Red, Blue or Purple: Which Labour are you?

Posted on 03/06/2011


You may have heard of the Green Tories or the Orange Lib Dems. Factions who take the party colours and twist them to fit a new vision of what their party should stand for.

Well as is typical on the left, Labour has decided that one faction is just not good enough and so has created three.

First to the public conciousness was Purple Labour, led by the Progress think tank who created a Purple Book to continue the Blair-ite push for a progressive, left of centre, mainstream, electable party.

Reacting to this, Blue Labour have become ever more vociferous – advocating Tory social policies, coupled with a critique of the free market approach of the Purples and a concentration on ‘family, faith and [the English] flag’.  This lot makes me shudder. If you combine national pride, conservative social policies and a socialist economic approach, you get National Socialism.

So, launching yesterday on Facebook is Red Labour, championed by Dennis Skinner and the Tony Benn-ites. Reclaiming the socialist economic policies from Blue Labour, but re-introducing the equality and internationalist outlook of the Purples.

All of which, combined with the Labour leadership’s 25 policy reviews is worrying evidence that, as Dan Hodges puts it, Labour is a long way from a ‘joined up opposition‘.

And frankly, it’s this sort of infighting which sets Labour (and the left in general to be honest) back.

As I argued after the tepid 2011 election campaign, and as Douglas Alexander set out so well in the Independent on Sunday, Labour needs to communicate a single, positive future and a credible alternative to the Coalition.

And they need to start doing it fast.