Sunday, July 19, 2015

Why vote Labour?

Was it Attlee who, when asked why on Earth middle class people should vote Labour, replied "Because it's the right thing to do"?

Clearly that's not Liz Kendall's take. The Mail on Sunday reports she "accused Ed Miliband of spending too much time focusing on the poor and not enough on the middle class" (bullet-pointed in the print edition as "Ed worried about the poor too much."

Perhaps the MoS is playing a subtle game, portraying Kendall as a sellout queen to drive Labour supporters into Jeremy Corbyn's camp, so that he becomes leader and stays in Opposition ad infinitum, like Michael Foot.

But once you have compromised your principles for the sake of power, you're sunk anyway.

I've never voted Labour (so far), at first because all I heard from their side was chippiness and vengeful destructive urges, later because I thought that Tony Blair was dangerously mad, and latterly because for reasons I can't understand Labour remained signed up to the other two major parties' commitment to the EU project.

But what is "the right thing to do" now?

When I watched Mhairi Black's maiden speech she seemed to have the right idea. Her story of a jobless man being hammered by bureaucratic bullies at the labour exchange was not merely touching but a touchstone for what both Lab and Con have done to the working class over the last 40 years.

For we're encouraged to look down on "the undeserving
poor" without considering what brought them to this degraded state. Billionaire Jimmy Goldsmith saw it clearly, and warned us about it back in 1994 at the time of the GATT talks. Since then, similar transnational initiatives have worked to smash down all obstacles to the lightning-fast movement of capital around the globe, so playing off the workers of the world against each other.

UK Labour's national organisation played its part. A touchstone example is what happened in Longbridge, Birmingham in 2000: a realistic plan was passed up in favour of a false dream, just to keep the optimistic party mood going into the General Election, all because Blair had to "make assurance double sure". Now I teach children who suffer from family breakdown, alcohol and weed, crime and domestic abuse. No, actually they suffer from Labour's then lack of principle.

Does the middle class think itself immune? The white-collar jobs are now just as vulnerable to information technology, the World Wide Web and cheap foreign competition. Lawyers and accountants are beginning to find this out, and so (see the daily telly ads) are estate agents.

And here we are, still blaming the snowflakes for winter, because the newspapers tell us to.

Perhaps, when Labour finally gains a systematic understanding of the causes of our difficulties and adopts key points of UKIP's manifesto, I'll break my duck and vote for them. Perhaps also, when they agree to back a reform of the voting system as they failed to do in 2011, my vote and yours will count.

Here's to the signposts, and down with the windmills.


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A K Haart said...

I have voted Labour but not for decades. It ought to be the natural political home of a substantial and enduring majority but isn't for reasons it has never been able to identify.

Paddington said...

Perhaps, as in the US, no-one wanted to be 'working class', and instead wanted to be 'middle class'. That denigrated the many jobs which keep things moving.

James Higham said...

Kendall's running a distant last. Not good to remind people of just how hopeless they are, how unprincipled.