Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Wannabe working class

One of the most odious aspects of our culture is the sight of millionaire celebrities loudly honking their sympathy for the poor, disadvantaged and downtrodden. Or the environment. It isn’t always clear if they make a distinction, but maybe the environment is a victim too.

It isn't any more palatable when middle class poseurs play the same games but the glitzy sympathy show has become an integral part of modern culture. It becomes even more weird when faux radicalism is invoked plus dollops of holier than thou bile for the rich bastards who supposedly cause all the problems, hording piles of moolah which numerous middle class committees would prefer to spend on themselves. 

Jeremy Corbyn’s retro Labour party seems willing to push this kind of two-faced mush to the limits with a strange attempt to identify with the workers, whoever they may be these days. Haven’t they moved to China - in a virtual sense?

Corbyn himself exemplifies it rather well which is one reason why I find it impossible to warm to the guy. Working class people aren’t called Jeremy, don’t have brothers called Piers and in particular they don’t spend almost their entire "working" lives as radical poseurs, safely hidden away on the political fringe where government is a theoretical concept developed by students decades ago.

In political terms the working class has morphed into a strange bundle of minorities rather than the horny-handed toilers of yesteryear when Jeremy first honed the political principles he seems never to have forgotten.

This is Jeremy’s weakness, that bundle of minorities which never was a core aspect of his old-fashioned, trade union, bash the rich politics but which he now has to accept as the new reality. Not only that, but the toilers' grandchildren now wish to be as middle class as he is but without the political flim-flam. He and his temporary acolytes don’t quite know what to do about it apart from dredging up the incantations of yesteryear.

It’s a tough call. Tony Blair knew things had changed but I’m not so sure Jeremy noticed. Maybe he was busy, but whatever it was he wasn’t working. Still isn’t.


Sackerson said...

Blair continued the Tory hollowing-out of the economy. If we now face Reds under the bed, criminally irrepsonsible previous governments put them there for us.

A K Haart said...

Sackers - they did and Corbyn didn't leave in disgust. As far as I can see he hasn't done the spadework to evolve a more radical cultural shift. He's an establishment man - the public sector will take to him.

Demetrius said...

What might be the working class now is very different from that of the time when I was young. What is more is is much changed since my young owns, now middle aged, were young. Structurally, however, the Labour Party is not much changed and thereby is a problem, especially if the policies they are promoting are just as antique.

Anonymous said...

Sooner or later the Tories will implode, the question is what will Labour look like at that point. Will Corbyn be long dead, will the Left be resurgent or will the Blairists prevail and we will hardly notice the change. That time is a long way off, so who cares what Corbyn says, but you are right, the message is muddled - not that it matters.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - I agree, the world has changed and Labour needs to change with it. There are many issues to grapple with but antique issues are not what we need.

Roger - what niggles is that Corbyn's lot have walked off with the radical label. We need radical discussions, but not his version.