Lisa Nandy has formally joined the race for the Labour leadership, on an agenda of rediscovering local activism and reconnecting with communities across England. But what does she really mean?
When I spoke to her back in September, I asked her about the cultural rather than economic aspect of the ‘community’ agenda. Spending money on regional infrastructure is now relatively uncontroversial: what does she make of local and traditional communities wanting to protect their culture and way of life from a disorienting pace of change and globalisation? This is especially difficult for the Left, as it is often taken as code for hostility to immigration.
Her answer is a greater sense of local agency — but when I pressed her on whether a community should be free to choose even options which she might disagree with, she was less certain.
As for the Cummings approach to devolving power, she seems to think that he is reckless with liberal democracy itself, and so positions herself as more small-c conservative than him.
Have a watch…