I love a good wind-up and this one shows no signs of running out of steam yet. It just goes on and on. A raw nerve has certainly been struck.
For a party that long ago abandoned any pretence of class struggle, class envy seems to come easily to New Labour. Redressing economic inequality through more progressive taxation of the rich is out. Ridiculing the wealthy who refuse to support them regardless of what they do is, apparently, in.
First to the barricades is Peter Hain, who defines the rich not by what they earn or own but what they drink. “There’s now a kind of dinner party critic who quaffs shiraz or chardonnay and just sneeringly says, ‘You are no different from the Tories’,” he said recently. “Most of the people in this category are pretty comfortably off; it’s not going to be the end of the world if they get a Tory government. In a working-class constituency like mine, this is a lifeline. It’s not a luxury.”
Other advocates for New Labour have slammed Labour defectors for their “bruschetta orthodoxies” and lambasted anyone who refuses to vote Labour as a result of the war as “decadent” and “self-indulgent”.
I know what I’m going to be ordering for lunch on May 6th.