’s QE’. All of these are wrong. They have all been tried and found to have major shortcomings.

    Labour has instead to find – as it was before Corbyn came along – a way to re-prioritise spending within the limits of viable taxation.

    The problem with that is, as long as Corbyn is leader, the economics of Fairyland will dictate that there need be no such prioritisation and therefore no credibility.

    • Dan Johns

      You are imagining that there is still a link between taxation and spending. This ended when we adopted a fiat currency in 1931. Taxes are not needed to fund government expenditure. Rather, government expenditure creates money that then cycles back in the form of tax payments. Government expenditure ‘finances’ tax payments. So, in a fiat money system, there is no need for taxes to be used as a means of funding government expenditure.

      • SonOfGud

        do you often try to pick yourself up by your shoelaces?

        • Dan Johns

          That is as false an analogy as the idea that government finances are anything like household finances… you wouldn’t happen to be John Cridland would you?

  • Junius

    I see that ‘top Labour donor’ Assem Allam has offered to fund MPs who want to break away from Labour and launch a centrist party or defect to the LibDems. Mr Allam’s proposal is wrongheaded.

    Labour MPs were not elected to parliament on the platform on which Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader. They have a duty to remain as Labour MPs and to their own selves be true during their time in the Commons, and when they support or oppose government legislation.

    Mr Corbyn has been quick to claim the credit for a new-look, new-sound PMQs presenting the Commons and the public with something different. So arch-rebel Mr Corbyn can hardly cavil when MPs act according to their consciences instead of acting as old-style lobby fodder. In short, to adhere to Burkean principles of parliamentary representation. I am sure the public will whole-heartedly approve, even if local Labour party activists are less than amused.

    • Bobby Mac

      Well said.

      • Panda Bear


    • The End

      This is a very good point. No Labour MP was elected in 2015 on a manifesto of opposing Trident, the monarchy, our armed forces, or even welfare reforms and all government cuts. None. Ed Balls would have cut many billions. They can argue that their mandate (from each constituency electorate) is far more valid than Labour members and the £ 3 Twitter Trots. In fact, I think we will hear much more of this.

      • Luke Leatherbarrow

        Yet the members voted for these set of ideas being presented by Corbyn’s campaign (they aren’t definitive policies they are a consultationary proposal). Remember, many voters voted for labour with teeth-gritted reluctance, they voted against the Conservative party, not for Labour. I’m not saying all did but I certainly think it’s disingenuous at best to claim that Labour voters wanted the policies set out by the PLP. To make this line of argument is personal political suicide, to go against the party membership, and party as it is being shaped is a sure fire way to get deselected pretty swiftly… funnily enough something I think the Blairites will be keen to avoid.

        • Grace Ironwood

          Labour surely needs to look to the electorate, not the membership, to obtain the requisite mandate.

          • Luke Leatherbarrow

            To an extent, but the labour party can’t out tory the conservatives, appealing to all really appeals to no one. It needs it’s own narrative and if you don’t represent the membership who do you represent? I think a labour party that labour members and voters would like to vote for is a good start.

          • Grace Ironwood

            In most parties the members are more radical than the voters. That will be the challenge. We’ll see if one can agree with enough of the other.

            Labour doesn’t have to out-tory the conservatives, but virulent hatred of Britain is unlikely to attract many traditional British Labour or floating voters. I suppose it doesn’t tend to matter what they advocate to the (diminishing number of) tribals. Perhaps there’ll be enough Russell Brand fans for a majority 🙂

            My own concern is that it will have an effect on public discourse (as UKIP did) and normalise ideas like unilateral disarmament, “friends” like Hamas and so on.

  • Panda Bear

    I find it endlessly fascinating that groups of elites, no matter how well respected, continue to think (or is it hope?) they can come up with something to make/persuade citizens vote for them that is in line with their personal ideology. Why not just give citizens a genuine, truthful, informed, democratic choice, they will then say what they want clearly and decisively as Labour voters have just done!

    • David Lloyd George

      Yes. As did the voters at the election… Oh wait!

  • mickey667

    This is true Jon. Corbyn is a cipher for a huge desire for new principles and way forward in 21st century.

    Interestingly he has opened up to the inclusion of people to bring new ideas to the fore which itself will create intellectual renewal

    • Ishmael Whale

      Mickey, if he can’t win the Scots without losing the English he’s done.

  • global city

    Pioneers? More like ‘Pie in their ears’

    you can tell that Jeremy Corbyn has never listened to anything anyone trying to disagree with him has ever said.

    The problem for Cruddas is that all the stupidest and nastiest lefties have streamed in through the open £3 border and are intent on staying. They have captured the party much more solidly than their infiltrations of the 70s’ and 80s’ ever did.

  • Man on the Clapham omnibus

    When Tony Blair became leader. ‘… there was an ideological renewal of the party…’ Tony Blair, hated though he may be, is an intelligent and practical man albeit with a destructive liking for crusades: Corbyn is thick and impractical with batshit crazy ideas. The best Labour can hope for is that Corbyn is completely ineffective and doesn’t last long.

    • mightymark

      Shame about the silly reference to “crusades” – lost you an otherwise well earned uptick!

      • Man on the Clapham omnibus

        The addiction to crusading destroyed Blair’s reputation: I am afraid he and Bush have done irreparable damage in the Middle East, for which we are now paying the price.

  • Peter Shaw

    “Perhaps we needed to tip the whole thing over…and then dump it into the latrine where Labour belongs”…that’s the end of the sentence that they missed in the title…

  • Cornelius Bonkers

    Like other socialist intellectuals, Cruddas’ has not come to terms with the fundamental problem with Labour politics which is that it was born and prospered in the non-competitive world of the 19th and 20th centuries. Now, the mass society which has the MOST low grade zero-hours workers (as support to the high skilled wealth-producing sectors) is the one that advances in competitive terms. Labour is now a solution looking for a problem and Corbynism a sure sign of its desperation and the general public’s infantilisation…

  • huw

    gallows humour by cruddas another loon :O)

  • mightymark

    However did we manage to get so hung up on the word “austerity”?

    I understand opposition to spending cuts and also the suspicion that the Conservatives are using the need to mend the deficit to go further and “shrink the state”. I won’t comment on either view here but if they do involve “austerity” within the public sector why do we obsess with the means rather than describing the ends?

  • Ishmael Whale

    All the hand wringing about Corbynism is nonsense. Until Scotland comes to it’s senses Labour is a spent force. Might as well shake up the table and see what happens. Corbyn is the perfect foil for the hopeless situation that Labour is in. Austerity in Britain is a handout to anyone who wants it. The argument is about how big the handout should be. Austerity, Bah! Humbug!

  • Tim Chiswell

    If Labour lost in May for being ‘anti-austerity’, an assertion I would question – since we certainly lost Scotland for being not anti-austerity enough, then it was largely the result of having spent the previous 5 years making zero effort to actually question the narrative and assumptions of austerity, of allowing the tories to have complete control of the electorate’s perception, and portray an ideological position as common sense to which there was no alternative.
    Watching a Labour opposition who, 70years earlier in government had spent and invested their way out of a debt crisis more than twice as large (and created the NHS, universal free education, social housing and the welfare state while they were about it), sit back and meekly accept a radical right wing programme of wealth redistribution towards the top without challenge was a very unedifying sight.

    • David Lloyd George

      Hmmm. Why is Stafford Cripps called the austerity chancellor and the Attlee era often referred to as ‘austerity Britain’. Attlee only spent the peace deficit and spent it bloody well too! Fiscally they practiced austerity, using price controls, rationing and cutting some goverment departmental spending (mainly the military – for obvious reasons – but others too). But you know, given Attlee bought us the bomb in the first place, joined Nato and introduced prescription charges to pay for a foreign military adventure it’s fair to say in the current climate he’d be barracked as a ‘Red Tory’.

  • peterwise

    If Britain made such a hash of managing the economic downturn, why is she the number one target destination of all those migrants flooding into Europe?
    The truth is that the electorate wanted a continuity of macro-economic policy; an amelioration of austerity in favour of those on middle and low income, and a junking of the disasterous neo-liberal foreign-policy that destroyed the credibility of Blair to the extent it tainted even the economic elements of the New Labour project that remain sound, sensible, and widely supported accross the electorate.

  • peterwise

    New Labour minus the Blairite neo-liberal foreign-policy could have won the next general election. Unfortunately, by electing Corbyn, Labour has thrown the economic baby out with the neo-liberal foreign-policy bath-water.

  • amicus

    I wish I knew what “neo-liberalism” is. I know it’s bad, but have no idea why.

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  • NickyG

    My Dad has been staunchly conservative all his life and has just joined the labour party – something that leaves me incredulous. He is a religious man and he is deeply troubled by the well off and supposedly religious people he knows spouting outrage at people on benefits while boasting that they don’t fill in a tax return.

  • mrsjosephinehydehartley

    Well I think there is no “ethic of principle versus power” in truth. To pretend Jeremy Corbyns election has created a wedge which separates power from principle in this context ( the labour movement) as if to set the two against one another is artificial and rather stupid.

    A principle is a principle because it is true and correct. Power is only powerful when it’s truly and correctly applied. If power isn’t truly or correctly applied it simply doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do, and becomes wasted, even toxic, which corrupts and corrodes whatever structure that contains it. Like an old battery in a broken torch.

    I don’t think Mr.Cruddas’ research will empower anything up in a useful way..but then he’s not really looking to find a guiding light, but to create a guideline with a view to building a platform , no doubt, to stretch across the gap that actually doesn’t belong to him anyway.

  • mrsjosephinehydehartley

    Well I sincerely hope none of our elected local government reps use any of local taxpayers contributions to purchase John Cruddas’s personally measured judgements about his own inquiry.

    This is exactly why proper representatives ( elected or appointed ) together with all members of the general public must beware of the research culture which can sometimes be wielded in a way that is pretentious and fake.

  • John M

    Policies count for a lot, but when the options presented are Cooper, Burnham and Kendall, who can blame everyone for voting for Corbyn?

    The three of them are about as inspiring as the realisation that you have pissed your pants.None of them could lead lemmings to a cliff. At least Corbyn knows how to do that much.