Journal of the
|Reclaim the left for the working classes
First Published on the day after Britain's decision to recover its democratic rights 24th,
Why Hating Tories Is The Worst Thing The Left Can Do.
When Labour MPs or activists are up against it, when awkward questions about internal
problems overwhelm them, or when there is a need for a rallying cry to get everyone's shoulder
to the wheel, a by election or an election, the default baseline is something along the lines of:
“we need to get back the the basics, we need to fight the Tories/ fight the Tory government/ stop
this disastrous Tory government/ save the world from the Tory plague, etc etc.
How the hearts of the electorate, especially the undecided, must sink. And how the hearts of the
Labour believers seem to warm and take heart – suddenly they know what their purpose in life
is, their mission, their...justification.
The truth however is that Conservative governments are, by definition, rarely “disastrous”.
They are conservative. Their tendency is to resist change. They tend towards caution, they tend
towards lower spending, they tend towards balancing the books. Only when they are not truly
conservative, such as Thatcher's governments, can they be truly disastrous That madwoman not
only destroyed British industry, but she destroyed hundreds of old, ancient, institutions and
organisations as well. One reason people fear to vote Labour is that they anticipate they will do
the same sort of thing. And they are right to fear that.
What Conservative governments do wrong is that they don't do enough to improve the conditions
for the poor. That is also true of Labour. And that is where the shoe rubs. Because as long as
that is true, the real enemy of progress, the real enemy of an egalitarian society, is not the
Tories, it is both Labour and the Tories. Its time the Labour movement faced the truth that the
rest of the country knows.
The reason Corbyn, who trashed his own website immediately after he was elected leader, a
shifty and evasive politician in the same mould as everything the public despises, is tolerated, is
because he seems to hold out hope of finally, at last, delivering on improving the lot of the worse
off. The fact that his ideas are rarely anything beyond the doctrinaire deadwood that the public
dislikes, is something that will slap them all in the face on the morning after the wedding night, if
he is ever elected.
The enemy to an egalitarian society is the failure of both parties to increase working class
wages. Full stop. Both are content to cast a net of welfare to save the worse off. Nothing has
changed since Labour failed to support the unions efforts to get a larger slice of the pie in the
1970s. Corbyn has set the target for minimum wage at levels that would have been right in 2013,
and does nothing to stop what rises he has planned from being absorbed by inflation and he had
no real plans to revive manufacturing. In other words not much will really change.
And the Tories rely on higher employment and a general minute increase in prosperity to create
the legendary trickle-down.
Both Labour and Conservative rely on benefits to make up for their huge failure to create the
kind of equality that Nordic countries created in the 60s and 70s (and which Sweden has now
pissed away by importing cheap labour in the form of immigrants, to drive wages down, matched
with a slavish membership of the union hating EU).
Hating the Tories is fine for helping Labour forget to ask themselves why in all these decades
they haven't managed to do anything more the scratch at poverty in Britain
But it is repellent to the electorate, who are tired of the fatuous and lame-sounding rallying cries,
when most working class people, especially those at the very bottom, know from experience that
it doesn't actually make all that much difference who is in power.
Hating the Tories misses the point of the working class struggle. The aim of it is not to generate
division and hatred and a miserable squalid life spent in resentment – it is to get a much larger
slice of the pie for those at present less well off. It is to make sure that wages of all the working
classes are enough for a decent standard of living, so that no-one is living in poverty, so that
people are not dependant on benefit handouts to keep them just above starvation, so that wages
equality is sufficient for us ALL to have a large share in our prosperity, so that families are not
condemned to generations of unemployment and misery, so that the prisons aren't bursting with
80,000 ill-educated and vulnerable failures from the bottom of society.
The same grinding poverty and inequality, and physical and moral squalor cannot be allowed to
go on. We have to stop it, we have to share out the money more equally. There are probably
significant numbers of Conservatives who agree with most of this, and could be persuaded to
agree with the rest of it. There are probably almost as many Tory voters who agree with it as
there are middle class Labour voters, if the truth be known. So, lets stop squawking about hating
Tories and get on with creating a more equal society with whomsoever wants to contribute.