Lessons from Bradford

March 31, 2012 10:41 am

Many will try to draw their own conclusions from the Bradford by election defeat; more often than not it is a chance for some to reinforce what they previously thought and have already said. So here’s my quick take on a defeat where we had a really strong local candidate.

Our starting point should be the truth that a by-election in Bradford is not the same as a General Election across Britain. But we will have to learn deep organisational, political and communication lessons from a terrible and unpredicted reverse. This is a local defeat with enormous national interest. Our task has to be to prevent it from becoming a national phenomena where disenchanted voters who want change send for anyone other than the established parties.

George Galloway generates anger and attracts fury by the bucketload. His appears to be a victory for anti-politics politics. He won in Bradford partly off of a high octane campaign about Iraq and Afghanistan. The lesson for Labour isn’t that British Forces should get out of Afghan districts and provinces sooner than planned but that British Labour should keep working to get back into our own towns and cities even more urgently.

The view of politics from outside the Westminster Village is entirely different from that within it. Politics at its worst is seen as a spurious exercise in superficiality. That was clear earlier this week when David ‘call me Dave’ Cameron pretended he had eaten a pasty at a long ago closed shop. Politics is at its best as a clash of big ideas alongside instances of sensible national consensus.

Outside SW1 culture and regional identity influence attitudes, alliances and voting habits, as does something else that we don’t reflect upon enough – class. We shouldn’t pretend otherwise.  New Labour didn’t talk about class because we wanted to prove to voters we had changed. The Tories don’t want to talk about class now for fear of showing they haven’t changed. We are still, however, a country where self perceptions and political views are influenced by social class.

I represent one of the most prosperous constituencies in Scotland but this goes deeper than whether you have ever attended a ‘kitchen table supper’. And a pasty isn’t a proxy for class. Life expectancy is still highest in Kensington and Chelsea and lowest in Glasgow, while research shows least growth in expectation was experienced by those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds. Sutton Trust research shows children’s achievement in Britain is linked more closely to their parents’ status than in most developed countries – only 21% of children from the lowest fifth of incomes get five good GCSEs in England compared with 75% from the richest fifth. Although only 7% of the population attend independent schools, 75% of judges, 70% of finance directors and 45% of top civil servants attended independent schools. Why?

I have always believed in a politics which tries to make sure that working class parents have middle class kids. But we should all be worried that this may become a generation where the Government will helps make the opposite is true. That should concern us all not because there’s anything ignoble about being working class but there is a lot wrong with growing up poor. And on this there is a big difference between the parties. As Ed Miliband has made clear this may be the first generation to struggle to give their children opportunities to retain the living standards they have gained – progression seems a distant hope for far too many. That’s never been Labour’s way. We must unashamedly keep that sense of possibility and prosperity at the heart of what we do, whether that be in spreading educational excellence, maximising spending power, increasing home ownership, supporting high skill jobs or prioritising early years care.

Tony Blair was right when he said the ‘class war’ was over but David Cameron desperately wrong when he said Britain was a “classless society”. In future by-elections as in Bradford class will be part of a complex mix. We should all understand that better.

Jim Murphy is the Shadow Defence Secretary.

  • Patmcintyre

    Tony Blair was wrong. Class war has always been waged by the rich against the poor.

    • jonathanmorse

      but is the right wayto fight this a ‘class war’?

    • GuyM

      You think generations of the “poor” voting to take from the well off is not evidence of an equally long history of class war by the poor?

      • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

        “voting to take from the well off”

        No one would mind if  we were all in it together, but we’re not.

        The 99% just want a fair share. The problem is that the wealthy will stop at nothing to grab an ever bigger slice of the cake – the political wing of the wealthy (the Tories with some assistance from New Labour) are now selling off our NHS so big corporations can move in and rake-off mega profits. The Royal Mail will soon follow.

        And before very long they’ll want to changes to employment law so they can hire and fire at will to prevent employees from defending themselves against predator capitalism.

        That’s what you should be moaning about.

        • GuyM

          We are not in it together, never have been and never will be.

          There simply aren’t enough “rich” to go about. This 99% thing is simply a left wing deceit used as cover for wider redistribution.

          Once you’re done with the top 1% the next 25% or so will follow.

          You only have to read LL for long enough to know what most “socialists” really want and that includes the upper middle being taken down a notch or 10 and not just the notional 1%.

          So whatever the evils of the “rich” and the 1%, I think in the long run my group in society will do better linked with them rather than linked with the lower classes and aspirations for redistribution.

        • Holly

          I don’t want to upset folk, but who is going to fund the 99% when they get to retirement age?
          It’s okay for Miliband & Balls to encourage the 99% to resent the 1%, but some of the 99% help pay for others, also in the 99%, and no matter how much we scream 1% can not fund 99% all of the time.
          look at it as each generation paying for the previous one.
          With so many from one generation in the same boat, regardless of ability or education, don’t you worry about what life is going to be like for them in their fifties & sixties?
          Maybe it comes with age, I don’t know, but I do know there are huge problems ahead for them if we continue to state fund everything.
          The 1% will disappear if we don’t rebalance the economy, so there are more private, wealth creating jobs.
          All the talk of a ‘forgotten’ generation is a cover up for the ‘missing’ generation. With so much tax ‘missing’ from the system poverty today will be nothing compared to the poverty staring at us tomorrow. 
          Just a thought.

          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            “I don’t want to upset folk, but who is going to fund the 99% when they get to retirement age?”

            Same people who fund them now: the 99%.

          • GuyM

            Really?

            And the 27% of all income tax that is paid by the 1%?

          • Duncan

            Well, if you like you can imagine that 27% was reserved for your own pensions, bailing out banks, investing in projects in your interests (and not in ours) and funding wars in your interests (and not in ours), pays for nuclear weapons and investment in research and technology we’ll never be able to afford – if it makes you feel better.  That way, I can imagine that none of my tax pays for such things.

          • GuyM

            Happy with all that, so long as we also do away with things like tax credits and people get on with paying their own way in life

      • Patmcintyre

        Guy M remarked, “You think generations of the ‘poor’ voting
        to take from the well- off is not evidence of an equally long history of class
        war by the poor?” Only very occasionally in our history has a Labour government
        made life much better for the poor and propertyless; the post-2nd
        world war Attlee government is an example. More recent Labour governments gave
        workers a bit more power, such as Health and Safety law (now under threat by
        employers and government who refer to it as Red Tape), meagre employment
        protection and the minimum wage. Yet, even these modest adjustments came into
        being because of enormous efforts, over many years, by workers in their unions
        attempting to defend themselves, their livelihoods and their well-being against
        the natural ravages of the established system. Many people vote Labour because
        it was the Party set up to defend the working class against the predators. Labour
        voters range from those who genuinely hope for justice and peace and still
        believe ‘their’ Party can deliver that, to those who believe they may get less
        of a kicking from a Labour government and, just possibly, fairer policies.

         

        I read the rest of your
        contributions, Guy.  I was under the
        impression that Grammar Schools’ intakes include working class pupils who pass
        the same entrance exams as middle class children, but it sounds as if your
        children’s school has managed to get around that convention. Dare you say which
        school it is?  If it is the case that an
        effective apartheid system is in place, then you and yours are welcome to what
        I would consider a rubbish school. There was nothing commendable about my
        ‘pukka’ Girls’ Grammar School either. I realised early on that my working class,
        and democratic socialist, family values were morally far superior to the values
        my school was attempting to inculcate in its pupils.  As I read the rest of what you’d written,
        much to my surprise I began to feel sorry for you in your desperation to be
        accepted into the milieu where you feel you belong, where people consider
        themselves a cut above the rest of us. You need to calm down, Guy. You surely
        don’t want to be taken for one of those rather pathetic, pseudo arrivistes who
        really belong nowhere at all.

        • GuyM

          Entrance to Grammar School these days invariably requires tutoring in the types of test the entrance exams are composed off. Paying for tutors and other educational material (such as example papers) tends to be something middle class parents are more likely to go for.

          The “rubbish” school is well into the top 20 of UK state schools, so I’m happy with it. If you put social mixing above academic outcomes that is your choice of course, but it isn’t mine and I’d rather reduce certain factors that act as a drag on exam success i.e. disruptive lower class oiks with badly educated uncommitted semi-literate parents.

          Plus it’s far more useful to my duaghters to mix with more daughters of other professionals and similar adult role models, than the children of window cleaners, shop assistants and benefit claimants.

          I’m not seeking acceptance from anyone Pat, I am where I am, come from where I come from and mix very little with anyone middle class or otherwise. I simply don’t like the lower classes, their attitudes, habits and behaviours. In many respects I prefer to see life as a solo activity, with no need for community involvement at all.

    • Holly

      I get frustrated at the ‘rich’ v ‘poor’ battles.
      Why are no Labour supporters, or even Labour MP’s asking the question, ‘Why are so many people still in poverty, with even less chance of finding work, whether they have qualifications or not?
      Why did the state school system not only fail those who did not make the most of their time in school, but those who did their best as well?
      What were Labour doing when in government, not only in terms of the economy, but in trying to get private businesses to come here and create long term employment?
      Why did teachers think that allowing students to spell any way they wanted and not be marked down was a good thing for their students future, when faced with an employer?
      The investment into public services is good, but with contracts not being scrutinised properly, bad management and no proper checks millions have been wasted.

      Slate the ‘rich’ Tories all you want, but at least have the grace to accept Labour did nothing to improve the lives of the ‘poor’, in fact they even managed to make it harder for the ‘poor’ to become ‘rich’.
      How many Labour politicians have you seen telling us how the ‘poor’ are suffering because of the cuts?
      Well they were ‘poor’ on Labour’s watch,  and Labour have hindered even the aspirational ‘poor’s’ chances, because of their, good intentioned ideology.
      Raising benefits to such a level the ‘poor’ are better off than workers. Is it any wonder they are now angry at the Tories, and the worker is angry at Labour?
      Why are the benefit claimants who are capable of work not angry at Labour for not running the country in such a way that it really did lift them out of poverty?
      There should be no class war, or defence of it, because Labour policy ensured people stayed exactly in the class Labour wanted people to be in.
      All we need now is some honesty from the Labour supporter, who should no longer play the class game of failed Labour politicians, and some guts to hold your party to account for the decade they governed, the results left behind, and how to Labour politicians it is somehow all the Tories fault.
      Don’t think that because I vote Conservative I’m any more pleased with them lately either. Trust me I’m NOT! But it’s nothing to do with how much they have, compared to me.

      • GuyM

        Be careful, drawing attention to the horrible failings of trendy left teachers, teaching unions and their ideology who after 13 years in charge of children still can’t get near 25% of them to read, write and add up properly will only cause much flaming from the usual leftwing suspects.

        Labour’s long term electoral prospects are dependent on a working class unionised mass who are “poor”, so of course their policies do nothing about it.

        • DaveCitizen

           Guy – I think you (and a lot of core Labourites to be fair) need to move beyond Labour’s past failings. There’s plenty of evidence out there that the more equal societies are more efficient in delivering propsperity, from better health and education to lower crime and even more innovative industry.

          It’s not about the antics of a bunch of lefty teachers or even about taking from the 1% to ‘give’ to the rest. It’s about setting up a more efficient system for producing prosperity and that means embracing a dramatically more egalitarian social and economic model. If you want wealth – ditch extreme inequality. 

          • GuyM

            I’d be interested how in the 21st century you think the 25% of school leavers who are semi-literate at best can become prosperous, or even deserve to be, other than off the backs of others efforts?

        • Trudge74

          Guy it wasn’t the teachers but the dofe who decide on the curriculum and assessments. It has been long time since teacher’s have had much control over what they reach ir what the standards should be. After 25 years of political direct intervention in education both structurally and content it is amusing to hear the teachers getting the blame. In fact so far removed from ibdependent curriculum development have teachers become that the rsa suggests that teachers will nit have the skills to manage the freedom that the latest reforms are allowing.

          • GuyM

            And yet the difference in culture and emphasis can be so marked between schools close together.

            We wanted our daughters to have a chance of getting into Grammar School, but the junior school they were in was anti competition. That meant anti competitive sports, anti school exams (an absolute block on any test in a hall – too scary for the children), even anti competition for places in the school nativity play (along with the usual inane banning of pictures etc.)…… on top of a complete anti stance on selective education and children sitting the 11+.

            So we moved them about 2 miles down the road to a school where everyone was still valued, but there was a culture competition, where children were shown that winning and losing is part of life and that exam preparation was part of education.

            On top of that the headmaster was a strong supporter of selective education and ran prepartation lessons for the 11+ for anyone who wanted them after normal school hours for months prior to the tests.

            My daughters got into the Grammar, but a large part of that success was down to switching schools.

            Teachers can not be so tightly managed if two schools a couple of miles apart can have such competely opposite cultures.

      • Patmcintyre

        Holly, you may be frustrated by ‘rich’ v ‘poor’ arguments but
        I hope you will agree that it is important to understand how the economic world
        works. ‘Class’ is the distinction between those who own and control businesses and
        those who work in them. A worker in a capitalist firm works for part of his or
        her day to make the goods or deliver the services that pay for his or her
        wages. But then, he or she works for the rest of the day to make a profit for
        the owners. Both owners and workers will always try to change the proportion of
        this arrangement in their own favour. If workers know that profits and
        dividends are rising or, as recently, bosses are paying themselves enormous
        ‘bonuses’ while wages remain the same or are effectively being cut, most of
        them can see that they are being exploited. Massive profits in firms where
        workers do not receive a commensurate rise in wages indicate massive
        exploitation.  Unfortunately, while
        employers are always aware of this fact, sometimes some workers are not. Substantial
        power, including deciding wage levels and hiring and firing is in the hands of
        the employers and can only be decreased and humanised by workers joining
        together in trade unions.

         

        Of course the system is far more complex than I have
        described. For instance there are some highly paid workers happy to act as
        agents of capital by contributing to and joining in the exploitation of other
        workers. And pension funds i.e. deferred wages of many workers, are invested in
        capitalist firms whose aim is to use them to profit from the further exploitation
        of workers. But what I have written is very basically how the capitalist system
        works.

         

        I’m sure you are aware, Holly, that when you talk of ‘rich
        ‘versus ‘poor’ you are not referring to equally matched adversaries. Employers
        and governments hold the power. Workers have no option but to defend themselves
        because their wages and working conditions are constantly under attack.

  • Daniel Speight

    Well that must have taken Jim Murphy all of three minutes to jot down. Eight paragraphs telling us nothing about lessons from the Bradford byelection. A quick soundbite piece telling us Blair was right about the class war being over at a time when much of the public feels like a class war has been declared on them. If this is as good as a shadow cabinet member can come up with we are in for a rough time.

    If we take just one lesson from Bradford, let it be that young working class Asians saw labour as part of the establishment and will no longer vote Labour on command. If we take that lesson into other communities in the inner  cities we may also begin to see why we have lost a generation of working class kids. (For Jim Murphy – these are the kids who haven’t grown up to be middle-class. They have always been there including all the way through Blair’s government.)

    • jonathanmorse

      But at least he writes in Labourlist. I’m not convinced anyone in power in Labour reads what we say. When we had all that fuss about Bombardier I mentioned that London’s (i.e. Boris’s) Transport for London was buying its trams for Croydon’s Tramlink from Switzerland. Noboddy picked up on it.

    • Kokopops

      “If we take just one lesson from Bradford, let it be that young working class Asians saw labour as part of the establishment and will no longer vote Labour on command”

      I think it’s young and old working class (and not just young Asians) that feel that (New) Labour are part of the establishment

  • Andy Shaw

    When a Cabinet of millionaires imposes brutal cuts that hit the poorest hardest, while simultaneously giving themselves tax cuts – then have the audacity to blame the unemployed and disabled for their own circumstances – I’d say we don’t have much choice about whether there’s a class war or not. The question is, which side is Labour, and the Blairite bits of it in particular, really on?

    • Franwhi

      Agree – and the fact is that there has been no effective opposition to policies deliberately designed to increase poverty levels so we have static or decreasing wages, high debt, unemployment, job insecurity, property bubbles bursting and a complete loss of social cohesion. I don’t know if any or to what extent these factors impacted on the Bradford by-election but I suspect inequality levels in the UK will continue to rise. The political elite are already well insulated so Jim Murphy’s kids will be OK but for many others social progress has stalled. Labour in opposition have little scope to deliver social justice measures and unfortunately largely neglected that chance under Blair which must now be a bitter regret. Jim Murphy talks of class war but the excesses of the Market just look more and more like gangsterism to me  !     

    • Jeff

      Labour are becoming almost irrelevant, the core vote is lost and will defect to parties like Respect more and more, perhaps making a rainbow coalition of the left possible in time. Tory lite just won’t wash anymore.The only hope is a fully vocal and focused campaign to save the NHS and repeal this disastrous health care bill. If Ed doesnt come out soon shouting this from the roof tops he’s toast

      • Duncan

        To be fair to Ed and team, I think they have been quite robust on the NHS bill.  For whatever reason, reporting of opposition to the NHS bill has been woeful, but I don’t think you can say the front bench have been weak on it.  They’ve also been good fighting this awful budget.  They were much weaker on the Welfare Reform Bill – I assume because they don’t want to be presented as opposing all reforms, but that has been very disappointing: they didn’t tap into the rage out there on that issue at all.

        It is important to realise that most criticism of the leadership is coming from quarters who would not bring changes that would shore up our core vote or lead to more robust opposition: quite the contrary.

        The problem is that the front bench is listening too much to the advice of the past, the “triangulation”.  New Labour pulled off its trick by convincing so-called “middle England” that it had changed while somehow reassuring its core vote that it hadn’t really (as far as I can tell, they pulled that off by letting John Prescott periodically punch farmers). 

        But the people wanting to see evidence that Labour have changed today are not wanting proof that they have changed from a media construct of Old Labour (angry bearded men shouting) but from a media construct of New Labour (flash blood-thirsty crooks).  There’s a whole host of people who learned their craft in New Labour who are still fighting a twenty-year old campaign.

    • Politique

      Tony Blair ex Cabinet millionnaire 30 times over. New Labour. For the few and not the many.

  • Holly

    I think, appearing to ‘pander’ to the different ethnic groups is part of the problem.
    The politicians should be advocating policies towards what all people want.
    Decent homes, safe communities, strong family ties, decent schools, proper policing/crime fighting, job opportunities, right down to a local post office.
    We are always trying to make out that we are ‘different’, when our aspirations for our children, our expectations, and for millions our concern about drug taking/alcohol abuse are the same.
    The politicians do not understand this and continue to separate us, playing on imaginary differences, focusing on the religion rather than the human wishes.
    IF Galloway focuses on the basics, and leaves the religion to the individual,which I doubt he will, then he would be the ‘different’ kind of politician this country needs.

  • trotters1957

    George Galloway claims to be “Real Labour”.
    I think he’s correct and I suspect many members of the Labour Party agree more with his policies and instincts than with Ed Miliband’s or with Jim Murphy’s.

    If GG can get the support of a few trade unions, Labour could be in big trouble.

    • Moe

      Right, so a few unions might back Galloway?  I doubt it.  Very much.

      And many members of the Labour Party agree more with Galloway than Jim Murphy?  That would be sad if it were true, as it would mean that many members were extremely foolish.  But it isn’t true.  A few members – a handful – might agree with Galloway, but that’s about it.

      If Labour does end up in big trouble it will be because in most people’s eyes he’s a hopeless leader and a dismal prospect for Prime Minister.  That can be repaired easily enough.  However Labour’s (potential) troubles have nothing to do with a need to return to ludicrous shouty ultra-left politics. 

      • trotters1957

        “It was formed because of the need for a left-wing alternative to the three established parties – New Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats.

        None of those parties represent the interests of ordinary working-class people or those who want a fairer, more equal and just society.

        When millions marched against the invasion of Iraq, the government ignored us.

        When workers and communities take strike action or protest against privatisation, job losses and cuts to our services, they are criticised by the New Labour government and the other parties.

        The Respect Party is opposed to war, privatisation and unemployment.

        The Respect Party stands for peace, publicly owned services and a decent future for all.

        We want a world in which the democratic demands of the people are carried out; a world based on need not profit; a world where solidarity rather than self-interest is the spirit of the age. We want to reach out to all those who share our views, to build a new party for change in the interests of ordinary people”

        I don’t think many in the Labour Party will disagree with this statement but many might wonder which party is most sincere. 

        • robertcp

          I agree.  People in Bradford West were voting against the consensus between Blairites and the coalition.  Labour needs to be an alternative to that consensus.  A start has been made, which is why I would have voted Labour in the byelection but I am not particularly upset by the result.

          The result also shows that Labour is still suffering from the invasion of Iraq.  I am not a fan of George Galloway but expelling him was an example of New Labour’s intolerance and stupidity. 

      • trotters1957

        How far has the left sunk when it is “ultraleft” to be antiwar and against unemployment.

      • treborc

        So we should shout for the ultra right polices then

  • GuyM

    I was struck by two comments:

    1 “I have always believed in a politics that tries to make sure that working class parents have middle class kids”.

    The problem is many working class parents and kids openly despise what “middle class” stands for. So if it’s not aspirational then how do you achieve your aim?

    Further middle class parents are invariably focused on academic achievement in their children and are willing to spend time, money and personal experience in pursuit of that goal. Too many working class parents and especially underclass are either unwilling, unable or both when it comes to matching that commitment.

    2 “Tony Blair was right when he said the ‘class war’ was over..”

    No he wasn’t, it isn’t over and I can’t see it ever being over.

    In a world of limited resources, when rewards have to be in line with education, intellect and skills, there will always be a split in allocation.

    One group will always have more than another, although the split can be more balanced than not, the divide is always there.

    I’m middle class and I’ve always seen the working class as an enemy who would take as much from me as thy could through the electoral system, hence “class war” does not end.

    • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

      Yes dear.

      • GuyM

        Sarcasm is your only retort it seems.

        LL has been full of articles over the years complaining about middle dominance i slective education, the best state schools, university places, work experience, internships etc.

        So perhaps you might like to tell all those left wing contributors they are wrong? Here’s your chance, go for it:

        …..

        somehow I can’t see you saying a word.

        Resources are limited in life, some have more than others and as a result disagreement will always occur. Being middle class I’m comfortable that more of those limited resources sit with my group than with yours.

        And if you don’t like that reality? tough….

        • derek

          Aint resources only limited when you can’t afford them? the fiat currency is nought but the guinea stamp, the man’s the gold for “A” that. The higher you build your walls to protect your wealth the more the surge will flow to pull those walls down.Bradford is a warning shoot to all the main party’s either learn a lesson or continue with your ineffective policies which have ignited the spark that will become a bonfire.

          • GuyM

            As the world is global wealth is easily protected.

            I couldn’t give a … what the people of Bradford want really.

          • derek

            Is it? the Arab spring is in full bounce? Guy you represent the apartheid economic school of thought. The more you take the poor rights away the taller they’ll become.

          • GuyM

            The arab spring which has sort of badly stalled it seems, means nothing in terms of day to day existence for western populations.

            As to the poor, I don’t theirs or anyone elses “right’s away”, i simply don’t intend to accept their right to the income I gain from my efforts, to which they contribute nothing.

          • derek

            Are you sure you want to endorse that comment? so what ever happens else where has not baring on Britain nor it’s economic front?

            But your income isn’t down to just you and you alone?I’m pretty sure the majority don’t want to be a statistical reminder of a world that doesn’t care.

          • GuyM

            Just where is the “arab spring” mm?

            Syria is a mess, Egypt looks little changed, Lybia has sort of gone quiet. Apart from that what?

            My income is entirley down to me and me alone, hence I get paid it and not anyone else. From that income a degree of taxation is paid to finance common services and that’s it.

            Redistribution for redistributions sake i.e. taking part of my income to directly boost someone elses income irrespective of the economic valiue of what they do is something I don’t accept.

            I work to allow me to buy my family a new TV, holiday or meal out, not to provide that for anyone else.

          • derek

            If your denying the Arab spring influence, then your denying the Bradford result?

            Your reliant on contractual terms, so your paid from a source other than your own which seems to me to represent your reliance on others?

            Since you rely on others to boost your income, why withhold that notion for others?

            Yeah! you are a provider and probably a good one at that but you also must recognise the wider family and the brotherhood of co-existence. 

          • GuyM

            I don’t recognise any obligation to socialists Derek.

            They are the enemy, not deserving of  a penny nor an iota of sympathy.

        • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

          Yawn…

    • robertcp

      Guy, you probably find it hard to believe that many people are not sure if they are middle or working class.  My mother was a secretary, my father was a carpenter, my parents owned our house, I went to university and earn an above average salary for working in an office.  Lower middle class?

      My view is that Labour should be for people on low and average incomes.  This may mean that I am for the class war but I prefer to call it democracy.

      • GuyM

        Class war is class war, it isn’t democracy, or if it is then it’s time I opposed democracy.

        I don’t work in order to redistribute to the lower classes Robert, hence I’m happy to fight a class war against them.

        • trotters1957

          You are a member of the proletariat or at best petite-bourgeois or in to-days jargon,  social class B.

          I  on the other hand was born a proletarian but am now in social class A.

          I’m better than you.

          • GuyM

            You haven’t the foggiest what social class I am, nor I you.

            So htat post was simply a troll form you, try again.

          • trotters1957

            I do know.
            You have stated on here many times that you work for a company in a management position, but you don’t own it.

            I am a member of the professional class,  as part of Social Class A by contemporary standards. 

            I am in a higher class than you.

          • GuyM

            Actually I moved on from “management” level some time ago, although all senior roles involve “management.

            “Ownership” could mean you run a window cleaning business for all I know.

            I had a number of opportunities to start my own consultancy a few years back, but I decided I didn’t want the workload. I far prefer working not too hard for a good reward and let others take the entrepreneurial risks.

            “Professional” might make you a social worker, teacher or the like.

            Either way you are a Labour voter so lower class in that sense.

          • trotters1957

            As I said you are middle management class B or C on the normal scale.
            Teachers and social workers are not part of social class A.

            I am of the professional class, look them up, barristers, solicitors, accountants. I’m one of those.

            You are quite definitely from a lower class than me.

          • GuyM

            Ah but I’m not in middle management… so try again.

            Keep trolling on.

          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            “You haven’t the foggiest what social class I am…”

            Come, come now, Guy. You’ve gone to great lengths to provide detailed biography, including information of a confessional nature re personal health concerns.

            Makes me think that the people on L.L. are the only friends you have, so for that reason I’ll be gentle with you and stop myself from writing more…

          • Peter Barnard

            @ Dave Stone,

            “Makes me think that the people on L.L. are the only friends you have … ”

            Ouch!

        • robertcp

          Lol.  Thank you for confirming that you oppose democracy and want to fight a class war against the lower classes.  Does this include over-paid bureaucrats like me?

          • GuyM

            I’ve no idea whether you are over paid or not, so I’d not judge.

            I’ll fight a class war versus the lower classes for as long as they want to redistribute my income to themselves.

            Just because a lot of people say they want to take my income from me, does not mean I feel obliged to co-operate.

          • trotters1957

            But you are a member of the lower classes from my vantage point.

          • GuyM

            As you haven’t the foggiest where I am, nor I where you are, you are simply trolling.

          • derek

            I’m thinking your in some Ivory tower, full of enjoyment as you gaze down on others.

          • Brother Number One

            Hilarious how some people can pretend to be high powered movers and shakers when really they’re sitting in their underwear munching cheesy wotsits and playing World of Warcraft. You thought you were trolling GuyM but in fact he’s the troll.

          • derek

            O’ Brother, what art thou trying to say?

          • GuyM

            And another troll joins the fray.

            Let’s make something up about you shall we.

            You are in fact sitting on Tracey Island about to launch into Thunderbird 2 to pop off to the local garage to fill up with diesel (just in case of a strike of course), when you saw this thread and came rushing to the rescue (or as fast as your strings allowed) to save LL from certain disaster….

            All about as likely as your silly comments.

  • http://twitter.com/ibbyullah ibby

    So what was the lesson learnt from Bradford West then? What a pointless article!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=697126564 Paul Halsall


    I have always believed in a politics which tries to make sure that working class parents have middle class kids.”

    And that is the entire failure of New Labour encapsulated in a sentence.

    • jaime taurosangastre candelas

      I’m not sure how to read that, but it does appear to me to be a call for ossification of people, for looking down on social mobility, for denying aspiration.

      If so, I cannot agree with you.  It is in my belief natural human nature for people to want to better themselves, to give their children a lift up in life, and it should be for political parties to support that through a framework of policy and law that allows that to happen, as well as providing a safety net for those that slip back through no fault of their own.

      I would go further.  I believe that any political party that sets out to deny those natural instincts will find itself very unpopular.  Political energies – after the efforts I point out above – should also be turned towards empowering whole communities, not in holding individuals back.

      Perhaps that explains why I am only tenuously attached to the right of the Labour Party*, and you seem to be to the left.  There is no criticism of either position implied by that, merely an observation.

      * If there was an election next week, I would find myself again voting LD.  The perils of being both an economic Orange Booker and a social Liberal who thinks William Beveridge had the right ideas (well, not on Eugenics).  Unreconcilable, really.

      • Mike Homfray

        Contradictory. Orange Book economics and social democratic welfare don’t fit together. Welfare spending threatens accumulation and profit which is the basis of neo-liberal economics. I’m glad you won’t be voting Labour.

        • jaime taurosangastre candelas

          Mike, we may nearly agree,  but there’s some grey area.  You can have both together if “enough” accumulation and profit to fund the spending, but if you have “too much” accumulation and profit then you can’t fund the spending as there are many more needing the welfare support.  It is much more complex than a simple Pareto calculation, it is like trying to find the point of balance on a see-saw suspended from two opposed logarithmic scales.

          I don’t think I’ll ever find the answer in my lifetime – I am not a professional economist nor work in this sphere.  I do know that (to be generic) “the left” won’t find it, as there will never be enough accumulation or profit to fund the left’s ideal welfare state.  I do know “the right” won’t find it as there will never be enough care and concern to drag from the hands of accumulation and profit enough to fund even a minimal welfare state.

          It is a very simple theoretical calculus.  Identify – to within a percentage point – the ideal amount of revenue to extract to fund social programmes, without killing the goose that is laying the golden egg.  and while doing that, chase back the proponents of extending the welfare state to the point where they advocate killing the goose.  I’m sure it is fantastically hard to achieve in reality.

  • Politique

    Jim, New Labour is dead. In fact it was Labour who jumpstarted independent schools through its unpopular liberal Adonis schools. Could you explain why the Labour Leader never speaks about education and spends more time in his LOCAL curry house in London than he does in his local constituency. Out of touch maybe?

  • Jimbennett

    “This is a local defeat with enormous national interest. Our task has to be to prevent it from becoming a national phenomena .”

    Jim, its already happened, at least in some areas of the UK. Look in your own back yard at then rejection of the three main UK parties.

    “He won in Bradford partly off of a high octane campaign about Iraq and Afghanistan. The lesson for Labour isn’t that British Forces should get out of Afghan districts and provinces sooner than planned but that British Labour should keep working to get back into our own towns and cities even more urgently”

    What utter rubbish, it means that the natural constituency of Labour have a complete mistrust of labour because of what they did in government. Silly, Liberal type of community work won’t change that. Serious and consistent political position will change it.

    “Politics at its worst is seen as a spurious exercise in superficiality. That was clear earlier this week when David ‘call me Dave’ Cameron pretended he had eaten a pasty at a long ago closed shop”

    Oh dear god spare us…what about Eds Milliband andBballs queueing up at Greggs to buy some sausage rolls. Sprurious exercise in superficiality indeed.

  • Dave Postles

    Class war?  Why there isn’t, but could be.  The buffer is provided by the middle-class not being homologous.  Professionalization means that some of the middle-class do not subscribe to the predatory, feral, neo-liberal ideology, but adhere to the ethics of their professions: an independent judiciary; some in the pro bono legal profession; some in the medical profession; some teachers and head teachers.  They form a bulwark against class war.  The problem will be if those professional ethics are eroded by politics, epitomized by the political stance of the Supreme Court in the USA (which seems ironic, really, given the pretence of the partage des pouvoirs professed in the US). 
    That’s why the metaphor of the 1% and the 99% is useful.

  • Mike Homfray

    Brushing off foreign policy issues with ‘no change’ isn’t good enough. We should support immediate withdrawal from the pointless Afghan war, make it clear there will be no more intervention and shift towardssuppirting the Palestinian cause. We should do all of those things because it is right to do so

    • jaime taurosangastre candelas

      Many others would disagree with you.  Would you not like a debate first, or are you so right that your views should prevail irrespective of what others think?

      • derek

        That’s a bit rich from you? you accused me on an other thread of calling for the immediate resignation of Francis Maude, as some type of lone call, that no other reasonable person or personal would make. I think you own me an apology considering the amount of press coverage and secondary calls made for his resignation.

        • jaime taurosangastre candelas

          No such apology is needed.  Rather, it should be you and those other muppets politically naïve opportunists calling for Maude’s immediate resignation who should apologise for taking up so much air time.  Particularly when as it turns out, the Fire Brigade did not call for his resignation, merely calling his advice “dangerous”.  

          So what did Maude actually advise?  “A bit of extra fuel in a jerry can in the garage is a sensible precaution to take

          Let’s decompose that a little.

          A jerry can, not a jug.

          In a garage, not in an unventilated kitchen with an open flame nearby.

          For filling up car tanks, which is normally done in the open air next to the road, not in a kitchen.

          Frankly, the lady concerned is lucky she is not Britain’s nomination for this year’s Darwin Award.

          • derek

            It’s wasn’t due to a BBQ? it was a comment from the next door neighbour…such is fact! telling people to store up petrol in jerry cans without even consultation with the fire brigade was idiotic.Maude is a disgrace and should resign now.

            You didn’t answer the question or should I say you’ve refused to give me an apology, all you’ve done is thrown a petrol bomb at the madness of Maude’s incompetence.

            As a doctor your retort must qualify you as sincerely below par.  

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Calm down Derek,

            you will understand that I used paragraphs to separate logical elements of the response.  The final paragraph in which I mention barbecues is clearly not intended to act as detail for preceding paragraphs.

            First, I disagree with you and choose to not offer an apology, noting that what you claimed yesterday (about the fire brigade) is not factually accurate.

            Then I refresh what Maude actually said, and to help you work it through in your mind atomise it into a comparison with what the woman actually did.

            I provide more detail that the reason the daughter ran out of fuel was because she had run out of money, nothing to do with a strike.

            I make a judgement, about this being an everyday accident caused by idiocy.  I stick to that judgement.

            Then finally, to give you a sense of how common these accidents are, I provide some wider context.

            Did you not study comprehension and the construction and deconstruction of logical argument at school?

            Before you go off half cocking again, as you usually do, look at some of today’s newspaper stories that have more detail than yesterday’s briefer reports.  Among the pictures of the lady’s house there is one which shows that she has a detached garage, safely away from her house, and with a long driveway into which her daughter’s car could be driven for refuelling safely in the open air.  There was no need at all to decant petrol from a container into a jug in her kitchen, with the gas cooker lit.

            If you think that despite every piece of context and detail given that a Cabinet Minister should resign with immediate effect, then you place your own judgement under serious consideration.

          • derek

            Bollocks! I reiterate’ the fire brigade immediately called Maude’s advice into question.

            Relatives of the injured lady have suggested she was following Maude’s advice, to store petrol in jerry cans.

            To help you digest some basic knowledge of safety! minister shouldn’t advise people to stick a finger in an electrical socket or store a hazardous  substance  without reporting the dangers.

            Your idea of comprehension is lacking clout and supporting the idea that individuals should store potentially dangerous substances in and around their homes is a shocking indictment of your profession, I just can’t quite believe that you’d advocate given matches to children acceptable.

            Letting your judgement down in  favour of a conservative minister is really damaging your already wobbly presentations on this site.

            Accident do occur! but I’ve never meet anyone that has a sense to ignore preventative measures.I’m know questioning whether your ability to recognise preventative actions. I kind of guess your just being lazy and uninterested.  

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            It’s helpless arguing with you Derek, because you appear not to have the reason of a normal person.

            I reiterate, the advice as a bit of petrol in a jerry can, not a jug.  In a garage, not a kitchen, and certainly not a kitchen with an open flame.

            As for the rest of your rant, I’m not bothered.  You’ll think whatever you want.

            /Ends.

          • derek

            There you go again with your reasonable assumptions? when many others have called Maude’s advice into question and called for his resignation but because it doesn’t suit you, you revert to calling everyone else sub normal! I think you recognise that phrase very closely?

          • derek

            Jeez! more extensions! I thought we were debating the fuel crisis that wasn’t really taken place, where a government minister instigated a mad rush for fuel and the storing of fuel without a strike being in place.Most of the jerry cans don’t outline the potential hazards of petrol and just how easily it can be ignited?

          • geedee0520

            Erm – actually it was the FBU that called the advice into question. But no matter.

            If someone needs telling not to pour petrol from a can into a jug in front of a lit gas flame then there is little hope for the human race.

          • derek

            But that’s not the case, is it. It’s a question about a government minister, telling people to store fuel without referring to the hazards?

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Particularly when the petrol was in a standard green plastic jerrycan to start with, there was a garage at the property and off-road parking, and the transfer of fuel could have occurred directly from jerrycan to car outside in the driveway in normal conditions of safety.

            What this lady did was mind-numbingly dumb.  I’m very sorry for her and her family, and I have some understanding of the agony she will initially have endured, and the extended period of pain and mental shock that will occur in several days’ time when she comes onto the less aggressive painkillers and the nerve endings begin to heal without the structural support normally offered by sub-cutaneous fats.  She will suffer from axonotmesis or worse neurotmesis – i.e. semi or permanent nerve damage.

            However, while sympathy is natural, it is not cruel to consider it self-inflicted.

          • Alex O

             In light of the fact that the Tories sought to make political capital out of their engineered fuel crisis – using the general public as pawns, as the Telegraph put it, in there misguided and hasty attack on Unite – it seems entirely reasonable to me to ask for Maude’s resignation. Perhaps you like what the government have done, but if anything that makes you naive.

          • Peter Barnard

            @ Alex O,
             
            “ … Tories sought to make political capital … ”
             
            And, for the record, this is what (high Tory) Charles Moore wrote in the Telegraph today : ‘But now I have heard the Conservatives’ private explanation, which is being handed down to constituency associations by MPs …. The private message is as follows.
             
            “This is our Thatcher moment. In order to defeat the coming miners’ strike, she stockpiled coal. When the strike came, she weathered it, and the Labour Party, tarred by the strike, was humiliated. In order to defeat the coming fuel drivers’ strike, we want supplies of petrol stockpiled. Then, if the strike comes, we will weather it, and Labour, in hock to the Unite union, will be blamed.” ’
             
            Stockpiling petrol? Gasoline (if you’ll excuse the description that I have assimilated after a long time working with Americans) is bl**dy hazardous stuff, and, domestically, it should not be stored in a confined space, ie a garage (or garden shed). I have up to five litres (for the lawn mower) on my property in a plastic container, and that’s placed against the back wall (north-facing, which is a “bonus”) of the garage with a “sun shade” over it.
             
            The Conservatives are all over the place on this. It seems that Mr Cameron “has ordered” that the drivers of trucks containing petroleum product now work eleven hours a day, instead of the usual nine. Working longer hours in such an occupation leads to additional hazards.
             
            Unite could and should come into the open on this issue. They have ascertained that the working conditions now are leading to a greater risk and they should spell out, chapter and verse, for the great British public, how this is occurring. From what I have read, the delivery of petroleum product is now on a “sub-contract” structure, and that’s an adverse development. Sub-contracts are invariably awarded on price, not quality.
             
            I am also surprised ; I had always thought that if I saw a “Shell” tanker on the road, it was being driven by a Shell employee, with all the training and development that Shell is capable of. Not to mention the name, the “trusted brand” of Shell.
             
            Apparently, not so … and that worries me.

          • derek

            @Peter Barnard and AlexO, spot on and a complete view of the situation, not some side elevation espoused out by some others.

          • Peter Barnard

            @ Derek,

            Thanks, DB.

            Hope you are well!

          • derek

            Thanks  @Peter Barnard , for some reason I’ve shed a stone and a half, in three months, seeing my doctor mid week. I hope my poor grammar and phrasing isn’t to much of a put off, just an ordinary bus driver trying to have a say. Thanks again @Peter.

          • Peter Barnard

            @ Derek,

            I really hope that there’s no bad reason for your loss of weight, but I have to admit that I know sweet FA about these things.

            There is absolutely nothing wrong with being an “ordinary bus driver.”  It’s people like you that actually “make the world go round” and, as far as I’m concerned, you are entitled to hold your head as high as anyone else.

             

          • Dave Postles

             I’ll second that.  Good health to you, Derek.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Derek,

            I’m really sorry to hear that.  I know you and I have our ding dongs on LL, sometimes with humour, sometimes a bit grumpy.  Put all of that aside.  You want to ask your GP some serious questions, and DO NOT BE PUT OFF WITH NONSENSE.

            Never forget that your GP is a privatised tory bastard ( ;)) ) so grip him by the nuts and do not be satisfied until he has signed you up for every test going.  You’ve paid your taxes and NI, so have a real good swing through the menu of tests.  Free at the point of care, as it should be!

            Do you smoke?  Weight loss can be associated with early onset COPD.

            There’s some nasty C’s that are often preceded by weight loss:  cancer, coeliac disease, and Crohn’s.  Chances are low for any of those, unless you’ve also discovered other symptoms.

            Ask for thyroid tests.

            Ask for a diabetes test, particularly if you are partial to more than a drink or 2.

            I’d also suggest keeping a weight and faecal movements diary.  But I’m not a GP (thank God!), and you WILL get good advice if you know how to ask for it.  And don’t let him shuffle you out after you 12 minute appointment – keep asking questions until you are satisfied.  He’s not allowed to throw you out, by law.

            God be with you.

          • GuyM

            Sorry to hear that Derek. We don’t agree in the slightest but you do bring a smile to my face.

            I hope you get well soon.

          • GuyM

            Not a bad way of drawing attention to a likely Unite strike though was it?

            Union militancy as an idea slowly seeps into public minds in times for rougher times ahead.

            Just as Milliband announces the dinners with McCluskey… £630,000  a time  wasn’t it worth?

          • Peter Barnard

            @ Guy M,@94b39b8168c207a3b1de270dd43f0e9b:disqus 

            “Not a bad way of drawing attention to a likely Unite strike though was it?”

            No it wasn’t, if you prefer politics to actuality.

            I thought that you abhorred the ways of politicians?

          • GuyM

            Oh I do abhor the ways of politicians, but most of those I can avoid.

            What I truly hate is left wing marxist scum who run unions and use a few hundred people to disrupt and entire economy.

            So the sooner the tanker drivers are broken (either through army drivers) or they settle the better.

    • GuyM

      Sadly for you you are in a minority of the population.

      • MIke Homfray

        On those three issues, definitely not in a minority, you need to get out more

        • GuyM

          A foriegn policy in overt support of the palestinians and Hamas is most definitely not a majority view.

          But either way, I do hope your desired Islamification of Labour succeeds, a sure fire way to lose votes.

          Personally I’d back the Israelis over Arabs in nearly every case.

          • Mike Homfray

            But you’re a Tory. You’ll never vote for us. So I honestly don’t care what you think.

            Hamas only control part of the Palestinian territories and their success was in direct consequence of Israel’s unacceptable behaviour. I suppose Israel may have some supporters in Surrey golf clubs

          • GuyM

            More than “some support”, I think you’ll find that the entire Tory party supports Israel as do an additional chunk of the public.

            Personally I find most of the Arab world “unacceptable” in terms of behaviour.

            But you rant on, Israel isn’t going to be too bothered. After all the country with the biggest military in history has its back.

  • Amber Star

    Life expectancy is still highest in Kensington and Chelsea and lowest in Glasgow…
    ————–
    So, Jim, when are our government in waiting going to make a case for regionalized retirement ages, if we are to have regionalized welfare payments & public sector wages then it is only fair that retirement age be regionalized too!

  • http://twitter.com/all_thats_left_ All Thats Left

    This is an interesting analysis of the Bradford West result. Thee simple truth as I see it, is that at a time when the people are pretty angry, the Labour Party are failing to articulate that anger or provide an energetic leadership for those disaffected. Politics have changed, but the aim of politicians should still be (and call me naive) determined by what they passionately believe is right – not what they think the Daily Mail thinks is right, and sadly, for too long that failing has been Labour’s failing.
    I expand on this in the following article: 
    http://www.allthatsleft.co.uk/2012/03/bradford-a-neutrals-view/

  • Amber Star

    I have always believed in a politics which tries to make sure that working class parents have middle class kids.
    ————————–
    Firstly, I do a ‘middle-class’ job & earn a ‘middle-class’ salary (more than your official salary, Jim). I’m still working class. I still sell my labour to an employer so I’m working class.

    Secondly, If all working class children become ‘middle class’, who will do the ‘working class’ jobs? Are the children of the ‘middle class’ to take a fall? Are they to be squeezed out by the rising working class. Or are we expecting immigrants to come & do all the real work? Immigrants – like the people of Bradford & their children. They – or people of their ‘ilk’ who follow behind them - are to do the dirty work!

    This, Jim – this is why voters in Bradford & the poor areas of Glasgow etc. think we are out of touch. You might have an aspirational vision for the children of working class people whatever colour or creed they are. The ‘real’ working class know that the jobs they do need doing. And until Labour pull their heads out of their collective New Labour @rses & raise the status of those jobs & the pay that those jobs command, there is always going to be hard working people who are struggling against a tide of unfairness.

    Labour’s aspiration should be that working people doing working-class jobs can have aspirations whilst doing those jobs, Jim! Aspirations for themselves, right now. That they can feed, house, clothe, educate & maybe even pay for a holiday with their kids – not struggle most of their lives so that their kids can have an outside chance of becoming ‘middle-class’ in 20 years time, or whenever.

    When you ‘get’ this, Jim – if you ever do – then you’ll understand why Labour lose by-elections like Bradford West & why many working-class people think Labour are out of touch with their needs & concerns. But I’m willing to bet, that having pontificated on Labour List, you’re not going to read the comments or bother to respond. So I won’t be holding my breath for a reply.

    And yes, I know that for working class jobs to pay more,  jobs like mine would probably have to pay less. So be it. I’d rather do what I do than be a care-worker or a cleaner or shelf-stacker in a supermarket, regardless of the pay differential.

    • Peter Barnard

      @ Amber Star,
       
      Great comment (Jim Murphy and “middle class jobs” for the children).
       
      May I add that without the people who are actually doing what are, nowadays, deemed to be working-class jobs, our currently comfortable way of life would come to a full stop pretty quickly?
       
      Truly, we are now governed (and have been, since 1979) by men and women who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. To a great extent, that includes Labour 1997 – 2010.
       
      Nothing lasts forever … although capital (and the managers of capital) are still in the ascendant, the self-serving “philosophy” of these people – aka “trickle–down” – will be shown to be what it really is : self-serving.
       
      As J K Galbraith observed : ““The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy ; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

      • GuyM

        More than happy for the working class to do their jobs and get paid etc.

        Just so long as i don’t have to mix with, work with, socialise with them or have my kids go to school with their kids.

        Socialism, the eternal bleating of the less succesful and envious.

        • Peter Barnard

          @ Guy M,

          “Socialism, the eternal bleating of the less succesful and envious.”

          Is that a personal comment directed at me?

          As the two damson trees bloom in my garden (about 25 lb of fruit collected last year, perhaps the same this year), the pear tree, regular as clockwork will come into bloom next week, the mahonias are coming into bloom, primroses in flower all over the place, the self-spreading aquilegias showing strength, the peonies, bluebells and lupins also re-appearing and showing strength, not to mention the digitalis multiplying, the rhododendrons budding,  all in a quarter of an acre of land (the grass was cut yesterday, and the edges trimmed today) that belongs to me, with one aspect on the village church with its spire, and another looking towards the Welsh hills,  certainly, I have nothing to be envious about and I am quite happy with my apparent lack of “success.”

          Oh, I forgot – the straight-six BMW parked on the drive …

          What I am concerned about is the takeover of the body politic by people like you.

          You should remember your comment (can’t remember which article) that “you have no idea what class I am.” I do have an idea – you have tons of class but the problem is, it’s all third.

          • Peter Barnard

            Correction : the land actually belongs to Brenda – I only have title to the freehold to the land.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Peter Barnard,

            that wouldn’t be one of those completely legal tax avoidance dodges,would it?  There are some on here who would violently disapprove.

            Don’t worry, your secret is safe.  I don’t pay any tax on gold or foreign land holdings either.  It’s not just Ken who can play the system.

            Having said that, my wife today paid around £450 for a year of road tax for her Landrover, which is quite a lot.

          • Peter Barnard

            @ Jaime,@94b39b8168c207a3b1de270dd43f0e9b:disqus 

            “Tax avoidance.”

            Not at all, Jaime.

            All land – and I mean all - in the United Kingdom belongs to the Crown (“Brenda” – I have to admit to a bit of plagiarism there from Private Eye).  That’s all – nothing to do with tax avoidance in my affairs.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            OK Peter, sorry to get the wrong end of the stick.  I thought you may be married to a lady called Brenda.  My apologies.

            However, those completely legal tax avoidance schemes are often recommended to those with some relative disposable income, perhaps in their retirement years…..

            If you buy undeveloped Canadian lakeshore frontage (about £800/acre in middle Ontario) and pay into a municipality electricity connection scheme (£4-5000) your purchase is currently tax free, and tax free inheritable under Ontario provincial law.  It’s a good deal as the land is currently appreciating, as is the Loonie against the pound.  My children are currently unaware, but each owns contiguous blocks of 10 acres on a truly beautiful lake about 2 hours north of Toronto.

          • Peter Barnard

            Thanks, Jaime, but taxes have to be paid fairly and squarely by all. We can’t all be tax avoiders.

            I recommend “The Cost of Rights” by Stephen Holmes and Cass Sunstein, in which the first sentence is, “All legally enforceable rights cost money.”

            “Legally enforceable rights” include justice in the courts …”

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            When the Government (Ontario in this case) set up a scheme to encourage investment, it is fair and square.

            I thought it would be more complicated, but it was straightforward.  My solicitor engaged a local solicitor in Toronto, the two of them spoke and I and my UK solicitor were persuaded this was a proper Government scheme, I opened a Canadian bank account in London with online access, and transferred the money (about £17,500 plus £8,200 for connecting two blocks to the electricity).  3 weeks later, from the Ontario Government legal documentation was received in Toronto confirming title, and a week after that two hand signed letters from the Chief Secretary to the Ontario Treasury confirming that as one of those who had taken up the scheme, there would be no death taxes payable on inheritance in perpetuity, which in my children’s case I hope will not be for another 80 or more years.

            We are getting the three properties properly fenced this year, and the access road is being tarmac’ed by the municipality.  Next year we will begin the build.

            I have only visited it once, with my cousin.  We drove up in her husband’s pick up truck with the 4 wheel drive on a beautiful late spring day.  Our 3 frontages curl around a small bay on the main lake which is about 3 miles by 4 miles.  Our shoreline mostly faces south, and the “home” bay is about 10-15 foot deep of crystal clear water with a small beach.  I swam across the bay and during the swim I saw lots of trout and other smaller fish.  In winter, it is about 2 metres deep with snow and there are already pre-formed snowmobile tracks.  The community looks like being about 600-700 houses, with a small community centre and a couple of shops already developed.  I have great hopes for this investment.

          • Peter Barnard

            Bully for you, Jaime, that you have £25,000   on hand for such an enterprise.

            How many ordinary folk, eg bus-drivers, will be participating in this scheme?

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            It’s called saving, Peter.

            Work hard, save hard, be thrifty.

            My salary in Chile was around £6,000 a year.  I took a pay cut to go to Serbia, for the experience.  I came to Britain to find my market value was rather higher.

            Perhaps your “straight six” BMW that you were keen to tell Guy about also cost around £25,000?Looking at the prices of BMWs, it might have been £50,000 or more.  I’ve been on the same Volvo that is now 16 years old since 1997.  It might be worth £300 on a good day, but I know it and its’ foibles, and I’m not a car snob.

          • GuyM

            Not directed at you at all, directed at your views though… and all who hold them.

            Jealous, envious, thieving small minded socialists….

        • Brumanuensis

          I hear working-classness is highly contagious Guy. It can be transmitted even without direct contact apparently; just be careful. One day you might send your kids off to school, neat notebooks in hand, impeccably dressed and properly spoken. And in the evening they’ll come back wearing hoodies, pregnant (if female) and dropping their ‘t’s in favour of glottal stops. A sad state of affairs, but as you so rightly note, one that can be avoided through hermitry.

          • GuyM

            Picking up a bad accent, smoking, disruption in classrooms.

            It seems that those things can rub off.

             I’d bet you take any child from a good school where lessons take place with a degree of discipline and drop them into a failing sink school, troubled by gangs, drugs, bad attendence and disruptive pupils and that child is going to suffer much lower outcomes and behavioural problems.

            Peer group presure can undermine the best attempts at parenting and as such most of my friends were incredibly careful over schools, activities and friends. You get one chance to set a child up for adulthood, it’s too important to risk.

            Hermitry isn’t needed, get a house in the right area, meet most friends and steer them away from the wrong types, have a firm set of boundaries and rules.

            Going on days out and activities that cost a reasonable amount of money also tend to protect as well, selection through ability to pay is not particuarly pleasant but it works.

          • Duncan

            Oh thank God, Guy is a comedian!  Up until now I thought he was saying things he really believed! I apologise for my “bad accent”, but at least we now understand that smoking is a disease of the working class!

            Hilarious!

          • GuyM

            Hilarious is your ability to try and make light of a fact that rather a lot of research shows to be correct i.e. incidence of smoking is far higher in the lower classes.

            Or as research from Cancer Research UK shows:

            “Smokers by socio-economic group

            In 2009, 26% of adults in manual households smoked compared to 16% of those in non-manual households. The difference between managerial and professional households and routine and manual households is even greater (15% compared to 29%).

            Manual workers start to smoke at an earlier age, with 48% of men and 40% of women in routine and manual occupations in Britain regularly smoking by 16 compared with 33% of men and 28% of women in managerial and professional occupations, according to the results of the 2005 General Household Survey.”

            In other words, there is a 50% higher chance of a child being exposed to peer group smoking if mixing with children of lower social class.

            Also our daughters are at an all girls grammar, hence even less chance of exposure to a lot of peers who smoke.

            But I find really hilarious though is despite clear statistics showing rates of exam success, problem children, smoking, drug problems, violence and classroom disruption that vary starkly from school to school and area to area, invariably linked to socio-economic metrics, that you and others think trying to ensure the best outcomes for children is somehow beyond the pale.

            I know only too damn well of the fact job applicants with horrible accents, tatoos, piercings, bad qualifications and poor “soft interview skills” don’t have the same outcomes in terms of the jobs, the income, the same life chances and “getting on”.

            So you can take the pss all you like, but hopefully I can pass on whatever advantage my parents bought for me to my children. If you want to pretend that isn’t a fact, that’s good for me as it means you can be oblivious to the reality in society.

          • Duncan

            I pass just as many smokers outside the grammar schools in my town as outside the comprehensive. 

            As far as I know they don’t teach elocution lessons or accent correction either.

            But I don’t take the piss out of you wanting the best for your kids – we all want that, even if we might have different ideas about what’s best.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=697126564 Paul Halsall

      @3a404cbb9d20336126ec5f60d0003d2f:disqus  That was a really great comment.  This is what the current Labour team seems unable to grasp.

    • GuyM

      Whereas I was born to middle class parents, lived in a middle class area, went to a leafy middle class school and now have a middle class career

      Anyone call me working class because I work would be about the biggest insult I could receive.

      But your point is ok, you identify with the working class, others identify with the middle class. It’s largely tribal and neither side much likes the other.

      Class war is alive and well in the UK.

  • Forlornehope

    Full disclosure, I was born and grew up in the West of Scotland.  The reason that people in Glasgow have deplorably low life expectancy is because they eat rubbish, drink and smoke too much and hardly ever take any exercise and this is true however much cash they have. The richer ones just eat, drink and smoke more expensive rubbish.  For a politician to deny these facts is to murder their constituents.

  • http://www.the-middle-man.co.uk/ Mark Richards

    This was a protest vote, of course, but when voters want to protest about something in these kind of numbers politicians would be well advised to listen.

  • Peter Barnard

    @ Jaime,
     
    (boxes getting too small, hence a top-of-the-page position)
     
    Some points :
     
    (i) tax avoidance seems to be something that the well-off, particularly, defend ;
     
    (ii) tax avoidance is nothing less than a subsidy from those who can’t take advantage of it to those who can ;
     
    (iii) it always seems to be the well-off who bitch and moan about the level of taxation ; funny thing is, as the Coalition told us all that they were going to extract “five times” as much in taxes, by additional proposals, from the well-off as government was relinquishing by the reduction in the higher rate from 50 per cent to 45 per cent, not a squawk of complaint was heard. I wonder why?
     
    (iv) my remark about the straight-six BMW was made to the execrable Guy M to put him right that I am not as poor as a church mouse due to a lack of personal effort, an “eternal bleater” full of envy for his sort of “success” – if he is to be believed

    • jaime taurosangastre candelas

      @ Peter,

      your points fully accepted.  Morally, I’m with you, but with one (not) exception which I may struggle to explain.  I’ll try, you’ll let me know if I succeed.

      I start from a position of fully taking the strain in terms of payments to the authorities of the country I live in, on current income and outgoings.  Tax is needed to pay for the safety net our society finds fair to provide.  So, my personal tax return takes me about 10 minutes a year to fill in, as it is quite simple.  I have a salary of around £77,000 a year from the NHS on which I pay PAYE and NI.  There are a couple of insurances for professional indemnity I can offset, and that’s it.  In contrast, my wife as a partner in a private practice of vets has the most amazingly complicated tax return, but it is not really about avoiding tax, really being tax efficient on behalf of her business.  Anyway, it’s her business and she employs an accountant.

      Having (I hope) done the right thing for my fellow citizens, I look forward in time, to my own retirement and to my children’s future, and here is where it may get complicated and you may disagree.

      I feel that having paid what the tax law requires me to pay with no argument and no clever clever accounting tricks, the rest of the money is mine.  I should not have to pay more tax on it.

      Since 1503, gold in certain forms has been tax free in the UK as it is legal tender.  That is also extended to Dominions and Possessions, such as Canada, Australia, and oddities like St Helena.  So I buy gold, but then swap it around so my Canadian gold Maples are stored in the UK, my Sovereigns and Britannias in Canada, and so on.  That way I avoid the confiscation of legal tender that the US saw under FDR in the 1930s.  It costs me an airline ticket once a year to move the stuff, but I like to see my family in Canada anyway.

      Land can also be tax-efficient if you are smart.  I first bought some scrubby acres 2 miles beyond the Santiago ring road 15 years ago, and rent them for a peppercorn to my father’s Mission to grow some crops.  Initially, I thought I would build my parents a retirement house there, but they do not want to retire there and so I will probably sell them.  Santiago is expanding and I may be able to get a decent price, which my father and I plan to split 1/3 for his and my mother’s annuity (they never had a pension), and 2/3 to the staff of the Mission when it closes.  There is no point in continuing the Mission as Chile’s health services are now so much better than ever they were.  My father would quite like to have a small flat in Santiago and come up to Canada for some months in the Austral winter.  Why not, he has earned it, as has my mother.

      Farmland in the UK is much more complex, but I own some in Devon on my father-in-law’s farm.  A sale and lease-back arrangement.

      All of the above are either tax-free or tax-efficient, and in inheritance terms aimed at my children.

      And of course land is wonderful for digging secret holes in, to keep the gold away from prying eyes.  It is mine, I bought it at market price under the laws of this country with no liable taxes, and I’m not going to surrender it.

    • GuyM

      Regarding point 3.

      Firstly it wasn’t directed at you in particular and secondly it wasn’t to be seen in relation to me in particular.

      A lot of people in this country earn vast amounts more than me, were born far better off than me and will do far better than me in life….. and I have not single feeling of envy, jealousy nor any desire to tax them more because they are “rich” and I’m not.

      Sorry but I simply can not do the politics of envy that the left like to wallow in, nor support the demographics the Labour party seems to have now fallen on to rely as its reason to exist.

      Socialism is theft when it drifts into income distribution rather than provion of services.

      Fund the NHS? Absolutely

      Fund a good education system? Yep, though you failed miserably in 13 years of trying

      Fund all the other typical services a state provides through taxation? Yes, though we might argue over the level of provision

      BUT… pay tax just for some socialist to pass it direct on to his core vote in order to “redistribute” incomes? Nope, I see that as theft and a bribe to your core vote pure and simple.

      So as soon as socialism slips into redisribution it shows its true colours, theft from those not in its core vote in order to bribe the core vote.

      Theft and bribery… that’s how I see socialism

  • Daniel Speight

    And then I thought I had better look up this Murphy in Wikipedia.

    “Who knows?” I thought, maybe this guy has some real life experiences to bring to the table. Shadow Minister of Defense, could he have done a bit of military service? That would make a change, wouldn’t it?

    So who is this fellow telling us of lessons to be learned. Well he did some sort of politics degree in university and went from there into the National Union of Students where he pushed through their support of tuition fees; was that sucking up to Blair? Straight out of the students’ union into being a PLP MP.

    Well Jim boy, isn’t that aspiration in action? As to whether we have anything to learn from you except ambition, I doubt.

  • AlanGiles

    This will be my final LL contribution.

    I am not sure the leadership will really want to “learn lessons” from Bradford West. Like all politicians they will hear and see what they want to hear & see, and will disregard anything they find “inconvenient”, so they will continue to bus in Islington lawyers to safe seats, they will continue to arrange with indecent haste short-lists of the favoured, and a grateful core vote will be expected to vote for them unthinkingly (Ed had pre-briefed the press to join him at a certain place in Bradford West on Friday 30th March at 7.45 for his “victory parade” (as quoted in yesterdays “I” newspaper). The leadership has treated the core vote with contempt and disdain for 15 years, now the core vote is giving them a dose of their own medicine. That is the simple truth.

    Now may I turn to LL itself. Firstly I have great affection for Mark, whose heart is definately in the right place, but, last week I decided the game wasn’t worth the candle for several reasons.

    Younger Labour supporters who are not content with being Labour pure and simple, but have to qualify their support with a “colour” prefix: Purple, red, blue. Childish and devisive, they have little interest – or none – in the party’s history and philosophy: all these different flavoured “coloured Labour” supporters all seem to be from the right of the party. Some of them sound as if they would be more at home in the coalition.

    Secondly there has been a trend to rehabilitate several “new Labour” ex-ministers on LL – we have had Blears, the last straw for me on March 28th was a self-regarding piece by Tony McNulty – a man who – let’s be frank – helped Labour to lose the last election, because of the expenses scandal and the disgust that episode caused amongst voters in general who felt they were all “at it”. At least some of the big offenders (Jacqui Smith, James Purnell et al) had the grace and dignity to stand down in 2010 – Mr McNulty tried to tough it out, and lost, and yet appears still to have designs on Harrow East in 2015. No thank you.

    You can fairly blame the coalition for many transgressions, but the absolute crass stupidity of the “Cornish pasty” affair last week was otiose – does it matter if or when Cameron or Osborne last ate one of the revolting things?. I loathe that sort of pie, but that says nothing about me or my beliefs. Then we had the unedifying sight of Ed and Ms Reeves piling into Greggs (I imagine their maiden visit to this chain store) to be photographed consuming pasties. Have they literally nothing better to do?

    I do wonder if LL has many readers in Bradford or have friends or relations who live there, and told them about Mr Marchant’s anti-Islamic rant (also on March 28th) backed up on LL by some of his supporters from another website. RM is very quick to condemn anyone who dare disagree with him in highly personal terms.

    And finally one vexacious LL poster who doesn’t support Labour or the left who talks in terms of disliking Labour supporters, and when he is not talking about the “lower classes” is forever talking about his exhaulted position in life – allegedly. He is as relevant to LL as Mr. Cameron and Mr Miliband’s Cornish pasties. What is he doing here, and – more to the point –    should he be allowed to constantly perform his striptease in pink limelight on LL,  given that he despises it and you?

    I am sorry to say if the party goes on as it does, it can expect more Bradford West’s, because it is so busy trying to chase the votes the coalition parties already has, that it is forgetting their core vote, or else chooses to patronise them with the sight of posh boys and girls running into Greggs. That says it all. Goodbye.

    • Brumanuensis

      I’m sorry to read this Alan. I don’t agree with all the points you make, but most of them are pretty sound. I hope you change your mind.

    • Holly

      Do not let the bods at the top beat you.
      They are temporary, in the grand scheme of things.
      I doubt Ed will win the next General Election and will most likely be gone shortly afterwards, so hang on in there.
      Just think how bad it feels being a Conservative voter at the moment?
      Quite *!#*%* ing!
      You support the party, not just the current crop of useless bods.
      Arguing your ‘point’ sensibly, without personal insults, is the best way to deal with ‘you know who’. 
      That is one of the reasons I visit this site, people ‘discuss’.
      Love 
      Holly
      xxx

      • GuyM

        How does it feel being a Tory voter?

        I’d imagine they are quite happy being in government.

    • Daniel Speight

       Alan I clicked ‘liked’ not because I liked the comment but because I understand it. I guess Murphy got the job of posting on behalf of his Blairite chums and it does make you wonder if there is anything worth saving in the Labour Party. I just read the Dan Hodges lesson learned from Bradford post over on the Telegraph blogs and it’s quite stomach churning.

      In the meantime I will continue to comment because I don’t want the likes of Murphy and Hodges to take over without a fight this Labour Party, not for its history and traditions, but because they consider it a good brand name to further their careers.

  • W G

    Does no one on LL see anything wrong with this statement:

    “Our task has to be to prevent it from becoming a national phenomena where disenchanted voters who want change send for anyone other than the established parties.”

    Very comfortable arrangement – being part of “the established parties”

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