Tangled Up In Blue, By Rowenna Davis
One man's rise to fame – right out of the blue
Sunday 23 October 2011
In January 2009, Maurice Glasman was an unknown academic mourning the death of his mother, a lifelong Labour supporter.
Disillusioned with the party he was raised to love, Glasman had an epiphany. Chain smoking in an over-crowded flat, he coined the term Blue Labour: a conservative form of socialism targeting the right-thinking working classes. This transformed Glasman's life. After capturing the interest of Ed Miliband he prospered, receiving national recognition and a peerage.
By summer 2011, speculation mounted that the concept was dead. However, reports of its end were premature. Tangled up in Blue emphasises that Blue Labour, far from being a rotting carcass, could still be the answer to Labour's post-election identity crisis. Glasman maintains strong relationships with senior staff in Miliband's office, and "still contributes his speech writing skills". It is clear that he remains influential.
Balancing traditional storytelling with insightful political analysis and interviews, the journalist and Labour councillor Rowenna Davis provides a comprehensive discussion of the genesis of the Blue Labour brand, associated problems, and its potential role in the party's development. She exposes the friendships that led to Glasman's rapid ascension. Significantly, at no point does Ed Miliband criticise Glasman's controversial views (such as his proposed immigration ban), maintaining that Blue Labour is "ahead of its time."
While Blue Labour believes that "some features of our society are worth preserving", it often appears contradictory. Though Glasman centralises the importance of "community" and the living wage, he despises the Welfare State and argues that the NHS precipitated "massive erosion of solidarity". While Davis says that championing family life is not a covert way of curbing female ambition, Glasman does not support the establishment of more Sure Start centres. Instead, he wants the state to encourage neighbours to look after each other's children, which, while a romantic notion, is probably impractical.
Tangled up in Blue is an excellent, clearly written guide to a misunderstood term. It is the story of how one man, plucked from obscurity, was fast-tracked to a position of considerable influence over the country's political future. In just one volume, Davis has rectified the confusion caused by insufficient reporting, and paved the way for informed debate.
Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Katie Hopkins gives rare glimpse of sensitive side with heartfelt open letter to her children penned in case she dies from epilepsy
- 2 Rihanna's Met Gala dress took one Chinese woman 2 years to make, was reduced to omelette meme in 2 seconds
- 3 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to replace Jeremy Clarkson and co
- 4 Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
- 5 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Penny Dreadful, series 2 episode 1, review: It is still gloriously silly
Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to replace Jeremy Clarkson and co
Eurovision 2015: What date and time is the song contest and who are the favourites to win?
How the Other Half Eat, Channel 4 - TV review: Swapping food trolleys shows how food and class are closely connected
Noel Gallagher 'cannot wait' to hear Oasis-inspired One Direction album but rants about 'pointless' Tidal and Spotify
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils