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Ideologies and Parties: New Labour and Liberalism

Tuesday, March 13, 2012
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Really interesting article in today’s Guardian by Patrick Diamond [author of ‘Reassessing New Labour’ and a former head of policy planning at No.10] and Patrick Kenny entitled “Labour’s Lost Liberalism “ in which they assert that:

Now that Blue Labour has come unstuck, the party should reconnect with its orange heritage.

The Labour Party needs to reconnect with ideas pertinent to liberal social democracy if it is to have traction and relevance to the arguments been raised by the curretn government.

Certainly worth a read from an A2 Ideologies perspective in term’s how how the various ideologies impact on contemporary politics and inform the ideological and policy make up of the various parties.  Also, from an AS Unit 1 perspective it gives a valuable insight into the current dilemmas facing New Labour in terms of setting out its ideological stall.

The article goes on to say:

What do the health bill, David Cameron’s veto at the European summit, disagreements over the forthcoming budget, reform of the House of Lords, and the battle over a Scottish referendum all have in common? The answer is that these issues of major significance are defined by arguments occurring within the coalition government. Labour may have interesting insights to contribute to each, but very few of us, it appears, are listening.

And concludes:

The real “values” question which Labour needs to tackle is not communitarianism versus liberalism – that most overplayed and false of philosophical choices. It is what kind of liberal social democracy the party wants to espouse. It ought to rediscover the insights of early 20th century progressivism: welfare and equality as the basis of a society where all have the freedom to flourish; redistributing power from corporate and bureaucratic elites. On the questions of our age, – how to reform British capitalism and redefine the role and purpose of the state – progressive forces must work together to forge a new “coalition of ideas”. Circumstances can always conspire against the best ideas – but without ideas, there is no hope.

There is a further article, also in the Guardian, which is worth cross referencing: Labour must steer clear of vapid form of leftism, warns manifesto author Former Blair adviser Patrick Diamond says Labour is making a negligible impact on the major issues of the day.  The article states:

Labour will be shut out of power for a generation if it succumbs to “a vapid form of leftism” that appeals only to its core supporters, one of the main authors of its manifesto for the 2010 general election has claimed.

In a powerful critique of the party, Patrick Diamond warns that Labour is making a negligible impact on the major issues of the day and is pointing “in different directions simultaneously”.

Diamond, a former No10 adviser to Tony Blair who worked with Ed Miliband on Labour’s manifesto for the election, writes: “If Labour detaches itself from the complex and contradictory currents of popular sentiment, it risks drifting towards political irrelevance and repeated defeat.”


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