Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Todd. Anna Hazare’

Blue Labour goes global

02/09/2011, 10:18:06 AM

by Jonathan Todd

Blue Labour seems less in fashion than previously. It was never the answer to every challenge facing Labour. But it does have contributions to make to Labour’s renewal. Whatever it is, blue Labour seems defiantly rooted in our country and the traditions which have shaped and continue to comfort and inspire its people. Global and jet-set it isn’t.

It feels odd, therefore, to see the core motivations of a creed as unabashedly Anglo-Saxon as Britpop reflected back in the protests convulsing India and Israel. These protests, like blue Labour, are, fundamentally, about rejecting contemporary materialism for the perceived morality and communality of exalted past eras: the dignity of Gandhi’s India; the solidarity of the Israeli kibbutz; and the warm embrace of the Labour party before the middle class dilettantes stole it from the working class. It’s easy to be cynical. There were, of course, no golden ages. But it’s what blue Labour and the protests say about the present that is most interesting.

Tobias Buck recently observed in the Financial Times that 250,000 Israelis have taken to the streets calling for social reform. He described them as ranging “from students to pensioners, and Holocaust survivors to taxi drivers” and as “perhaps the most serious challenge yet to the government of Benjamin Netanyahu”. He went on: “Many Israelis, regardless of their wealth and social status, say they still long for a return to the years when the country was less materialistic and more egalitarian. Even in cosmopolitan Tel Aviv, the ideals of the kibbutz live on”.


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