The wisdom of Labour’s dalliance with conservatism remains to be seen

Social democracy and statism have never been synonymous. The capture, by peaceful means, of the architecture of state power has been a key landmark on the parliamentary road to socialism since its inception. However the labour movement emerged from of a groundswell of civic action and a desire for self-determination by individuals, families, communities and workforces, whose political horizons were not fixated simply on the state.

As such, in promoting the ‘Big Society’, David Cameron has cleverly and quite defiantly marched into traditional Labour territory.

Maurice Glasman is therefore right, through his Blue Labour campaign, to reclaim the social and civic space beyond the state for the labour movement. Yet while the moniker ‘Blue Labour’ works as rhetoric – not least as a genial play on ‘Red Toryism’ – and is very tweetable, it is based on a misappropriation of conservatism.

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Image: Katling

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