Sunday, 1 May 2022
More Joy In Heaven
"Before Red Tory and Blue Labour there was David Lindsay. He was arguably the first to announce a postliberal politics of paradox, and to delve into the deep, unwritten British past in order to craft, theoretically, an alternative British and international future. It is high time that the singular and yet wholly pertinent writings of this County Durham Catholic Labour prophet receive a wider circulation."
So wrote Professor John Milbank, 10 years ago. Where are we now? I have only ever met Paul Embery once, and that was very briefly, but I am pleased to see that Blue Labour has become this. Embery's was not a name that came up in its heyday; I met him more recently than that. Yet he is now very much its public face and voice.
I was widely seen as having broken with Blue Labour when, following the infamous abstention, I switched from advocating Burnham 1 Corbyn 2 to advocating a vote for Jeremy Corbyn and no other candidate. But a number of, especially, younger Blue Labour sympathisers took the same view, and follow that link for where things are today. Frankly, I was right.
Indeed, a number of Corbyn supporters, again generally younger and in one case known to me very young indeed, were drawn to Blue Labour, sometimes at my encouragement, as a bulwark against the threats from Remainerism, Red-Greenery, cancel culture, gender self-identification, and the prioritisation of identity politics over class politics.
Alas, Corbyn and Corbynism never reconciled their internal conflicts and contradictions over those phenomena, which are now triumphant within the Labour Party, rendering it useless as a vehicle for the pursuit of economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends. But I have not gone away, and more to the point nor have my brethren.
Nor, for that matter, has Embery. The SDP is growing. The Workers Party of Britain has emerged, with George Galloway himself bringing in 1.7 million viewers last week; he has a larger audience working for free from his home (his cat came into the room during this evening's broadcast) than Piers Morgan has working for £50 million from Rupert Murdoch. There is Labour Heartlands. And so on.
Things are also moving across the Atlantic. On 10th October 2014, I spoke at the Durham Union Society, proposing the motion, "This House would not police the world." I was opposed by Kevan Jones MP, who was seconded by a hardcore young neocon called Sohrab Ahmari. I knew at the drinks afterwards that we would bring him over eventually. Sohrab, that is. Not Kevan, although hope springs eternal.
With Matthew Schmitz and Edwin Aponte, Sohrab has recently founded an online journal, Compact, which announces that, "Our editorial choices are shaped by our desire for a strong social-democratic state that defends community—local and national, familial and religious—against a libertine left and a libertarian right." Initial offerings also, and of course some of us would say necessarily, display a strong aversion to military adventurism abroad.
While it has yet to do anything, what with the Plague and all that, my own think tank, The Centre, already exists, "To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty." Conferences and the publication of their papers will begin no later than 2023.
Other than The Centre, my projects to be up and running by this time next year include a weekly magazine of news and comment, a fortnightly satirical magazine, a monthly cultural review, and a quarterly academic journal. Do please let me know about anything else that is going on. I am sure that there must be things. It may not look it this side of the defeat of Starmerism, but we are all Postliberals now, and Postliberalism now means this.