Credibility Deficit pamphlet wins prize

I had a very pleasant surprise on Saturday at the Fabian Society AGM, when I won the Jenny Jeger Prize for the best Fabian publication of the year, for the pamphlet Credibility Deficit - How to rebuild Labour's economic reputation.

The prize was organised to commemorate Jenny Jeger, lifelong Fabian and Chair of the Society in 1984. It was a real honour to be recognised in that way and I was genuinely lost for words. I should note here the acknowledgements in the pamphlet, particularly to Tom Hampson and Ed Wallis for their work to make it happen.  At one point they were being inundated with emails from me each day with last minute tweaks.

I'm pleased too that the pamphlet, launched in September at the Labour Party annual conference, is proving durable. People are reading it (which is a good thing) and engaging with the arguments I make about how Labour can restore its economic credibility. I'm looking forward to taking the message to Fabian Society branches in the months to come, and debating the issues at the Fabian Society's New Year conference.

Stephen Beer, 14/11/2011

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St Paul's Institute survey published

The institute publishes its delayed report on City opinion

The St Paul's Institute, based at St Paul's Cathedral (scene of the Occupy tented protest), has published its delayed report on City opinion.  The link is here.

The report states that in a survey of over 500 finance professionals, most believe City people are paid too much and 75% believe the gap between rich and poor is too large.  Many seemed unaware of the nature and impact of the 'Big Bang' of 1986, when established (and in many cases restricted) practices were abolished.  Only 14% knew that the London Stock Exchange's motto is 'my word is my bond' (though that is not to say that they do not hold to such a principle).

The survey seems to kick off a project the Institute is working on and it posted up a number of related comments from people today.  But the report is on the survey (it includes a response from Peter Selby); I'm waiting for the informed theological input.  it is worth looking at the Church Investors Group report on executive remuneration, published almost two years ago.  It looks at executive pay from first principles.  It tells investors they should start by looking at the lowest paid and then the gap between the highest and lowest in companies.

The financial sector desperately needs to know how to promote virtuous business practices and how to limit incentives that work against that.  The Church is well-placed to offer insight here, though the window of opportunity to do so will not be open forever.

Stephen Beer, 07/11/2011

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