23 December 2009
Why is the working class ignored?
Is the working class ignored in Britain? That seems to be the conclusion reached by this Newsweek report, and it certainly seems to be the case that working class concerns over such issues as immigration, crime and employment are not being addressed by any of the major parties. If this is the case then whose fault is it that we are such a marginalised group?
During the 1980s many working class districts were a sea of red at election time and getting people to turn out and vote against the Tories was fairly straightforward. However getting them to actually join the Labour Party was next to impossible. It is true that the party had an influx of new members, but most of them were teachers, social workers and the like. If memory serves me right, in my ward only two of us came from the council estate that made up well over half of the district, and I was the only one who was unemployed. In other words the Labour Party had already been taken over by people who were doing very nicely, thank you, out of the Thatcher period and whose commitment to the party's redistributionist policies was little more than skin deep. Tony Blair when he was elected to the leadership did not have to fight very hard to change the party: the membership was on his side.
The fault for all this lies with us. It was not enough to vote Labour and spend the rest of the year watching soap operas or talking about football. The middle class took over our party because they organised themselves to do it and we let them get away with it. Now we must organise to either take it back or create a party of our own which represents our values.
How could we have been so stupid as to allow things to reach this stage?