Where's the new thinking on the left?

Guy Aitchison
23 May 2008

Guy Aitchison (London, OK): As I write this in the early hours it looks very much like Edward Timpson will be the next MP for Crewe and Nantwich having won today's by-election with around 50% of the vote - a swing which would give the Tories a crushing majority if repeated at the general election. It's a propitious moment then to ask how the Cameroon hegemony can be challenged in years to come. Where is the new thinking on the left going to come from?

This is the question Martin Bright has been grappling with today on his New Statesman blog. He notes that the "Third Way" for all its flaws had a solid intellectual underpinning in the writings of Anthony Giddens, Roger Liddle, Geoff Mulgan and others. But these figures have now retreated from mainstream politics. Where are Labour's intellectuals in 2008? Bright reckons that any renaissance will be led by women intellectuals such as Demos's Catherine Fieschi and Lisa Harker and Carey Oppenheim at IPPR.

For what it's worth I agree with Anthony that a prerequisite for any "new thinking" on the left is the recognition that the voters have rejected Blairism. Brown was popular briefly last summer because it seemed like he recognised this but in the end he squandered the opportunity to make a decisive break from his predecessor and is now paying the costs.

Perhaps Compass's major conference in just over a fortnight on "Fairness and Equality" will provide some clues to the answer. I believe Anthony will be speaking at an event there on the national question.


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