Monday, December 13, 2010

What advice will Richard Grayson give Labour?

Ed Miliband announced today that the former Liberal Democrat policy chief Richard Grayson will be contributing to the Labour Party's policy review. I fear that the Labour leader may be disappointed with the outcome.

I knew Richard when I was a member of the Federal Policy Committee for several years. I found him an amiable figure and it turned out that we had both attended Hemel Hempstead School at different times. In fact, the same teacher had taught Richard, his father and me.

But my chief memory of Richard's part in the committee's work was that he could get impatient if members proposed ideas that stood outside the social democrat mainstream. Perhaps that it was one reason why in that era the Liberal Democrats produced so many "us too" documents that could equally well have come from New Labour.

So if Ed Miliband is looking to Richard Grayson to leaven Labour's thinking he may be disappointed.

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Richard Grayson said...

Well, I should probably apologise for being impatient. But your post is being used by Andy Mayer on Liberal Vision to justify a claim that I find compromise 'hard'. I said in response:

Not sure how you just justify that, and even the piece you link to doesn't say it exactly. The 2001 manifesto which I co-ordinated and is something I'm usually described as co-author of (with Matthew Taylor) was one massive compromise operation (too often perhaps) in which I spent much of every day for well over a year arranging and agreeing compromises.

dreamingspire said...

Richard G was on BBC R4 Today before 0700. I must listen to it again. If, Richard, you read this, could you tell us what time you were on? And maybe a bit about what you said?

Richard Grayson said...

I was on about 6.50. It was an odd piece. I'd expected to be asked about why LDs should talk to Labour, and on what subjects. Instead, I was asked about why I am critical of the coalition and why I don't just join Labour. Because I was actually trying to answer the questions, I didn't get to make my key point which is why, when LDs and Cons are already talking about an agenda beyond the coalition agreement, we wouldn't also talk to Labour if we are really pluralists?