Rod Liddle

Labour has proved that it speaks for London – and nowhere else

31 May 2014

9:00 AM

31 May 2014

9:00 AM

So, now almost all the votes have been counted — except for those in the Islamic Republic of Tower Hamlets, where the vibrant and colourful political practices of Bangladesh continue to keep the returning officers entertained. Allegations of widespread intimidation of voters at polling booths, postal voting fraud and a huge number of mysteriously spoiled ballot papers; so much more fun than the usual dull, grey and mechanistic western electoral procedure. You wonder, looking at the exotic political fervour of Tower Hamlets, how on earth the British people could be so mean-spirited as to have developed this sudden animus against immigration. White British people now make up less than one third of this exciting, go-ahead borough; how they must love it there.

Meanwhile, in the rest of London, especially the more infidelish parts, the Labour party did exceptionally well. The party doubled its number of MEPs to four, and finished with 300,000 votes or so more than the Conservatives. One of its triumphant candidates, Claude Moraes, said that London had ‘bucked the national trend’; you’re not kidding, mate. And while senior party members exulted in this performance, they seemed unwilling or unable to grasp that is it precisely the reason why they are scarcely ahead in the opinion polls and will struggle next May.

The paradox was perfectly exemplified by the Blairite journalist Dan Hodges in two consecutive, mutually contradictory blogposts. In the first, he asserted that Labour’s performance in these elections confirmed that the Conservatives would win the next general election: he’s probably right about that. And in the second he howled about the anti-metropolitan broadside delivered by Ukip: if there is to be a cultural war between London and the rest of the country, Hodges averred, ‘Then bring it on — we will win!’


But here’s the point, Dan, old chum: you didn’t win — Ukip did. And your own prediction is that you will not win again next year. In fairness, Dan’s mindset seems to be shared by the entire leadership of the party and of course his hero Tony Blair, who put his seriously concerned face on and warned the errant British people not to be beastly about migration — for which many thanks, Tone. That will have added another few points to Ukip’s standing in the polls.

The miracle for Labour is that anyone is prepared to vote for the party outside London; that is perhaps down to a crop of decent councillors here and there and a sort of historic memory among the populace about what Labour used to stand for. But the votes are receding beyond the M25. Not many people in vast swaths of the East Midlands are prepared to vote Labour any more, and the disaffection is heading north with some rapidity. Extraordinarily, Labour came a very poor second to Ukip in the Yorkshire and the Humber region — Middlesbrough, Hull, Sheffield, Leeds, Doncaster, places you would expect the party to waltz home with plenty of votes to spare. And I suspect a huge proportion of the 27 per cent who voted Ukip in the more reliably Labour territory of the north-west were erstwhile Labour voters.

I’m not usually one for predictions but my suspicion is that in the Newark by-election the big story will be the collapse in Labour’s vote, the vast majority of the working-class element decamping to Farage’s bunch. The northern Tories, for a number of complex socioeconomic reasons, do not buy into Ukip; when Ukip wins in the north and Midlands, it is Labour votes that are being taken.

This is a consequence of Dan Hodges’s ‘cultural war’. I do not think that the success of Ukip was down primarily to a disaffection with the European Union, despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth within the Liberal Democrats. Part of it was an increasingly toxic loathing of the absolutist mores and shibboleths of the liberal London elite, but most of it, the real reason for Ukip’s remarkable success, was a consequence of immigration, full stop. It is not as if Labour had not been warned. More than a decade ago voters in the north were prepared to risk social opprobrium by voting for Nick Griffin’s shaven-headed headbangers in the BNP, because it was the one party which confronted immigration — and its effects, its many, many deleterious effects, if you’re not terribly affluent — head on. At the time one or two perceptive local Labour MPs — the excellent Anne Cryer and Frank Field, for example — warned that political correctness and political cowardice had resulted in an angry and mutinous indigenous white population, and was harming both the party and society.

And that was before the enormous influx of immigration from the eastern edges of the EU. Such an unimaginably enormous social change imposed upon people who, when they were asked their opinions about it, were castigated as ‘racist’. The biggest social change this country has ever experienced — and remember, outside London, Labour’s voter base is the most immigration-averse.

In any truly representative Labour shadow cabinet, there would be a place for the fine Bassetlaw MP John Mann. But the current shadow cabinet is drawn overwhelmingly from the affluent south-east, especially London — and more than one third of the top 14 posts are held by MPs who were privately educated. Mann blamed Ed Miliband and this ‘metropolitan elite’ for the party’s dismal showing outside London. He is right, of course; and next door, in Newark, he will be proved right again.

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Show comments
  • Puss in Plimsolls

    The northern Tories, for a number of complex socioeconomic reasons, do not buy into Ukip
    More fools they, then.

    • LiamNewcastle

      I’m one of many former tory voters now involved with UKIP in the North East. Please could somebody give a broad overview of the socioeconomic reasons allegedly preventing more of an exodus? I’m sure there are a great many of us in the north who feel as equally abandoned by The Conservative Party as those is the South.

  • Lucy Sky Diamonds

    Londons burning, Londons burning, call the engine, call the engine, fire fire! fire fire! Pour on water, pour on water!

    • Brigantian

      Let it burn

    • Trofim

      No, you’ve got it wrong – it’s “pour on petrol, pour on petrol”.

  • Kitty MLB

    Ed Moribund, doesn’t speak for any part of England non stop.
    He like all lefties loath this country of ours.
    Because of him and his ilk our country is belittled and
    taken advantage of, constantly.

    • get a grip

      • Foxy Loxy

        Yet, Kitty MLB gets lots of ‘up ticks’ – and you get none.

        • You got me there. Life’s all about the ‘up ticks’.

          • pp22pp

            If you are in politics and it’s elections time, upticks = votes.

  • dalai guevara

    I know HS2 connectivity is sort of off topic here, but has it occured to anyone that Manchester is ever better connected as what appears to be ‘nowhere else’.

  • Baron

    Excellent take on the election results, Rod. Both the Tories and Labour are deluding themselves, things will get worse not better for them as the Tory boy learns that no major concessions on immigration are on offer from the EU, the pinky Millipede sticks to his guns of ‘the newcomers enrich us all’. The immigration wart will get to pain even more, Ukip will get stronger still.

    And on top of it, the uncertainty over the economic growth when the BoE hikes the cost of money.

    If the Ukip’s EU results were a tsunami, the next year national count will be more like a shift in tectonic plates, and about time, too.

    • ARDNASSAC

      Yes but when Ed slips in through the back door and another 5 million non EU immigrants follow over the next 5 years (incl births) everywhere else will start to be like London. Don’t forget to look into the mirror when you are searching for someone to blame.

      • global city

        Both Labour AND the Conservatives are taking existential risks in ignoring broad public opinion. If Labour did as you suggest should they win the next election then it would surely be their last ever victory? If the Tories tried the same with the EU then they would be washed away, never to return.

        • ARDNASSAC

          No, my point is that Labour’s voting base would be so enhanced (ethnic minorities vote 85% Labour) that it would be almost impossible to dislodge them as the largest party in the future. This is already happening anyway from the offspring of the post 1997 open door non EU mass immigration when Labour were elected. It is happening much faster than Labour is losing its white working class base. The public sector will always be Labour’s which is why they still achieved 29% in 2010 after managing the biggest basket case of the world economy. Be careful what you wish for.

          • Shazza

            Spot on. This is what I keep banging on about. If Labour win 2015 they will destroy any hope of any fair election in the future.We really are in the last chance saloon.
            It really will be RIP GB.

          • Foxy Loxy

            It already is ‘RIP GB’. Get used to it. And it was all helped along by your Tory pals.

      • Foxy Loxy

        Yes, that’s because we’ve got such strict and effective immigration controls at present that if the Tories stay in office, everything will be alright.

        Meanwhile, in the real world…….

        • ARDNASSAC

          I am not defending the Tories although they have cut off most of the student visa abuses by about 70000 p.a. I believe. They have also introduced stronger controls on spouse visas. Gross immigration from outside the EU has come down substantially but I am making the point that Labour has and always will welcome immigrants with open arms regardless of numbers and quality. Look at the figures for what happened after GE1997 if you want a taste of what might happen after GE2015 when UKIP votes enable Labour to get back into power.

          • Foxy Loxy

            H’mmmm, yes. And I’m glad that someone believes spun figures from the Home Office. Meanwhile, in the real world, non-EU migrants – arriving in the past two years – have now pushed our local primary school well beyond its capacity.

            What a Tory triumph!!!

            Vote Tory, get Blue Labour. No thanks, I’d rather vote Labour.

            As it stands, I don’t have to do either: I can – and will – vote UKIP.

          • ARDNASSAC

            So you’d rather vote for the party of the human rights act that makes it almost impossible to reject phoney asylum applications. Good luck; when your kids can’t celebrate Xmas at school and daughters don’t dare wear skirts, I am sure you’ll have no regrets.

          • Foxy Loxy

            Oh, so has the ‘Human Rights Act’ been repealed?

            That’ll be a ‘no’, then.

            I remember well Mr Slippery talking about replacing the ‘Human Rights Act’ with a ‘British’ bill of rights. As with everything, the Tories reneged on it; they’re just the same as New Labour.

            Vote Tories, get Blue Labour. At least the Labour Party don’t pretend to be conservative – unlike the Red Tories.

            Meanwhile, the Muslim take-over continues apace – all under the watchful eyes of the Tories.

          • ARDNASSAC

            ‘Has the Human Rights Act been repealed’ you ask.

            Of course it hasn’t you idiot. It is a coalition so there was never a chance of it being repealed. I thought people might be better informed on a Spectator forum but you have proved me wrong on that point but no other. Had a (mental) health check recently?

          • Foxy Loxy

            Oh dear. Please do grow up and stop acting like a spoiled child. You come across as someone with the emotional – and intellectual – maturity of a ten year old.

          • ARDNASSAC

            That’s a strange description of someone who exposed you as an intellectual void (but with a great deal of help from yourself).

          • Foxy Loxy

            Again, see my post above. You really do need help.

          • Porphyrogenitos

            Student visas are still routinely abused with approx 100,000 more arriving than leaving annually.

          • ARDNASSAC

            Don’t dispute that at all. My point was that Labour and the Libdems (Cable certainly) want to reverse the restrictions that closed down many phoney educational institutions and go back to a free for all.

    • Terry Field

      Recession will re-assert itself as the bank hikes rates, and as the incoming government faces a sterling crisis that requires it to REALLY crush public spending and raise taxes.
      Just look at the state of the trade figures; this is a Reggie Maudling type pre-election boom, but sitting on a UK bond position that is, as Pimco has said, a bed of nitro-glycerin.
      Then the SH1t will hit the Race/immigration fan and UKIP will become unstoppable.
      But there will be an appalling breakdown in British society as the latest set of lies are seen to be just that.
      At that point anything can happen.

      • Baron

        Nothing to disagree with, Tony, except perhaps that in the end, the healthy core of Englishness may once again reassert itself, and deliver England where common sense, self-belief and trust rule.

        • Terry Field

          Whilst the past can not be recovered, I do hope that one day the delightful English will recover their monoculture, their sense of togetherness, and recover a sense of common purpose. (NO not THAT ‘common purpose’)
          The physical problems of massive overpopulation will mean the delights of the past – air full of birds, rivers full of fish, open countryside and all that goes with it, will be a priced commodity, available in etiolated form, and sold to the most successful ‘hardworkingstrivers’. A composite word, German – style. The new reality of power.
          Rambling again.
          Better go into the vegetable plot and recover my sense of equanimity.
          Even there, the slugs are over-active and needlessly destructive. They behave like socialists, ruining the efforts of the creatively productive. But I have slug pellets!
          Perhaps………………………………

  • Baron

    And another thing, Rod, thanks for the praisable piece on good old ‘Harry’ Redknapp currently of QPR in the last ST, the man who should have been in charge of our boys for the Brazilian clash of footballing giants.

  • ARDNASSAC

    Rod: any chance of gifting this article to the New Statesman? Lucy Fisher has published an article there about Labour’s great victory in Hammersmith. A thousand cheerful reasons why this happened and a thousand replies mostly about bastard Tories. Not one single reference to London’s rapidly changing ethnicity. Just like watching a BBC News Channel newspaper review.

  • TRAV1S

    And they still don’t get it. Labour brands Mrs Duffy a bigot yet again. This is what they think of the average English voter.

    • MikeF

      ‘Bigot’ – a word devoid of definition, literally nothing more than a curseword intended to intimidate through its sound and appearance. That is the reality of the left today – not so much a political movement as a form of secular occultism utterly divorced from what might once have been roots in Enlightenment thinking and instead driven by a relentless, self-regarding irrationalism.

      • global city

        You have just perfectly described cultural Marxism. An utterly alien and quasi-religious evil dogma

  • MikeF

    Quite. Also UKIP did not deliver an ‘anti-metropolitan broadside’ – I cannot think of any statements made by any UKIP candidates that can be described as such, though there has been plenty of metropolitan anti-UKIP verbiage. Mr Hodges is as good an example of that as you will find. Indeed in his culture war rantings he exemplifies a very specific trait of the left – its tendency to attribute its own characteristics to its opponents or enemies as they really see them.
    The basic fact is that if you a ‘white’, working class Labout voter in such traditional heartlands of the party such as the North West, where I come from, then if you vote Labour you are voting for a party whose activists and hierarchy view you and your identity with contempt. Mrs Duffy showed that perfectly. It is a contradiction that the Labour Party has managed to hide for a good couple of decades but the mask is slipping and hopefully the Labour Party will too into the utter oblivion it deserves.

  • I stopped reading after the first pargraph. I’m white, I’m British and I live in Tower Hamlets and have for 10 years. And I do love it there. And everyone I know who lives there loves it there too. Hope thats OK with you and everyone else who’s got it in for the place

    • RodPolisher

      Come off it. You’re Luftur Rahman and I claim my £5…

    • RodPolisher

      Come off it. You’re Luftur Rahman and I claim my £5…

      • Haha. Damn it, must work harder on my disguise…

  • global city

    Labour does not really speak for London either. Many migrants sucked up the scare stories about UKIP and do not yet understand that Labour is not about their aspirations, but simply following internationalist dogma.

    When these people turn their hand to getting on then they will realise that Labour are actually the enemy of their wants. They will also eventually understand that the UKIP attacks are not true, in fact, they will come to understand that UKIP are more supportive of their communities than any of the Liblabcon.

  • JoeDM

    Londonistan !!!

  • unbatedmedusa

    The only thing left of the Labour my parents used to voted for IS THE NAME!!
    The Tories are the elite banking business anything the EU wants party (nothing new there)

    Labour is now just a immigrant loving anything the EU wants party

    • Terry Field

      You sound confused, dissociated, and I imagine you live in a suburb with a gnome in the garden.

      • justejudexultionis

        Don’t we all!

        • Terry Field

          I have forsworn the gnome

  • Brigantian

    A nice article, pretty fair summary, especially of Dan Hodges.

  • Brigantian

    A nice article, pretty fair summary, especially of Dan Hodges.

  • Terry Field

    How on earth this idiotic trivial little writer can claim that Labour speaks for anyone if quite baffling. They got a bloody awful result there. and after the Islamo-British (they are all British as the rest of the citizenry, aren’t they!!!!!!) nightmare that is the Tower Hamlets anti-democratic and profoundly corrupt horror, they plainly do not speak for that nasty little region either.

    • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

      oh they so do. Immigrants love the labour party.

      • Terry Field

        No, most asian immigrants are pre-disposed, through religion and family and social conditioning, to move to a conservative with a small c condition when they become m lower middle class and hold a modicum of assets
        The Europeans from the East in general loathe socialist big state codswallop.

  • Realpolitik/ fruitcake/ racist

    Labour is the party of immigrants.

  • derek

    Interestingly in Wales, a predominantly Labour stronghold, UKIP only polled just over 4000 less than Labour.

  • LiamNewcastle

    Am I the only person who finds it odd that UKIP have for years been dismissed as a single issue party, yet now that they have won the largest share of the vote at an election – none of the established parties are willing to aknowledge Europe, the ‘single issue’ as reason for their victory? The major politcal parties seem desperate to interpret the results as anything other than a rejection of the EU.

  • justejudexultionis

    I voted UKIP in the European elections. I voted against London.

  • Fenman

    Labour has lost the skilled working class whom it has betrayed, and now relies on the public sector, immigrants and theunderclass,( The c million recidivist and largely heriditary criminals ). Unfortunately, this gives them about one third of the electorate. Therein is the problem.

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