Blue Labour and Red Tory: the age of post-liberalismby David Goodhart / September 21, 2011 / Leave a comment
Published in October 2011 issue of Prospect Magazine
The liberalism that has dominated British politics for a generation is looking battered. The financial crash has eroded confidence in economic liberalism, while the shocking inner-city riots have done the same for social liberalism. Watch out, this party conference season, for signs of post-liberalism.
You will not hear authoritarian rants from the conference podium, or calls to abandon market economics or individual rights. But a more pessimistic and nostalgic intellectual mood is emerging. It combines social conservatism with greater economic interventionism—tough love for inner city kids, less immigration and a more sceptical view of globalisation and high finance.
Does this sound familiar? It is, of course, the broad prospectus of the two most striking political thinkers to emerge in recent years: Phillip Blond with his Red Toryism and Maurice Glasman’s Blue Labour. Both talk with old-fashioned passion about virtue and the common good, the importance of family, religion, tradition, community and relationships, and scorn the top-down state and many aspects of the market economy.