On Saturday, 12 September, Labour will announce the results of the party’s leadership elections in the UK. The Co-operative Party, Labour’s sister party, will be watching closely.
Last week the Co-op Party organised a hustings in London, which saw leader and deputy leader candidates debate the role of co-operatives in a future Labour government. While each of the hopefuls acknowledged that co-ops do have a role to play, just one – deputy leader candidate Stella Creasy – is an official Labour/Co-operative MP.
On discussing issues such as housing, education and immigration there was talk from the leader candidates on ‘reforming’ structures, of people ‘taking matters into their own hands’ and the relevance of the principles underpinning the movement.
However, it was the deputy leader candidates who demonstrated an awareness of co-operative structures across the sector, and who talked about building on existing frameworks such as co-op schools, housing co-operatives and supporters trusts.
But co-operative solutions can be used to advance plenty of other sectors, too, and the sheer variety of co-operative solutions to contemporary issues has been brought together in a new book, edited by Co-operatives UK’s secretary general, Ed Mayo, titled The Co-operative Advantage.
The book highlights 55 opportunities for innovation facing the sector, looking at initiatives in sectors from sustainable food and retail to insurance, tourism and transport.
One such innovation is the idea of open co-operatives – co-ops that are “open about rewards, resources, finance, ownership, tax, contracts, political donations, software and data” which recognise that business can be best when it is “an intermediary for people to come together to create value, rather than an entity owned by a few for which the many create value”.
This is where the value and the advantage of co-operatives lies: in their difference and their different ways of imagining an alternative solution that puts people first. The Co-op Party – as well as co-operators throughout the movement – will certainly be hoping that Cooper, Corbyn and co will be able to spot that advantage and make it a reality.
Recently, we also have also produced special reports from the World Credit Union Conference in Denver, which saw delegates discuss millennials, disruptive innovations and the need for collaboration outside the credit union movement.
The conference also saw Anne Cochran named as Woccu’s first female president, and an event focusing on how to bring women to leadership roles.
This is very welcome news, especially in a period which has seen announcements of the stepping down of key female figures in the co-operative movement – first Dame Pauline Green from the Alliance and more recently Karin Christiansen from the Co-operative Party.
In this article
- Anne Cochran
- British co-operative movement
- Co-op Party
- Co-operative Party
- co-operative solutions
- Co-operatives UK
- Ed Mayo
- Housing cooperative
- Karin Christiansen
- Labour government
- Pauline Green
- Stella Creasy
- sustainable food
- The Co-operative Group
- North America
- United Kingdom
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