Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Blue Labour Makes Pitch for Progressive Patriotism to Lead Labour Values.

with 22 comments

Image result for Maurice glasman quotes

Blue Labour Opponents of EU Now Relishing Post-Brexit Opportunities.

Labour leadership contender Rebecca Long Bailey’s call for progressive patriotism continues to echo throughout the labour movement.

Is this the thinker whose ideas can help rebuild a mainstream Labour Party?

Robert Philpot. Jewish Chronicle 

The time may have come for the ‘Blue Labour’ ideas of Ed Miliband’s former guru to help reshape Labour’s return to being a party for the working classes, writes Robert Philpot.

.. Lord Glasman is no rent-a-quote. Beneath the headline-grabbing comments was a serious philosophy. “Blue Labour”, as he termed it, urged the party to reconnect with its traditional supporters by embracing the values of “flag, faith and family”.

There may be few second acts in politics but last month’s election may give Lord Glasman a new opportunity to help shape how Labour rebuilds the “red wall” which Boris Johnson so effectively demolished.

Although she hails more from the party’s soft left, likely leadership contender Lisa Nandy is probably the most sympathetic of the potential candidates to Lord Glasman’s ideas. She has spoken at Blue Labour events and her close ally, Jon Cruddas, has been one of its strongest proponents.

Like Lord Glasman, the Wigan MP called for Labour to honour the result of the EU referendum and her belief that “place, identity, history and culture matter” is straight out of the Blue Labour playbook. So, too, her suggestion last month that, “There is a strong feeling in towns like mine that Labour stopped listening long ago and that we no longer have much understanding or care for the things that matter deeply to them or their families.”

Tireless campaigner against rootless Cosmopolitans, Paul Embery tweets.

In the Daily Mail a couple of days ago Peter Hitchens gives Blue Labour a puff.

..there is a tiny glimmer of hope, which I think civilised people should encourage.

It is called ‘Blue Labour’. At the moment it is only a few brave and thoughtful people, and it was pushed to one side in the Corbyn era of childish, clapped-out 1970s Leftism.

But if it succeeds it could not only be a good Opposition, it might even be a good government. People forget what Labour used to be.

Before it was taken over by Bloomsbury social liberals and Islington Eurocommunists in the 1960s and 1970s, it was a highly conservative, patriotic, working-class party.

Where political parties combine patriotism, a strong but just welfare state, good education, firm policing and tough defence, they tend to win elections.

If they can seize back control of the People’s Party, I’d support them against the Pinko Tories.

You can read more about them on the Brexit Party supporting Spiked site.

‘Globalisation has made our lives empty’

Maurice Glasman talks to Brendan O’Neill about Brexit, Blue Labour and the demonisation of the working class.

There are many critiques of Blue Labour, including on this Blog.

A central argument is that it is an adaption to national populism.

Now, with the failure of left populism, this looks an enticing prospect for some, and not just overt right-wingers like Hitchens.

Before somebody proposes “articulating” their ideas into Labour’s mix, serious issues need to be looked at.

One of the most recent to offer an account of them is this excellent article in the Political Quarterly (which we have referred to before).


Since the Brexit vote, the followers of Blue Labour – an advocacy group associated with the Labour Party that promotes conservative ideas – have accepted much of the far right’s analysis. Advanced by the likes of Paul Embery and Adrian Pabst, they have adopted the far rights’ language and terminology at an alarming rate.

Importantly, followers of Blue Labour have also bought into a binary divide: the choice is either neoliberal hyper‐globalisation or a patriotic nationalism. The possibility of any different types of globalisation has been denied.


Critique of Blue Labour: Towards a renewed social democratic alliance

Labour’s successes in 1945, 1964 and 1997 came through linking together the labour movement, the public sector and middle class intellectuals. Alliances will not necessarily return in the ‘old’ form, but they need to be constructed. The first step is to articulate alternative models of globalisation.

Progressives need an economic policy promoting a new relationship with nature and a thorough green industrial strategy that addresses the economic and social concerns of those who globalisation has passed by.

Progressives should also seek to create a sense of interconnectedness. Blue Labourites find it hard to conceive that a person can approve of European integration and yet still retain a national and local identity. The modern world is interconnected and overlaps. For instance, the wings for an Airbus are made in North Wales and Bristol, but the aircraft as a whole is put together in Toulouse.

To sum up, as the Green movement expresses it, ‘think global, act local’. There is no gulf between the two.



22 Responses

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  1. Well the labour left weren’t much help were they? With friends like that huh?

    I’m not a fan of nationalism or patriotism. So what they have to offer is just a useless as the Corbynistas.

    Steven Johnston

    January 14, 2020 at 11:57 am

  2. Oh I don’t like the sound of that. Glasman is dangerous, he believes in totally dismantling the Welfare State. That’s not something I could ever support. I might go back to voting Green if this is the direction the Labour party is going.


    January 14, 2020 at 2:01 pm

  3. The left used to say that Thatcher would dismantle the welfare state. What happened? She ended up spending more on welfare than anyone else!

    Steven Johnston

    January 14, 2020 at 2:08 pm

  4. Personally I think this present crop of Tories, from Cameron/Osborne up to Boris today, are far worse than Thatcher. Signing on wasn’t too bad an experience in the late 70s/early 80s. Though the dreaded Jobcentres started to appear. Claiming the dole only started to become a ball-ache under Blair when the New Deal was introduced, backed up by threat of 3 months Sanctions. I remember a back-to-work scheme in the early 80s called Community Enterprise Programme (CEP), which was not mandatory, and you actually got paid a wage for doing it. The one I was on consisted of working 4 days a week (others were 3 days), there was no mention of any requirement to do any jobsearch, and we were exempt from signing on. Payment was made by Giro from the DHSS, and the money I received was double the amount of normal dole. And it did lead to me being in full-time employment for the rest of the 1980s.


    January 14, 2020 at 2:28 pm

  5. So, from your experience, the tories are more “left-wing” than the labour party?

    Steven Johnston

    January 14, 2020 at 3:41 pm

  6. No of course not! I was referring to New Labour, which I don’t consider to have been the Labour party, it was neoliberal, and in regards to Social Security (unemployment Benefit) it was worse than it was under Thatcher. At least under Thatcher there was never any mention of Sanctions or any mandatory requirement to provide jobsearch evidence. Thatcher was worse in other respects, flogging off all our Utilities, etc. and of course breaking the Unions and who can forget the Miners Strike. Thatcher was the embodiment of evil but Blair took her ideology a step further. But like I said, New Labour wasn’t Labour. What about yourself, are you a Tory, or a neoliberal? It’s obvious you’re not a Socialist.


    January 14, 2020 at 3:55 pm

  7. Yet Thatcher put more money into the NHS than anyone else before her.
    The first NHS was created in Germany by Bismarck and the welfare state was in the UK was the invention of the liberal party.
    The first example of public works in the UK, that I came across was by Henry VIII, when he taxed his barons to drain swamps.
    So…the NHS, welfare state and public works cannot be socialism. So you tell me what it is then?

    Steven Johnston

    January 14, 2020 at 4:06 pm

  8. Sorry, that should read, that the welfare state was created by the national government. But Beveridge was a liberal and all the welfare state did was reorganise poverty.

    As for the miners strike, well, if coal is not profitable then pits would have to close. That was a nationalised industry too! How is that for irony, when they nationalised it in 1948 the miners union cheered, that they, their children and grandchildren would have jobs for life! We all know how that worked out.

    Steven Johnston

    January 14, 2020 at 4:11 pm

  9. What was sad about the miners strike, was at the same time there was a miners strike in Poland. So, Scargill and go were telling their union members to defy the government and stay on strike. But telling striking miners in Poland to obey their party bosses and return to work. Also Poland was undermining the strike by selling cheap coal to the UK. It was cheaper to import coal from Poland than it was to mine it in the UK. So what was the government supposed to do?

    Steven Johnston

    January 14, 2020 at 4:25 pm

  10. I’ve heard it said that British coal was of a better quality than the imported stuff. But anyway, Thatcher’s agenda in closing down the coal mining industry was entirely Political, it was Class War.

    Are you sure you’re not a Tory?


    January 14, 2020 at 4:29 pm

  11. That’s very true, trev. The Polish coal was utter crap, It didn’t even look like coal. It was like a grey slate material. Maybe that’s what it was. You would just end up shoveling back out the fireplace after it had just say there doing nothing.


    January 14, 2020 at 4:43 pm

  12. No it wasn’t it was entirely based on economics. Why would governments want to put people on the dole? All that means is you get reduced tax receipts and have to spend more on benefits.
    It the Polish coal was rubbish, what does that tell you about state run industries?

    Steven Johnston

    January 14, 2020 at 5:02 pm

  13. Steven Johnson is, I hear, a real tasty geezer.

    As for the comment on the Polish coal, I take it that is our old US alt-right trolls, the word is shovelling, not (US -shoveling).

    To answer Trev’s points, the Tories, having helped destroy the labour movement, and begun the (continuing )process of dismantling the welfare state, seen as a barrier to making the UK competitive on the world market, are only more right wing because they can be.

    The oddest point is that people could believe that they’d be better off with a stripped down state. Relatives of mine, car workers in the Midlands, people in engineering, liked paying less in taxation, because they thought they could actually compete better.

    I suppose they thought they thought they would never be on the dole, old, or fall ill.

    Today they haven’t even got that faith the cling to

    All Brexit offers is clinging to Trump’s shirt tails, and the prospect of hedge funds and other chances making money.

    Andrew Coates

    January 14, 2020 at 5:21 pm

  14. From https://www.ifs.org.uk/uploads/publications/bns/BN156.pdf

    Public spending on social security has risen as a share of national income over time, from around 4% in 1948—49 to nearly 13% in 2013—14. It is the largest single component of government spending, making up around 30% of total expenditure.

    So spending has gone up and not down.

    The oddest point is that people could believe that they’d be better off with a stripped down state

    I wonder what people in the PRC, DPRK, Cuba or Laos would say to that?

    Steven Johnston

    January 14, 2020 at 5:29 pm

  15. I’d love it anyone can, point to somewhere on the map of the UK and say “yes, if you are on benefits, you can have a good life here”

    Steven Johnston

    January 14, 2020 at 5:31 pm

  16. With a witty come-back like that you should be a MP.

    “There’s an awful lot of bleeding idiots out there among the voters, and they deserve some representation too.”


    Andrew Coates

    January 14, 2020 at 5:34 pm

  17. With men like you out on the campaign trail you have to wonder why Labour lost!

    Steven Johnston

    January 14, 2020 at 5:50 pm

  18. I once was lived on benefits in Neasden. It was ‘orrible. Life on benefits I mean, not Neasden.

    Steven Johnston

    January 14, 2020 at 5:57 pm

  19. That should read “I once lived on benefits…”

    Steven Johnston

    January 14, 2020 at 5:58 pm

  20. https://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/uk_welfare_chart_40.html

    Just the facts Ma’am…welfare spending has gone up and not down over the last 30 years.

    Steven Johnston

    January 14, 2020 at 6:08 pm

  21. I saw you, and Sid and Doris Bonkers, at a Neasden FC, match!

    Andrew Coates

    January 14, 2020 at 7:01 pm

  22. They were managed by a Corbynista, so no longer exist!

    Like Jeremy they’d have come fourth in a three man race.

    Steven Johnston

    January 17, 2020 at 9:19 am

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