By Hamish Sandison, Chair, Labour Business
Welcome to Labour Business, the new-look (former) Labour Finance and Industry Group (LFIG). As Chair of Labour Business, I wanted to share with you the thinking behind our new name, and our aims for the future.
Labour Business – formerly known as the Labour Finance and Industry Group or LFIG – has an incredibly proud history. It is the oldest, largest, and only business group affiliated to the Labour Party. It was established by Harold Wilson in 1972 to start that conversation with the business community which Labour must have in order to win elections – as Sadiq Khan has just proved so triumphantly by being, as he said, the most pro-business candidate in the race for City Hall.
Now, I think it’s widely accepted in the Labour Party that our conversation with business broke down in the General Election last year. However unfairly, we were seen as “anti-business”. So we think it’s time to start a new conversation.
But why the new name? “What’s in a name?” Shakespeare asked. “Wouldn’t a rose by any other name smell as sweet?” Well, that may be true in the garden, but I’m not sure it’s true in politics. Despite its proud history, LFIG was never exactly a household name in the wider world.
So we think it’s time for a new name to match our new ambition – which is nothing less than to bust the myth that Labour is an “anti-business” party. A new name, for a modern Labour group, which aims to do what it says on the tin: Labour for business…Labour in business…Labour means business.
I hope you like the new name!
Our new name that comes with a renewed ambition to help make Labour the only political party in the UK that is pro-business as well as pro-worker – proving, as Sadiq told our Annual Dinner last year, that “Labour Business” is “not an oxymoron”.
I mentioned Harold Wilson. One of his great legacies was the Open University. LFIG, now Labour Business, is another of his legacies. In tribute to him, I like to think of Labour Business as “the Open University for Labour and Business” – engaging with the business community, researching the evidence, writing the arguments, debating the issues, fizzing with new ideas, and publishing thoughtful analysis like the work by Stephen Kinnock MP on The Labour Party and Business: Partners for a New Kind of Growth which you will find elsewhere in this newsletter.
If you’re not already a member of Labour Business, you should join up today and help us carry on our vital work in the months and years ahead. You can join by following this link to our website.
But much more than your money, we want your ideas, your creativity, your expertise on what it means to be a pro-business, pro-worker political party in the 21st century.
Together, as Labour Business, let’s go out and do some more myth-busting to ensure that Labour wins not just in London this year but at the next General Election in 2020.