A Manifesto for England | Hywel Lloyd

While much of the Labour family is rightly occupied with their local election campaign for tomorrow, some of the early steps in preparing for ‘The English election’ of 2019 (elections in 192 District Councils, 47 Unitaries and 33 Mets on 2nd May ’19), began last week.

Labour:COAST&COUNTRY (LCC) brought together seven of our newer MPs for a policy dinner, along with a small group of coast & country stakeholders, kindly hosted by Baroness Jan Royall, and supported by Calor UK.

A wide ranging discussion highlighted many of the issues that non-urban CLPs also report to us at branch and whole CLP meetings, in whichever part of the country they reside, including the following examples:

  • The issues of education provision, the challenges of reduced provision in non-urban areas, the lack of choice and of access, and the consequences for opportunity and social mobility;
  • Of housing, and how some of the worst housing provision, and the greatest challenge of availability and affordability occurs in coast and country areas across the UK and England;
  • If you are poor outside of a city it is much harder to deal with, and less is available to support you and your family; with these services also being as decimated by austerity as urban public services;
  • And that in many parts of the UK there is now a dearth of transport that could be called ‘public service’ transport – no trains, and few buses . . .
  • The importance of understanding that many of these issues are about how the communities, of coast and country, can thrive, and are much the same, albeit with a different scale and density, as those facing urban communities that Labour more readily represents;
  • How to ensure funding for local services properly reflects need, and how services can be delivered to reflect local settings and circumstance;
  • And finally the wider question of representation – how does Labour properly engage with, and be seen to engage with, the whole of the UK, and England, so as to have a better chance of governing the whole of the nation.

Only with such a whole nation view, and a whole nation view of what’s fair, might we get near to addressing the fundamental causes of Brexit and the divides between remainers, and leavers; those from somewhere or anywhere, so as to be able to be the next government of the United Kingdom.  Which led us to consider where policy solutions might lie:

  • As one participant put it, key are polices that will lead to change which takes a whole nation view of fairness, balance and every child, and citizen mattering;
  • So we will need to think about funding for places and local government;
  • About procurement and how it works for communities;
  • About digitisation, when connectivity continues to be an issue;
  • And about how more local decision making can support local communities more effectively;
  • And how to be the community (re) investment party;
  • Building on the assets that communities have, as well as addressing the needs yet to be met

Labour stands at a cross roads – for the first time in a long time it has hundreds of members in every part of the country, in every constituency – they could be a platform for a Labour government that could run the country for the many, that recognised the issues facing communities of coast, country and city are often the same.

May 2019 would be the time to pick up this baton to run with a Manifesto for England; helping prove Labour’s national appeal across the many and varied places that make England what it is.

LCC will be developing these ideas for the shadow cabinet and colleagues to consider in the summer, as they start focusing on the challenge of May 2019.  If you and your CLP have examples of good ideas and delivery that address these issues, or others that affect coast or county communities, please do drop us a line at info@labourcoastandcountry.org.uk.


Delivering for coast and country to deliver a majority

Heartlands, 35%, core vote . . . most people in the Labour Party know where to find many of our voters. And yet when we have won the defining elections of the past 70 years, in 1945, in 1964, and in 1997 we have won with Labour votes and Labour MPs in seats like Hastings.

Communities of the coast and the countryside helped deliver a significant majority on each of those occasions, providing the platform for Labour to govern on our terms.

We will need them again if we are going to form a majority government in 2015. Within the Party’s 106 target seats more than 21, or one in five of these constituencies has a sizeable coastal or country element to the seat; and that’s without considering those seats such as South Swindon or Southampton Itchen where communities have close connections to their coast or country hinterland.

So even if you are happy to put aside the rural history of the Labour movement, and the Tolpuddle Martyrs; or ignore the implications of One Nation, there is an electoral imperative to hearing, reflecting and representing Labour on the coast and in the country.

Labour Coast & Country is one part of addressing that electoral imperative.

It is important to acknowledge and build on the work of others including those who have interrogated Labour’s so called “Southern Discomfort” or worked on the Southern Taskforce, or Third Place First. These have all helps focus on some elements of the challenge of representing non-urban Britain, or the organizing that’s required from members, CLPs and the Party centrally.

Labour Coast & Country (LCC) aims to add continuity and reach. The continuity will come from being a dedicated organization set up to work within and across the Labour movement, a sort of SERA for non-urban Britain. LCC will support Labour candidates and CLPs across non-urban Britain and campaign on the issues that concern the millions of people who live outside the major cities of Britain. After all Labour is on their side as much as it is those who live in cities.

And it is important to have national reach. While the local political response of people in coastal and community areas might vary from east to west the substance of many of their issues is the same. As a national party Labour needs to understand those issues to have any chance of crafting a political narrative and policy offer that will engage and deliver.

And we can do it, Hastings is just one example where Labour has succeeded, has delivered for that community and is well place to succeed again.

Labour Coast & Country is a growing network of activists from all parts of non-urban Britain, working together to promote One Nation Labour, to reflect the issues and opportunities of the coast and countryside and to help delivery the Labour representation these communities deserve.

Such Labour representation will deliver a majority Labour government and deliver for them, as well as our heartlands, the 35% and our core vote.

Hywel Lloyd | Founder Member, Labour Coast & Country

See more at: http://www.progressonline.org.uk/2014/06/27/delivering-for-coast-and-country-to-deliver-a-majority/

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Labour: Coast & Country.

Why does Labour: Coast & Country Matter?

Why does  Labour Coast and Country matter for me – and my local friends here in Sussex by the Sea? Well, the name is the clue – it is relevant to where we live. But why do people like us in places like this need another organisation?

Let me explain my personal viewpoint. I am a late convert to progressive politics and activism. A long career in industry encourages a too-ready acceptance of capitalist values, even despite a long interest in moral philosophy and marriage to a lefty. The Iraq war lit a flame of anti-Establishment; the hypocrisy of the LibDems made them intolerable; and the callousness of the Tories created the determination to support principled politics. But how? I live in an artificial constituency: one not geographically cohesive, with no epicentre for its collection of small towns and villages. It is rural, agricultural and a lovely place to live, albeit we are surrounded by thousands of Tories and [U]Kippers. Labour has no chance of winning a seat at any local or national election. We have just 200 members in the whole constituency and a CLP barely able to function, let alone able to expand. So how can Labour supporters, people who care about society as opposed to just themselves, have their voice?
First, we have found and bonded with fellow members locally who feel similarly isolated. We formed a discussion group through which to give vent to our passions and articulate reasoned policy thoughts. Second, we have looked for a way in which our small number can become more meaningful, by linking with other like-minded minorities nearby or further afield. In Labour, Coast and Country we found the potential means for this – if only it has the means to develop. By connecting digitally with other rural and seaside groups and individuals who have similar political and economic issues, we hope to create the critical mass which will demand attention to these issues. This alone will reduce our sense of isolation and increase a sense of value to the Party. We are already seeing this in our local networking with neighbouring CLPs, with whom we are collaborating in fund-raising events, to get the excellent Nancy Platts elected as MP for Brighton Kemptown – Labour, Country supporting Labour Coast.

Tom Serpell

Website Relaunch!

I’m delighted to announce that, after far too long a period of technical problems, this website is back on and operational.

And so, alongside our other sites on Facebook and Twitter, we want to hear from you.

What campaigns or events do you have planned?
What do you think Labour: Coast & Country should be concentrating on?
Do you have policy ideas?
Campaign ideas?
Would you like to share a story?

Please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Support Us

We can’t do this alone.  If we truly are to give a voice to Labour’s rural members, improve Labour’s rural and coastal policy and begin the process of winning support from rural voters, we need your support.

In the coming weeks, we will have the facility for you to join online, but in the meantime, download the membership form.

We can’t wait to get started, and we look forward to welcoming you to the Labour Coast and Country campaign.