Earlier this month the English Labour Network held an event in Stockport, to discuss the politics of England and how Labour can better represent, and win support from, English voters.
Andrew Gwynne MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (for England), gave a powerful and wide-ranging speech on how we can empower the people of England, on a radical English history that we can be proud of, and how Labour can deliver meaningful change. Here’s a segment of his speech, which you can watch below:
“That sense of Englishness is about values – about who we are, our sense of place. It doesn’t matter what your religion or social background is, we share those values.
“Voters share our ambitions for the country. (They share) Labour’s policies, but if there isn’t a connection with Labour on sharing identity then we have some work to do.
“We’ve been doing a lot more work on how we communicate with those groups aligned with our policies, but couldn’t quite vote Labour in 2017.
“We’ve got to think about how we deliver these radical policies in the best long-term way, and that means devolving power and responsibility down to local communities.”
We also heard from Cllr Jude Wells on the importance of place, the role of local government and bringing power back to communities. [Video to come.]
And, speaking at the event, the English Labour Network’s director John Denham said:
“People who say they are English are often those English people who think things have gone against them for the last 30 years, living in places that have lost their original economic purpose. If they are angry, if they voted Brexit, it’s because, frankly, no one was listening to them and, they reasoned things could hardly get worse. They thought politicians didn’t understand their lives. Labour has to show we are different: that we will give them a voice and power.
“A majority of voters say political parties should stand up for English issues. But the key group is around a third of voters, people who are ‘more English than British’, who want England to be more democratic, but don’t think any party really stands up for England. Labour has to be that party.”