The Class Disgust Of The Blairites

The Blairites only tolerate the working class, but only just. Like Victorian children, they should be seen and not heard. In the past, the working class performed an important function by supplying Labour with votes in the 1997, 2000 and 2005 General Elections. But over the course of 20 years, Labour has been losing working class support in its so-called heartlands. The Blairites’ answer to this is to claim that the party was “too left-wing” and must attract Tory voters to win elections. It’s nonsense. In the entire 13 years they were in power, Nu Labour refused to repeal the most pernicious of Thatcher’s legislation – especially the anti-trade union laws, which directly affect workers.

It’s no secret that the Blairites through their think-tank, Progress, are more interested in chasing billionaires and their money than appealing to working class voters; the same voters the party was founded to represent. If they do speak of the working class, it’s to claim that they’re ignorant, illiterate and racist, while they use them as a justification to out-UKIP UKIP by mimicking their immigration policies. As far as the Blairites are concerned, the working class is more interested in keeping foreigners out than decent homes, jobs, healthcare and educational opportunities.

Now to the point of this blog. I was alerted to this article on the Progress website by this Tweet on their official Twitter account. It speculates on who among Jeremy Corbyn’s close allies will ‘seize the crown’ – so to speak.

It not only repeats the by now familiar line that Corbyn and his supporters are “hard left” and “Trotskyists”, it also adopts a sneering tone towards prominent working class members of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet.

The article’s author, Paul Richards (who’s he?) opens with this paragraph:

One thing you can guarantee, like rain on a bank holiday, is splits on the hard-left. The old Monty Python joke is funny because it is true. For the all the calls for workers’ unity, disunity is the stock-in-trade. The Trotskyist parties are all fragments of one another. The vanity parties such as Arthur Scargill’s Socialist Labour party, George Galloway’s Respect or Ken Loach’s Left Unity are all the products of splits, which have themselves split.

This, from a party-within-a-party that is so far to the right that it’s perfectly aligned with the socially liberal fractions of the Tory Party and the Lib Dems, who were themselves formed from a merger of the Labour splitters, the SDP and the Liberal Party. This from a faction that’s done more to undermine the party leadership than any left-wingers have done in Labour’s history.  Just to correct Richards, Left Unity wasn’t the product of a split; it was created in response to the lack of a left-wing alternative as well as Labour’s inertia under Ed Miliband. As for “vanity”, Nu Labour could be seen as Blair’s vanity project. He hijacked the party for his own ends and used it as a platform for personal greed once he left Parliament. The party lost thousands of members and 5 million voters but there’s not a peep from the Blairites or Progress about this. Instead, they live in a bubble, isolated from reality with only their delusions and nostaglia for company.

Here Richards  indulges himself in a little intellectual masturbation.

You might think the widening schisms amongst Corbynites are linked to his dismal personal ratings as the most unpopular leader ever, net loss of council seats, inability to appoint a functioning frontbench or the growing Tory lead in the opinion polls.

For Richards and his ilk, the polls are sacrosanct. Yet, as many of us already know, the Blairites brief their pals in the Murdoch press, a negative story is written by someone like Blair’s former speechwriter, Philip Collins, which is then followed by a poll to confirm their biases. Oddly enough, the bookies disagree with the pollsters. How did that happen?

Here, Richards demonstrates a glaring lack of self-awareness:

Remember those posh kids who discover socialism and sell papers outside Tesco? Think Rik Mayall as Rick in the Young Ones. Richard Burgon is that kid. Educated in the leafy suburbs of Harrogate, followed by St John’s College Cambridge, where he studied English Literature, he went on to become a solicitor. Burgon adopted a leftwing persona as a teen, and has never grown out of it.

The not-so-subtle discourse here is that left-wing politics is for teenagers. Grown ups apparently adopt more ‘sensible’ positions: like sneering at working class people and demanding the government step in to crush the guards’  strike on Southern Rail.

The Blairite disdain for protest, which is derided as a student pastime, is itself a notion that swerves around the fact that people of all ages protest. Moreover, protest is a legitimate form of political expression. The Blairites and the Tories seem to believe that the public’s engagement with politics should begin and end at the ballot box.  It’s as if to say “You’ve voted, what more do you want”? Protest for them should be either crushed or ignored – so much for the will of the people, eh? Remember the millions that marched against the Iraq War? That’s how much Blairites regard protests. Making war against weaker nations on the basis of non-existent evidence is supposedly more ‘adult’ than protest.

Once elected in 2015 (following a helpful phonecall from uncle Colin to Ed Miliband ahead of the selection process, denying Leeds a second all-women shortlist), the T-shirt wearing, placard waving student protestor has become a T-shirt wearing, placard waving MP. Feel the Burgon

Richards’s claim that Burgon only became an MP because of his uncle ignores the fact that, in 2015, the so-called ‘red princes’  Euan Blair and Will Straw were being lined up for safe seats.  Only Neil Kinnock’s son, Stephen, was successful in getting  selected and won a nice safe seat. No nepotism there. As you were.

Of Angela Rayner, Richards writes:

Rayner was a direct beneficiary of the Tony Blair-led Labour government, especially sure start, and understands more than most why we need a Labour government. Her thirst for power is political not personal. Oh, and she likes Star Wars.

The subtext of this paragraph is that because Rayner apparently benefited from Sure Start, she should get down on her knees and kiss Blair’s purple buskins. The Star Wars quip is throwaway.

Rebecca Long-Bailey comes in for this sideways sneer.

Her frontbench career was unimpaired by a series of uncertain early performances on television, notably being duffed up by Andrew Neil over Brexit. She learned economics on the job, as shadow chief secretary to the treasury, with the same diligence that earned her her sociology degree from Manchester Polytechnic.

First, Manchester Polytechnic hasn’t existed since 1992 when it became Manchester Metropolitan University. Second, Sociology is a real subject that deals with the politics of everyday life. Richards seems to think that only those educated at Oxbridge and in possession of PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) degrees should be in the shadow cabinet. But Miliband’s shadow cabinet was full of PPE types: Ed Balls, Yvette Cooper and Miliband himself were all Oxford PPE graduates, who had also served as special advisers and researchers. The lack of imagination among them was palpable and the absence of meaningful policies was glaring. Miliband’s Labour was a Cowardly Lion of a party: too afraid to challenge the Tories’ empty claims that “Labour crashed the economy” and “bankrupted the nation”, and too feeble to raise a fist in anger. Instead, it adopted what Miliband called “constructive opposition”.

According to Richards, Clive Lewis has

… a rich back story. Not rich as in wealthy, like Corbyn, but rich as in fascinating. He grew up on a council estate as the son of a single father. As a student unionist he stood against the Labour candidate for National Union of Students president in 1996.

The claim that Corbyn is fabulously wealthy is repeated here. Indeed, the section on Lewis is used as cover to attack Corbyn and repeat the same lies printed in the Tory press. The only word Richards left out when writing about Lewis was ‘exotic’.

Richards saves all his bile for John McDonnell, who is described in the caricature as “The Trotfather”. It’s juvenile stuff from an allegedly adult Blairite.

Even in a roomful of Corbynistas, McDonnell is the most leftwing person in the room. He was sacked by Ken Livingstone as deputy of the Greater London Council in 1985 for wanting London to copy the glorious resistance of Militant-led Liverpool; even Livingstone thought it a bit extreme. In 2003 he praised the ‘bravery’ of the IRA. He then apologised ‘if he had caused offence’.

Notice how Richards recycles the old “McDonnell appeases the IRA” smear. What’s perhaps worse is his repetition of the mainstream media claim that Militant was evil and hellbent on destroying Liverpool. The idea behind this is that the Militant-run council should have submitted fully to the will of Thatcher and her henchmen. Militant improved the lives of thousands of Scousers. It built much-needed homes and fought against a government that was intent on the city’s destruction. The Cat doubts Richards is old enough to remember the 1980s, such is the juvenile tone of this article and its cavalier approach to history.

Labour right-wingers are granted immunity when it comes to smearing members of their own party. They are permitted to indulge in their class disgust. Yet Labour left-wingers are suspended on trumped up charges of anti-Semitism and CLPs are suspended on the basis of lies and baseless allegations of intimidation. Will Iain McNicol take action against Progress? Don’t hold your breath. Not even the mainstream media has reported this story.

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15 Comments

Filed under Government & politics, Ideologies, Labour, Media, propaganda

15 responses to “The Class Disgust Of The Blairites

  1. Jim Round

    “the working class is more interested in keeping foreigners out than decent homes, jobs, healthcare and educational opportunities”
    Unfortunately this is very true if you visit many Northern Working Mens Clubs (whats left of them)

    • Ashington in Northumberland had dozens of WMCs. These days most of them have gone along with the collieries that sustained them.

      The Blairites can only play to working class fears; never to their hopes, dreams and aspirations. There’s also an assumption that all working class people are opposed to immigration but you simply cannot make generalizations about any social group. It’s like saying all middle class people are in favour of remaining in the EU. It simply isn’t true. You decontextualized that quote by the way.

  2. Jim Round

    When I frequented WMC’s in the North some years ago, the majority were opposed to immigration, despite working in places like bus depots, hospitals and packaging factories/warehouses.
    The arguments were based on “they work all the overtime” “not like us” and words to that effect.
    Managements desire to have a workforce they could manipulate because they were “foreign” and wouldn’t question dodgy practices rarely entered.
    Neither did Neoliberalism.
    Problem was that many didn’t, and still don’t have any hopes, dreams and aspirations, neither do their offspring. Something else blamed on foreigners.
    One thing I did find interesting was when I visited Iceland, it is a much more equal society and there is none of this class nonsense, something we could learn from?
    I know the quote was “according to Blairites” but for a sizeable amount of the working class, it rings true.

  3. Wazoo

    Labour has been infiltrated by a right wing oxbridge mafia in a deliberate attempt to destroy it and create a one party state. It looks like they’ve succeeded too.

    • Not just the Oxbridge mafia but the Tory Party too. Let’s not forget that Julian Lewis, the current Tory MP for the New Forest, infiltrated Newham North-east CLP in 1976 with funding from The Freedom Association. If it happened then, it can happen now. I suspect there are Blairites who are in the pay of the Tories.

  4. from the handful of the representatives you might find in a WMC, there are many more outside of the club walls who are working class collectivists, union members and community development advocates, who do not soak up the diet of porn and fear fed to them by the press. Newcastle and Ashington being perfect examples of that. I know because I’m from that community.

    • I agree. The WMCs aren’t entirely representative of the working class.

      • the vast majority of the community in Ashington are in fact, outside the walls of the club. Which is a pub. The working classes referenced above created self-help, collectivism and collective action, youth and community work and other interventions for poverty such as the Co-Operative movement, and no hope in the face of limited educational and economic opportunities, the Community Development approach, which you can do a degree in if you want, was started in working class communities who shared good practice, and at its foundations, is the clear understanding of power relationships and class hierarchies. That didn’t happen in a pub, or with the few sitting in the pub. I could go on. The Yemen sailors who moved on mass to Tyneside at the end of the 19th century were not met with hatred. They settled and intermarried. A clear understanding of class and power is a forgone conclusion in this piece of history. So Jim Round, hadaway an shite pet.

      • How many WMCs are left in Ashington these days?

  5. effectively, there isn’t one now. as you know the area was “cleansed” in the 80’s. There is one at Cramlington, and Guide Post, and Red Row, all a bit of a howk from Ashington. You have to give it to the tories, which is Gaelic for thief by the way, they’re really good at strategy.

    • Jim Round

      Anne Marie, my point was that the clientele of Northern WMC’s and backstreet pubs were once staunch Labour. Now, because Nigel Farage likes a pint (Ha Ha) they vote UKIP and to leave the EU (as Northumberland did, but it, and Newcastle are fantastic places and a majority of fantastic people)
      Labours treatment of the Co-Operative movement is a disgrace, I wonder if they still have an account there?
      The community you describe is the one Labour should be supporting without question. Good luck to them, its what the country needs more than anything right now.
      Labour, even under Jeremy Corbyn, they are still scared of a right wing press and showing the door to Blairites, Brownites and gobshites.
      As I said, my comment was not to ridicule or pour scorn, just an observation of changing attitudes of The Labour Parties former core support.

      • first of all Jim, there are no, and never was any backstreet pubs, just one on every corner. The LP failed to and is still failing, to grasp the brilliance of the right strategizing. They did a marvellous job of divide and conquer, and what you experienced is a good example of the effects of effective strategy. “They” do not follow Farage-balloon. the handful of individuals you experienced are not representative, in any sense of the word. Every community has a handful of people who cannot think for themselves and end up filled with hate. Maybe they end up living in the pub because no one else will listen to their shite. I agree with you, that Labour have failed to sufficiently defend socialism. My view is the infiltrators organised that in a very deliberate way. “They” may not support labour any more because of what happened to the North East, following Thatcher’s election, it still makes me cry 30 years on, but “they” are socialists and “they” are defiant. It runs in the veins and the DNA. Being unable to understand class and power relationships is central to the working class vote for the right. Thatcher created self-haters, class traitors and sell outs. For every one of those, there are thousands of people who are not like that. I would ask you, please, don’t talk about my place of belonging in the way you have, as a detached, non-participant observer, with contempt – go and spend a weekend in Eltham, Welling, or maybe Surrey, posh Surrey, if you want to meet practicing, frothing at the mouth racists. I ask you not to buy into the rhetoric that the Thatcher years created and the narrative that is still flowing through the press via Farage balloon. He is the tories best weapon, he works for the tories, just like “Right” To Buy did in the 90’s.Look and see and meet the representative working class people. Do some numbers. UKIP haven’t got the majority support.

  6. there is one – hanging by a thread, the Westerhope one had to close. http://www.wmciu.org.uk/Northumberland.html

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