Duncan’s Economic Blog

A Political Interlude: Blue Labour

Posted in Uncategorized by duncanseconomicblog on July 20, 2011

A brief political interlude – usual (economic) service will be resumed tomorrow.

A few weeks back I spoke at Compass Conference on Blue Labour’s Political Economy. I spoke about productive capital, private sector & regional growth, corporate governance and the nature of globalisation and how New Labour dealt with this.

I didn’t speak about immigration.

Speaking alongside me was Maurice Glasman and whilst he made the left wing case against immigration (it’s be often operated as a de facto incomes policy for working people – a point made by Ed Miliband amongst others), the whole question of immigration was in no way central to the debate.

I disagree with Maurice’s comments in the Telegraph this week. I think zero (or close to it) net migration makes little to no economic sense. Britain (and London in particular) needs immigrants to function.

But that doesn’t mean New Labour got immigration right. Even if the overall impact of migration on wages was muted – the regional and sectoral impact may have been much higher.  Whilst I think Maurice is wrong on the specifics – I don’t think calling his views ‘toxic’ is especially helpful.

As Sunder Katwala argues excluding people from the debate, as opposed to just disagreeing, helps no one.

As Marc Stears’ two contributions today demonstrate Blue Labour is about more than just Maurice Glasman. But Maurice Glasman (who has actually retracted the remarks (see bottom of the post)) still has a great deal to offer Labour. Let’s allow him this mistake and move on.

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2 Responses

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  1. Tanweer Ali said, on July 21, 2011 at 6:04 am

    I agree with your conclusion in this piece, both on immigration and on Maurice Glasman. I do also believe that the impact of immigration on the economy and on various groups within the population is an under researched subject, about which much more is said than actually known. A much greater effort, and greater resources, need to be devoted to exploring the interaction between immigration. This is hardly a heading-grabbing line but a serious commitment by a future Labour government to understanding the problem would help immeasurably to manage the process.

  2. But he’s *Our* racist xenophobe said, on July 21, 2011 at 8:37 am

    [...] If a Tory (or UKIPper or BNP or…) said it then we’d never, ever, forget the racist little xenophobe. [...]


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