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Labour Can Be the Party of Aspiration, Aspiration, Aspiration

27/05/2015 12:28 BST | Updated 26/05/2016 10:59 BST

As the Labour party embarks on its path back to power following a second general election defeat, it has to do so by embarking on a pro-business and pro-aspiration agenda. Labour should embrace the achievements of its most electorally successful leader ever, Tony Blair, and build upon New Labour by creating a progressive party which is able to defeat the Tories in 2020.

The Labour Party will have a new leader in place by September, and will need to rebuild a party that is fit for the modern age and is able to offer a better way for working and middle England. It is possible to be pro-business and pro-wealth, while at the same time fighting poverty, cutting the need for food banks and offering hope and aspiration to the millions of people across the UK who want to do better for themselves and for their families.

It doesn't necessarily matter than there is more than one Blairite standing for the Labour leadership, what matters is that the Labour Party risks becoming irrelevant if it doesn't move to the centre ground where the electoral fight is. If the new Leader shifts the Labour Party back to its natural comfort zone on the Left then Britain will not have a Labour Prime Minister in Downing Street in 2020, it's as simple as that.

There are millions of people - including children - in poverty across the UK, over one million people have used food banks for the last five years, and there are millions more people on housing waiting lists.

Labour needs to build on the successes of New Labour by working with not against businesses for a national living wage which will lift working people out of poverty. The national minimum wage is something the Labour Party should be proud of, but the difference between a minimum and living wage is often the ability to eat a hot meal, put food on the table and heat your home. Labour needs to offer hope and aspiration to the many. With the Liberal Democrats now in meltdown with a mere eight MPs - Labour has a great opportunity to win over those social democratic voters who are searching for a new home, before they're won over by the Conservative Party's claims of being 'the party for working people.'

Labour has a choice - embrace our roots within the Labour movement and work with the trade unions and businesses to improve the lives of our fellow countrymen, and become an electorally successful centre-left democratic party which is able to abolish poverty, is able to embark on a national house building programme, and is able to offer people a hand up not a hand out as Blair once said, or shift to the Left and become an electoral irrelevance and allow the Conservatives to remain in Number 10 for years to come. I know which I prefer.

Tom Scholes-Fogg, co-editor of the book What next for Labour?

This article was first published on Progress Online