Politicians like Blair like to have us believe that “class” in society no longer exists. The news that banks are still paying out something like £40 billion in bonuses indicates there remains a group for whom there are different rules.
There are two distinct groups in this respect: one has the power to decide on their remuneration, pension and perks, the other is powerless in this respect. Not only are they powerless, it is they who pay in large measure for the benefits of the other group. Of course this is a simplistic view of a complex issue, but that complexity is itself used to mask the situation which is daily made legitimate by a media industry which is part and parcel of the elitism.
Peter Mandelson it has been announced will mastermind the forthcoming election for New Labour. A shady figure who has been in and out of the background, but forever there somewhere. He’s fallen out with Brown it was announced. Was he ever with him? In the latest coup attempt by the Blairite faction he made a supreme effort to show he was still with the leader. “Joined at the hip” he once proclaimed on his relationship with Gordo. Yes “I’ve got you with a pistol in your back” he meant. It’s even been mentioned that his Lordship might himself be the next leader.
If so what side of the “class divide” does Mandy stand and/or represent? stating the bloody obvious Mandy loves money cuddling up with billionaires on their yachts and exclusive island retreats. New Labour the “Peoples Party”……. Stop me laughing. Even more serious though what was Mandelson up to during his days relatively unreported in Europe. His decisions around fishing may have benefitted Europeans, much less some African nations for whom fish mean life or death.
Mandelson has announced that New Labour cannot win with the “working class” vote alone. Well what does he include in the working class? I’m sure the group that can decide on the level of income for itself is not a natural majority yet all major parties cave into their demands, so who represents the majority? You know those who have lost their jobs and their houses because of the folly of that group, the ones that have lost their pensions, the ones who find it difficult to pay for the highly priced necessities, transport and power supplies. In this respect Brown appears less extreme. less Blairite than Mandy. Me, I’m standing for the Socialist Labour Party.
So “class” today may be rather different to the concept at the beginning of the 20th Century. By 1960 the idea of a Prime Minister grammar school educated worked and we had been through a period where a National Health Service had happened and there was a highly contested nationalisation of industries. Then came a revolution. The crude distortions of the Thatcher era began to claw back the idea of an “elite” naturally entitled to its benefits. Son Mark has lived on that notion effectively. Son Tony extended Thatcherism to new dizzy heights where privatisation of everything imaginable, including a number of things the Blessed Margaret didn’t.
It seems to me we are left with a choice to vote for two parties each of which wishes to fall in with the powerful. The multinationals have more money and power than governments and so those running the latter fall in with them, as Blair so frequently did. Whether Bernie Eccleston on British Aerospace their needs superceded propriety or brought into question legality over and over. And he got away with it over and over when “might is shown to be right”. Blair makes a good example of demonstrating how “class” persists as a benefit to an elite while claiming a right that it is quite legitimate. His heirs remaining in New Labour have once more resurfaced (some were surprised by Hewitt if not Hoon, others by Hoon if not Hewitt c.f. Guardian and Independent on the matter!) What about Many, arch opportunist, though. Clearly Brown went of message, but he has to show “loyalty”. How convincing is he?