Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/664/11577

From The Socialist newspaper, 30 March 2011

Review: Blue Labour

'Shame on you for turning Blue'

Steve Score Secretary, East Midlands Socialist Party

BBC Radio 4's Analysis programme recently looked at 'Blue Labour' (BL).

I thought we already had 'Blue Labour', given the complete acceptance by New Labour of the Tory Party's 'neoliberal' agenda and many of its social policies. But apparently it's not 'blue' enough! Behind BL is an attempt to shift Labour even further to the right on social issues and, in particular, a further attack on the welfare state.

In the internal debate about the future direction of the Labour Party a group has been formed around Maurice Glasman, recently appointed to the House of Lords by Labour leader Ed Miliband.

Glasman has previously been quoted as saying that Labour needs to 'return' to the values of "a deeply conservative socialism that places family, faith and work at the heart of a new politics of reciprocity, mutuality and solidarity".

On the programme he was supported by the likes of former Labour minister James Purnell. BL is being promoted as Labour's answer to Cameron's 'Big Society', yet another code word for cuts and privatisation.

Suspiciously Tory

It certainly sounds suspiciously similar to Tory rhetoric.

In Labour's working class heartlands many voters have broken with their previously traditional party.

Instead of drawing the conclusion that this breakaway is because Labour carried out pro-big business policies, presided over the decimation of jobs, cut and privatised public services, and stopped representing working class people, BL looks for other solutions.

They quote the fears that many people have over immigration, for example, due to the scarcity of jobs and stretched public services.

But instead of answering those fears with a programme of creating jobs and homes, expanding services, and pointing to the real cause of those problems - big business and capitalism - they adopt a British National Party (BNP) style programme on immigration.

The rise of the BNP vote has everything to do with the abandonment of working class people by Labour.

Attempting to wear the same clothes merely increases the far-right, racist BNP's credibility.

False dichotomy

The programme tried to categorise Labour's support as middle class graduates who were socially 'liberal' and concerned with equality on the one hand, and working class people, who were socially 'conservative' but were yearning for a return to community values on the other.

The former were apparently won over to Blairism, but it was the latter's fault that Labour lost the 2010 general election! What a false dichotomy!

Blairism brought us such socially 'liberal' things as clamping down on civil liberties and the 'war on terror'.

Of course working class people want equality - it reflects the middle class prejudices of the authors of Blue Labour to think they don't!

Not many people in either of those falsely separated social categories supported Labour's university tuition fees.

The proponents of Blue Labour have in particular attacked the post- 1945 welfare state as being 'bureaucratic'.

Instead they put forward 'mutuals, co-operatives and friendly societies, the creation of local banks and worker representation on company boards'. They want 'more localised provision of services, an end to Labour's obsession with post code lotteries'.

Token

But this sounds to me like a token reference to genuine democratic control of services with an agenda behind it of further privatisation and break-up of services. The 'post code lottery' exists because of inadequate resources being put into local services.

Yes, the Socialist Party supports proper democratic control by the workers and users of services; yes we support real workers' control and management of companies. But that firstly needs public ownership - you can't control what you don't own - and secondly not just a token workers' "representative", but a board of management elected by the workers and users of services.

In reality they are talking about the dismantling of services in the same way that the Big Society does, after all even Cameron talked of "cooperatives".

It is a comment on how far Labour has shifted to the right that Roy Hattersley, a solid right winger in 'old Labour' terms was brought on to criticise Blue Labour from the left! The working class does need political representation, but it will not come from the Labour Party. A new party of the working class is needed, one that opposes the capitalist agenda of cuts and privatisation of all the main parties.

The likes of Miliband can pose on demo platforms, but they are offering more of the same cuts, except 'slower'.

Blue Labour proponents bandy around words like 'solidarity' and 'community', but a real sense of solidarity and working class community will come out of the battles to defend public services we are now embarking on, and a real working class alternative to New Labour will be created out of those struggles.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 30 March 2011:


Anti-cuts campaign

We said: NO CUTS!

Hands off our NHS!

Save Sure Start Services

On the move in London to fight the cuts


Socialist Party editorial

Defend the Libyan revolution


Socialist Party feature

TUC demo biggest in decades

Socialists on the 26 March demo


Socialist Party news

Gove's EMA concession not enough

MPs back the Jarrow March for Jobs

Budget fuels determination to fight back!

Socialist receives 12% of the vote in Bellingham, Lewisham

Against cuts? Support the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Fast news


Socialist Party workplace news

Saltend workers stand firm

PCS wins ballot in Jobcentre Plus contact centres

Unison health conference: Time for action to defend our jobs, pensions and the NHS!

Vote for a fighting democratic Unison leadership

In brief


International socialist news and analysis

Portugal Government falls amidst mass protests

The consequences of the earthquake disaster in Japan


Socialist Party review

Review: Blue Labour


 

Home   |   The Socialist 30 March 2011   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Labour Party:

triangleLiverpool Socialist Party: The Labour Party - what is its future?

triangleNon-fiction: Left Out - the inside story of Labour under Corbyn

triangleWhy I joined the Socialist Party: Tories and Blairites only care about corporate greed

triangleLabour payouts: unions must discuss political representation

triangle100 years since the foundation of the Communist Party of Great Britain

Labour:

triangleTUSC to stand in elections again against pro-austerity politicians

triangleA critical election for Unison general secretary

triangleLincoln: Save Drill Hall

triangleNo to polluting incinerator, dumped in working-class Edmonton

Working class:

triangleDover: Solidarity with refugees - applause and cheers for socialist ideas to unite working class

triangleWest London Socialist Party: The role of the working class in the struggle for socialism

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Building a political voice for the working class

BNP:

triangle25 years since 50,000 marched against the far-right threat

triangleThe Socialist inbox

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

16/9/20

Labour Party

Non-fiction: Left Out - the inside story of Labour under Corbyn

9/9/20

Black Lives Matter

Video game developer attacks Black Lives Matter

2/9/20

Iraq

TV: Once Upon a Time in Iraq

2/9/20

Housing

Manctopia: billion pound property boom

19/8/20

George Orwell

75 years since the publication of Animal Farm: From 'two legs bad' to 'two legs better'

22/7/20

Cuba

Exciting Cuban spy thriller exposes US-sponsored terrorism

22/7/20

Letters

The Socialist inbox

22/7/20

Socialist Party

I joined the Socialist Party to fight back

15/7/20

Housing

TV: Ross Kemp - Living with Forced Out Families

15/7/20

Bolsheviks

Books that inspired me: The Mother

15/7/20

Black Lives Matter

How the FBI and Chicago police murdered a Black Panther

8/7/20

School

TV: The school that tried to end racism

8/7/20

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

8/7/20

Racism

Books that inspired me: The Fire Next Time

1/7/20

TV

From slavery to Black Lives Matter - racism and capitalist injustice exposed

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999