It is interesting – if disappointing – that Tories have leapt up to berate the Corbyn-supporting organisation Momentum for its latest video on the social media.
The video satirises the attitude of middle-class voters who have achieved their life goals with the aid of government policies that have since been withdrawn, low house prices at the time they bought their home, and work opportunities that came their way because they knew the right people.
So we have a graduate who doesn’t want Jeremy Corbyn to end university tuition fees, even though he never paid any for himself; a homeowner who paid £20,000 for her house in 1981 – it’s now worth £1.5 million – saying people have to “work hard and save up” to get on the housing ladder without stopping to think that prices are much higher and wages are much lower; and a man saying people think they “deserve a job without doing the necessary work to get it”, adding, “Nobody ever helped me out”, even though he get his job through his father, who started the business with money from his father.
Here’s the video:
Finally someone said it ? pic.twitter.com/FoPN9jmIbZ
— Momentum (@PeoplesMomentum) July 27, 2017
They are all valid criticisms.
This Writer was among the last generation able to benefit from student grants; the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher replaced them with loans, intending to put poorer students (who weren’t able to benefit from their parents’ money) into debt for the majority of their future careers.
I have never been able to consider buying a house; mortgage costs were already too high when I left school, let alone when I left college – and despite having been a newspaper editor, my salary was never enough to pay for that as well as all my other outgoings. My parents own their house, but if they become ill and need to go into full-time care, under current rules the value of that house will be used to pay for it.
And even in the 1990s, when I graduated, we all knew the power of the ‘Old Boy’ network (sorry ladies, it is a sexist term – although I think it may (still) stand for something that is dominated by men in real life). “It’s not what you know, it’s who!” – as I used to be told 38 times a day by my fellows at the temp agency. My first job was obtained via a tip-off… by somebody I knew.
Of course, the facts haven’t stopped Tory MPs from complaining bitterly about the video. The Guardian quotes these two buffoons:
A masterclass in motivating people using resentment of bourgeoisie caricatures. Lenin would be proud. https://t.co/m77uYJSt4I
— James Cleverly (@JamesCleverly) July 27, 2017
People need to see that this is what has become of the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn and Momentum, just hateful. pic.twitter.com/PY9s3NsxVa
— Will Quince MP (@willquince) July 27, 2017
If the cap fits, fellows, wear it.
It isn’t hateful to point out attitudes that people genuinely – and mistakenly – hold.
Perhaps the portrayals of the characters in the video are a little extreme (although people like that certainly do exist, James Cleverly) – but the video is asking an important question: Do the rest of us want to be identified as standing alongside them?
And it is true that Jeremy Corbyn’s son Seb has been criticised for taking advantage of the “Who you know” network to get a job working for John McDonnell. Doesn’t that support the argument that’s being made, though – that even an MP’s son had to rely on this system to get work?
But the most effective defence of Momentum’s video is probably the easiest.
If the assertions it makes are so offensive to Conservatives, then why are they based on Conservative policies of the past 40 years?
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