04 July 2008
Glasgow East should mark the end of Nu-Labour
All being well we can start the funeral oration for Nu-Labour on the 25th of this month. It should be in the early hours of the morning on that day when the results of the Glasgow East by-election will be in, and the seat looks set to fall to the Scottish National Party.
Unlike Henley, which was a safe Tory seat, and Crewe and Nantwich, a seat that could be marginal in a bad year for Labour, Glasgow East is the third safest Labour seat in the whole of Scotland. In 1997 it returned a Labour MP with 66% of the vote, a share that still remained at almost 61% in 2005. How on earth could this seat fall?
Turnout is part of the answer. In 1997 62% turned out to vote, but by 2005 that had fallen to just 48%. As we saw in Crewe, it is the traditional Labour voters who are now refusing to be voting fodder for the Nu-Labour middle class machine.
In Glasgow East the SNP are the main challengers, but the great Tommy Sheridan might throw his hat into the ring as well. Sheridan was the man who led Scottish opposition to the Tory Poll Tax in the late 1980s, and in spite of his legal problems he is still a man who commands a lot of respect north of the border. Besides, those problems are mainly due to a spot of extra-curricular shagging and the Murdoch press. Neither of those are going to hold him back in that part of the world. He won't win the seat, but he might just allow the SNP an easy and comfortable majority.
In many ways Glasgow East represents this writer's Britain in microcosm. As the Spectator points out, official unemployment stands at just over 6%, but if you factor in the hidden unemployment that comes from long-term sickness benefit claimants and single parents, then the figure jumps to half the workforce.
Once upon a time the Labour Party existed to represent those people, but now it ships in immigrants by the bucketload to keep wages low, and to take all and every available job. The contempt that Nu-Labour demonstrates for the class that gave it birth by that policy alone is breathtaking, but when we add in the fact that everything that the party says and does is aimed with an eye to the so-called aspirational vote, then we can see that there is nothing that remains in that party for us.
In spite of these factors, and as we have pointed out before, Nu-Labour could probably have got away with all this, given the benefits payments and the fact that most working class people don't read party statements, but where they really fucked up was by turning that same aspirational set of cockroaches loose on us. By building them up as our colonial administrators, Nu-Labour virtually guaranteed its own demise. The point here is that we as a class could live with the mill owners because they were remote figures who did not feature in people's day to day lives. It was the foremen and under-managers that everyone loathed. Today their spiritual descendants are the social work filth, council officials and general pen-pushing scum.
In spite of everything, Glasgow East is a big catch for any opposition to take. Nevertheless, if it falls from Nu-Labour's grasp, then we can start to celebrate the demise of that most loathsome organisation that acts to ensure that we remain powerless and poor for ever.