What we support

We are guided by Labour values of equality and social justice. But we think that, to be meaningful these must begin with (but certainly not end with!) our responsibility to those we are closest to; to our families, neighbours, communities, and colleagues.

Our politics is also about renewing the institutions of our nation so they nurture a sense of common endeavour and mutual obligation, allowing everyone to achieve a decent standard of living and create a meaningful life for themselves.

The change we seek can’t be achieved by electing one leader who will solve all our problems. Blue Labour calls for a radical redistribution and power and responsibility, to people in our communities and workplaces so we can work together for the common good.

So what does that mean we support in practice?

 

Work

Britain’s economy is stuck in a low-skill, low-wage trap. Unemployment is low but so is the quality of work, and so incomes are low. At the centre of Blue Labour’s vision is an economy with good well-paid work for all. That needs enterprise to flourish. But it also needs business to recognise that prosperity depends on its responsibility for its employees and neighbours. We believe the freedoms of the market economy offer the best basis for the wellbeing of people in Britain. But our market economy needs to be reformed so scope for managers, workers and consumers collectively shape the way businesses work, so they are guided by the long-term interests of the community not short-term value.

We support:

  • workers on company boards. Firms employing more than hundred people electing one-third of their executive board from employees.
  • a network of local and regional investment banks, providing finance for small and medium enterprises throughout the UK to grow. The will be at the centre of a renewed set of regional economic institutions.
  • the Living Wage. A Labour government and Labour councils only procuring goods and services from firms which pay the Living Wage.
  • a national economic strategy, developed through negotiation with businesses, unions and citizens throughout the country, targeting support for particular sectors to particular regions.

 

Family

The family is the fundamental social institution. It nurtures us from the start of our lives. It is where we learn about love, relationships, and the give and take needed to live good lives. Inspired by the effort of feminism to broaden our idea of worthwhile work, Blue Labour recognises the struggle families face to combine work and care. Politics can’t guarantee the quality our emotional lives, but it can ensure our institutions support family life; and that a secure affordable home is within everyone’s grasp.

We support:

  • a move away from means-tested welfare system to a contributory system in which people have more of a stake.
  • the renewal of SureStart, as a system of locally-run institutions which support people with children whether they choose to work or not.
  • more democratic control for our healthcare institutions, with the extension of local mutually-owned providers.
  • expansion of community-owned housing, community land trusts for example, with the extension of affordable homes to buy which takes the speculative value of land out of the cost.

 

Community

We want Britain to be a nation of energetic cities, towns and villages, each of which is free to develop its distinct identity. When people feel rooted they can achieve their potential; if power is dispersed, we have the freedom to take greater responsibility for our communities. Blue Labour supports an environmentalism driven by our desire to protect the places we love. It believes that, as far as possible, resources and services should be owned and run by the local community, so their value remains with those who nurture and use them.

We support:

  • the large-scale devolution of financial and rule-making power to local authorities, together with the extension of people’s capacity to democratically challenge their local councils.
  • growth of local and regional mutually-run services and utilities – energy companies, internet service providers, bus and trains for example.
  • the protection of our landscape through common ownership of key features by community trusts.
  • support for growth in ownership and management of football clubs by supporters’ trusts.

 

Vocation

A society where everyone takes responsibility needs everyone to have a role. It is our education system’s purpose to help find and develop what that is. We believe education should be built around the principle of vocation – even the most academic subjects prepare people for the world beyond the classroom. Education needs to tap into people’s enthusiasm, unlock their creativity, but also prepare people for work in Britain’s economy.

We support:

  • technical Colleges in every city and town, focusing on high-level skills, governed by local business and unions in collaboration, to replace our current FE colleges.
  • encourage former Polytechnics to become centres of excellence in technical skills once again.
  • schools to be freed from detailed management through central government guidelines, held to account instead by parents, business, and citizens in local community.
  • renew our universities as centres of local and regional civic life, not multi-national firms in a rootless global education market.

 

Britain, Europe and the World

Blue Labour contains those who supported working to reform the EU from inside, and those who campaigned to leave. We believe the views of the majority of voters need to be respected and that Britain should leave the EU. We should try to get the best deal; but we are optimistic about the future of the UK whatever the terms of leaving. What matters most is the we govern our own society and economy. The ownership of Britain’s economy is uniquely globalised, with large sectors owned by interests that have no stake in the UK. Despite the obvious costs, leaving the EU gives us the opportunity to rebuild British politics and Britain’s place in the world on a new basis.

Blue Labour recognises the contribution migrants from across the world have made to this country, and is fiercely supportive of the well-being of migrants who choose to settle here for good. We do, though, believe that a society in which people take responsibility needs people living in our towns and cities to get to know one another: the continual movement of people corrodes the sense of community the good society relies on.

We support:

  • limits on the free movement of people between Britain and the EU, and the development of a migration policy based on the careful identification of sectors which needed skilled workers, and on Britain’s historic links to other parts of the world.
  • greater restrictions on overseas capital buying UK-based businesses and property, together with greater efforts to secure domestic capital to own firms.
  • a tougher stance supporting freedom of association across the world, always aware of Britain’s limited real power.

 

Labour and the Nation

Our country’s renewal isn’t the responsibility of one man or woman, yet our politics is dangerously focused on the personality of party leaders. Blue labour believes that our politics needs to change so responsibility is shared amongst us all. The divided interests of our country – workers and businesses, leave and remain, city and country – need to be brought together, with more scope for debate and then agreement on a common way forward. That will take the development of new forms of representation and decision-making. The example of community organisations like London Citizens, as well as the history of our own movement show how that can be done.

We support:

  • big decisions in public institutions made by public assemblies, where people are organised around their interests not just their ability to marshal the greatest number. For example: the curriculum for our schools could be decided by a national educational convention.
  • reform of the House of Lords, so it represents different communities and interests. One idea is a vocational chamber with representation from economic sectors.

 

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