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What Will the Effect of The Iraq War be in 2015

Despite the ending of UK and US combat missions in Iraq, the country is still plagued by violence and, as has been proven recently, still has the propensity to dominate headlines within the British press. With the withdrawal of large parts of the western military presence from the country, a power vacuum, akin to that created by the removal of Saddam Hussein, has once again become apparent in one of the most turbulent nations in the world. However, the effect of the intervention in Iraq spreads far beyond the country and the region and has the potential to play a large part in the UK general election scheduled for 2015.

The biggest headache that Iraq will cause will come for the Labour party leader Ed Miliband. Prior to Iraq, immigrant communities and their future generations were expected to largely vote for Labour and other left parties, mainly due to fears of Conservative racism and anti-immigration ideals. However, the Iraq War, coupled with Afghanistan and New Labour’s cuddling up to the US and George Bush, has caused huge distrust of the Labour Party within Muslim communities. The Muslim world is one that sees itself as very interconnected and a close knit group, a feeling typified by the worldwide Islamic ummah. The problem that the Labour leader faces is that the Muslim community globally feels vilified by the actions of New Labour governments. Not only do they feel that the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were unjustified and perhaps highly illegal, but they also feel that ordinary Muslim citizens now suffer from discrimination from the general public and western governments.

Most of the British Muslim community then still has not forgiven Labour for its actions in the Middle East and at home. Part of the problem is how closely tied to the New Labour government both Ed Miliband and Ed Balls were. Ed Miliband wrote the Labour manifesto which resulted in Gordon Brown’s election defeat in 2010 and Ed Balls was a close advisor to Brown at the Treasury. Therefore, Labour risks losing thousands of Muslim votes due to their actions in Iraq and will have to work hard to recapture the trust of Muslim communities (perhaps by advocating a repeal of the impingement on rights and freedoms that followed the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq under Tony Blair), or risk losing voters and perhaps the election.

The Conservative Party also faces a difficult challenge concerning the war in Iraq and current policy concerning the Middle East. Firstly, the Tories generally aren’t trusted by immigrant communities as fears still remain, despite the Cameroon centralist project, that the Tory party is inherently nasty and, at least in some quarters, racist and discriminatory (an image not helped by the demotion of Baroness Warsi in the recent reshuffle). Furthermore, following Conservative support for the invasion of Iraq, their continuance of a failing policy in Afghanistan and the failure to remove detach themselves from the bullying tactics of the US all over the world, the Tories are unlikely to mop up the Muslim voters the Labour Party has haemorrhaged.

The Conservative’s coalition partners are perhaps the only one of the three main parties with the opportunity to take advantage of the Iraq War debacle. The Lib Dems were some of the main opponents of the invasion of Iraq, a principled stand that they have taken and stood by and should be commended for. However, although the Lib Dems opposed the invasion, the votes of Muslims will not rest solely on this point and the Lib Dems are likely to have done enough damage to their image by selling their souls for power to have put off potential voters. They are particularly unlikely to gain Muslim voters over Iraq since 2010 seeing as the invasion occurred prior to the 2010 election and any major gains would have occurred then.

To which parties then are opponents of the Iraq War likely to turn. Social democratic voters, perhaps natural supporters of the Labour party who left for the Lib Dems following Iraq and now feel betrayed by them due to their pandering to the Conservatives in coalition will perhaps look to the Green Party. I believe that the Green Party risks becoming a force on the left, particularly considering their move away from purely green issues to focus on social and economic issues, particularly a radical approach to opposition to the coalition’s austerity programme. If the Green’s new leader Natalie Bennett can motivate voters and get the Green message out to the public then the Greens have the potential to massively increase their share of the vote in 2015.

Another potential winner will be the Respect party, a potential epitomised by George Galloway’s return to politics in Bradford. Galloway ran an unashamedly populist campaign in Bradford and relied on the support and votes of the local Muslim population, which turned out in vast numbers and delivered him victory. Part of Galloway’s appeal was his complete opposition to western fiddling in the Middle East, particularly Iraq, and played on anti-western sentiment within the Muslim community, to great effect. The Respect Party has the potential to replicate Galloway’s victory in other areas of the country.

Finally, a mention must go to the BNP which, whilst imploding via internal feuds and lack of funds, also has the potential to gain a few right-wing supporters who back the policy of withdrawing British interests and troops from the Middle East completely, believing that British troops should protect only British land, views echoed by the English Defence League who have also threatened to run candidates in upcoming elections. However, I think it likely that with the current disorganisation faced by the far-right of British politics that any far-right candidates will largely find themselves losing their deposits.

Iraq, whilst not being a defining issue at the next election, will almost certainly be a tricky issue which will surface sooner or later in the run up to 2015, particularly if the current violence in the country continues. The Labour Party in particular has a lot of ground to cover to recoup Muslim and anti-war voters and I think that the Iraq war and anti-imperialist sentiment has the potential to return some shock results in 2015.

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Two Eds May Not Be Better After All

So, apparently the relationship at the top of the Labour Party between leader Ed Miliband and Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls is breaking down. This supposed friction between Labour’s top two was reported last week in the media and even if, as has been argued, the account of Miliband snapping at Balls at a shadow cabinet meeting for tapping on his Blackberry is indeed a mere repeat of an event that actually happened and surfaced in the media almost two years ago, a potential rift between Balls and Miliband does not bode well for the Labour Party’s chances of regaining power at the next general election.

At a time when the economy was undoubtedly going to become the most important factor at the next election, Miliband, still not wholly accepted by the Labour Party, particularly those of a more central than left leaning, is in desperate need of a shadow chancellor who can not only expose the Tories mishandling of the economy but also work with him to produce a Labour party with policies that can convince the public that they are a government in waiting. Any rift between the two therefore could be catastrophic.

However, it seemed nigh on impossible that the rift would not occur at some time or other before the election. For starters, Ed Balls was still smarting at his rejection by the party at the leadership elections following Labour’s loss of power. Balls came in a distant third behind Ed and his brother David, and this was a rejection that must have hurt. Furthermore, Balls was then initially denied his second preference job, that of Shadow Chancellor, a position granted to Alan Johnson, only for Balls to be given the job when Johnson resigned a mere three and a half months after taking up the role. Balls was further aggrieved by the fact that he was Miliband’s second choice and it is likely that his leadership ambitions are far from evaporated.

It appears that Balls and Miliband are determined to follow in the route of Labour leaders and their (Shadow) Chancellors falling out and tearing the party apart, an eventuality that Miliband has already had to fight hard against as the party has an innate instinct to enter into a bitter civil war whenever it is removed from power. So far, Miliband has done a splendid job of balancing the needs of the trade unions, Blairites and other Labour factions all vying for control of policy.

The last thing that Miliband needs on top of this is a petulant Shadow Chancellor determined to undermine him. Miliband therefore has two options. The first is to continue with Ed Balls as shadow chancellor, concede ground to Balls and hope to maintain the current level of unity present in the Labour Party. This has the obvious advantages of avoiding disruption as well as being viewed as overseeing the constant removal and implementation of Shadow Chancellors, a sign of uncertainty, instability and potentially weakness.

The second option is to remove Balls and find a new shadow chancellor to take the fight to the coalition. The truth is that Balls isn’t all that likeable. I believe that the general public do not really see Balls as a future Chancellor. After all, this is the man that the Tories jeer delivered us an economic crisis that Labour has to try and distance itself from. So far, Tory insults concerning the origins of the financial downturn are sticking in the mind of the public and the closer they can associate Balls with the crisis the more the insults will stick. Also, Balls appears determined to disrupt the Labour Party, bitter at the loss of the leadership election. Furthermore, the truth is that not much of the Labour Party backed Balls in the leadership election, around 11% of first preference votes, and even fewer would now, knowing the damage it would cause and taking into consideration the promising start of Ed Miliband as Leader of the Opposition.

A problem created by removing Balls however is where Miliband would find his replacement. I believe that the best candidate would be Chuka Umunna, the current Shadow Business Secretary, who is eloquent, intelligent and a good economist. Furthermore, although inexperienced, this means that Umunna is distanced from the record of the pat Labour government. He is a likeable, attractive character and would impress the general public, as well as seeming part of a more approachable top team to the Lib Dems.

Miliband therefore is faced with a difficult decision, to risk splitting the Labour Party and taking the bold move of giving the job of Shadow Chancellor to a relatively inexperienced, yet bright, politician, or to attempt to maintain harmony but appear weak and leave the Labour Party open to Tory attacks. Certainly Miliband cannot allow Balls too much freedom to manoeuvre against him and act in a petulant and undermining manner. If Balls is determined to disrupt the Labour ship on its way back to power, now would be the time to depose him.

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Hollande’s Importance for Labour

Francois Hollande’s rise to become French president and remove the centre-right administration of Nicolas Sarkozy was a big moment for Europe. Hollande’s accession marked the rejection of technocratic and conservative led recession in favour of a more equal, painless route out of Europe’s woes. Furthermore, Hollande’s triumph appeared to personify the anti-austerity tide sweeping across Europe from the streets of Athens, Dublin, London and Paris. The French elections symbolised the democratic wishes of the peoples of Europe to escape the bonds of austerity in favour of a growth-led recovery in the interests of the many not the few.

The initial triumph for Ed Miliband’s party therefore was simply the impending signs of a turning tide. The people of Europe had realised that it was leftist, growth supportive policies that would drive Europe out of recession not more and more cuts to vital services which starved the economy of oxygen. Hollande gave British Labour supporters a huge boost with his election, even if we have found his early days in office underwhelming. That is we have until four days ago, when Hollande unveiled his first budget, including his centrepiece policy: a super tax on the super-rich. From now on, the richest in French society will pay a tax rate of 75%. Whilst Ed Miliband has done some marvellous work in raising Labour’s ratings in the polls (even if his own are rather less satisfactory), it will be the results of Hollande’s super tax that could define whether Labour can be trusted with the British economy in 2015.

Ed Miliband has long been making moves against what he sees as predatory capitalists and the super-rich. Recently he announced plans to forcibly break up banks if they refused to do so themselves, whilst attacking the Tories watering-down of the Vicker’s report into banking practice. Furthermore, he has dedicated Labour to repealing the tax cut for the rich, which the Tories implemented in George Osborne’s budget, in the interests of fairness and to squeeze those who contributed to the financial crisis that has led to Britain’s terribly recessive economic period. These policies are controversial to say the least.

Whilst the public generally agree with Ed about the need to make Britain a more egalitarian and fair society, they fear that Labour, still blamed for the financial collapse of 2008, cannot be trusted with the economy. These fears are compounded by the Tories, although their economic credibility is dissolving gradually due to the double-dip recession. Another Tory argument, central to the idea of taxing the rich and squeezing the banks, is that if we squeeze the rich too hard they will simply pack up and leave, simply go on strike, in a scene reminiscent of one of Ayn Rand’s sauciest wet dreams. This is why Hollande will be key to Labour’s election chances.

Although the French economy is not based around a rich financial centre such as that in the City of London, the French nation has its fair share of the super-rich, people who will presumably become disgruntled by the notion of having their taxes raised to 75%. The key tests for the Labour party will be the tax receipts of the French treasury over the next couple of years and the number of rich who decide to leave French shores in search of a more generous tax deal.

The Tory argument that a Labour government will push away the banks, the rich, and their enterprises by squeezing them too hard is about to be tested across the Channel and if their arguments are proved wrong not only will the Tories look even less economically credible but they will suffer further humiliation. Furthermore, if Labour are right, Ed Miliband will once again be proved right on one of his main themes (remember Murdoch and the Leveson Inquiry). This would be a major boost to Miliband personally and Labour economic policy and credibility as a whole. The success of French policy could cement Labour’s chances of re-election and consign the Tories to a swift return to opposition. The advantage for Miliband is that, even if he is wrong, the consequences for him are much less severe.

Firstly, Miliband can still take the moral high ground. He would remain the politician who was backing the little people over the rich and powerful. He would still be the one standing up to the banks and their gambling practices. Plus he would still be right to demand the morally and ethically correct route even in the face of a wealth rebellion. After all, even if the wealthy threaten to leave, that would not make it right to simply cave in to their demands. Miliband cannot let himself to be seen selling his ethics away for the concern of money. The public will understand and appreciate this.

However, I really don’t see it going that far. The rich will not leave France on their yachts and private jets. Instead, the French people will be seen to be enjoying a fairer deal, where the rich pay their way and the poor are not used as sponges to be wrung dry so as to pay for a tax cut for the rich. Hollande may just have provided a huge boost to the British Labour Party’s chances of victory

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Social mobility really is a force for good

I read an article on the Guardian website today by Zoe Williams in which she claimed that the idea of social mobility is not as brilliant as we all presume it to be. Williams claims that Nick Clegg’s form of social mobility, in which the cleverest children are allowed to achieve their full potential, is not progressive as it merely means that a minor reshuffle takes place in personnel between the classes and many of those who begin in the gutter are left there to rot.

However, having moved from a comprehensive school at primary level into a grammar school at secondary level and for sixth form, I must disagree with Williams, as I see grammar schools as an important tool for social mobility and look forward to the day when grammar schools can replace our private education system and allow an equality of opportunity to prevail in the British education system.

Firstly, let me say that I find private schools and education an abhorrent idea and one which in Britain allows for the continuation of the class system and the elite, ruling class in society. I wish to see all private education demolished and replaced with a system where no-one can pay for the privilege of a better education. It is this private school system which continues to allow Britain’s elite to keep the positions of politicians, the rich and the powerful within the upper classes and keeps bright members of the working-class out of these positions.

Nick Clegg has suggested that the brightest children, no matter their background, should be given the chance to achieve their full potential, and I believe that grammar schools are an effective vehicle for this development, taking from my own experience.

Williams asks how social mobility will help those who are not blessed with high levels of intelligence and I would hope that she is wrong to dismiss social mobility for this reason. As Tory MP Nadine Dorries has said recently, part of the problem with the current Tory leadership in government is that they do not understand the effects their policies would have on normal people, claiming that they would have no idea what the price of a pint of milk is. I agree with Dorries on this point (although little else), as the privileged background of a lot of Britain’s ruling classes have enabled them to achieve their positions of power with relatively little work and/or merit, a system that could be rectified by allowing even those who begin from humble backgrounds the same opportunities as those at the top.

The difference to society of having members of the working-class making it to the top and positions of power would be that these would hopefully remember their roots, and have a greater idea of the effects of their policies on ordinary people. Furthermore, it would hopefully be an ambition for these people to allow people from a similar background to their own to achieve what they have, rather than see the top jobs go to privately educated, rich kids with little experience of the real world.

I believe therefore that Williams is wrong to claim that social mobility does little to help the lower-classes in society, as it is only through furthering the aspirations and achievements of these classes that we will gain rulers who are prepared to fight for the rights of these people to equal opportunities in society.

 

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Coalition infighting

The Lib Dem attack on Adrian Beecroft’s call for no-fault dismissals to become commonplace within British businesses has led to even further coalition infighting, a trend that has continued to worsen for the Tories and Lib Dems ever since their respective trouncings in the local elections earlier this month. As this infighting continues and indeed deepens, is it finally time that we can envisage the coalition falling apart and an early general election being called?

Today, Beescroft, smarting from the rejection of his repressive, ideological proposals to further degrade the rights of British workers, attacked the Lib Dem leadership in a very personal, and Toff-like fashion. Firstly, the Lib Dem business secretary and party darling, Vince Cable, who, until recently was seen as the left’s big hope within the coalition. This reputation was of course besmirched by the lack of backbone displayed on central liberal and progressive issues by the Lib Dem leadership. Beecroft however, clearly still feels that Cable can do a job for the left in coalition, labelling him “a socialist who found a home in the Lib Dems”. Despite the fact that I, and I suspect many others, would receive this as a massive compliment coming from a large Tory donor, I suspect that Cable viewed Beecroft’s remarks as a personal attack in retaliation for Cable labelling his no-fault dismissal plans “bonkers”.

As if attacking the Lib Dem’s favourite minister wasn’t enough, Beecroft then took to attacking the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, accusing him of threatening to go “nuclear” and meltdown the coalition. He was backed-up in this case by the head of an Oxford, private school, who claimed that Clegg was using “communist tactics”.

It would appear that the tensions that have previously simmered away under the coalition’s surface are finally beginning to spill over into the public realm and Cameron and his Tory friends will have a lot of work to do to patch up the coalition, particularly if they wish to forestall major Lib Dem backbench intervention; they too are far from happy with the direction of the coalition.

With Lib Dems worrying about the party’s reputation at the next general election, as well as their leadership’s lack of ideological backbone on issues such as tuition fees, which have caused the party copious amounts of distress and hatred, and Tory backbenchers worrying that the Lib Dem’s are having more than their fair share of input into coalition policy, there is a chance that backbench pressure will tell and cause the breakdown of the coalition. Certainly, this possibility appears more likely now than at any time since the 2010 general election.

However, both parties would be impulsive and self-destructive were they to bring down the coalition having only made things worse for the country economically and with both receiving recent batterings at the polls. For Labour of course coalition infighting is good news. Ed Miliband can now expose both parties for what they are, the Tories as ideological and regressive and the Lib Dems as power-thirsty and unprincipled. This would fly right in the face of the coalition’s claim to be working together to sort out the economic conundrum Britain is still in.

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A chance for Labour?

Despite the successes of Labour in recent local elections and the continuous unpopularity of the coalition government, I fear that it is still true to say that a large percentage of the population believes the coalition’s narrative on the economy. This narrative reads that Labour overspent in government building up a massive deficit and is directly responsible for the economic collapse in Britain and the mess left for the coalition government to admirably clear up.

Whilst it is true that the UK (and much of the developed world), built up irresponsible amounts of debt, it is doubtful that a Tory government would have done any different. After all, up until 2008 the Tories very rarely disagreed with the amount Labour was spending in government. Furthermore, the basis of the economic crisis in Britain was the worldwide crash instigated by the collapse of American banks, which caused tremors across the developed world. Labour then took some very hard decisions and Gordon Brown called it right, pleading for the bailout of the banks and leading Europe away from the crisis. Labour then began to deliver stability and small amounts of growth before inevitably losing power at the 2010 election, largely due to the public’s decision to not trust Labour with the economy.

However, since 2010, the UK economy has consistently stalled and stagnated and has now returned to recession, despite the implementation of Tory economic plans. Despite the fact that the economy has slid backwards over the past two quarters, the Tory party continues with their damaging fiscal ideas and the country continues to allow ideological cuts to ruin the economy due to their distrust of Labour. As well as denying the UK economy growth, the prime minister has today claimed that the Eurozone must replicate the coalition’s “pro-growth” agenda, a laughable gesture considering that the UK has returned to recession.

It has been clear for a long time that the economy will be the defining factor of the next election, probably in 2015. It is key for Labour’s election prospects therefore that the party regains economic credibility and destroys that of the Tories. You would expect the return to a double-dip recession would make this job easy but the sheer level of distrust between voters and Labour has made this a difficult task. However, I believe that David Cameron’s speech today, urging the Eurozone to replicate his policies, and continued stuttering growth allows Labour a golden opportunity, one they cannot afford to miss, in destroying Tory credibility going into the next election. As for restoring respectability to Labour’s economic plans, the party must recognise the faults of Labour before the 2008 crash, and ensure that they produce spending plans that are realistic and accounted for. Furthermore, I believe that Labour can gain a stranglehold on the election by presenting their economic vision as one of equality and fairness.

In attacking the coalition’s economic plans, Labour have already been presented a massive opportunity by the UK’s return to recession, and faltering voter confidence in the coalition policies was shown by Labour’s massive local election victories. Furthermore, Cameron called today for the adoption of UK economic policies throughout the Eurozone, and who in their right mind espouses an economic policy so consistently failing. Labour can surely use Cameron’s speech today to present the prime minister as hellbent on austerity due to his ideological interests, as surely any pragmatic leader would look to change course so as to restore growth.

To restore faith in Labour’s ability to handle the economy the two Eds must acknowledge first and foremost that Labour under Gordon Brown made mistakes and they must accept that voters still have not forgiven these mistakes. They must use this opportunity to distance themselves from the old Labour regime and stamp their own authority on the Labour party. One question always asked of me regarding Ed Miliband is “what does he stand for?”, and it is a question I struggle to answer and usually I respond with vague murmurings about fairness and equality. I believe that, even if voters do not trust Labour to deliver economic excellence, they are currently seen as the party of fairness, and I believe Ed should make fairness central to his agenda as a whole, and his economic policy. Tory cuts are ideological and ruthless and must be attacked as so, whilst Labour must produce a correctly costed economic policy which restores growth and jobs to the working-class and squeezed middle, regaining voters lost to the Tories in 2010. Whilst I believe Labour has been right to keep its cards close to its chest up to this point regarding a potential spending plan post-2015, now the two Eds must deliver a credible alternative.

Therefore, it is key now that Labour takes advantage of what may be the best opening they get regarding economic policy in this government’s term in office. To take full advantage Labour has to produce a credible alternative, correctly costed, which produces a narrative for Labour’s route back to power, one of equality of opportunity, fairness and growth.

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The Demise of Blue Labour

It is almost a year now since Lord Glasman’s remarks concerning immigration brought to an end Blue Labour, a movement whose demise was as sudden as its rise. Since then, Blue Labour thinking has left very little discernible legacy amongst the rubble left by its destruction. This lack of legacy, coupled with the movement’s rapid fall, for me showcase an issue that should concern the Labour Party, even whilst I disagree with Lord Glasman’s populist form of thinking.

The foundations of Blue Labour thinking was that, to reengage with voters lost to the Tories in the 2010 general election, Labour would have to make an ideological shift to the right. This involved the party advocating tougher policies concerning issues such as immigration and crime, essentially an ideological shift towards Tory territory.

I believe the Labour Party was correct to rebuke Glasman’s ideas, despite the initial hysteria that accompanied them. Firstly, the Labour Party is a party whose ideals stretch back a long distance and should not be easily changeable by movements that inspire mass hysteria (well, as big as hysteria could get in the world of political junkies). Lord Glasman suggested quite drastic shifts to the right and this much of Labour’s grasssroots would find unacceptable – as if New Labour’s rightward move wasn’t enough! Furthermore, what Glasman really wanted was for the Labour Party to become a populist party that preyed on the fears of working and middle-class voters and aligned their policies accordingly. I would argue that the Labour Party has ideals that should not be changed purely to secure more votes. Although Labour’s job first and foremost is to win elections, I believe that this is accompanied by a caveat exclaiming that the Labour Party’s job is to win elections so as to govern in a fair, liberal, social democratic manner, in line with Labour principles.

I am sure that many would disagree and claim that Labour should aim to win elections no matter what the cost and no matter how many principles are left behind in this pursuit, after all the British political system is all about delivering a government that most closely reflects the mood and desires of those who vote for it. However, surely a better method to achieving this than selling principles for votes is to engage the public in a conversation concerning important issues such as immigration and crime and using this conversation to convince the public that Labour principles are the most just, humane and sane ways to deal with these issues.

This renunciation of the Blue Labour movement may have many of you wondering why it is that I therefore grimace at the demise of Blue Labour? The answer involves two reasons: 1. that Lord Glasman addressed issues that Labour, and the mainstream of British politics, has for too long ignored and allowed extremists to address and set the agenda, 2. that the movement failed because of remarks made by Lord Glasman and for this reason only.

Regarding the first issue, it has been clear for a while now that some issues are regarded by politicians, dreaming ahead of a ministerial career, as untouchable. Politicians within the political mainstream have, for example, been fearful of frankly addressing the issue of immigration for far too long and this has allowed right-wing groups such as the BNP to set the agenda regarding these issues. For too long it has been too easy for politicians of all beliefs to simply label the BNP racist and sit back thinking their job done. This has allowed parties such as the BNP to portray themselves as victims as well as claiming that the mainstream has no answers to their policies. The truth is that politicians need to engage with these ideas, and the lack of movements such as Blue Labour that do have the confidence to address these issues, is to be bemoaned.

Secondly, the fall of the movement was brought about by remarks made by Lord Glasman concerning immigration that were considered to be unacceptable. However, we cannot allow for the remarks of one man, albeit the head of a movement, to bring down a whole idea and remove it from political discourse. The Labour Party has to be able to actively engage with all sorts of thinking from amongst its ranks if it is to be a more concrete and unified movement than the coalition parties are proving to be, as their backbenches rebel against the centre. It is critical that the Labour Party continually engages with itself and its supporters and converses about new ideas rather than rejecting them. It is a shame that we are able to allow ideas to fail cause of remarks we consider to be unacceptable when made by only one person.

Therefore, I believe that the fall of Blue Labour is not a particularly welcome one to reflect upon, even if I disagreed with much, if not all, of what Lord Glasman had to say. It is not a good thing for Labour, or politics in general, for movements such as Glasman’s to be able to drop off the radar so rapidly as a continual evolution of policy and engagement with ideas from all sides is a prerequisite to a healthy party.

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