Towards a More Resilient, SME Friendly Rural Economy

As a One Nation Labour Party we need to expand our horizons beyond haphazard thinking on rural issues in order to secure a sustainable economy for Britain’s countryside and reach out to the rural electorate. What must be recognised is that rural areas are subject to an intrinsic ‘separation’, a root cause of so many…

A Coast & Country Report from the NPF

The penultimate weekend of July was one of the hottest of the year when sensible people were heading to the coast or country. However members of the National Policy Forum were instead gathering in Milton Keynes to finalise our policy platform for 2015. As part of the National Policy Forum, Ed Miliband gave an excellent…

Delivering on the politics of the periphery

Three years ago in Progress I wrote about the need for what we would now call One Nation Labour. Welcome as this approach is, I remain unconvinced that we have a coherent rural and coastal programme to campaign on, that makes the new brand credible. Whilst the Tories take their rural heartlands for granted, and ideologically reject…

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…

A Rural Manifesto for 2015: further calls.

In considering the particular needs of rural communities and individuals, the Labour Party must appreciate that these are as much in and of the mainstream as city-dwellers. We share the same concerns for the big issues of the national economy, defence, jobs, immigration etc. A Rural Manifesto focused solely on our special issues would be…

Campaigning in Rural areas – quick guidelines.

The Rural Group of Backbench MPs that operated throughout our 13 years in power did invaluable work to raise the profile if Labour in rural communities. What it established beyond doubt was that Rural Britain faced exactly the same issues as Urban Britain, but that the scale and sensitivity of the way in which they…

The Rural Manifesto proposal: empowering rural Labour

“Your most precious possession is not your financial assets. You most precious possession is the people you have working there, and what they carry around in their heads, and their ability to work together” These words by Robert Reich help explain the purpose of the Rural Manifesto: to maximise the potential of the Labour movements…