In what could be a parody of core Labour support, the Indie interview ten people who used their first votes for Labour in 1997.
The ten are - press officer (actually PR), solicitor, teacher, lawyer, "urban regeneration consultant", company director (in PR), marketing "consultant", PR "consultant" (his firm do work for the Government), artist, freelance designer. They all appear to have been either at university, in their last year of school before university, or in a gap year before university. Half would still vote Labour, three don't know, one Lib Dem, one Green.
Three PRs and a marketer, two lawyers. The People's Party sure does appeal to the horny handed sons of toil. No wonder Labour want half the population to take a degree.
They're all 28, 29, 30, 31. None have children. None are married.
What bothered them ?
Law and order has upset two - not absence thereof, but Blair's 'move to the right'. One of them inevitably is the solicitor. Iraq - three. Impossibility of buying a house - two. Peter Vardy (a wealthy Christian) sponsoring academies - one. The target/initiative driven teaching culture - one - the teacher. Civil liberties - one.
People like these are pretty much Labour's core demographic nowadays. Someone who'd been in a timewarp for the last twenty-five years might have looked for Labour first-time voters among those who left school at sixteen. The Indie knew better.
One touching little postscript - the teacher, who sounds like a decent chap, gives us this vignette.
I come from a fairly hard working-class background ... although we talk now about the "spirit of the times", a lot of my friends didn't actually vote. They were concentrating on the next football match. I'd always felt a bit of an outsider among them, and was looking for a more cosmopolitan lifestyle. I suppose that's what attracted me to New Labour, too.
In John Braine's late 50s period piece 'Room At The Top', the visit to the Conservative Club with Susan's father is like a rite of middle-class passage for the ambitious working class antihero Joe Lampton. Forty years on, the Labour Party is the choice for a young Welshman seeking a "more cosmopolitan lifestyle".
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