The Labour peer credited with inventing the “Blue Labour” concept, Lord Maurice Glasman, reveals another side to Ed Miliband in an interview with Channel 4 News Political Editor Gary Gibbon.
Lord Glasman expanded on the Blue Labour concept as well as the qualities of the party’s leader at a fringe event at the Labour party conference.
“He has more problems with New Labour,” he said. “There’s a genuine angry insurgent side of Ed – we saw it with Murdoch.”
Lord Glasman, known as Ed Miliband’s favourite thinker, added: “He’s got a strong idea of how the market humiliates people. He’s more conflicted than I am on how the state humiliates people… Ed is really interested in these ideas, but he thinks for himself and he’s getting the right blend of them.”
There’s a genuine angry insurgent side of Ed – we saw it with Murdoch. Lord Glasman
He also insisted that Miliband should not be judged until it gets closer to an election, saying that the two years before an election are the most important.
“I’m in favour of him not defining himself yet. Ed is growing into the role,” he explained.
The Labour peer also tackled the relationship between the two Miliband brothers, one year after Ed defeated his brother to become Labour leader.
He said: “What I’ve learnt is when you walk into a family argument and people tell you it’s about principle don’t get involved. There is more to life than principles…You give it a year. We’ve given it a year and Ed is fine.”
He explained that Blue Labour was named because of the mood in the wake of the financial crash, and because of his own disillusionment with Gordon Brown’s declaration that it was the “destiny” of the Labour movement to save the banking system.
“There is a difference between destiny and fate. Our destiny is to build a better country,” he vowed.
Lord Glasman, a politics lecturer at London Metropolitan University, has in the past defined the Blue Labour school of thought as a return to pre-1945 working-class Labour values, a vision he says is both “radical and conservative”.
He said Blue Labour is “the way that people come together to protect people and places they love from exploitation.”
Talking about the power of the unions in the Labour Party and elsewhere, Lord Glasman said: “People look at power elites. Murdoch is one, the City is another. We haven’t addressed the anger about public sector unions and they role they have. They must make a genuine offer to the public, as a partner to the public in the delivery of good services and not be in defensive blocking position.
“We’ve got to be balanced, to punch with both hands – reform unions and business power.”
He also apologised for his recent comments on engaging with the English Defence League and tackled whether Labour was a socialist party.
“I would be happy to be described as a socialist – Ed described himself as a social democrat,” he said.
Lord Glasman also called for some corporate reforms, suggesting workers should be given an equal say in how companies are governed. He also criticised the “scandal” of massive corporate salaries.
Lord Glasman said he wanted all firms that employ more than 50 people to be controlled by workers, consumers and owners, with all three groups given an equal vote in how the company is run.
The influential Labour life peer said he wanted to say workers represented on corporate remuneration committees, saying: “I think it’s scandalous the way that managers can give themselves pay rises without any negotiation with their workforces.”
He also called for vocational training, saying doctors, dentists and accountants should be trained in vocational colleges instead of university to break down class prejudices against vocational qualifications.
And the House of Lords should be completely reformed to create a “vocational second chamber” reflecting “the working life of the country”, he added.
Lord Glasman described his relationship with the Labour leader as “a continuing conversation” and hinted that his ideas may have less currency with other Labour frontbenchers.
He said he “didn’t know Ed Balls very well”, adding: “He keeps on telling me that he’s going to give me a ring and it never happens. I’m hoping that this year it will happen.”