Labour,  The Working Class

Return of the Native Part II : Enter the Gammons



Part I of this article examined the decaying relationship between Labour, progressives and the British white working class.

Labour as re-branded New Labour, won three general elections in a row until 2010. Its grasp on power has become weaker in every general election since, even in straitened times that might have once favoured the party’s mission. Partly, I suggest, this has been due to the overall improvement in living conditions for working people that is the outcome of previous Labour generations, material gains the beneficiaries wish to hang on to. Now, in the 2020s, there is the re-emergence of disadvantages in work and housing conditions in the UK which have grown rapidly for the mass of wage earners following the financial and political crises of recent years. Today these crises find no assurance of meeting current Labour’s left wing criteria, dominated almost totally through a concentrated focus on race, identity and now, gender, used as a template against which to formulate all policy. Wage earners can no longer look to Labour as their refuge in bad times.

The once automatic, because at a safe distance, patronage of the ‘British working class’ is not high up on the minds of the Salon radical left anymore. Unless it contains strongly the elements of racial injustice, gender discrimination, transgender discrimination, melded together with radical anti-colonial foreign policy stances, then the issue won’t pass the test. People who have worked to buy their own homes and have a car parked alongside, can’t be target Labour voters: They have nothing to complain about.

Since Corbyn and Brexit (2015 to date), the denigration of the old white working class by the chic radical left, stunned by outright rejection, has been bitter. Particularly towards those old Red Wall constituencies that provided generations of Labour MPs who now ignore the Left’s dog whistles coming their way¹.

Corbyn always struck one as though he believed he still commanded this support; assembled somewhere to the north of London; a sturdy peasantry ready to march (in work overalls?) on Parliament. It suited him and his Trotskyite politics to seize power, not win elections. An extra-Parliamentary supporters’ group, Momentum, took control in many constituencies and filled Corbyn & Co.’s ears and vision with such scenes that might have come straight out of a film by Ken Loach, excepting Loach, a Corbyn supporter, made a film about the realities of the zero hours ‘gig economy’. Hand wringing over employment of mostly Brexit-favouring white workers above much more needy and, above all, useful groups situated among minorities would have been out of the question².

The Left publicly disparage what is in reality their only plausible electorate. ‘Gammons’ and ‘Knuckle Draggers’ are insults aimed at people who worry about borders and critical race theory lessons in schools, directed at the one ethnic group in the United Kingdom which could possibly return a Labour government. Instead, one senses there is instead a heightened nostalgia for a replacement underclass, some group capable of re-capturing the picturesque native on which to expend useless pity.


The actual natives watch, helpless.



Notes :

1. ‘Red Wall’ because in Margaret Thatcher’s sweeping triumphs 1979, 1983 and 1987, the far north held out for Labour, only for the region’s industries be destroyed in whole and detail by her economic idiocies. Tony Blair’s seat of Sedgefield, located in the heart of the old County Durham coalfield went to the Tories in the Corbyn nightmare election 2020, the Party’s worst general election result since 1935.

2. Sorry We Missed You (2019) directed by Ken Loach. The so-called ‘gig’ economy in which millions now work.