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Historical Observations and Labour

It’s dissertation time and in researching I have made some observations, some may be glaringly obvious but please bear with me.

  • Labour is not a socialist party and never has been.
  • [Thus] it has no critique nor understanding of capitalism.
  • [Instead] it has a ‘moral righteousness’ and think that that alone is enough.
  • [In doing so] the narrative has been shaped by the Conservatives and accepted by Labour

So the above is the state of the party. These are obviously limitations that hold Labour back, so how to change this?

For a start acknowledging that, while it may contain socialists, Labour is not a socialist party – it is a ‘working class’ party. This invariably infers a redefinition of class so that ‘working class’ means  all those in employment, as opposed to the ‘rentier class’. [See W. Hutton, Them and Us: Changing Britain – Why we need a fair society, (London, 2010) for more detail and debate on the redefinition of class]. But also, whilst making sure that it is the party of the ‘working class’, to point out that it is committed to getting people into work and supporting those who cannot. In other words, showing commitment to Beveridge and combating the five giants of: Disease, Ignorance, Want, Squalor, and Idleness.

Then, Labour needs to gain an understanding of capitalism, theoretical or practical, so that it can critique capitalism and propose changes to the system, assuming that the critique has not advocated that capitalism be abolished. Note: Marx is a theoretical critique of 19th century capitalism and is not applicable today.

Moral righteousness, in itself, is a bad thing as it is all talk and no action. Moral righteousness coupled with actions to make the lives of working people better will vindicate the righteousness and set Labour apart from the Conservative Party.

This links into the fact that the narrative has been established by the Conservatives. By acknowledging Labour’s status as a ‘working class’ party, understanding and critiquing capitalism, and by backing up the moral righteousness with solid action can Labour then start to rewrite the narrative and change the country for the better.

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