Labour never stopped being the party of the working class and failing to robustly challenge this nonsense is madness
Typical Left “New Labour lost it’s way and stopped being the party of the working class”.
OK so this is not going to be normal blog and will be, actually, quite ill tempered and chaotic.
Frankly, I’m fed up of this bullshit. I’ve had enough of this ridiculous notion going around, particularly from UKIP and the SNP, but also from plenty of other douche bags, even on the left, that Labour does not, and has not for some time, represented the interests of the working class.
Frankly, this is bullshit and people should stop pandering to people who say so. Challenge them. A look at labours record, proposals and those of UKIP and the conservatives should be more then enough to prove this
On this topic, on a recent trip to Stoke to campaign in the bi-election, it appears Alan Johnson is as tired of hearing this nonsense as myself. Responding to the now familiar refrain that under New Labour the party stopped being a party for whom workers interests were the natural home, Alan repudiated the claim in the best fashion I have yet seen.
He pointed out, and I agree fully, that for the most part this claim is based purely on superficial observations that Tony Blair (and clearly also Labour politicians today), spoke with a posh accent, was successful, did not overly push the politics of grievance and wore several nice suits (I too hope to afford several nice suits one day). It isn’t based on the record or the policies of Labour, and even less on the policies of the alternatives most seem to suggest.
Show me an alternative party or government proposing to do, or with a record of policies so purely designed for forwarding the interests of the working class and perhaps I will agree with you. Let me list several of these just to really hammer this point home first;
- The New Labour government took 1 million pensioners out of poverty, which had been the headline grabbing issue pre 1997, something many seem largely unaware of and weirdly something labour doesn’t champion when targeting pensioners votes. What is more pro working class then ensuring those who had worked all of their lives were looked after in their old age?
- The minimum wage, opposed by Farage and others on the right initially, and likely still is today, whatever their rhetoric. If this isn’t pro working class I have no idea what is.
- On the topic of pay, the party now supports a living wage and has been pushing it through local council purchasing power for years.
- 1/2 million children taken out of child poverty (see below for IFS figures)
- Number of apprenticeship starts increased from below 50,000 per year in 1997 to nearly 500,000 in 2010.
- Record GCSE and A level grades as well as university admissions.
- Redistribution to working families through tax credits to incentive work and make low paid work pay
- Winter fuel allowances, bus travel, tv licenses for OAPS
- Lets not even mention the NHS except to say when we left it, it had the highest satisfaction ratings it’s ever had and lowest waiting times
- New schools, hospitals and a complete renewal of the public realm
- 1000s of new Doctors, Nurses and Teachers
- Record declines in crime
- SureStart and childcare expansion (making it cheaper to work and increasing oppurtunities for children born to low income and working class households)
- Expansion of rights at work including increased maternity and paternity leave
I’m going to stop here. I could go on but I feel much less angry after having written it. Yes there are other measures to be written and many more which labour should push, have pushed since 2010, and probably will push in the future.
Also, yes some of the politicians are quite dull, probably are quite successful and middle class (p.s so what?), wear nice suits, don’t wear flat caps and sadly don’t look like they smell of ferret piss, but what other party has ever or would ever push for reforms such as these, which so fundamentally set out to improve the lives and opportunities of working class people?
The Lib Dems? (Hello Coalition government?)
UKIP (NHS privatisation, opposed minimum wage initially and you know, do you trust a man like Nuttall who has so far lied about losing a close friend in a tragedy, playing professional football, having a PHD and who knows what else)
The Tories. Give me a break.
So here’s a clue. None.