"Eddieareader" in the comments to this Martin Kettle boilerplate. Don't agree with it all, but I get his general point.
Labour has lost its way now for over a generation, certainly since the 1960s. It has become a party to promote the interests of homosexuals, the public sector unions (from where it now derives its funding) and ethnic minorities - giving its metropolitan elite a cosy feeling of being liberal whilst not actually having to live with the consequences.
I come from a mining family. Both my grandfathers were miners, one had his back broken down the pit. My family were virtual slaves a century after the official ones were freed. The 1926 General Strike ran through our (rented) house like a wide river. My mother had a brother born the second week of the strike with no food (literally) in the house. The (old) Labour Party provided food parcels so that they didn't starve. My dad lost his big toe nail after diving for coal from sunken barges and catching his foot in one. I was the first in my family (like Neil Kinnock) to go to university. My mother always voted Labour until Mrs Thatcher.
I was a died in the wool Labour on entering university (always proud that I share a birthday with Thomas Paine and nearly with the execution of Charles II). Seeking out the Socialist Society I soon found it full of the sons and daughters of the middle-class, in 1970 not many working class kids made university especially those from comprehensives! I soon found that my accent set me apart. It was obvious to me as a 19 year old that these socialists, and I guess a good many went on to be something in the movement, had nothing to offer me accept a diferent face to the same exploitation I could expect from the Tories. That changed my life.
Labour got lost in debating societies rather than failitating the ambitions of working-class people. That is why Margaret Thatcher was so effective. Labour simply had no answer to what Margaret Thatcher offered and still don't.
Mrs Thatcher got a great deal wrong (education, the EU) due to her prejudices but she knew people want to improve their lot.
Tony Blair managed Labour well to pursue his own fantasy. It was just a pity that he had the intellectually deficient Brown alongside. Brown has wrecked pension schemes, raised taxes on the low-paid (increasingly after this week's Budget) and wasted the money on an ineptly managed public-sector. Blair could have insisted on reform first and spending (Brown has even spun spending as investment) second. Brown is so dim that he doesn't even understand what drives effective management. His only trick is to pull in Harvard professors to advise on productivity and have a photo opportunity.
The NHS needs to be dismantled and replaced with an insurance-based system as in France.
Their reaction to out-Tory the Tories means wasting billions on Trident, a slavish attitude towards the City, a willingness to tax low-earners but not high-earners and schools that can teach anything as long as an exam is passed.
Whereas the Tories are very mindful of their base (privilege) Labour has ignored the white working class it came from. Stephen Byers, whose constituents have homes (the major source of inherited wealth) worth on average just over £100,000, being interested in the abolition of inheritance tax is one example. The way Labour dismantled the immigration controls on spouses from the sub-continent and has refused to outlaw arranged marriages is another.
When I was planning for university at the end of the sixties it seemed a natural progression that I was doing better and would do better still than my parents. As my son prepares to do the same during the noughties (how apt) I cannot see him doing the same. Progression has ceased.
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