'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Would you like to know Labour's new media strategy? I think I've worked it out.

The main domestic political news of the day today is the launch of a Lib Dem led Industrial Strategy, launched by Vince today - here's the key part of his speech...

"I think there is a read across to the way we approach our economic future.  We need to take the same approach: a clear, ambitious vision; the courage to take decisions that bear fruit decades later; openness to new opportunities as they develop; focus on the things we do best; and an enduring commitment far beyond the normal parliamentary timescale.

For example: how do we respond to the long-term challenge of major structural changes in the global economy – the rise of the East, the aging of the West, environmental sustainability.

Some will always say the best thing – the only thing – the Government can do is get out of the way, laissez-faire. This ignores not just the recent success of the Olympics, but the successful experiences of countries as diverse as Finland and Germany. Indeed, so many other countries who have successfully shaped their economic future, including countries like the USA where the rhetoric of markets often obscures the reality of long term planning and good organisation.

I have made it clear how much I disagree.

The Government shapes the British economy with its decisions every day. 

Through its spending on skills and universities, on research, on technologies, and on infrastructure. Through what it buys, and how it goes about buying it, the regulations it sets, the markets it oversees, and tax policy. Through the support it offers to businesses to export and to invest here in the UK

Ignoring this reality is not a policy – it is just negligence." 

Wise words and I suspect hard to disagree. 

Indeed, Labour doesn't disagree. Here's how the Labour Business Shadow was seen to respond in The Guardian...

Chuka Umunna, the shadow business secretary, largely agreed with the Cable strategy, but questioned whether Cable had the support of the Conservative wing of the coalition for his proposals. He said: "Cable must give business certainty to invest. This means aligning government support, departments, higher education, skills and regional structures to his strategy. Sadly these have all been thrown into disarray by this government."

Now, we know that Labour has engaged in a Vince Cable love in at the moment, but I suspect there is more than just wooing Vince to this strategy.

I think the strategy is to try and 'own' Lib Dem policies - partly because they are good ideas in themselves, and partly to say to the party 'you will only get these through with Labour - because with the Tories, you can't rely on them to vote in the right way'.

Rachel Reeves last weekend was talking about another Lib Dem policy - wealth and mansion taxes... and saying how happy she would be to discuss them with the Lib Dems

There's more to this than general love bombing and the usual stealing of policy (which we've got used to over the years). This seems to me to be about a deliberate message to Lib Dem grass roots ahead of conference that Labour will deliver firm policy commitments.

If that's true, I hope the Vince et al are extracting written promises from Labour along those lines, so that the shambles of a Labour negotiating team what we saw in 2010 isn't repeated. in the event that a Lib Lab coalition is where the electoral arithmetic finishes up.

As we know, the Blair promises in 1997 turned out to not be worth the paper they weren't actually written on.....

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