The mutual moment
As we seek to rebuild the economy there has never been a time in which the co-operative and mutual ideal has been more important.We need to pioneer a new way of doing business that will underpin the long term stability of this country’s economy and ensure that all,not just the few, will be able to share in its rewards.
Perhaps the most important thing the financial crisis has taught us is that in the modern world, no country is able to solve all of its problems on its own. As we face the greatest challenge to the world economy in modern times, the looming catastrophe of climate change and the continued emergency of global poverty; co-operation between nations has never been more important.
We also need to find new ways to rebuild faith in our political system and democratic legitimacy. This requires us to find new way to increase participation and devolve power within our society. Local communities must be given the right to participate in decisions that affect their lives through partnerships with government.
From foundation trust hospitals to co-operative trust schools, we are already seeing the benefits that new mutual organisations are bringing to public services. These can provide the efficiency gains of the private sector whilst providing real democratic accountability,giving users, employees and other stakeholders a real say in how their organisations are run. If we are serious about creating a new politics, then giving ordinary people real power over the services that they rely on is the best way to do it.
Our manifesto is also about fostering a new 21st century collectivism.Whether it’s a question of people saving their football club, their local post office or even the planet, co-operative and mutual organisation scan provide a means through which people can collectively meet their aspirations and help change behaviour for the better.
For over ninety years, the Co-operative Party has stood for giving economic and political power to everyone in our society. Co-operative values and principles are truly an idea whose time has come back. The time for action is now.