Finding New Solutions to New Problems

In the age of big data and digitalisation, fewer jobs in the workplace, and instant and broad-based communications, producing a modern vision for the country is essential. What was once seen as modern, isn’t modern now. The term ‘modernisers’ has often been associated with centrists. It was an ideology that defined the third way politics of Blair and Clinton.

But now, we need new solutions to new problems. Our thinking needs to shift from narrowly held beliefs and entrenched factionalism. Our approach must adapt to the challenges our country faces in a rapidly changing world.

The nature of work has changed dramatically in the last decade. The gig economy has shown us the vital role our trade unions carry out in protecting us at work. The Taylor review commissioned by the government reinforced the strongly held perception that in the name of creating flexible working conditions, many large corporations were instead trying to subvert our hard fought rights, won through the trade union movement.

With an ever-changing workforce, ideologies once perceived to be traditionalist or out-of-date – like state ownership of public services – have gone from being viewed as an unnecessary practise to an essential way of ensuring there is a positive balance between capital and labour.

The challenges above should remind us of our common endeavour as a movement. In recent decades, the dividing lines between the left and right of the party have shifted from ideological differences to a simple rejection of any policy that is tied to the opposing side. Our arguments and debates around policies are now more susceptible to the simple notion of ‘for and against’, and in many cases whether the person is “anti” or “pro” Jeremy Corbyn.

Instead we need to revert back to the Keynesian message of ‘when the facts change, we change our minds’, and have the humility to be honest when changing our position.

Under Jeremy Corbyn the centre ground has shifted. Standing on an open, honest and left-wing platform enabled our party to hammer home a refreshing vision for the country, capturing peoples imagination and beating all expectations.

People in the party often talk about where to go from here and you’ll often hear, the word ‘compromise’. The phrase that has been used in the past by modernisers is ”compromise with the electorate and make sure you take the country with you”. This approach needs to be used now when looking at our party. The modernising centre-left needs to change so that it can adapt to a party which is much more left-wing and help create those new solutions. We need open and honest discussions beyond our factionalism. We should focus our energy on the future of our workforce so that we can develop new solutions to the new emerging problems we will all be faced with.

With party conference round the corner, the conversations and arguments we have need to shift from what is left or right, to what is simply right for the country.

By Abdi Duale/@AbdiwaliUK 


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