Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The OpenLeft Project

With the UK currently witnessing the final death of the New Labour project, thoughts are beginning to turn to what comes after. Not in terms of government - sadly, that answer is likely to be a Conservative government, which makes New Labour look good by comparison - but for the left. In an effort to find an answer, the Demos thinktank has launched the OpenLeft Project:

Open Left is about rediscovering the Left’s idealism, pluralism and appetite for radical ideas. It starts from a belief that the future of the Left requires a new openness for a new era of open politics:
  • Idealism: open about its political values and goals.
  • Pluralism: open about disagreement and debate.
  • Radicalism: open to new ideas and policies.

We want to hear views and ideas from across the family of the Left, whether people identify with a political party or not. We welcome debate about political values and goal, and don’t presume to have a monopoly of knowledge about how to bring about effective and enduring change.

We are starting by asking an essential but contested question: what does it mean to be on the Left today? We’ve asked ten leading Left wing thinkers to answer six questions about their political motivations and beliefs. Check out what they said and then contribute your own perspective.

There's some interesting essays up already - check out Polly Toynbee's, or Billy Bragg's - but also a few too many by Blairites desperately trying to spin themselves a future.

Meanwhile, The Standard suggests that it "wouldn't be a bad idea here". I agree. The New Zealand Labour Party did not betray its base in anything like the same way the UK one did, but it still needs to reconnect. This sort of two-way conversation about ideals and principles would help.

[Hat-tip: Crooked Timber]