Many know of this amazingly honest confession by Dominic Raab, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, but do they also know how his Labour Shadow, Lisa Nandy lost the English Midlands?
The only city or metropolitan area in the English Midlands to vote Remain, overall, was Leicester.
And then only narrowly.
Birmingham, the largest local authority in the UK, narrowly voted Leave.
Leave may well have got across the line in Birmingham, because some people were told and believed that the end of Freedom of Movement would mean a lifting of restrictions on immigration from the Indian Sub Continent.
Yet, according to Ms Nandy, “Despite their many differences, cities across Britain voted resoundingly to Remain.”
Raab did not grasp the significance of the Dover to Calais crossing.
Nandy mislaid the English Midlands.
Raab presents as being dumb.
Nandy is either not very bright or she is calculating or some odd combination of both.
If Nandy deliberately lost the English Midlands so as not to undermine her Small Towns thesis then she is not as much of a fool as she quite often seems, but sooner or later the truth will out.
Nandy was endorsed by the Jewish Labour Movement during the Labour leadership contest of 2020. Nandy clearly told them what they wanted to hear.
The previous year, Nandy attended this fringe meeting at Labour’s 2019 Party Conference.
Nandy shared a platform with Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and “Meddling” Len “anti-Semitism is being weaponised against my puppet, cough, good friend, Jeremy Corbyn” McCluskey.
Corbynism still had Labour in its grip in September 2019. Nandy was (and remains?) a member of Unite.
May be Nandy is not especially dim, but she certainly seems to be something of a political chameleon, a moderately successful political chameleon, for now.
“All politics reduces itself to this formula: try to be one of three, as long as the world is governed by the unstable equilibrium of five great powers.”
Count Otto von Bismarck, Chancellor of Germany in 1880.
There are, arguably, four major powers in the world, today, the EU, China, Russia and the USA.
The UK, having left the EU does not increase that number to five, despite our permanent place on the UN Security Council and our Vanguard submarine permanently on station, somewhere in the world’s oceans, with its small armoury of Trident missiles.
However, the latest Brexit unicorn, Global Britain requires Keir Starmer to practise doublethink.
He knows, one assumes, that outside of the EU, we may no longer claim to be a bridge between the UK and the USA.
One of the reasons why mainstream opinion in the USA advised against our leaving the EU was that it weakened our influence, naturally, with the EU and our value as an ally of the USA.
However, Starmer must not be seen to disabuse another Brexit unicorn, the mythical Red Wall voter, of the fact that outside of the EU we are not a stronger nation than we were when we were within it.
“Fog In The Channel, Continent Cut Off!” is supposed to have been a Daily Express headline from the period between World War One and World War Two. It neatly sums up English exceptionalism.
It was a pathetic mindset, back then.
It is even more pathetic, today.
And Starmer is cutting an ever more pathetic figure as Labour leader, adrift on a sea he seems incapable of navigating to any purpose.
Labour has embraced Hard Brexit, meaning …
Today, Thursday 10th February 2022.
One may not honour such pledges as the economy contracts without making cuts elsewhere in public expenditure.
Such promises may only be met without cutbacks elsewhere when an economy is doing well.
Hard Brexit guarantees that will not be the case for some time to come.
It is a sign of the insanity of the times in which we live that whilst the UK has 1.247 million unfilled jobs and companies on survival watch, folk are talking about people and communities thriving.
And an ex SpAd and an ex journalist speak of creating good jobs (whatever they are) down your way.
One answer to our growing labour and skills shortages is increased (im)migration to which English Labour and the Conservatives are opposed.
However, Priti Patel’s policy of growing our own domestic workforce does not extend to UK’s armed forces.
The rules for overseas recruitment by the Ministry of Defence have been relaxed since 2016 to address labour and skill shortages and now 10% of the regular army are foreign mercenaries.
In March 2021, the British Army announced plans to upgrade 148 Challenger IIs with the aim of extending their service life out to at least 2035; these upgraded models will be known as Challenger III and the work will be carried out by the British/German Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land joint venture. It is not planned to upgrade all Challenger IIs; those not upgraded will be retired.
“If you were to ask the person in the street how long it takes to design and produce a brand new main battle tank, her answer would probably be far wide of the mark, mostly because she sees the products she uses constantly changing, such as a new mobile phone every year. To those in the know, however, the truth for armoured vehicles is vastly different. It is not a case of a committee sitting down one day and saying ‘well our tanks are nearly at the end of their life let’s design a new one’ all agree and very soon that country has a brand new fleet of tanks. If it was only like that life would be simple. There are so many factors that have to be taken into account such as cost, how many, what role, what equipment and constant design changes. These are the normal restraints regardless of whether you are creating a tank, warship or fighter plane, also on top of all this there is the political interference. So many promising projects have fallen foul of politicians interfering in things they do not really understand.“
“Coupled with that are world events, which are relevant to the story of Challenger.”
Griffin, Robert. Challenger 1: British Main Battle Tank of the Gulf War. Pen & Sword Books.
“Following Britain’s exit from EU, early in 2021 the UK entered talks to be allowed into the European Main Battle Tank project as an observer. This may have a bearing on a future replacement of the Challenger 2.”
So would a Labour Government buy into EMBT or would Rachel “bully the public sector into trying to source more British” Reeves prevail and Britain go it alone on developing a wholly new, very expensive Main Battle Tank?
“In my youth, there was at least the leavening of compulsory National Service, where for a couple of years we public-school boys were obliged to rub along with people we would not otherwise have entertained in the woodshed. The best emerged chastened and enlightened. The worst stayed as they were.”
John le Carré, A Murder of Quality
I gather Paul Embery advocates in his book, Despised: Why the Modern Left Loathes the Working Class, the return of National Service in the shape of a mandatory, sheep dip youth programme.
Embery is not old enough to remember conscription nor I suspect, was he alive when National Service ended in the United Kingdom.
I am sure Embery, a big fan of faith, flag and family regards himself as a patriot.
And like many a Brexit supporting patriot, I am sure he believes he has a good grasp of English history.
He will, therefore, know like me that conscription has always been seen as an infringement of an English man’s rights.
That conscription has only been enacted three times in the history of our country, twice in wartime, during World Wars One and Two, and once in peacetime after World War Two.
That all three were cases of necessity. And that none of the three were rigorously conducted and assessed social experiments.
Embery will also know, like me, that post war conscription only extended to males.
In 2021, what would National Service involve?
Let us, for sake of argument, assume a two year period of service, starting on or just after one’s 18th birthday.
The 2011 Census put the 18 to 19 population for England and Wales, alone, at 1,460,156.
Let us assume a 5% exemption rate.
We would still be left with 1,387,148 young men and women to house, feed, clothe, police, train and productively occupy for two years.
And to what end, Sir Humphrey?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: [demonstrating how public surveys can reach opposite conclusions] “Mr. Woolley, are you worried about the rise in crime among teenagers?”
Bernard Woolley: “Yes.”
Sir Humphrey Appleby: “Do you think there is lack of discipline and vigorous training in our Comprehensive Schools?”
Bernard Woolley: “Yes.”
Sir Humphrey Appleby: “Do you think young people welcome some structure and leadership in their lives?”
Bernard Woolley: “Yes.”
Sir Humphrey Appleby: “Do they respond to a challenge?”
Bernard Woolley: Yes.
Sir Humphrey Appleby: “Might you be in favour of reintroducing National Service?”
Bernard Woolley: “Er, I might be.”
Sir Humphrey Appleby: “Yes or no?”
Bernard Woolley: “Yes.”
Sir Humphrey Appleby: “Of course, after all you’ve said you can’t say no to that. On the other hand, the surveys can reach opposite conclusions.”
On the other hand …
Sir Humphrey Appleby: “Mr. Woolley, are you worried about the danger of war?”
Bernard Woolley: “Yes.”
Sir Humphrey Appleby: “Are you unhappy about the growth of armaments?”
Bernard Woolley: “Yes.”
Sir Humphrey Appleby: “Do you think there’s a danger in giving young people guns and teaching them how to kill?“
Bernard Woolley: “Yes.”
Sir Humphrey Appleby: “Do you think it’s wrong to force people to take arms against their will?“
Bernard Woolley: “Yes.”
Sir Humphrey Appleby: “Would you oppose the reintroduction of conscription?
Bernard Woolley: “Yes.”
[does a double-take]
Sir Humphrey Appleby: “There you are, Bernard. The perfectly balanced sample.”
Do the military really want the job of organising this disparate mob?
The days of mass armies are long gone.
And a volunteer is worth a pressed man or woman, any day.
“The army does not want conscription, and has never wanted it. They are very proud of their élite, professional army. It is tough, disciplined, possibly the best in the world. The Chiefs of Staff do not want a conscripted mob of punks, freaks, junkies and riff-raff, a quarter of a million hooligans on its hands with nothing to do except peel potatoes at Aldershot. The generals are afraid that this would turn it into an ordinary army.”
Extract from the Appleby Papers
A civilian programme modelled on National Service would be essentially no different from the traditional model, despite not involving the issuing of firearms. The logistical requirements would still be immense, finding useful work placements for all virtually impossible and, although there would some value in the programme for a minority there would not be for the overwhelming majority. It would, therefore, be a complete waste of public money. Money that would be better spent elsewhere on, say, a programme like Sure Start.
I was going to ask if Embery had gone full Colonel Blimp, but that seemed unfair on Blimp. Blimp’s creator, the cartoonist David Low, did see his character as pompous, irascible, jingoistic, and stereotypically English.
But, although Low described his character Blimp as “a symbol of stupidity”, he lessened the insult to the English upper class by adding that “stupid people are quite nice”. Embery may or may not be stupid, but nice?
In his 1941 essay entitled “The Lion and the Unicorn”, George Orwell referred to two important sub-sections of the middle class, one of which was the military and imperialistic middle class, nicknamed the Blimps, and characterised by the “half-pay (i.e retired) colonel with his bull neck and diminutive brain”. He added that they had been losing their vitality during the past thirty years, “writhing impotently under the changes that were happening”.
I would hazard a guess that Keir Starmer is not in communion with the Church of England.
I believe that when Blue Labour speaks of faith and family then they mean that the family that attends a church service now and then, may be stays together or some such similar nonsense. I really do not see Paul Embery as an old maid, bicycling to Holy Communion through the morning mist.
Starmer married Victoria Alexander in 2007. The couple’s son and daughter are being brought up in the Jewish faith of their mother and the family attend Shabbat dinners.
I personally, admittedly speaking as an agnostic, do not regard ticking the CoE box on forms and only attending church for christenings/baptisms, weddings and funerals as signs of a deep and abiding faith.
Were Starmer to become a regular Church of England churchgoer, assuming, admittedly, that he is not already one, to emphasise the faith aspect of his policy agenda then, presumably, he would be going to church alone, without his wife and their two children.
Keir Starmer’s top policy adviser, Claire Ainsley, whom he appointed Labour’s Head of Policy in April 2020 was a “hard-left student activist”.
Ainsley now “the opposition’s well-regarded director of policy” served as President of the Student Union at the University of York, where she campaigned against Tony Blair’s Labour government as a member of the Socialist Workers’ Party, The Times reports.
In 1998, Ainsley told students that she had joined the SWP – “a self-styled revolutionary party divisive even by the standards of the far-left”, according to the newspaper – “because I don’t believe that our views are represented by those in power”.
Whilst Ainsley, the radical leftie in touch with the working class, in her dreams, was striking a pose against the Labour Party, the party in government was enacting a significant set of policies designed to practically improve the condition of the working class.
Ainsley more recently has been lecturing folk in the Labour Party that they have lost touch with the working class.
Not long after Jeremy Corbyn became leader, some members of the SWP went campaigning for Labour out on a London council estate where they got into a flaming row with some voters over the wrongs of the right to buy.
The SWP has never been in touch with the working class or their aspirations.
One trusts Ainsley has recovered from her spell thinking otherwise.
The SWP are notorious for being bandwagon jumpers and infiltrators of other organisations. My own trades union, PCS, was so riddled with them that on one infamous occasion, a rep and SWP member, unsure how to proceed in a meeting with management left the discussion to go and make a phone call to fellow SWP members for instructions.
These people are parasites.
Quite often the SWP have better placards and other materials than the campaigns they are seeking to appropriate. I well recall being on a GCHQ Day of Action when we were joined by some young folks from the SWP, outside of a Jobcentre on Corporation Street in Birmingham city centre. We did not want our sober demonstration being undermined by a bunch of kids and we certainly did not want them talking to the media on our behalf.
We tactfully asked them to move on. They were baffled by our request. Surely we needed their support? Eventually, we had to introduce them to the proposition of having the placards they were holding reversed and inserted somewhere tight …
Ainsley, whilst President of the Student Union at the University of York, also helped to organise marches opposing Nato’s intervention in Slobodan Milosevic’s campaign of ethnic cleansing of the Albanian population in Kosovo. At one protest, attendees were said to have chanted, “Blair and Clinton, hear us say, how many kids have you killed today?”
Another denier of events taking place in the Balkans was none other than Claire Fox. Fox was in 1998 a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party. Fox had joined the RCP as a student at the University of Warwick. For the next twenty years, she was one of the RCP’s core activists and organisers. She became co-publisher of its magazine Living Marxism, which closed in 2000 after the courts found it had falsely accused Independent Television News (ITN) of faking evidence of the Bosnian genocide.
In 2018, Fox refused to apologise for suggesting that evidence of the genocide was faked.
Ainsley compared the conflict in Kosovo to the Vietnam War and tried unsuccessfully to convince her student union to formally condemn the US-led intervention in Kosovo. “People see that what Nato is doing is wrong,” she told Nouse, the university’s student paper, at the time.
She would go on to write music reviews for the Morning Star.
When Fox was ennobled just before Christmas 2020, she had been given a peerage by Boris Johnson for backing the Leave Campaign to the hilt, one of her two sponsors as she took her seat in the House of Lords was, none other than, Lord Maurice Glasman, the de facto leader of Blue Labour.
Blue Labour is for those who do not have the balls, the courage of their convictions to back the latest of Nigel Farage’s vanity political projects, like the Brexit Party of which Fox was (still is?) a member. Paul Embery is a big fan of “faith, flag and family” as is Ainsley.
Ainsley thinks Labour under Starmer needs to move rightwards in the direction of Gammon voters in Red Wall constituencies, who tend to be middle and upper class white men with persecution complexes, who think their world went off the rails in about 1962.
The Beatles have much for which to answer, they believe.
One feels these men would enjoy a Groundhog Day wherein it is always a dismal wet Sunday in February 1952 and the wireless is broken. A time between the Festival of Britain and Bill Hailey and the Comets.
The good old days when men were men and women knew their place; homos stayed firmly in the closet; you could call a disabled person, a cripple or a retard without the PC police interfering; blacks were happy with what they were given, important, but nonetheless menial jobs and the chance to live in the best country etc; lone parents could be named and shamed; domestic violence was not a matter for the police …
Ainsley wants Starmer to fight the next General Election in the context of 2016.
To effectively perpetuate the political tyranny of the declining minority of the electorate who voted Leave in 2016 well into the 2030s.
So much for moving on from Brexit.
After her spell working for the Morning Star, Ainsley went to work for the Transport and General Workers’ Union now known as Unite. Odds on she crossed paths there with one Len McCluskey, the close friend and future puppet master of one Jeremy Corbyn when Corbyn was Labour leader.
Incidentally, that would be the Len McCluskey, who is today the aged General Secretary of Unite.
McCluskey is a well known bon viveur; distributor of the largesse of his trades union to his friends and related causes; exponent of droit de seigneur in the workplace and a prominent Lexit supporter. One wonders if McCluskey was separated from Boris Johnson at birth or, if not, may he, perhaps, be a by blow of a member of the Johnson family?
McCluskey may not be a fully paid up member of Blue Labour, but he certainly fits the profile of one.
After her time at the TGWU and then working in in government policy and communications (whatever that means), Ainsley seems to have gone straight on to work for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation where she eventually became Executive Director.
Ainsley led JRF’s work on the social and political attitudes of people on low incomes, and chaired the task group of JRF’s strategy to solve UK poverty.
More recently, Ainsley has written a book entitled, The New Working Class: How to Win Hearts, Minds and Votes, published in 2018.
Ainsley regards right wing academic, Matthew Goodwin as a credible contributor to debate around socio-economic regeneration. Incidentally, if you approach such activity primarily with vote grubbing in mind, Johnson and Starmer, you are probably doing it wrong.
In 2018, Ainsley was still openly criticising Labour.
In an article published in The Times shortly after the release of her book, Ainsley wrote that the Labour Party had “steadily seen its working-class vote fall”.
Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour did not comprehend that “what it means to be working class today has significantly changed”, she added.
I would be fascinated to know why someone like Ainsley, with her undergraduate degree in Politics from the University of York and her MSc in Global Politics from Birkbeck at the University of London, feels so confident she has her finger on the collective pulse of a working class that includes BAME as well as white folk amongst its ranks and is 51% female.
Corbyn was notorious for bringing into the heart of the Labour Party, folk who had criticised and campaigned against the Labour Party only a short period before.
A bad habit of Corbyn’s that one imagined that Starmer would have wanted to avoid.
Corbyn’s entryists at the highest levels of the party, displayed little empathy with the ethos of the Labour Party and had a scant understanding of its history.
They were a major cause of Labour’s electoral meltdown in the 2019 General Election.
Historians of the future will wonder how the members of tiny factions on the Hard Left, where it shades into the Hard Right, became centre stage and poisoned our politics.
They are now at the heart of Labour and Dominic Cummings took some of them into Number Ten.
Cummings may have gone, but they are still there.
And Keir Starmer’s most senior adviser, hand-picked by him, is a white, middle class genocide denier and ex member of the SWP, who thinks that engaging with working class voters through abstracts like “faith, flag and family” is a better way of getting their votes than addressing their day to day issues, like how to put food on the table and not have to choose between that and paying the rent.
“faith, flag and family” will not compensate someone for being made redundant; for losing a contract; for seeing their business fail; for having their home repossessed; for experiencing their world fall apart … through Brexit.
The Hard Brexit that Labour in Government would have rejected, but in Opposition chose to support.
“Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.”
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, A Strategy of Peace, 1963
In all the discussion about the end of Freedom of Movement, little seems to have been said about its impact on tourism across the length and breadth of the UK.
Barmouth, a suburb of Birmingham was taken to the hearts of honorary Brummies from places like Poland.
Incidentally, in the early 1980s, teredo navalis was discovered to be chomping its way through the Barmouth railway bridge. A survey undertaken by British Rail determined that a million pounds needed to be spent on repairing the woodwork of the bridge and sealing it against the predations of teredo navalis.
The Thatcher Government decided it would not be money well spent and so the Cambrian Coast line, or at least part of it, faced closure.
Then some clever folk got their heads together and, as a result British Rail sold the bridge to Gwynedd County Council for £1. The Council then assembled a cocktail of funds, including European Regional Development Fund money to repair and protect the bridge against naval shipworm.
And the rest is history …
No more will honorary Brummies enjoy vistas like these and no more will local businesses benefit from their trade.
What of all the Eastern European families who made their own Erasmus programme by, for example, visiting CADW, English Heritage and National Trust properties?
The polite, interested folk and their children who I queued alongside for a piece of cake and a mug of tea or nodded and smiled at as we passed in the grounds of a stately home.
I confess to being rather touched by their interest in our history and our culture.
And approving of their taste in making somewhere like Barmouth, a frequent place to visit.
I gather there are places, called Skegness and Weston-super-Mare, frequented quite often by fellow Brummies, but I can take or leave them.
Barmouth is in Wales …
What is not to like about folk who came here to make a bob or two, contribute to our society and economy, taking time out to explore our countryside, coasts and heritage?
I trust they experienced (and shared) the pleasures of developing a stiff upper lip on an August Bank Holiday Monday, whilst sitting and shivering in a sea front shelter as the wind, rain and fog roll in, once more, over a grey sea.
Truly, one cannot call oneself an honorary Brit, if you have not gone through that experience time after time after time. Because, the British approach to Bank Holidays is nothing, if not a triumph of hope over experience!
What of the spend of those hardy migrant tourists and sightseers in our tearooms, gift shops, museums, art galleries, chip shops and so on?
Has anyone tried to calculate the loss in takings, jobs, businesses and soft power?
And when we return to any form of normality, will some who have benefited financially from this informal Erasmus programme, discover their revenue is not returning to the levels it was at when we were still in the Single Market?
I hope that those folk, who made their own Erasmus programme will not think too unkindly of us in future years.
And that we have only said au revoir not adieu to them and their families.
Any road, as we say around these parts, a nation that understands its history, works, plays and holidays together is a nation that will stay together.
The business community has been in play since June 2018.
Members of the Conservative Party publicly resigned over Boris Johnson’s two word, industrial strategy.
Keir Starmer has been Labour leader for nearly a year now.
Starmer spent 2020 not calling on the Government to put in place measures to mitigate at least some of the downsides of Brexit.
Starmer barely murmured when Johnson declined to extend the transition period.
Starmer was too gun shy even to speak up for the Brexit agreement to include an implementation period, an extension to the transition period by another name.
And the pièce de résistance …
Starmer, after endorsing Johnson’s Hard Brexit deal wants to spend 2021, talking about jobs, the economy and meaningful manual labour, but not in the context of lost jobs and contracts, repossessions, business failures, lives imperilled … courtesy of Brexit.
General Elections turn on around 200,000 votes.
There are 2,395,150 micro businesses in the UK, but Starmer preferred to hug Johnson close than stand up for them.
A Parliamentary seat that Labour needs to win in order to form a Government with a comfortable majority is Hastings.
I remember it well when Hastings, Labour gain came up on the BBC in the early hours of 2nd May 1997.
There had been rumours, early in the day on 1st May that a historic Labour gain was in the offing.
I have a particular affection for the town. My maternal grandad was from there and I have holidayed there over the years, many times.
I enjoy a plate of plaice and chips in an old school cafe on the seafront.
How does Starmer plan to campaign in Hastings without discussing the impact of Brexit on its tourism industry and its unique fishing fleet that has its own mention in the Doomsday Book?
There are some very aggrieved people there, who understandably feel betrayed by Boris Johnson and his Brexit deal. The deal for which Starmer voted.
Starmer attempted to pull off a trick that even the great Harry Houdini would have struggled with: voting for the rotten Tory deal whilst claiming it had nothing to do with Labour, guv. The public will simply not buy this and will blame Labour too for its shortcomings. The Leader of the Opposition, said Manuel Cortes, should remember that the clue is in his title. Starmer is not there to facilitate Tory misrule.
“Labour abstains! This Brexit Deal isn’t good enough for the UK!” is how Starmer, might have wound up his speech in the House of Commons’ debate on Johnson’s Brexit deal.
There was clearly, in some quarters, an assumption that Starmer’s yes, but ‘clever’ barrister’s wheeze was just a tactic to get through the Brexit debate.
Au contraire, as the previous evening, Starmer told the Guardian that any future Labour Government that he led would not seek any major changes to the UK’s relationship with the EU.
Starmer said there was a case Labour would make over the coming months and years about ways to improve the UK’s relationship with the EU, including access to security data and the ability of artists and musicians to operate across Europe.
“But there will not be an appetite for renegotiating the entire treaty.”
The option to review the agreement in four years time would not be taken up in any significant way by a Starmer led Labour Government.
There would be no discussion of the UK rejoining the Single Market and/or Customs Union, despite the damage to jobs and businesses caused by our leaving them.
The Single Market is the largest in the world, measured by per capita disposable income.
Starmer was presented in 2020 with a golden opportunity denied to most of his forebears, to wrest the title of the party of business away from the Conservatives and claim it as Labour’s own, but as with most other similar opportunities in 2020, he just watched the ball sail by.
Update on 29th May 2021: The Tory Government has gutted the UK’s fishing industry. It is on track, going by its proposed Australian trade deal and likely subsequent deals, to plough UK farming under.
Labour under Starmer is conducting a review of its rural policies to fashion them into a bouquet with which to woo voters outside of towns and cities, many reliant on agriculture, directly or indirectly, for their living.
Apart from an intervention by Emily Thornberry in the House of Commons, Labour has said little publicly to amplify the concerns farmers and others have about the Australian trade deal that Liz Truss is desperate to sign off before the G7 Summit, being held in Cornwall in June 2021.
Another ball is sailing by.
Another group of voters assumed to mostly vote Tory is there to be courted, to be wined and dined in the interests of Labour.
But this week, Keir Starmer is mostly talking about the Green New Deal.
The Starmerites are crowing, as I type, over the results of a major poll, giving them the hope that they might, if there were a General Election tomorrow, deny the Conservatives an overall majority.
Alas, for them, they do not appear to have read the small print.
The poll was completed on 29th December 2020.
That evening Keir Starmer told the Guardian that any Labour Government he led would not seek to make major changes to the trade deal negotiated by Boris Johnson.
Labour would not seek to rejoin the Single Market and/or Customs Union on Keir Starmer’s watch.
On 30th December 2020, Keir Starmer took Labour MPs through the Aye Lobby to endorse Boris Johnson’s Hard Brexit Deal.
During 2021, Keir Starmer has said his primary focus will be jobs and “how we support good businesses and good jobs … I don’t just mean pay, I mean dignity in jobs – and how we support the economy across the different regions and nations”, but with no reference to the Brexit that is causing companies to shed workers and lose contracts; businesses to fold; homes to be repossessed; lives to be put in jeopardy …
Moreover, Keir Starmer on the advice of Claire Ainsley, his Head of Policy and Claire Fox fellow traveller, intends to double down on the pursuit of a new Brexit unicorn, the Gammon elector who will be tempted to vote Labour by an economically liberal, but socially conservative policy pitch.
Gammon who are mostly middle and working class white men with persecution complexes.
The next General Election is scheduled to take place on Thursday 2nd May 2024.
A Labour Party committed to improving the pay and working conditions of those employed in hotel and catering, the health and care sector and retail and warehousing is one that is really on the side of the many, not the few in work in 2022.
Owen Smith, during his Labour leadership campaign in 2016, proposed a wages council style organisation for workers in just those sectors of the economy. Many of those who work therein are poorly paid, employed part time, some on temporary contracts and many of them are women.
2,579,000 or 7.4% of the workforce in the UK work in manufacturing. That figure does understate the number who are paid, indirectly, to work in the sector.
However, 4,890,000 or 14.1% of the workforce in the UK work in wholesale and retail.
4,369,000 or 12.6% of the workforce in the UK work in health and social care.
And, 2,384,000 or 6.9% of the workforce in the UK work in hotel and catering.
After the leadership election was over, the middle and upper class Boys of Team Corbyn did not pick up the idea, despite Corbyn styling himself as in touch with the working class.
That policy has relevance across the length and breadth of the UK, especially in those so called left behind areas.
And amongst the dross of Richard Burgon’s deputy leadership campaign was to be found a call for a join a union campaign.
Why join a trades union?
Wages councils for the workers in these three major sectors of the economy, provide a good reason for individuals covered by those councils to join a trades union.
To ensure that they get the practical assistance they would need to help guarantee them the rights conferred on them by legislation.
In 2021, Keir Starmer seems too scared to take the Corbynistas head on and say that Labour’s 2017 and 2019 General Election Manifestos were too focused on addressing the whines and whinges of folk, like Labour’s very middle class membership.
Also, in 2021, Starmer has said his primary focus will be jobs and “how we support good businesses and good jobs … I don’t just mean pay, I mean dignity in jobs – and how we support the economy across the different regions and nations”, but with no reference to the Brexit that is causing companies to shed workers and lose contracts; businesses to fold; homes to be repossessed; lives to be put in jeopardy …
We must not imply, let alone suggest that Leave voters have brought socio-economic grief upon themselves and their fellow citizens by clamouring for Brexit.
As an aside, I am from a white working class background so the affection for meaningful manual labour, with dignity, to be found amongst a middle class, Corbynistas included, who have never experienced it and have no plans to do so, rather baffles me.
As Diane Abbott and Alan Johnson have both said, they got the jobs their parents wanted for them, in an office, in the warm, with a good salary and pension, and before they became MPs, reasonable hours.
If it is a choice between working in a call centre or working out on a building site in the freezing cold in February, for which would you plump, Claire Ainsley, with your degree in Politics and your MSc in Global Politics?
If it is the job in the warm, why do you think most folk from my background would be more likely to opt for the job in the cold, outdoors?
Those elderly Red Wall voters may get misty eyed over working down the pit or on’t shop floor, but odds on, given half the chance, most of them would have willingly got away from such employment.
I was the first member of my family to leave school, after three years of Sixth Form, and step straight into an office job as an Executive Officer in the Home Civil Service. For a while, when I was starting out in the Civil Service, I lived with my paternal grandparents.
My grandad, a carpenter and joiner, by trade, working class aristocracy, in fact, liked to speak of me proudly to friends and acquaintances as his grandson, the civil servant.
My immediate family are Bevanites and Bevinites, committed to real levelling up and that if it is good enough for them then it is good enough for us.
The ‘levelling up’ being spoken of by Boris Johnson and Starmer may be ill defined, but it reeks of nostalgia and like a preserved railway, it is the past in a very idealised form.
I cannot wait to learn that Johnson has put Wilfie down for a factory job rather than Eton and that Starmer is hopeful that his son and daughter will have the chance to become brickies.
Keir, old chap, I think members of the class into which I was born would prefer you put bettering their pay and conditions well before dignity in employment, whatever that means to you and Claire.