Labour's constituency

by / Filed under Politics

… in keeping with a technocratic mindset, you appear utterly oblivious to the notion of interest, that the organisations of public sector workers are the backbone of the movement that has provided you a seat in Parliament. You either forget or just don’t realise that the public sector is a constituency in and of itself, and it is supremely harmful to your own political interests to attack their wages and working conditions, to outsource them to third parties, to make their conditions of work less gratifying and less secure. Just go and take a look at the Conservatives across the chamber from you. Do you seriously think they won’t tackle zero hour contracts, abuses in the city, and executive pay because they have the wrong ideas? Or does it have something to do with the interests they represent? Dear Liz Kendall

I liked this article a lot, even though I’ve indulged in a spot of Liz baiting myself. If it looks and sounds like a Tory then to all intents and purposes it is a Tory.

What is Labour’s constituency? Or was the 35% strategy simply an effort to rid itself of all constituencies and appease enough voters from everything else – the blob of normal – to form some sort of coalition?

So perhaps it’s better to ask what could Labour’s constituency be? Whose interests should it represent? Because it seems obvious that only the Greens are representing whole swathes of the population at the moment: public sector workers, workers who’ve been contracted out from the public sector, the disabled, students, union members, the unemployed, the part–employed, the precariously employed, the low paid, renters, people who can’t afford to stay on in education and their parents etc. etc. etc.

On the other hand, if you’re a home or asset owner, and in well paid, full–time employment you’re tripping over politicians purporting to represent you (I say purporting; some argue the middle classes are having a tough time of it too). You’re a hardworking hero, the very backbone of the country.

The point is not one of the prospective Labour leaders has moved beyond trying to appeal the same constituency. At the merest hint of anything left, they resort to the time honoured political past–time of getting tough on benefits.

This isn’t an age of ‘one nation’ politics. Norman Mailer’s definition seems about right:

Politics is property… a delegate’s vote is his holding – he will give it up without return no more than a man will sign over his house entire to a worthy cause. Miami and the Siege of Chicago

Everyone has a vote – whose holding can Labour appeal to?