There is a huge irony that a Labour politician like Tony Blair, faced with a crumbling class system, which increasingly mattered less and less in the lives of British people, succeeded not in failing to deliver the coup de grace but instead reestablishing it in a far more ridged and domineering structure than had existed before.
By pursuing his goal of 50% of school leavers to go on to university but never specifying what the focus or goal of this huge expansion of higher education should be, Blair didn’t create a modern economy, he brought back the worst of the old. Instead of eliminating class he established a new class, the graduate class, one that has cleaved society in two. Today’s dividing lines in politics are increasingly drawn by the antagonisms between the graduates and non-graduates.
Graduates today bare all the cultural hallmarks of being a separate class but one that is openly certificated. Your membership of this class depends not only on your heritage, how you dress, your mannerisms or accent but on the ability to pay for and complete what is increasingly a series of ideological loyalty tests, masquerading as an education. The result. There are today whole sections of the labour market reserved for graduates only, no on the job training, no apprenticeships – no degree, no job.
It would be fair to say that many of these graduate roles have could be performed by any competent school leaver. Jobs which once provided the working classes access to the vocational professions of policing and nursing have recently seen these to be ring fenced for graduates. Low quality humanities degrees are a prerequisite for middle management and the ubiquitous HR and DEI teams which proliferate but block access to those without.
Universities and middle class graduate dominated unions, behave more like medieval guilds, strangling supply, limiting entry to key sectors so that they can extract the highest price for their labour, at a cost to the economy as a whole. The British Medical Association literally voted to do this by restricting training places for doctors on the surreal claim that there are already too many medical professionals in this country.
Blair claims to have dreamed of a classless society. Instead his policies have resulted in the the emergence of a more segregated, hierarchical and privilege based society than the one that had come before it. The legacy of the expansion of higher education is to have set in stone a society divided between the haves and the have nots.
What makes you think Tony Blair faced a crumbling class system? And makes you think it mattered less in the lives of British people?
I’ve only ever heard that view expressed by middle class people.
I think to believe that there was no change from the class system which still existed in post war Britain, where many of the elite could trace their roots back generations to landed aristocrats and the more meritocratic society which had come into being by the 90’s, seems fanciful. A Labour government was winning landslide election victories by essentially abandoning class warfare as one of its ideological core principles. If class was still a key issue, it seems someone had forgotten to tell the British public.
You might want to read some of the work by the author of this piece, Matt Goodwin. He has documented the slow shift of working class voters, first by abstaining in increasing numbers (under Blair, his working class vote shrank each election) and then switching to UKIP, then to the Tories under Boris.
Blair won one landslide victory in ’97 because people were sick of the Tories. Blair kept his mouth shut in regards to policy and spoke mainly in platitudes directed to sooth the nerves of middle class voters. The working class votes were completely taken for granted at the time, but the amount of working class votes wained at every vote thereafter. Not because class ceased to exist, but because working class people stopped voting. All of this is documented by Matt Goodwin. It was clear to many working class voters like myself that New Labour were a Middle Class party, did not represent us yet still expected us to vote for them.
As a matter of interest, what were your parents occupations?
You finish with a purity test; why?
Not purity, class. The same one my mother had to sit when she was at school. I’ve only ever heard the claim that Britain was becoming classless from middle class people.
Your class test is still a purity test. The left does love a purity spiral.
I’m not left wing. I was raised to be, but Labour cured me.
As I said, I’ve only heard the claim that class was over from the middle classes.
Something in that contention. However needs to be ‘rounded’. The Lab govt also better funded and had massively lower waiting times in NHS, critical to many working people. The introduction of the National minimum wage too. Sure Start as a way of hitting the inequality that perpetuates (almost criminally scrapped by Tories. who are now trying to resurrect but rebrand).
So yes some things certainly wrong in hindsight but many things right and directed at the most disadvantaged.
They also opened the door to mass immigration on a scale we’d never seen, which set wages for skilled working class trades people into free fall and effectively ended the training of young British apprentices in trades.
I think there is good evidence that immigration impacts adversely on low skill wage levels. And thus can understand why many get concerned by this. However weaker unionisation has a significant impact too.
There is evidence that immigration overall can increase average wages as demand in the economy rises. Growth can be increased and thus a country afford more. The problem is it’s not evenly distributed and I would concur this was insufficiently understood during the Blair years. As they began to grasp it the financial crash took over.
Fact is though in 13 years the Tories done virtually nothing and just made the divide even greater. Whether deliberate or incompetence occasionally difficult to distinguish.
As regards apprenticeships – unless you feel the State is responsible for everything (which I doubt) you need to also direct some ire at employers. I know many construction companies cut back training and increased profit margins when able to source labour from abroad. Nobody instructed them to do that. We could and should have countered that. Even now we aren’t because we are too scared of impact on economic growth.
You are oblivious or indifferent to the impact mass immigration had on skilled trades. Or maybe you quite liked the impact?
Employers took advantage of what was available – already trained skilled workers willing to work for peanuts. There was no need to train anyone.
Mass immigration benefited those who wanted cheap nannies and cheap house extensions. For the working class it meant greater competition for housing and lower wages.
I think actually there is an element of agreement here.
Mass, uncontrolled, unthinking immigration I doubt anybody half sensible supports. I also believe, and evidence supports it, that whilst immigration can have positive effects the impact is not even and disadvantages some much more than others.
One of the big questions we need to ask is why did we not impose the same Free movement Article requirements on labour that other EU countries did and do – e.g all jobs advertised locally first, minimum capital requirements on entry etc. It would appear Govt and Business wanted to minimise anything that impacted on Business. The Tories had 10 years before Brexit to impose these constraints and opted not to. Classic right wing contradiction.
The damage was done by Labour in 2003 when they estimated a few thousand would arrive and instead a million did.
Tories like to tell us the same lies that Labour do – that we all benefit from mass immigration. So they did exactly what you’d expect them to do.
What actually is interesting is in the early noughties, Germany, were very keen to push “freedom of movement” across the EU retained their Guild system which regulates many skilled trades in Germany.
So yes, a Polish plumber/sparky/mechanic or joiner was/is free to move to Germany, but he isn’t and wasn’t free to work there.
In order to work there you had (and still have to) be a member of the relevant guild. And you cannot join the guild by sitting and passing an exam. You can only join the guild if you have received your training from the guild, ie: you have to be German.
Germany insists that this is to maintain high German standards. When actually it is about ring fencing well paid jobs for German workers.
So naturally, foreign skilled workers moved to the least regulated EU country: the UK.
Had anyone in Labour at the time had half a brain, or even basic knowledge of the structure of German capitalism and how it compares to the UK system, it would have been obvious our country would be flooded with cheap skilled labour.
Not every trade in Germany has a guild, and it is clear which ones do not, as those trades are awash with cheap foreign workers.
The issue with this approach is that all “closed shop” systems create inflexible working practices and are not beneficial to the worker in the long run.
The German guild issue is just one example of how ‘qualification equivalence’ was applied. Individual countries determined this. For example a doctor trained in Rumania may not have automatically met the equivalence requirements to practice at the same level in the UK. The problem for the UK construction industry was it lacked that degree of ‘qualification equivalence’ standard and the workforce lacked collective unionisation to insist on specific requirements.
But that I think you concur that some Tories do espouse some key benefits from immigration. Thus the challenge for the Right is how does it square this? It’s clearly struggling and the current evidence of labour and skills shortages in the UK does suggest we have a significant dilemma. Were it easy to resolve one assumes it would have been sorted some years ago and we’d have found the right balance.
My own view is we were too weak and lax on applying sensible rules permissible in the free movement articles, alongside lacking a training and industrial strategy of our own. Too many right wingers welcomed immigration depressing wages and union leverage.
It is not possible to have equivalent qualifications for trades in Germany protected by Guilds.
You cannot join a German Guild unless your training was provided by the Guild. You have to be born in Germany.
The UK would benefit greatly from reducing the number of useless graduates we produce and sponsoring skills that are needed. It will take time, but the sooner we start the sooner it happens.
There are many lessons we can learn from other countries about training and keeping skilled workers. I’m not aware of any political party who have any interest in doing so. The Tories are too enamoured with the dynamics of divide and rule, the Labour Party suffer from chronic xenophilia.
“There is evidence that immigration overall can increase average wages as demand in the economy rises” What evidence ? Most of the increase in demand seems to be for public services to support the families of the migrants rather than growth in the real economy.
Immigrants are younger, use less public services (they went to school elsewhere of course so no cost to the UK), and plenty of evidence they contribute more to tax and overall economic demand – thus creating jobs etc for others. Many immigrants are students – paying fees (often cross subsidising the fees UK students pay), buying stuff in the UK etc, and then going home (at least most of them). Thus some pretty basic positive economic consequences. This is overall. Of course in some areas immigration can depress wages and have a clear adverse impact on others esp in the low wage, un-unionised economy.
Of course there will be other exceptions too, and certainly asylum seekers are just a tax burden as they are not allowed to work. They want to work but we don’t let them, and then we take ages over processing – but that’s another matter.
I suspect you suffer from a prejudice which assumes all ethnic minority usage of public services is one and the same as first generation migrant usage. It’s clearly different. In fact even then cultural issues can tend to reduce the dependence on public services from some ethnic groups – e.g asian families tend to look after elderly parents and default less to the care sector than indigenous population. Go have a look through any Care home and it’ll be v apparent.
Thatcher did that, when she destroyed the North.
I allways thought Blair should have appointed a “Minister for unintended consequences ” as almost every policy he enacted led to effect he had not considered. Devolution being the biggest but there are many others.
I have read his books and I know from reading them that having a higher education is a far better predictor for voting than class. There is only around 5 points difference between how the upper and lower classes vote but over 20 between those who do and don’t have a degree. Education is the new dividing line in our society, ignoring this will not make the issue go away.
Same goes for class. Pretending it is over doesn’t mean it is.
If you bothered to read your Victorian history you would discover that many of those you refer to as ” elites” were manifestly not from the landed aristocracy, but from the new aristocracy of the late 19th and early 20th century who were enobled post to entirely self made success in a variety of wealth creating fields. It amazes me that so few people know this?
I’m more than aware of this but even they still found it necessary to buy their way into the aristocracy, often through advantageous marriages, even though their wealth far surpassed that of the old aristocracy. Class still acted as a barrier to progress in society in a way that it did not by the late 20th century.
No they did not, bar the Lloyd George ones. and so you are manifesly wrong as they came from ordinary backgrounds: I’m not convinced that you actually know what class is or constitutes, or that you have accurately undertaken your historical research? As a matter of interest how many ” aristocrats” have you actually met, or do you know?
The new elite are just different animals from the old guard, they are no more attached to the ordinary Tom d**k or Harry than the old landed gentry. They are in fact massively worse as at least the old guard had sense of duty and love of country. The new elite are woke globalists who would trade in this nations 1000 years of independence for a place at the trough in any passing empire that happens along.
Well, for example, in the nineties it would not have been considered outlandish for any young semi-skilled worker – a fork lift driver or a paramedic perhaps – to aspire to home ownership.
By the time New Labour left office in 2010 that had become an entirely unrealistic aspiration for most young blue collar workers.
We should never forget that it was a Labour Chancellor who changed the way that CPI is calculated simply in order to conceal from traditional Labour voters just how comprehensively he and his colleagues had ruined their life prospects.
The Labour Party nowadays is the party of the professional classes that live off the state. It should cease pretending to be anything else.
We’ll have to agree to agree.
A paramedic should not be classed as a semi skilled worker.
Err Blair not been in power for 16years.
How long do you need to change things if you didn’t like them?
The Right is so embarrassed with itself it needs a ‘bogeyman’ and who better than someone who thrashed them three times.
It’s ancient history yet it’s continual use as an excuse does illuminate the paucity of coherent right wing thinking this last 13years.
Blair shat all over our democracy with his Iraq business. He took us into a war on a lie. He used an old act of Parliament to get it through. We spent billions on a lie. Then that war, caused divisions in our own communities here. He flooded our services and housing with immigration we couldn’t cope with. He cut all the regulations on the financial markets. That man did more damage to working class people in this country than anyone else for a long time as far as I am concerned. I have absolutely no time or trust in labour. Its taken sixteen years to try and undo the damage he did. His cutting of regulations on the financial markets contributed to the crazy that caused 2008. Then we had no money. Had spent a fortune on a pointless war. Our services and housing were stretched. So instead of helping the working class, he spent all our money on a lie so he could play lets arse lick the Americans, destroyed the services the working class rely on with high immigration, priced us out of home ownership because of the housing shortage and sucked up to the city by cutting regulations, sounds really helpful. So it wasn’t like the Conservatives got everything handed over in good shape was it? How did he help me again?
Indeed, what have the so-called Tories achieved in their 11 years?* Besides very reluctantly indeed, agreeing to Brexit, virtually nothing!
They seem to have completely forgotten that Parliament has the power to REPEAL legislation as well as enact it.
Thus Blair’s pernicious legacy remains almost untouched.
However as my Chief of Staff has pointed out, I am probably being both naive and nostalgic, for the reality is that there are NO real Tories left, nor have been for some years now.
(*The first 5 wasted years in coalition with Clegg, do not count.)
Curious how do you define a ‘real’ tory?
I absolutely despair of all of them now. Real or not.
A very difficult question Ms Emery!
Even in those fabled “good old days” we had quite a few charlatans around, masquerading as Tories. Eden, Marples, Heath, Howe, Major, and perhaps even Churchill, who was forever switching from Liberal to Tory as the fancy took him.
Thus does Lady Thatcher tower above the rest!
Do you think that to try and serve everyones interests and solve problems though a certain degree of flexibility between idealogies is sometimes important? I couldn’t define very well my own idealogy to be honest, I think the old politics isnt working, our problems need fixing with practical solutions not idealogy. In trying to tailor the solutions we need to fit the old idealogies we are not fixing the problems effectively perhaps? It seems they have all got far too aloof in London to even understand what the problems are anyway. In my humble opinion.
I must agree.
“Blair not (sic) been in power for 16 years”
But Blairism is more entrenched now than ever – to such an extent that both parties are governed by it, leaving voters no real choice at all.
Cameron pronounced himself the “heir to Blair” and May was much the same. So the length of time that Blair has been out of office is really of no relevance.
Blair doesn’t get a free pass simply because the Tories are equally as corrupt/incompetent. It’s perfectly reasonable to point out the damage he caused as well as acknowledging the Tories have done nothing to reverse it
An excellent summation.
The author has absolutely nailed the issues crippling democracy across the west. The working class needs to get involved at the constituency level and demand their party nominate candidates outside the laptop class.
That process worked with the election by the party membership, of Liz Truss. But then, unfortunately… So constituency involvement probably doesn’t make much of a difference.
The party members wanted Kemi Badenoch. The MPs rigged it so they could only choose Sunak or Truss.
Kemi was popular exactly because she campaigned against these elite positions – sky high immigration, wokery and inevitable disastrous consequences of the ill thought out net zero commitments.
Kemi’s time will come.
To get the leadership slogans and mantras will work.
But to be successful she’ll need much more than that. Squaring significant right wing contradictions going to test any Tory leader.
No doubt. She hit the right notes in the campaign but turning them into policies, and then those policies succeeding, are completely different things.
But hitting the right notes is more than the other candidates did. Penny M was pro-woke, Liz T was in favour of removing any limits on immigration. All of them were slavish on the net zero deadlines.
I particularly liked her opinion that public services should reduce their responsibilities and focus on core duties only. Easier said than done, I know, but it is not the usual three arguments you hear: “lets pour taxpayers’ money into them”, “lets reform them” (which generally results in a useless internal trading system being implemented) or “lets scrap them and start again” (as favoured by BTL commentators.)
Anyway I agree that her time will come, probably after the next GE.
I suspect her view on public services tailored to a v specific audience that wants to hear that. Unlikely to be as bold when facing the full electorate. And therein lies but one of the key contradictions.
What I did like about her was she, unlike Truss, seemed sharp and able to think on her feet when faced with a question.
Yes I agree – Brown, May, Truss (and Starmer) lack that ability to think on their feet and it is surely crucial in a top politician. Thatcher didn’t seem to be very good at it either but she compensated with strength of character. Cameron and Blair could do it when called upon. Boris was a master at it but had well-known deficiencies in other areas. Maybe Rishi has it but I haven’t seen it tested yet (perhaps because Starmer isn’t great at putting him on the spot or perhaps because when everything is going wrong, the best play is to keep your gob shut). But Kemi definitely has it in spades.
To be fair I think Brown found any thinking challenging in all settings.
Correct Matt and which we are all seeing the disastrous net zero results through the mass offshoring of our Automotive Industry currently under way and the Elite are helping with higher Corporation tax and total disregard for the workers whose jobs will have been sacrificed on that sacred net zero religion.
It’s always worth bearing in mind George Orwell’s observation that some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.
That would explain the reason for university academics embracing ‘trigger warnings’ on great literature. I read today that Chaucer’s works are to be slapped with a trigger warning for racism and misogyny. Unbelievable.
And yet the works of “great literature” such as Chaucer and Shakespeare were more often than not ‘bowdlerised’ in the past, whereby editions of their works were published with the ‘unPC’ bits removed.
So, not just with ‘trigger’ warnings, but with the ‘triggering’ material cut out. How you must rage against the Victorians and their “unbelievable” woke nonsense….
But most of those protected from Chaucer are not capable of reading his works in the first place.
“And as many of these voters now look on, watching the likes of Lee Anderson be ridiculed by an identikit political, media, and cultural class, more than a few will almost certainly look for new ways to rebel against a system which, they feel, routinely prioritises the voice of a new graduate elite over everybody else — and which stopped listening to people like them years ago.”
I wonder if the author would write an article describing some of these potential new ways to rebel against the UK’s increasingly unrepresentative political system? So many articles describe and bemoan these trends, but so few authors propose solutions or alternatives.
Perhaps it is for the people to propose solutions to these issues, not journalists, who are after all members of the class he describes. Sadly when the people (the racists, bigots, gammon, or whatever the ruling class denounces them as) try to do this they are pilloried and mocked. I wonder the point of an intellectual education which produces so many people incapable of intellectual thought, but so many who are only capable of fighting for their own self interest to the detriment of society as a whole.
Intellectual thought but more concerning practicable ability.
The working class absolutely need to get involved in politics at the constituency level.
Putting to one side how we define ‘working class’ for a moment – does one see likes of Mick Lynch and Pat Cullen as leaders of working class organisations? Politics and influence functions on multiple levels. And just as well.
Much of the working class, at least the one I was born into, view them as political provocateurs parasitising the collective aims of unions whilst reciting the wins of unions in the past, which centred workers rather than politics, for sectional gain almost exclusively at the expense of the majority of the working class. Its why union membership numbers continue to fall. Until they can adopt a more collaborative approach to negotiating with employers facing the external destruction of their industries to secure real updates to working practices they will continue to wither and fade. Ordinarily, people in the UK do not like being used for someone else’s political battle.
How about we ‘junk’ the House of Lords and all the undemocratic nepotism associated. What’s the bets Anderson doesn’t campaign for that?
Chances are he ends up there in his ermine. Just the latest snake oil merchant.
Only too true, sadly.
Come back Guy Fawkes….all is forgiven!
The university selector does more than just split graduates from non-graduates. It also splits those graduates along subject-matter lines which then become tramlines into occupation groups. How many engineers become politicians? How many lawyers know about programming?
Thus the options for MPs is narrowed not just on university grounds, but also on subject-matter expertise. If you’ve never run a business, how are you going to be competent making laws for running a business? For this reason, politics ought to represent a broad pool of interests and perspectives to reflect practical insights about the impact of law and regulation (eg the true cost of forms, regulatory burden, opportunity costs). A first step might be a quota-limit on the number of lawyers in parliament, as they have a vested interest in creating more laws.
And then some – twice as many PMs went to Oxford than to Cambridge, and just 2 of the 74 colleges account for half of them.
Now that would be real diversity.
The last prominent working class politician was Alan Johnson. It’s worth looking again at his reaction to the 2019 Corbyn wipeout: his visceral contempt for the Momentum activists (who drove Anderson out of Labour).
I’m a Northerner by upbringing, and unlike Matthew Goodwin I don’t accept that saying something crass and offensive is OK if it is said in a Northern accent. This seems, Mr Goodwin, to be a remarkably patronising attitude to take to Northerners.
Where does he say that? I couldn’t find it.
It’s Goodwin’s whole thesis in his article. We aren’t allowed to say that Anderson’s comments are crass and offensive because he’s from the North and his voice in unheard. Firstly, he clearly isn’t unheard and secondly his comments are actually crass and offensive. It’s actually offensive to Northerners (like me) to deny this.
You’ve took offense to something that exists in your imagination only.
I’m also a northerner and I think you are being a bit histrionic.
You might be a southener trapped in a northeners’ body.
He’s not a northerner. He’s from the East Midlands.
I always thought that the privilege of “saying something crass and offensive” was the sole preserve of Old Etonians?
Apparently it is. I’m not allowed my comments are gone.
Yes I noticed that, what is going on?
I think flagging off my comments, easy lame form of censorship.
Unfair, Charles… They would suggest it was Harrovians?!!!
You may disagree with Lee but that doesn’t mean his views are crass or offensive.
Angela Rayner? She’s deputy leader.
Rayner is bait-and-switch cover for the likes of Starmer; the very sort of person this article is about.
She was elected not appointed. Starmer doesn’t appoint his deputy.
Just a whiff of sexism too in your answer?
Don’t point to facts. That isn’t relevant here.
I have been intrigued by the venom and disdain expressed in MSM towards this guy, who is an elected MP – similar to the way John Prescott was treated, another outspoken Northern MP. The lack of life experience within our political class is partly our fault – we have let it happen, and intelligent people will sense the vacuum, stepping in to fill it. But the way a journalist or commentator will sneer at LA, or others of his background, is contemptuous. The way to beat it is not to be afraid to express a view, an opinion, and participate. There are many ways, including social media, to do it. BTW I sense that LA will remain popular with his electorate and retain his seat
In intention, at any rate, the English intelligentsia are Europeanized. They take their cookery from Paris and their opinions from Moscow. In the general patriotism of the country they form a sort of island of dissident thought. England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution, from horse racing to suet puddings. It is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably true that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of standing to attention during ‘God save the King’ than of stealing from a poor box. All through the critical years many left-wingers were chipping away at English morale, trying to spread an outlook that was sometimes squashily pacifist, sometimes violently pro-Russian, but always anti-British.
from George Orwell, England Your England
Lee Anderson is recognisably, authentically, English. No wonder they despise him.
And that from 1941!
So the likes of Rabbe and Shapps are an elite? No, they are jumped up line managers, who in another age would have worked below stairs… and still should.
Shapps was the tory clown who gave £250 million to Labour/Lib dumb Councils to keep the peasants off the roads.
University elite? What a quaint notion. University stopped being a place for the elite in 1990 (or 1960, if you are more particular).
But many think they are, or they wish to be elite and one sure way to do that is to express elite opinions and to be hostile to non-elite opinions. It is entirely akin to Hyacinth Bouquet – every choice and opinion expressed is aimed at social climbing.
That’s where the derision comes from. If they just disagreed it wouldn’t be enough to elevate themselves and to claim elite status. The opprobrium heaped on the various “Gammony” opinions is performative and needs to be dramatic. And they are stuck because any sympathy for heterodox opinion or even for free speech and respect is to loosen attachment to elite membership.
Perhaps the better word is ‘clerisy’
Yes indeed! O for the happy days of ‘Porterhouse’.
What happened is that the globalist plutocrats very cleverly took over the left. Why fight ’em when you can get them to carry water for you? Take Apple — wokest corporation on the planet, but they use slave labor and manage to avoid paying taxes. The ‘new left’ — the woke left — are merely another brand of dishsoap that comes from the same factory as the ‘competing’ brand. Mr. Anderson is a genuine example of the sort of guy the left used to actually advocate for.
Traditionally it was the Tories who believed in the notion of a governing glass, noblesse oblige and all that. The ‘grouse moor’ image died in the 1960s, when the upper echelons opened up to grammar school kids who’d been to Oxford and Cambridge (eg Heath and Thatcher). The party has now embraced second-generation immigrants and the likes of Lee Anderson. Meanwhile Labour has gone in the opposite direction, abandoning the working classes whose cause its name embodies and embracing a version of ‘diversity’ derived solely from contemporary middle class neuroses.
“An elite group…increasingly look down at the working-class and non-graduate majority with suspicion, if not open contempt.”
I have news for you, Matthew: the compliment is being returned in ever -increasing measure as ordinary people look down at their ruling class with disdain and contempt, understanding more and more that these self-regarding superior beings have no morals, no values and no principles apart from those of ideological self-interest and financial advancement. The result will be an ever-increasing disinterest in politics and voting abstinence to the point where the IDon’tVote Party may well have an absolute majority. And the outcome of that is that the governing party may well have the seats for a majority but absolutely no moral authority to govern.
See how that works out.
Flagged off. Again. Working class getting ‘heard’.
’30p Lee’ is not likely to gain great traction with those most struggling with the cost of living. And can one be so certain that a full Weatherspoon’s at 10am on a weekday morning a target to denote national success?
Anyhow him aside the article has drawn out some more interesting comments on the University/non University fault-line. To add – our rate remains lower than likes of Finland, South Korea and Sweden, but there is a debate IMO to be had about the quality of some degrees and how aligned our higher education sector is to broader societal needs. Do we not need to adapt more courses to the changing landscape of the workplace – more internships, apprenticeships, sandwich courses etc. We aren’t going to compete internationally with a low skills workforce. We need innovative, well educated youngsters then utilising many of the great things the UK has going for it – our language, our Arts, our Service sector, our biotech etc. We need a much closer dynamic between Universities and Business. Our lack of industrial strategy painful evident with the absence of a coordinated strategy. The Right makes a clarion call for Growth yet then fails to make the leap to what it’ll really take and has wasted 13 years and counting.
Sweden recently had a socialist PM with a background as a welder and trade union negotiator, in my mind the worst PM in Sweden’s recent history. It wasn’t his background which was the problem, it was his character: indecisive, weak, lack of vision, need to cling on to power by any means ( a bit like Sturgeon), ducking out of view when tough problems needed to be handled. I’d say don’t judge politicians by their educational or working backgound since there are a lot of intelligent and aware individuals in manual jobs who maybe haven’t had university education. Judge them by their views and actions. I’d like to see restrictions on career politicians whose only background is working their way up through the party hierarchy without any working experience.
I agree in not judging politicians by their backgrounds, although the experience one has can shape attitudes and understanding. And to understand a person sometimes the back story can add illumination.
You single out Sturgeon which seems odd. I’m no real fan but she’s just resigned and isn’t looking to hang on. Now had you used Johnson as your example it would much more convincing. he needed to be prised out by multiple resignations.
Few politicians have zero real work experience. They don’t go from school or Univ straight into Parliament. It’s a bit of a urban myth. However one can debate the range of experience that may exist. The average age of MPs is virtually the same as it was in 79.
Sturgeon has been hanging on for the last couple of years, making dubious alliances with “head in the clouds” politicians (Greens) for example to get the gender debacle passed in Holyrood. She’s been impervious to criticism and I’d put her on a par with Lofven the former Swedish PM. Boris is of course a similar type, impervious to criticism, and he still thinks he’s the answer to the UK’s needs. Sturgeon and him deserve each other, I’d like to see them on a desert island for a month.
Our lack of Industrial strategy is courtesy of the the Elites 2008 Climate Change Act
What was there before that? What was Thatcher’s great “industrial strategy”?
“Anderson, a working-class former coal miner and Labour supporter”
Shouldn’t that be “a former working-class coal miner and Labour supporter”?
Fertile ground for Caesarism
Always good to hear the Professor of Politics at the University of Kent tell us about his new book explaining how the ‘over-educated elites’ are drowning out the Voice (singular, invariably) of The People.
Next week, perhaps we’ll hear from the Professor of Unintended irony on the matter….
Good to see you have returned ‘Thorax’, I was beginning to think you had done a runner!
I have really, Charles. I still read the articles- but the comments section is largely standard internet dross, sadly. Herd-ism, in fact.
Then spend your time elsewhere.
Don’t give up! It’s only banter, no harm intended I can assure you.
Besides your ‘Art History’ digressions are always fun.
True about people in politics with no prior real-world jobs etc. But on the Labour side of the House, Thatcher’s reforms., which decimated traditional unionised occupations, saw to that. The decay in British politics dates from then.
Not really. The Labour Party could have chosen to promote more working-class voices. It just didn’t keep up. New jobs emerged which replaced those highly unionized and heavy industry ones. But Labour wasn’t that interested in reaching out to them. It never made a pitch for white van man, or those self-employed through necessity. It didn’t like them. They were too hard to deal with. They had opinions they didn’t like and expressed them confidently and in the vernacular. Without the veneer of respectability that unions provided to the voices or working people, the unfiltered voice was something they just didn’t want to be around.
All parties should have people with real life experience.
The move to ban second jobs is another move towards career politicians who don’t have a scooby about real life.