Predistribution and ‘One Nation society’ unions

THIS week has been ‘One Nation week’ on the blog site LabourList and it is just over a month since Ed made that feted conference speech. There can be little doubt now that it galvanised the troops and stimulated thinking. With one little phrase Ed was able to offer a critique of the existing social order under the Tories, whilst simultaneously offering the hope of a better one under Labour.


Such duality of purpose is the sweet-spot sought by practically all political neologisms – which probably explains the perennial popularity of a phrase first conjured up by the 19th century Conservative Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli. Yet the ‘One Nation’ concept is perhaps best understood as putting into poetry the prose of Ed’s previous three big interventions.


The ‘Squeezed Middle’ described the problem; that living standards are in decline and have been for some time. Between 2003 and 2008 disposable income fell in every UK region outside of London as the proceeds of growth simply did not reach the pockets of ordinary working people.


‘Responsible Capitalism’ provided the aspiration, outlining a vision of the fairer, more equal society we wish to build.


Finally, ‘predistribution’ outlined Ed’s political methodology, his process of creating change in a tough economic climate.


Despite the derision with which it was greeted in some quarters of our movement, it is this last point, ‘predistribution’, that is most significant for Trade Unions. Read More…