Time for Blue Labour to step up

by Kevin Meagher

Whatever happened to Blue Labour?

That was the voguish creed advanced by Lord Maurice Glasman and Jon Cruddas, among others, during the last parliament, seeking to anchor Labour in its earlier traditions of community, mutualism, localism and self-help, rejecting the excesses 1980s neo-liberalism and 1960s social liberalism alike.

As a concept, it got lost somewhere during two leadership elections, the return to red-blooded socialism under Jeremy Corbyn and the hoo-haa over Brexit.

Now, with the party at risk of losing touch with its working class base across most of England, it might have some suggestions worth listening to.

That’s the hope of organisers behind tomorrow’s ‘Blue Labour – Forging a New Politics’ conference at the People’s History Museum in Manchester.

The day will explore ‘post-liberalism’ – the generic theory of the Blue Labourites and those in other parties who are challenging the centralising, elitst thinking that has come to dominate British politics, with a greater focus on family, place and reducing economic inequality.

It will also see discussion about the threat Labour faces from UKIP – now the main opposition in 41 of the seats the party holds – and whether or not Labour can replant itself in political ground it looks to be losing.

With Labour now beached on the voter-repellent hard left until the 2020 election defeat, the party needs all the intellectual life it can muster.

(*Tickets for the event are still available by following the above link).

Kevin Meagher is associate editor of Uncut

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15 Responses to “Time for Blue Labour to step up”

  1. Warren Tarbiat says:

    I am highly sceptical of Blue Labour as an idea for the next Labour Government as it seems to be a cringy answer to “Labour keeps losing in GEs, so let’s just devolve everything”. Look at America, the Right swept local and state governments in the 2010 mid-terms, slashed things and blamed the black man in the White House and led to Trump. The Tories would then start winning local council governments when Labour is in power, slash services, blame it on Labour and then probably economically right-wing (more so than Lawson or Osborne) come into power and then able to blame the poor.

    Also in terms of practicallity you’ll be asking for the poorer (mostly Labour) areas to get ****ed essentially, those Labour heartlands from localised tax revenue. London & other Cosmopolitan would benefit from Blue Labour not the WWC voters that Blue Labour supposedly aspires to retain. Tax revenue is generated heavily in areas like London and then re-distributed towards the rest of the country which is far more effective at helping the poor more so than the devolutionists who have piein the sky thinking that devolution and effiency will help the poor.

    I mean Blue Labour kind of represents the policy-flawed thinking of non-Corbyn Labour faces; complain about Corbyn about what you want (especially the flip-flopping around taxes as Corbyn & McDonnell are now more to the right than Ed was with taxes & Pensions Triple lock) but Blue Labour is vacuous pandering to a society that doesn’t exist anymore. Britain is too diverse socially for Blue Labour’s 1950’s values and most people pay less & less attention to politics and are driven by emotion-driven agenda that grabs attention.

    Sorry for the rant (with spelling errors), just wanted to get it off my chest.

  2. paul barker says:

    Reducing inequality & devolving power to Local Communities – both key Liberal policies in the 1960s, the 1990s & now. I dont see anything Post-Liberal in either; perhaps you meant to write “Post-Labour” instead?
    Rather than Intellectual Life I see Blue Labour as being more Nostalgia, a sort of Trump-Lite.

  3. anosrep says:

    “Whatever happened to Blue Labour?”

    Everyone realised it didn’t actually mean anything. Well, almost everyone.

  4. Alf says:

    New Labour lost much of its working class voter base under the Tory-lite leaderships of Blair and Brown. Look at Scotland!

    Thank heavens for Jeremy and his determination to make Labour a truly socialist party once again. We’ve got a long way to go and this Blue Labour nonsense is a distraction for some; but those important first steps in the right direction have been made!

  5. Richard MacKinnon says:

    This is quite funny, well I find it funny. Labour are losing their working class base across England and so a conference is arranged in Manchester to try and find out why. “The day will explore ‘post-liberalism’ – the generic theory of the Blue Labourites”. That is brilliant.

  6. Dadad says:

    As for devolving power, please visit The Harrogate Agenda and sign up. It’s the perfect answer.

  7. David Mathers says:

    Which “excesses” of ‘post-60s social liberalism’ do they reject? I mean, presumably they don’t reject gay rights, the right of women to equal pay to men, the criminalization of marital rape, laws against racial discrimination and so forth? Do they want to make it harder to get divorced? Harder to get an abortion? Is it an anti-PC thing? (PC isn’t really a 60s thing…) Is it about encouraging more civic participation, which strikes me as totally compatible with “post-60s liberalism”. About a harsher line on bad parenting somehow? Something to do with immigration?

  8. John p Reid says:

    Paul barker,after the failure of Ted Heath, people in the Tories wanted to go back to the Mcmillam, stuff, but if it seemed old fashioned Thatcher was something knew, in going away even further From McMillan, I use the comparison to say a blue labour may seem old fashioned but to quote the Thatcherites in a reference only..

    We(the Tories) failed because we weren’t allowed to be the Party we wanted to be” if Blue labour, was allowed to be real labour then we can do some old fashioned ideas, in fact some of the stuff from the 1983, 2095 and 2010 manifestos that never got implemented, (in2005) could go into w blue lsbour manifesto such as the living wage, legalizing sex workers

  9. John p Reid says:

    AlF r, you think Islington socialists will get the working class back, and notlose the middle class too, in fact, blue labour is the only thing that can

  10. Alf says:

    Yesterday the SKWAWKBOX covered the fact that the two Labour-led councils to attempt to slash the wages of low-paid staff in response to government cuts – Durham County Council and Brighton & Hove City Council – both ‘happen’ to be led by prominent members of Progress, the arch-right faction, or ‘party within a party’, of Labour.

  11. Richard MacKinnon says:

    Is it any wonder Labour are where they are. Censoring comments the editor of Labour Uncut does not like means you learn nothing. Labour would rather die than hear criticism.

  12. John P Reid says:

    Warren Tarbait, British is too socially divided for Blue Labours view, has anyone told rhe 45% of the electorate who’d prefer Theresa May to Corbyn

    David Mathers, how about PIE, or positive desrimination, or police too afraid to stop and search through fear of being clawed racist,so knife stabbing have gone up, how about. The liberalism, of someone who doesn’t want to put a political message about gay marriage being legal, is a criminal, or, we can criticize Muslims for beung anti Semitic, through fear of being called a Fascist,

  13. John P Reid says:

    Warren Tarbait, Do you know blue labour is quite open about bring Keynsism

  14. tim says:

    I’m curious, how can the socialist labour party have a party line that emphasises the family when left wing doctrine is clear that the State reigns supreme, and that family bonds are to be broken up?

  15. Michael Taylor says:

    I think you’d be surprised about what Blue Labour isn’t, Warren. It would be worth Kevin posting his contribution from the discussion on Saturday (hint hint).

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