Nowhere to Run

January 16, 2010

Gordon Brown has confirmed, if confirmation was needed, that the working class will not find a friend in either of the two major British parties. As the Financial Times astutely reports, “Prime Minister Gordon Brown [has] made a pitch for the support of the middle classes in Britain’s forthcoming election on Saturday, signalling his party will not swing to the left to try to overtake opposition Conservatives.”

The news that “polls show many in the middle classes are turning their backs on Labour and backing the Conservatives” has apparently been interpreted at Labour HQ as a sign that the party of the working class should beg ever more desperately for those middle class voters who can still whiff the stench of Tory malfeasance and elitism from what seems an impossibly distant thirteen years ago.

Naturally, it has not occurred to them to pitch their case to the majority of the British population, and not those simply living in strategically useful seats.

Brown’s position is rife with contradictions and ironies. As the FT notes, “His pledge to put social mobility at the heart of the election campaign comes after a 2009 government-commissioned report showed social barriers to entry to top professions such as law and medicine remained high after 13 years of Labour rule.”

So these wonderful middle class voters are going to trust the party of “social mobility” (scooters for all?) after over a decade of failing to deliver on social mobility?

Actually, Gordon Brown’s pitch is not just ironic and contradictory, it’s also transparently desperate and embarrassing. How can he seriously stand in front of the electorate and mouth such empty platitudes as:

A fair society is one where everyone who works hard and plays by the rules has a chance to fulfil their dreams whether that’s owning a bigger house, taking a holiday abroad, buying a new car or starting a small business

And, of course for everyone to enjoy this, the working class too would need to receive their share of the gross national product sufficient to supply millions of lovely suburban detached villas, holidays to Florida and shiny new hybrid cars. And if not, well it wouldn’t be fair, assuming Brown is not suggesting that the whole of the working class fails to “play by the rules” and “works hard”?

However they behave, it seems that they are shafted as, in Brown’s bold new vision, “The coming decade will provide the UK with more middle class jobs than ever before.”

Working class jobs can fuck buzz off to Hungary.

Now, let this not be interpreted as a call to vote Tory. Of course, that would be intensely stupid for anyone who isn’t a banker, an old Etonian or a Russian aluminium magnate.

The Tories, while railing against Brown for being both “class warrior” (for mentioning Eton in a speech) and friend to the middle classes, are ever more exposed as the enemies of the British people. While they struggled to portray maverick MEP Daniel Hannan (of the “fifty year mistake” quip) as a fringe figure, the Tories have found another anti-NHS crusader in their very own Health spokesman.

Yes, Andrew Lansley has been receiving very generous benefits from Care UK, a major private healthcare provider (which creams off 96 percent of its earnings from the NHS).

It would be foolhardy in the extreme to vote for a party which so obviously wants to milk the NHS for the benefit of corporate allies. So don’t vote Tory and don’t vote Labour.

One wants to be the party of the middle class, and is producing a wave of absurd fantasies to prove it. The other wants to be the “party of the NHS” but really wants to dance on its grave.

As Gang of Four memorably sang:

Aim for politicians fair who`ll treat your vote hope well
The last thing they`ll ever do act in your interest
Look at the world through your polaroid glasses
Things`ll look a whole lot better for the working classes

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