Where is ‘Red Labour’ in all of this?

19th April, 2011 11:00 am

Red FlagBy Mark Ferguson / @markfergusonuk

Since childhood I’ve had an affliction. It doesn’t have a profound impact upon my life, but it can at times be embarrassing. I’m colourblind. Very specifically I can’t tell the difference between blue and purple. I’ve never had any problem with red though. It’s my favourite colour. I can see it clearly. I like it when things are red. Or at least red enough.

It seems that my affliction is going to get political in the coming months. I’m not about to confuse blue and purple. There will clearly be a number of significant differences – both in social and economic terms – between Blue Labour and the Purple Bookers (as we shall, in time, feel obliged to call them). Yet they are both likely to involve a level of conservatism that many in the party might feel uncomfortable with.

Looking at both the media coverage these two groups have already managed to accrue, and the number and quality of people and organisations backing them, there can be no doubt that the blues and the purples will help shape both the practical and theoretical future of the party.

But where is “Red labour” in all of this? Surely if New Labour/the Blairites, can redefine themselves in an attempt to reshape the debate according to their views, then so can the left. Surely it should be down with “Old” Labour (it was pejorative and no-one ever defined themselves that way anyway) and up with “Red” Labour?

There’s one problem with this though. Whilst Blue Labour and the Purple Book are adapted and updated versions of Labour thought, the left appears mired firmly in the past. Whilst the Purple Bookers admit even in their introduction to the world that they must move beyond Blair and the nineties formulation of New Labour, the left of the party seems stuck in the past (and specifically the 1980s), with neither the new ideas (or the desire to alter old ideas) that would give them an equal platform in the coming years.

It’s understasable that this morning many on the left of the party will roll their eyes and wonder why the right of the party is dominating the debate in opposition. But if the left wants to play a genuine role in the debate, it needs to pull together some new ideas, or present the old ones in a new and fresh way, and soon. Or else they’ll be left behind.

Latest

  • Europe Featured News Brexit would be a “gift to Putin”, Dan Jarvis warns

    Brexit would be a “gift to Putin”, Dan Jarvis warns

    A vote to leave the EU would prompt fresh uncertainty over Britain’s security, Dan Jarvis will warn on Wednesday. In a speech in South London the former paratrooper will spell out how he believes an Out vote would be seen by Britain’s enemies as a sign the nation does not take seriously its global alliances against emerging threats. Jarvis will lay out a stark message that “Britain leaving the EU would undermine vital efforts for peace and stability”, and would be […]

    Read more →
  • News Weekly survey: English patriotism and devolved mayor selections

    Weekly survey: English patriotism and devolved mayor selections

    This week Tristram Hunt and Jon Cruddas have both called on Labour to embrace ideas of community and to develop a progressive idea of English patriotism. Do you think this is an effective way for Labour to win over voters in England? There are now three people in the race to become Labour’s candidate for Greater Manchester Mayor: Andy Burnham, Ivan Lewis and Tony Lloyd. Who do you think should be the Labour candidate for next year’s election? There are two people, […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Featured News Momentum swings behind vote to stay in EU

    Momentum swings behind vote to stay in EU

    Momentum has vowed to throw its weight behind the campaign for an In vote in next month’s EU referendum after it held a consultation with supporters. The pro-Corbyn group surprised many people earlier this year when it confirmed they had not taken a position on the referendum, despite the Labour leader and the party adopting a firm stance in favour of Remain. It was seen as the first time that Momentum had not automatically supported Jeremy Corbyn’s position, and led to […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Blair questions whether Corbyn can win in 2020

    Blair questions whether Corbyn can win in 2020

    Tony Blair has cast doubt on whether Jeremy Corbyn could win a general election as he called for a ground war to defeat ISIS. The former prime minister, who spoke out against Corbyn’s campaign last summer, also described his surprise at the rise of populist political movements in Britain and the US. In comments that will spark a furious debate among Labour supporters, Blair questioned the appeal of Corbynistas after their leader’s overwhelming win in the leadership contest. “It’s not yet […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Apprenticeships pledge reveals another broken Tory promise

    Apprenticeships pledge reveals another broken Tory promise

    Another month, another broken ministerial pledge. It centres around the delivery of a promise on apprenticeships, and it fuels the let-down felt by people and businesses in my Bristol South constituency. It seems a long time ago, but the 2015 Queen’s Speech highlighted apprenticeships as a big part of the government’s plan, with a pledge for three million new ones by 2020. Home to some of the most economically deprived wards in the country, Bristol South sends fewer of its […]

    Read more →
x

LabourList Daily Email

Everything Labour. Every weekday morning

Share with your friends










Submit