Neal Lawson’s and John Harris’s major piece in the NEW STATESMAN recently, “The paradigm shift”, lays out a reasonably-ambitious set of ideas for a genuinely revamped policy programme for Labour under Ed Miliband’s leadership, that Lawson and Harris call “New Socialism”. There are important omissions (e.g. there is much talk of manmade climate change and even of questioning the desirability of further economic growth, but no mention of the concomitant and vital issue of the preservation of biodiversity; and there is surprisingly little commitment to a far more equal society, a la Wilkinson and Pickett, that could be achieved by a mixture of much more progressive taxation and equal ‘carbon rations’); but the direction of travel is certainly welcome. What Lawson and Harris are recommending sounds, in other words, like at the least a sort of ‘lite’ version of the Green Party manifesto.
If the policy reviews that Mr. Miliband has now initiated come up with proposals similar to those recommended by Lawson and Harris, then that will be good news for this country. But I would strongly advise against any breath-holding.
And here is my question for the increasingly-pluralist members of Compass, Neal himself included: If the policy review process does NOT take Labour in the direction of a ‘New Socialism’, then will Socialist-minded Labour members accept the implicit logic of “The paradigm shift”, and join the growing Party that already has most of these policies on tap…namely, the Green Party?