A fascinating exchange this evening with a very senior Labour figure whose path and mine crossed a few years ago (my old political associates in this neck of the woods would be very surprised indeed), but from whom I have hardly heard since. I was told to feel free to blog what was said, provided that I in no way identified my interlocutor. So here goes.
The staggering level of abuse to which I am subjected is, I am told, because I appeal to the wrong “tribes” (the word used), beginning with the Political Class’s two archest of archenemies, the white working class and those who have been proved right over Iraq. Other such tribes are rural people, Catholics, Evangelicals, Unionists, and the North and the West Country (whence have come every rebellion against hegemony in English history).
Furthermore, I dare to speak for and to certain tribes – anti-war conservatives, Labour Eurosceptics, Catholic Unionists, (Old) Labour-minded Ulster Protestants, the rural Left, the English-speaking Welsh – which do not officially exist at all, even though they do in fact exist in enormous numbers. Indeed, they positively predominate: most conservatives are anti-war, most Labour supporters have at least grave doubts about the EU, probably half of Catholics in Northern Ireland are in favour of the Union in principle, well over half of Ulster Protestants are Old Labour really, there are rather more farm labourers than squires, and eighty per cent of the Welsh speak English. But you mustn’t say these things. You just mustn’t. Well, I do. And I will.
Over-promoted people read this blog (very often the comments as well as my own material, I have to say) and my posts elsewhere, and they realise that they themselves have never heard of, say, the early Labour activists who saw off anti-monarchism, or those who opposed attempts to abort and contracept the Left’s electoral base out of existence, or Gaitskell’s opposition to European federalism, or the Catholic Labour MPs against abortion and easier divorce, or the Methodist Labour MPs against deregulated drinking and gambling, or the Labour MPs who opposed devolution because it would be ruinous for the North of England, or the Labour activists who opposed devolution because it would be ruinous for the “peripheral” parts of Scotland and Wales. They have to face the fact that these were the people who delivered jobs, education, health care, housing, workers’ rights and so forth, while the sectarian Marxist Left whence they themselves came actually opposed every such measure.
And the one thing that our lords and masters fear most is the re-emergence of a pro-life, pro-family, pro-worker and anti-war party of economically social democratic, morally and socially conservative British and Commonwealth patriots. They can cope with Communists and Trotskyists. They know from personal experience that nobody is ever going to vote for such outfits. But they could not cope with that, for which huge numbers of people would vote, just as they always used to before that option was withdrawn from them without their consent.
Well, so long as you subscribe to that formula – “a pro-life, pro-family, pro-worker and anti-war party of economically social democratic, morally and socially conservative British and Commonwealth patriots” – then you will be welcome in the British People’s Alliance. Nothing else will be required of you ideologically. (Whether we fight the European Elections under that banner, or we get ourselves in and then set it up, remains to be seen, although of course it will have to be decided very soon.)
Whereas the Political Class wants a breakthrough for the BNP. Numerous Westminster Villagers will be speeding that along in the polling booths of London next week, making sure that the BNP gets the GLA list seat for which it was in any case well on course. And they regard with unalloyed glee the prospect of at least eight BNP MEPs next year. It would secure First Past The Post for at least a generation. It would be the excuse for all manner of repressive measures aimed mostly at the white working class, and therefore likely to receive little or no media coverage. It would confirm all their own prejudices, and enable them to denounce “pandering” to actual or potential BNP voters. And they won’t have anybody messing it up.
Yes, a fascinating exchange this evening with a very senior Labour figure.