“The arts are the means by which we can look through the magic casements and see what lies behind.”
~ Ralph Vaughan Williams.
“This is not a politics of nostalgia, as has been claimed ... by some critics inside and outside Labour. It is a claim that practices and values crucial to what Labour is and stands for have either been forgotten, lost or wrongly downgraded in the party's list of priorities. Nor is it a defence of a vanished working class; it is a claim that the ethical vision of a humane society which led working men and women to found the party in 1900 is still relevant and vital today.”
Both Glasman and Jon Cruddas, who helped push the ‘One Nation Labour’ project, have emphasised this need to reach back into the party’s history to recover traditions – specifically that of ‘ethical socialism’ – that have lain ignored and neglected over the years. This is also a common practice of artists, writers and musicians of course - looking into the past for inspiration, guidance and also basic material to reuse and adapt.
Vaughan Williams: music serving the people
“He always felt that he should be serving the people; that’s why [the symphony is] full of folk songs. He went round, on his bicycle, to pubs...in the country. He didn’t have a tape recorder [they didn’t back then], he had to write them down ... And then things like that would appear in his symphony.”