THE BLOG

The Beckett Report Doesn't Need to Say Something New, It Needs to Be Authoritative

15/01/2016 20:57 GMT | Updated 14/01/2017 10:12 GMT

When I decided to create a petition calling on Jeremy Corbyn to release the Beckett Report, looking into why Labour lost the last General Election, I didn't know quite what to expect.

I've never started a petition demanding anything before and certainly thought its chances of success were slim but today 500+ signatures later and with the intervention of a small number of high profile parliamentarians the headlines of the report have been released with a promise that the full document will be published next week.

It's said that Dame Margaret and her task force made a number of key findings. In his report on BBC Radio 4's World at One political correspondent Iain Watson revealed that after much deliberation a conclusion was drawn that Labour's policies last May were not too left wing but that the party failed to shake off the myth that they couldn't be trusted with the economy.

Similarly the electorate didn't connect with the party on important issues such as immigration and benefits, and to a large extent it was felt that Ed Miliband wasn't a credible leader.

Perhaps most concerning it appears the leaked report confirms the importance of an issue raised time and time again on the doorstep 8 months ago, the perception that a Labour government would be beholden to a dominant SNP north of the border.

The condemnations of Dame Margaret's report have already started, 'it could have been written within milliseconds of the result' or that it is 'anodyne'. That is, however, missing the point.

It's entirely possible that the findings of the Beckett Report are essentially the same as previous ones, look no further than John Cruddas' much swifter independent inquiry.

Certainly many activists would agree that the earlier Cruddas report bore resonance from the campaign trail.

The point is, however, that Margaret Beckett's report was commissioned to be an in depth quantitative and qualitative analysis.

As interim leader Harriet Harman said when announcing the task force "No stone must remain unturned as part of this work. We need forensic analysis of the data - swing, turnout, where we did well, where we didn't. But numbers alone won't tell us what we need to know."

No one is asking that Dame Margaret comes up with something new, they are asking that her report is authoritative in order that it can be used by the whole party to move forward. It needs to outline data, it must provide testimony from both activists and voters.

I very much hope that the Beckett Report will be part of a healing process that is necessary after the damaging splits of the past few months, only time will tell.

Now can someone tell me do all petitions bear fruit so quickly? I can see them catching on.