9 Sep 2011

In conversation with – Maurice Glasman

Political Editor

Criticised by many in the Labour party for his “Blue Labour” ideas, Lord Maurice Glasman is a controversial figure. But how then has he become one of Ed Miliband’s closest advisers?

Lord Maurice Glasman is a controversial figure in the Labour party.

He has been described as one of the biggest intellectual influences on Ed Miliband’s leadership.

He is the originator of “Blue Labour.” But what does it mean? And why do so many people want him banished from the party debate? Meet Maurice Glasman.

Since arriving in the House of Lords, Lord Glasman has been in and out of the leader’s office for brainstorms, and he’s used his SW1 platform for spreading the Blue Labour political philosophy he originated.

It’s a more conservative socialism. At its heart is the idea that 1945 was not the dawn of the new Jerusalem but a wrong turning. Labour embraced statist solutions and in the process forgot some of its most precious inheritances, like community-based activism.

Blue Labour has been attacked as the politics of nostalgia and much worse. When Maurice Glasman said immigration might have to be stopped and the English Defence League supporters needed to be understood, he was verbally mauled and left for political dead by some.

But Maurice Glasman, 10 years a community organiser with London Citizens, remains a major force in the argument over where Labour goes from here.

Partly because of the force and originality of his thinking. Partly because the Labour leadership hasn’t yet necessarily charted a clear, distinctive course of its own.

Lord Glasman once accused Labour of developing a political elite that’s more interested in what’s happening in Tel Aviv than what’s happening at the bottom of their street.

The riots, he felt, showed that problem writ large.

His philosophy has been labelled “family, faith and patriotism” – for some on the left, everything that drove them away from the right.

Some people drift into the House of Lords in their dotage never to be heard of again. Not Maurice Glasman.

You can hear more from him in the first ever Channel 4 News Labour Party Conference “In Conversation” fringe meeting at 1pm on Monday 26 September.