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Corbyn on immigration and the story of the loyal Labour voter

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TSR's new app is coming! Sign up here to try it first >> 17-10-2016
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    Corbyn committed electoral suicide for the Labour Party today. Living in his Islingtonite cocoon, he is oblivious to how much Labour relies on working-class people in the north, who have loyally voted Labour year after year, election after election, no matter who the leader or what the issues of the day are. Corbyn has plunged the knife into their hearts, the final betrayal from which there can be no turning back

    Traditionally these working-class Labour supporters had very good reasons to; they or their parents could see how much their lives changed in 1940s to 1960s, how in the late 1940s they almost lived a kind-of late 19th century "Please sir, can I have some more?" existence but within 20 years the slums had been demolished, tuberculosis defeated, preventable diseases like rickets and polio and the whooping cough banished, their children given a decent education and a shot at university (something that was simply not a plausible aspiration for even the cleverest working-class lad; many a brilliant young men were constrained by social and economic forces to go and work in the mines where, if they'd been born middle or upper class, they would have gone to Oxford and got a first)

    These working-class peoples were humble, patriotic folk; many worked in the shipyards and were proud of building the warships, submarines and cargo vessels that continued to uphold Britain's power, influence and trade position around the world. Or they worked in the coal mines, and were proud of how the sweat of their brow allowed power, heat and light to come into every home, school and business in Britain. They were small-c conservative but open-minded to progress. They were emphatically anti-communist, and because of this, throughout the Cold War the trade unions were a bulwark, an anchor, that prevented hard left middle-class extremists in the party from dragging the movement into fringe territory.

    Then the 1980s came, and all the de-industrialisation that entailed. Many perfectly viable businesses went to the wall due to the Thatcher government's privatisation mania and economic incompetence. In some cases, countries with higher sectoral average wages than the UK, were allowed to buy the plant equipment and factories from UK state and private businesses, ship them overseas, set them up and start churning out goods again; the claim that they were inherently unviable businesses having been disproved to our great disadvantage. The high interest rates, the devastating levels of unemployment (over three millions, the worst since the great depression) ripped the industrial heart out of Britain. On the other hand, deindustrialisation occurred throughout almost all the advanced economy due to other systemic changes in the global economy; Thatcher made an existing trend worse. And during this time, the hard left of the Labour Party went mad and decided that this was the time to take a shot at controlling the party apparatus and forcing its policies to the hard left. Michael Foot had to mollify them with extremist policies, leading to some moderates breaking away to form the SDP and losing Labour the election. Labour still couldn't get its act together and lost again in 1987 and 1992.

    But still these loyal working-class people voted Labour. They couldn't see that Labour was very relevant, or doing anything to help them, but they remembered all it had done and the progress in health, education and housing that had not been undone, and they kept the faith. Then Labour got its act together, and got into government. And unfortunately the immigration spigot that the Tories had opened wide was opened yet wider.

    The service industry jobs came in the 1990s but were often at much lower pay than they jobs they had lost. It didn't have the sense of solidarity, community and self-respect that they felt doing an honest day's work for an honest day's pay while working in the manufacturing industries. And even these jobs they were increasingly finding they had to compete with immigrants to get; they were finding that often they couldn't afford to compete with immigrants who were willing to accept low wages, to live three to a room to save on rent, to accept corners cut by the employer and not blab. So this trend continued, and as the EU accessions occurred in Eastern Europe, even more immigrants came to this country, and now with the Polish immigrants who are quite an attractive race, spoke English very well, were often highly educated. The English working-class found they had to compete in the one way that a working-class person could break their children into the middle-class and become a business owner; by working as a tradesman like a plumber, builder, electrician and what have you. But now these jobs too were under threat, by people who were willing to work for wages below what was fair or competitive, for people to whom even these small wages were an amount that was acceptable as it counted for a lot when remitted back home.

    And still the working-class voters stayed loyal. All through the Blair-Brown years, through the years of the coalition where the Tories did not one thing to change the situation (as they hadn't in the Major years). All of this continued until they snapped; in 2014, they said "No more!". They voted in large numbers for UKIP in the European elections; UKIP became the second largest UK delegation in the European parliament behind the Labour Party and in front of the conservatives (the Lib Dems collapsed completely).

    And now we are in a situation where many of those people, a majority in fact, voted for Brexit as a very clear, intelligent expression of their personal interests. It is not in their personal interests that we have borders that are completely open to a large European itinerant labour force that will move wherever there is work. They voted for this because they are being strangled, the few options they did have are disappearing too. And so for years the smug middle-class, many of whom fancy themselves as oh-so-worldly and sophisticated (but who have often never travelled outside Europe, often no further than France and Spain) revelled in their newfound European status. Their European citizenship was the cause of great jollity and self-satisfaction; "You see Tarquin, I do not consider myself British, or god forbid English. Heavens no. I am a European. Doesn't it just roll of the tongue? Isn't it just so sophisticated?".

    Essentially, for the British middle-class European citizenship was almost wholly about visa free travel. Very few English people travel abroad to live and work (despite the hilariously self-serving 40% of Remainers who claimed in the aftermath that they were considering leaving the country; utterly laughable and completely implausible "threat"). And in revelling in their European citizenship, they condemned the working-classes as racists and bigots and morons for any opposition they expressed to the EU.

    The very real economic disadvantages suffered by the working-classes... well, that was said to be in their head, a hallucination brought on by their prejudice. So the working-classes were expected to just lie down and take it, see their economic wellbeing slowly strangled so the middle-class could enjoy visa free travel. I don't say the European Union was just about that, of course it was much more comprehensive in the sense of legal and other cooperative considerations. But the vast majority of remain voters are utterly clueless about that, they know nothing of European law.

    And so with the Brexit vote, just like in 2014, the working-classes rebelled. 50% of those Labour voters who cast a ballot for Brexit have said in polls that they will not support Labour at the next election.That is fully 1.5 million voters. And the remaining core of Labour voters, the people who help Labour stay around 28% when its performance barely warrants 15%... they too will go. Corbyn has made clear to them that he sees their concerns as racist. But the time where they will be lectured, patronised, insulted, like this is over. And if Corbyn continues down this pro-immigration path, Labour will be too.

    KimKallstrom JamesN88 JRKinder

    I'm sure Dianne Abbott won a lot of working class hearts and minds at the conference by declaring that Brexit voters are racists, despite it being largely a result of them rejecting a status quo being sold to them that's not helped them at all (in their view). The Labour Party is supposed to be the party of the working men and women, The clue's in the name. What's getting their means of earning a living and their wages suppressed got to do with race? Also - and a lot of middle-class Labourites don't realise this - Labour lost a lot of traction in council estates around the country by creating a system where you can work 50 hours a week and see your neighbour do absolutely nothing and have the exact same life style as you. The Labour Party for workers? Yeah right. They don't understand how this feels. But that's a side point as it's not immigration or EU-related. Still, I can guarantee you that comment lost plenty of votes in the Labour heartlands.

    Also - although not part of the Labour Party - the speech from the Hope Not Hate idiot at the conference summarised a lot of what's wrong with Labour these days. He declared that the northern working class are racists and that people like themselves and the luvvies are smarter than them. He stated that it is their duty to show them the error of their ways. Hilariously he explicitly included the people of Rotherham in this, like the Labour council, along with local social services, the police etc didn't cover up the rapes and human trafficking of thousands of young girls in the town and treat the victims with such hostility that it was as if they were the criminals in all of this. Lambasting them for not being up to speed on inclusiveness and racial acceptance and encouraging them to drop the complaints and go on race relations courses. I wish I was exaggerating. Anyway, according to Hope Not Hate, the people outraged at this are cretins who need to be enlightened like Hope Not Hate types are. Incredible.

    Brits have more in common with Australia and North America than Romania and Bulgaria.

    Our immigration policy should reflect this.
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