Monday, 1 October 2012
Labouring the Point
Do you remember the “Isles of Wonder” opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics? Did you see how Tolkein’s imagined gentle Middle Earth, Shire folk were displaced by the dark satanic mills of industrial Britain and how the masses, formerly controlled by natural feast or famine, began to teem and toil to power an empire?
People left the seasonal agricultural labour of their heritage and adapted to the constant work demands of the factories. City populations boomed and in booming created the opportunity for man to exploit his fellow as never before. Living off the land, starvation could be circumvented by foraging, but city life created a new type of human, helpless as individuals and dependent on the ever-expanding ant colony.
Supply and demand. Supply high = wages and conditions low. Against that backdrop, the Labour Party was necessary; using the concentrated, coordinated power of strike action and later, collective bargaining to wrestle back a modicum of control from the owning classes and shine a light into the grim corners of grubby working lives.
Until the latter half of the last century the only control poor people had over their own numbers was abstention or guesswork… and the occasional Black Death. Then The Pill appeared and brought a blessed respite from the burden of baby-bearing on an industrial scale. Industry brought wealth and wealth brought education and universal suffrage brought democracy. And democracy brought opportunity and choice and jam for all. Thank you, Labour. Well done.
But now most of that engine-room industry has gone - it's gone to countries where they can do it cheaper, faster, better… and did I say cheaper? So it isn't coming back, which is fine, it really is. It’s what you wanted – “We’re all middle class now.” And with it has gone the need for the masses in the factories, Labour’s core constituency. And yet the ‘working class’ are still with us.
In the late 1960s the horrors of the starving in newly-formed and short-lived Biafra were beamed into our huddled working class living rooms and we saw, as never before, the helplessness of a population too large for the land on which it depended. We sent them what we could, while condemning them for their ignorance in over-breeding; we’ve always been a bit smug, as a nation.
But, instead of addressing the reality of a population ill-fitting its resources, Socialism has clung onto its dream, replacing the factories with state-run bureaucracies and the new industries; the grievances industry, the claims industry, the equality industry; nice, touchy-feely jobs for soft-handed, chattering classes. And it has ignored the real problem of equality; that we are simply NOT born equal. Child benefits, originally intended to boost a war-ravaged population of humble worker-ants has directly enabled generations born with low-to-zero opportunities yet high aspirations. 'The poor' (let's call them that, shall we?) have been allowed to overbreed; it's as simple as that.
Our world has changed so our population has to. Successive governments have tried to pretend we could all work in the city, but we just can't. We still need cleaners and drivers and builders and the like but what was Labour’s solution but to import more voters? Nobody, I mean nobody, could seriously argue that paying our idle to multiply while simultaneously shipping in millions to do the work they see as beneath them was anything other than purely political.
So of course I have a plan. And it does empower the true working classes. You want change? You’re prepared to work for it? Then stop breeding. Have only those kids you can afford without state support. In turn we should progressively remove any payment for procreation until nobody has kids they can’t pay for. It’s not a quick fix, but it IS in your hands.
Is this what you want, Labour?
The Labour Party is a spent force. The ordinary people they purport to represent are kept poor by their misguided attempts to fight a fight they won so very long ago. As they are revealing in conference they have nothing – apart from dreams - to distinguish them from any other party. In twenty-first century Britain, Labour no longer has a mission. When they come to realise that, their work is done.