I fit the old (as in established) labour stereotypes pretty well, I’m a working-class yob from a mining village up north. Yet I, and many like me, find it increasingly difficult to support labour, especially under the Corbyn regime. In fact, a recent poll by YouGov found that the party of the working class is no longer labour but the Conservatives, previously known around here as THE SPAWNS OF SATAN!! In fairness to Jeremy, this isn’t a recent phenomenon, according to that same poll, labour hasn’t been the party of the working class in decades: labour’s own research found the majority of the parties new members are middle-class university graduates.
While it’s true that the press can do much do tarnish or err…varnish the image of a given party, they still need something to work with. Even if you’ve filled your entire wardrobe with #jezwecan t-shirts, you still have to admit that Jeremy hasn’t exactly helped labour in this area. He may have bought himself a new suit, but he’s still dismissing labours abysmal polling performance as a right-wing conspiracy and calling the BBC “fake news”.
Though perhaps he knows what he’s doing, given that his twitter followers seem to have fallen for this hook line and sinker. David Milliband, the BBC, the Guardian, UKIP, BREXIT, your mother and her dog have all been accused of orchestrating some grand plot to get Tony Blair back… or something like that.
“That’s like.. irrelevant man, we care about policy” cry the momentum activists and hippy students. But what are his policies exactly? He did release a ten point manifesto, consisting entirely of slogans. Whenever a specific policy is mentioned, such as a universal basic income, it’s “being discussed” with no firm commitments, often changing entirely within the space of a few days. In a way, this is a clever strategy as it allows him to claim credit for popular ideas while distancing himself from the others. Take his proposed maximum wage as an example, he announced it on the 17th of January and then abandoned the idea…on the same day after it was lambasted by pretty much everyone.
So what do people of my class want from the state? An accessible health service, good education, economic opportunities and a solid social safety net that keeps people out of poverty and destitution. The state should keep people above the poverty line but it shouldn’t hold them there, it should regulate the market but not control it, taxes that are fair but not high and immigration rules that encourage community cohesion. It’s no wonder then that so many are flocking the UKIP and the conservatives, even if they are parties of the landed gentry.