A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue?

The above is my feeble attempt at a Royal Wedding themed title but perhaps also my formula for where Labour should be going ideologically.

I had previously held back from writing about Maurice Glasman’s “Blue Labour” theories because I was waiting to hear what he had to say in person at Thursday night’s Hackney North & Stoke Newington CLP General Committee.

Lord Glasman is one of our local members and we had booked him to speak about community organising before Blue Labour hit the headlines.

Maurice is an extremely engaging and frank character with deep roots in Hackney so he managed to win a lot of friends last night in an audience which started out very sceptical. It was a very unusual GC in that we spent nearly two hours discussing political theory, with about 20 delegates speaking. I think most of us came away thinking there were some good bits to Maurice’s ideas, but also some flawed bits, but on the whole it’s good he is provoking a debate.

I’ve tried to use my tweets and notes from the meeting to capture the main things he said and set out my reaction to them:

I’ll start with the name “Blue Labour”.
He says it was intended to be agitational and start a debate and respond to Philip Blonde’s “Red Tory” idea. As Owen Jones said in the meeting, unfortunately it offends a lot of anti-Tories. My concern is that it and the title of the “Purple Book” have discombobulated those Labour activists who have heard of them. They won’t realise Maurice is active in loads of really very radical social campaigns in the East End through London Citizens, they will assume colour-based rebranding is a new round of high-ups in think tanks in London trying to ditch the Party’s identity and heritage.

“We need to replace abstract concepts like “equality” with ones people understand from their own lives like love and respect”.
I agree with introducing the new terms, though there’s a risk we come across as hippies. I developed my political thinking by learning about dialectical materialism so my instinct is that in the middle of a recession most voters are likely to be more interested in the cash in their wallet than whether there is love in their lives. Also I don’t think equality is an abstract concept if you are in an unequal situation. The anger that motivated me to get politically active stemmed from an acute awareness that my parents worked harder but had less cash than the parents of kids I went to school with. That wasn’t abstract, it was right at the front of my consciousness.

“Ed Miliband will want to restrict the power of finance capital and use the Living Wage to set a floor to inequality, whilst promoting private sector growth.”
If this is true, I think it’s a good formula but the language is a bit clunky – ordinary voters understand what bankers are but “capital” doesn’t mean much to most people.

“Blue Labour is about an idea of the common good versus the exploitation of the market and bossiness of the state, association with others through community organising and stronger unions will make people more powerful”.
This also seemed to make sense to me. We need to develop a profile for the Labour Party itself as one of the ways in which people associate to make themselves more powerful.

“The organisational model is tactics that flow from the experience of the people in the campaign but are outside the experience of their enemies.”
Again, agreed and London Citizens provides a template.

Glasman said he “is not pushing faith but saying secular Lab people should honour believers.”
The faith bit made me very uncomfortable. I want to know where atheists like me fit into his organising model. This seems to me essential in that the level of religious observance in the UK is very low. This is particularly the case amongst the white working class voters we need to win back. The London Citizens model where you work with faith groups to mobilise around social issues like low pay works fine in East London where there are large BME communities who are extremely religious and community focussed, but how does it work in most of the rest of the country where working class people are not religiously observant and are very individualistic and consumerist, and the CofE is still the Tory Party at prayer?

I’m concerned Maurice understands the BME inner city working class but isn’t that aware of what their white counterparts in smaller towns and cities and suburbs are like. I don’t see faith as remotely relevant to a very large majority of voters, who may view an increasing Labour focus on working with faith groups as evidence that we are obsessed with minorities.

I’m also concerned about how you avoid drifting into communalism – the idea of seeing voters as groups based on faith or ethnicity that you communicate with by cutting deals with self-appointed community leaders who act as interlocutors. I believe voters should be treated as individuals and that communalist politics is undemocratic, can lead to Tammany Hall style corruption and is bad for community cohesion – people don’t like elections being determined by block votes.

I think he came across as a bit starry eyed about people of faith and the way they live and rather dismissive of the morals and family life of those of us of no faith.

He also got some tough questioning on whether his emphasis on family was limited to wanting to stop capitalism screwing up people’s family lives or extended to a faith-based concept of what “family" means and whether his sympathy for faith groups means he is turning a blind eye to oppression of women in some faith communities.

Maurice cleverly noted that the people who are most relaxed about immigration are most anxious about faith, but I would turn that on its head and see an internal contradiction in his theories in that he wants to re-engage with the working classes around “flag” issues (presumably about patriotism and having a coherent line on immigration) but at the same time wants to engage on “faith” where the position on immigration would be the opposite because it is recent migrants who are the most religiously observant.

Glasman was very upfront about Jon Cruddas being his “closest parliamentary ally”.
Oh dear. I like Jon Cruddas. But I don’t think he has any feel for what working class voters want at all. How can you want to engage with working class gut instincts on patriotism when your “closest parliamentary ally” wants to unilaterally get rid of Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent? Any reorientation of Labour around the “flag” needs to start with a robust defence policy.

Jon’s solution to working class voters switching direct from Labour to BNP was to be the leading parliamentary light in Compass, which advocated soft left North London twaddle designed to offend the white working class people who live in Jon’s Dagenham & Rainham seat. This suggests at the very least slightly flawed political judgement.

Glasman said the “Purple Book row was a hate fiesta with James Purnell as the antichrist”.
I think Maurice is going to need to develop a bit of a thicker skin to deal with the robustness of debate inside Labour! A bit ironic given the vitriolic internal debates that go in the faith communities he respects so much.

“The core idea is to restore democratic resistance to the power of capital e.g. German models of employee power in companies and stronger regional policy”
I agreed with this but outside of existing skilled unionised workplaces in aerospace and automotive this is too abstract a concept to win many votes.

He was very dismissive of the achievements of Labour in government.
I found this pretty annoying. We are in danger of doing the Tories’ job for them and talking down one of the best governments in British history. It would be daft politics even if there weren’t loads of Labour achievements. Which there were. I agree with his critique of some of where we went on public sector reforms (though the language he used about a “humiliated workforce” was over the top) but this needs to be balanced with positive stuff about what we did for ordinary working people.

I found his general attack on New Labour odd given that my perspective was that Blair set out to reconnect to the Sun and Mirror readers Maurice wants us to focus on, particularly through our policies on issues like crime and anti-social behaviour, and welfare reform. I would have thought Maurice would have more common ground with John Reid, David Blunkett and Hazel Blears on “faith, flag and family” than with Jon Cruddas.

He said the “unions need to be reorganised to reconnect to their members so new leaders can emerge from the working class”.
This is correct but requires a systematic political re-conquest of the unions by sound people that could take rather a lot of time and energy! In the mean time slagging off the current General Secretaries is unlikely to turn them into allies.

He said he was “on the syndicalist/guild socialist” wing of Lab not the "Leninist/Fabian" vanguard party one!
I really find this all a bit bizarre! In 23 years of Party activism I only heard of this dividing line between statist/non-statist in the last few months. I’d certainly never heard “Fabian” used as an insult before. I think Maurice is far too dismissive of the power of councils and government to transform lives, and far too dismissive of the 1945 government. I owe my life twice over (as a premature baby and a cancer survivor) to a statist achievement of the government, the NHS. The institutions that bind together British community life that Ed Miliband recently spoke about do include voluntary organisations and small businesses like corner shops and pubs (though even these were nationalised in Carlisle!), but they also include a very large number of state-run ones: local Post Offices, schools, public transport, playing fields and parks, libraries, Sure Start centres, hospitals and other NHS services, the local council, the Armed Forces. I’m worried that we are conceding too much ideological ground on the state to the Tories and Lib Dems. I don’t want a bossy state that interferes in people’s lives but I do want a strong state that provides the services people need. There isn’t a contradiction or a choice between statist ways of changing society and the community-based solutions Maurice wants. You need to do both, and the big ticket changes can often only be effected by the state. For instance, you could get a national Living Wage by winning battles with hundreds of thousands of employers through union and community campaigns. Out of power that’s all we have the ability to do. But winning back state power would mean you could legislate for a national Living Wage and free up the unions and community groups to run other campaigns.

Finally, there’s Maurice’s electoral strategy, which is for Labour to reengage with lost working class voters.
I support this in the sense that it’s ridiculous that we’ve allowed bits of our core vote to fall by the wayside. We exist to defend the least well-off in society so if many of them have stopped voting for us we need to re-connect with them as a matter of urgency. But we shouldn’t pretend this is a sure ticket to victory. It’s actually an electoral cul-de-sac – a sure ticket to a strong (but weakening over time) second place. This is because the number of people self identifying as working class has fallen to only 24% according to a poll this March. We need to also target people who are objectively/sociologically working class but are aspirational so see themselves as middle class, and people who actually are middle class but want decent public services and sensible economic policies. Having been a councillor in Hackney and a parliamentary candidate in suburban Essex Castle Point I also think too much is made of the different values of working class and lower middle class voters. Mirror and Sun readers actually want very much the same things as Mail and Express readers: good schools and hospitals, a fair welfare and tax system, a strong economy. They just have differing cultural viewpoints about whether they can trust Labour to deliver those things.

25 Comments:

Blogger Old Politics said...

"the number of people self identifying as working class has fallen to only 24% according to a poll this March."

Does this poll have any connection to the YouGov poll (also in March) in which 48% defined themselves as working class, and 42% as middle class?

More curiously still, 72% described themselves as in the poorest half of society (though, on a scale of 0-10, 61% were between 4 and 6, giving 'squeezed middle' some credibility).

12:42 am, April 30, 2011

 
Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Thanks for pointing me to the YouGov poll. It's interesting and useful in that more nuanced than most. YouGov had 36% saying "working class", 12% saying "upper working class". Other polls tend to only give binary working class or middle clas option and so get results nearer the 36%. Suggests to me the 12% who call selves upper working class (or middle class if question is simpler) are v important.

Whatever the headline numbers all polls show a steep decline in numbers saying they are working class.

1:09 am, April 30, 2011

 
Anonymous Bob the quite rich, self-employed builder said...

What is frustrating:

- the Blairites and the New Labour vanguard offer no critique of where it went wrong. Most are even loath to admit that it did go wrong. In viewing all critique as treason against our Labour Government we cannot reconnect with anyone.

- Cruddas and Glasman-types who wax-lyrical about the working classes from their gilded academic towers. The idea of community organising is more akin to waves against the cliffs of Dover, gradually waring away the stone, one issue at a time. It does not bind a ideological collective and so how can it hope for a stable intellectual structure?

- Finally we struggle to explain a 21-century population with very old class structures. We need to re-construct our notions of class, wealth, opportunity, to fit around the communities we actually see around us and which crucially connects with how they would describe themselves.

1:10 am, April 30, 2011

 
Blogger Alphy said...

I am sure this is going to get increasingly interesting.

1) Faith communities are not identical, nor is there a similarity of values within faith communities or for that matter faith-less communities. They go from fundamentalist to non-fundamentalist and vary greatly in their potential political affinities.

2) However faith communities or parts of them do have self-appointed but often accepted/approved interlocuters and dont want to be patronised in told to act as individuals in dealing with the outside world. We expect and accept workers in specific trades forming trade unions surely we can respect faith members working together.

3) The labour party is often an elitist cliquey complex place for individuals or groups locally to raise an issue. There is often not a welcome to the outsider, there is a coded language of the insider, a heirarchy of respect or lack of respect, rapid judgementalism to decide whether people should or should not be listened to or agreed with. Often religious communites are more welcoming and are prepared to discuss matters more openly as they develop opinions.

4) For many of the reasons above I have separated my political and religious activities - finding that synthesizing them was often a challenge and christian colleagues generally did the same. I am certain on this reflecting back to conversations with Chris Bryant in the 1990s, however challenged on this greatly after a meeting with Jon Cruddas.

5) Marginalising faith communities as London based, or the church as tory no-go territory is shortsighted - as is not having a strategy for the atheists and secularists. Labour should not be a party of faith or faith-less but a party that can speak to both.

6) In parliament, expenses and other issues have shown a set of problems, but there is a deep need to look at how faith groups, minorities or individuals influence (or fail to influence) MPs, councillors or government and there may need to be codes of practice that are more closely monitored.

1:21 am, April 30, 2011

 
Blogger Old Politics said...

You're welcome. Similarly, the poll that said 24% saw themselves as working class gave options something like "Working Class, Lower Middle, Middle, Upper Middle, Upper".

People gravitate away from the extremes of a list of options, it's a well-known marketing phenomenon, and the reason the second cheapest bottle of wine on a restaurant menu usually has the highest percentage mark-up.

So while you can get 24% working class by presenting people with those options, I bet if you asked people to choose from "Underclass, Lower Working Class, Working Class, Upper Working Class, Middle Class" you'd end up with only about a quarter picking Middle.

A binary question would be nice. I haven't seen one that I can remember, of late.

1:47 am, April 30, 2011

 
Anonymous Maurice Glasman said...

Thanks for this Luke. it is extremely thoughtful and basically correct. My only major difference is on Jon Cruddas, who is a very good man. Greater definition is required, and surprising coalitions are necessary. It would be very nice to have a curry at the anglo-Asian one evening.

2:33 am, April 30, 2011

 
Anonymous Owen Jones said...

Old Politics is right - actually, the number of people self-identifying as working-class in most polls has stayed fairly constant over the years: it's almost always higher than those describing themselves as middle-class. (e.g. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2007/oct/20/britishidentity.socialexclusion)

It does fluctuate - but always has. It will probably surprise you but in one Gallup poll in 1949 just 43% said they were working-class.

The poll Luke refers to was conducted by BritainThinks. A slightly alarming feature of this study was how the demonisation of working-class identity had impacted how people described themselves:

There was a strong feeling in the focus groups that the noble tradition of a respectable and diligent working class was over. For the first time, I saw the "working class" tag used as a slur, equated with other class-based insults such as "chav". I asked focus group members to make collages using newspaper and magazine clippings to show what the working class was. Many chose deeply unattractive images: flashy excess, cosmetic surgery gone wrong, tacky designer clothes, booze, drugs and overeating. By contrast, being middle class is about being, well, a bit classy.

7:07 am, April 30, 2011

 
Anonymous Carl R said...

Luke, I think Maurice is referring to a particular type of Fabianism, the Fabianism of the Webbs, which tended to emphasise state, technocratic solutions, and downplayed the chances of genuine popular direction of the economy. On the other wing of the Fabians we have GDH Cole and Karl Polanyi, who are the direct reference points for most of Maurice's ideas.

Secondly, you cannot talk of 'ethical socialism' and somehow combine this with a state which sells weaponry to the highest bidder around the world, as part of an international system which supports a grab of the developing world's most basic resources and leaves widespread environment despoilation in it's wake.

You may not like these ramifications of ethical socialism, but you surely cannot be oblivious to the inconsistency of an 'ethical' approach whilst selling weapons to corrup dictatorships such as Saudi Arabia, or repressive states such as Israel. 'Ethical' isn't a cloak to be worn lightly - you either adopt this approach fully, or you do not.

This might leave you, and many others, with a high degree of cognitive dissonance in the future, as the 'ethical' basis of Labour is emphasised, whilst we all know the squalid realpolitik is about arms deals, using taxpayers money to guarantee jobs in the defence industry. Taking 'Blue Labour' to its conclusion would sweep away this whole approach - we'd still need a defence industry, but I'd imagine helicopters would be the most important aspect!

7:34 am, April 30, 2011

 
Anonymous Kat said...

Luke, following your Tweets of the meeting and this analysis makes me think about there being "nothing new under the sun"

The New Economics Foundation have long been promoting the work of Edgar Kahn and the priniciples of co-production, a concept which is now gaining some traction in the delivery of public services in Scotland.

The rest seems very like the old bog standard community development model but being used by a political party, which may have some merit but would need to take a long time to build up the trust in the community groups (faith communities or other groups) that as a local party we do not want to hijack their concerns but work with them on it.

7:54 am, April 30, 2011

 
Anonymous Ben said...

"I’m also concerned about how you avoid drifting into communalism – the idea of seeing voters as groups based on faith or ethnicity that you communicate with by cutting deals with self-appointed community leaders who act as interlocutors."

I think this is right. Of the three "F"s, I am much more keen on flag and family than faith. One of the reasons we are in such a dreadful position in Tower Hamlets is because for a long time there was no sense of the essential propriety of telling reactionaries who happen to be part of a faith community and from an ethnic minority to bugger off. There are certain key social democratic beliefs about the kind of society we believe in that it would be a very bad idea to soft-sell. I had thought we were, finally, moving away from this sort of relativist nonsense, so I would be averse to supporting a strategy that might encourage "honouring" those who are alien to our value set.

The other, political, point here is that I think there is quite a large subterranean backlash against the overtly religious going on. Labour should not be identifiying itself with an issue where there is so much latent frustration pent up as it reinforces people's perceptions of our metropolitan nature, and the sense that we are more bothered about minorities. Not a good place to be.

There seems to me to be an internal inconsistency between the desire to promote faith groups and to reconnect with aour traditional voters. I don't see that there is much overlap here in the modern world. I would also say that "Blue Labour" (dread term) seems to me to be quite close to new Labour (I mean this largely in a good way!). In the sense that new Labour was about being tough on crime and security, patriotic, pro-welfare reform, pro-defence. These are all views which appeal to traditional Labour voters (and new Labour was rather excessively pro-faith). The difference is presumably on economics? But with the emphasis being not on the state but on community actors, once more, I am struggling to see a big gap.

Anyway, I'd like to see a re-emphasis on universal values rather than particularist community values, a strong defence and security approach, being tough on crime in a pragmatic what works sort of way, a stronger line on immigration, more emphasis on better workplace rights (this along with faith schools and immigration are the areas our government really fell down on IMHO) and for us to be on vague nodding terms with sound money (ie not the Balls line). This sounds to me like a sort of sloppy mixture of New and Blue.

In fact, dare I say it, but both new Labour and Blue Labour seem in many ways like different emphases or aspects of the traditional Labour right perspective. In seeking to reconnect with traditional Labour voters we will discover that the revisionist wing of the post-1945 party has always had many of the correct impulses...

1:00 pm, April 30, 2011

 
Anonymous Alun said...

Really interesting piece; it's so encouraging to see the future direction of Labour not only being debated seriously, but done so in a way that's free of the tedious arguments (from all sides) of the past few years.

But I think on the issue of religion (sorry: 'faith') you're both off a little bit, probably because you're both based in London where religion is far more political than elsewhere. No one would make the automatic link with minority communities, no one would feel at all threatened or offended, and the only real danger would be of coming across as preachy, but then that's always a risk for Labour anyway. Trouble is, of course, that no one would be attracted by it either; the appeal of faith in its own right has never been strong in working class communities, even back in the heyday of Primitive Methodism or in the then-new Irish immigrant communities. When (and where) it was strong it was always mixed with other things (other identities mostly), and the same is true of whatever residual sentiment that happens to be left.

What I mean is that if you want to do something with 'faith' in that way, it has to move towards the the issue of 'values', meaning that, really, you're back to that yearning for something different and maybe related to the better side of how things were. That's powerful stuff and isn't quite the same thing as nostalgia (it isn't the same thing as politicised 'faith' either). But how to get there?

I doubt that made any sense, but that's not the point.

---
Did that get through? Stupid sign-in system. Try again...

8:35 pm, April 30, 2011

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Says it all that Blair and Brown can't get into the Royal wedding and Milli turns up with a girlfriend dressed in a fright frock.

Labour is out of the national conversation. And wait, or rather don't bother to wait at all, for the event that sees Milli make an honest woman of the girlfriend in the fright frock.

He - meaning the comrades - is going to get a pile of pooh dumped over his head.

Anyone for a war? Nukes will arriving with the canapes in about 15 minutes.

Labour is fucked until the memory is erased.

9:48 pm, April 30, 2011

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a contrast between Anon of 9.48 PM and the previous posts.

The difference between serious thinking on the left, and mindless football hooligan style braying on the right, has rarely been more starkly exposed.

F*** off (back) to Guido's, you worthless little piece of s***!

12:22 am, May 01, 2011

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Labour will now canvas the working classes, as they need their votes, but once re-elected its obvious Milliband will wash his hands of them and forget those values he preached. This always happens when ever Labour are in power it turns against the working classes.

10:01 am, May 01, 2011

 
Blogger Eoin Clarke said...

New Labour Are Stone dead and should remain so. The slightest whiff of them returning sparks activism among the left of the Labour Party like no other...

Blue Labour's post structuralism has merits.. If anything the very core of Ralph Miliband's philosophy is at the very heart of it..

The 'blue bit' is for branding.. as is the faith bit...

Ed Miliband's clausive IV if you like...

If the left can stomach clause IV "nuu"

the right I hope will be able to stomach a bit of rebranding the other way...

Saying all of that, I have an alternative vision which is why I have set up GEER...

We are publishing a Red book in September outlining our vision for Labour...

Those that get annoyed at hearing criticism of the Blair years will have to get used to it.. For many of us in the Labour Party will never ever ever tire of doing it.

10:34 am, May 01, 2011

 
Blogger Eoin Clarke said...

As for the portion who are or are not working class...

I have written an article on workers classed as C1 on the NRS Social Grade..

The vast majority of the jobs I cam across, mortagage advisor, dental nurse, credit controller, secretary, accounts clerk, legal sec

all paid less than £8 an hour...

These aspirational wannabe Middle Class are more impoverished than those below them. They account for a higher portion of personal debt and many of them rent privately at an average cost of £687 per month

Antonio Gramsci called this False Consciousness...

Whoever thinks these people are middle class need taken on a very friendly boat trip

10:37 am, May 01, 2011

 
Anonymous altany said...

thanks for this well assembled peice, giving an insight into the blue labour thinking.
I too have issues with the faith bit.
However, the discussion on labour direction will be a long one.
cheers

10:53 am, May 01, 2011

 
Blogger southhackneypunter said...

I would have loved to have heard Lord Glasman's views at that meeting, I was fascinated by his LSE podcast on the City of London and Tax Havens (see link below).

For what it's worth, I would thoroughly recommend Tim Bale's "The Conservative Party - from Thatcher to Cameron" (Polity 2010 / 2011).

Bale's book is masterly in recounting, in a very lively and accessible style, how the Tories set about reversing their party's twenty year decline. But the underlying message from Bale’s detailed analysis is equally applicable for activists in every political party (and even for members of every fringe group).

Bale argues cogently that the further away any party gets from purely addressing voters in clear, concise terms about how it will promote their access to decent health, education, housing and jobs (to the exclusion of all other potential debates), and the more a party feels compelled to ‘flavour’ these messages with more ideological ‘red meat’ and ‘dog-whistles’ directed solely to its 'core-voters' to keep them on board, then the further away from ever re-gaining office that party immediately starts to drift.

That may seem trite and obvious, but Bale's book sets out excellently just how easy it is for a party to nevertheless lose sight of these basics, begin a prolonged journey of introspection and wake up to discover it's been in the wilderness for years.

By the way, I'm afraid I kind of agree with Peter Hain, I had assumed Ed Miliband hadn’t even been invited to the Royal Wedding based on watching the BBC's coverage.

http://www2.lse.ac.uk/publicEvents/events/2011/20110201t1830vHKT.aspx

1:53 pm, May 01, 2011

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Serious thinking on the left" ... carry on thinking, rolling in the deep, that way is irrelevance and oblivion.

Pippa's dress is a much more fundamental political statement than four hours of masochism and masturbation, and mutial fellatio, no doubt too, in the Anglo-Asian.

2:44 pm, May 01, 2011

 
Anonymous Rich said...

The only people who say class isn't relevant are those with enough wealth that class is meaningless.

Millions of people are trapped in poverty, their childred face enormous odds to try and break the trend. On
the other spectrum those from wealthy backgrounds are making it increasingly difficult for the poorest to
buck the trend. Try explaining to these people there is no such thing as class. If this isn't a class barrier then exactly what is it.

Unfortunately this is in my opinion going to get worse. If access to education becomes exclusive to those who can afford it then those from the poorest backgrounds are unlikely to become politicians and therefore
have no influence in policy.

It just gets worse and worse for those at the bottom of the wages pile. What the middle classes need to realise is that goods and services should reflect a living wage and not the cheapest option.

Unless there is a huge redistribution of wealth through a fair living wage programme nothing will ever change.

3:45 pm, May 01, 2011

 
Anonymous Andrew Walton said...

Article on "Blue Labour" from the socialist:

http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/11577

What amazes me is that you say it is "unrealistic" for Labour to oppose all cuts. What is the point of voting Labour then, if all they stand for is making the same Tory cuts - just at a slower pace? In Leicester, our local Labour council is making 1000 workers redundant and slashing vital public services. They are not standing up to the Tories.

These cuts are not necessary. The money is there in society - clamp down on the £120bn / year avoided in tax by the rich for a start. Labour councils should set needs budgets and campaign together across the country for the government to make up the shortfall. This should be co-ordinated with a public sector general strike to bring down the Tory-Lib Dem coalition.

With the exception of a few left-wingers like John McDonnell, Labour has miserably failed to put any alternative forward. That is why I am standing as a TUSC (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) candidate in the local elections where I live.

4:16 pm, May 01, 2011

 
Anonymous Ben said...

"...when ever Labour are in power it turns against the working classes"

Nice bit of old time religion for our gimpy Trot friends. You guys never tire of trotting (no pun intended) out this betrayal narrative do you? Maybe you wanna take a look at some stats on income and public spending before coming out with this public onanism. Somewhat applies to the likes of Eoin Clarke above, too. I love the way these guys get so self-righteous and arrogant, since it is they who know the One True Path from which the entire party leadership has deviated for so long. Mmmmm feisty. Joyless lefty arrogance and blazing moral certainty: kinda cute, shame it's navel gazing par extraordinaire.

"Bale argues cogently that the further away any party gets from purely addressing voters in clear, concise terms about how it will promote their access to decent health, education, housing and jobs (to the exclusion of all other potential debates), and the more a party feels compelled to ‘flavour’ these messages with more ideological ‘red meat’ and ‘dog-whistles’ directed solely to its 'core-voters' to keep them on board, then the further away from ever re-gaining office that party immediately starts to drift."

Now there is a statement that should be tatooed on the arms of the soi dissant activist "left" (funny how many of this class seem to live in Muswell Hill and know where to place a fish knife). Less nasty Israelis this, lovely Hugo Chavez the other, and no calling for a general strike next Thursday. Let's focus on jobs and decent homes and good schools and waiting lists and other things that don't make it appear that politically-minded people are total nutjobs...

I enjoyed that. :)

5:20 pm, May 01, 2011

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 2.44PM

You are a boring troll, with nothing of interest or insight to say. Stop spoiling this thread.

12:31 am, May 02, 2011

 
Blogger Vincent Carroll said...

Hi Luke,
Great analysis. I got down some thoughts on a similar talk with Glasman and Tim Horton of the Fabians in Hornsey & Wood Green, a neighbouring CLP to my own Tottenham. I think the values thing warrants further discussion and Glasman needs to flesh it out. We need to avoid leftliberal/dailymail dichotomy.

12:57 pm, May 12, 2011

 
Anonymous Custom Promotional Items said...

Great post. Thank you for sharing.

4:24 am, June 17, 2011

 

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