Monday, May 19, 2008

Talking of nobs...

Perhaps unsurprisingly I was not impressed by Labour's campaign for the by-election in Crewe, which seems to be trying to woo voters on the basis that the Conservative candidate is a 'person of wealth or social importance' (or nob). 

 

This BBC Video makes for interesting viewing, and highlights just how awful the Labour campaign is.  Harriet Harman pointedly judges the Conservative candidate on the basis that  she *thinks* he is a multi-millionaire.  There's some waffle about being 'excessively privileged' and when it's pointed out that Ms Harman would certainly fit any reasonable definition of that phrase she bats it away by claiming that she's "not making an issue of it" in her case.  That may be, but something in me thinks that Edward Timpson (the Conservative candidate) isn't making an issue of his background himself either.  It's only come about because of the blatant hypocrisy of Ms Harman and her ilk.

 

I should add that I don't buy in to this rubbish about the Labour candidate being better because "as a hard-working mum she's more in touch with the people".  I do wish that Labour would stop bleating about 'hard working people' as though having money and being 'hard working' must be mutually exclusive.  I could go further and be very derogatory, noting that a lot of their supporters are probably not 'hard working' at all.  In this case though, I have other gripes with the argument put forward.   Firstly, as a "hard working mother of five", is this woman actually going to have time to fulfil the commitment of representing the people of Crewe?  I'm sure that as people who work hard, the residents of the area would want someone who has the time to do the job of MP properly, and don't want their taxes spent on child-care while she does it.   Secondly, why do people go for this nonsense about having an MP who's "just like them"? You can't have someone who's like all of the thousands of people who live in the area, and at the end of the day what people need is someone to do  the job properly.  People come from all sorts of different backgrounds and have all sorts of different skills, and at the end of the day, all I personally would want an MP who has well thought through ideas and can get their views across in Parliament.  Whether or not he or she can mother five children is an irrelevant point.  Actually, the whole thing is irrelevant, because despite the campaign's aim of coming across as "the party for the common people", the aforementioned video also makes it clear that the late Mrs Dunwoody's house was also quite something and that she would also count as being "excessively privileged".

 

Thinking about the Labour party, I wonder if I should have used a 'k' in this post as well.  I do hope nonetheless that this campaign backfires and that Labour continue to get the thorough kicking they well and truly deserve.

3 comments:

alasdair said...

It's rather old fashioned to cast doubt on the Labour candidate's credentials because she's a mother of five. I assume that if Boris had one more child, you wouldn't have been blogging your support for him due to worries over childcare commitments. Or should children only prevent women from getting high powered jobs?

I think we may see more 'class warfare' politics, in the lead up to the next general election. I don't think it will work, but nor do I think that everyone is as comfortable with the idea of the Bullingdon club running the country as you are.

Looking at the polls, it seems that the Tories are heading for victory, and that all that is left is to see what train related metaphors the press come up with: Labour derailed;Flying Scotsman runs out of steam;Tories on track for victory etc.

Gareth P said...

As Baz Luhrmann says "Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will
philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasise
that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were
noble"

The point being that politicians on all sides are cut from the same cloth. Hypocrisy is hardly the sole preseve of those of a red disposition.

JP said...

I wasn't suggesting that she would definitely make a bad MP because she is a single mother of five. I was highlighting the fact that there is no sense in the argument that says "she would be a good MP because she is a single mother of five" by pointing out plausible reasons why one fact does not necessarily lead to another.

Furthermore, in this case, although I'm sure that we'd all like to subscribe to the ideal of having an MP who has the same struggles as us, I'm not actually sure that it's practical. Would someone who has the same lifestyle and 'struggles' as you be in a position to make a good MP?

When it comes to Boris, I never responded to the comments a while back about his apparently murky past. I've not heard before about his hiring thugs, and couldn't dig anything up about it in a quick trawl of Google. When it comes to other things, such as the Bullingdon Club, I can't say that I'm that fussed. I never encountered the Bullingdon Club during my time in Oxford, but would be surprised if the express purpose was to trash places. More likely the media have picked up on a few incidents and continued to portray the stereotype. But even if the stereotype is true, no-one has to look too hard to find examples of drunken vandalism, fighting and otherwise deplorable behaviour - it's just that in the case of the Bullingdon Club money and people from a certain social background are important factors. I'm sure that many politicians have been involved in such 'regrettable incidents' in the past, be they supposedly well-heeled or otherwise, and we shouldn't judge people on such skeletons in the closet. Skeletons which appear during a time in public office are of course a different matter. Ken's track record from his 8 years in office was not, in some ways, good, and I'd have been very surprised if he'd have changed his ways given a third term. Whether or not Boris can survive as mayor without breaking too many promises, courting fraud and wasting everyone's money remains to be seen, but as a columnist in thelondonpaper recently said "give him a chance, whether or not you voted for him". Gareth is of course right, all MPs are hypocrites. But that's not going to stop me complaining about it.

As for the buses, Bendy Buses might be popular in Europe, but I hated them in Rome as well. Why should we follow the crowd? Of course, the best thing about the old Routemasters was the open platform, and the ability to disembark in traffic without having to sit in a jam for 15 minutes round Trafalgar Square if you missed your stop, and I fear that our beloved Health and Safety officers might put a stop to this aspect of Boris' plans.