Thursday, 1 November 2012

Blue Collar Conservatism

As a blue-collar Brit and former Conservative I was interested to read about the "Blue Collar Conservatism" scheme.

It’s good that in eschewing the phrase "working class" the Tories recognise we don’t need Marxist vocabulary to define ourselves on every occasion. But I’m surprised they didn’t launch this initiative last summer when Peter Mandelson confirmed that Labour no longer connected with its traditional base:

Peter Mandelson: click to go to interview
Blue Labour…seeks to reconnect the party with its old, postwar, apparently white and male, industrial working-class base. These people have moved on, to other jobs, to other aspirations and, in the main, to an entirely different identity.

Better late than never – it’s just a pity that the launch comes so close to "plebgate"; possibly the recent poll revealing working-class voters are more right-wing than middle-class ones was the kickstart?

Personally I can’t foresee (re)joining a party that sees continued membership of the European Union, with the associated corruption and human rights messes, as a given. However, if I were still a Tory, I’d be asking why so little has been done about open-door immigration. There are obviously obstacles put in place by the Lib Dems, but surely politics is the art of the possible?

There are also the child-grooming gangs, preying predominantly on the children of blue-collar families. This isn’t necessarily tied to immigration, as many of the offenders were born here and are therefore British.

The list goes on: why do we fund India, which has its own space program? Why subsidise affluent European farmers more than dirt-poor African ones? Can we afford to give benefits to able-bodied people for minimal (if any) tax contributions?

I guess the caveat to Blue Collar Conservatives is: unless you put your blue-collar Brits in a political ghetto, you might start an avalanche that will change your party forever.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Resources

Blue Collar Conservatism website

Sir George Young and four ministers join "Blue Collar" Tory group - The Daily Telegraph, November 2012

Middle class voters "more leftwing" than the working class - The Guardian, October 2012

Peter Mandelson versus Ed Miliband: Labour is fracturing and its leader hasn't noticed - The Daily Telegraph, July 2011

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