At the start of this year, we took over as co-editors of Renewal from Ben Jackson. Ben left us, in his last editorial, with a surprising and counter-intuitive claim. At a time when the media’s only story about Labour seems to be one about division and infighting, Ben wrote that the labour movement is not as divided as we think. There are, he wrote, three key agendas that we can agree on and coalesce around. These are: first, the left’s abiding focus on tackling inequality; second, the devolution of power (as Labour put it in 1974, ‘a fundamental and irreversible shift in the balance of power and wealth in favour of working people and their families’); and, finally, uniting inspirational movement politics and an effective election-winning machine into a workable synthesis.
These are three of the key themes that we’ll be pursuing in the pages of Renewal in coming issues, along with other big questions like climate change, political narrative, Englishness, and work. In our first issue of the year, Stewart Wood reviews important work on the ‘predistribution’ agenda and asks how it can help tackle inequality. Ken Spours and Patrick Diamond debate how the left can compete with the Conservatives’ determined construction of a narrative and electoral coalition which appears to dominate Westminster politics. Eunice Goes analyses Ed Miliband’s strengths and weaknesses. Emily Robinson examines Englishness and the left. And Danny Dorling asks the big question: what is politics really for?
In issue 2 of this year, we’ll be looking at local government innovations and the devolution of power; in issue 3, we look more at political narratives and the Tory party. And in issue 4, we’ll pick up again on the big question of equality and inequality.
We’re also launching our new blog today, to publish shorter reports and responses to articles, to continue the debate. Next week, Alan Finlayson will report back on the Norwich seminar with Ha-Joon Chang and Johnna Montgomerie that was held recently as part of John McDonnell’s ‘New Economics’ series.
Anyone interested in writing for the blog or journal, please get in touch with us: firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome standalone pieces or responses to articles or blogs. We’re particularly interested in articles on the issues mentioned above, but we also welcome pieces on a broad range of topics relating to left-wing policy and politics, from members of the labour movement and the left more broadly.