Following Labour’s defeat at the polls in 2015, and at time when the Party is attempting to redefine its meaning, values and even identity, there is an urgent need for fresh thinking. Most people agree that a new start is needed. But in which direction should Labour turn? A crucial conversation is beginning, and it is in this fluid and volatile context that Blue Labour ideas could make a crucial difference. Seeking to move beyond the centrist pragmatism of both Blair and Cameron, and attempting to inject into politics a newfound passion and significance with which people can truly engage, this essential work speaks to the needs of diverse people and communities across the country. Critiquing the dominance in Britain of a social-cultural liberalism linked to the left and a free-market liberalism associated with the right, Blue Labour blends a ‘progressive’ commitment to greater economic equality with a more ‘conservative’ disposition emphasising personal loyalty, family, community and locality. It is the manifesto of a vital new force in politics: one that could define the thinking of the next generation and beyond.
This 2nd edition includes new material: a post-election analysis by Adrian Pabst and a postscript by Maurice Glasman on Labour after the leadership contest.
More information on the book:
The challenge to conventional politics at the moment is the question of what the political world might look like if it tried to work with rather than against the grain of our humanity.’ – from the Foreword by Rowan Williams
In the aftermath of the global economic crisis, and the worst recession for over seventy years, Britain has witnessed one of the most turbulent eras in politics since the Second World War. The dominant political and capitalistic system has come under close scrutiny; and the 2008 financial crash and urban riots of 2011 have cast serious doubt on the economic and social liberalism of both Thatcherism and Blairism. The Blue Labour movement addresses the fact that neither nationalisation nor privatisation has delivered lasting prosperity or stability. Critiquing the dominance in Britain of a social-cultural liberalism linked to the left and a free-market liberalism associated with the right, Blue Labour blends a ‘progressive’ commitment to greater economic equality with a more ‘conservative’ disposition emphasising personal loyalty, family, community and locality. Seeking to move beyond the centrist pragmatism of Blair and Cameron, this essential work speaks to the needs of diverse people and communities across the country. It is the programme of a vital new force in politics: one that could define the thinking of the next generation and beyond.
The book can be purchased here.
Contributors include: Lord Maurice Glasman, Jon Cruddas MP, Arnie Graf, Rowenna Davis, Tom Watson MP, Frank Field MP, Ruth Davis, David Lammy MP, Ruth Yeoman.
Ian Geary is an Executive Member of Christians on the Left (formerly the Christian Socialist Movement); Adrian Pabst is Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Kent.
For media enquiries or further information about the book please contact John Clarke.
‘Something went horribly wrong with British politics in the 1990s. The modernisers drained the meaning out of political engagement by focusing on strategy and presentation rather than substance. As a result all British political parties are now facing mortal crisis. This book on ‘Blue Labour’ is the most thoughtful attempt yet to help […] devise an answer to a conundrum which no twenty-first century politician has yet been able to solve.’
– Peter Oborne, Chief Political Commentator, Daily Telegraph
‘The “Blue Labour” movement has emerged as one of the most influential and controversial innovations of the British Left in a generation. Rooted in a deep reading of Labour history and culture, it offers a compelling critique of the Blair and Brown governments and offers a potential route to renewal – revisiting the past so as better to face the challenges of the future.’
– Rafael Behr, Political Columnist, The Guardian
‘Blue Labour isn’t, to me, about that rather glib little triad, Faith, Flag and Family. It’s an attempt to reconnect the Labour Party with the very people it was set up to protect and represent. And to devise modern and imaginative policies so that this reconnection might be best achieved.’
Rod Liddle, Associate Editor, Spectator
‘Blue Labour ably exposes the deficiencies of neo-liberalism and offers an inviting political agenda based on a ‘moral economy of mutual obligations’. With neoliberalism discredited by predatory banking and socialism by the collapse of the planned economies, the paths back to a ‘moral economy’ are well worth exploring. They are not the property of any political party, but will be of special interest to Labour supporters trying to develop an alternative narrative to that of the free market and the centralized state.’
–Robert Skidelsky, FBA, Emeritus Professor of Political Economy, University of Warwick
‘Anyone looking for an antidote to the stale and stultifying brand of liberalism which has dominated British political discourse for far too long will find a refreshing and thought-provoking alternative in the contributions to this timely volume.’
– Mark Garnett, Senior Lecturer in British Politics, University of Lancaster
‘In calling for a post-liberal politics of the left, Blue Labour advocates have put themselves in a very mixed company. Watching them seek out a virtuous path through the ambiguous legacies of nation, religion, family and other conservative themes is both fascinating and instructive, challenging the presuppositions of any reader.’
– Colin Crouch, FBA, Emeritus Professor of Governance and Public Management, University of Warwick
‘A fine line-up of contributors with a fresh and engaging approach.’
‘Ian Geary and Adrian Pabst are to be congratulated. This is a wonderful collection that presents an alternative not yet pursued… For the sake of all that is valuable, let us hope it succeeds.’
Phillip Blond in The New Statesman
‘Through (this book) runs a steel core, a determination to remake and remodel the Labour Party.’
Mark Mardell, BBC News
‘Blue Labour is proclaiming itself a vital force. Its commitment to economic equality, along with the conservative traditions of family, community and an (optional) side order of faith, may sound old-fashioned. But far from being preserved in camphor, its ideas have found favour with hard-headed modernisers’.
Mary Riddell in The Daily Telegraph
‘The Blue Labour critique starts with the crisis of 2008 which exposed the excessive power of finance capital. It proceeds to lament the impact of mobile capita on working-class communities and on a venerable and highly conservative set of Labour traditions. Where the rather manic governments of Tony Blair tended to elevate change to a principle in its own right, Blue Labour is a reminder that change, as the philosopher Michael Oakeshott once wrote, is usually experienced as loss’.
Philip Collins, in Prospect Magazine