The Labour Party's betrayal of the working classes is complete

Tony Blair's government threw open the doors to high numbers of migrants with the aim of creating a "truly multicultural" society, and now, Jeremy Corbyn has seemingly abandoned any support he had for Brexit, preferring instead to hold another referendum if the Labour Party wins a majority in the coming general election, writes Christopher Goff.

There is a saving grace to all of this: the Labour Party hasn't a hope of winning a majority in the general election planned for 12 December [2019]. It is important we establish this simple fact now. Labour will not win the general election outright and don't believe anyone who would try and tell you otherwise.

In fact, so long as the Labour Party sticks to its present system of allowing its membership to elect its leader on a one-person one-vote basis it will probably never win another general election for it will mostly always be saddled with a snarling and unpleasant – and in the case of Jeremy Corbyn, bug-eyed – no-hoper of a leader drawn from the party's far-left. A party leader who is 'created' in the image of a snarling and unpleasant bunch of Marxists will never be able to attract the wider support of the voting public, and so the Labour Party will mostly default to its now familiar role as party of opposition. You will note that Tony Blair – perhaps the most successful Labour leader for decades – was not 'created' in this same way. Under the party's previous electoral college system, which operated up until sometime in 2014, MPs and ordinary party members each had one-third of the votes in a leadership election, and trade unions the remainder. While before that arrangement, and up until the early 1980s, the Labour Party leader was elected solely by Labour Party MPs.

But why else hasn't the Labour Party a chance of winning in December's general election? While Jeremy Corbyn was, shall we say, never an enthusiastic supporter of our attempts at leaving the European Union, he was nevertheless a party leader who showed at least some interest in honouring the outcome of the 2016 EU referendum. Only I think his more recent transition from tacit supporter of Brexit to someone who has promised to hold a second referendum if his party were to win a majority in the coming general election will be very damaging to Labour's chances of success. And this because of the likelihood of erstwhile Labour voters in Leave constituencies switching their allegiance to the Brexit Party, thereby making it possible for a number of Tory candidates to win seats where they would otherwise not. Also expect the Labour Party to lose votes to the Liberal Democrats and whose anti-Brexit message is much clearer.

I think in 2016, Corbyn's gut instinct was to get behind the referendum result and have his party help deliver a soft Brexit of some sort or another. But instead of laying this particular line down to Labour MPs, Corbyn allowed himself to be influenced by the party's Guardian-reading, metropolitan elite and who are intent on never allowing Brexit to happen. This ultimate betrayal by Corbyn of all those working-class voters in South Wales, the East Midlands and the North who voted Leave in the EU referendum will, I think, come back to haunt him at December's general election: bug-eyed Jeremy should have trusted his instincts.

But when the Labour Party does betrayal, it does it good. In fact, if there is one thing the Labour Party excels at it is betraying its core of working-class voters. It did this in a full-on kind of way when during Tony Blair's tenure as Prime Minister the government threw open the country's doors to high numbers of migrants in what was an attempt by certain elements within the Labour Party to socially engineer a "truly multicultural" society.

A former adviser to Tony Blair's government, Andrew Neather, made this revelation in a newspaper article of his which appeared in The Evening Standard in 2009. Neather explained how the huge increase in migrants coming to Britain during the time of the Labour government was partly due to a politically motivated attempt by ministers to radically change the country and to "rub the Right's nose in diversity". He said Labour's relaxation of immigration controls was a deliberate plan to "open up the UK to mass migration", and also that ministers were nervous and reluctant to discuss such a move publicly for fear it would alienate its "core working-class vote".

In his article, Neather also told of how in September 2000 he had written a landmark speech for the government's Jewish Minister of State for Immigration, Barbara Roche, calling for a relaxation of immigration controls. This was something that signalled a major shift in government policy, since it was the case that from 1971 onwards, only foreigners joining relatives already in the UK had been allowed to settle here. Of this shift in policy, Neather said: "I remember coming away from some discussions with the clear sense that the policy was intended – even if this wasn't its main purpose – to rub the Right's nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date. That seemed to me to be a manoeuvre too far".

Neather wrote of the impact of Labour's new immigration policy, saying: "The results were dramatic. In 1995, 55,000 foreigners were granted the right to settle in the UK. By 2005, that had risen to 179,000". And also, "In addition, hundreds of thousands of migrants have come from the new EU member states since 2004, most requiring neither visas nor permission to work or settle. The UK welcomed an estimated net 1.5 million immigrants in the decade to 2008". You will note that the government did not impose any restrictions on people coming to the UK from those countries which acceded to the European Union in 2004, amongst them Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Lithuania and the Czech Republic, whereas most other EU member states did.

That Labour Party officials were reluctant to ever publicly discuss their grand vision for a "truly multicultural" society was hardly surprising. This first-term immigration policy got no mention whatsoever in the party's 1997 election manifesto, titled 'Faster, Firmer, Fairer'. And while it was said that the Labour Party leadership talked privately about what it referred to as the 'positive social outcomes' of its new immigration policy, what we now know was meant were the social outcomes of migrants, and not those of Britain's working classes. Part by accident and part by design, the government succeeded in creating its longed-for immigration boom – from 1997 to 2010 net migration to the UK totalled an astonishing 2.2 million people. And you can also add to that figure the sizeable number of migrants that went under the radar.

In 2013, one of the Labour Party's most influential figures during the period it was in power spoke of how the government had even sent out 'search parties' for migrants in order to get them to come to the UK. Lord Mandelson, who held a number of cabinet positions both under Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, also made the same admission that the Blair and Brown governments had deliberately engineered mass immigration in exactly the way that Andrew Neather had described sometime previously.

Speaking at a meeting organized by the Blairite think-tank Progress, Lord Mandelson said: "In 2004 when as a Labour government, we were not only welcoming people to come into this country to work, we were sending out search parties for people and encouraging them, in some cases, to take up work in this country". Mandelson went on to explain how when Labour had in place this policy of encouraging new arrivals "We were almost … a full employment economy", but then admitted "The situation is very different now".

On hearing Lord Mandelson's comments, Sir Andrew Green, the head of Migration Watch, said: "This is an astonishing admission from the highest level that Labour's mass immigration policy was entirely deliberate". And, "It will be a very long time before their own working-class supporters forgive them for the enormous changes that have been imposed on their communities".

This double betrayal by the Labour Party of Britain's working classes on the two key issues I have outlined – immigration and Brexit – is evidence, I think, of a deeply held contempt amongst the leadership elite of the party for its working-class base of supporters. And such is the level of this contempt, I do not think it is something that can easily be overcome and washed out from the party.

Also, who remembers back in April 2010 when Gordon Brown was on the campaign trail in Rochdale, and where he had a chance encounter with a woman called Gillian Duffy, a former council worker and lifelong Labour voter, who spoke of her concern about immigration? A microphone a short time later picked up Brown describing her as a "bigoted woman". Well, nothing illustrates the contempt of Labour's elite for the working classes quite like that remark, and I venture the suggestion that those few words of Gordon Brown did a lot to help the Conservatives into power that year, albeit in coalition with the Liberal Democrats. Brown became a dead man walking from that day onwards, and deservedly so.

Want to know what the root problem is with today's Labour Party? Answer: too many so-called socialists in important positions of influence in the party do not remotely get what being poor or being working class is all about. They don't understand the day-to-day struggles of ordinary working-class people. They've never been unemployed or on benefits. They've never been on a council housing waiting list. They've never lived in a council house or rented accommodation. They have never struggled to find the cash to put on their pre-payment card for the gas meter. Just like they have never experienced their lives taking a downturn, by which I mean suffering things like cuts to their wages or increased difficulty in getting off the housing waiting list, as a result of high numbers of migrants settling in the communities in which they live, and were often born. Migrants create competition: for low and semi-skilled jobs, for social housing and privately-rented accommodation, and for access to healthcare.

The 2016 referendum on our leaving of the EU was a chance for the ordinary working people of this country to have their say on an important matter. Only of all the political parties, it should actually have been the Labour Party that was most prepared to listen to and act upon the will of these people, and this because – amongst a number of other things, that is – the constituencies that returned the highest Leave votes were typically those in solid Labour territory.

The Labour Party's betrayal of the working classes is complete. And the failure of the party to help deliver to the people of this country a Brexit deal and take us out of the EU will be Jeremy Corbyn's eventual downfall.

Copyright © Christopher Goff
Tag: Politics
Uploaded: 6 November, 2019.