In the shadows: the plight of homeless people is overlooked – unless highlighted by the media. Meanwhile others are given every luxury due to nothing more than an accident of birth.
This is the truth of Boris Johnson’s brave new Britain: the public purse can pay for the privileged to have helicopter rides home from hospital, while a homeless woman didn’t qualify for hospital treatment until after she had given birth on a cold Cambridge street.
The woman, aged around 30, gave birth to twins who were around 11 weeks premature on Sidney Street, outside Trinity College, Cambridge on Monday.
Is this the kind of medical care the fifth-largest economy in the world provides to its people?
How did this woman become homeless? Was she unable to pay the bills because Tory wage or benefit policies are so prejudiced against the poor (which means most of us)?
Homelessness has rocketed under Conservative rule – and this can only be because Conservative policies dictated that it should happen.
And a homeless person, living on the streets, dies every 19 hours.
One would expect that pregnant women who are homeless would be particularly vulnerable to an early death – especially those in desperate need of medical help because they were giving birth.
Death during childbirth used to be tragically common, after all.
No doubt this would make the Tories unbearably happy; it’s one less “useless eater”.
I read also, today, that the Duke of Edinburgh enjoyed a helicopter ride home after a four-day stay in hospital due to a “pre-existing condition”.
You see how it is?
The privileged people in our society get to have the very best – a place in hospital whenever they need or want it, and the extravagance of a trip home by helicopter – whenever they want it.
And all on state benefits. The Duke is on the Civil List, remember – and that is a state-funded benefit.
Why aren’t the rest of us afforded the same treatment – why wasn’t the homeless mother offered it, if the cash is available to pay for him to receive such treatment?
I’m not begrudging him the treatment; I’m questioning a government that is happy to fund such extravagance for him, while begrudging even a minimum of treatment for her.
It all could have been different, too. Labour would have provided a home and dignity to the woman, and she would have been able to enjoy appropriate hospital treatment.
But 14 million voted Tory. A child becomes homeless every eight minutes (including the two who were born homeless on Monday).
And the benefits we enjoy depend on the identity of our parents (or spouses) rather than being rights enjoyed by everyone.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
The Duchess of Cambridge: She will not experience the trauma other people are forced to undergo when they have a third child.
At risk of angering the taste police, I repeat what I wrote about this when the Duchess of Cambridge’s pregnancy was announced:
“Nobody ever mentions it but the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, like the rest of the Royal Family, are effectively benefit claimants.
“They live on money provided by taxpayers for their upkeep – just like, for example, people claiming Child Benefit.
“I mention this because there is a two-child limit on Child Benefit. Nobody who has more than two children can claim any extra money for them – except under certain circumstances.
“Bearing in mind what one of those circumstances is, can you imagine the scandal if any government employee asked the relevant question before handing over the Cambridges’ share of our money?
“The only difference between these people and Child Benefit claimants is an accident of birth – the Duke of Cambridge was born into a family that, as Tony Benn once described it, stole lots of land, claimed fancy titles and surrounded themselves with weak-minded followers.
“Yet because of that, his wife can hold her hand out for as much of (our) cash as she wants – while other young mums have to suffer the indignity of being asked to satisfy the demands of the rape clause.”
I would amend the last sentence now, to “other young mums have to suffer the indignity of being forced to satisfy the demands of the rape clause”.
This is a pressing issue at the moment, after Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey tried to tell the Scottish Parliament the rape clause is “potentially double support” for victims because it gives them the “opportunity to talk”.
Her words sparked outrage among everybody with a sense of decency in the UK; she was saying poor people who have been raped should be forced to relive that trauma before receiving benefit for a child that resulted from the attack – and that they should feel grateful for it.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, will not be asked to prove any such thing before receiving money for her third child. It would be inappropriate to suggest it in any case – but that raises the question: Why should she receive state funding for the baby when others have to face such a humiliating inquisition or be denied it?
The answer is as I defined it in my article on Ms McVey’s ill-advised outburst:
“Tories… naturally assume that people who aren’t born with a title, or money, are property; they don’t understand why you should have any rights and expect you to do as you are told by your so-called ‘betters’.”
The Duchess of Cambridge, of course, has a title and therefore is considered by Tories to be one of our “betters”. Therefore, Tories think she is entitled to as much of your money as she wants – whenever she wants it.
The Duchess of Cambridge has gone into labour with her third child.
Catherine and the Duke of Cambridge travelled to the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, in central London on Monday morning.
Catherine has been on maternity leave since making a last royal visit to a charity lunch in London on 22 March.
The baby will be fifth in line to the throne and the Queen’s sixth great-grandchild.
Thomas’s Battersea is considered a feeder school for public schools like Eton, Westminster and Marlborough [Image: BBC].
Days after we learned that his parents are expecting their third child – one more than other benefit claimants are allowed – Prince George, son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, has gone to school for the first time.
His education at Thomas’s Battersea will cost us – you and me – £18,000 a year.
That’s nearly 17 times the amount of child benefit available for an older child.
And, of course, nobody is allowed child benefit for a third child unless they can satisfy the so-called ‘rape clause’ in the benefit regulations. The Royals get out of this because they are provided a separate benefit by virtue of being on the Civil List.
This Writer is not a republican; I think the Royals are a valuable part of the UK’s character and good for the economy.
But it isn’t right that they are immune to the ravages of austerity. Why should they have access to apparently-unlimited supplies of money while the rest of us suffer?
What about the future? Thomas’s Battersea is a feeder school for places like Eton, which are more expensive.
And will Prince George have any university education paid for him by the rest of us? Of course he will.
Of course, the British public is having its say:
Great to see Prince George rewriting history, while others die from starvation just round the corner, becoming the 1st child to go to school
Bearing in mind what one of those circumstances is, can you imagine the scandal if any government employee asked the relevant question before handing over the Cambridges’ share of our money?
The only difference between these people and Child Benefit claimants is an accident of birth – the Duke of Cambridge was born into a family that, as Tony Benn once described it, stole lots of land, claimed fancy titles and surrounded themselves with weak-minded followers.
Yet because of that, his wife can hold her hand out for as much of (our) cash as she wants – while other young mums have to suffer the indignity of being asked to satisfy the demands of the rape clause.
“The contrast lays bare the fundamentals of reproductive injustice: the fact that class, wealth and race control which groups are considered worthy of the privilege of reproduction. Underpinning this is the lie that the wealthy are self-sufficient, whereas the poor upon whose work they depend are parasites. We know this is not true.”
Perhaps the parasites who were the centre of media attention today should think carefully about contraception in the future.
Oh. By the way, I’m not a republican. I simply think the Royal Family have a duty to understand the harsh conditions under which most of us are living and behave in a responsible way – rather than rubbing our noses in the difference between their style of benefit conditionality and ours.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child, Kensington Palace has announced.
The Queen and both families are said to be “delighted with the news”.
Network Rail owns Britain’s railway tracks. When they were privately owned by Railtrack, there were several fatal crashes [Image: Jonathan Brady/PA].
The man responsible for the “slave labour” work placement schemes that made huge profits for companies by making people work for benefits has turned his talents to bringing death back to our railways.
But company bosses need not worry – Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has already ensured that nobody will be able to bring court cases against them if the worst happens, because he already made justice too expensive during his time as Lord Chancellor.
No doubt Mr Grayling is already preparing his excuses – he is, after all, the man who accused unemployed people of being scroungers after he scrounged more than £100,000 in expenses for a London flat, despite having a family home nearby.
He is already claiming that putting the new Oxford-to-Cambridge rail route in completely private hands is not a prelude to fully privatising the rail network, even though that is exactly how it appears.
And how well did that work last time?
The rail network – track, signalling, tunnels, bridges, level crossings and all but a handful of the stations – passed into the hands of a company called Railtrack for a period between 1994, when rail privatisation took place, and 2002.
We all learned very quickly that privatising the infrastructure meant the company concerned would rather forego its duty to improve the system in favour of trying to turn a profit.
Serious shortcomings were identified, there were fatal crashes at Southall and Ladbroke Grove, and then the Hatfield crash of 2000 – a metal fatigue-induced derailment that killed four people and injured 70 – exposed the extent to which the rail network had been allowed to fall into disrepair.
Railtrack had absolutely no idea how many more Hatfields were waiting to happen on its sorely-neglected stock. and after the public organisation Network Rail took over, it has been estimated that repair work cost £580 million.
Now Mr Grayling thinks we have all forgotten the darkest days of the UK’s railways.
He should think again.
But this bonehead is so stupid, another fatal accident will probably happen before he does.
The government has unveiled plans for a fully privatised railway line, with track and trains operated by the same company.
A new route linking Oxford and Cambridge will not be developed by Network Rail, the owner of Britain’s rail infrastructure. Instead, a new entity will be responsible for track and infrastructure, as well as operating train services, under proposals drawn up by the transport secretary, Chris Grayling.
In a keynote speech on Tuesday, Grayling will outline how the government plans to reunite the operation of tracks and trains, which are currently the respective responsibility of publicly owned Network Rail and private train operating companies (TOCs).
While officials at the Department for Transport have disputed reports that Grayling is seeking more immediate challenges to Network Rail, unions pledged to fight the proposed changes.
The RMT union said Grayling’s rail plans would recreate privatisation chaos that it claims he introduced in the prison system as justice secretary.
Grayling denied he was intent on privatisation. “I don’t intend to sell off the existing rail network. I don’t intend to privatise Network Rail again,” he told Today. He said the Oxford and Cambridge rail link would be developed by a separate company outside Network Rail in the same way that the Crossrail link had been developed in London.
You see, Mr Brown is MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath – in Scotland.
Labour is extremely unpopular in Scotland at the moment, where the SNP has whipped up a belief (rightly or wrongly) that the party betrayed the people by siding with the Conservatives – even though, as a supporter of the union, Labour could not do anything else. Mr Brown, who raised concerns over the future of state pensions in an independent Scotland, has been singled out for special criticism.
In these circumstances, will Labour’s London-based leadership really be so insensitive as to ‘parachute’ an ally of the leader’s office into the constituency? This would be someone who is unlikely to bear any resemblance to a traditional Labour candidate, and is more likely to be a privately-educated Oxbridge graduate who has spent their entire career at a thinktank or working as a SPAD (special adviser) for a sitting MP.
Such an appointment would be entirely inappropriate and would signal that Labour is not interested in retaining the seat; the mood in Scotland means voters would take it as an incentive to support another party, most probably the SNP.
It is possible that Labour would leave the selection open to the constituency party, as its declared intent was to take over selections from the middle of next month; again, the course of action that is chosen will determine the response from the local electorate.
Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath would be far better-off with a Labour candidate chosen from local residents, with a deep knowledge and understanding of the area and what it needs, having lived and worked there for his or her entire life.
This strategy succeeded with Liz Mckinnes, the newly-elected MP for Heywood and Middleton and should offer the best chance of success elsewhere.
Postscript: Readers are reminded that Gordon Brown is the other recent prime minister who has had a disabled child.
We all know how David Cameron rose to the challenge of his late son Ivan’s cerebral palsy and epilepsy – he used it in a series of photo opportunities and then, after Ivan’s death at a tragically young age, went on to use his memory as a shield whenever his ill-treatment of the National Health Service or disability benefits were raised in Parliamentary debate.
In contrast, Mr Brown chose to suffer in comparative silence. His daughter, Jennifer Jane, died after suffering a brain haemorrhage, on January 7, 2002, just 10 days after her birth. His son James Fraser (born in 2006) was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, but Mr Brown would have kept this information private if The Sun had not published an intrusive report. Years later, he said the publication had left him “in tears“.
Whose behaviour would you describe as more dignified; more prime ministerial; more statesmanlike?
You have to admit, the timing of the announcement that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are about to have another baby came suspiciously soon after the poll revealing that more Scottish people are likely to vote ‘yes’ to independence, and also suspiciously soon after the Queen expressed her Royal displeasure at the thought of being the last Queen of Scotland (just remember it was your relative David Cameron who was responsible, Ma’am)!
The excuse for the early announcement – that the Duchess was having very strong morning sickness again and was having to miss official engagements – is very handy as all she had to do was not turn up anywhere. That’s not to say it isn’t true – merely that it is… convenient.
A day out with their minders: If you have ever sat amazed at decisions made by criminal court judges, rest easy in the knowledge that they come from deeply sheltered backgrounds and simply don’t know any better.
If you have ever wondered why you couldn’t get on in life, despite all the talent anyone should ever need… now you know the truth. It’s because you didn’t go to a private school and you didn’t go to Oxford or Cambridge University.
According to the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, 71 per cent of senior judges, 62 per cent of senior armed forces officers, 55 per cent of top civil servants, 43 per cent of newspaper columnists and 36 per cent of the Cabinet are members of a deeply elitist “cosy club” who were educated at private schools (Owen Jones, writing in The Guardian, commented: “It is quite something when the ‘cabinet of millionaires’ is one of the less unrepresentative pillars of power”).
Also privately-educated were 45 per cent of chairmen/women of public bodies, 44 per cent of the Sunday Times Rich List, and 26 per cent of BBC executives. Where are the naysayers who claim the BBC is a Leftie haven now?
When it comes to Oxbridge graduates, the situation worsens – they have a “stranglehold” on top jobs, according to The Guardian, which adds: “They comprise less than one per cent of the public as a whole, but 75 per cent of senior judges, 59 per cent of cabinet ministers, 57 per cent of permanent secretaries, 50 per cent of diplomats, 47 per cent of newspaper columnists, 44 per cent of public body chairs, 38 per cent of members of the House of Lords, 33 per cent of BBC executives, 33 per cent of shadow cabinet ministers, 24 per cent of MPs and 12 per cent of those on the Sunday Times Rich List.
My personal belief is that this should be no surprise to anybody – I’ve known it ever since the then-headteacher at my high school proudly announced that the only sixth-former on their way to Oxford, one year back in the 1980s, was his own daughter. Even then it wasn’t about what you knew but who Daddy was.
At least it is official now.
The person who should be least surprised by these findings is Commission chairman and Labour turncoat Alan Milburn. He does not come from a nobby background but has been absorbed into the group – possibly in gratitude for a series of betrayals of his own kind that began when he entered government.
Milburn was one of the Labour MPs who embraced neoliberalism in the 1990s. His reward was a place in the Cabinet as Minister of State for Health, then Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and then Health Secretary. He was also honorary president of the neoliberal thinktank Progress, which works hard to foist right-wing ideas onto the Labour Party.
It is no wonder, then, that Milburn subsequently became the darling of David Cameron’s Coalition government, being offered a role as ‘social mobility tsar’. It is in this role that he has delivered the current report on elitism.
According to that great source of knowledge Wikipedia, Milburn’s role was about “advising the government on how to break down social barriers for people from disadvantaged backgrounds, and help[ing] people who feel they are barred from top jobs on grounds of race, religion, gender or disability”.
Nearly four-and-a-half years into a five-year Parliament, Milburn came out with this report, and I’m willing to bet that, if a similar document had been compiled before Labour left office, evidence would show that the situation has worsened, not improved.
Even now, David Cameron is probably congratulating Milburn on what a great job he has done – achieving nothing.
In fairness, even a man like Milburn could not ignore such clear findings and the report describes the situation as “elitism so stark that it could be called social engineering“.
What is more interesting about the situation is the fact that it has been described as a ‘closed shop’, a term more readily-associated with those bitter opponents of privilege – the trade unions.
A closed shop is an agreement under which an employer agrees to hire union members only, and employees must remain members of the union at all times in order to remain employed. That is definitely what the report is demonstrating and, considering the elite’s antipathy to the unions, it is further demonstration of the high-handed and corrupt attitude of these types – their belief that they should be a law unto themselves.
This in fact provides us with the only positive element to come out of this report. It gives jobseekers a decent reason for being unable to secure work – all the best jobs are being hogged by overprivileged twits!
Owen Jones’s Guardian article suggests of the situation: “In the case of the media this has much to do with the decline of the local newspapers that offered a way in for the aspiring journalist with a non-gilded background; the growing importance of costly post-graduate qualifications that are beyond the bank accounts of most; and the explosion of unpaid internships, which discriminate on the basis of whether you are prosperous enough to work for free, rather than whether you are talented.”
That is not my experience.
I did my post-graduate journalism course with help from a training scheme run by the Tory government of the time – the Department of Social Security paid for my education in that respect. My recollection is that I was one of the highest-achievers on that course; considering my future career, this indicates that there is truth behind the ‘closed shop’ claim of the new report.
My experience on local newspapers is that they are more likely to offer a way in for aspiring “non-gilded” reporters now than when I entered. While I was fully-qualified when I was hired by my first employer in Bristol, here in Mid Wales the papers have seemed happy to hire people with no qualifications at all, and train them up. There are no unpaid internships here, to my knowledge.
That being said, management practices in the press are so bad that I am constantly amazed anybody bothers trying to work for these idiots at all.
My first paper was passed from one company to another in a “gentleman’s agreement” on a golf course. It meant that I took an effective pay cut, being forced to travel 30 miles further to work and receiving a lower-than-normal pay rise when I became a senior reporter.
Another paper was doing quite well when I joined, offering healthy bonuses for all employees at Christmas. I never got to benefit from this, though, because bosses foolishly took on at great cost a ‘general manager’ who managed all our profits away and then persuaded them to sell up to a much larger firm that stripped the operation to the bone and hoovered up all the profits. Quality plummeted and (after I left) so did sales.
A third paper’s solution to declining sales was a plan to cut back the number of reporters while keeping the management structure intact. That’s right – they reduced the number of people writing the stories that sold the papers. Then they attacked the remaining reporters for the continued drop in sales and absolutely refused to entertain any notion that they might have got the situation arse-backward.
That is why I agree with the UK Commission for Education and Skills, which said that “poor management hinders UK competitiveness”, and with the comment on that report in Flip Chart Fairy Tales, that “poorly managed firms drag a country’s score down and Britain has more than its fair share of them”.
The Milburn report puts the seal on the problem: Firms are poorly-managed because the people at the top are over-privileged fools who got into their position thanks to Daddy’s money rather than any talent of their own.
As the banking crisis – caused by these very people – and the subsequent, slowest economic recovery in UK history demonstrate starkly for all to see, these private-school, Oxford and Cambridge ignoramuses are worse than useless when it comes to managing an economy.
There is nothing you can do about it while a Conservative-led government is in power because that is exactly how David Cameron and his cronies like it.
(What am I saying? Of course they like it – they and their friends are the private-school, Oxford and Cambridge ignoramuses who are cocking up the system!)
You only need to read the ‘Revolving Doors’ column in Private Eye to see how these goons lurch from one failure to another – always finding a new job after each disaster because of the Old School Tie.
It is long past time we saw a few highly-prejudicial sackings but our sad, fat ‘captains of industry’ just don’t have the guts.
Caught with his trousers down: Herr Flick from ‘Allo Allo’ – possibly the last secret policeman to be revealed in quite such an embarrassing way.
So now not only are our students facing the prospect of a life in debt, paying off the cost of their education (thanks, Liberal Democrats!) but they know they can expect the police to be spying on them in case they do anything radical, student-ish and treasonous like joining UK Uncut and occupying a shop to publicise the corporate tax avoidance our Tory-led government encourages.
Rather than investigate and solve crimes, it seems the police are embracing their traditional role (under Conservative governments) as political weapons – targeting suspected dissenters against their right-wing government’s policies, trying to undermine their efforts and aiming to apprehend key figures.
They are behaving like secret police, in fact. Allow this to go much further and we will have our own Gestapo, here in Britain. Before anyone starts invoking Godwin’s Law, just take a look at the evidence; it is a justifiable comparison.
According to The Guardian, police have been caught trying to spy on the political activities of students at Cambridge University. It had to be Cambridge; Oxford is traditionally the ‘Tory’ University.
The officer concerned tried to get an activist to rat on other students in protest groups in return for money, but the student turned the tables on him by wearing a hidden camera to record a meeting and expose the facts.
The policeman, identified by the false name ‘Peter Smith’, “wanted the activist to name students who were going on protests, list the vehicles they travelled in to demonstrations, and identify leaders of protests. He also asked the activist to search Facebook for the latest information about protests that were being planned.
“The other proposed targets of the surveillance include UK Uncut, the campaign against tax avoidance and government cuts, Unite Against Fascism and environmentalists” – because we all know how dangerous environmentalists are!
Here at Vox Political, it feels as though we have come full circle. One of the events that sparked the creation of this blog was the police ‘kettling’ of students demonstrating against the rise in tuition fees, back in 2010. It was a sign that the UK had regressed to the bad old days of the Thatcher government, when police were used (famously) to intimidate, annihilate and subjugate picketing miners.
Back then, BBC news footage was doctored to make it seem the miners had been the aggressors; fortunately times have changed and now, with everyone capable of filming evidence with their mobile phones, it is much harder for such open demonstrations of political repression to go unremarked.
This would be bad enough if it was a single incident, taken in isolation – but it isn’t. It is part of a much wider attack on the citizens of this country by institutions whose leaders should know better.
The UK is now in the process of removing the rights it has taken nearly a thousand years for its citizens to win.
It is a country that abuses the sick and disabled.
And it is a country where free speech will soon be unheard-of; where the police – rather than investigate crimes – proactively target political dissenters, spying on anyone they suspect of disagreeing with the government and looking for ways to silence them.
You know that things have come to a pretty pass when Labour Party supporters turn against the poor.
This has happened at a time when the number of people with money to spare has dropped dramatically, meaning more of our people have become poor.
The change may reasonably be blamed on Labour’s adherence to Liam Byrne’s diabolical welfare policy, that aims to continue where the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats leave off – demonising people who have done nothing wrong, unless you count illness, disability and unemployment as a personal choice.
It suggests that people of good heart are leaving the party in large numbers, allowing those who are left to turn it into what its critics have claimed it to be for a considerable time now: Tory Lite.
The change is identified in a report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, that showed 47 per cent of Labour supporters surveyed in 2011 thought that, if benefits were less generous, people would learn to support themselves – up from 17 per cent in 1987.
The fact of the matter, of course, is that benefits are much less generous now than they were in the 1980s. In 1987, unemployment benefits totalled around 20 per cent of the average weekly wage; now they come to around 10 per cent – around half of what they were. But Labour supporters – Labour! – say they are too generous.
It looks like the Tories really are brainwashing people with their nonsense rhetoric, as repeated in newspapers that Labour supporters shouldn’t be reading, like The Sun and the Daily Mail. That good friend of the Conservative Party, Joseph Goebbels, was right – “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”
Of course, Goebbels added: “The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent.”
So those of us who are interested in the facts may be looking forward to hard times. It’s still better than being a fair-weather friend of social justice – only interested in the good of our fellows if it doesn’t impact on us.
But it is already impacting on everybody!
The Office for National Statistics, using Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) figures, has reported that the UK has plummeted down the international league table of economic well-being, from fifth to 12th within the six years up to 2011.
On a separate labour-market ranking, the country fell even further, dropping 12 places. In the labour market league table it ranked 21st out of 34 countries. Top of the league was Norway, which has just three per cent unemployment and, as I understand it, a thriving welfare state. Think about that.
The ONS noted changes to taxes and benefits as key factors in the drop.
This morning, one of Vox‘s longest-serving commentators reported that there is a change among the people around him; that those who argued against his criticism of the Conservative-led government are now turning to the Left. If so, it seems they are not turning to Labour.
Recently we have witnessed a movement to form a new political movement, representing socialist views but untarnished by the memory of New Labour’s 13 years of Neoliberal mistakes. Several contenders have cropped up but none of them will carry any weight at the next general election – instead, all they are likely to do is sap enough votes from Labour to let the Conservatives back into office again. That would be a calamity for the country.
No, the best thing to do is to take Labour back for the people it was meant to serve. First step in that direction must be to consign Liam Byrne and his vile mess of a welfare policy to the back benches, and design a new plan, attacking the causes of unemployment and workplace sickness and disability, rather than their symptoms. This is simple logic.
And we need to get people into the shadow cabinet who have actually held proper jobs. Look at Ed Miliband: Oxford graduate – short media career – Westminster job for Labour. Ed Balls: Oxford graduate (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) – short media career – Westminster job for Labour. Douglas Alexander: University graduate – six-month career as a solicitor – Westminster. Yvette Cooper: Oxford (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) – Westminster researcher job for Labour. Andy Burnham: Cambridge – researcher for Tessa Jowell. Many of these also went to Harvard.
Liam Byrne, the demon of the Labour Party: University (Politics and Modern History at Manchester) – Harvard – then work for a multinational consulting firm (Accenture) and then the Rothschild merchant bankers(!) before going to Labour to help lead its ‘New Labour’ business campaign. This man has nothing whatsoever to do with real working people.
When everybody in a particular group – in business, politics, socially, whatever – is from the same background, they tend to agree about key subjects. From the above group we can see that many of the Labour front bench have followed exactly the same career path. What do they know about working-class people? At least two of them – Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper, no less – graduated from the same Oxford degree course as David Cameron, the comedy Prime Minister.
No wonder people are having a hard time distinguishing between the two main parties and want a left-wing alternative.
It’s time for Labour to grow up and realise it needs to change. It must come back to its voting base and start to represent the people of the UK once again – rather than Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard graduates. If Ed Miliband wants to keep his position, he needs to clear out his shadow cabinet and get some fresh thinkers in. Someone recently mentioned Abraham Lincoln’s ‘cabinet of enemies’, and the fact that it was good for him to have opposing views at the heart of his government.
Until we get that in the Labour Party, maybe we should agree that the ‘Tory Lite’ criticisms are accurate.
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