Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Labour does represent the working class - despite appearances

The common accusation that Labour is mostly professional careerist is true, yes, we do need more 'workers' challenging for Labour Parliamentary candidate in constituencies. However, once you're in Parliament you can't really be a 'worker' any more. Also having the university education and having studied the mechanisms involved in Politics and Economics is very useful - 'workers' (commonly thought of as those which tend to be unionized and in more 'manual', low-paid, jobs - bus drivers and the remaining miners and construction workers) don't tend to have had this sort of education which limits their effectiveness in Parliament - since they're less likely to understand things like the difference between debt and deficit, the effects of increased government spending on Aggregate Demand etc...

People like Skinner haven't been very influential in Parliament and for good reason. Even Old Labour heroes like Clement Attlee were career politicians but had working interests at heart. It is possible to be a career politician and to really represent the workers - that's what Old Labour did and that's what I think today's Labour still does - just not according to disillusioned leftists from the Blair era!

Labour is capitalist yes, this is no bad thing! I'm proudly a capitalist socialist. I believe in the free market providing most goods and services with the state providing public services which would be monopolies in a free market. I also believe in the public ownership of production in the form of the state owning public products and workers having more say in businesses and a share of their profits. Capitalism and socialism are not mutually excludable and so capitalism is not necessarily a bad thing.

Those in Parliament are not just interested in business and power - those in the Socialist Campaign Group like Dennis Skinner definitely aren't and I don't think others are either. If they were just interested in business and power they would be in the Conservative Party - Labour does genuinely care about the workers and those less well off - look at their policies! More apprenticeships to help people get work, cheaper university education, lower taxes for the poor, higher taxes for the rich etc. etc...

They are interested in getting into power, and maybe personal reasons are a factor in that, but they do have to make compromises so that they are electorally viable enough to get into power. Otherwise they could never do the things that they want to do! Look at Labour from 1979 to 1995-ish - they were far too left-wing and the majority of people simply couldn't vote for them.

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