Often, Centre-right politicians are criticized as having “never worked a day” in their lives. This was exemplified perfectly by Prime Minister John Key yesterday, who failed at the most simple of tasks at hammering in a nail. The nail was already placed in the wood for him, and all he needed to do was hit away. To be quite honest, I am no tradesman nor a builder, but I would probably do a better job intoxicated.
View the now globally viral GIF here.
But over in the UK it appears to be a different story. Labour, traditionally the party of working class Britain has drifted away from its roots and become a party focused, more excessively, on middle class, sophisticated, inner-city liberals.
Of course the death of Socialist Labour can be traced back to 1997, with the win of Tony Blair’s New Labour Party, which styled itself as big-tent, centrist, socially liberal and globally intervening.
Blair’s shift will go down in history as a marvelous success, taking Labour out of eighteen years of Opposition politics and giving it a record thirteen years in power with consecutive election victories in 1997, 2001 and its latest election victory in 2005.
But since the departure of Blair there has been a swing away from Labour, interestingly enough, as it tries to reclaim the political Left.
On the Economic Far-right sits the governing Conservatives and the party the British public have been a ‘love affair’ of sorts with in recent months; UKIP, colloquially known as ‘The Kippers’.
Despite Labour’s attempts to migrate back to the Left and reclaim the working class vote, they just can’t shake off their image.
Middle class, socially liberal, inner-city dwellers are not the people Labour claims vigorously to represent, but they are the demographic which supports them in droves.
The vast majority of Labour’s London seats are this very demographic. They are not working class seats in the slightest. Meanwhile, the predominantly working class seats to the South East are held by the Tories.
Interestingly, in the Working class seats around the country, whilst the Tories mostly do poorly, Far-right parties like UKIP and the BNP do fairly well for their size.
It did not help to have senior, London Labour MPs posting photographs on social media, seemingly making fun of the blue-tie working class culture. I am referring here to the Clacton by-election incident, where a Labour MP posted a photograph mocking a house which flew the English flag and had a white van parked in the driveway.
Ed Miliband had to apologise by reminding Britains Labour thought it was good for people to fly the English flag.
What a shambles!
What working class people don’t like about the Labour Party is not that, as most commentators suggest, the non-helpfulness of the charisma of Ed Miliband, which matches that of a damp rag, but rather that they don’t exuberate the experience of working class life. In the view of working class Britain, Labour are closet Tories, but only slightly less excessive and brutal, who sit around in circles sipping champagne and deciding what is best for the working class whilst having no experience.
And the sad thing is, that may be true. Centre-left parties across the globe are now choosing, above people with working backgrounds, academics, lecturers, lawyers and businessmen. Britain wants to see the ‘Labour’ put back in the Labour Party.
Meanwhile Centre-right and Right-wing parties capitalise on the disenfranchisement, starring working class men and women in their advertisements.
The looming UKIP surge in working class northern Britain is a warning, the final call for Labour to wake up, sit up, and pay attention.
As nice as it may be to have the backing of the wealthy in London, Labour should first and foremost stand with the working class.