What is aspiration?
How progressives should respond
So far the term ‘aspiration’ has been used to reflect a narrow definition. In August 2015 key Labour figure Jon Cruddas wrote in the New Statesman that “Labour was sunk by a tsunami of aspirant voters”. Aspirant voters, he said, wish to "improve their social status and material wealth. They value a good time, the trappings of success and the esteem of others".
Aspiration is often the word used to describe the desire of middle-income families to ‘get on in life’. In this respect, it has been embraced by both the right of the Labour Party and the Conservative Party. David Cameron has claimed his party is building an “aspiration nation”.
Aspiration has been largely depicted as a value that cannot co-exist with left wing ideals. This essay series will explore the issue of aspiration from a progressive standpoint and asks whether aspiration can be a left wing value.