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.

Comments are closed

Latest

  • News Corbyn campaign unhappy over Diane Abbott text row

    Corbyn campaign unhappy over Diane Abbott text row

    Yesterday, Labour members and registered supporters in London received a text from “Jeremy”, endorsing Diane Abbott in the race to become the candidate for London Mayor. For smartphone users, the name at the top appeared as “J Corbyn”: Always assumed @jeremycorbyn supported @HackneyAbbott for Mayor but this text to party members has made if formal pic.twitter.com/6i2yRshzEi — Andy Goss (@andygoss) July 29, 2015 However, LabourList now understands that not only was the text not agreed with the Jeremy Corbyn campaign, […]

    Read more →
  • News Yvette Cooper calls for Government to put “maximum diplomatic pressure” on France over Calais crisis

    Yvette Cooper calls for Government to put “maximum diplomatic pressure” on France over Calais crisis

    Yvette Cooper has called for the Government to put “maximum diplomatic pressure” on France over the refugee crisis in Calais. The shadow Home Secretary has argued that as the crisis worsens “the diplomacy with the French government isn’t working to get a sustainable solution.” She has called for “sufficient border staff” in Calais to ” to maintain order with the French Government and prevent people losing their lives.” Over 3,000 people – many of whom are thought to be refugees – are living […]

    Read more →
  • News Scotland Post-referendum slump drove Labour’s defeat in Scotland

    Post-referendum slump drove Labour’s defeat in Scotland

    Labour’s appalling election showing in Scotland was driven by those who had supported independence leaving the party to vote for the SNP – and the Nationalists’ economic message helped strengthen their landslide in the final months. However, the new research carried out by the British Election Study (BES), found that Yes to Independence voters were likely to move from Labour to SNP regardless of their views on austerity. Labour were reduced from 41 seats in Scotland to just one on […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News CWU and TSSA announce they’re backing Jeremy Corbyn to be Labour’s next leader

    CWU and TSSA announce they’re backing Jeremy Corbyn to be Labour’s next leader

    Update: TSSA, the transport union, have also announced that they’re endorsing Corbyn to be leader, with Burnham as second preference, and Eagle as deputy leader, with Watson as second preference. Their full statement is below. CWU has announced that they are backing Jeremy Corbyn to be Labour’s next leader. The union represents workers in the postal and telecoms sector. Dave Ward, CWU’s general secretary, released a video (which you can see below) explaining their decision. CWU will be also recommend members […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Labour’s ground campaign is better than the Tories’, and here’s why

    Labour’s ground campaign is better than the Tories’, and here’s why

    Much has been said about why Labour lost the General Election – again – but in the current post-mortem, we are at risk of undermining the one thing we do better than any other political movement; our ground game. Labour should be immensely proud of what we can achieve together on the ground, entirely outclassing other political operations both in terms of our tactics and our reach. In Ealing Central and Acton, our two and a half year campaign resulted […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends










Submit