Tuesday 19 July 2011

Lord Glasman and Immigration

Integrated members of the British Jewish community are starting to realise that Globalism and Liberalism are the handmaidens of Islamism.

The Eretz Zionists, both Jewish and Gentile, care only about Israel, not Britain.


Lord Glasman lives the dream. Before our interview, he sends word that I am to expect some "debris". His doll's house-sized, two-bedroom flat above a Hackney clothing shop is, it turns out, being torn apart to provide some extra space for a family with four children. Even with an added storey, the Glasman home will be a modest abode, befitting those who, in his definition of Labour people, "work by their hands and brain to feed their families and pay their mortgages". The apartment, with sweet peas growing up an urban balcony, is the perfect showcase for Blue Labour's philosophy.

Once, Maurice Glasman was a driving force of London Citizens and a reader in political theory at the Metropolitan University. Then came the unexpected peerage and Glasman's elevation to guru, leading policy adviser and Ed Miliband's magus. Although Glasman says that his role is "wildly exaggerated", his influence has been little short of seismic. The ideas of Lord Glasman of Stoke Newington and Stamford Hill are integral to Ed Miliband's mission to create a politics of the common good. Despite his wish to promote "love", a word he uses liberally, over rancour, Glasman is not afraid to be acerbic.

Gordon Brown displayed "a mix of high moralism and low cynicism", while Tony Blair, who has disparaged Blue Labour, "had a slightly demented view of modernisation. That's putting it mildly. Blair and Brown were virtually indistinguishable, but you would have thought that massive ideological differences separated them. It was a form of genuine madness." Closer at first to David Miliband, Glasman became "very attracted personally to Ed. Ed really came through for the living wage [a Glasman campaign]. There was a real connection between me and Ed."

Does he think that the reported bitterness between the Milibands risks adversely affecting Labour? "Yes. We've got to really think about the party. There was a Labour family argument in Blair/Brown that got played out in a single family [by] David/Ed .. I think Ed has got great energy and intuition. He hasn't yet fully grasped how good he is. I always give people a year to sort out any trauma. I think Ed is now beginning to find his energy and move on."

Should David come back to the front bench and help his brother? "That is for David to call... but Ed's the leader, and we have to show him love and supporte... David's got to do that, and David will do that because he loves... his brother. The party, David as well, has got completely to support Ed into growing into the leader he can be."

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Although he stresses "the incredible work David's done" for the community-based Movement for Change, Glasman has not always been so admiring. What did he mean when he described the older Miliband as "non-relational"? "Put very bluntly, David could have won the [leadership] election if he'd made a serious offer to the unions about partnership. He could have won with a constructive offer to all areas of the party to work together. He didn't do it, and Ed did, and Ed won. David has tremendous qualities, but so... have many people in the party who aren't its leader."

On migration, to which Ed Miliband is giving much thought, Glasman has previously accused New Labour of lying about the extent of immigration. Now he goes further, arguing – in terms more radical than the Conservative front bench would dare use – that Britain should renegotiate the rules on European workers and freeze inward migration for EU and non-EU citizens, except where employers or universities make a case for a specific, skilled individual.

"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. It's legalistic, it's administrative, and it's no good. So I think we've got to renegotiate with the EU.

His call is to restrict immigration to necessary entrants such as highly skilled leaders, especially in vocational skills. "We might, for example, bring in German masters, as we did in the 15th and 16th centuries to renew guilds."

But exemptions should be made on a case-by-case basis? "Yes. We should absolutely do that... Britain is not an outpost of the UN. We have to put the people in this country first." Even if that means stopping immigration completely for a period? "Yes. I would add that we should be more generous and friendly in receiving those [few] who are needed. To be more generous, we have to draw the line."

As an advocate of the toughest curbs yet mooted on immigration, presumably he has some sympathy with Iain Duncan Smith's controversial call for British jobs for British workers. "Completely. The people who live here are the highest priority. We've got to listen and be with them. They're in the right place – it's us who are not."

This is not, he stresses, a xenophobic or divisive stance. As a veteran community organiser who works with all groups and races, he believes that integration and non-exploitation demand stable communities. None the less, the views of a figure so close to the Labour leadership may startle many in and outside the party. Glasman, however, is used to fending off criticism, dismissing charges that Blue Labour is misogynistic and even racist.

So what about nostalgia? Tony Blair has criticised Blue Labour in stinging terms, warning that echoing the Baldwin and Major idyll of old maids cycling to communion would ruin Labour's chances. "I don't think Tony Blair has read or seriously engaged with [our arguments]... Nostalgia is a wicked thing because it sanitises the past – as wicked as a certain kind of cruel modernism that sees no benefit in the past. The question is what kind of country we want to leave to our children."

In his view, New Labour was "almost Maoist" in its approach to modernisation. "On managerialism, modernity and the market, Blair ultimately served the interests of the rich and the status quo." Much as he might wish for a more inclusive party, the top echelons are largely made up of Oxford-educated PPEs. "That's got to be a very bad thing. Ed and David Miliband are talking about change." But don't they epitomise the problem? "They do, but they have the awareness that [things] must change."

How, I wonder, does Glasman get on with Ed Balls? "I haven't really met him," he says. This is hardly plausible, I say, since they virtually work out of the same office. "Whenever we bump into one another, we say we must meet... Ed Balls is seen as the architect of... the whole Brown economic theory.

"So is Ed Balls capable of grasping a new type of economic policy that is going to honour working people and challenge the domination of the City? Do you know, I think he can... I believe in the redemption of Ed Balls."

Despite being a fervent supporter of Jewish tradition, he is highly critical of Israel, although he says it should not be "demonised" above other regional powers. "[But] I don't like Israel. There are terrible things going on. The Jewish settler movement is as bad as Islamic jihadist supremacists. What I see with jihadists and settlers is nationalist domination, and yuck is my general verdict."

Opposition gurus sometimes have the lifespan of a fruitfly. But if few are as controversial as Glasman, few are as heartfelt, as influential and as committed to rebuilding Labour and putting Ed Miliband into Number 10.

In the domestic, as in the political sphere, Glasman is focused on reconstruction. As we sit on his balcony, builders put the final touches to the new, improved House of Glasman. Soon the "debris" of which Lord Glasman warned me will be forgotten. He must hope that his remaking of the Labour edifice runs as smoothly.

The full version of this interview will be published in the forthcoming issue of 'Fabian Review'.

Lord Glasman factfile

Born: Walthamstow, London, in 1961

Educated: Clapton Jewish Day School; read History at St Catharine's College, Cambridge. MA at York, PhD Florence

Family: Married to Catherine, four children

Guiding principles: Faith, flag, family

Trademark: Roll-up cigarettes

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