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Working class heroes: a Labour MP is something to be

Labour, the Times reports this morning, is on the lookout for more working class MPs. Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett – whose parents’ occupation is not listed in standard sources (though he was himself a plumber before he was a full-time politician) – is in charge of a programme expressly designed to get more proletarians into parliament.

Those such as Tessa Jowell, who are insistent that the rise of Ikea, Ryanair and X Factor has made Britain so clever and classless and free, simply likely not see the point. Other Blairites will suspect a sinister plot to shoehorn more leftwingers into Westminster, the better to further the nefarious designs of Red Ed.

Of course, there is no necessary relationship between someone’s social background and his or her political outlook. As anyone with an awareness of Labour Party history will be well aware, horny handed sons and daughters of toil have often in the past stood well to the right of the upper class radicals in the mould of Strachey, Cripps or Benn.

But if the scheme is successful, it will be an important step towards ensuring that the Parliamentary Labour Party is more representative of the country than it is at present. That can only be a good thing.

What is more, the symbolism counts. Given that Labour has spent the last 18 years running away from the notion that it was ever a workers’ party, a nod in the direction of the people to which New Labour referred only by the condescending euphemism of ‘the heartland vote’ is well overdue.

6 Comments

  1. mary lockhart says:

    Are they only looking for young working class people, or can working class people who’ve been working for 30 years have a shot? I’ve been caring for elderly relatives for a couple of years now, and am also doing a Masters in Conflict at and Co-operation, but I’m working class, well experienced, 54, and ready to go!

  2. John P Reid says:

    John prescott, stephen pound david lammy, Hazel blears andy burnham and Alan Johnson all working clas I THINK THE LENNON LINE KEEP YOU DOPED WITH RELIGION SEX AND T/V ,REFERING TO THE TABLOID PRESS WHO LABOUR (NEW AND OLD COURTED IS RATHER MORE TELLING)

  3. John P Reid says:

    the medhi hasan articel on huffington past was facutally wrong regarding the blair record.

    we’ve been through the blair election myth before, yes Lanours vote fell by 5 million betwen 1997 and 2010 but it increased by 5.2 million between 1983 and 97 and it fell 5.6 million between 1951 and 1983
    Labour wasn’t 13% ahead when smith died one poll had them a 1% and laoubr were 26% ahead in 1990 and 16% ahead in 1986 ,yet the tories came back and won landslide and the polls are inacurate Labour was 2% ahead on the eve of the 1992 election and the tories won by 8%
    Labour actually went ahead in the pols in August 2010 when Harriet harman was leader, If you follow the british results not the U.K ones Balir got 36% of the vote same as cameron Notthe 36.1% you suggest.

  4. John P Reid says:

    also Cameron on his coronation as tory leader went ahead in the polls for A week in December 2005 then Labour went back ahead in the polls form Jan1st 2006 –april 26 2006 when the Cash for peerages, John Prescott affair ,Charles Clarke foreign prisoners resulted in the tories going ahead in the polls for the next year and even thin it was only a couple of percent

  5. Mick Hall says:

    About time too, over 50% of the population consider themselves to be working class thus it is vital to have many more working class MPs if we are to have a representative democracy. Otherwise you end up with the curent situation where the upper middle class dominate the Tory party and middle class LP.

    No matter what their politics, people cannot but represent their class backgrounds in a million tiny ways, which is a good thing not a bad in a class prejudiced shit hole like the UK, as we can quickly understand where folks are coming from.

    If anyone says it matters not a fig where people come from all that matters is where they are going. Is a lying scumbag, remind you of anyone?

  6. Pete Radcliff says:

    We don’t need Labour so much to give a louder voice for individual working class people who then, step by step lose connection with their origins. We more need a louder collective voice. Same can be said for women, BMEs.
    It may be a ‘nod in the right direction’ but that’s all it is. Too many TU leaders will exaggerate its importance.

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