Nottinghamshire Fabian Society: Labour and the Media



We are excited to be joined by two experts on the issue of politics and the Media on Thu 26 Nov 2015 at 19:30 to discuss Labour and media coverage.

Dominic Wring is Professor of Political Communication from Loughborough University. An important aspect of Dominic’s research focusses on the analysis of patterns of press partisanship during general election campaigns. We can therefore look forward to a data-rich and evidence-based insight into the media landscape and its political sympathies.

For an insiders perspective, we are also joined by John Hess, BBC Political Editor for the East Midlands until this year. John has reported on the Politics of the East Midlands for the past 20 years for the BBC, and we look forward to hearing his experience of being on the inside of the media reporting on politics.

Our own Scott Davidson will be chairing the event, and will of course be putting questions from the floor to our panel and look forward to a good discussion of the effect of a partisan media on democracy.

AGM: It is also that time of the year in which we are required to hold our AGM, and as such we will do so briefly at the start of this meeting. We are seeking to elect a new Executive Committee, and encourage anyone interested in a position on the Exec to put themselves forward, either at the AGM itself, or by emailing in advance to – As you may be aware, we are currently running via an acting skeleton Exec, as a result there are no existing officers reports to present, and as such we hope to have a very brief AGM to form a new Exec who can set about organising 2016’s events.

It will be held as usual at UNISON on Vivian Avenue, Nottm NG5 1AF at 19:30 26 Nov 2015 and we look forward to seeing you there. Parking available on site.

Thank you to @WCSkeptic on Twitter for the poster graphic; the Patriometer.

Nottinghamshire Fabian Society: What Now?


After a long hiatus, we are back, and have two events for you.

Our first, “WHAT NOW: Where are we going under a Corbyn leadership?” is on Tuesday 27th October 2015. 7 for 7:30pm. Unison, Vivian Ave, NG5 1AF.

We have Steven Fielding, Professor of Political History at Nottingham University and Director of the Centre for British Politics (@PolProfSteve), Chris Williamson, MP for Derby North until 2015  (@ChriswMP) and Councillor Nicola Heaton, Parliamentary Candidate in Mid-Derbyshire.

They will be discussing the future of the party under Jeremy Corbyn. We will hear from each speaker before taking questions from the floor – of which we expect there to be many.

Chaired by our own Richard Robinson (@drummerrich1).

We will also be trailing our next event, on the subject of Labour and the Media, scheduled for 26 November 2015. So save the date.

Nottinghamshire Fabian Society: The Disaster of Scottish Independence?

The position of the Labour Party, or at least the leadership and the majority of its members, on the Scottish independence referendum is very clear; it wants a ‘No’ vote. To that end it has been campaigning with Alistair Darling the leading public face of the Better Together campaign, and English MPs heading north of the border to help out. With the referendum now less than a month away it looks as though the party will get its wish with the no camp comfortably ahead in the latest polls albeit with the yes vote rising slightly.

The no campaign has followed the normal tactic in campaigning against change, mobilising what I have previously called the ‘twin miseries of cost and fear’, suggesting that an independent Scotland would struggle economically, might lose the BBC, can’t use the pound, and may, indeed, lose the Queen. However, would Scotland being independent be a bad thing?

Let’s be clear. There are two major reasons why Labour is desperate for a no vote. First, it needs Scottish MPs to contribute to a majority in the House of Commons and, second, it fears a loss of standing on the international stage and the potential loss of our nuclear deterrent.

To explore the impact of Scottish independence on election results, I looked back at every general election from 1992 onwards and recalculated the result removing the Scottish MPs. For ease, I assumed that the non-Scottish results remained the same.

In 1992, Mr. Major would have increased his majority perhaps allowing him more leeway against his Eurosceptics. The 1997 and 2001 Labour landslides would have been repeated with majorities of 139 and 129 rather than the actual 179 and 167. 2005 would have been a bit tighter with a majority of 43 rather than 66. In 2010, however, Scottish Labour MPs were key to denying Mr. Cameron an overall majority. Without them the Tories would have governed alone with a majority of 19. However much we might dislike the present coalition, be in no doubt that a majority Tory government, dependent on the support of significant numbers of Eurosceptics, would have been far worse.

If Scotland does vote for independence then what would be the consequence for Labour? With winning more difficult it would face two choices. The easy one is to continue to follow the logic of appealing to the centre ground which, without Scotland, will have moved to the right. We can anticipate a more right wing party. Quite why Progress hasn’t come out for independence is surprising. Whether this would work or whether it would just leave more voters behind, feeling that no one speaks for them and contributing to an increasing apathy about politics would remain to be seen.

Labour’s bold choice would be to try and protect a space for a social democratic party in Britain by putting reform of our electoral system in the next manifesto. Most experts expect 2015 to be another hung parliament and both Labour and the Liberals could see advantages in pushing PR through parliament before bidding our Scottish friends a fond farewell some time in 2016/17.

What of the other reason why Labour opposes independence; a fear of loss of influence in the world and potential loss of our Trident missiles? There is no doubt that Labour ministers like playing the big man on the world stage just as much as Tories do, from Bevin’s argument for us to acquire a nuclear deterrent in the first place, ‘We’ve got to have this thing over here whatever the costs. We’ve got to have the bloody Union Jack on top of it’ through to the determination of the present leadership to fund a like-for-like replacement, via Tony Blair’s enthusiasm for standing ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with the Americans. Yes, Labour people like to be at the top table alright, although how much good they do once there is certainly debateable.

Without Scotland, playing the big man becomes more difficult. Not only would we be a smaller country but we might lose access to the Trident base at Faslane unless some agreement can be reached with the Scottish government to retain it. That’s not impossible. After all, the UK played host to US cruise and pershing missiles in the 1980s. However, should the SNP continue to win Scottish elections, they are committed to being nuclear free and, therefore, what remains of the UK would need to find a new home.

That would not be easy, although Devenport is a potential alternative. However, with an additional bill of a minimum of £3.5bn in a time of austerity, and significant local opposition to be expected, a renewed national debate on the desirability of replacement at the same costs on a smaller GDP is likely. Perhaps, finally, we might conclude that there are better things to be spending huge sums of money on than weapons of mass destruction.

In this piece I have concentrated on the impact on the rest of Britain of Scottish independence. But, most important of course, is its impact on Scotland itself. How might it fare? To listen to the debate one would be forgiven for thinking that independence will either bring a utopian land of milk and honey, or reduce Scotland to an impoverished slum unable to educate itself or provide decent healthcare.

The reality, of course, is that Scotland would survive, and be pretty much as it is now for the foreseeable. Let’s accept that Scotland is more left wing than England. The likely outcomes of future Scottish elections are leading roles for Labour or the SNP, both firmly in the social democratic tradition. Conservative government, which Scotland must suffer from time to time as part of the UK, is highly unlikely. Why would Scots not want to separate themselves from their more right wing neighbours?

Will they be as well off independent or part of the union? Probably, in GDP terms, a bit worse off. But, with wealth shared more equally, might the average Scot actually be happier? We know small countries can survive. More than that, they can thrive. If I lived in Scotland I would definitely vote yes. And, if they do, we in England must remember that we can take away their poond, but we cannae tek awa’ their freedom!


Dr. Adam Spencer

Nottinghamshire Fabian Society: Faith in Politics, with Maurice Glasman and John Milbank

John Milbank, Professor of Religion, Politics and Ethics, University of Nottingham.

The debate over what constitutes a Good Society is subject to much scrutiny and is a discussion that permeates outside the Westminster Village, throughout the UK. For some the road to the Good Society was the “Third Way”, whilst others have emphasised the importance of community, cooperation and mutuality.

Still others refer to the critical role of faith and whilst Alistair Campbell once famously remarked “we don’t do God” – faith, and certainly Christian faith and action continues to inspire a number of Labour MPs councillors and activists throughout the country.  Indeed Christian socialists would refer to the faith aspect as a sine qua non of their actions.

So what role can faith really play in helping achieve Good Society, and should it play a part at all?

Maurice Glasman, Labour peer, social thinker & Senior Lecturer in Political Theory at London Metropolitan University.

Join John Milbank and Maurice Glasman on Thursday 8 May at 19:00, for what promises to be a fascinating debate and discussion.

Event is FREE ENTRY at UNISON, Vivian Avenue, Nottingham NG5 1AF.

By car: free parking.
By bus on Sherwood Rise: 68, 69, 69A, 70, 70B, 71, 71B, L12, L15, N68
By bus on Hucknall Road: 56, 57 58, 59, 87, 88, 89, Calverton Connection, N58, Pronto, Sherwood Arrow.

@nottsfabians  #goodsociety


Nottinghamshire Fabian Society: Against ‘Ease’ and Convenience in Democracy

Each year I renew my membership of the Labour Party in the same way. I sit at my desk and write a cheque. The party would prefer me to pay by Direct Debit. It is, they say, ‘easier’ for me and saves the party money. A Direct Debit would, indeed, be easier. Without my doing anything my subscription would go to the party and my membership would be maintained without any thought or need for decision on my part.

And that’s my problem. My membership would be unthinking; another bill like the mortgage or council tax dealt with as if by magic. But politics is, or at least ought to be different. Politics is about competing visions of the Good Society, about choosing between the Platonic reflections on the cave wall of different ideologies. At a more base level it is about a society determining who gets what and who benefits or suffers the consequences of these decisions. So when my membership renewal drops through the letterbox, it gives me a chance to reflect and consider. Do I still want to be a member of this organisation? Can I bear its imperfections, its compromises, its frustrations? Has the party really gone too far this time?

So I hope that the party will forgive me, but I will continue to pay year by year. I like the necessity of taking positive steps to renew, to know that my renewal is done honestly, and truly reflects my emotional and intellectual association with the party and that I am not simply a member because I forgot to cancel the Direct Debit in time.

For similar reasons I despise the postal vote. I understand and accept that some people need a postal vote, for example if they would be on holiday or working away on Election Day. But the drive to recruit ever more people to a postal vote leaves me cold, and uneasy about our democracy aside from legitimate concerns about the potential loss of the secrecy of the ballot and scope for corrupt practices. Those with postal votes vote earlier than those of us who vote in person. They miss one or two weeks of the arguments of the campaign. They decide on even more imperfect evidence than the rest of us. Consequently, their votes are less considered than those of folk who turn up on Polling Day.

Of course postal voting is ‘easier.’ Put your cross in the box and pop it in the post box on the way to work. Easy-peasy, no effort required. Again, that’s the problem. No effort required. The choice of who runs our council or who forms the government is important. It matters. Surely such an important decision deserves a bit of time, deserves a deliberate and concentrated effort? The walk to the Polling Station offers a few minutes to think, to consider the candidates. A quick check of the names of the proposers – ooh, the woman from number 60 is a Liberal! – a brief social interaction with the staff at the polling station, and then a moment in the booth. A read through of all the candidates and a silent ‘Thank you’ to them all for standing and upholding democracy by so doing and then, stubby pencil tied to the booth in hand, hovering by the name of the preferred candidate(s) until, finally, it is done! Then walk to the ballot box and, if you are old fashioned like me, show the official mark to the clerk and put the vote into the box. Democratic duty done.

On the way home consider this. That vote means something. It might not make the difference between victory and defeat for your candidate but that’s not important. It means that on this day, we the people have come together at the same time and truly held power in our hands. We have not, as the postal voters have, just done something for convenience; performed an individual act. We have deliberately, consciously and, most importantly, collectively decided the fates of those who wish to represent us.

On Election Day we are really One Nation. Democracy is surely too important to be reduced to a question of ease and convenience. Yes, turnout has fallen over the years. But, perhaps, rather than obsessing about making voting ‘easier’ by postal votes, polling stations in supermarkets or whatever other ideas the twelve year olds come up with, we should all consider how politics can be held in higher esteem. Do we need changes in the way parliament works? Could the media report politics better? Do we educate our children in democracy appropriately? Finally, do we need to make elections about real choices, real competing visions of the Good Society or shall we just accept that politics is becoming just another reality TV show?


Dr. Adam Spencer

Nottinghamshire Fabian Society: How can the next government create a coherent Education policy?

We have three speakers with a wide range of experience in the Education sector, from across the political spectrum joining us on the 6th Feb for our debate. Don’t miss the opportunity to take part and hear three widely differing views.

Mary Bousted, General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers
Mark Lehain, Head of Bedford Free School
Philip Owen, Notts County Councillor and Conservative Party’s spokesperson for Children and Young People’s services

We will be forwarding the points raised by both the speakers and those from the floor to all 3 main political parties, so please come along and make your voice heard on this most important of issues.

You do not need to be a Notts Fabian member to attend, and we strongly encourage you to bring friends and colleagues.

@nottsfabians  #nfedu


Nottinghamshire Fabian Society: Are our mental health services in crisis?

Arun Chopra (Chair, 2011-12 & co-Secretary 2013-14) has highlighted the 36% cut in mental health beds in the NHS, since 2008, in the Fabian Review. You can read it on the Fabian Society website here, and we re-post below. Image: from the original Fabian Society post. Follow @arun_chopra



There is an increased demand for mental health services in Britain, but we are failing some of our most unwell and vulnerable people.

Last week, the Health and Social Care Information Centre published its annual report into the use of the Mental Health Act. In 2012/13, for the first time, the number of people detained under the Mental Health Act crossed 50,000 (a 4 per cent increase on 2011/12, continuing a rising trend).

The NHS bed crisis

And yet since 2008, bed numbers for the mentally ill have been cut by 36 per cent. In the last year alone, 1,700 beds were cut, representing a 10 per cent reduction in bed numbers. This massive reduction in the capacity to care for our most unwell has led to the stories that have emerged in recent weeks of people having to be admitted 200 miles away from home and; tragically, those who have killed themselves while awaiting a bed.

In August 2013, the Health Select Committee reported that Approved Mental Health Practitioners were having to detain people under the Mental Health Act, illegally, in order to secure a bed as it was almost impossible to admit people who agreed to come into hospital.

In my own practice, I’ve heard of several days in the last few months when there has been no NHS bed left in the country. The system has been stretched beyond breaking and it’s perhaps no surprise that the average city inpatient ward is a place seething with anger, threats and chaos. Small wonder that in these environments, demoralised and overworked staff are reduced to focusing on immediate risk reduction with the unwell, rather than supporting their recovery in a therapeutic environment.

In October Dr Martin Baggaley, the medical director of the South London and Maudsley Trust and one of the leading psychiatrists in the country said that mental health services in England are in a state of crisis. The Care Minister, Norman Lamb, acknowledged that there are problems, but still there is a lack of action.

How did things get so bad for mental health services in Britain, and what underlies our inability to act?

Suicide rates and austerity

Suicide rates are an indicator of the strengths and weaknesses of the system. Falling year by year since 1997, they started to rise again after 2009. The Office for National Statistics reported that 2011 saw a further ‘significant’ rise in suicide numbers, 6045 people took their own lives that year.

The idea that a nation’s mental health will inevitably suffer as a consequence of the economic recession is flawed. Both Iceland and Greece suffered with the collapse of their economies. However, Iceland rejected bailouts – with austerity strings attached, invested in health and social care, and its population has not suffered a change in health status. On the other hand, Greece’s austerity drive has led to a worsening of a host of health indicators including a 30 per cent increase in suicides.

Based on some economic indicators, the Coalition is claiming success for austerity-based policies. But viewed from a health perspective, there is little to be joyous about.

A perfect storm

Within the health service, the conditions of the ‘Nicholson Challenge’ for the NHS to find £20 billion savings by 2015 and the first disinvestment in mental health services for working age adults since 2001 (according to the Department of Health’s National Survey of Mental Health Investment) have contributed to the current crisis. Other factors include cuts to Local Authority budgets that have led to social workers being ‘redeployed’ away from mental health teams into more traditional social worker roles and cuts to voluntary sector funding that has led to the closure of many of the programmes that supported severely unwell people to find purpose in their lives.

It’s within this ‘perfect storm’ that services are cutting, slicing and re-disorganising to meet cost improvement challenges. Hidden behind politically correct jargon of ‘treatment at home’ and ‘care in the community’ beds are being cut to meet the financial pressures.

The Health Select Committee report raised the alarm that it was more than just anecdotal evidence that suggested illegal detentions. People are killing themselves while awaiting a bed. If this was happening to people with heart disease or cancer, there would be an outrage. Why is it taking so long for any action to be taken?

Private concerns

Perhaps the answer lies in the dramatic increase (32 per cent) in the number of admissions of the mentally ill to private sector beds, which is a consequence of the NHS bed crisis.

In October, the Health Service Journal reported that these admissions often cost £3000 a week in the private sector. A spokesperson for Cygnet Healthcare, a private provider, has even said in an interview reported in Community Care that the reduction in NHS beds has been one of the main drivers for a 30 per cent increase in the number of service users it had supported in 2011/2013.

These beds are often not local to the patient. At a time when someone is most unwell creating distances from family and friends is the opposite of what many people need. Similarly, the loss of the continuity of care between the NHS community team and the inpatient private provider will extend the duration of an admission and worsen therapeutic engagement.

This is the opposite of high-quality care. Whereas community mental health teams support patients as much as they can to try an avoid unnecessary admissions and there is often a discussion between the inpatient and community teams of the local NHS service about the need and expected outcome of an admission – what are the incentives that operate within the private sector and will this make clinical care better in the long term? Is this economically effective?

There are also concerns about transparency. The Health and Social Care Information Centre raises concerns that although the independent sector are now looking after a quarter of inpatients, some of the major providers are not providing required information (the mental health minimum data set) for monitoring.

We’ve been fighting a battle to keep the NHS public, and yet a portion of the NHS that supports the most vulnerable is being dismantled in this crisis. Conservative politician, Oliver Letwin, said in 2004, within 5 years of a Tory government there would be no NHS. I can’t help but wonder if the dramatic privatisation of the care of the mentally ill is more than an unintended consequence.

Stigma and discrimination

The stigma and discrimination that people with mental illness continue to face partly explains the lack of action. According to YouGov research in early October, the mentally ill are widely seen as the most discriminated group in Britain. Attitudes have hardened towards the mentally ill, and the narrative of deserving and undeserving poor has hit this group hard.

This is despite £21 million lottery and DH funded anti-stigma campaign led by leading mental health charities. Stigma can be a difficult concept to understand, but the fact that this is a group of people with relatively less power and that attracts little public sympathy has allowed this crisis to continue.

The road ahead

There is much that needs to be done. We must galvanise public support; research into the impact of privatisation on care pathways and audit the costs; and develop a workable plan to reverse or at least halt further bed closures until capacity for community support can be expanded and its safety and effectiveness demonstrated. And this needs strong leadership – both clinical and political.

Encouragingly, at Labour party conference this year Ed Miliband showed that he gets it. He described mental illness as a one nation problem – but one that we don’t talk about, that’s been swept under the carpet and how that needed to change.

In an excellent speech on mental health and illness to the Royal College of Psychiatrists last year, Miliband announced setting up a Labour Mental Health Taskforce. Now is the time for that taskforce to act.

Nottinghamshire Fabian Society: Our place in Europe, with Gisela Stuart MP & Rory Palmer



With an EU referendum on the table for after the next general election, Notts Fabians are delighted to welcome Gisela Stuart (@giselastuart), MP for Birmingham Edgbaston and Rory Palmer (@rory_palmer), one of Labour’s European Election candidates for the East Midlands in 2014.

This promises to be a fascinating debate over the future of the EU, and our place within in from the perspective of the Left. Gisela is probably Labour’s leading Eurosceptic – arguing the UK should leave the EU. Rory views, as a European Candidate, are somewhat different.

We’ll be ending with a ‘referendum on the referendum’ of our own – should Ed Miliband hold ask the public about our place in Europe, in the event of a Labour government in 2015? If so, how would you vote?

Join us. Entry is free to members, and you can join/re-new on the door. Entry to non-members is charged at £2.

7pm, Our place in Europe, UNISON, Vivian Avenue, Nottingham NG5 1AF.

NOTE: Immediately preceding the event, we will be holding our AGM (6pm, 22 Nov 2013) to elect the executive officers for next year. The AGM is open to all – and all members may vote. We will not be holding hustings, all key positions are up for grabs – and we’re after enthusiastic members to put themselves forward to lead Notts Fabians on to more great events & speakers in 2013/14.

Nottinghamshire Fabian Society: Executive Meeting Minutes 11th March 2013


  1. Present: Kevin Quigley (KQ), Lee Garland (LG), Brian Parbutt (BP), Maureen Pike (MP), Adam Spencer (AS)
  2. Apologies: Arun Chopra (AC), Nicolas Redfern (NR)
  3. Approved previous minutes.
  4. Final planning re: the 27 Mar Local Election event (‘Priorities for Labour in the County Council Elections 2013’).
    – KQ to chair,
    – MP & AS to be on the door / encourage membership renewal / joining.
    – LG cannot make the 27 Mar, so suggested perhaps: Arun could record the audio, Nicolas could take some photographs (needed to populate the website).
  5. Apologies from Nicolas, those present were keen for an accounts update at the next meeting
  6. Next Exec meeting scheduled for w/c 15th April, NR to set date according to his diary, so that we can get an Accounts update.
  7. LG updated exec on ‘Feminism & One Nation Labour’ event scheduled for 10 May. Ivana Bartoletti & Lilian Greenwood confirmed. Poster designed.
    – LG suggested we set up an ‘Eventbrite’ online registration to get an idea of audience numbers. Exec agreed. Other benefits: Eventbrite auto-reminds attendees that the event is approaching. Free to register – event free to members. Non-members £2 on the door.
  8. All memberships currently expired. In next membership email, members reminded that this year’s membership is due – can pay online via paypal, or in person at the next event/s.
  9. Exec agreed to move to membership as per financial year, Apr-Apr, on Nicolas’ advice by email. Also, good timing for 27 Mar event renewals/new joiners.
  10. LG: in the planning of the Feminism event, we have received contact from several people interested in setting up a local Fabian Women’s Network (FWN). LG suggested that the May 10 event may be a good time to launch this. Exec wondered whether Liz might like to take the lead on establishing this – if keen & time/commitments permits. LG to contact Liz. Ivana Bartoletti is keen to expand the FWN out of its hub in London, and is keen to provide speakers/events/support etc to local FWN networks. All agreed this was a good idea.
  11. FWN has been in touch re: their intake for the 2013 FWN Mentoring scheme. LG will advertise to membership & on website.
  12. LG: other potential event updates. The Equality Trust can come and speak on the topic of ‘Why Equality if Better for Everyone’, based on Pickett & Wilkinson’s research/book “The Spirit Level”. Though not the authors themselves. KQ suggested a representative from the Equality Trust might work well in a panel format. All agreed to prioritising a big-name speaker event for Autumn.
  13. LG: big name speaker updates. We have warm leads from the offices of Arnie Graf and Jon Cruddas. LG to keep up contact and endeavour to set date for Autumn.
  14. KQ: suggest Vernon Coaker another potential speaker we should approach.
    – KQ attending the Sheffield conference; will attempt to make contact with potential speakers.
  15. AOB. None.


Nottinghamshire Fabian Society: Don’t Panic! Eastleigh was a good result for Labour

An outbreak of hyperbole and gloom-laden predictions are to be expected at each by-election. After all, journalists have a lot of paper and airtime to fill and figures from all parties can be found who will say daft things and draw national-level conclusions from an election in one small place. The only consistent thing is that, for any politician, the message from any by-election will chime, almost precisely, with their own preferences.

The question, then, is can Eastleigh tell us anything useful? Well, the answer is, a cautious ‘yes.’

What Eastleigh tells us is that Labour ought not to panic. For Labour to win an overall majority in 2015 it needs the Lib-Dems to hold its marginal seats in the south and south west where the Conservatives are the main challenger. In Eastleigh, they did this. The note of caution is that the Lib-Dem vote fell in line with national polling. However, this was offset by a big drop in Conservative support.

A bad result for Labour would have been one where it had done better, attracting disaffected Lib-Dems, with the consequence that the Conservatives won the seat. That would have boded ill for 2015 and, potentially, made Mr. Cameron’s task of securing an overall majority for himself somewhat easier.

As it is, Mr. Cameron will be in deep trouble with his backbenchers after coming third behind UKIP. This, too, is good for Labour. A Tory move to the right in an electoral system requiring an appeal to the centre would be hugely welcome.

And what of UKIP? They have become the home of protest voters in by-elections, the recipients of the ‘You’re all the same’ anti-politics sentiment. While this is worrying from a democratic theory perspective, there is no evidence that UKIP support in by-elections or in EU elections (where they must be favourites now to win most votes), will translate into votes at a general election. Labour’s hope is that UKIP attracts sufficient support to deny the Conservatives in marginal seats; Labour’s fear is that it is not clear that UKIP support is taken predominantly from former Tory voters.

In policy terms, Eastleigh tells us little that we didn’t already know. Labour needs a policy on immigration that is reasonable and understandable. We have known this since 2010. Now might be a good time to come out against Turkish membership of the EU. Turkish membership is not on the cards in the near future anyway and clear opposition now would be popular with voters.

Labour also needs a narrative about where it wants to take the country. But, again, this is nothing new since 2010. For a party with a rich social democratic heritage of solidarity and equality, it is disappointing that our leader adopted a nineteenth century Tory notion of ‘one nation’ as our flagship slogan. It is an elite level shorthand for ‘We are going to the centre’ but, to historically illiterate voters, it is just a slogan, not a vision. On the vision thing, Labour can, and must, do better.

I conclude with one final thing that Eastleigh can tell us. The victorious Lib-Dem won with 32% of the vote, ahead of UKIP on 27.8% and the Conservatives on 25.4% on a turnout of just short of 53%. What Eastleigh tells us is that, under our electoral system, you do not have to be first past the post or even very close to the post to win. In a country that claims to be a democracy, this is a huge systemic failure that will need to be corrected if we are to claim to have a trustworthy democratic polity.

Dr. Adam Spencer (Vice Chair, Nottinghamshire Fabian Society)

all posts

23Labour and the Media
8What Now?

26The Disaster of Scottish Independence?
17Faith in Politics, with Maurice Glasman and John Milbank
7Against ‘Ease’ and Convenience in Democracy
19How can the next government create a coherent Education policy?

2Are our mental health services in crisis?
18Our place in Europe, with Gisela Stuart MP & Rory Palmer
22Executive Meeting Minutes 11th March 2013
3Don’t Panic! Eastleigh was a good result for Labour
14Feminism & One Nation Labour – Lilian Greenwood MP & Ivana Bartoletti
13Priorities for Labour in the County Council elections, May 2013
11Fabian Women’s Network Mentoring Scheme 2013-14
25Executive Committee Meeting 9th January 2013

29Executive Committee Meeting 7th November 2012
5AGM 17th October 2012
19Andrew Harrop joins us at our 2012 AGM
26Andrew Harrop: The future of public services – 17 October 2012
22My visit to Parliament
16Potential partners or always adversaries?
10Executive Committee Meeting 8th August 2012
2Liz Kendall MP talks to Notts Fabians #nfhealth
2Liz Kendall MP / Live Blog 19:00 – 20:30
2Liz Kendall MP: How Should Labour Respond to the Coalition’s changes to Health and Social Care?
22Annual House of Commons Fabians Tea – July 10th
28Say ‘No!’ to Referenda
14Rebalancing the public’s health over food and drink industry interests
2Executive Committee Meeting 4th April 2012
21Immigration, Integration and Identity: Has multiculturalism failed and how should the Left respond?
21Multilateral Disarmament: Good Policy, Good Politics
18Executive Committee Meeting 8th February 2012
9Britain Needs More than HS2
19Food & Nutrition Policies and Social Inequalities in Health
16Thoughts on the Fabian January Conference 2012
12Annual Conference: The Economic Alternative
10Party Politics and the Intellectual: Uncomfortable Bedfellows
2Executive Committee Meeting 21 December 2011

6Audio: The Rapidly Changing Face of Democracy
3Complexity and spoiled ballots: an inevitable consequence?
22Debate: The rapidly changing face of democracy
7Executive Committee Meeting 2 November 2011
16Minutes from our AGM
12The First AGM of the Society, Wed 12th October 2011
20Your thoughts on Lord Glasman’s talk
16Inaugural Meeting: Nottinghamshire Fabians welcome Lord Glasman