Dear friends, I thought I would share a piece I have co-written with Nic Dakin MP and Shabana Mahmood MP for the Daily Mirror on the latest Red Shift report: Brand Labour: Communicating Our Timeless Values in the Brave New World of 2020. You can read the Mirror piece below:
Labour needs to get to back to business. With the reshuffle done, Jeremy Corbyn is right to say its time to take the fight to the Tories. But, if we want to change Britain for the better, our neighbours need to know what we’re FOR - not just what we’re against. That’s why Labour needs a ‘red rose’ moment: a new story - and a new brand - that helps explain how we’re going to use our timeless values to help families survive and thrive the fast and furious change reshaping the world around them. Under Neil Kinnock , the ‘red rose’ was a powerful new symbol of the optimism we wanted to project in the 1980s. Under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, ‘New Labour’ conveyed the dynamism of a modern politics for the new world of the 21st century. But today we need a new story - because today, Britain is changing faster than ever. The retirement of the baby boomers is triggering a huge shift which means, at the next election, the majority of voters may be over 55. New tech companies - like Uber - are triggering a revolution in enterprise – which may mean the self-employed out-number public service workers at the next election. And in a world that is ever more connected, with new powers – and new dangers like ISIL - on the rise, people want a confident, optimistic, patriotic story about our country’s place in the world. That’s why Labour’s story – and Labour’s brand – needs to move on. Labour’s values are timeless - but too many people think we’re stuck in the past. This is the image Jeremy needs to change. We need to be the party providing both rock-solid security to retired voters – and opening up the opportunities of this new age to those at work. We need a strong moral mission: not ending capitalism – but mending capitalism. Crucially, we need to renew our sense of how ‘we’ helps ‘me’; renewing the way we help people getting on by doing things better, together as a strong society. It was John Prescott who once said that Labour wins by offering ‘traditional values in a modern setting.’ Labour’s values are truly timeless – but the future looks very different now, compared to back in 1997. So it’s time for a new brand, a new story and a renewed appeal.