What does Blue Labour want?
We all share one common aim: to put reciprocity at the heart of Labour policy. By reciprocity we mean building a vision of politics based on responsibility and sharing for mutual benefit.
Traditional Labour voters can be won back to the party through this basic idea. It means some see us as socially conservative.
Here are some examples of what reciprocity means in practice:
In other words, Blue Labour understands that the only true resistance to aggressive finance capital is rooted in real people and their meaningful relationships with each other.
So you’re not Blairites?
We’re definitely not Blairites. We’re critical of the New Labour narrative of ‘progress’ that has left many communities behind. Blue Labour understands that many traditions help to keep people and communities secure, and provide stability in a fast-changing world. New Labour took an uncritical view of globalisation that fetishised change for its own sake and, whilst it achieved much in office, a new political climate calls for new ideas and a new direction.
I’ve heard Blue Labour defined as ‘family, faith, and flag’, what does that mean?
We base our politics around the familiar and the local, the places where people have real social connection. The family is at the heart of this; it’s the most radical political unit there is, forged outside economic bonds. Faith comes from the Labour Party’s founding principles of Christian socialism, and although many supporters don’t have faith themselves we recognise the import influence of Christian social teaching on our politics. Flag is more obvious, because we think that the Labour Party should embrace its patriotism again and be unafraid to champion the nation state.
It is precisely our social conservatism that makes us politically radical. The combination of the two has powered working class socialist movements for centuries and was one of the founding principles of the Labour Representation Committee.
So are you socialists?
100%. We believe in an economics of subsidiarity, which is similar to devolution. It essentially means that if decisions can be made at a local level then they should be made at that level. Blue Labour is about giving power back to local people so that they can make their own choices about their future, building reciprocity into decision-making.
Are you a pressure group? What is your purpose?
Our purpose is to get together a group of like-minded people who can share their views. We hold events, conferences, and social events across the UK. By working together we hope to influence people in politics and get senior figures thinking about our ideas.
Did you support Brexit?
There were senior figures in Blue Labour both for and against Brexit and Blue Labour didn’t have a distinct position. We can certainly see the potential positives of leaving including increased democratic control in the UK, reductions in immigration, and a potential new approach to how the left thinks about globalisation.
Are any Labour Party politicians associated with you?
Yes. Maurice Glasman in the House of Lords is the founder of Blue Labour. Jon Cruddas, the MP for Dagenham and Rainham, is often associated with the movement and has used a Blue Labour approach to combat the far right in his constituency. Many other MPs, such as Lisa Nanady and Chuka Umunna, have spoken at our events and conferences.