Rod Liddle

Labour must estrange its awful voters

14 May 2015

1:00 PM

14 May 2015

1:00 PM

And so now we have to suffer the epic delusions, temper tantrums and hissy fits of the metro-left. They simply cannot believe how you scumbags could have got it so wrong last Thursday, you morons. You vindictive, selfish morons. That has been the general response from all of the people, the liberal middle-class lefties, who have cheerfully contributed towards making the once great Labour party effectively unelectable. You lot voted Tory out of fear — because you are stupid, stupid people. The Conservatives ran a ‘negative’ campaign and, because you are either simply horrible human beings, or just thick, you fell for it.

That’s been the subtext of most of the bien-pensants, when they’re not out screaming with fury in the streets, stamping their little feet and daubing ‘Tory scum’ on war memorials. It was the subtext of Ed Miliband’s magnificently patronising and deluded analysis that Labour (i.e. Ed Miliband) lost the election but ‘did not lose the argument’. No Ed, you lost both. You lost the election because you lost the argument. And also because lots of people, including members of your family, thought you were a ludicrous creature increasingly resembling one of those confections in a Dr Seuss book for kiddies. My favourite little temper strop, though, came from a woman called Rebecca Roache, who is a lecturer at Royal Holloway. Tory voters are akin to racists, sexists and homophobes, she asserted on her blog, before adding that she had ‘defriended’ people on Facebook who had posted links to pro-Tory pages. ‘I’m tired of reasoned debate,’ she added.

In what subject does Becca bestow upon her students the fruits of her incalculable wisdom? Remember, she’s tired of reasoned debate. Yep, of course — philosophy. Better give up your job then, you fatuous cow. If you want to know more about this woman’s research pedigree, here’s an excerpt from her webpage: ‘In my MPhil thesis I argued that objects are composed of temporal parts. In my PhD thesis I considered the conceptual possibility of beings that (like us) have rich mental lives, can self-refer, and are self-conscious and self concerned, but (unlike us) are not persons.’ What are these strange beings, then — Tories?

The sad thing for me is that aside from a handful of northern MPs and some embittered Blairites in the south, Labour really does not think that it lost the argument. They are in a state of complete denial. Occasionally one hears a platitude from someone or other about how the party needs to ‘reconnect’ with voters, but there is no conception of how this reconnection might occur. Of course, it most certainly does need to ‘reconnect’ with voters. But equally it needs to estrange voters like Rebecca Roache as soon as is humanly possible. If Labour is to make a comeback, then it will be as a party for which Rebecca could not possibly bring herself to vote, not even if hell froze over. If Ed Miliband, too, could not bring himself to vote for it, so much the better. Because otherwise Labour will be left as a party of the affluent, secular, achingly liberal London middle classes — plus all those minorities (ethnic, gender, transgendered and so on) who have not yet decided to vote Green. Deconstruct last Thursday’s poll and you see a party which does very well in the capital but has a rapidly diminishing appeal elsewhere.

Look at the Ukip vote north of the Home Counties. Massive and growing. Just imagine if Ukip were as credible as the SNP — Labour would be down to 80 or 90 seats, if that. It is all very well for Labour supporters to console themselves with the fact that much more than half of all Scottish people voted for a supposedly ‘progressive’ party, even if it wasn’t their party. But that is not entirely why Sturgeon et al did so well — the clue is in the name. Scottish National Party. Aside from the economic leftism, the SNP succeeded because it tapped into a feeling of pride and history and nationhood, as well as a visceral dislike for London. But talk about a sense of national pride and history to the London left and they will tell you it’s all a case of false consciousness and, like religion, to be ignored or derided. More fool them.

According to the pollster Peter Kellner, Ukip’s support base is 61 per cent working-class — way more than Labour, the party set up to represent the working class. This is a recent development; according to the same set of statistics, ex-Labour voters migrating to Ukip trebled over the last couple of years. Bear that in mind when you look at the polling results in such constituencies as Nuneaton, Stockton South, the Vale of Clwyd, Sunderland and countless, countless others.

If Labour is to continue to exist as a major force, rather than as a gradually deliquescing rump, it needs to adopt policies which bring those people back. The Blairites are correct that Miliband alienated the aspirational working class — largely, I think, because he felt no liking or empathy for them. But that is not the half of it. A clear understanding that there is a deserving poor and an undeserving poor is crucial; people who do the right thing, but are nonetheless impoverished, and watch others who do not do the right thing thrive on benefits, dislike Labour’s lazy and ignorant amalgamation of the two groups.

A strong policy on immigration is vital — nothing has adversely affected the working class to quite the same degree as the enormous importing of cheap labour. So, too, a robust line against radical Islam — you think it’s left-wing to support such a creed? — and a disavowal of multiculturalism might win back a few votes, too. A respect for Britain’s history and pride in its place in the world, support for the traditional family unit and the admission that there are places beyond the North Circular which are important too… ah, but I’m going too far. People voted Tory, or Ukip, because they were stupid. Let’s leave it at that, huh?

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