The alienated untouchables

As the Labour campaign continues to make good progress whilst the Tories lurch from one failed artifice after another, and in particular Ed Miliband is increasingly taking command with growing confidence, the election has nevertheless drawn attention to a disturbing penumbra of alienation from the whole process.   In poor white working class areas the number of households who say they never vote/haven’t made up their minds/believe there’s no point in voting because nothing changes or they’re all the same anyway, is alarmingly high.   Of course there has always been a substratum of the population who felt and talked like that, but it has grown uncomfortably over the last 5 years.   In a sense these patches of territory in England begin to resemble what has happened on a broader scale in Scotland.   They feel they have regularly voted for Labour in the past, but it seems to make no difference because nothing changes (however unfair this judgement might be).   This is not something that Labour can or should neglect: why has this happened and what needs to be done to regain these voters from their sense of abandonment?

There are three main reasons for this phenomenon.   One is the Blairite embrace of the Thatcherite ideology of deregulation, privatisation, inequality, welfare cutbacks,  and suppression of the unions, as a result of which the economic experience of the under-class was little different under Labour compared with the Tories.

A second reason is that they’re utterly ‘pissed off’ (as they will tell you) by being made the butt of endless austerity.   This is the section in society that has suffered the degradation of being sanctioned – they can’t get a job and then find their unemployment benefit is arbitrarily cut off for 4 weeks for trivial infringements or for reasons they’re never told.   There were according to DWP figures 900,000 them sanctioned last year.   This is the section in society which is humiliated by having to go to food-banks to survive.   And this is the section of society that is constantly vilified by Tory propaganda dripping with malice, contempt and antagonism towards them as ‘shirkers’, ‘layabouts’ and ‘spongers’.

The third reason is that the Labour party has changed drastically over the last 40 years from being the champion of the working class (which, let us not forget, remains a majority of the population) to being perceived as a narrow, metropolitan, inbred elite.   To be truly representative, half of the PLP should be working class; in fact less than 10% are.   The party has been hijacked by the ambitious, graduate, careerist middle class.   People on poor, white, working class estates simply don’t connect with them, nor vice-versa.

Labour cannot afford to lose this sizeable voting (or rather non-voting) base either for electoral, political or moral reasons.   Regaining it will require radically different policies in government, a PLP with very many more working class MPs, and a conscientious and sustained effort over the next 5 years to bring this disenfranchised sub-class back into the mainstream.


12 thoughts on “The alienated untouchables

  1. The main reason I fear, is that Labour are not offering enough. Labour appear to be tinkering, and offering a nod to the neoliberals and other deluded sectors that they cannot promise too much because they have got to balance the books.
    So few people turned up to the debate on the 20th of November, when you so well expounded how government could create money for the national interest. No sovereign government needs to tax to spend, or to balance the books.
    I noticed that Angela Eagle sat in late to this debate, but she told an audience at the Birmingham pring event that deficits are not progressive, and that Labour must balance the books.
    With this lack of knowledge and understanding of the real power that government has to decide fiscal policy and therefore policy, how can Labour make promises to anyone? They are inadvertently working for the finance industry and rich by restricting money, forcing people to borrow from private banks and wonga, and when it all crashes, bailing ut the rich, not the poor.
    A brilliant young economist explains here why Ed Balls is so wrong to promise a surplus:

  2. I’m so glad you brought this up, as it’s something that has been bothering me. I think I mentioned in a previous comment on here, that if all the poor people and those who have suffered under the Tories were to vote, then Labour would romp home with a massive majority. Now, it would seem that some of these people, if they do vote, might well vote for UKIP! So ignorance and apathy are our worst enemies.

    At the other end of the scale, we get people with money who will vote for the Tories in the mistaken belief that they’re handling the economy well. I met a couple of elderly Tory voters yesterday, who talked about people on benefits unfairly taking advantage of the system. One of my neighbours is so fixed in her ideas that she tears up election leaflets in full view of the supporter delivering them (I.e. me), without reading them. Horrible people!

    Then there are people who care about the planet and won’t vote Labour because they haven’t said they’ll ban fracking, or TTIP, or that they’ll put a halt to the privatisation of the NHS. All good points that Labour should also be agreeing with.

    My area is a marginal seat with a narrow Tory majority over Labour, so by voting Green these people will risk letting the Tories win, which is a result they really don’t want. But apparently it goes against their principles to vote for a party that may (or may not) go ahead with these, even if it lets in a party that will definitely go ahead! This makes no sense to me, and these seem to be reasonably intelligent people!

    Then, of course there’s the SNP, who say they want some sort of partnership with Labour but by taking too many of Labour’s seats in Scotland, also risk letting the Tories back into government, which is exactly what the people of Scotland don’t want!

    I only hope that many people will see through all of this and vote for Labour, as that’s the only party that has a good chance of booting the Tories out.

    I’m not sure what will happen in seats currently held by the LibDems. I assume that Labour has little chance in many of these, so perhaps it’s best for people to vote for the LibDems to ensure they keep the Tories out, but they seem to have become rather unpopular lately!

    I also hope that it won’t rain on polling day, as it is said this tends to put Labour voters off from going out to polling stations!

    It’s all a right mess! I’ll be glad when it’s all over.

  3. While much written here is quite true, might it be that knowledge and awareness attend the lower voting figures?

    Common people, those described as untermenschen, look up and see the chemical aerosol spraying in our skies.

    Those same untermenschen comprehend that that Vaccines containing Thimerisol (mercury), and Squalene, olong with other toxic adjuvants represent a war waged by governments against them. GMO foods have been proved toxic in numerous studies, while governments cave in to corporate biotech companies like Monsanto, Syngenta, and their ilk in a most cowardly manner, thus betraying the people who “Vote” them into the position to betray them. Fracking: An abomination, with not a single saving grace, set to poison our aquifers for millenia. Rain Forest destruction depleting oxygen levels in our biosphere, Greed, Fraud, criminality. In america there are figures showing that 250,000 people die every year as a result of medical malpractice. There exist, to my knowledge no confirmed accurate figures for medical deaths in the UK due to malpractice, LCP (bonuses paid by GovCorp per death), NICE etc. I for one would very much like to know these figures.

    My own case: Our pension (my lady wife and I) went up by a pound, as a result of which I was Charged an extra £145.00 council tax with a £25.00 pm loss in HB. Small change you might think. Well it is not small change, and I was not in a mood to congratulate the oil magnate on his £28,000,000 windfall.

    Ed Milibands climate change act. Enough said. The man even ventured that the time is coming for “Carbon Allowances”. Oh yes by all means vote for your own destruction.

    The EU. A US construct that was erected by the methodology of conspiracy. !975 gave us an obviously rigged EU referendum.

    Fluoride in drinking water: Well, ok one has to keep the UnterMenschen docile one supposes, what.

    Permitting engineered cattle embryo’s to be imported from the US. Nice one. Hormones in the Milk.

    Wars. Illegal wars. Wars entered into for corporate profit-Iraq-Afghanistan(where the Poppy production under NATO is up from near zero to 130% of maximum ever yield: That should fund MI6 for a while)-Libya ( which campaign epitomised pure evil)-Syria (where we in the west have fielded our ISIS terrorist army against the legitimate (moreso than our own) government. Ukraine (my god, what a debacle that is)-Yemen, and on and on. With foreign aid existing as a slush fund for british business. Ok, I must stop here. It is endless; Literally. A litany of criminality and evil stretching around the world: Much caused by the sykes/Picot. The final cost of the Col/DC bid for hegemony will run into the tens of millions of destroyed lives along wit half of the world in ruins and toxic from the use of depleted Uranium.

    My point is that with perhaps the exception of Sykes/Picot ordinary people question these matters. Awareness is growing almost exponentially. These people feel powerless, certainly, yet are disinclined to vote for more of the same. Ed Miliband wants to have his cake and eat it. Were he made of sterner stuff, he would admit the War On Terror is a sham. He would admit that the “terror laws” were erected against the british people and not bogus terrorists. The false flags of 7/7, 9/11, were state sanctioned without a doubt. Watch: “The Ripple Effect”.

    There is so much more Mr Meacher, but you will no doubt know this.

    I ask you, do you believe 7/7 was the work of those accused? Watch the Ripple Effect and tell me please.

  4. If the poor voted labour, but why are they still poor after 13 years of labour, why are the disabled and the sick not jumping up and down to vote labour, or crawling to the voting booths to vote for the Blue labour. Maybe because labour are now heading back to the center as Miliband has stated the center ground of new labour.

    We are seeing people lose interest in the two party machine which see two leaders fight elections, now that we no longer have a labour party but just another right wing battle ground let see how many people bother voting at this election.

  5. alienated look at cameroooon s talk on andrew mar he couldnt have cared less about sanctions then the deaths through it isnt it a crying shame you all allowed this culling the stock you all should hang your heads in shame for alowing em to do it yet I also asked a goodly amount of bishops about these deaths and whot they were going to do about it shamefully many are still supping with old nick it seems whist the killing goes on but justice from any other party hum I sincerly hope it would but now that bringing these devils to the hague for crimes against their own peoples isnt on any partys agenda it seems greed is still rife at that house jeff3

  6. Hi Michael

    You are right that working class people have been alienated from the Labour Party and you are right that they have been replaced by a careerist middle class. However, you would be wrong if you claimed that the Labour Party offered a good choice even to middle class professionals, especially those who are too young to have enjoyed the housing boom that Labour caused (to you own personal enrichment of course, as you are a buy to let landlord who owns multiple homes).

    A lot of what matters to working class people matters to middle class professionals too these days. I must admit I feel rather hypocritical trying to speak on the behalf of working class people, who need a re-energising of the institutions like Trade Unions that meant they were able to speak for themselves, but nevertheless I hope my opinion is worth something.

    As a middle class professional under the age of 35 I, like them, have spent years being ripped off by buy to let landlords; I’ve had benefits I’ve contributed towards in national insurance for years cut (in my case child benefit); I’ve seen the safety net we provide ourselves and pay for (jobseeker’s allowance) become conditional on workfare; the railways and energy are becoming unaffordable not just to the poor but also many in the middle and the NHS that we own is being privatised for profit that we will never see.

    The real issues facing in this country are the delivery of more housing; affordable energy; climate change; well paid jobs and the removal of sub-standard private companies profiteering from the delivery of public services. Labour, run by your careerists, instead talk about oblique ‘fairness,’ Trident and immigration. Your party is not bold enough, its not on my side and it certainly doesn’t give a damn about the poor.

    That’s why I and so many young middle class professionals, along with swathes of students and the working classes, will vote Green on 7th May. It’s not a wasted vote, because no other party comes anywhere close to representing what we believe in.

  7. Robert –
    The poor now are far poorer than they ever were (in modern times). Just look at the escalation of Foodbanks in recent years. They’ve never had it so bad!

    In other countries there would be revolutions. Here, they have the chance to vote out their oppressors. It’ll be beyond sad if they don’t take it.

  8. Sandra Crawford: A very big thank you for those links which I have bookmarked to my computer and will pass on via twitter etc., A good many Labour activists need to really understand what modern Monetary theory is all about, back in the seventies the right wing BBC ran a session of weekly debates for the lunatic Milton Freedman and his doctrine along with Hayek have dominated economic thinking ever since.

    It is such a pity that these economists are not given the same coverage, but then the whole reason for that is too dangerous for the establishment, people should only be able to accept the crumbs off the table and jolly well be grateful for it.

    Sadly New Labour are Neo-Liberals and Gordon Brown’s 2006 Mansion House speech spells out in such detail you would have had to have a lobotomy not to be able to see it.

    Ed Balls worked with the City to liberalise the financial markets and was guilty of being complicit with the financial sector for the financial crash, and Ed Miliband is going to put him as his chancellor of the exchequer.

    I believe that these politicians know they are not serving the public interest and if we want a real Labour Party then we have to get rid of this lot and start again.

    Thankfully the SNP will shed a lot of them in Scotland.

    If people take the time to look at the videos that Sandra has provided, there are many others in America and even Britain that are all saying the same thing, it’s just that the corrupt media won’t give them the prominence they deserve.

    We do have infinite supplies of money for our public services, the evidence was Gordon Brown himself, he printed £375 billion out of thin air to support the corrupt financial sector, then loaded that as debt on the deficit, which before the crash was averaging 3% of GDP.

    What we need is a planned economy that creates jobs and meets the needs of people, the private sector wants unemployment so that they can exploit people for their own ends, and will never balance the economy. The captains of industry will tell us, that they are not a charity and are only there to serve their share holders interests, I personally don’t believe they even do that.

  9. Mervyn Hyde – thanks for your response. Many people are talking about this at the moment. George Monbiot has called the balancing of the books and deficit reduction a con. Richard Murphy has mentioned it on his blog this week at least twice.

    I also watched a conference on youtube wherein Yanis Vakourfaris was discussing the Greek debt situation with Joseph Stiglitz. Joseph asked Yanis what he was doing about the Troikas demand for a 4.5% surplus.
    Yanis replied that this would crash the private sector economy.
    Stiglitz told him words to the effect,- “I’m glad to hear that, it shows you listened to your economics professors.”
    What does this say about Ed Balls?
    This does need to be spread around the Labour Party as evidenced based criticism (not pointless militancy). It is utterly stupid and wrong to be promising a surplus, or even a deficit reduction while so much poverty exists. It only serves the rich, and even they will suffer eventually.

    Watch video at 47 mins

  10. Sandra –
    You said ” It is utterly stupid and wrong to be promising a surplus, or even a deficit reduction while so much poverty exists. It only serves the rich, and even they will suffer eventually.”

    I think the point here is that there is a big difference between what a party promises before a major election and what they would actually do once elected.

    Unfortunately, due to the Tories’ brainwashing of the general public by constantly telling them Labour made a mess of the finances (when, thanks to Mr Meacher, we know they didn’t), people are less inclined to vote for Labour if they think that’ll put the economy at risk. So Labour stands a better chance of being elected if they state they will tackle the deficit, as that’s what people want to hear!

    However, I’ve only heard Labour say they will be sensible when it comes to reducing the deficit, and do it gradually and not by continuing with severe and damaging cuts like the Tories.

    After all, if Labour don’t get a majority, we’ll be subjected to even more cruel Tory cuts and policies, so it’s important that they gain as many votes as possible.

    Reducing the deficit helps put a brake on our National Debt, which is costing us a fortune in interest payments. This is money that we’d all like to see used for better purposes.

  11. I work on railways – an industry which is comprised of a high amount of the white working class (and also the black and Asian working class too).

    We see continued attempts to get rid of station staff, conductors, depot staff, ticket offices, and ticket inspectors – whilst hearing rubbish about customer service from those at the top – how can you have customer service with no frontline staff, and told that it is safer putting all responsibility on drivers working alone, than having conductors and platform staff – which is complete nonsense.

    We see cutbacks to the British Transport Police, who we need a strong presence – whilst being fed lies about how crime is going down, coupled with hysteria over ‘terrorism’ and being vigilant for bombers – how can we if they cut the police and front line staff?

    We however see outsourcing companies like G4S, Serco and Mitie all however making vast profits as cleaning, security and even ticket checks are outsourced to these soulless almost scary organisations. They remind me of OCP in Robocop and the sort of future proposed in the Terminator films – unaccountable to the public in every way, with global reach.

    We see further PFI deals with foreign manufacturers for unsuitable new rolling stock to replace the old British built stuff (which worked fine), and promises of loads of new jobs, which are really temporary assembly jobs – whilst they cut proper rail jobs in depots and on stations and trains.

    We see franchise ‘pissing’ contests where corporate lawyers get rich battling each other, all subsidised by taxpayers’ money.

    We see those at the top banging on about ‘competition’ how private ownership is better, and yet half the franchises are awarded to foreign state rail companies, or to the same bunch of franchise holders – with no actual competition at all on the network – which I am sure you will agree is impossible anyway.

    We see the unions being blamed for all the problems, and yet they are weakened and they aren’t the ones chopping jobs, outsourcing and offshoring, raising fares and handing more taxpayers money over to foreign states and multinationals.

    We see more quangos, more consultants, more civil servants, the McNulty report and other utter rubbish who have no railway experience telling us what to do, who only think in cuts and fare rises – but not to their own jobs, and they enjoy the privileges of first class travel.

    We have globalism like TTIP and EU directives which treat the British railway system as some sort of globally tradable good, rather than a public service.

    Finally I despise the rhetoric blaming migrants for all our ills, but with more people in the country it makes it easier to outsource jobs and lower wages at the lower end where people are truly struggling. I go in messrooms and see loads of people in uniforms of various random outsourcing companies where no English is spoken. I hold them no ill of course, I want them all in house and have proper pay and conditions, – and I am convinced many are taken on because they can’t unionise due to language barriers, but when we have so many British people on the dole, is it really helping anyone to put more competition for low paid zero hour contract jobs on them?

    That from my point of view is why us working class on the railways (be us white, black or whoever) have had enough. The good news for you Michael is that many of us will vote Labour out of desperation and hatred for the Tories – and if we had more like you, John McDonnell, Dennis Skinner and the like then we might feel the party cares about us. The bad news is that many of us have considered Green and UKIP in equal measure too. The worst news is that many of us will not vote at all. Because we don’t think much will change, the quangocrats and multinationals will get their way, and our jobs and lives will always face the axeman…

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