I was at the Fabian’s Next Left conference on Saturday, and anyone who saw me there will know that I am supporting Ed Miliband for the leadership of our party. I think he is an ideal candidate, warm and engaging, thoughtful and not afraid to push back on a question – or to say I don’t know, but then make sure he does find out. I thought the speech he gave was inspiring and principled (I actually welled up to hear a Labour politician talking thoughtfully about class, something we have tried to ignore for too long). Ed’s record at DECC was exemplary, and through my work with SERA and my interest in climate change issues I am aware of how far he brought us and the passion he has for taking Britain into a new era in a compassionate, fair and progressive way.
The issues that arose at the Fabian conference got me thinking about what we need in a leader and what I would want the whole slate to commit to or think about.
So here are some questions all our candidates should answer, some specific, some on direction and principle, that will help to focus the debate, and the answers and discussion of then would help us to renew as a party, a movement and as an electoral force.
1. Will you restore the vote to conference, and if so, what measures beyond this would you take to make our party more democratic?
2. What will you do to ensure that never again will we have a position where there are no female candidates in the contest for the Labour Party Leadership?
3. How should a left-of-centre party, in opposition to a Right-of-Centre coalition conduct itself in opposition?
4. If you were forced in this contest to be defined by one key policy proposal, what would it be?
5. How do we articulate a progressive and (small l) liberal vision of an active and pro-active state?
For me I think these cover the areas of vision and leadership, without tying them down to policy specifics that they may decide would be best discussed through conference and other bodies.