What should Labour’s Clause IV actually say?

Every British political scholar has spoken about the ‘Clause 4 Moment’ in the Labour Party – the point at which Tony Blair changed the Labour Party’s fortunes around by removing the Regressive Clause IV that wedding them to nationalisation, and created a new one, the Progressive Clause IV. I write here about how that had the same effect on me of convincing me the Labour Party was now ready to use Labour values in a 21st century context.

At the election account on Friday, even the Labour MP Owen Smith said he doesn’t believe in the Progressive Clause 4 – hardly anyone in the Labour Party does. This is even more frustrating that I felt I had to leave when on paper I was a member of a party whose progressive vision of pro-business, pro-opportunity, pro-market, pro-freedom I identified with as someone from a family of three generations of entrepreneurs.

Maybe if the people in the Labour Party were to be completely truthful about what they see the Labour Party as existing to do, then Clause IV would look something like this (deleted parts marked, added parts bold):

The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more electoral wins than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many not the a few Labour Party members; where the rights we enjoy are disproportionate to reflect the duties we owe and where we live together freely, in a spirit of solidarity, without tolerance and or respect for people who aren’t Labour.

4 thoughts on “What should Labour’s Clause IV actually say?”

  1. Jonathan, you seem jaded. The rejection of you seems to be a rational response of any party to (uncommon) ideas, such as those that you hold. Your failure to get on within the party is evidence of your failings, not that of the party.

    1. I got on further in the Labour Party than you and most others have, because I have the work ethic among other personal qualities. In terms of public office, I got to the final round of selections to stand as an Assembly candidate, served as a local councillor for Labour on two authorities, stood in three public elections for them. In terms of the party positions, I was branch secretary of three branches, constituency officer for 2 CLPs, a youth officer, a Labour Students Chair, a county party and conference delegate. In 2004 I won Pontypridd CLP’s Outstanding Newcomer Award, and you can see why.

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