Monday, 27 August 2012

Selling 'Labour' To Sheffield

Man of the people and Harriett Harman’s predecessor, John Prescott surprisingly managed to attain the role of Deputy Prime Minister without the family support of city slickers and landed gentry.  John, who’s credentials as a former ship’s steward was the gritty link between the scrubbed modernising Yuppies of New Labour and the blue collar workers of the industrial heartlands.
Lord and Lady Prescott at a recent civic function
Oop There In That There North
  Ship’s stewards occupy a servile role; he was a waiter: a far cry from the skilled craftsmen of the mines, building sites and factories but to the Mandelsons and Blairs of this world the ‘Working Class’ are one homogeneous mass, where waiters, window-cleaners and warehouse stackers fresh out of nick occupy equal status with electricians, engineers and emergency medical technicians.  They don’t; and I speak as a craftsman.  So lauding Prescott - who waited on the rich as they cruised the world’s exotic corners - as a man of the people because of his background just exposes the complete lack of familiarity that ‘Labour’ leaders have with what Labour and the working class is.  And what it isn’t is the Guardian-set talking Marxism in their half million pound Islington town houses.  Or Mandelson giggling on an Oligarch’s super-yacht as he simpers how he is, ‘intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich’ as he slowly strokes a gangsters knee.  (Real working people know that the gangsterism of Russia’s oligarchs has stripped the earnings of the workers of that country.)
  So on to John Prescott, the guy scrubbing his boots on next door’s stoop prior to sorting out his whippets, or homing pigeons, or whatever northern stereotypical shite Two Jags is peddling to the Daily Mirror and Guardian hacks this week.
  Who he is: Baron Prescott of Kingston upon Hull, a Lord.
  What he earns: £300,000 income for his four-year term as Humberside’s Police and Crime Commissioner, when he gets the gig.  And he will get it.  £75,000 annual salary for his peerage – and in the Aug 2011-2012 year he claimed £40,950 in expenses.  That pays for a lot of clogs, ferrets, flat caps and roll-up baccy… unless the image is all a total sham.
  What he said circa 2008: 'I don't want to be a member of the House of Lords.  I will not accept it.'
  What he did: The keen croquet-player became a peer in July 2010, perhaps to appease Elsie Tanner lookalike wife Pauline, a former hairdresser who becomes, er, Lady Pauline.  Maybe there’s a row of them in Aldi on Manor Top, all married to past Yorkshire Labour heavyweights.
  ‘Lady Pauline, ‘ow much is tinned carrots, babes?  It’s all in Jeerman.’
  ‘Dunno, babes.  Sorry, Lady Hattersley.  Tell you what, though – that new blusher makes you look proper gorgous.’
  ‘Ahhh, ta mate.  An’ I got a new leopard print skirt for our special night coming up, babes.’
  ‘That’s nice, babes.  Garden Party at Hampton Court is it?  Next!  You got ID for that White Lightning?’
  Can’t those dopes in the Miners Welfare back in Rotherham wake up to the sham and stop voting en-masse for a bunch of liars?  It’s one big con – once the politicos taste that cash and that power… they are gone; them, the missus and the kids.  Straight up the arse of the Establishment like a rat down a Park Hill drainpipe. 

  Kids off to private school – Britain’s first black woman MP Diane Abbott’s sent son James off to private school – and she’s a Labour MP in tough inner-city Hackney North/Stoke Newington. 
  She carried it off!  She said that kids today join gangs, so it was fine for her to do it.
  And so it creeps in.  First a bit of privileged schooling for Little Johny and Jenny, then an unpaid internship at the PR firm which runs Mummy’s and Daddy’s political campaign, then the next thing we know these Oxbridge bastards are parachuted in to safe seats like Rotherham, their sharp elbows knocking aside the good men and women of the area who’ve worked their socks off at grass roots level to get the gig because the suave lawyers who’ve stolen Labour have given the nod to a ‘socialist’ spiv.  Or academic.  Or other middle-class bastard.
  Ever noticed how so many of these politicians are related?  The Miliband brothers?  Cooper and Balls?  Cameron and his fellow merchant-banker-spawn gimp, the Clegg-in-the-box?
  Dear reader – you may be wondering who am I to criticise, who am I to lay claim to knowing what labour is?
  I’m a photojournalist who walked away from a sycophantic trade 20 years ago, and now I’m a bricklayer.  I know labour – real labour - inside out; I’ve worked on sites from Glasgow to Munich and beyond.  And I can tell you this – two years ago on site I asked a London hod carrier, a guy in his forties, what he reckoned to Labour.  And this man knew how to labour.  Old hoddies body’s are carved into the hod; their calves are like cooking apples, their shoulders seared and scarred.  They would never talk to a journalist.  I’ve been bricklaying for fourteen years.
  ‘Labour, Neil?  What do I reckon to that lot, speaking for me?  There isn’t a fucking ounce of labour in ‘em, mate.  I shit ‘em.  Now; where do you want these bricks?’
  I sit and drink my coffee in the August sun, and study the guys on break.  Their red-top papers, ribald comments and haste in eating before the trowel and the hod take us in thrall again.  Totally disengaged, neither Labour nor Tory.  These boys don’t vote; neither do I.  There’s no difference any more.  They’re all the same.  Not like it used to be.
  The pit face, factories and building sites are a mere memory, Labour folks, as the crevettes get cracked by tomorrow’s Prescotts and Blairs in Knightsbridge and the champagne is swilled in Chelsea.  In short, Old Labour - you’ve been Royally mugged.  All those whip-rounds at the miners welfare have succeeded only in transporting a pair of class traitors into the House of Lords. Well done!

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