FLOATING VOTERS WEEK: Irreverence on Irrelevance | @Bottoms_bray

FloatingVotersWeekIn Floating Voters Week we are presenting views from teachers who didn’t vote Labour at one, or  both, of the last two general elections. This one is by Rude Mechanical, who has taught for more than 30 years in state comprehensive schools in ‘less affluent’ parts of the North of England. A full-time classroom teacher, he tweets as @Bottoms_bray.

Oh! To what tiny and tawdry ambition is the Labour Party now reduced? Where once was a Lion that roared in defence of the disempowered and disenfranchised there lies a lap-kitten mewing sops to the social conscience of middle-class Middle England, whilst the power-at-any-price-to-do-any-good Labour establishment measure the traditional ‘time warp’ “jump to the right” following electoral defeat, they remain blind to the essential truth: to many, the Labour Party is irrelevant.

I once was an activist: a branch secretary, election agent, canvasser and campaigner taking the devils own job of winkling out the traditional Labour support and combatting the constituents’ claim “my vote won’t matter, it’s always Labour here but the Tories still rule”. The promises to clean up politics after ‘cash for questions’, to halt privatisation and restore some social justice eventually helped to turn the seat from Tory.

Ten years later, who had an argument to the new excuse “what’s the point? They are all the same”. Part privatisation of NHS, schools and haemorrhaging power to commerce were the actions of a Labour government. Foreign wars and corruption continued, the only nationalisations were failed banks, my community largely surrendered. Communities and constituencies in ‘deprived’ areas north of the Midlands looked for hope elsewhere.

In my constituency (Labour) more than 40% didn’t vote (past experience suggests that many were originally Labour), thousands voted UKIP (we are a white, poor, place) and the MP gathered about 30% of an electorate that should have returned an absolute majority: it was enough to win, just. Further north in Scotland the loss of faith was complete. Make no mistake, much of SNP and UKIP support was a protest against Labour and Westminster from former Labour voters.

What would make me vote Labour? More importantly the millions of ‘lost’ Labour votes that stayed at home or worse, were gathered by SNP or UKIP? Traditionalist labour values, down-to-earth (deeply sadly: Farage-mirage stylee) and honest leaders providing a real hope that the ‘lost’ lives might be changed by Government. Continuing the rush to the right will complete the schism and tattoo the irrelevance of Labour on the hearts of the ‘Lost’ for another generation.

Electoral changes mean that Labour will not be elected nationally without the ‘Lost’. Middle-class Middle-England will not a Labour Government make; and yes I would say wouldn’t I? I am one of those that Old Andrew identified when he tweeted that Labour lost when people like me vote for them, and yes for the first time since 1997 I did. Oops! But, in my heart I don’t believe that divorce from the unions and marriage to Middle England has a future. Wave the Red Flag and millions like us will follow!

Cue the song….oh no they don’t do that any more do they?

3 thoughts on “FLOATING VOTERS WEEK: Irreverence on Irrelevance | @Bottoms_bray

  1. Labour – socialist – you must be joking. Blair stopped all of that malarkey; he of the winning smile and many millions. Michael Foot, Dennis Skinner, Tony Blair – good socialists all, I’m afraid not.

    And YET there can be a socialist future, a pragmatic one maybe but not an SDP centrist new liberal approach.

    1. Build council homes; this reduces the power of capitalism in housing and unleashes business investment (on the basis that it has to go somewhere) but insist upon 10% jobs building those homes are living wage apprenticeships. Finally fight back against Thatcher’s main capitalist achievements of selling council homes and selling cheap shares (otherwise known as buying items you already own).

    2. Cancel VAT on home improvementsand extensions up to £100k, thereby balancing the slow down in house price inflation caused by council tax building. Boosts so many small companies and allows many to register for VAT (so many of then don’t quite make that hurdle instead placing reliance on cash jobs).

    3. Tax refined sugars, start low and use funds directly for NHS. The new addiction funding now tobacco is dying a death. Great for challenging obesity too.

    4. Tax £250k earners at 55%. Sorry but redistribution is needed and also one off bonuses in cash or otherwise over say £100k need to be taxed at 60%+. Robin Hood was popular wasn’t he?! And if the rich want to leave these shores because of the tax burden that’s not a problem as there are many who would be more than willing to do their jobs. As my grandmother used to say if you are paying a lot of tax you have no reason to moan.

    5. Non Domicile property ownership tax of 90%. People from other countries should simply not be able to acquire properties without paying their way.

    Any labour voters going to object to the above? Any old labour voters going to come back to the party?

    Oh yes – education, academies and free schools. Challenge the statements they are better. They are simply not.

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