"The point of our British flavour of socialism was as much defined by social causes against racism, sexism and homophobia as it was defined by our economic policies"
I couldn't let it pass.
I think you'll find that's the flavour of "socialism" that emerged in the eighties, when middle-class university lefties, appalled at the Thatcherite hegemony, gave up on the British working class (too many of them were voting for her) and looked around for some other "other" to bring about radical social change.
The social change never happened - indeed capitalism triumphed, but something strange also happened. Capitalists soon realised that fighting against "racism, sexism and homophobia" had nothing but positives for them.
Sexism ? The old, male industries are moving offshore and service industry's where its at. Women are perfect for the office and call centre - much more compliant and less given (with a few excellent exceptions like Grunwick and Gate Gourmet, both involving Asian women) to industrial action than those stroppy blokes. Rising divorce rates ? More housing needed, more white goods to shift. Rising age of first childbirth ? More wine bars, gyms and restaurants to service those singles.
Homophobia ? Not heard of the pink pound ? Homosexual couples have the highest disposable incomes of all. Ker-ching !
There's a problem with the above. Fewer babies. And fewer babies means a smaller labour pool. And a smaller labour pool means - gasp - higher wages. Oh dear. What can we do to keep profits up and costs down ?
Of course ! The fight against racism ! Obviously, if it's racist to object to some immigration, then it's racist to object to ANY immigration at all ! Yay ! We can import as many people as we like - the politicians can feel groovy and multicultural while we get the cheap labour ! It's a win for everyone ! (Except the working class already here, whose wages are screwed down, but who cares about them ?)
And that's the Faustian compact between capital and "Labour" which we're seeing now. Silent, mournful, abandoned, broken, the English working class recedes into the darkness. They have suffered in every respect by their association with the British Labour Party.
Perhaps, as some suggest, mass immigration is Labour's revenge on the English workers for the Thatcher years - their punishment.
(I don't suggest it would be a great deal different under a Cameron administration, mind you.)
UPDATE - what a great title for a book. "The Breaking of the English Working Class".