Labour must court the white trash'

ONE group of voters which Labour and its liberal cheerleaders in certain national newspapers dismissed with contempt during the Blair years was the so-called “white trash.

Graham Dines

ONE group of voters which Labour and its liberal cheerleaders in certain national newspapers dismissed with contempt during the Blair years was the so-called “white trash.”

These are ethnic Brits, mostly English, who live in squalor, left school with no qualifications, are dependent on state handouts, blame immigrants for the lack of jobs, suffer high rates of alcoholism and deaths from cancer, own fighting dogs and whose feral kids play truant and roam around sink estates in knife-carrying gangs.

Such people in the past decade or so have been regarded as something to be scraped off the bottom of Church's shoes being worn by Armani-clad Labour politicians and media columnists in the knowledge that they will always vote Labour.


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Yes, some have given their votes to the British National Party, which plays on the fears that their lives are being made worse by uncontrolled mass immigration, but by and large “white trash” is overwhelmingly Labour.

Now the rot is setting in. Many are so disillusioned that they have given up voting. And with Labour flailing about in the polls, some of the more intelligent members of the party realise the time has come to take notice of the issues important to the underclass.

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Culture secretary Andy Burnham - seen as a future Labour leader - and senior backbencher Frank Field have been in the vanguard of this debate.

Burnham writes in Progress magazine: “The reason for New Labour's success over the past decade was that the party spoke to people's concerns and aspirations.

“Underpinning the movement was an acceptance that in the two decades to 1997, the party had been unable to win on its traditional core vote and needed to move beyond its heartlands in order to ensure electoral success.”

But in these times of a resurgent Conservative Party under a leader who is reaching out to the less well-off, Burnham says: “Retaining the support of the white working class is so important for Labour because these are our people, whose values sit at the heart of Labour thinking about fairness and opportunity.

“We cannot afford to lose large numbers of the white working class to Tory approaches or, at absolute worst, the BNP.”

The next two years are crucial for Labour which has to demonstrate that it is “on the side of people from all backgrounds, from all areas of the country.”

But to Frank Field, we are seeing “the strange death of Labour England” which hinges on an unequal devolution settlement. Scottish and Welsh policies, such as free NHS prescriptions and free residential care home places for the elderly frail, are being paid for by English taxpayers who do not enjoy reciprocal arrangements.

Field believes there is growing resentment across England that the UK government spends £1,236 more on every person in Scotland than it does in England. This is being seen in the rising support for David Cameron, while further disillusion with Labour over the number of migrants.

The Government “has allowed uncontrolled immigration with its impact not just on earnings but more generally on housing, schools and other public services, to the disadvantage of working class English voters, both white and black.

“Just as Labour voters have been prepared to support the BNP as a means of registering their wish to see the number of new arrivals to this country controlled, even more may be prepared to look around to find a party that will assert their English identity.”

He could have added “and hold a referendum on the federalist march of Europe.”

PIONEER TITFORD CALLS IT A DAY

JEFFREY Titford, who delivered a major blow to political complacency when he overcame the odds to be elected to represent the UK Independence Party in the European Parliament for the East of England, has told supporters he will be bowing out next year.

He used his home town of Frinton-on-Sea as the springboard in 1999 for his successful assault on the first major election to be conducted in the UK under proportional representation. In 2004, he was re-elected as one of two UKIP Euro MPs for the region.

In a message to party members, Mr Titford says he won't be seeking re-election. “I felt that after 10 years as an MEP, it is time to make way for younger candidates.”

Mr Titford, who will be 75 when the elections are held in 12 months, hopes party members will choose as a successor a strong candidate with a “decent track record of hard work in the eastern counties.”

UKIP'S regional list will be chosen during the summer, ready to challenge the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and Green Party in a tussle for votes next June.

IRELAND REFERENDUM STATISTICS

IN the Ireland referendum results in detail, the biggest majorities for the 'no' campaign were in Dublin South West (10,855, 30%), Cork North Central (8,106, 28.8%), and Dongeal North East (7,498. 29.2%).

Enthusiastically voting 'yes' were Dun Laoghaire (13,375, 26.9%) and Dublin South (13,186, 25.7%). Only nine of the 43 constituencies recorded a 'yes' vote and the Treaty of Lisbon was rejected by 862,415 to 752,451 (majority 109,964, 6.8%).

TORIES WOULD HONOUR POLICE PAY AWARD - RUFFLEY

COMMENTING after the Police Federation lost their pay award fight in the High Court, Shadow Police Reform Minister, David Ruffley (MP for Bury St Edmunds) said: “This would never have happened under the Conservatives because we would have behaved honourably towards the police. By going back on their word the Government broke a bond of trust.

“To put this right we have announced that any future Conservative Government could only depart from a pay award made by independent arbitration through a positive vote in the House of Commons.”

TIME TO BIN LOYAL OATH - LIB DEM

THE historic requirement for MPs to swear allegiance to the monarch should be scrapped, Norman Baker (Liberal Democrat, Lewes) says in a Commons motion, which calls instead for an oath to represent constituents. The requirement to swear allegiance to the monarch is the principal reason why Sinn Fein's MPs have not taken up their seats at Westminster.

ROMANIAN VILLAGERS ELECT CORPSE

THE residents of a Romanian village knowingly elected a dead person to be mayor in Sunday's municipal election. Neculai Ivascu, 57, who ran the village for almost two decades, died from liver disease just after voting began - but still won the election by a margin of 23 votes.

DAVIS IS STILL WRONG

ONE week on and I haven't changed my opinion on David Davis's decision to quit as an MP and fight a by-election over House of Commons approval of 42 days detention without charge.

Aiming for the moral high ground is a dangerous move for politicians, especially when public opinion is on the side of the Government.

If such a stunt was to have any validity, then it should not have been carried out by a Conservative, and especially the shadow home secretary. Surely a Labour MP opposed to 42 days should have resigned and stood as an independent in the subsequent by-election, daring Gordon Brown to put up a candidate against him or her.

If every time a decision they don't like goes against politicians and they quit in a huff and force a by-election, Parliament would grind to a halt. Now that the Royal Assent has been given to ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon, can we expect shadow foreign secretary William Hague to resign and fight a by-election?

I thought not.

Meanwhile, Davis has launched his campaign, but his opponents will only be from the political fringe - Labour, the Liberal Democrats and UKIP having decided not to field candidates

“This Government increasingly treats our fundamental freedoms with disdain. I believe it is time to take a stand,” said Mr Davis. “In the few days since I announced my resignation, I have been overwhelmed by the public response. I have received thousands of communications, from across the country.”

Offers of help are flocking into the Davis campaign. Angus MacNeil (SNP, Western Isles MP) has volunteered to knock up voters. “As a Scottish Nationalist I try to avoid English politics, but I'd go and campaign for David Davis if he wanted me to.”

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