Saturday, November 27, 2010

How Is Labour To Become The "People's Party" Again ?

Ed Miliband (above) has called on Labour activists to take the term 'big society' back from the Conservatives and for Labour to become the "people's party" again.

Launching a major policy review, he said the party must move beyond New Labour to reconnect with the public's aspirations after "losing its way". See here for the details. Then see here for his earlier letter to the Dronfield Labour Party Discussion Group.

This policy review will be at the centre of our next Discussion Meeting which is to be addressed by Richard Caborn (below). For details of that meeting see our right hand column.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What Matters Most Is How We Think

Our last discussion meeting was addressed by Danny Dorling (see photo) and was previewed here.

His telling talk covered the subject matter of his fine book "Injustice : Why Social Equality Persists" which was published earlier this year.

Danny stimulated a fine discussion and a lot of serious thinking. Thirty people attended on a Sunday evening and there was general agreement on the significance of the meeting.

Earlier he was interviewed for the radio programme "Little Atoms". Just click here to listen to the telling nature of what he has to say. In his book he argues "...what matters most is how we think". Stimulating the type of thinking he is after is, of course, exactly what our discussion meetings are about. So we could not have had a better speaker. We now know much better what we are up to.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Business of the Committee

This is Natascha Engel our local MP in North East Derbyshire. Soon after the General Election, the Commons established its first ever Backbench Business Committee and Natascha was elected in a ballot by MPs from both sides of the House to serve as Chair of the new Committee. Towards the end of the last Parliament a vigorous debate took place in the Commons as to whether such a Committee should be established and, if so, what its make-up and powers should be. In December, Natascha addressed our Discussion Meeting on the issue. As a consequence, over the following three months we ran a series of items on the matters involved which can be found here, here, here and here. Natascha has written an article on the role and workings of the new Committee which is published today in the MPs' own journal "The House Magazine". This is a crucial update on an issue which our discussion group has carefully been following. The purpose of this present item is to provide a link to her own key update. It can be found here. On the 18th of November 2010 she also made a speech on the issue shown in this video.


For a description of what happened at 10 Downing Street the day that Margaret Thatcher resigned, this is not to be missed. It gives hope for those working for the end of the present Coalition Government.

I first found out about Thatcher's resignation in the cloakroom of the House of Commons when a gleeful Tory MP, the late Geoffrey Johnson Smith beckoned me over to read the news on a teleprinter. He was a Tory who certainly wasn't crying. He was as joyful as a Sunderland Supporter who had just watched his team win 3-0 at Chelsea. How many Tories will be like that when the Coalition ends?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Injustice : Why Social Inequality Persists

Daniel Dorling is Professor of Human Geography at Sheffield University. Earlier this year Policy Press published his latest book "Injustice : Why Social Inequality Persists". He is to address the next meeting of the Dronfield Labour Party Discussion Group on this key topic at 8pm on Sunday, 14 November.

Simon Jenkins has described him as "Geographer Royal by Appointment to the Left".

Richard Wilkinson co-author of "The Spirit Level" states "beliefs which serve privilege, elitism and inequality infect our minds like computer viruses. But now Dorling provides the brain-cleaning software we need to begin creating a happier society".

His book has also been described as "at least the equal of The Spirit Level" in this review. Whilst Nancy Krieger of the Harvard School of Public Health states "for injustice to flourish, inequality must appear as natural, normal, innate and inevitable. Danny Dorling, in this impassioned, empirical, and hopeful book, skewers ideologies that justify injustice - and reminds us that a necessary step towards creating a better world is collectively imagining it is possible."

Daniel Dorling who undermines the five modern tenets of injustice, viz:

•elitism is efficient;
•exclusion is necessary;
•prejudice is natural;
•greed is good; and
•despair is inevitable.