Red and Blue come together in Cambridge

Published: 7 March 2013 at 11:13

Leading political thinkers Phillip Blond and Lord Glasman to debate at Anglia Ruskin

Two political heavyweights will debate the merits of the Red Tory and Blue Labour movements and explore the gap that exists between family and the state during a special event at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge on Tuesday, 12 March.

Despite their ideas gaining support from opposite ends of the political spectrum Phillip Blond and Lord Maurice Glasman share common ground, with both believing that society should play a greater role in political life.

Blond, an academic, journalist and author, founded the ResPublica think tank in 2009 and published Red Tory (Faber and Faber) in 2010, which sought to redefine the centre ground of British politics around the ideas of civil association, mutual ownership and social enterprise.

His ideas have heavily influenced David Cameron’s Big Society agenda and he argues for a new economic and social politics based around free association and group formation.

Lord Glasman, a Labour Peer and Reader in Political Theory at London Metropolitan University, is one of the creators of Blue Labour, which is seen as a possible ideological successor to New Labour and offers a left-wing alternative to the Conservative’s Big Society.

The central concern of Lord Glasman, who has written speeches for both Miliband brothers, is how to strengthen civic institutions and resist the domination of the state and the market.  Blue Labour seeks to redistribute wealth and power to local communities, in part through the revival of co-operatives and mutual societies.

The event is being organised by the Anglia Ruskin Chaplaincy, and Reverend Nigel Cooper said:

“Both men have challenged their own political parties and, through them, the country to look beyond the traditional left-right split.  Both have been influenced by religious thought, Christian and Jewish, which promotes the essential role of communities within society.
“During the evening they will encourage the audience to look at the social structures to which we all belong, and think about how society can play a role in solving some of the country’s problems.”

The free event, which will feature a question and answer session and audience interaction, takes place on Tuesday, 12 March at Anglia Ruskin’s East Road campus (6.30 for 7pm).  There is no need to book, but for further details please contact Rev Cooper on 0845 196 2398 or