Tuesday 11 June 2013

The Betrayal of the Working Class, Part Two

In the final paragraphs of part 1 of this blog I gave an example of the way in which the white working class, particularly males, were betrayed by “New” (liberal-left) Labour , citing Deputy Leader Harriet Harman's so-called “equality” proposals on employment.

Harman, the privately educated daughter of a solicitor and a Harley Street surgeon, and niece of the Countess of Longford, proposed that all groups of workers who could be designated by sexual orientation, religion, colour, ethnicity, age, disability and sex, had recourse to law if they claimed discrimination in employment opportunities on any of these grounds. Only white, heterosexual, able-bodied males, most of whom would, by sheer weight of numbers, be working class, were disbarred from doing so.

This was further proof the party had abandoned the utilitarian socialist left principle of “the greatest good for the greatest number” for the narrow, liberal-left policy of championing diversity and minority rights, mainly those of immigrants, deliberately encouraging multiculturalism rather than emphasising integration into the long established, social and cultural structures of the host nation.

It was the liberal-left's equivalent of China’s cultural revolution. But unlike in China, as far as these cultural revolutionaries were concerned the UK's existing and long settled working class was irrelevant, even a hindrance to their objectives. Mao’s “Red Guards” aimed to destroy the “four olds” – old customs, old culture, old habits and old ideas – by using peasants and workers to shatter the traditional ways they wanted replaced. But with Britain short on peasants, or even a proletariat in the Marxist sense, the liberal-left looked to other groups to achieve a rejection of past values.

For them minority rather than workers’ rights, coupled with multiculturalism, middle class liberal guilt over racism and what they considered the iniquities of  colonial “exploitation” - even residual shame over the slave trade despite the fact that that British imperialism had been at the forefront of ending it -  would be used to fracture the traditional structures responsible for what they regarded as the privilege, patriarchy and sexual repression that had blighted society in the past.

As far as the last two were concerned though  the attitudes of some of the new cultures now  embraced were often less enlightened than those of the host nation – eg: the treatment of women and gays by many Muslims, blacks and Afro Caribbeans.   But as was so often the case with these new ideologues such was their arrogance and belief in the “rightness” of their ideas any inconvenient contradictory evidence was ignored.

It was as if the ethos now driving them  was that if their policies proved detrimental to the WWC then so be it because they too were one of the “olds “, as much a part of the outdated traditional societal structure as the aristocracy and the Tory middle class.

In fact many people who would now smugly describe themselves  as of the new “concerned,  and caring” middle class, had little difficulty supporting these new policies as their employment status, financial  background and post-codes ensured relative immunity from their effects.  New immigrants settled in Tower Hamlets and Hackney not Hampstead, Islington or the affluent suburbs.

Although the class structure of the UK had not changed fundamentally the political philosophy of the growing middle class who were now a dominant force, certainly had.   This was centre left liberal rather than Tory and much more willing to accommodate Britain’s own cultural revolution.   

Forget the aristocracy, they were dinosaurs facing extinction or eccentric conversion to new causes, and in the new politics the WWC were equally antediluvian.  “Sun readers and chavs” whose votes equated to mob rule. Or as one particularly arrogant believer in the new politics put it “majoritarianism (sic)  hijacked by the tribal” proving, if proof was needed, the new ideology was neither liberal nor democratic.

The WWC's alienation  from the political process may have been disguised in recent years by the fall in voter turnout at general elections, down from 85% in 1950 to 60%  in 2001, the lowest for six decades. In '05 it rose to  just above that and in 2010 turnout of 65% was still the third lowest in 60 years. But by sheer weight of numbers it is statistically inconceivable that this reduction was due to anything other than working class abstention.     

“New” Labour victories relied on its move to the centre ground of politics with new “enlightened”  middle class liberal-left voters doing enough on such low turn-outs to compensate for the loss of its old working class constituency, many of whom no longer bothered to vote for a party from which they were estranged by policies they felt were often directly detrimental to their interests.

The essay from which this extract has been taken focused on the betrayal of the WWC by the intellectual left.  However we are now beginning to see something  similar on the Conservative right and this time it's traditional Tory grass roots supporters who are being betrayed.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in Cameron's  enthusiastic, but as many Tory traditionalists would say,  unnecessary pursuit of gay marriage. In this they'd be joined by many from the working class and, it would appear, less strident members of the gay community itself, particularly as he has no mandate for such legislation.

Cameron himself may not have used  the phrase “swivel-eyed loons” to describe his party's long-standing members.  But when any new leader makes a virtue of “de-toxifying” the party he's inherited, and one of his most senior  ministers describes it's stance on issues which many traditionalists  previously supported as “nasty”, it's hardly  surprising they too are beginning to share the sense of disenfranchisement and betrayal inflicted on the white working class by the intellectual left.

* * *

This two part blog was supplied by Colin Harrow and was extracted from his essay “The Betrayal of the White Working Class by the Intellectual Left.” After a working life as a journalist he retired as Managing Editor of Mirror Group Newspapers

However he was born in the East End of London and has never forgotten his working class roots. A lifelong “Old” Labour supporter he describes himself as being on the radical left, a “Blairite” as in Eric (George Orwell) rather than Tony.

Although retaining an interest in politics in retirement he has re-invented himself as a painter and his work can be seen on www.colinharrowart.co.uk  

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