I am sure that I am not the only one who, when campaigning at election time, frequently receives the answer "I'm Labour" in response to an appeal to vote for UKIP. Usually the person involved seems to consider this a definitive argument but, if pressed, will say that the Labour party is the party of the working class, of which they are a member. At one time this was an understandable answer, but unfortunately it is no longer true, and is as much of a myth as the one that portrays the Tories as patriotic, and prepared to defend this country against foreign enemies.
There is no question that the Labour movement grew out of the responses to the dreadful conditions endured by the workers during the industrial revolution, when poverty, lack of education, dangerous workplaces and downright class exploitation made the lives of so many short and miserable. However the party did not, as in so many other nations, spring into existence as a revolutionary movement, dedicated to class warfare, but rather evolved from the culture which had come into being, involving friendly and co-operative societies, working mens' clubs and of course trade unions, As such it sought change through democratic institutions, and this meant that it did not make common cause with the Marxist desire for violent overthrow of the whole system of government.
The Labour party that came to power in 1945 was led by Clement Attlee, a man who was himself of the middle class, but who had been so affected by what he saw of the conditions of the working class during the depression of the thirties that he was dedicated to major reforms of society, by such means as nationalisation, the NHS, implementing the Education Act and generally putting welfare and public services as the main priority for government. However Attlee was also a patriot, who fought in First World War, a believer in strong defences, as witnessed by his development of the British nuclear deterrent, one who supported the grammar school system as a means of helping bright working class children climb the ladder, and a democrat who saw immediately that the early stirrings of what would later become the European Union would lead to the perversion, and eventual destruction of, democracy for any nation which took part.
He was succeeded by Hugh Gaitskill, a man of similar stamp, who reversed an attempt to adopt unilateral nuclear disarmament as Labour Party policy, and opposed Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's attempt to lead the UK into the European Common Market, pointing out that joining the European project would lead to the end of a thousand years of British history. The great tragedy was that he died suddenly in 1963, when he appeared to be on the verge of leading Labour back into power, and becoming the next Prime Minister.
It seems to those such as myself, who was raised as a Labour party supporter in the 1950s, when the Daily Mirror was a serious socialist paper, and the party still had the interests of the working class at heart, that since those days it gradually lost its soul. Despite the efforts of patriotic socialists such as Douglas Jay, Peter Shore, David Stoddart, Tony Benn and, even Michael Foot as leader, the party has been taken over by selfish pseudo liberals, none more damaging than Tony Blair, whose whole career has been devoted to his personal advancement. It is reported that, when at university, he wavered over whether to join the Tories or Labour, the decision seemingly based more on his chances of achieving personal power than any political principles, while it appears likely that his enthusiasm for the EU is based largely on his desire to be the President of Europe. During the years of New Labour in power they did nothing to reverse the anti trade union legislation which had been put in place by the Conservatives, made no effort to renationalise those utilities which had been privatised, and, despite the Blair mantra of education, education, education, supported the destruction of the grammar school system, which undermined the chances of working class children receiving a quality education, while increasing the numbers going to universities to ridiculous numbers, thereby diluting the usefulness of degrees. It is thanks to the Blairites that youngsters from poorer homes now take on vast debts to achieve qualifications, many of which are not worth the paper on which they are written.
Now we have a Labour party run by a man who, despite his lifelong opposition to the EU, brings with him an equally long devotion to the far left, and who is anyway proving unable to overcome the mass of Blairites in his parliamentary party, who allegiance lies with their fellow elites in Europe, not to their working class constituency, or to their country. These people are far more interested in promoting the rights of sexual minorities, and of migrants, than they are in improving the lot of British workers. For instance, we learnt recently that the party has appointed a transgender model, as an advisor on matters relating to sexual minorities, who is on record as saying that all white people are racist, and all straight men are homophobes. Of course this is a direct line from those, not all Labour party associates, who some years ago accused all men of being potential rapists, and great swathes of the adult population of being likely paedophiles. Is it possible to imagine the party of Keir Hardie, Clement Attlee, or even Jim Callaghan being so divorced from its founding purposes that it would seek to insult the British people with such nonsense. What is even more frightening is that the policies Jeremy Corbyn espouses would inevitably lead to the effective destruction of our armed forces, the demonisation of allies such as Israel and the USA, and the imposition of an open door policy on immigration. To encourage the influx of workers from EU countries with much lower standards of living has undermined the wages of those who should have been the first priority of the Labour party. Their policy of staying in a customs union is a betrayal of democracy, the country and of the working class, a majority of whom voted to leave the EU.
Tribal politics is strong in Britain, never more so than in the Labour party, but the truth is that the idea that the latter now represents the interest of the true working class is risible. Its leaders have become no more than careerists, supporting EU membership not because it is good for the people of Britain, but because it gives them an enhanced career structure, where they can strut their little hour upon a wider stage. One only has to look at the sneers Lady Nugee, better known as Emily Thornberry, Shadow Cabinet member, and a leading member of the liberal elite, directed at a voter in Rochester for displaying the flag of St George, to know that these people have only contempt for those who once were their main constituency.
It is a disaster for Britain that the majority of the political class, whether they be Tories, Labour or Liberal Democrats, are devoted to their own welfare rather than that of the country. That the Labour party refuses to accept the result of the EU referendum and seeks to reverse Brexit, in fact, if not in name, shows that it no longer represents those it was created to serve. It is a myth that it any more exists to advance the interests of working people, and one can only hope that the vast numbers of the workers in erstwhile Labour areas recognize that fact before it is too late.