Sunday, 4 September 2011

Ed's Clause I Moment

The Guardian is today reporting that Ed Miliband is ready to make his mark on the Labour party by rewriting Clause I of the party's constitution.  In drafts of the proposed changes seen by the paper there is a focus on the principles of community organising in an attempt to get members of the public who may support Labour, as well as disillusioned members who feel disconnected to the party, more involved with the Labour movement.

This is a great idea for the right moment.  Miliband has recently begun to impress a lot of people who had slight reservations this time last year when he was elected as leader of the Labour party.  His performances at PMQ's have improved and his conduct during the phone hacking scandal and the recent riots were both politically astute and measured.

Now with a chance to stamp his authority on the party and lead the fight against the coalition he is finally ready to show us his vision for the party in the next three years.  Some may say that he has taken his time, but it does seem that the party needed time to listen to the concerns of the public and then put forward a strategy for change.  Putting community organising at the heart of this vision is a good start and Miliband can do no worse than look across the Atlantic and gain inspiration at the way community organising still works today for Obama.

It will be interesting to see the role trade unions, faith groups and local youth organisations play in Miliband's new vision for the Labour party.  He will have to balance a tight line of not being seen too close to the trade unions, at a time when strikes next year could further cripple our public services, whilst also helping the trade unions in their fight against the coalition's austerity measures.  This will be hard.

It will also be hard, but also a good opportunity, to be seen to be doing something in response to the recent riots by trying to get younger people in areas affected by the cuts more politically active.  Who knows, such a move could bring in a new generation of Labour supporters and members who otherwise would never have involved themselves in the politics affecting their communities.

There still are a lot of questions to be answered, but September is shaping up to be an important month for the party.  It looks like a trip to the football mecca that is Liverpool isn't the only reason The Urbanite will be looking forward to the party conference this year.  It looks like we are also going to be enjoying the making of Ed Miliband's Labour.

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