Friday, May 09, 2008
Come Pick Me Up
I was having a moan in the car park at work the other day about the election results, and commented that as much as I despise New Labour, I cannot stand the bloody tories and hoped that these results give people a warning shot.....piss about too much and we will end up with another government of all the toffs. And then we will come to understand the meaning of the word misery. We ended up talking about the superficiality of it all and wondering why such a fuss is made about Cameron tending to get the best of Brown at question time. Well, it's bloody obvious innit? Cameron has enjoyed a lifetime of being trained for petty point scoring in debates. He has been trained since childhood to emit an air of utter certainty, utter confidence in himself, no matter what kind of tripe he happens to be spouting, and we car park philosphers wondered why more isn't made of this.
Not that we felt particularly well disposed toward Gordon or his colleagues. The chap I was talking to is nearly as old as me and can remember a bit about old labour. We may have been misremembering but I felt, and feel, that once upon a time, most Labour politicians had actually experienced a days work. Again, looking through my rose tinted specs, I have the notion that most Labour politicians will have sharpened their wit and debating skills on the factory floor, as union conveners and in feisty branch meetings. They will have worked their way up, and they will have experienced some hard knocks and humiliations on the way. I don't get the sense of that anymore. New Labour seems to be populated by a political class; by people who go from school to university to research for an MP to becoming an MP, and they are, largely, indistinguishable, one from the other. They look the same and they sound the same. Where are the next Dennis Skinners and Tom Littericks and Audrey Wises going to come from?
They won't come from anywhere, probably, we will continue to be governed by a privately educated elite, who's networking skills are honed not at Oxbridge, but at school, fee paying school, obviously. We will be told that people of talent will succeed whatever their background, but people from poorer backgrounds, as well as talent, need uncommon amounts of courage, determination and luck as well, which really doesn't seem fair does it? When I look around the weekend papers I see article after article written by young people with names familiar from reading the same papers in the seventies, but these are the children of those writers. I'm sure the various Corens, Rayners, Therouxs, et al are outrageously talented, but, old class warrior that I cannot help but be, I look at them all and I smell privilege. A small example............a lot is made of the fact that old Etonian Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall screwed up at the river cafe and was sacked. Most people who get sacked will then struggle to get back on track; but old Etonian Hugh becomes a media darling, employed, no doubt by people he has networked with from the age of 5.
I can't normally take John Harris in the Guardian very seriously, on account of his girly hair cut; it's not just him, it's any male who is similarly coiffed, I can't see past the silly haircut. Blind prejudice on my part, but there you go. Harris, however, has written a brilliant article today, which is as fascinating as it is depressing. He claims that the reason not much is made of the essential toffness of the Tories is that the upper echelons of labour will not allow it, for fear of being regarded as petty class warriors. Well, I will set myself up as a consultant for the day and offer labour some advice, absolutely free of charge. If you want to win some ground back off the buggers, it is time to fucking well get stuck into them. Rough the bastards up a bit. Try and fight them on their own ground and you will lose, but even more depressing than that, few will actually care.
Anyway, read that article, it's fantastic and should be compulsory reading at every assembly in every school in the land.