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

  • Featured Local Government News Corbyn: We are fighting inequality and forcing the Tories into u-turns

    Corbyn: We are fighting inequality and forcing the Tories into u-turns

    Jeremy Corbyn and his senior allies have launched a fightback after Labour failed to make a breakthrough in English local elections and suffered another meltdown in Scotland. Corbyn delivered an impassioned speech in Sheffield, where he attacked the Tories over their failure to deal with the steel crisis, condemned the running down of the NHS and challenged David Cameron to tackle tax avoidance. The Labour leader was in Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough to congratulate Gill Furniss (above), one of two new Labour […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Local Government News Backbenchers tell Corbyn: Results are not good enough

    Backbenchers tell Corbyn: Results are not good enough

    Labour MPs today piled pressure on Jeremy Corbyn after the party held on to key councils in England but fell back heavily on its performance in the last set of local elections. With Labour’s share of the vote down by about six per cent on its 2012 result, according to a BBC analysis, backbenchers criticised Corbyn’s performance and said the party was no closer to returning to government. The prospect of any coup attempt diminished, however, as Labour avoided a […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Carwyn Jones considers coalition as Welsh Labour just miss majority

    Carwyn Jones considers coalition as Welsh Labour just miss majority

    Welsh Labour has fallen just short of a majority in the Senedd, winning 29 of the 60 seats available. Welsh leader Carwyn Jones said he is now talking to opposition parties about the possibility of coalition. This would mean talking to Plaid Cymru as well as the one Welsh Lib Dem Assembly member. Jones’ party performed slightly better than expectations on a night when Labour were hit by a UKIP breakthrough. The Tories and Lib Dems were the biggest losers. Today, when […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Featured Local Government Scotland Seats and Selections “We are standing up against the grotesque levels of inequality in Britain” – Corbyn’s speech in Sheffield

    “We are standing up against the grotesque levels of inequality in Britain” – Corbyn’s speech in Sheffield

      This is an extract from the speech Jeremy Corbyn has just given in Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough where Gill Furniss has won the parliamentary seat. “All across England last night we were getting predictions Labour were going to lose councils. We didn’t – we hung on and we grew support in a lot of places. “And there are a lot more results to come today and we are looking forward to those because our party is standing up, standing up for […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Local Government News Scotland Wales Liveblog: Hopes for Sadiq Khan rise as count continues

    Liveblog: Hopes for Sadiq Khan rise as count continues

    We want to hear from Labour activists and supporters today so please send us your stories and pictures [email protected] The pick of the submissions will be added to the liveblog. Running the liveblog now is Sarah Pine, so you can also send tips on Twitter @mssarahpine 13.52 – Welsh Labour are here to brighten your day! They’ve directed attention to new UKIP councillor Neil Hamilton dancing in a glass cage with some fish. Hamilton previously left politics after being implicated in a “cash for […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends










Submit