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Politics as a career

RosetteThe Labour Party was formed to ensure that the voices of working people were heard in parliament, which hitherto was the preserve of a professional political class. This aspiration is still reflected in Clause 1.2 of the party’s constitution that “its purpose is to organise and maintain in Parliament and in the country a political Labour Party“.

It is interesting that diehard Blairite, Hopi Sen, instead thinks that the Labour Party should exist to provide career opportunities for a new professional class, entirely divorced from the lives of ordinary people:

So how would I advise someone who wanted to be Labour MP?

I’d say get involved in student politics, and be utterly loyal to the dominant faction. Then use that to secure a low paying job working for an MP, preferably in London. If you can’t afford that, because you actually need to earn money after graduating, do the same, but out of London.

Then get a job as a campaigns or press or policy officer for a worthy cause, so you can talk movingly about it in your selection meeting. Then try to get a similar job in a large provincial city. The whole time, use that position to stay completely connected to politics. Make sure you’re involved in some progressive campaign. Go to conference and speak at fringe meetings. Write pamphlets and articles for the Fabians, or these days, Left wing websites. If you change jobs, or come into some money, or have money, offer to do some thing for free. Be as pushy as you can be, because that’s fine.

Whatever you do though, stay connected, stay plugged in, stay working at it.

Do not, I repeat, NOT, go off and do something other than politics. Do that, and the likelihood is you’ll end up being a few years behind your contemporaries, and much more likely to make a mistake when you do come back in.

What Hopi forgot to add, was that people who think like this might consider whether a blue rosette or a yellow rosette would suit them just as well.


  1. Robert says:

    Maybe if you have a father who writes books makes a name for himself that may work, although at Conference I’d not keep mention the difficult time your parents had .

    So Labour was formed for the hard working no need for me to vote for them then I can now go and vote for the Tories, not that I’d know which Tory party to vote for these days the Cameron one of the Progress one.

    But since I no longer vote and Labour has dumped the working class for the hard working and since a hell of a lot of MP’s have never had a job in their lives I think making friends with clegg will be a great idea for Miliband.

    How to become an MP, well suck up to Miliband or one of his Progress mates may be a benefit…

    THE CLASS WAR is over’, declared Tony Blair at New Labour’s conference last year. ‘The 21st century will not be about the battle between capitalism and socialism, but between the forces of progress and the forces of conservatism’. For Blair an independent party of labour, forged out of class struggle, was an historic mistake. His ‘Third Way’ represents an attempt at turning back the clock to before the Labour Party was formed.

    The socialist pioneers

    WORKERS WHO COULD maintain their jobs benefited from the falling prices that were a feature of the depression. However in each crisis job insecurity and unemployment hit not just the unskilled and sweated labourers but skilled workers too, placing financial strains on the old craft unions and laying bare the bankruptcy of their leaders’ policy of rejecting strike action as a means of defending jobs and conditions. The depression reached its lowest point in 1886-87, affecting London especially severely. In his social survey, Charles Booth revealed that 35% of Londoners in the East End were living in a state of abject misery and 100,000 in acute distress. Eleanor Marx painted a human picture of what this suffering meant, in a letter to her sister Laura: ‘Eight children who for days have tasted nothing but bread, and who have not even that now; the mother lying on some straw, naked covered with a few rags, her clothes pawned days ago to buy bread. The children are little skeletons. They are all in a tiny cellar’.

    The unemployed began to organise against such dehumanising conditions. They marched to local churches, disrupting congregations to denounce the effects of unemployment and demand action. Daily demonstrations and meetings in Trafalgar Square were met by police repression. Shaken by the potentially destabilising force of the unemployed protests, the ruling class denounced ‘rioting’ and ‘disorderly’ conduct, banning all gatherings in Trafalgar Square. However, on 13 November 1887, ‘Bloody Sunday’, as many as 100,000 protesters defied the ban and were brutally charged by thousands of mounted police. One hundred and sixty demonstrators were imprisoned and three workers later died. In the words of the engineer and ‘new union’ leader Tom Mann, there was ‘something buzzing’ in London. Struggles against the economic and social consequences of the depression, for the eight-hour day, for the extension of democratic rights, in opposition to imperialist expansion (particularly in Ireland), all contributed to the development of a socialist consciousness amongst politically aware workers and sections of the middle classes on the radical wing of Liberalism.

    But sadly labour to day is proud3er to represent the working class not the scrounger class the people who marched and battle to make the Labour party.

    Little wonder people end up turning away from cretins who have no idea of what the real worlkd is like.

    To many middle upper middle class chasing the Labour party to make it into another Tory Lite party

  2. That article by Hopi Sen is definitely the careerists/opportunists bible,a trail so assiduously followed by 95% of the Parliamentary Labour Party over the last 50 years, and even further back. Also,as any serious analysis of The Labour party and governments has proved,the greatest part of the disillusion(and apathy) felt by the electorate/ working class at the failures of successive Labour goverments has been down to the failure of the careerist/ opportunist element of the P.L.P. to stand up to the attacks on living standards by the establishment and employers..
    Jim Denham; having an anti-Labour past involving Trotskyist sects never stopped the likes of Alan Milburn, Byers(?) Darling or even hero’s of the soft left like Blunkett, Chris Mullin, Prescott, turning complete turtle and supporting one of the most rightwing Labour governments since the war, led by an even bigger renegade than Ramsay McDonald; Bliar, and more than likely, a war criminal to boot. But, as Lady Astor said to A.J. Cooke the miners leader, across the floor of the House, “You train them, we will buy them”,perfectly sums up the vast majority of the P.L.P.

    Harman,Dromey turning

  3. Rod says:

    Sound advice from Hopi.

    Certainly, ambitious members of the Progress organisation, of which Hopi is a member and contributor, should follow his career advice to the letter and set themselves on fast-track to irrelevance.


  4. Lauren says:

    That article seems rather satirical to me…

  5. John Reid says:

    When labour wasn’t that polar,of going in huge direction that one would like other people have left the Labour Party campaigned for the rape apologists SWP Trotskyite party, stood against the Labour Party,the. Re joined , re infultrated it, and tried to get out the Blairites by using trots tactics, lying and smearing them,and using union block votes to oust Blairites,

    Isn’t that a career tactic,

  6. John Reid says:

    And back in the day when the Torts last time infultrated it,used union block votes to oust the SDP ,they the. Complained that the SDP split the anti Tory vote at the 83 election but,That’s assuming that everyone who voted SDP/Liberal aliance,had they not done that, they’d have voted Labour, look at Eric brown, George Brown ,David Owen, Chirrs Broklebank. John Normington, John Turhso Cyril Smith, David Alton, Danny Finklestien,paul Staines ,Chris Crayling, Andrew Hunter, Mark Cooper, Andrew Cooper, Mark hunter, Andrew Mitchell, all of those second choice was Tory as was opinion poll after opinion polls that found two thirds of Alliance voters ,would have voted Tory too,

  7. swatantra says:

    I’m surprised that anyone would have the face to admit that they were a ‘career politician’. There are though 2 categories, MPs and LP Polical Administrators. Obviously the Party Organisation needs professionals, dedicated career staff to run it smoothly. But I’ve always thought it would be better to have MPs being a bunch of amateurs that drift into politics and then drift out again, when their time is up, rather than going on .. and on … and on.

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