A Symposium with Maurice Glasman
Thursday 1 November 2012
Respondent: Dr Jon Lawrence (Reader in History, University of Cambridge)
Since Labour's defeat in the 2010 General Election, it has become apparent that the party has needed fresh thinking. Some of this has been provided by Maurice Glasman (Baron Glasman of Stoke Newington and Stamford Hill/Senior Lecturer in Political Theory, London Metropolitan University), who has been associated with what has been called 'Blue Labour'.
Insisting that the party needed to reconnect with the electorate, 'Blue Labour' has argued that Labour should embrace patriotism and a return to a form of community values based on trade unions and voluntary groups. This way of thinking, it argues, was evident in Labour politics in the inter-war period but was lost after 1945 with the rise of the welfare state. Ed Milliband was so impressed by Maurice Glasman and his experience in community organising that he has put him in the House of Lords.
Others influenced by Blue Labour include the MPs David Milliband and Jon Cruddas, who is now directing Labour's policy review. It is therefore likely that these ideas could be very influential in the future.
The Labour History Research Unit exists to allow the insights of historians to shape current and future politics. This symposium with Lord Glasman considered the ways Blue Labour can or cannot make sense of Labour's past.