We knew Mark Reckless had a brass neck. You’d have to have one to show your face again after you fell over blind drunk in the Commons on practically your first week in the job. Which, by the way, doesn’t bode well for him when it comes to keeping up with Nige in the pub after work. But I didn’t think even the Rochester rebel would have the nerve to claim the Chartists (and the Levellers, and the Suffragettes) for his ‘Kipper cause.
What a joke. A party that wants to take the right for sick pay and holiday pay away from workers, make us take out insurance in case we need to see the doctor and pledges to cut public spending even closer to the bone, is no friend of the working men and women of this country, however hard Reckless, Farage, and Carswell try and sell it.
And what a cheek, in the very month when we celebrate the 175th anniversary of The Chartists first petition and the Newport Rising that followed, to even suggest that UKIP are inheritors of any working class mantle. They’re all stock brokers and merchant bankers for a start! Carswell, Farage and Reckless, it even sounds like a dodgy firm of City Traders.
Does anybody out there think you’d be able to get a fag paper between those three and the Tories on defending city bonuses or standing up for wealth and privilege. Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas, and the minute UKIP got a real sniff of power they’d return to type in a flash, with warmed-over Thatcherism on the menu for us all.
Farage even admits she’s his hero: He says he’s keeping the flame of Margaret alive. Well in my part of the World no-one is calling for her destructive policies or hard-hearted politics to be revived. She did quite enough damage to Wales to last us a lifetime, as Farage would know if he had any real understanding of ex-industrial communities in Wales or anywhere in Great Britain.
The truth is that this lot are confidence tricksters and shape-shifters. Pretending to be Tories in the South and Labour in The North. It is laughable, and it will be seen through for what it is by working class voters – both in the North and The South. They are preying on the massive insecurity that is felt by working people across our country as a result of globalisation, de-industrialisation and the rule of a Tory party that neither knows nor cares how to rebuild our real economy and protect the livelihoods and life chances of working and middle class people in Britain.
Immigration has clearly played a big part in compounding that insecurity in many parts of the UK, leading to jobs, wages, terms and conditions being undercut. But better controls on immigration – as Labour is committed to – will not be enough to solve the underlying faults in our economy which means it works for a few at the top – the stock brokers and financial sector bosses, like Carswell, Farage and Reckless – but not for the majority.
That needs a proper industrial strategy, strengthened wages and workers’ rights, proper investment in our local industry and action against markets and corporations that are ripping us off. Only Labour, the real party of working people in this country – past, present and future – is committed to making those changes and rescuing Britain from the failed ideas of the Right. Tories, UKIP, and Orange book Liberals have no answers to these pressing questions, just the sleight of hand, phoney patter and ready scapegoats their kind have always employed. John Frost would have had no welcome for UKIP in our hillsides, and neither will his true descendants.
Owen Smith MP is the Labour MP for Pontypridd and Shadow Secretary of State for Wales.