DAN HODGES: The Left now view white British workers as their enemyJuly 12, 2020
DAN HODGES: The liberal Left now view white British workers as their enemy
Andrew Twentyman makes the best pizza in Leigh in Greater Manchester. But he’s a working man who doesn’t like Jeremy Corbyn. And for that he had to be destroyed.
‘Can you imagine what state we’d be in if Jeremy Corbyn had been in charge of all this?’ the former Labour supporter told The Guardian newspaper on Wednesday, in the wake of Rishi Sunak’s coronavirus rescue package.
Within a few hours, reviews of his pizza parlour had to be suspended on TripAdvisor after it was flooded with malicious ‘one-star’ ratings.
Andrew Twentyman makes the best pizza in Leigh in Greater Manchester. But he’s a working man who doesn’t like Jeremy Corbyn. And for that he had to be destroyed
‘Disappointing food and toxic, rude and racist management’ was a typical example of the benign Left’s ‘customer feedback’.
Still, Andrew should at least be grateful he’s not called Karen – the name that’s become a patronising social-media term for middle-aged women unaware of their ‘white privilege’.
‘How can white women not be Karens?’ the BBC asked recently in its No Country For Young Women podcast. The answer – provided by the programme’s guests – is apparently ‘Educate yourself. Read some books’, ‘Don’t be so loud’, ‘Accept whiteness is a privilege’ and ‘Leave’.
They might also have added ‘… and don’t be working-class and go for a drink’, based on the evidence of another worrying development. Last weekend, England’s pubs finally opened their doors again.
One of the first people through them was a man called Jimmy who, according to the Manchester Evening News, had just come off a shift tarmacking the roads. His first drink in his local for three months was, he memorably announced, ‘like an ‘angel p***ing on the tip of his tongue’.
No sooner had Jimmy downed his pint than the liberal Left pounced. He and his friends were accused of being arrogant and selfish, risking spreading a killer virus. He was branded an alcoholic.
‘How can white women not be Karens?’ the BBC asked recently in its No Country For Young Women podcast. The answer – provided by the programme’s guests – is apparently ‘Educate yourself. Read some books’, ‘Don’t be so loud’, ‘Accept whiteness is a privilege’ and ‘Leave’
‘Didn’t even need to look at the photo to know that all five men in it were identical-looking overweight skinheads.’ And a ‘bonus point for each one who refers to his wife as “the ball and chain” ’ was one of the more polite social-media comments.
Last month a group of Labour MPs, led by Ed Miliband, published their report into the collapse of the party’s Red Wall in the last Election. They identified a number of reasons. The toxicity of Corbyn. The chaotic position on Brexit. The Generation Game conveyor-belt of implausible promises that constituted Labour’s manifesto.
But they ignored another significant factor. The liberal Left now view white, British working men and women as their enemy. And they hate their enemy with a loathing that is visceral.
When I was going round the country during the Election, I quickly recognised this feeling was reciprocated. It was clear that working Britain was going to reject Corbynism decisively.
But I thought that once he and his tin-pot Marxist army were routed, a process of re-engagement would begin. Labour would instinctively reach out to its lost heartlands.
But it’s clear from the past week that it won’t. It can’t. Because its instinct is not to go near the working classes unless it’s with a barge-pole – one that only sees the light of day at Election time.
The Miliband report identifies – as previous navel-gazing exercises have done – what it coyly calls ‘a steady realignment of our politics through long-term changes in the relationship between our party and voter coalition’.
It then trots out the usual comfortable rationalisations – decline of party identity, demographic shifts, global trends.
What it doesn’t say is what really lies at the heart of this ‘steady realignment’. Which is that Labour no longer represents the British white working class because it doesn’t want to. This is not about taking the working classes for granted. Or apathy. Or neglect. It’s the product of a conscious and vicious snobbery and antipathy.
Just look, for example, at Sir Keir Starmer and last week’s Black Lives Matter debacle.
The Labour leader instinctively sought to back the global anti-racism cause, but was wary of aligning too closely with Black Lives Matter the organisation. So he described what we are seeing around the world as a ‘moment’. He meant a ‘historic moment’, something that would outlive the latest media cycle. And his party turned on him for it.
Sir Keir – still fighting to define himself – was forced to issue an apology. He would be undergoing ‘unconscious bias training’, he announced. Every Labour member knows how such flip-flopping will play with the party’s old white working-class base. But its metropolitan liberal shock troops don’t care. They demand their pound of flesh anyway.
These are not aberrations. We’ve had Emily Thornberry’s denunciation of White Van Man. The revolving door of middle-class North London intellectuals that now constitutes a Labour leadership contest. Angela Rayner, Jess Phillips and Lisa Nandy again being warned not to get ahead of themselves, and told to continue using the tradeswoman’s entrance.
What it doesn’t say is what really lies at the heart of this ‘steady realignment’. Which is that Labour no longer represents the British white working class because it doesn’t want to. Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is pictured above
Which is basically what anyone with a working-class ethos – if not a working-class background – is told by the People’s Party these days.
Where, among the new intake of Labour MPs, are the outspoken advocates of the traditional ‘Blue Labour’ wing? Where, come to that, are the advocates of labour at all? Distaste for the workers is now in Labour’s DNA.
And one of the most grotesquely blatant examples has been the attempt to neuter and sideline the trade unions, and replace them with pliant political groupies from organisations such as Momentum and the People’s Assembly.
As one trade union official said to me a few months ago: ‘I never thought I’d see the day when one of our members would stand up at Labour conference and plead for jobs to be a priority alongside the environment, and get booed.’
Why wouldn’t they be booed? They are the enemy now. Men and women who have been working all their lives and have the temerity to think they may have a more rounded grasp of life than the teenage Greta Thunberg. People who are grinding their way through the same type of dead-end job as their parents – if they’re lucky enough to have a job at all – but don’t feel like waking up every morning and checking their ‘white privilege’. Or parents and grandparents who dare to suggest that politicians might actually prioritise their daily struggles over the plight of the Palestinians.
To his credit, Sir Keir and his team recognise all this. But recognition may well not be enough. If he still feels the need to take a knee to those in his party who despise – not dismiss, but actively disdain – working people, he has no chance of securing power. Last week we saw how much the liberal Left despise the British working class. It will take a major effort to convince them not to reply in kind in four years’ time.
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