I like where Cruddas is going

Talk of the town at the moment is Jon Cruddas’ summer lecture last night at Compass, which attempts steer the Labour party away from embracing less civic elements of liberalism, and re-realise the radical liberal streak once utilised by the ethical socialist R H Tawney and Keir Hardie.

Sunny’s summary (“move leftwards or lose the election”) of the 10 point plan collated by FT’s Jim Pickard (which can be found here) is a little thin. Cruddas’ lecture last night was not simply an election campaign, it was a remembrance of the true kernel of the Labour party against its more laissez-faire contingents. Cruddas explicitly said last night

…whether Labour returns to government or it turns to opposition we need a fundamental re-examination of our identity and the kind of society we’d hope to create…

One of the most important features of Cruddas’ new project (roughly termed left communitarianism) is working out Labour’s relationship with liberalism

It is wrong to think of socialism as a tradition that stands in opposition to liberalism … Yet we need to be very clear about which aspects of the liberal tradition Labour can usefully embrace as its own

Elsewhere Cruddas has realised that

We [the Labour party and society in general] have retreated into what is essentially a Hobbesian utilitarianism, which considers self-interest as the only guiding principle.

Cruddas has pointed out the key unit that will eventually come to save the Labour party, liberty is the end we need to reach, which obviously means that he is looking way further yonder than the next election, although what he notes in his project is that though progressive conservatism has hit a wall, the Labour party does not have to hit that same wall, but it’s lacking in ideas, in direction, or what Tawney pointed out of Labour in his day was that they were “hesitant in action, because divided in mind” has meant that now is a time for fresh ideas, or, more to the point, a rearticulation of previous ideas made flesh.

The liberalism of Adam Smith, sticking its nose in the public sector and informing the cultish individualism of the hardcore free-marketeerism, is the liberalism that we must do away with. Re-democratising the civic, thats the project. That’s the crucial difference in left and right communitarianism, energising rather than precluding the state, highlighting the importance of the collective, and separating the market from the public sphere.

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One Response to I like where Cruddas is going

  1. Pingback: Liberal Conspiracy » A 10 pt plan to save Labour?

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