It isn’t that people are turned off by middle-class MPs; it’s that MPs have chosen to concentrate on middle-class issues and abandoned the working-class.
I was reading an article by another blogger earlier today, stating that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is embarrassed to admit his own background is middle-class. That’s not a reflection of his own behaviour but of others’.
Mr Corbyn is a centre-left politician who wants to increase equality of opportunity among the population of the UK; he has no reason to be embarrassed.
But the fact is that other middle-class MPs in the Labour Party couldn’t give a fig for working-class people. Mr Corbyn would be right to be concerned that he could be lumped in with them if he acknowledges his own class background.
Labour did make a mistake in recruiting middle-class candidates under Kinnock, Blair and the leaders since.
The solution isn’t to exclude anybody, though; it is simply to trust each constituency to put forward its own candidates and not to impose ‘party-approved’ choices who cannot do the job.
The sharp decline in the number of working-class Labour MPs has caused a slump in support among voters with similar backgrounds, according to research that seeks to explain why support has dwindled in the party’s heartlands.
The study says previous leaders such as Neil Kinnock and Tony Blair made a concerted effort to select “more and more middle-class candidates to run for office during the 1980s and 1990s as part of an effort to rebrand,” resulting in success at the ballot box.
But it claims that the “conscious electoral strategy” stored up intractable problems for Labour, as working-class voters, who initially simply didn’t vote in response, are now seeking an alternative.
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