FOR SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS IN SCOTLAND
Library
Search Senscot
News Links
Buzz Feed, by Jim Waterson
21.05.2017
 
A Labour peer who worked as an adviser to former leader Ed Miliband has told BuzzFeed News the Conservatives are going to win the general election because his party can no longer connect with working-class voters, many of whom backed Brexit.
 
Lord Glasman, who founded the Blue Labour movement and sits on the Labour benches in the House of Lords, said Theresa May had reinvented the Conservative party with an election manifesto that understood the concerns of the public better than Jeremy Corbyn.
 
By disavowing the Thatcherite touchstones of free markets and individualism, the Conservatives, Glasman said, had "relegated two generations of religious orthodoxy into a weird ‘cult’" and replaced them with a belief in both society and the power of government to do good.
 
But Labour was unable to challenge on this ground, he said, because the party "no longer is comfortable talking about families, nations, history, institutions or duty. It likes talking about poverty, inequality, justice and rights instead. It can’t contest because it doesn’t believe in what the people believe.
 
"It can’t tell an enchanted story of our country and the Conservatives can. That is why they will win."
 
Glasman's criticism of Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party comes two weeks after the Financial Times revealed he had held meetings in Downing Street with May's joint chief of staff Nick Timothy, who played a key role in shaping her election manifesto.
 
The Labour peer, a long-term critic of Jeremy Corbyn, began pushing the "Blue Labour" concept, which emphasises local communities and socially conservative left-wing policies, in 2009. He believed the party should take a harder line on immigration controls and briefly advised Ed Miliband before the two drifted apart.
 
In his essay for BuzzFeed News, Glasman said working-class voters were never convinced by Margaret Thatcher, David Cameron, and George Osborne, and a Conservative ideology centred on markets, deregulation, and making a profit.
 
Glasman said Tony Blair's New Labour had been sucked into following this view of the world where there were "no borders, no institutions, no constraints on money and everyone goes to university and jumps on the train of endless circulation".
 
"There was no history, there were no differences between nations, there was only the individual and a welfare state," he said. "Those who couldn’t adjust to the mobile creative knowledge economy and get with the programme were a tribe of unfortunates, the left behind and the losers of globalisation."
 
But the Brexit vote had changed all that, he said, describing the biggest shock as the fact "that the losers won".
 
"The rich and the educated, the creative and the knowledgeable, the mobile and the quick" were defeated by people "who lived close to their mum and worried about how to look after her as she grew older".
 
Glasman said these people "lived and died in the places they were born", didn't "want to contract out caring for their loved ones", and "admired qualities of character rather than abstract concepts like equality, diversity, accessibility or inclusivity".
 
"These people used to be called Labour voters," Glasman added. "They wanted to be treated decently at work, go to the doctor when they were ill and supported when calamity struck. This was their birthright and it turned out that there were millions of working class votes out there who didn’t think Labour was on their side."
 
Read Lord Glasman's essay in full:
 
We are used to thinking of the Conservatives as money loving poor haters. People for whom kiss up and kick down were invented.
We think of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan who stole from the poor to give to the rich.
 
We think of David Cameron and George Osborne, who were lobbying for Uber when they were Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer so that Black Cab drivers who did an apprenticeship and took ‘the knowledge’ would be put out of work by an app. They were ‘history’.
 
Markets, deregulation, NAFTA, TTIP, EU and all of those Treaties that made it illegal to resist capitalism and the free movement of capital, labour, services and anything else they could move around to make a profit were the future. That’s who Conservatives were.
 
They dragged New Labour with them and all were united in loyalty to John Lennon’s Imagine. No borders, no institutions, no constraints on money and everyone goes to university and jumps on the train of endless circulation. The brotherhood of Mammon. It’s easy if you try.
 
There was no history, there were no differences between nations, there was only the individual and a welfare state. Those who couldn’t adjust to the mobile creative knowledge economy and get with the programme were a tribe of unfortunates, the ‘left behind’ and the losers of globalisation. The people described by Hilary Clinton, in her only memorable line of poetry as ‘a basket of deplorables’.
 
And then came Brexit and the shock that people were more into Paul McCartney’s ‘Yesterday’ than they were into ‘Imagine’ and they didn’t even like the French interlude in ‘Michelle’. The shock that people thought they were part of a nation not an outpost of the UN. That they didn’t want to be ruled by accountants or unaccountable administrators. They voted to leave, and it was above all the working class who voted to leave. They thought that the rich were getting it all their own way. They thought that there was too much immigration. They thought that democracy didn’t matter anymore.
 
And the biggest shock of all was that the losers won. The rich and the educated, the creative and the knowledgeable, the mobile and the quick were defeated by people who lived close to their Mum and worried about how to look after her as she grew older. People who lived and died in the places they were born. People who didn’t want to contract out caring for their loved ones. People who admired qualities of character rather than abstract concepts like equality, diversity, accessibility or inclusivity. A lot of them were not on Twitter. And they won against people who were very well versed in a multiplicity of social media. How could it be this way? How could the bad losers win?
 
These people used to be called Labour voters. They wanted to be treated decently at work, go to the doctor when they were ill and supported when calamity struck. This was their birthright and it turned out that there were millions of working class votes out there who didn’t think Labour was on their side.
 
And so it was that those Conservatives who had rigged politics to be in the endless service of capital were not conservatives at all but ‘Liberals’. Selfish, greedy, snobby liberals at that and that the Conservatives are the party of the Brexit voting working class.
 
The Conservative Manifesto cuts straight to the point.
 
‘We do not believe in untrammelled free markets. We reject the cult of selfish individualism.’
 
They have relegated two generations of religious orthodoxy into a weird ‘cult’. And then they go further and express a new religion, ‘a belief not just in society but in the good that Government can do; a respect for the local and national institutions that bind us together.’
 
They ‘respect the fact’ that ‘society is a partnership between those who are living, those who have lived before us, and those who are yet to be born.’ Our past and our future are linked.
 
And Labour does not challenge them on this ground and question whether given their funders and their history they will be able to take on the might of finance capital in the name of ‘ordinary working families’ because Labour no longer is comfortable talking about families, nations, history, institutions or duty. It likes talking about poverty, inequality, justice and rights instead. It can’t contest because it doesn’t believe in what the people believe.
 
It can’t tell an enchanted story of our country and the Conservatives can.
 
That is why they will win.

Printable view | Share This

Contact SENSCOT:
43 Bath Street, Glasgow G2 1HW | Tel: 0141 332 8084
21 Walker Street, Edinburgh EH3 7HX | Tel: 0131 220 4104 | Fax: 0131 539 9999 | E-mail: mail@senscot.net
Registered at above address in Edinburgh,Scotland.
Company Registration No. 278156. Scottish Charity No. SC 029210