Saying that Blue Labour sees the need for more equality isn't enough. Only when you drop the Blue ideas will you have a politics that can actually achieve it
Maurice Glasman thinks Labour is a "tradition" which is "at its best, radical and conservative"
So far, I haven’t written again on Blue Labour beyond my original twoposts.
That’s partly because they still stand for themselves – despite further contributions from Maurice Glasman himself, there haven’t been any good answers on how Blue Labour ideas would create more (or even maintain) social or economic equality.
Arguing with Blue Labour is also a bit like trying to catch smoke. It’s intentionally vague. Supporters of Blue Labour all seem to have rather different views and endorse different parts of the ‘canon.’ And what is the canon anyway? Glasman himself calls it “a completely agitational idea to provoke a conversation about what went wrong with the Blair project.” If he’s just playing devil’s advocate, who knows which, if any, are the parts he really believes?
This is the response I posted to Patrick MacFarlane’s article on LabourList, in which he defends ‘Blue Labour’ ideas. It is a quick tapped-out reaction, rather than an article, so it isn’t at all polished!
As a response to the concerns that have been raised against ‘Blue Labour,’ this isn’t very helpful.
There are parts of the ‘Blue Labour’ agenda that I and many of us agree with. They are the parts which are not new. Reconnecting with working-class voters, who left the party in droves between 1997 and 2010, is absolutely what we should do as a party – but we don’t need Blue Labour to tell us that. It was part of Ed Miliband’s leadership election platform, for a start.
Restoring relationships and a sense of belonging in a community are good aims too. Creating more mutuals and co-operatives and involving people in the way businesses and public services are run – yes, they are an excellent way of doing that. Creating a space between the market and the state – wonderful. But again, Blue Labour cannot claim these ideas. This is exactly the work that the Co-operative Party was doing whilst we were in Government and we are doing it more than ever now. All candidates in the Party leadership election gave this agenda their support.
Maurice Glasman, Lord Glasman, a key Blue Labour proponent
There are times when you don’t know where to begin.
A group of ‘thinkers’ calling themselves Blue Labour is now calling for Labour to drop social and economic equality as its goals – on the grounds that this will help Labour to reconnect with working class.
Some of what they are saying makes sense. The Labour Party does need to reconnect with working-class voters, as Ed Miliband himself has often said. We need to end our reliance on the financial sector and the City of London, and restore a manufacturing and industrial sector across the country. And yes, we absolutely need to make the party more democratic and responsive to its members.
But don’t be deceived. There is no place for ‘Blue Labour’ in the Labour Party.