What Was The 2020 Vision Forum All About
As Charles Clarke and Alan Milburn insisted many times, the launch of their big policy debate forum website had absolutely nothing to do with the Labour leadership contest. Mr Milburn insisted debate was not about Gordon Brown. Mr Clarke said there were two issues running side by side - the leadership and the future direction of the party. The timing of the launch, the fact its very existence, and the fact that the two men launching it were on record as having doubts about Gordon Brown had already ensured that the two parallel issues would become blurred, however.
Even though the two men appeared absolutely genuine when they said their launch is nothing to do with the leadership, there was no doubt in anybody's mind in Westminster that anti-Brown factions were still desperately seeking another candidate.
Nevertheless, Mr Milburn and Mr Clarke had long been arguing for a policy debate to refresh Labour in power and had made weighty speeches on the issue. Politics, they maintained, was not about the future nor the past. After ten years in office Labour needed a new vision and new policies if it was to successfully meet the future challenges faced by the country and the wider world. Winning future elections, they said, required the Labour Party to renew itself intellectually, politically and organizationally.
But there were some signs, despite their assurances, that they had concerns about Mr Brown and his style of leadership. Mr Milburn spoke of the need for a dialogue not a monologue. He also said Labour would not achieve future success on the basis of gratitude for past successes. They both said future policy direction should be a matter for the whole party - and wider electorate - rather than one person. Renewal, they claimed, could and should not happen behind closed doors. It would require an open participatory debate in the Party, amongst its supporters and with the wider public about the future direction for New Labour.
It was time, they said, not just to take stock but to set out the new ideas that could give New Labour renewed momentum. In order to avoid a Conservative victory at the next general election they felt the Labour Party needed to set out a compelling vision for the future rather than simply relying on what they had achieved in the past.
Renewal could not be about going back. It had to be about moving forward. That is what The 2020 Vision was set up to facilitate. It's founders spoke of radical reform, for a progressive purpose – to make for a fairer society. They spoke of looking to policies that empowered individual citizens, rewarded aspiration, spread opportunity, tackled intolerance and inequality, provided security, protected the environment and that were internationalist not isolationist. They claimed to seek a style of politics that was based on dialogue, debate and devolved power.
Charles Clarke and Alan Milburn set up The 2020 Vision Forum to discuss the direction of the Labour party after Tony Blair's time as prime minister came to an end. Many viewed it as a vehicle for Gordon Brown's political opponents to create an axis against him. This website is dedicated to discussing what the 2020 Vision Forum was all about.
The 2020 Vision forum was stated to be about looking to the world a decade or more ahead, about identifying the new challenges the world would face and the new policies needed to implement progressive values.
It was an open forum for individuals and organizations who believed in New Labour’s renewal. The 2020 Vision aimed to facilitate a wide-ranging debate about the future of progressive modernization. Through an interactive website, publications and regional and national events, the forum was described as seeking to encourage the development of ideas and policies that could contribute to progressive reform.
The 2020 Vision initiative's mission statement maintained that renewal required an open and participatory debate, with Labour Party supporters and the wider public taking part.
The main tool that enabled this debate was the website, which was an open forum for individuals and organisations. Participants could register to comment and take part in a variety of discussions in different areas of interest including ‘Constitution’, ‘Environment’, ‘Trade Unions’, ‘Economy’ or ‘Empowerment and politics’. They were also organising events to address different topics. Please contact us if you would like to know more.