Labour’s fresh bid to entice back the ‘new working class’ bears striking similarity to the works of Johnson/ Cummings and could confirm the fears of those on the left that traditional party values are set to be watered down.
Appearing on Radio4 today Lisa Nandy outlined the new nationalist approach which they hope will entice those that used to vote Labour, don’t vote Labour any more and those that have never voted Labour.
“We stand up for Britain, we stand up for British people, we stand up for British interests and we will always put that first”, she said, seemingly unaware of her skirt with the infamous far right group.
I ask you: take another look at Labour
Closing this year’s online party conference Sir Keir will strike a similar tone, saying that Labour will “put family first” as he declares his patriotism for the UK.
“I ask you: take another look at Labour. We’re under new leadership. We love this country as you do,” he will tell members.
You can hardly blame him for the change of course – four election defeats on the bounce and a dramatic loss in December arguably warrants it – yet it is undoubtedly an admission that the left is lost.
At the heart of the new approach is Claire Ainsley, the Dominic Cummings to Boris Johnson and the driving force behind Sir Keir’s rebrand of the Labour Party.
Her book, The New Working Class, moved to define a new social class in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum and appears to be the ‘playbook’ for new (with a small ‘n’) Labour.
Today Sir Keir will embody findings that the new working class has four key values which are: family, fairness, hard work and decency. He is set to say:
“My vision for Britain is simple: I want this to be the best country to grow up in and the best country to grow old in. A country in which we put family first.”
“A country that embodies the values I hold dear. Decency, fairness, opportunity, compassion and security. Security for our nation, our families and all of our communities.”
You can also expect the party to dial down its anti-Brexit and pro-immigration stance in a bid to better represent those who have been politically marginalised by the dominance of what David Goodhart calls the ‘anywheres’: the social and economic liberals, university educated, with professional jobs.
As such Labour is likely to take a more malleable approach to the linear left-right assumptions, borrowing on policies from both sides. Starmer will support the NHS but get tough on crime, for example, and pander more to identity issues which are seen to explain the rise in support for popular nationalism.
A new era
Today will mark a new era for Labour. Let’s hope, as Len McCluskey has warned, it doesn’t “steer the ship on to the rocks”.