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David Milband tells Total Politics that he would run for the leadership of the Labour Party again:

On accusations of a lack of commitment to winning the leadership: “That’s nonsense,” Miliband retorts. “I’m proud I did it and I would do it again. It’s a very important part of my politics that we’re a movement, not just a machine. When we are a machine, we lose. We’ve got to become a movement again if we want to win. And I want us to win.”

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At some point in the next four years we are certain to see a referendum on Scottish Independence. Will that vote be the end of the United Kingdom?

No. The United Kingdom remains as strong an institution as it has ever been. Devolution, a process started and finished by the last Labour Government has ensured that the outcome in that referendum will be a “no” vote. Now that there is a Tory – Liberal Government in Westminster, which will inflict spending cuts which will disproportionally affect Scotland a vote for independence would seem to be inevitable.

That would be true, if it were not for the Scotland Act, Devolution and the Scottish Parliament. These institutions allow Scots to protect themselves from a relatively hostile Westminster Government. Alex Salmond is the man that Scots have supported in this difficult time for Scotland. The Scottish National Party, having won an overall majority in the Scottish Parliament after an election in which they barely mentioned independence for Scotland. The SNP must be careful not to be overly hubristic after their success. They have one a victory. They will not win another in the fight for the future of the United Kingdom. As things stand, the Scottish public are overwhelmingly against independence. This will only potentially change for one reason.

The Conservative and Unionist Party.

If that Party now uses Scotland as a way of meeting their targets for spending cuts, they may be the force that causes the Union to collapse. Of course, the smart move politically would be for the Tories to support Scottish Independence. At the last General Election, Labour won 41 of Scotland’s 59 Westminster seats. Without those seats, Labour would have only just won a majority in the House of Commons in 2005. Scotland has been called the “Jewel in Labour’s Crown”. The Tories could never win in Scotland. They could however, stop Labour from winning. The Tories could easily find themselves in a position where they could rob Labour of that Jewel, and Crown forever. Labour as a governing Party could be consigned to the history books. Scottish independence would be significantly less advantageous for Scotland than having a national Labour Government. A Scottish Government would find it near impossible to maintain valuable Scottish services such as the NHS at their current levels. Devolution will protect Scotland in the years to come. Independence would destroy it.

For Labour to win the next General Election, and for Scotland to maintain it’s standing the Union must remain intact.

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The “People’s Platform” will be a collaborative effort between numerous politically interested individuals. It will include essays on areas of policy that Labour could improve on to be more in tune with its members and supporters, but is independent of the Labour Party, and does not necessarily represent the Party’s views. It will also include input from supporters of other political Parties, with ideas on how Labour could appeal to a broader base. These will also examine Labours past achievements, like the NHS, and attempt to present a vision for the future. The finished collection of work by Labour supporters will be submitted to the “Refounding Labour” initiative.

If you are interested in writing for this project, as a number of people have suggested they are, please email me a suggested title or theme to: Harry.Langford [at] btinternet.com.

Ideally, the proposals will be somewhere between 500-1500 words long, although both longer and shorter pieces will be warmly welcomed. They could be on Labours history, particularly the legacy of the last Labour Government, and how these achievements could be built on.

The idea of this collaboration is not to push one ideological view. It will incorporate many different ideological perspectives, from across the Labour family.

Some topics that have already been suggested include:

Constitutional Reform

The Economy

Business

Defence

The Link with the Unions.

Clause 4

The Middle East.

The NHS

Any and all other topics will be included in this work.

If you have a more specific idea of what you would like to write, please leave a comment below so that others can see it!

The deadline date for submissions is Wednesday the 29th of June, with publication set for the 1st of July.

If you are interested in this idea, I would appreciate if you would tweet the link to spread the word about our project!

Many Thanks,

Harry.

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‘No confidence’ in David Willetts, say Cambridge university dons (Guardian): http://gu.com/p/2pf38

BBC Panorama: minister orders investigation into ‘inhumane’ care home (Telegraph) http://bit.ly/ldb2vh

Sepp Blatter pulls off biggest masterstroke of his long reign (Evening Standard)  http://t.co/6wjJ9EY

Manufacturing growth falls to 20-month low (Reuters) http://t.co/F0BHI6D

Mobiles ‘may cause brain cancer’ (BBC) http://bbc.in/mvNnCF

Spain Underscores Food Safety Amid E. Coli Outbreak (Voice of America) http://t.co/gMRzZgX

Yemen slides into civil war (Christian Science Monitor) http://t.co/pkO75IY

Planned GP consortia could lead to chaos – and top-down diktats (Independent) http://ind.pn/iAmItI

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Rally Against Debt

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The Rally Against Debt is currently underway in Parliament Square. Turnout is said to be between 100-250. 183 people have “liked” the event on Facebook. Later estimates by the Met confounded all expectations. 350 people attended!

For comparison, between 250,000-450,000 people attended the “March for The Alternative” and 8,000 people attended the Hardest Hit march through Central London.

It’s says a lot about the popularity of the campaigns. One seeks to cut, as the placards say “harder, faster and longer”. The other seeks to protect jobs, and protect valuable frontline public services which are being cut by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government. Would the same marchers support plans to cancel all “Third World” debt?

If only 150 people turn out to defend the Governments economic strategy, maybe the Treasury should turn to their “Plan B”

UPDATE: Rumours on Twitter that Toby Young missed the rally to go to an exhibition at a publicly funded museum. You couldn’t make it up….!

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