There have been two phenomena written about of late in the Conservative and Labour parties. First came Philip Blond’s ‘Red Toryism’ which contributed towards Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ vision. Now Lord Glasman’s ‘Blue Labour’ has been gaining currency with its supposed appeal to the patriotic working class.
Both Blond and Glasman have emphasised a communitarian view of society which does lead one to wonder whether or not these two ideas are in fact one and the same, despite coming from two different traditions. I would argue that they both stem from a wider traditional conservative movement which has its roots in both the Tory and Labour traditions before the social liberalism of the 1960s and economic liberalism of the 1980s.
These modes of thought hold true to Lord Salisbury’s dictum that “delay is life”. They hold a Burkean conception of society as an organic entity where it is the social bonds between us, rather than individual rights, which matter. They see people as living in an ‘atomised’ existence in which marriage, family, community, country, the appreciation of beauty, and religion play a less crucial role than they did before the 1960s ‘liberal revolution’.