Maurice Glasman, Baron Glasman

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The Lord Glasman
Official portrait of Lord Glasman crop 2.jpg
Official portrait of Lord Glasman
Born (1961-03-08) 8 March 1961 (age 58)
EducationClapton Jewish Day School
Jews' Free School
Alma materSt Catharine's College, Cambridge (BA)
University of York (MA)
European University Institute (PhD)
OccupationAcademic, peer
Political partyLabour Party
Spouse(s)Catherine Glasman
Parent(s)Collie Glasman
Rivie Glasman

Maurice Glasman, Baron Glasman (born 8 March 1961) is an English political theorist, academic, social commentator, and Labour life peer in the House of Lords. He is a senior lecturer in Political Theory at London Metropolitan University and Director of its Faith and Citizenship Programme. He is best known as a founder of Blue Labour, a term he coined in 2009.

Early life and education[edit]

Glasman was born in Walthamstow, north-east London[1] into a Jewish family and brought up in Palmers Green. His father Coleman "Collie" Glasman, a Labour Zionist,[2] had a small toy manufacturing business that eventually collapsed while his mother Rivie Glasman, the daughter of a poor family from Stamford Hill, was a lifelong Labour supporter.[3] Glasman was educated at Clapton Jewish Day School (now Simon Marks Jewish Primary School) and the Jews' Free School,[2] where he won an exhibition to study Modern History at St Catharine's College, Cambridge.[4]

A trumpeter, he became a jazz musician for four years and then gained an MA in Political Philosophy at the University of York and a PhD at the European University Institute in Florence with a thesis on the German social market economy[3] which was published in 1996 under the title Unnecessary Suffering.[5] Glasman cites political thinkers from Aristotle to the Hungarian economist and sociologist Karl Polanyi as major influences on his politics.[6]


Glasman was a professor at Johns Hopkins University's European centre in Bologna. After his father's death in 1995, he returned to the United Kingdom.[3] He is a senior lecturer in Political Theory at London Metropolitan University and Director of its Faith and Citizenship Programme. According to his website, "his research interests focus on the relationship between citizenship and faith and the limits of the market".[1]

On 19 November 2010, it was announced that he would be created a life peer.[7] Prior to his elevation, he worked for ten years with London Citizens and through this developed an expertise in community organising.

On 4 February 2011, he was created Baron Glasman of Stoke Newington and of Stamford Hill in the London Borough of Hackney[8] and was introduced into the House of Lords on 8 March 2011, where he sits on the Labour benches. His elevation to the Lords was considered something of a surprise, with Glasman admitting that he was "completely shocked" by the appointment.[6]

Political opinions[edit]

Having joined the Labour Party in 1976, Glasman re-engaged with Labour politics after his mother's death in 2008. Glasman coined the term Blue Labour,[9] defined by Glasman as a "small-c" conservative form of socialism which advocates a return to what Glasman believed were the roots of the pre-1945 Labour Party by encouraging the political involvement of voluntary groups from trades union through churches to football clubs.[6] Blue Labour has argued that Labour should embrace patriotism and a return to community values based on trades union and voluntary groups which he claims was evident in early Labour politics, but it was lost after 1945 with the rise of the welfare state.[10]

In a critical assessment of Glasman's political philosophy, Alan Finlayson asserts that Glasman emphasises ethical social institution rather than moral individualism, criticises commodification and the money economy and seeks to revive the concept of the "common good" at the forefront of British politics.[11] Glasman's role in the creation and promotion of Blue Labour is described in the book Tangled Up in Blue (2011) by Rowenna Davis.[12] Glasman himself says that in developing the concept of Blue Labour he was inspired by the Bund, the secular Jewish Socialist Party in Lithuania, Poland and Russia founded in 1897; and the writings of 19th century German rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch. He also points out the connections between the living wage and the demand of the Jewish trades union in the East End for a family wage.[2]

In April 2011, Glasman called on the Labour Party to establish a dialogue with sympathisers of the far-right English Defence League (EDL) in order "to build a party that brokers a common good, that involves those people who support the EDL within our party. Not dominant in the party, not setting the tone of the party, but just a reconnection with those people that we can represent a better life for them, because that's what they want".[13]

In July 2011, Glasman called for all immigration to be temporarily halted and for the right of free movement of labour, a key provision of the Treaty of Rome, to be abrogated,[14][15] dividing opinion among Labour commentators.[16][17]

Emphasising that Israel should not be "demonised", Glasman says he does not like Israel, where in his opinion "terrible things [are] going on", adding that "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".[18] However, he accepted the visiting professorship he was offered by Haifa University, telling The Jewish Chronicle: "If people I know say they want to boycott Israel, I say they should start by boycotting me".[4] At the 2016 Limmud conference, he suggested the Labour Party's antisemitism harked back to Jewish Marxists, who wanted to "liberate Jews" from their Judaism.[19]

In a House of Lords debate on the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill on 20 February 2017, Lord Glasman revealed he had campaigned for Britain to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Glasman is a supporter of Jewish tradition, regularly goes to a synagogue on Shabbat[4] and is a founder member of Stoke Newington New Shul, a congregation affiliated with the Masorti Movement.[21] His wife Catherine, who is not Jewish, has also become "engaged with Judaism". According to The Jewish Chronicle, they keep kosher and celebrate Shabbat.[4] He plays the trumpet and smokes rolled-up cigarettes.[22] He lives with his wife and their four children in a flat over a clothing shop in Stoke Newington in north London.[3]


  • Maurice Glasman, Jonathan Rutherford, Marc Stears and Stuart White, eds. (2011). The Labour Tradition and the Politics of Paradox: The Oxford London Seminars 2010-11. The Oxford-London Seminars. Soundings Journal.CS1 maint: uses editors parameter (link)
  • Maurice Glasman (5 January 2012). "Ed Miliband must trust his instincts and stand up for real change". New Statesman.
  • —— (1 November 2012). "Blue Labour and Labour History". Anglia Ruskin University, Labour History Research Unit.
  • —— (3 May 2013). "Catholic Social Teaching as Political Economy". Centre for Catholic Studies and University College Durham University.
  • —— (Winter 2010). "Labour as a radical tradition" (PDF). Soundings, Number 46. pp. 31–41.
  • —— (8 November 2008). "The Secret of Obama's success".
  • —— (4 February 2006). "Losing Your Rag".
  • —— (1996). Unnecessary Suffering: Managing Market Utopia. Verso.
  • —— (May–June 1994). "The Great Deformation: Polanyi, Poland, and the Terrors of Planned Spontaneity". New Left Review.


  1. ^ a b "Dr Maurice Glasman. Senior Lecturer in Political Theory". London Metropolitan University. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  2. ^ a b c David Russell (October 2012). "A Baron's Vision". Jewish Renaissance. 12 (1): 8–10.
  3. ^ a b c d Stephen Moss (19 July 2011). "Lord Glasman: 'I'm a radical traditionalist'". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d Michael Freedland (30 June 2011). "Interview: Maurice Glasman. My vision for Labour - and it's all down to mum". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  5. ^ Maurice Glasman (1 August 2011). "I didn't go into politics to be a hero to the Mail". New Statesman. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  6. ^ a b c Toby Helm; Julian Coman (16 January 2011). "Maurice Glasman–the peer plotting Labour's new strategy from his flat". The Observer. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
  7. ^ "Latest Peerages announced". 10 Downing Street. 19 November 2010. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
  8. ^ "No. 59695". The London Gazette. 9 February 2011. p. 2247.
  9. ^ "Labour: Now it's kind of blue". The Guardian Politics Blog. 24 April 2009. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
  10. ^ "Blue Labour and Labour History. A Symposium with Maurice Glasman". Anglia Ruskin University, Labour History Research Unit. 1 November 2012. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  11. ^ Alan Finlayson (27 May 2011). "Should the left go Blue? Making sense of Maurice Glasman". openDemocracy. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  12. ^ Rowenna Davis (23 September 2011). "Lord Glasman, the Blue Labour thinker who crosses party's red lines". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  13. ^ Robert Philpot (19 April 2011). "Labour isn't working". Progress. Retrieved 22 April 2011.
  14. ^ Mary Riddell; Tom Whitehead (18 July 2011). "Immigration should be frozen, says Miliband adviser". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  15. ^ Macer Hall (19 July 2011). "Britain Must Ban Migrants". Daily Express. London. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  16. ^ Dan Hodges (20 July 2011). "Exclusive: the end of Blue Labour". New Statesman. London. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  17. ^ David Green (29 July 2011). "In defence of Maurice Glasman". New Statesman. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  18. ^ Mary Riddell (18 July 2011). "Labour's anti-immigration guru". The Telegraph. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  19. ^ Rocker, Simon (28 December 2016). "Limmud: Labour antisemitism under Jeremy Corbyn has been 'exaggerated', says Jon Lansman". The Jewish Chronicle. London. Retrieved 29 December 2016. Lord Glasman, the academic and Labour peer, traced left-wing antisemitism historically in part to the ideas of Jewish Marxists who had seen it as their mission to liberate Jews from Judaism.
  20. ^ "European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill - Hansard". Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  21. ^ "Homepage New Stoke Newington Shul". New Stoke Newington Shul. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  22. ^ "Analysis Blue Labour, Transcript of a Recorded Documentary". BBC. 21 March 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2012.

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