on 4 September 2013
Rowenna Davis does a very fine job in explaining the development of the Blue Labour project, and in articulating its key features. She expertly outlines how the concept of Blue Labour has become an internal political football kicked around by multiple Labour factions. A Labour councillor and centre left journalist, Davis is broadly sympathetic to the project and is keen to give founder Maurice Glasman a fair hearing and clear up confusion.
If I have one criticism it is that Davis, in seeking to be broadly sympathetic to Blue Labour, understates some of the religious aspects of the Blue Labour tradition. Perhaps the book could have done with greater exploration of the uncomfortable implications of this.
on 7 September 2013
Blue Labour is one of the most poorly-understood yet potential-laden political movements to emerge in recent years in Britain and this book does a great deal to try to extract its true essence for the curious reader. Actually, since first discovering it, I have found "Blue Labour" to be among the most exciting and important movements to emerge from within the modern socialist tradition.
The brainchild of a modest genius, Maurice Glasman, Blue Labour is actually a contemporary return to the heart and soul of the original Labour movement. Cutting relentlessly through the thin gruel of received wisdom and Labour sacred cows as it does, it is hard not to find Blue Labour challenging and seemingly heretical in its communitarian instincts and mistrust of the state but, like many great ideas, the gold appears only after serious contemplation.
Blue Labour is an unpretentious, straight-forward yet deeply radical recipe for a better kind of politics aimed at creating a better kind of society, it's a form of socialism at home enough with itself not to need fancy theories or lofty pronouncements that appeal to noone but other left-wing intellectuals. Blue Labour is not just how Labour can win elections but, more importantly, shows the way forward for a totally new epistemology for the party and a new modus operandi.
Blue Labour is a complete about-face from the slick, soulless elitism of "NewLabour" yet this is not "Old Labour" so much as "Palaeo-Labour". This is a return to the heart and a rediscovery of the roots of British socialism.
I recommend this book to anyone with either a scholarly or partisan interest in the British Labour Party, modern socialism and social-democracy or British politics. Written in a warm, sympathetic journalistic style, the book is both a good read and a useful introduction to Blue Labour and Lord Maurice Glasman, its founder and chief exponent.
Love it or hate it (and, personally, I'm inclined to love it) Blue Labour is yet to have its day but this book helps to show why and how its day may yet well come. I would, personally, certainly like to see Britain with a renewed Labour government implementing a heavily Blue Labour-inspired program of political, social and economic transformation and, if such an event is ever to come about, this book is a good background guide to what we might expect.
on 25 June 2015
Blue Labour's proponents might claim to be straight talkers, but, in reality, they're quite the erudite bunch, and as a result, it's easy for their core ideas to get lost in dense and often inaccessible academic prose. Luckily, Rowenna Davis is much better at distilling and communicating the Blue Labour tradition, from small c conservatism to mutualism and localism. She's also blessed with a talent for interweaving the political and the personal, which, in the case of her main subject, the academic Maurice Glassman and his philosophy, makes for a highly entertaining read.
on 27 January 2012
There was eventually a paleoconservative reaction to the rise of neoconservatism. Blue Labour is the most prominent, though not the only, manifestation of the emergence of paleo-Labour. This book is the definitive guide to Blue Labour, a key factor in *the* political story of 2012 and 2013, and then of many more years to come.