What is Left?

A few days ago Ivan Lewis wrote a piece for the Fabian Society – What 14 years on the front bench taught me.

Not once in the article did he refer to the Labour Party as left. Instead, he wrote about “the curse of the left in our party” and the need to win against the populist Left.

This is at odds with Jeremy Corbyn, who said yesterday:

“Our common project must be to embrace the emergence of a modern Left movement.”

This begs the question – Mr Lewis has left, but is he Left?

“Our duty as progressives”, Mr Lewis wrote, “is to live in the real world not the world we wish it to be”.

Again, this seems at odds with Corbyn, who said in yesterday’s speech:

“[The privileged] say that the world cannot be changed and the many must accept the terms on which they are allowed to live in it. These days this attitude is justified by economic theory. The many with little or nothing are told they live in a global economy whose terms cannot be changed.”

To be fair on Mr Lewis, he did also write “our mission must always be to change the world so it unleashes opportunity, aspiration and compassion”.

While Mr Lewis’s mission might not sound entirely disagreeable, it seems to have more in common with this speech on opportunity by David Cameron, this speech on aspiration by David Cameron, and this speech on compassion by David Cameron…

…than it does with this speech on challenging the global economy by Jeremy Corbyn.

Header image: CTBTO / Flickr


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