As parliament returns following recess we are brought back to the playground of jeers and sneers and Labour look to exploit the tiresome ‘plebgate’ saga that just refuses to go away. As the ‘party of ordinary people’, the idea of a privately-educated, snarling Tory toff lambasting police officers with hideously class-based insults presents a ripe opportunity to show the public just how ‘posh’ and ‘out-of-touch’ the Conservative party really is. The problem is: the Labour party are far from the ‘Plebs’ their conference badges said they were ‘proud to be’.
Friedrich Engels was once asked what his idea of happiness was, to which he replied, ‘Chateaux Margaux 1848!’ I can safely assume that his proletariat faithful did not share the same passion for such an extravagant tipple; a month’s wages wouldn’t have bought more than a thimble full.
A century and a half later and the same double-standards permeate the Left of today.
Tony Blair, Fettes College-educated, carried the Labour party to three consecutive election victories and is now worth a massive £75 million.
Gordon Brown now gets three times the average national wage for one after-dinner speech to an audience of people who are also not short of a bob or two.
Harriet Harman, former Deputy Leader and ‘the patron saint of equality’, is the niece of Elizabeth Pakenham – Countess of Longford and widow of Frank, the 7th Earl of Longford. Her cousins include Dame Antonia Fraser and Lady Rachel Billington, the titles of both tell the story. Her entitled education at St Paul’s school for Girls costs just over £20,000 per year in today’s terms; a few thousand short the average wage in Harman’s constituency of Camberwell and Peckham.
Ed Miliband, the product of his local comprehensive, (he may have mentioned that), lives in a four-bedroom semi-detached home on a salubrious London street where a similar property has recently been put on the market for £2.3 million. His wife adds £200,000 to the household income each year. How ordinary.
Not only are the Labour party hierarchy a few houses short of a council-estate, their rowdy union boss backers enjoy incomes that far exceed that of the people they propose to represent.
Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite and vociferous socialist landmine enjoys an annual income of £149,312 whilst his PCS counterpart, Mark Serwotka struggles to get by on his yearly £126,258, despite pledging to accept an average civil servant wage equivalent during his General Secretary election bid in 2000.
Despite this, it is the Conservative party that is branded as the ‘party of the rich’ and the defenders of privilege. Admittedly, the foolish actions of Andrew Mitchell did little to quash such a notion but it is clear that those in opposition are just as ‘posh’ as Cameron and his ballroom-wrecking Bullingdon buddies.
The key difference is whilst the Caviar Comrades make all attempts to obscure their sardanapalian backgrounds; David Cameron celebrated his at the conference last week whilst threatening to spread such privilege across the nation.
So, Labour and the Left are bonafide salt-of-the-earth, eh? No. No. No.
Surprisingly, it’s the Conservative party that is wading ahead in the opportunities arms race. Education reforms that are addressing the gaping chasm of educational attainment between the state and private sectors are bearing fruit. Ambitious overhauls of the discredited GCSE, changes to school autonomy and the reintroduction of rigour in schools across England aim to give the poorest and most disadvantaged a genuine chance to better their lot.
Despite trebling education spending, Labour managed to drag England’s state schools further and further down the world rankings whilst their private counterparts cemented their esoteric top spot.
The gap between state and private could not be bigger or more startling.
Despite just 7% of the population being independently educated the products of such fantastic schools occupy the lion’s share of the top jobs. This means that the cycle of deprivation becomes deeper and deeper entrenched each year. What’s more disgraceful is that just one in seven working-class children can expect to better the social class of their parents; a figure that has barely changed since the abolition of the once all-conquering grammar schools.
So as the sneering Caviar Comrades bang on about ‘One Nation’ and the building of a more equal society, remember that their lot could not be further from the plight that faces ordinary families.
If the social inequality that is, quite frankly, embedded into our society is to be addressed properly, then a vote for the Tories is the way to go about sorting it.
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