Labour tries to recapture English workers

IvanLewis2Bury South MP Ivan Lewis is the latest Labour spokesman to try to rediscover Labour’s links with English working class voters.  Mr Lewis is “shadow culture secretary” in Ed Miliband’s shadow cabinet, and his outspoken comments come in a new volume of essays The Purple Book, published this week in advance of Labour’s conference at Liverpool at the end of September.

The title indicates an attempt by leading figures in Tony Blair’s New Labour to come to terms with the so-called “Blue Labour” critique of Blairism.  “Blue Labour” was a set of ideas associated with the Jewish academic Maurice Glasman (now Lord Glasman) and Searchlight‘s favourite Labour MP Jon Cruddas.  Their central insight was that in the pursuit of middle class floating voters, combined with liberal politically correct obsessions, New Labour had jettisoned the traditional values of their movement and was no longer seen by white working class voters as representing their tribal interests.

Lord Glasman was condemned by some of his former allies when he gave an interview this summer calling for a Labour anti-immigration policy:
Britain is not an outpost of the UN. We have to put the people in this country first. The people who live here are the highest priority. We’ve got to listen and be with them. They’re in the right place – it’s us who’s not.

Ivan Lewis echoes some of these concerns in his own essay, as leaked to The Guardian, while not daring to go as far as Glasman.  The Bury MP writes:
The party’s instincts to be internationalist, liberal and champions of multicultural societies jar with the growing sense of insecurity of citizens buffeted by rapid economic and social change. Mistrust about Labour’s instincts and values on identity is one of the reasons why voters have rejected social democratic parties all over Europe.

He adds that these voters felt alienated from:
a system which to some appeared to favour receiving benefits and choosing not to work and irresponsible bankers who caused the financial crisis but continued to receive excessive payoffs and bonuses while everyone else was paying the price of their recklessness. Others felt migration was changing the nature of their community and undermining Britain’s way of life.

After acknowledging the effect of immigration on Britain’s housing crisis, Lewis shows his real agenda.  Far from seeking to restore the type of country that White Englishmen would recognise as their own, Lewis still wishes to make the Labour Party even more ethnically diverse, criticising:
a Labour Party activist base that while becoming diverse still does not sufficiently look like Britain.

There is one form of diversity however that causes particular upset to Ivan Lewis, who before becoming an MP was chief executive of the Manchester Jewish Federation:
Labour and the previous Tory governments should have acted earlier to tackle radicalisation in some Muslim communities by adopting a zero tolerance approach to anyone including religious leaders who preached hate, and by refusing to legitimise organisations unwilling to condemn extremism or the use of violence.

Notice Mr Lewis’s careful language.  He isn’t just talking about anti-British terrorism, he is insisting that organisations must condemn “the use of violence”.  It’s a fair bet that he doesn’t want to condemn the violence of the Israeli government in their assault on Gaza, and certainly not condemn the six decades of Zionist violence that forged the piracy of Palestine.

No: it’s a safe bet that Mr Lewis aims to force British based organisations to condemn anti-Israeli violence, in other words to take sides with the Zionist state against the people of Palestine and Lebanon.  The abandoned English working class are hoping for decent housing, jobs and health services; a crackdown on crime; and the reversal of more than half a century of mass immigration.  But Mr Lewis pays lip service to these concerns, while pursuing quite another, utterly alien agenda.

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