Ed Miliband has scored a meagre triumph in keeping his party united but failed to develop a coherent vision. He should marry the best of Blue Labour and New Labourby Philip Collins / March 26, 2015 / Leave a comment
Published in April 2015 issue of Prospect Magazine
Ed Miliband was raised to the Labour leadership by all that was Old and Red in his party and it was always unlikely that he would be the messenger for anything that was either New or Blue. Miliband defined himself rather clumsily against his New Labour predecessors, deftly apologising for lots of things those governments had got right. Meanwhile, the advocates of Blue Labour gathered round him, hoping he would turn their way. He never really did. In Five Year Mission, Tim Bale tells the story of how it never happened. Ian Geary and Adrian Pabst’s Blue Labour describes, intellectually, why it never could.
The Blue account of the Labour Party, to borrow a metaphor from one of its founders, Maurice Glasman, is that it is a marriage that failed. The party was born from both the trade union and cooperative movements and the Fabian tradition of gradual, inevitable scientific improvement. The central Blue Labour claim is that the technocrats won a fatal victory that led directly to the dead end of nationalisation followed by the softer illusion of state planning.