Maurice Glasman, Baron Glasman

British philosopher

Maurice Glasman (born 8 March 1961) is an English academic, social thinker and Labour life peer in the House of Lords.

QuotesEdit

  • New Labour’s community development work was all private-sector driven, consultation-tinged regeneration that was done to poor people rather than being controlled by them. I found it, on the whole, a massive waste of money.
    • Third Sector, 6 June 2011 [1]
  • We've got to reinterrogate our relationship with the EU on the movement of labour. The EU has gone from being a sort of pig farm subsidised bloc to the free movement of labour and capital. Britain is not an outpost of the UN. We have to put the people in this country first.
    • The Telegraph, 18 Jul 2011[2]
  • What I've learnt is when you walk into a family argument and people tell you it's about principle don't get involved. There is more to life than principles.
    • Channel 4 News, Monday 26 September 2011 [3]
  • One of the crucial problems we have as a party is that we have brought our leadership in from much too narrow a group. Basically Oxbridge graduates, in particular economics graduates, politics graduates, social scientists and lawyers. We need to reconnect to working-class communities, we have to reconnect to ethnic minority communities and bring up real leaders from within the people we represent.
    • Daily Mail, 30th December 2011 [4]
  • On the face of it, these look like bad times for Labour and for Ed Miliband's leadership. There seems to be no strategy, no narrative and little energy. Old faces from the Brown era still dominate the shadow cabinet and they seem stuck in defending Labour's record in all the wrong ways: we didn't spend too much money, we'll cut less fast and less far, but we can't tell you how.
    • New Statesman article: see Press Association story 5 Jan 2012 [5]
  • Labour is apparently pursuing a sectional agenda based on the idea that disaffected Liberal Democrats and public-sector employees will give Labour a majority next time around. But we have not won, and show no signs of winning, the economic argument. We have not articulated a constructive alternative capable of recognising our weaknesses in government and taking the argument to the coalition. We show no relish for reconfiguring the relationship between the state, the market and society. The world is on the turn, yet we do not seem equal to the challenge.
    • New Statesman article: see Press Association story 5 Jan 2012
  • We should not replace pity with fear in our relationship with the working class. It is a source of shame that Labour did not and does not represent the hopes and fears of the working class, by becoming a party that disapproves of their fears and is nervous of their hopes.
    • Blue Labour, A Christmas Message [6]
  • It is perhaps a redeeming feature of the year that celebrity endorsements may be seen as the kiss of death to any political campaigning. The unanimous acclamation of Clinton by the famous and the lovey chorus for Remain were to no avail. It is better to build relationships and do politics with the poor rather than the rich.
    • Blue Labour, A Christmas Message [7]
  • This is why it is vital that Blue Labour’s vision of a democratic self-governing nation that honours and rewards work, restores institutional integrity to the places that people live and supports family life based upon love and mutual sacrifice becomes Labour’s vision. It is also vital that Blue Labour reasserts its internationalism and makes free and democratic trade unions, all over the world, From Beijing to Tehran, from Havana to Halifax a central role of Foreign Policy.
    • Blue Labour, A Christmas Message [8]
  • We begin with the people and they have to define the position. So relationships first, then build power among those people where they agree. So, based on support for thing like regional banks, interest rate cap, living wage, a very, very different kind of agenda. The words we don’t use much are equality, diversity, accessibility, inclusivity, because that’s not where people are. We work on living wage, anti-usury, regional banks, vocational colleges, workers on boards. And it’s a real change in the way that the party works.
    • On the community organising agenda of Blue Labour, Interview with Australian Fabians: [9]
  • Capital has just become completely disconnected from the people. Labour was born in the world to resist the domination of capital. That’s our thing. So we say that five percent of the bailout should be used to recapitalise local banks. It’s our money anyway. Those local banks should only lend in the area that they’re in. Germany’s a very successful, a very, very successful example of how this can work.
    • Interview with Australian Fabians: [10]
  • We believe that capitalism, and unfettered capitalism poses a threat to human existence through the commodification of the person and nature. And we believe in defending people and nature through democratic association, and confronting and constraining the domination of capital through building a balance of interests in corporate governance and public sector. We take on, we’ve taken on the banks in the city of London. That’s who we are.
    • Interview with Australian Fabians: [11]
  • Blue Labour has complete disrespect for the managerialism of New Labour and has much more honour for the workforce. If you talk about schooling, we'd like to see parents have a third of the power, teachers have a third of the power and the funders – whether it's the state or local authority – a third of the power, and negotiate a common good. New Labour sought managerial solutions in the private sector and that's what led to the banking collapse; they sought managerial solutions in the public sector which led to the erosion of the public ethos – so we will put people first, relationships first and that's a very different thing.
    • The Guardian article, 30 June 2011 [12]
  • I would suggest that we use 5% of the bailout money to endow the Banks of England, which would be established in the counties and cities of England and would be constrained to lend within the county or city. The principal of the endowment would be in trust to the people of that county or city, in perpetuity so that it could not be liquidated by its members, and the balance of power in its corporate governance will be held by a third being held by the Bank of England, a third by its workforce and a third by the civic institutions of the locality. These newly constituted ‘Banks of England’ are one of the essential feature of Blue Labour statecraft built upon endowment and institution building.
    • Blue Labour, An Ancient Polity For A New Economy? [13]
  • Cameron made the Hugo Young speech, where he claimed the co-operative movement, building societies, the mutuals, the early trade unions for the Conservatives, and we were completely silent. That's linked to the excessive statism of Brown. We had to reclaim Labour history. It was also a way of talking about capitalism again, and resistance to capitalism. And working [in London Citizens] with low-paid people, most of whom were women, had reminded me of their concern for their parents and their children, and their commitment to work and not wanting to be on welfare.
    • The Guardian article, 19 July 2011 [14]
  • Labour freed up enormous amounts of money for third sector initiatives, which was magnificent. But it also became too statist. Charities became very reliant on state funding to pursue their agendas, so charities became distant from local communities. Despite all the funding, there was no transformation of the lives of excluded poor people. The greatest gift of the big society will be the renewal of the Labour Party. If it takes civil society and people power seriously, and listens to people who have a following in their own communities, it will find that it has reconnected with its own political traditions.
    • Interview with Third Sector, 6 June 2011 [15]
  • What did I think about Brown? I’ve said before, I don’t like his kind of politics. I didn’t really meet him properly but I identify him with state, state-ism, with simultaneously high morals and low cynicism. I never identified with that kind of politics. The last gasps of this idea that through the state you can transform society but how that then automatically leads to a dependence on finance to fund it. I don’t think Gordon Brown redistributed power to people.
    • Interview with Inside Politics, 4 February 2015 [16]
  • The last thing I watched on telly with my mother, she died in very late 2008 in the middle of the financial crash, was Gordon Brown saying that it was the destiny of the Labour movement to save the global banking system. And that statement –‘the destiny of the Labour movement to save the global banking system’… I looked to my mum and the last movement she made, really, was to shake her head. You know, it may be the fate of the Labour movement but it can’t be its destiny, that’s just crazy. She just looked bewildered by that.
    • Interview with Inside Politics, 4 February 2015 [17]
  • The nadir came out in Gordon Brown’s ‘that bigoted woman’ moment when I think what we saw was where a completely normal person, a Labour supporter too, expresses something about what she could see in her life about there being a lot of immigrants and Brown dismissed her as a bigot. Well, I saw that as an absolute manifestation of a self-righteous, self-regarding, elitism in Labour that really despises the concerns of working people. Labour had reached a situation under Brown where most of the people in the party hated one another and they hated people outside the party too.
    • Interview with Inside Politics, 4 February 2015 [18]
  • This conference has a very weird atmosphere – it’s a different atmosphere. It’s an atmosphere of a superannuated student union. They’ve just stayed in the student union through a lifetime. Until we have the maturity and generosity to have a genuine understanding of New Labour our growth will be stunted. The present criminalisation and demonisation of Blair doesn’t help us get to that place.
    • On the Labour Party conference in 2015 [19]
  • Unfortunately, the comments were misconstrued. I was saying that we needed to speak to the supporters of the EDL, not, as some people made out, that we should speak to the EDL itself. The idea that we should speak to upset, angry and dispossessed people, to try build a better life together, must be addressed and historically the Labour movement has been the vehicle to do this. It is a broad-based approach. Where there are mass outpourings of discontent, you have two choices, either you demonise them or you break them.
    • On his "controversial" comments about engaging with the EDL, First published: Jewish Renaissance Magazine, October 2012 [20]
  • Labour has always been a coalition between workerist and progressive elements, liberals and conservatives, mediated by socialism. It was held together by the belief that we are social beings who resist the domination of capital through democracy; and by the refusal to accept that human beings are a commodity or that our inheritance is exclusively monetary.
    • New Statesman article, 3 November 2016 [21]
  • The vision pursued by the founders of the EU was one of economic self interest, (subsidies, protection and investment) and lofty aspiration, (peace, prosperity and justice). It was predicated on a Europe without borders where mutual economic interests would lead to perpetual peace. A soft Kantian Marxism underpinned the European Union from the start, in which economic interests and a legal order would displace local institutions and national politics.
    • The case against remaining in the EU on LabourList.org, 2 June 2016 [22]
  • Labour was different to other European Social Democratic Parties in that it was never aggressively secular and was not divided by confessional fissures. Its founding act, the Dock Strike of 1889 was brokered by the Salvation Army and Cardinal Manning. It was never a revolutionary party that became more peaceable but was, from the start, committed to extending democracy within the inherited constitution. It also had a base of support among the working class that secured British democracy from Fascism and Communism and that was because of its paradoxical nature, as conservative as it was radical, as patriotic as it was nationalist. The greatest failure of New Labour is that it led rather than resisted the definition of the European Union as a neo-liberal project and did not develop a constructive alternative to the status quo. It seemed incapable of distinguishing between internationalism and globalisation.
    • The case against remaining in the EU on LabourList.org, 2 June 2016 [23]
  • Labour should be robust in supporting free and democratic trade unions throughout Europe, in championing a balance of interests in corporate governance and strong civic self-government with a deep partnership between universities, cities and firms. The question is whether being part of the EU hinders this. Britain is already outside the Eurozone and the Schengen agreement. It is gratuitous to remain part of a political union that is so hostile to diversity and democracy and so disposed to the consolidation of big capital that it has become a remorseless machine for the liberalisation of trade and the disintegration of society, in which the demand for liquidity has dissolved solidarity.
    • The case against remaining in the EU on LabourList.org, 2 June 2016 [24]
  • The big thing that happened in the early to mid-90s was the last big discussion about political economy. Roughly speaking we went for endogenous growth, for flexible labour markets and the financial sector, and that was considered modern. The book that I wrote at that time was arguing that the German system – which had worker representation on boards, very strong vocational training, regional banks, very strong federal forms of democratic government – was actually better suited to globalisation because it preserved knowledge, trust, institutions, skills … Now, I think the results of our experiment are in and we really got it wrong.
    • Interview with Independent Labour, 11 November 2011 [25]
  • One massive issue is that [in government] we did not promote regional flourishing. To put it bluntly there was not enough private sector growth in the north east, the north west, the midlands and south west, and the south east was financially driven which had its own problems. I share your disposition about capitalism, but I look at Tesco and think, it’s cheap, healthy food, and it has transformed the lives of the poor. Yet we hate them. When London Citizens did a living wage campaign against Tesco what we found was enormous middle class loathing while the working class had a love for Tesco. They love the fact that the food was fresh and cheap and the environment was safe. And when they bought a small package of mince they didn’t have a butcher going, ‘Ah, tough week, eh?’ They didn’t feel humiliated. That’s just a tough example I put out there to say we’ve got to build alliances and relationships with the powers. We’ve got to look at how we can get Tesco to foster regional diversity.
    • Interview with Independent Labour, 2 December 2011 [26]
  • I realised that over a few years through these London Citizens campaigns we’d developed a more radical political economy than the Labour Party. For me, it was catch up, catch up, catch up. I was always a Labour, secular, left-winger and this was all new. One of the big lessons for me was which people would turn up. If the mosque said 50 people, the Catholic church says 50 people, the local black church says 50 people, they turn up. When the trade unions said 50 people, no-one turns up. So suddenly the crisis of secular institutions and their reproduction came to me.
    • Interview with Independent Labour, 2 December 2011 [27]
  • I was involved with organising migrant worker nannies, domestic workers, in New York State with the IAF. We flew them to a hotel, got them together, and got them to talk to each other about what their issues were. What was incredible was that out of those 300 nannies all of them were prepared to pay a not insubstantial part of their wages to join a union that could articulate their concerns. They were getting sexual harassment, exploitation. It only grew out of them meeting each other, they had to have that initial investment to get them together. They came from all over the world but what they found when they got together was they had the same issues. If people knew you could join a union, get on, and protect each other it would be transformative – we’ve got to find a way, to put it bluntly, of supporting good work. There needs to be a complete transformation of the language and agenda of unions.
    • Left Foot Forward, 7 September 2011 [28]
  • We must completely support the civil resistance throughout the Arab world. Corrupt secular nationalist rulers are as bad as corrupt undemocratic religious rulers. We must support the people all over the Muslim world with friendship and solidarity in support of democracy. We should be their partner in building mass popular trade unions to prevent them from exploitation in the market storm they are moving towards in their modernisation plans. Who on the left in Italy is working with the resistance to Gaddafi? I don’t know the answer to that but my suspicion is that there are not many. Again, you are on the wrong side of history on that. Support for democracy, for a democratic organised society, for resistance to capitalist domination and state despotism. That is the Blue Labour position. It goes without saying that China is the worst of all worlds, it combines market exploitation with state dictatorship. Blue Labour places unreserved solidity and support to the free democratic trade unions in China, and that is an important struggle for the Labour Movement all over the world.
    • A Conversation with Maurice Glasman, Europa Quotidiano, 3 June 2011 [29]
  • The challenge for Labour is that there’s huge support for working class, from mining communities, from northern working class communities for UKIP, which wouldn’t be the case if they were a straightforward Thatcherite party. So an ability to engage with the rage and dispossession people feel is absolutely necessary for constructive politics. And how do you build a common good between locals and immigrants? How do you build a common good between north and south, between the small towns and cities? We’re not thinking of the levels of abandonment that people feel, and UKIP express that.
    • Maurice Glasman on Democracy, creative destruction and Wolf Hall [30]
  • Over a period of 500 years the City has supported deregulation at every turn. The consequences of this are massive. You had fraudulent products – the cause of the crash – debt being repackaged as an asset and then being used as leverage. The assets they held and credit they generated were on a ratio of 50-1. There was no effective regulation of this, no effective oversight. They have been exposed by the bailout. They have refused more than ten years of requests from us [London Citizens UK organisation] and suddenly they agree to meet. I think they are concerned that the political parties will move to a more manufacturing, less financially-based economy.
    • Red Pepper magazine, 22 November 2009 [31]
  • Regional Banks that are constrained to lend within a particular area are a necessary part of the institutional ecology in that they resist the centralising power of capital, allow a more stable access to credit for regional and smaller businesses and encourage relationships and reciprocity to constrain the demand for higher rates of return that have decimated the mutual bank sector in Britain. They also offer an alternative to usurious lending, one of the great growth areas in our economy. Any serious reflection on ‘employment policies’ must confront the centralisation of capital and the state and seek to constrain both through the endowment of decentralised regional and sectoral institutions that constrain centralisation and preserve and renew traditions of virtue within the economy through resisting the commodification of human beings, nature and knowledge demanded by the maximum return on investment. It allows initiative and enterprise to be oriented towards the future.
    • The Politics of Employment, 23 May 2013 [32]
  • The story of the Northern Counties Building Society is instructive. Established in 1850 in the North East by dispossessed workers who pooled their funds to retrieve a home in the world it grew steadily over the years. It was part of the local economy and society, that most precious civic inheritance, a trusted financial institution. In 1965 it merged with another local institution, the Rock Building Society to become Northern Rock Building Society. It demutualised in 1997 and became Northern Rock, which sponsored Newcastle United and became the fifth biggest lender in the UK market. An institution that was founded by local people for local people and had partnered its region in good times and bad for a hundred and forty seven years, that had weathered four serious depressions and emerged stronger from each could not last through New Labour’s period in Government.
    • Blue Labour, Tackling Poverty Together [33]
  • Unless there is a decentralisation of power, in the financial markets and in politics, then there can be no negotiations that can transform the present system of domination. Domination by the rich of the poor, by the educated of the uneducated, by the City of the country. Perhaps a simpler but more controversial way of putting it is that the German economy, with workers on the boards, regional banks, vocational labour market entry and co-determined pension funds has proved to be more capable of producing goods than ours. Their system is based upon subsidiarity and vocation, the cornerstones of the Christian inheritance. Secular modernity is not working. It is inappropriate for our times. Here’s a new paradox: Modernity is out of date.
    • Blue Labour, Tackling Poverty Together [34]
  • We need to build incentives to virtue rather than incentives to vice, which prevail in the existing system and are self-interested, instrumental and unrelational. That’s the direction of travel. Towards the Common Good.
    • Blue Labour, Tackling Poverty Together [35]
  • I am working with Unite in Salford to set up the Bank of Salford. It is going well. They have consolidated the credit unions, put money in, the city council will put their pay roll through it to stabilise the asset, the government are supporting it with advice and lowering entry requirements to become a bank that can lend to businesses as well as families. It will be bounded within Salford, there will be local residents on the board as well as institutions, but Unite cannot do it on their own. There needs to be a partnership between the Church and labour that can put some constraint on capital without relying on the state. Relational accountability and democratic governance are key to this. That is how the old bones will walk again, by renewing a commitment to the common good in action. It’s a great thing to do.
    • Blue Labour, Tackling Poverty Together [36]
  • The condition of this task is training your own people in organising and leadership so that there can be some governance of the poor, by the poor and for the poor, and not simply a governance of them. This is a move from hosting the peace talks to actively seeking the peace. Pursuing it is a matter of necessity to your own flourishing.
    • Blue Labour, Tackling Poverty Together [37]
  • Miliband has acted strategically in leading the changes required in the three areas over which he has control: party organisation, the policy review, and his own leadership. In party terms, there is a far stronger emphasis on leadership development, and a greater role for organisers in strengthening and brokering the relationships necessary to re-establish Labour as a vital political force in people's daily lives. This is a neglected tradition, but the old bones are beginning to walk again. And it is not just an effective ground game: organising aligns campaigning with a better political position.
    • The Guardian, What Labour Must Do Next [38]
  • The list of characteristics of the good life suggested by Lord Skidelsky include neither work nor politics and that indicates that there is a problem with understanding power. Part of a good life is not to be dominated by the rich and the powerful and that can only be done through asserting the necessity of recognising labour as a value so that the people who do it are treated humanely and that involves the other thing that defines human beings, they can get together and change things through the power of association. Politics is part of the good life too although I can tell you it doesn’t always feel that way.
    • Blue Labour, Work As Value [39]
  • The defeat of Fascism, and the election of a majority Labour Government in 1945 was only possible because Labour had strong mainstream support among working class voters and organised labour. There was no serious Communist Party in Britain, and no serious fascist party either and the principle reason for this is that both were consistently defeated by Labour who maintained working class loyalty precisely because it was not an ideal or a set of principles, but an organisation that upheld the dignity of work and of working people and insisted that they had a constructive role to play in the governance of the country. Labour did not flirt with the popular front or the unity of progressive forces. It pursued a common good which included labour as an interest and as a source of value.
    • Blue Labour, The Profundity of Defeat [40]
  • Post-war Labour ideology in Britain has reached the end of the road. We tried the state (1945), we tried the market (1997), then we tried them both together (2007) and Britain is still not generating value in anything other than financial services and high end university teaching and research. Paradoxically, both sectors are protected by the two most ancient, and most democratic self-governing institutions left in the country. Cambridge University on the one side and the City of London Corporation on the other. It is time for our socialist tradition to rediscover the social.
    • Blue Labour, The Profundity of Defeat [41]
  • And what is going on is that the SPD (Social Democratic Party of Germany) has lost the trust of working class German voters, is overwhelmingly a party of the public sector, social science graduates and ethnic minorities and won barely more than a quarter of the vote. It has moved its concerns from those of the internal governance of the political economy to a political and legal orientation that requires the passing of laws, external regulation and redistribution. It has not seriously defended the internal virtues of its economic system, preferring to stress external factors such a stimulus and taxation. Justice and rights rather than democracy and the good have come to define the position. I am strongly suggesting the party has become liberal rather than socialist and that is the fundamental problem.
    • Blue Labour, The Profundity of Defeat [42]
  • The institutional settlement of post-war West Germany has endured because it generated value. They retained pre-modern artisan organisations and turned them into the foundation of their contemporary economic success. They entangled and constrained capital in a myriad form of national, sectoral and localised arrangements and they emerge from the crash, virtually alone, with a productive economy and a functioning democracy, with greater equality than us and more meaningful work.
    • Blue Labour, An Ancient Polity For A New Economy? [43]
  • I would argue for the establishment of unitary city parliaments in all our major cities. The entire population of Scotland could fit into North London and all of Wales into South London with something to spare and yet we fret over our national settlement. Of far more importance is the establishment and linking of institutional power for capital and citizens in a renewed framework of democratic cities and counties. That is one meaning of the Labour Commonwealth.
    • Blue Labour, An Ancient Polity For A New Economy? [44]
  • Neither economic liberalism nor Keynesianism can conceptualise vocation, virtue or labour value as economic categories, neither can give a primary economic value to intermediate institutions, whether they be the corporate governance of a firm, vocational colleges, regional banks or supporter owned football clubs, they can only conceptualise the state or the market and all forms of particular association are viewed as at best “cultural” or at worst “obstructive”. They can give no conceptual status to place, to the specificity of place and the necessity of institutions in generating virtue and value within it.
    • Politics, Employment Polices and the Young Generation, Maurice Glasman [45]
  • The overriding paradox is that a democratic and vocational resistance to modernity, defined as the joint sovereignty of financial markets and public administration is the most efficient, competitive and sustainable modern position. The tragedy is that such a reasonable political position is unavailable within the mainstream of European politics, indeed there are those who argue that it would be illegal and an infringement of EU rules concerning competition.
    • Politics, Employment Polices and the Young Generation, Maurice Glasman [46]

External linksEdit