Recently enobled Lord Glasman, of ‘Blue Labour’ fame, allegedly let fire some insults in the Palace of Westminster today:
@kayewiggins @tobyblume Glasman calls Locality “toffs” – says real comm organising would create “conflict and mayhem”
Kayewiggins: Maurice Glasman being v critical of Locality’s comm organising contract. Calls Locality “paternalistic” and “well intentioned busybodies”.
As an unelected peer of the realm in an overstuffed second chamber, this is a direct insult to every member of the movement of grassroots community organisations connecting hundreds of thousands of people rooted in real communities all over the country.
Locality is a solidarity network of community-led organisations in some of the most deprived areas of the country from the Outer Hebrides to the tip of Cornwall, from Hastings to Hull, Cumbria to Camberwell, working with an average of 267,000 people every week. Every type of place you can find in this country has its response in an enterprising local organisation, with the ambition to be imaginative and resilient, to meet local needs today and in the long term.
They’d be pretty amused to be called ‘toffs’, especially by a member of the House of Lords! As a membership organisation, Locality is led by our 600+ members, with more joining every week. We represent their views and our key decisions are made by them, so the name-calling is simply inaccurate.
You dare to be so obnoxious because you think it’s your duty to create conflict, but while your insults slide off the duck’s back, your approach to organising – “rubbing the resentments raw”, generating “conflict and mayhem” – could be seriously dangerous to communities themselves. What happened to Alinsky’s rule that “the price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative”?
Community Organisers is about bringing communities together, building relationships and trust, helping people develop the skills and confidence to tackle issues that matter to them. With madness in the financial sector, welfare sliced by billions and local services in shreds, why would anybody want to create more ‘mayhem’? We want to tap into the things people actually care about, not what lords tell them or politicians hand down. We want to build on some of the fantastic work already being done in local communities and support local people to make neighbourhoods better, fairer places to live.
So either you’re just pretending and poking us to create conflict because you’re so bitter and cross that we presented an alternative, collaborative approach to community organising, or you’re so ignorant (in all senses) that you don’t know what the real world holds, out there beyond Shoreditch.
We’re all glad about the campaign for the Living Wage. Who wouldn’t be? Talk about Motherhood & Apple Pie: a straight ask, well sought, well fought, and we all owe Citizens UK for that. Everyone will always be grateful, glad and inspired. But if Ed Miliband thought he was rewarding that great people’s campaign, he may have chosen badly in enobling the Billy Bunter of the movement.
‘Blue Labour’ has something to offer in re-colouring a story some of us have been living for decades and Ed has known for years, but if it’s going to insult the places that do exactly what you’re talking about, you’ll just be the name-calling bully in the playground.
We’ll show you what solidarity looks like. Locality is a network of actual, real-life community organisations and they do not appreciate your loose talk in the Palace.
Locality members and friends will no doubt tell Lord Glasman and his patrons what they think of his insults. For now, I’m going to get some sleep and live to make another day worthwhile…