The British general election campaign is underway, even though we have yet to be given a date for the poll. Prime minister Gordon Brown has set the ball rolling with a somnolent speech designed to appeal to Middel Ingeland. Labour will create “more middle class jobs than ever before”, he says, and is the party of the “mainstream majority”.
This is wrist-slittingly depressing stuff. At least Margaret Thatcher stirred people’s passions, even if they were the more base, materialist impulses. Today’s mainstream politics, by way of contrast, is all blameless bourgeois domesticity and comfy slippers.
Chris Dillow comments:
“Is this a society for humans, or for dogs?”
“[T]his speech is billed as an appeal to middle class voters. The genuinely poor want any house, not a bigger one, and they want a job, not their own business.”
“There’s something, though, that depresses me even more than the narrowness and lack of ambition of Brown’s words. It’s that they might actually appeal to voters.”
It is a society for humans, all right – humans who have made their modest baskets, and are set on snuggling down in them while making the absolute minimum amount of effort required to keep things ticking over nicely, thank you very much.
And of course Gordon Brown’s words will appeal to voters. I imagine that a small army of political consultants and social psychologists have advised exactly this course of action: a little bit of class warfare in the form of half-hearted bashing of the bankers, followed by a much larger appeal to the comfort zone. It’s the only thing that will keep Labour in power.