Sunday, May 25, 2014

Interesting thoughts from Lord Glasman

The electoral success of UKIP has brought some interesting thoughts from a Labour peer, Lord Glasman:
UKIP has done us all a service in one key respect: it has forced the elites to confront the flaws in our democracy.

...I have come to the conclusion that Labour is in danger of losing England.

...the cohesive world which the [labour] movement helped to create has now fallen apart.

People are isolated and lonely, and feel both dispossessed of their inheritance and abandoned by their rulers.

It is no surprise, therefore, that so many core Labour voters – people who work and are members of a real village, not the global one, who love their country and their family – feel abandoned and neglected by the party that was established by their forebears.

That is why it is not just the Conservatives who are bleeding support to UKIP.

UKIP has benefited because people feel powerless.

The dispossession they feel is not an individual complaint, but a shared grievance.

I believe that this Government is incapable of responding. The Conservative party is nowhere near conservative enough. It is a liberal party that serves the interests of those who already have much.

Neither the Conservative nor Liberal parties are held in the hearts of people as the local election results show. They lost seats by the hundreds.

I'll go on to mention Lord Glasman's proposed solutions in a moment. It's worthwhile pausing first to consider what is important in Lord Glasman's observations.

First, he admits that diversity and globalism have undermined a sense of belonging to a cohesive world. So much for the "diversity is strength" mantra.

Second, he admits that people feel dispossessed and powerless. This raises the issue of agency. Much of what liberalism does was supposed to increase the sense of agency possessed by individuals. Agency means an ability to self-determine rather than to be constrained by aspects of the social structure:
In the social sciences, agency refers to the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices. By contrast, structure are those factors of influence (such as social class, religion, gender, ethnicity, customs, etc.) that determine or limit an agent and his or her decisions.

If people are feeling increasingly powerless and dispossessed then it can hardly be said that the liberal approach to agency has worked. I would suggest that two things have gone wrong. First, liberals have emphasised individual agency at the expense of collective agency (so that, for instance, a nation of people no longer feels that it has the capacity to determine its future). Second, the underlying assumptions of agency itself are mistaken: "structure" sometimes helps to enhance agency, as structure provides the framework and cultural support that provides the context for meaningful choice.

Third, it is interesting that Lord Glasman wishes that the Conservative Party really were conservative rather than liberal. He's not the first left-winger I've heard utter this thought. At some level, people do understand that you need a genuinely conservative force in society to hold things together and to represent a truly national interest.

So what does Lord Glasman propose the Labour Party do? Amongst his suggestions are the following:
Labour’s policy review is built around three themes: family, place and work.

That is what people care about.

Only through coming together for a common good can a decent human life, based on faithful relationships and an attachment to the people you live and work with, be forged. It is an active task not a passive policy.

Immigration and Europe, which are closely connected, have ruptured Labour’s relationship with its own supporters.

We need to heal that rift.

People feel powerless because we do not control our borders, we cannot shape our destiny and we have lost our sense of political community.

We need the Church and unions to find a common good between them to support people to fulfil their obligations to their loved ones and ensure normal dramas don’t turn into a catastrophe.

The future is based on skilled work and respecting work, and preserving our proud inheritance of shaping our own destiny together.

What's good in this? Well, he does state clearly that open borders makes people feel powerless and not in control of their national destiny. He believes that Labour lost support on the issues of immigration and Europe. (Note, though, that he doesn't offer a firm policy of limiting numbers in future.)

He also talks about the importance of faithful relationships and family, but again without any particular policy recommendations about how a culture of stable family life might be upheld.

In a more general sense, he also recognises that there is a problem within modern liberal societies of people losing particular attachments and a sense of togetherness.


  1. "I have come to the conclusion that Labour is in danger of losing England"

    You, you idiot, the entire English people are in danger of losing England. Idiot immigration policies, political correctness, and thoughtcrime laws will soon leave England as part of the Ummah, without a shot having been fired. Well, not until Muslims start executing the opposition when they see the opportunity.

    1. Bob, this blog has a higher standard of politeness than most other blogs.

  2. Only impending disaster of Labour losing elections made him to make abstract and in practice useless noises in the hope to restore power.

  3. Unfortunately, this is what I fear -- that both Labour and Conservative Party wonks will come up with effective policies for co-opting UKIP by saying nice things, but not following through on them once elected. People have pretty much caught on to the Tories under Cameron saying one thing and doing another (or nothing), but I think there is still some wiggle room for Labour.

  4. Thank God for the Liberals and Tony Abbott. Anyone with half a brain would realize that our debt is unsustainable and something had to be done before we started looking even more like Roumania. Oh yes, everyone wants something done as long as it does not effect them or their kids or cripples etc. I have news for that group of people, EVERYONE has to help out our dire situation because dire it is and if only we could bury our heads in the sand and forget about it and it would go away, but it won’t and so we can’t even if politically correct say it will and it wont.
    Thank you those of you who voted Krudd into power with his megalomania because if it were up to me it would be you lot who would pay - that would be fair now wouldn’t it? You could pay say $1 mill each until the debt is repaid and then we would be free and our kids.
    Stop whinging and face facts we need to balance the books and so we all have to pay........ got it! Start paying now or its the hard medicine like Carl says above and most of it Id do but not sell the Army etc.

    So stand upo with Chris Smith, Bob Kernohan etc and Mr Abbott.
    Stop defending and start attacking. Currently you are little more than a victim of juvenile Alinsky/uni stupent tactics.
    The ABC are murdering you, and your government.(and us psychologicaly)
    Sack Turnbull, and hold a labor style media inquiry into the traitorous ABC and thier blatant lies. Also doctors who are siding with labor and their stooges.
    Dont raise our taxes while still expecting us to fund our own destruction, by paying for the blatant demoralising barrage of communist propaganda the ABC spews out incessantly. Raise them for the right reasons!
    I feel like more slave under you Mr Abbott, than I did under the evil labor rregime because I am enslaved by my own guilt over what we have let this country become.

    1. Anon, the country is what it is because of both the Liberal and Labor Parties. If it were only Labor that was a problem, then we would be in pretty good condition - after all, the Liberals have governed for much of the past 65 years.

      And, yes, Labor is a bit more statist and high spending than the Liberals - but only relatively speaking. Take the issue of the family. Abbott is a radical in this area, conceiving of the family as being made up of two separate careerists, rather than as a mutually supporting husband and wife. Therefore, he wants women to be supported in their family life by employers and the state rather than by a husband and is willing to pay such women up to $75,000 of state money to achieve this aim.

    2. Yes but in 65 years of Liberal Government - there has been NIL debt to government! Thats the amazing fact. Not that Im convinced by the current budget which doesnt gop hard enough to resolve the situation. My personal solution would be:

      1. Flat Tax on EVERYONE - 49% from first dollar earned.
      2. Scrap Dole entirely and Disability Pensions
      3. reduce Aged Pension to $100 per fortnight PER PERSON - means tested to include family home.
      4. Scrap ALL foreign aid.
      5.Sell off Aussie Army/Navy - keep Air Force.
      6. Increase GST to 40% on all purchases including food, education, internet purchases, firearms etc
      7. Tax Gay Marriage at higher rate to hetero and only available in certain states after referendum
      8. Privatise ALL Schools - let market decide rates
      9. Sell Medicare to private hospitals, doctors. drug companies etc
      10. Abolish States and Councils
      11. Abolish Workplace Laws - Health & Safety, Unionism, dissmissal rules etc
      12. Abolish Family Trusts except for farmers
      13. Abolish all industry support, CSIRO, ABC and Tourism Board
      14. Abolish all anti-freedom laws including defamation, racial abuse, sexual equality etc holding back our democracy
      15. Limit access for foreigners as tourists unless sign release form, also no foreigners can buy or own property or businesses without public vote on it

      Unless we do this we are forcing our children and their children etc to pay back million trillions of debt that nobody even knows about and it keeps creeping up.

      Abbott needs declare a state of emergency and bring in a "Mini Budget" immediately to harden up the limp wristed attempt he has failed to launch.

      Aussies will stand behind him and support their country.

    3. "the country is what it is because of both the Liberal and Labor Parties."

      The Liberal Party in Australia is a mirror image of the Conservative Party in Britain - totally lacking in principles, totally lacking in vision, breath-takingly short-sighted and entirely lacking in guts. They're very very lucky a Nigel Farage hasn't emerged in Australia.

  5. As a long term Liberal member, I yearn for a good (and realistic) Conservative alternative. Sadly, the Libs are only the least worst of the two.

  6. It is simply not believable that a Labourite and his party can lead the UK out of the rubble created by the Left's destruction of civil society, nor that they fundamentally object to the EU's communizing. His appeal to the Church -- an institution hollowed out by the progressivism of Lord Glasman's political bedfellows -- is especially preposterous.

  7. Mark
    This might interest you here
    and here