Saturday, 30 May 2009

The Virtues of Old Fashioned Class Resentment

The Times has a new poll today - with Labour on 16%, three points behind UKIP. That's specifically for next week's Euro elections - but they're only on 21% for the subsequent general election. Electoral Calculus says the Tories would double their seats in the Commons, and both Labour and Lib Dems lose over half of theirs, if the Times general election poll proves accurate.

Just for comparison: Labour got 30.8% of the vote and 52 seats in 1931, and 27.6% of the vote and 208 seats in 1983. On these figures, Electoral Calculus suggests, they'd end up with 163 seats.

The legitimacy crisis is far from fully played out as yet. There are likely to be other twists and turns. But it seems obvious that it a crisis of the legitimacy of politics, not of individual venality by this or that MP. So any government is likely to suffer more than any opposition - but particularly a Labour government, as the Tories have the age-old persona of being the 'natural' party of leadership, untainted by the exercise of crude 'politics', to fall back on. This remains true, duck ponds, moat cleaning and extensions for servants quarters not withstanding.

I am increasingly of the view that there is only one way out of this for the Left - and the Labour Party is certainly welcome to join us if it feels it can stomach the somersault. It's got absolutely sod all to do with state funding of parties, Alternative Voting schema or the hurried coronation of a former postman.

It is simply to generalise the widespread public disgust at the behaviour of our masters from MPs to bankers. Old fashioned class resentment. Might not work, I quite agree. But nothing else seems to be working either so let's give it try...

1 comment:

  1. The history of all hitherto society is the history of them and us... And there's nothing wrong with adversarial politics; their time might well have come again. I've always been deeply suspicious of those apparently reasonable voices who call periodically for an end (to what they call) Yaa-boo politics. And I despise those Tories who greet every progressive tax measure (or some such other meagre attempt at fairness and equality) as a return to 'class war' as if that's a bad thing and especially when there was nobody waged it quite like them in the eighties.

    Maybe its the social democratic inclinations of much of the left, but it's been too enamoured for too long with notions of consensus. Politics is consensual only in so far as it is about identifying your allies and building bridges with them, then identifying your common enemies and setting about defeating them. Seek and destroy shady MPs and bankers. Now what would be wrong with that?