Why Labour members should join Centre
Why members of the Labour Party should support the Nordic model and Centre
Throughout my time in politics, regardless of my party affiliation or where my political views are I have always had one constant; Being a member of Centre.
Liz Truss has already made a fairly disastrous impression as Prime Minister. Already we have seen her take the Conservatives to the Libertarian right with her disastrous economic policy and the UK will also see a return of fracking. They have trashed their reputation as the party of law and order with barristers striking over their creation of a broken, unjust legal system. The Conservative party has destroyed their carefully crafted image as an economically competent and pragmatic party.
With the polls now very heavily in Labours favour it is now time for Labour to look at and set out what it will do in government. Starmer has shown that when Labour does step up it can already achieve a lot for those most affected by Tory failures. The Conservatives pursued Labour’s windfall tax after its typical crash course of U-turns and even had to nationalise the Northern Rail service which paid homage to Labour’s nationalisation principles. Labour is now putting forward sensible policies to both increase energy supplies and green energy production with a nationalised energy company (funnily enough a set of policies that Centre has advocated for months).
To continue this record, the Labour party needs to now put forward a simple but clear vision for exactly what a greener, fairer UK should look like. It is one that can unite the country and the party along with creating a long-term identity for Labour as a party that wins over public support, something the conservatives have successfully and unjustly done with their (formative) image on law and order and economic competence.
Support policies that unite Labour and the country
There are so many policies that Labour could adopt where there is already both broad public support and support within the party. These range from Proportional Representation to cannabis legalisation and giving people dignity in dying. On cannabis legalisation Labour needs to embrace that as the Tory consensus begins to falter, accompanying policies such as the war on drugs need to go. The safest and most efficient method as proven by multiple countries is to regulate cannabis. In order to crush the black market and ensure safer consumption weed must be brought into governmental regulation where revenue earned can be invested into the NHS.
Labour should also listen to its members and scrap First Past The Post. Proportional Representation, when not turned into an almost unrecognisable form by the Lib Dems who instead went for the Alternative Vote referendum in coalition, is an incredibly popular concept. What could communicate to voters more that labour wants real, systematic change than improving the very system they use to voice their democratic will. A simple and popular way to show how Labour wants to enact sensible but meaningful systematic reform ensuring those feeling left behind and alienated by decades of a distant, Westminster Centred politics can be and feel more heard.
There is also broad support for the Dignity in Dying campaign and its aim to legalise assisted dying. Labour must, in setting itself in contrast to the uncompassionate Conservative authoritarianism, embrace scientifically approved ways to ensure those who wish to die on their terms can pursue a safe means of doing so. Social policy is as key to voters as economics in more normal times. Embracing this social policy shift sends a signal of a Labour party that values compassion and individual responsibility, again appealing to moderates and the traditional left Labour base.
Finally replacing Council Tax with a Proportional Property Tax. Such a policy not only embodies Labour’s roots in eliminating inequality and thus doing away with regressive policies, but it also appeals to the more moderate Conservative and the average vote concerned about the unsustainable national debt from covid spending and tory Tax cutting who would welcome more budget restraint. By dismantling the regressive and extremely outdated Council Tax with a Progressive Property Tax, Labour can save financially and geographically poorer households hundreds of pounds a year in tax cuts while still increasing the amount of revenue the treasury receives by billions. It is again budgetary, fiscal responsibility that still holds true to Labour’s redistributive values.
Learn from the Nordic countries
The type of centrism that Centre supports is based on the Nordic model which funds public services and focuses on boosting the economy from the bottom up via SMEs and the average Briton. These Nordic inspired policies would help Labour to reach out to both disaffected One Nation Conservative and those in the red wall seats who previously voted for the Labour Party.
This vision can create a Labour Party that not only benefits from Conservative missteps but can also set out its own vision for the country. On the one hand it strengthens and cements Labour’s reputation in creating strong and resilient public services that work to tackle social and economic inequality as well as improve and serve the lives of millions. On the other it sets the reputation as a party of economic competence that supports both businesses and workers, recognising the ability of both to communicate and work together to drive productivity as well as break the age-old lie of the trade-off between a strong welfare state and public services and economic competence and fair taxation.
If this is a vision for the Labour Party that you share then make sure to join us and get involved as we increase our work within Labour. We are an open political movement that seeks to work with people from across party politics to achieve our vision of strong, resilient public services and a fair, free market so we have an economy that everyone can reap the rewards from.
About the author
Alumni Network Chair
Pushkin was previously on the executive of the Young Liberals and is now a member of the Labour Party. He has worked with candidates from multiple parties during election campaigns, mainly supporting them with his knowledge of digital campaigning.