Saturday, October 28, 2006

When the Wind Changes Direction

I have been posting about a change in the attitude of the Labour Party to their white working class bedrock who, I have suggested, are shown by private polling to be deserting the Labour cause. That's speculation, based on observations of the statements and policies we have been hearing recently, not on inside knowledge.

Now Iain Dale has weighed in, quoting an article in The Economist (paid link omitted):

Apart from election campaigns, when rising support for far-right political parties in areas such as Dagenham causes alarm, the traditional working class is largely overlooked. When politicians say that some communities are failing to integrate with mainstream society, they mean Muslims from the Indian subcontinent. When campaigners complain that schools are failing some children, they often cite black boys. Yet the nation's most troubled group, in both absolute and relative terms, is poor, white and British-born.
Iain's conclusions are:
none of the three main parties seem willing to accept what is happening under their very noses. Social Justice has to mean bringing opportunity and hope to ALL parts of the community, not just those which appear to be politically correct. The question is, is it too late? Are people in the poorer white communities so disconnected from the political process that they are out of reach of mainstream politicians? This is why it's so important that the Conservatives get back into the Cities for the long term.
While Cameron's 'hug a hoodie' approach was derided by many, perhaps he had cottoned on to (wittingly or not) the fact that it is this group of kids who are the ones in real need of attention.
I had missed the significance of the "hug a hoodie" speech. The Tories were quicker to understand and react to this situation than Labour.

This change is just beginning.