Thick Labour voters turn Stoke Central into a call centre paradise and Islington overspill
All Brexit voters are thick. So says Polly Tonybee in an article for the Guardian, ostensibly about the Stoke Central by election. Stoke Central is a safe Labour seat. Well it has been. But Labour is morally bankrupt and not fit for purpose. It has acquiesced to anti-Semitism. Labour positions itself as the immigrant’s friend but recent Labour governments have been very good at blowing up Muslims in their own countries and creating refugees. Labour no longer represents working-class concerns. It is no longer proletarian and clear voiced. It champions rose-tinted anti-progress eco-austerity over a rosy-fingered dawn.
By way of example, Jeremy Corbyn – the man democratically elected to lead the party (because it’s so directionless and inward looking that anyone with an assembly of supporters can lead it; just look at Tony Blair and his clique) – has been talking about limits on pay and pay ratios. He told us: “‘This is not about limiting aspiration or penalising success, it’s about recognising that success is a collective effort and rewards must be shared.” How is that not limiting? Labour is not about people getting more; it’s about people getting less. It’s not about aspiration; it’s about reducing everyone to a low level. Under Labour, socialism means less for all. How’s that inspiring?
After the 2015 drubbing for Labour at the General Election, one-time leadership candidate Chuka Umunna identified what he saw as the burning issue: “We spoke to our core voters but not to aspirational middle-class ones.” Labour never spoke for aspirational working-class voters. It failed utterly. To Labour, the working class cannot be aspirational. They can only be patronised.
Tonybee focuses on Labour’s rival:
For Ukip the stakes could not be higher. Lose here and the party is well and truly dead: its new leader, and its candidate here, Paul Nuttall buried on his first outing. Byelections are the great hope of insurgent parties, when voters can indulge in risk-free protest. No seat could be riper than this Brexit hotspot, where almost 70% voted leave: Stoke perfectly matches this week’s BBC research showing the closest correlation between high Brexit areas and low education qualifications.
Though ethnic minorities make up only 15% of Stoke’s population, on the doorstep I found immigration the hot button issue.
First up: is 15% a notable low percentage of ethnic minority people? The Office for National statistics tells us:
Whilst the majority of the population gave their ethnic group as “White” in the 2011 Census, results from the past 20 years show a decrease, falling from 94.1% in 1991 down to 86% in 2011. London was found to be the most ethnically diverse area, while Wales was the least diverse.
So Stoke is a little above average in its ethnic make-up. But the link being assumed is that fewer ethnic voters means Stoke’s voters are more prone to racism. Says Tonybee:
I found immigration the hot button issue. “Too many here, filling up our schools and hospitals.” What about EU doctors and nurses working in the NHS? “They can stay, but let us choose.” “Yes, immigrants work hard – but they send all their money back home and I’m against that.” “They’re not our culture, are they?” One or two said “Trump’s got the right idea”, matching YouGov’s finding that 29% in Britain support Trump’s migrant ban.
We are invited not to engage with these voters but look down on them. They want a better life. Picking out anti-immigrant views reveals more about metropolitan prejudices than it answers the question as to how how the white working class can achieve more and better. So will represent them?
As for thickos voting Brexit, well, insults will always win over the working-class demos, so keep going.
She then adds:
…the result will matter most for the people of Stoke: for their identity, their reputation, how they want to be seen in the world.
Right now, Polly sees them as thick and anti-immigrant.
Who do they want to be? If Stoke became the Ukip seat that set off a far-right tremor, that would blight its image and prospects, branding it a lost zone of the despairing and angry.
So vote Labour and get…?
Stoke should and could have a better future. Transport links are excellent, north and south, and it’s a good logistics base with large call centres. Rows of pleasing redbrick homes are cheap and potentially alluring for escapees from the unaffordable south.
Call centres, good escape routes and a place for southerners to downsize to. Live the dream in the Guardian’s vision of Stoke – a haven for the thick.