Progress – the New Labour pressure group – and Biteback Publishing have come together to launch ‘The Purple Book’ in September 2011. A full list of confirmed contributors will be available shortly. We are pleased to announce that the leader of the Labour party Ed Miliband will write a foreword to the book.
The book will set out a winning agenda for Labour in 2015 by addressing the challenges Britain will face in 2020. It will focus on the redistribution of power and the rediscovering of Labour’s non-statist tradition. Its focus moves beyond the traditional New Labour concern for empowering public service users, to the question of how we redistribute power in the economy, society and the state more widely.
The Labour party is currently going through a thorough and wide ranging policy review. The Purple Book aims to give the best of the non-statist Labour traditions a footing in forming a winning coalition for Labour.
- Why purple?
Purple is where red meets blue; it’s the centre ground of British politics where elections are won.
As New Labour is the only governing philosophy to win a general election for two decades, its signature colour – purple – is fitting for a project about the progressive centre-ground of British politics.
- Is this like the new Blue Book being put together by David Davis?
Nothing of the sort. Davis’ project appears to be about dragging the Tories to the right and returning them to the ground upon which they fought and lost the 2001 and 2005 general elections. The Purple Book is about crafting a modern, centre-ground agenda which will help Labour win the next election.
- Is this like the Orange Book?
The Liberal Democrats don’t have a monopoly on the use of colours in book titles. Robin Cook and Gordon Brown co-authored The Red Book in the 1970s, long before The Orange Book.
Any superficial similarity in terms of an apparent shared concern to move away from statist solutions is now irrelevant; in government, the Orange Bookers have abandoned much of what they claimed to stand for by signing up to a Tory agenda which claims to be about devolving power from Whitehall and Westminster but is delivering nothing of the sort.
- Is this about positioning Labour to form an alliance with the Liberal Democrats?
Progress is all about how Labour wins the next general election; not how we can get to some parliamentary figure which will allow us to cobble together a coalition with a thoroughly discredited party.
Progressive centre-ground Labour politics does not come for free.
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