David Miliband launches Obama-style “movement for change”

Inside former foreign secretary’s web launch: why Labour lost and how it can rebuild in the 21st cen

David Miliband has this evening launched his new online campaign -- davidmiliband.net -- to build a "movement for change" and help him win the Labour leadership race.

Addressing a small group of observers in Westminster, the former foreign secretary gave a frank assessment of why Labour lost the election, saying the party needs to become a "movement" again. The website carries a "practical" look at why the election was lost. However, Miliband sounded a note of optimism, saying it was an "exciting time to be on the centre left of politics", and that an "interdependent" world called for "social justice".

Tom Harris, the Labour MP for Glasgow South, who was first to declare for David Miliband -- even before Miliband did -- said that "David is the candidate for the leadership who can win".

The website will enable ordinary members of the public to organise meetings and discussions to discuss political change. It will have a chat forum as well as regular blogs from Miliband.

The site has echoes of the innovative online campaign launched by Barack Obama. Users can donate to the Miliband campaign but also to the Labour Party, and a third of sums given to the drive will be donated by Miliband to Labour's fighting fund at the next general election.

The site will list non-Labour supporters of the campaign, as well as MPs and senior party supporters.

"The broader the base, the more likely you are to strengthen party membership," Miliband said.

When I asked him to expand on his admission that Labour was not enough of a "movement" at the last election, Miliband re-emphasised his point when he launched his campaign: that Labour now has a "responsibility" to become the progressive, centre-left movement that wins over Lib Dems who did not want to crown David Cameron

"They ran on a ticket to keep the Tories out," he said, "but they kept them in." He added that the party must be "pluralist".

Miliband's new slogan is: "Bringing Labour together -- leading Labour to power".

James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.
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A global marketplace: the internet represents exporting’s biggest opportunity

The advent of the internet age has made the whole world a single marketplace. Selling goods online through digital means offers British businesses huge opportunities for international growth. The UK was one of the earliest adopters of online retail platforms, and UK online sales revenues are growing at around 20 per cent each year, not just driving wider economic growth, but promoting the British brand to an enthusiastic audience.

Global e-commerce turnover grew at a similar rate in 2014-15 to over $2.2trln. The Asia-Pacific region, for example, is embracing e-marketplaces with 28 per cent growth in 2015 to over $1trln of sales. This demonstrates the massive opportunities for UK exporters to sell their goods more easily to the world’s largest consumer markets. My department, the Department for International Trade, is committed to being a leader in promoting these opportunities. We are supporting UK businesses in identifying these markets, and are providing access to services and support to exploit this dramatic growth in digital commerce.

With the UK leading innovation, it is one of the responsibilities of government to demonstrate just what can be done. My department is investing more in digital services to reach and support many more businesses, and last November we launched our new digital trade hub: www.great.gov.uk. Working with partners such as Lloyds Banking Group, the new site will make it easier for UK businesses to access overseas business opportunities and to take those first steps to exporting.

The ‘Selling Online Overseas Tool’ within the hub was launched in collaboration with 37 e-marketplaces including Amazon and Rakuten, who collectively represent over 2bn online consumers across the globe. The first government service of its kind, the tool allows UK exporters to apply to some of the world’s leading overseas e-marketplaces in order to sell their products to customers they otherwise would not have reached. Companies can also access thousands of pounds’ worth of discounts, including waived commission and special marketing packages, created exclusively for Department for International Trade clients and the e-exporting programme team plans to deliver additional online promotions with some of the world’s leading e-marketplaces across priority markets.

We are also working with over 50 private sector partners to promote our Exporting is GREAT campaign, and to support the development and launch of our digital trade platform. The government’s Exporting is GREAT campaign is targeting potential partners across the world as our export trade hub launches in key international markets to open direct export opportunities for UK businesses. Overseas buyers will now be able to access our new ‘Find a Supplier’ service on the website which will match them with exporters across the UK who have created profiles and will be able to meet their needs.

With Lloyds in particular we are pleased that our partnership last year helped over 6,000 UK businesses to start trading overseas, and are proud of our association with the International Trade Portal. Digital marketplaces have revolutionised retail in the UK, and are now connecting consumers across the world. UK businesses need to seize this opportunity to offer their products to potentially billions of buyers and we, along with partners like Lloyds, will do all we can to help them do just that.

Taken from the New Statesman roundtable supplement Going Digital, Going Global: How digital skills can help any business trade internationally

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