Sunday 9 February 2014

In which I agree with Peter Hain

At last. 
He [Peter Hain] told The Independent: “Ukip is hoovering up the anti-politics vote. It goes beyond Europe and even beyond immigration. Some of it is plain bigotry. A lot of it is deep, deep antagonism to the political class, of which all the major parties are part. Under New Labour – and it has still not been wiped away - there has been a big disillusionment with us as a party among white working class traditional Labour supporters.”
Labour has not represented the working classes since it voted for the party to continue the European project in 1974. Michael Foot objected on exactly the grounds that it would deny Labour the chance to protect its own core vote. He was out-voted.  No problem; since then, Labour has just changed its core vote to represent net beneficiaries of the welfare state, such as benefits claimants, immigrants, public sector employees, and the middle-class chatterati luvvies who think that there is a magic money tree.   It was shrewd political decision; put together this group can, and did, deliver electoral success.

Of course, it was helped by John Major also alienating the Conservative core vote.  A child of the aspiring working classes, an outsider, he made good and became PM.   He promptly squandered the legacy of Margaret Thatcher who had recruited 'Essex Man'; the folk who do not have local authority jobs and guaranteed pensions, people whose work ebbs and flows with the market demand, the net contributors to the welfare state.  Instead of helping them, Major shuffled that huge group towards benefits dependency and straight in to the arms of Tony Blair, where they have remained. 

This does not mean they like Labour.  Older voters remembers that the Conservatives did feck-all for them after an initial burst, but they also remember that there was a time when they thought they might get ahead, might be able to work their way upwards instead of seeing the likes of Tracey Connelly given child benefit, housing benefit and a refurbished house so that her boyfriend could  torture her children in comfort.

Moving below this like a vast lurking Jaws, ready to leap out and snap the ship of state in half, is the issue of immigration.  This does not signify crude xenophobia. Rather, it is that the minister for immigration found a cleaner whose status was queried from the beginning, then later claimed he left the paperwork in his jeans and his daily lady washed them.  Or something.
Mrs Harris Goes to Paris, Paul Gallico, 1958
In the process, he denied that paying work to one of those 'Mrs Harris' voters, who used to make a living out of supplying domestic services to several modest households. Try paying £15 per hour and giving the contract to somebody with a British birth certificate - their own certificate - and she would be back in business.  But that would mean allowing discrimination in favour of British nationals.

I do not have a problem with this but currently it is against EU law as British and EU nationals must be treated equally. There is a way to fix that.


James Higham said...

Be careful - you wouldn't want to make it a habit agreeing with Hain.

Woman on a Raft said...

It will be interesting to watch if he receives the usual suppression which an MP gets if they make a statement like this. Normally they shove the MP in a sack, sit on him and give out statements to the effect "I think perhaps what the member meant to say was...."

DtP said...

I think it may be one of those 'even a stopped clock is right twice a day type things'. Hmm...if there is to be a sack and a sitting situation I believe Mrs Abbott would be remarkably over qualified which may also be a first!

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