Blue Labour is political poison…
Blue Labour is increasingly the ideological inspiration for this leadership. On the surface, I could see why it would be attractive to left-leaning people and I can see the appeal to the leadership which wants to avoid at all costs a commitment to even real social democratic transformation of society. However, in essence, the politics espoused by Blue Labour are a total perversion of true Labour values.
Blue Labour, for example, totally buys into the false dichotomy between the state and the people;
When I listen to people defending central state intervention, I hear an argument against trusting people to manage the services that make a difference to their lives.
I am sure this line is borrowed from a David Cameron speech. Setting the state up against the people is to be blind to the fact that the real issue is how the state can be dissolved ,as it were into the people and how the state can be made, democratically, to serve the people. The reality is simple; in all cases provision by the state is always better and preferable than the alternative which is submission to the markets law-of-the-jungle. In practice, this dichotomy is a Torjan Horse for right-wing politics and this is exactly what underneath all the froth about ‘communitarianism’ is the beating heart of Blue Labour politics.
The communities that Blue Labour aspires to reconnect with and create also have quite clearly defined limits and are exclusionary in practice, where, for example is the place for single-parents, singletons or anybody else in its efforts to put families “back at the heart of progressive policy”. Woe betide you if you happen to be an immigrant as well – Maurice Glasman is rather too keen on bringing English Defence League supporters into the Labour ‘family’.
Sadly, whether it be on it’s mistaken view of the state or on its exclusionary community constructs, the left is ill-prepared for the Blue Labour challenge basically because its culturally and programmatically undemocratic in so many ways. Glasman’s Blue Labour is ideological poison within the Labour body politic and it therefore needs to be ideologically defeated but that will only happen with robustly socialist and democratic politics.