Blue or Purple? Reflections on the Future of the Labour Party



The purpose of this article is to examine the future ideological direction of the Labour party by analysing two intellectual offerings that have appeared in the post-New Labour era: ‘Blue Labour’ and The Purple Book. First, the article sets out the strategic context of these ideological conversations: Labour's defeat in the 2010 general election; the formation of the Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition; economic austerity resulting from the banking crisis and the global financial crash; and the changing political climate which ostensibly suggests a move from the ‘politics of the state’ to the politics of ‘localism’. Next, the article discusses the main features of ‘Blue’ and ‘Purple’ Labour. Finally, the article provides an explanatory evaluation of the two divergent ‘futures’. The article aids both scholars and students in the ongoing intellectual task of explaining British politics in the post-New Labour era and, more particularly, helps one to understand the ideological future of the Labour party.