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The Dignity of Labour, by John Cruddas

The Earthbound Report

I don’t normally read books by politicians. I don’t see the world and its problems on a left/right spectrum, and so books that take that for granted and only speak to one side get on my nerves. But I am interested in good work, and so I made an exception for this one.

Jon Cruddas is the Labour MP for Dagenham and Rainham, a post-industrial region just to the east of London that’s played an important role in labour history in Britain. It used to have Europe’s largest car factory, and disputes between Ford and its workers have shaped political decisions nationally at times.

For Cruddas, his constituency demonstrates two competing and co-existing visions of the working class. On the one hand there are connotations of workless entitlement and decline. On the other you have skilled manual work and the pride of being part of vital industries. This latter vision…

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