The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Party of the future

Kennedy mostly spends his time talking down Blair and Labour, but does manage to get this dig in at the Tories: The Conservatives just can't offer credibly the fresh alternative that the country is looking for. They are a party of the past, not the future.

As far as the Tories go, this depends on the definition of "of". As long as there remains a difference between the past and the present, there will be voters looking back to the former. The Conservatives may be a minority forever, or else they may change their name, or even merge with UK Independence; but there will always be a conservative Party - in this respect the UK is like any other country. The Tories are a party for the past. "Of the past" is just spin from a snob.

Labour, on the other hand, is an artifact of the primacy of heavy industry and of their accompanying labour unions during the late 1800s / early 1900s. Nowadays heavy industry isn't nearly as central to the British economy. The "Labour" party has been a misnomer for over a decade. Labour really is a party of the past.

Labour survives in name because it was born at the same time that the franchise was extended to the working proletariat. That meant that myriads of families' first experience with voting was for Labour against the Liberal / Conservative duopoly. This is what gives rise to family tradition, like American Blacks voting Republican in the early 1900s and Democrat now. Voting Labour has been part of their identity.

That is no longer the case. The children of Labour are switching their vote. A certain Jessica Haigh got herself into the news by unloading a heap of tripe about Labour being a "conservative" party. What the Beeb won't say, usually the Telegraph will: Haigh is a creative writing student. When she leaves university, she will be designing no tunnels, writing no code, and seeing no patients. She represents what Americans will recognise as the new elite of bourgeois bohemians, commonly found in trendy neighbourhoods from San Francisco to Austin to Boston. She probably hopes to work for Kennedy's Beeb in a few years.

Also note that Labour MP Brian Sedgemore, in advance of his retirement 5 May, has announced his switch to the Libs. Expect many more to come.

The Conservative Party is a party for the past, but that will actually help them in the future. Labour is only being kept alive through Blair's force of will; since Blair is a Gladstonian, more or less, therefore so is Labour. Kennedy is right; the Lib Dems are the party for the future, and will supplant Labour in fairly short order.

That begs the question, what will the future look like under a Kennedy government? Every UK voter should think hard on that.

posted by Zimri on 11:10 | link | 0 comments

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