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Middle-class war

Nick Robinson | 09:35 UK time, Monday, 18 January 2010

Gone are the top hats which Labour used to attack the "Tory toffs". Gone too the "jokes" about the playing fields of Eton. So, is that the end of the class war? Not a bit of it.  

Gordon BrownGordon Brown has exhumed the idea of "New" Labour - a label he once avoided at all costs - and unveiled his plans for a new class war. This is not one he will not have to deny or apologise for.

His Fabian speech this weekend set out to define the battleground for the forthcoming election as the place where we find out who best understands the needs and values of the middle classes. Or the "squeezed middle". Or those on "middle incomes". These all sound very similar, but mean different things to different people.

Today, he is teaming up with his old New Labour enemy - Alan Milburn - to promote ways to get young people from modest backgrounds into the professions. The pre-election pitch couldn't be clearer. The polling tells him that he's onto something when he effectively says: "I get what life's like for you the voters, and the (Tory toff) leader of the opposition does not."

And so the prime minister made this personal pitch:

"I was born and brought up in Britain's middle class... We never went without, but we were not so well-off that we didn't have to worry about the future. And we were never so well-off that we could do without the NHS, the local school and a host of public services."

There was no direct reference to David Cameron's background - there didn't need to be - but it seems clear who he had in mind when he said:

"[C]haracter is formed not on the mountaintops of life when things looks easy, but in the valleys when things are tough."

Mr Brown declared that the "defining mission of New Labour in the coming decade should be nothing less than to unleash a wave of social mobility not seen in this country since the immediate aftermath of the Second World War."

Against this backdrop, was it extraordinary self-confidence or naivety that convinced David Cameron that he should pledge to be "brazenly elitist"?

This morning, he sets out plans to improve the prestige and quality of teaching by refusing to pay for those with poor degrees to go into the classroom and finding new ways to encourage the very best to enter the profession.

All, no doubt, with more than a glance towards improving the education of the middle classes.

Comments

Page 1 of 10

  • Comment number 1.

    Strikes me that GB is going through a trial and error process with various sections of the electorate, testing the water to see if there's anyone, anywhere, that might allow him to gain a foothold of support.

    He doesn't actually believe any of this, of course, otherwise he might have actually mentioned it before now. Which makes this shameless electioneering and little else.

    Thankfully, I think the majority of the over-taxed middle classes will not be fooled by his posturing, and before long, GB will switch his attention elsewhere in his fruitless search for electoral mandate.

  • Comment number 2.

    The Fabian society, much beloved of Blair's solid core of supporters.

    A lot of people don't understand it, its type of socialism, or its implications.

    Look, whatever way he dresses up his political aims and ambitions he is a dead duck. Get it? Lost, gone. Over. I suppose people will want to discuss and ruminate over it until he finally goes down with his ship.

    It is the dead driftwood floating about afterwards which (possibly) needs salvaging from their point of view.

    I would start the clean up act by seeing what is actually taught in our schools, universities and mosques (yes, mosques) by way of brainwashing niave people.

    Why has a teacher training college got the name of "Sidney Webb" by the way - look him and his wife Beatrice on Google.

  • Comment number 3.

    Boy, the BBC are really pushing the class war strategy for Labour. First, 'The One Show' has an utterly biased piece on Cameron last week, and Nick continues to promote these class based attcks with his own inference to 'Tory Toffs'. I come from a working class background, but through hard work got myself into a Grammar school. Am I toff for that... no I don't think so.
    This sort of electioneering really turns off every aspirational voter out there and no-one is fooled by Brown trying to say otherwise to middle-class voters. Remember,
    100 new taxes on the middle class,
    Council taxes double for the middle classes,
    Council tax revaluation if Labour are voted back in.
    Labour, a really unfunny joke.

  • Comment number 4.

    Now I would have thought that social engineering which Ed Balls decried should be avoided at all costs. Doctor, Barrister and solicitors by numbers to fill quotas? Is that what the Brown/Milburn alliance is going to bring. What about raising the standards of the state schools and allowing their pupils to compete on ability and intellect?

    This appears to echo of another promise from Labour before an election or am I dreaming. In the 60's and 70's working class pupils went to Oxbridge becam doctors, dentists, lawyers and even now they are judges who came from the working class.

    What has happened to cause this imagined need for social engineering?

  • Comment number 5.

    This really is ludicrous. Labour the party of middle class aspiration?

    In the budget and the PBR, the annoucements on National Insurance have made Labour's stance abundantly clear - "if you earn £20,000 a year or more, you'll be paying for Labour's past (and future) fiscal incontinence".

  • Comment number 6.

    Most people I know (who are middle class) loathe Brown and the Labour Party,and 5 of them are Teachers !!

  • Comment number 7.

    I don't think any of the electorate believe Gordon Brown anymore.

    He realises that to win the election he needs the votes of the aspirational class. That is people who want a nice house, good job and private education for their children. Oh yes, they live in a stable married household too.

    Brown's policies against this class mean they will not vote Labour. Which means Labour faces wipeout in England and decades of opposition.

    Too little too late Mr Brown.

  • Comment number 8.

    Milburn? Washed up, former communist bookshop owner, with a typical chip on his shoulder...(not for nothing did the bookshop earn the spoonerism nickname "Haze Of Dope").

    As for the Fabians... think they've done enough damage over the years, what with giving rise to eugenics, Oswald Moseley and their desire to increase the power of the state at the expense of society. There is absolutely no common ground between the middle classes and the Fabians and if the PM thinks that this is the way to try and attract the voting floaters instead of trying to rely on the Jeremy Kyle watching core vote, he's as dumb as he looks.

    As for the Cameron "brazenly elitist" comment, I was beginning to think you'd surprised me there Nicholas. Then again, in truth you haven't. A tad lop sided, easily explained and you just leave it hanging, the most threadbare of connections between lauding GB and aiming yet another kick in the shins at the tories.

    Do you go to the same pub as the editor of The One Show? I'm beginning to think that the Licence Fee ought to be renamed the "Labour Free PPB Slush Fund".

  • Comment number 9.

    Gordon Brown declared war on the Middle Classes when he was chancellor. You only have to look at the destruction of pension funds and the reduction in private pensions to see that is the case. He does however seem remarkably at ease with the current state of the unfunded Civil Service pensions paid for by you and I.

    The way to unleash mobility is to have schools with a high accademic standard (they used to be called Grammar Schools) in poor areas, or to pay for poor children to go to fee paying schools like the one you went to Nick. The problem is that Gordon Brown stopped that in his first budget and consigned poor children to sink schools.

    Don't judge him on what he says, judge him on what he does, in reality he has held back the poor and created more of them by tilting the tax and welfare benefits away from the independent and towards those who are by nature dependent. You only have to look at the benefit(s) of becoming a single mother to realise that it has now become a "career option" for many.

    The NHS, schools and public services that he refers to are now devolved to a Scottish Government while he a Scot wants to tell the English what to do in theirs.

    Interesting article in today's papers about the chaos in Downing Street and the daft ideas coming out of it. As someone said the problem with a control freak is that when he looses control you're left with a freak.

  • Comment number 10.

    4. Exiledscot52:

    "This appears to echo of another promise from Labour before an election or am I dreaming. In the 60's and 70's working class pupils went to Oxbridge becam doctors, dentists, lawyers and even now they are judges who came from the working class.

    What has happened to cause this imagined need for social engineering?"

    Simple. Labour abolished the grammar schools, hitherto the route by which working class youngsters reached Oxbridge and the professions.

  • Comment number 11.

    It defies belief the rubbish coming from Brown and his cronies, but I guess it shouldn't.
    Unelected and rejected, soon to be ejected.

  • Comment number 12.

    Nick quotes GB:
    "I was born and brought up in Britain's middle class... We never went without, but we were not so well-off that we didn't have to worry about the future. And we were never so well-off that we could do without the NHS, the local school and a host of public services."
    I say -- Brown was brought up living off other peoples money and charity -- since that is what funds the presbyterian church. Doesn't sound character building but more self serving. Acting holier than thou and telling other people how to live their lives and save themselves. All rather similar to the way Brown acts and behaves today.
    Nick & the BBC -- please stop playing up the class war being promoted by Brown. The people of "middle Britain" have been screwed by Brown with tax after tax after tax. Why not start challenging Labour and asking questions about their plans to fund all these wonderful concepts and dreams [sorry election bribes] they will announce over the next few weeks and months.

  • Comment number 13.

    The very fact that Brown can even mention class in any respect is hypocrasy for me. This from the man who has championed 'equal opportunities' for all these years is now telling the electorate that Cameron should not have an equal opportunity at all. "Break down the class barriers" he said; now he's holding them up again.
    And anyway, the middle class are supposed to be blessed with a certain degree of intelligence; and anyone with even a modican can see that Brown is scrabbling about in the dark for anyone left that he hasn't alienated, bankrupted or burdened with an enescapable embarassment for being a subject of a poor, useless country that was once proud.

    What an idiot.

  • Comment number 14.

    Oh, and just a quich retort to GB's line "And we were never so well-off that we could do without the NHS, the local school and a host of public services."

    Correct me if I am wrong, did not David Cameron use the NHS to help care for his son in his time of need? Even with all his so called personal wealth, he rejected the private sector in favour of using the NHS, doing presumably what was best for his family.
    Sometimes Gordon Brown really sinks low... you would think with his own experiences he would know better.

  • Comment number 15.

    #1 has Brown sussed.

    Brown does not believe any of this. In a nutshell he is desperate to find a way, any way, to continue as Prime Minister.

    People, particulary in England, simply need to wake up to what this man is.

    A Scottish career politician who will do anything and sacrifice anyone to achieve power. His view is Power for it's own sake, driven by an all consuming ego. Reject him utterly when the time comes!

  • Comment number 16.

    12. Me-thinks:

    "The people of "middle Britain" have been screwed by Brown with tax after tax after tax."

    Yes. And the people of middle ENGLAND have been screwed the most.....

  • Comment number 17.

    Labour have been in power for over 12 years. In that time they have destroyed the private sector pensions (mass closures of final salary schemes due to the tax policies of Labour), destroyed family life (scrapping of married man allowance, MIRAS and the promotion of single parenthood via the benefits and tax credits system), destroyed society (benefits system, dumbing down of education, mass immigration, politicisation of the Police, introduction of the Human Rights Act etc) destroyed manufacturing (more manufacturing jobs lost than in the Thatcher era) and signed us over to the EUSSR. As a degree qualified, experienced prfoessional Engineer I have witnessed in the past decade probably the most concentrated attack on the middle classes and middle class values in the history of Great Britain. What on earth is Gordon Brown thinking with his attempts to suck up to Middle England. He has used us as his cash cow for the past 12 odd years and to be quite frank I'm sick of my hard earned salary being used to support feckless families, flawed tax policies, a communist EU and a public sector so large as to be unsustainable going forward. If Brown really wants to be the friend of the middle classes he needs to promote marriage, give us some slack on tax, cleave into the public sector, bring back O Levels, recognise what the middle brings to the country with regard to standards and morals, stop promoting single parenthood, clamp down on crime, especially the hooded chavs who seem prevalant in our towns and cities and stop giving our hard earned money to the feckless. And if he really wanted to be our friend, give us that referendum he promised on the EU.

  • Comment number 18.

    Agree with number 1 - desperate search for votes. Cameron was labelled as a chameleon but this bloke changes his spots quicker than a traffic light!
    How is GB going to create jobs for the middle classes - more pointless, unproductive, government jobs that will add to the deficit he should be focussed on cutting?

  • Comment number 19.

    yum battleground for the next election , well then why does he not call it then.

    Social Mobility, if its such a problem what have they been going for the last 13 years then

    Also Heard Peter Watts former General Sec of the labour party talking about the Brown Blair issues that there where 2 teams that did not talk for 10 years and when the changed happened one lot went out the back and the other in the front and they never talked , is this how you run a country, a petty turf war for a decade , then blame the tories for soical modility issues ?

  • Comment number 20.

    You always know when Brown is onto something; the Unthinking Right start having a go at the BBC. It's called shooting the messenger and it's pathetic. Cameron's toff image is a real problem for him and Tory central office know it. It will plague him throughout the campaign and, if he wins, in office too. It's not so much about background as about demeanour and outlook. I expect the Tory stooges here will leap to his defence but nobody can deny it's an issue.

  • Comment number 21.

    Ed Balls criticising 'Social Engineering!!'

    Now I like to start the week with a smile, but an outright guffaw at 6 o/clock on a Monday is too much.

    Thank you Ed. I will be chuckling all week. :-D

  • Comment number 22.

    Why would anyone in the middle class care what Brown has to say?

    Does he really believe after over 12 years of constant attacks on the middle class he can now make amends just before election time and restore trust? Is he really that naive? Does he really have the cheek to treat the middle class like they're that stupid?

    Two groups have thrived under Labour, the lower class has thanks to a massive system of benefits and free stuff, and the upper class because of the blind eye turned to the likes of bankers and such. The middle class have been paying for the benefits system and have now been paying for the bankers.

    Brown can say what he wants, his and his partys action against the middle class tells us all we need to know about Labour's policy towards us.

    Besides, does it either matter? Even if he was the most middle class focussed leader out there he'd still be authoritarian with his illegal databases, illegal stop and search, proliferation of CCTV, detention without trial, trial without jury and so forth. Even Stalin was more liberal.

  • Comment number 23.

    More of the Daily Meaningless Waffle from Brown and Nu Labour.
    This is all just talk, Labour have failed the poorest in society and the middle class, and the wealthy. The sooner we get to have our democratic right the better, until then we will have lies and more damn lies about what they wish to do and have done

  • Comment number 24.

    On the one hand Labour are promising to halve the deficit over the next parliament. On the other they claim with a straight face the middle classes will be protected!

    What drivel. The combination of spending cuts and tax rises required to halve the deficit (and I very much doubt they have the bottle to REALLY do this) will need everyone to suffer some pain, and the middle classes cannot possibly be protected from pain. Who is he trying to kid? It's just lies and spin, as ever.

    If Brown thinks he can fool us with this guff he will have a rude awakening come the election. We all know things are not going to be just fine, we all know that unless we want to revisit the IMF then everyone, middle classes especially, will have to feel economic pain. We all know that a few token cuts and a bit of "efficiency saving" is nothing like enough save half of £180bn!

    Sorry Mr. Brown, no-one is listening to you any more. At least I hope to God they're not...

  • Comment number 25.

    boabycat @ 14; Totally agree. But what is equally worse is that Nick and the BBC are regurgitating Brown's bile rather than challenging it for what it is -- nasty electioneering !

  • Comment number 26.

    Now I'm not one to complain but why is it every day the use of the word 'toff' finds its way into this ahem... blog? All this talk of class is what wrong with this country.
    It'll never happen but if we as people could get over the middle class this, the poverty that, then it may be ever so slightly possible that everyone can have their own aspirations for what they want in life and not get pigeonholed into a particular area. If you have no money or status (which to me is more important) then get off your a**e and work for some, you never know you may even end up helping others like yourself with your skills and experience over the next few years.
    Or you can sit there at home saying "I have nothing and its all the fault of those toffs keeping me down".
    I can say that in the course of my business I have experienced the 'old school' attitude as well as the 'union mentality' and neither is of any use in a more open and upward looking society.
    Drop the 'class' from conversation, get on with making things work better and build up a country that can be respected again.

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    It's not a surprise that Brown has set out to target the midlle classes and explain them why they should vote Brown back in so he can continue borrowing an extra 3.5 billion pounds every week, equivalent to borrowing 9,000 pounds per full-time job in the private sector this fiscal year and next.

    The main reason that the middle classes were always going to be the battle ground is that there is no point to run a core vote strategy. The core vote will vote labour anyway because the core vote is made up by 6 million public sector employees and millions on means-tested benefits. For example, in Brown's constituency 45% of voters are either public secttor employees and/or receiving benefits. These people will vote labour - turkeys do not vote for christmas.

    All the public setcor employees and means-tested benefits receivers explain why Cameron has so much work to do, especially given constituency boundaries that require the conservatives to get some 7,000 votes more per seat than labour. Opinion polls in addition may be understating labour's support because many of the turkeys may be shy to tell pollsters that they will vote against christmas. Hence, Browns belated christmas present may still be on its way.

  • Comment number 29.

    Higher rate tax starting point increased at less than wage increases - higher taxes for middle class earners.

    NIC starting & upper earnings levels aligned with tax bands for 'fairness' - higher NIC for middle class earners.

    Introduction of 1% NIC above upper earnings levels - higher NIC for middle class earners.

    proposed additional 1% NIC above upper earnings levels - higher NIC for middle class earners

    proposed withdrawal of personal tax allowances above £100k - higher taxes for middle class earners

    proposed withdrawal of pensions tax relief for earners above £150k - higher taxes for middle class earners.

    Withdrawal of pension fund ability to reclaim tax credits - more likely to affect middle class earners.

    proposed 50% tax band above £150k - higher taxes for middle class earners

    Increases in stamp duty - higher stamp duty for middle class earners.

    increases in employer's NIC - higher costs for employers.

    proposed further increases in employer's NIC - higher costs for employers

    increased car duty - more likely to hit middle class earners

    introduction of flight taxes - more likely to hit middle class earners

    withdrawal of CGT taper relief - more likely to hit long term investors.

    Yeah, Gordon, you've been a real champion of the middle classes.

    Does anyone, anyone, believe his guff?

  • Comment number 30.

    Apart from his 'middle class' upbringing, GB, as he so often tells us, is also a 'Son of the Manse'.
    From that one would deduce that he was taught that honesty is to be revered, promises made must be kept and theft is wrong.

    Why oh why then has he constantly lied to us. Broken his promises and stolen our pensions.

    The man's a fraud!

  • Comment number 31.

    26. Toffs is a childish way of speaking and it is just the politics of envy.

    We don't call labour people the "roughs" do we? Perhaps we should.

  • Comment number 32.

    #17 MIRAS was got rid of long before "New Labour". There's nothing like having your facts right if you're going to rant, eh?

  • Comment number 33.

    Son of the Manse is just PR.

    Apparently he is not relgious and doesn't go to church unless it is a national event which he is duty bound to attend.

  • Comment number 34.

    Well, isn't that nice, that Gordon Brown wants to make life better for the ordinary folks.

    It would, of course, be ever so slightly more credible if he hadn't spent the last 13 years doing everything in his power to make life worse for the ordinary folks.

  • Comment number 35.

    Brown has been at war with the middle classes:

    - tax hikes (more coming owing to the ginormous deficit and debt)

    - raiding private pensions

    - means testing of many benefits

    All effectively induce the low earners to give up on careers and drink and smoke as this has no meaningful financial consequences for their retirement.

  • Comment number 36.

    Due to the flooding of our supermarkets with foreign biscuits, chocolate etc. (who eats them anyway??) we have Cadbury up for grabs now. Can't even keep our national much loved chocolate in the country.....:(

  • Comment number 37.

    #32.Gordon Brown scrapped MIRAS in 1999..
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]. Even the marxists at the Guardian were aware of this. Check your facts, muppet.

  • Comment number 38.

    So Married couple social engineering is to be avoided but forcing universities not to select on ability is required will done Ed Balls for dum my down the uk!

    Brown says he supports the middle classes where as the tories will tax them.... yet in April EVERYONE earning more that 20k (ie the middle classes) will pay MORE tax under labour!

  • Comment number 39.

    Is there any way we can have a 'recall vote' on Nick Robinson, or some kind of influence on who will be the next Political Editor at the BBC?

    We pay a poll tax in the form of a TV licence, but surely the time when our 'elders and betters' made decisions on our behalf are coming to an end?

    In these days of the internet etc., why can't we have a say in terms of how the BBC is run? [or am I missing something?]

    Also, does anyone fancy putting together a list of the most brazenly supportive posts of NL, as there are a growing number...?

  • Comment number 40.

    It doesn't really matter how Mr Mandeleson manages to reshape the election message. Mr Brown is the devil we already know. It is how he acts and not what he says that is important. Mr Brown has already shown he has contempt for middle England. Don't let us allow a bit of spin from Mandy let us lose sight of that. Brown will be exactly the same post election as before so what he says now is really not important. The really important thing is whether camerson is up to succeeding him. That none of us can be sure about until he's tested

  • Comment number 41.

    Another Labour press release, helpfully annotated by the BBC.
    Nick - you can't expect us to take you seriously any more, can you?

    God help the BBC after the election - no champagne in the corridors this time!

  • Comment number 42.

    Looks like under labour there will be a public pension grab soon to match the private one that have occoured every year since 1997.

    Labour look like they will be relaxing the public pension funding rules to prevent massive HIKE in council tax. So yet again labour putting off paying for something now and passing the problem onto future generations!

  • Comment number 43.

    Re #31

    You probably have a point, but I'm not a conservative voter or labour. I want the best candidate. What generally happens on this blog is that it all degenerates into just the same class war that GB is trying to promote, the usual suspects rant from both sides and we get nowhere. For me it is pretty depressing. Someone mentioned it a while ago but it is so like the Harry Enfield sketch where the labour and conservative bokes were living in the same house.

  • Comment number 44.

    Nice to see that the self proclamed son of a Manse does not support marrage

  • Comment number 45.

    I don't often comment on political postings, but I'm getting so fed up with the rubbish some of you post on here.

    Considering the Beeb is supposed to be brainwashing everyone with Labour propaganda and bias towards Brown, it doesn't seem to have had much effect on the posters here, most of whom seem to be Tory apologists and "bandwagon jumpers".

    Say what you need to say about the politics, don't try to drag the messenger into the gutter with you.

  • Comment number 46.

    Whilst Brown preaches to the party faithful, and has resurrected 'New' Labour just at the time that it looks as if Blair might be allowed on board to help fight the election, his quoting that his "defining mission of New Labour in the coming decade should be nothing less than to unleash a wave of social mobility not seen in this country since the immediate aftermath of the Second World War."

    Odd that. It is precisely his, and 'New' Labour's policies that have stopped the social and geographical mobility that was there before they got in when they won the 1997 election.

    Which of his policies, both fiscal and social, will Brown be reversing then?

  • Comment number 47.

    "You always know when Brown is onto something; the Unthinking Right start having a go at the BBC. It's called shooting the messenger and it's pathetic. Cameron's toff image is a real problem for him and Tory central office know it. It will plague him throughout the campaign and, if he wins, in office too. It's not so much about background as about demeanour and outlook. I expect the Tory stooges here will leap to his defence but nobody can deny it's an issue."

    Its not just the messenger that needs to be shot, pd. And quickly, by the way.

    Cameron's "toff" image is a problem for him because he and his party are too spineless to stand up to it and criticise Brown's attack for what it is - Two faced, lying, cynical, political opportunism. There are far more "toffs" - by NL's own definition in their own party than Cameron's. Would you like a list of names of the privately educated Labour MP's? Oh and incidentally, wasnt Blair the first public school educated PM since Alec Douglas-Home - all those inbetween were grammar school educated? The same grammar schools that old Labour killed off?

    The BBC are licence payer funded and as it isnt meant to be a political subscription based channel like Fox might as well be in the US, then it isnt beyond the wit of the electorate to expect a degree of political impartiality.

    If you had seen the offending edition of the One Show last week where there was effectively a 5 minute free Labour PPB being given by a champagne socialist being driven around in the back of a hired BBC Merc (no doubt subsidised by the licence fee payers as well), then it would have come to recognition pretty quick that what we have is no less a state owned and controlled broadcaster in the same vein as Al Jazeera, Pravda or Isvestia.

    So, if the BBC's Editorial intelligensia wants to nail its political colours to the NL mast then it can take - and will get - the damn good kicking it deserves.

  • Comment number 48.

    What next? An appeal to the 'fithy rich'...

    It's quite obvious that newlabour have no policies to offer after twelve years of bankrupting the country with profligate overspending on inefficient public sevices.

    So I suppose we are destined to their devotion to one section if society after another, week after week, just in case anyone wants to vote for them.

    So this week it's the middle classes, next week it'll be the white working class, the week after that multi cultural Britain, there's sure to be no end of interest groups that newlabour can target. Doubtless 'struggling pensioners' will make their appearance at some stage.

    What utter baloney this man talks.

    Never is there the faintest clue as to how anything will be delivered. just like there was never any clue as to how it would be delivered in the last twelve years; so instead the numbers were manipulated to amek sure it looked like we were seeing results; from GP waiting lists to educational standards to weapons of mass destruction, newlabour have spent twelve years fudging the numbers and massaging the message.

    It's over boys. Go home.

    Call an election.

  • Comment number 49.

    I think we should pity this poor man,he is so desperate to hang on to the power he fought so hard to get( through betrayal, backstabbing etc )that he is prepared to face ridicule to buy a few votes. Nobody believes a word he says anymore but a few are probably prepared to be bought, the dodgy lord has turned ventriloquist with a remote control!!
    Another 5 years of Coco the Clown if he wins the elections , at an average of 2 coups a year that will bring GB to the level of the worst South American countries !!
    Somebody please put this poor deluded man out of his misery ,but am afraid only a general election will get rid of him as there is more grit on our side streets than in his gutless ministers. Mendelson as well is showing his cruel nature by backing him up and prolonging the agony !!

  • Comment number 50.

    26#

    Careful Angry, you'll go upsetting the lefties with talk like that. Give 'em an attack of the vapours, you will.....

  • Comment number 51.

    Did Ed Balls say that the married couples allowance was social engineering in his interview over the weekend?

    Is it not hypocrisy to them advocate the same thing?

  • Comment number 52.

    Well, I think we can see which way the wind is blowing on this one.

    Think I'll start a sweepstake for it to get to 250 posts before we get the "this entry is now closed for comments" strapline.

    Any takers?

  • Comment number 53.

    How many more times must lazy journalists allow Labour to get away with it. Ed Balls says that recognising marriage in the tax system is wrong.

    Labour recently introduced the tarnsferable nil rate band into inheritance tax. This is only available to married couples. So Labour say you shouldn't recognise marriage in the tax system whilst bringing in a measure that recognises marriage in the tax system.

    Why can't someone at the BBC spend 5 minutes researching the point and then put it to Ed Balls (or whoever) next time they bring the subject up?

  • Comment number 54.

    I started life in a terraced house in a suburb east of London, definitely working class. The fact that I am now probably considered to be middle class is down to the efforts of my parents to encourage and help me when I was young, and my own hard work since then. In the past twelve years, I have seen more and more of what I have achieved through hard work being eroded by an incompetent and greedy government whose sole aim has been to drag everyone down to the lowest common denominator.

    There is no incentive for people to work hard - do so and the government will take the fruits of your labour and give them to those who want instant success without having to put in the effort. This is a downward spiral, because genuine opportunities become fewer and there are less real jobs for those that would rather work than be on benefits.

    So no Gordon, I do not believe the lies that you and your government are peddling. Twelve years of incompetence and waste and you're trying to make out that you can fix it? So why did you let it get like that in the first place? No use blaming the markets - you were quick to take credit when things were good, so you can take the blame now that they're bad.

  • Comment number 55.

    32#

    #17 MIRAS was got rid of long before "New Labour". There's nothing like having your facts right if you're going to rant, eh?

    Or if you're trying to rewrite history and blame everything on the tories from the extinction of the dinosaurs onwards?

    from wiki:

    "MIRAS was completely abolished in April 2000 by then Chancellor of the Exchequer (now Prime Minister) Gordon Brown who argued it had become a Middle Class perk."

    Like you say.... There's nothing like having your facts right if you're going to rant... and that was nothing like having your facts right. Try again.

  • Comment number 56.

    Nick

    Can you point out to GoBro that the career option as a NuLabour MP is now restricted to those from the middle classes. The Dennis Skinners, John Prescotts and Michael Martins of the Old labour party have been replaced by career politicians such as the privately educated Ed Balls, management consultants and barristers.

    Talk about pulling up the drawbridge.

  • Comment number 57.

    33. Flamethrower:

    "Son of the Manse is just PR."

    Maybe, but he gets his sickening, I-know-best, holier-than-thou moralising, and his apparent missionary zeal, from somewhere.

    To me, it reeks either of presbyterianism, and/or of the vary nasty and historic British disease of puritanism, visible in all of the moralising killjoys since (and including) the commonwealth of the 1650s.

    Notice how Brown likes banning things? In the 1650s, they banned pubs, theatres and even maypole dancing. Plus ca change......

  • Comment number 58.

    Oh no. "Reaching out to Middle England". No good can come of this. The day that power can be obtained, in this country, without ROTME is the day we can finally get cracking.

  • Comment number 59.

    Re #50

    William it doesn't take much before I get hammered for stating the bl##ding obvious. Therein lies the problem for this once great country. Simple fact is if GB is returned we are in another of those "Neil Kinnock - switch the light off" moments.

  • Comment number 60.

    D4D**head:

    Then the messenger would do well to stay out of it then, wouldnt he instead of being an unquestioning propaganda mouthpiece? The messenger ought to remember precisely which side his proverbial bread is buttered on.

  • Comment number 61.

    The fight for the middle classes strikes at the notion of democracy in this country. On the one hand you have the Conservatives who propose redistributing even more wealth to the those who already have far too much. their notions of improving education seem couched in "Tom Brown's School Days". Would any other political party see a solution to perceived educational standards as the introduction of those successful in other careers? Would the public be happy with successful bank managers becoming surgeons, or a captain of a successful football team becoming a military leader in Afghanistan? The paucity of knowledge demonstrated by Cameron and Gove (introduce military personnel into the classroom to improve discipline) as to the necessary skills to be a successful teacher do not indicate a considerable level of skill in political leadership. The choice would appear to be vote for us and we will guarantee employment security for those who have had the privilege of a pampered education. What chance of students in a Haringey Comprehensive gaining a place at Oxford or Cambridge based on the teaching of a successful Estate Agent?

    While the Labour Party is still following the Blairite deception that to be electable they must pamper to Conservative ideals, or their perceived "middle-class voter or Working-class aspirant. Ed Balls has as much understanding of the conditions of teaching in the majority of state schools as his private education has provided, in other words none! The constant perception that education is either "childminding" or "factory for future employees" misses what the swathe of European education succeeds in doing - providing well balanced; socially and philosophically aware, well rounded individuals; fluent in more than one languagge. While the continued demand for "payment by results"; the notion that private education is superior to state education (while financing the private sector through the public purse (military and diplomatic support parents sending their children to private schools); that any individual who thinks they have some skill base can teach; this country will continue to emulate the fractured system of America.

    Surely after the resent fiascos of financial and political greed that have brought the population of Britain, along with the rest of the world, to the brink of collapse, it is time for politicians to "learn to govern". Every four or five years the general public are given an opportunity to provide a "selected few" access to the national decision/law making system, while supported by an array of unelected civil servants. Is it not time that these elected individuals started truely representing their constituents rather than joining the various "vested interests" that make up party politics. Michael Portillo once said on the Politics Show that it is every politicians duty to attempt to become Prime Minister - So now we can see where the root of the cult of self-interest demonstrated by the expenses scandal eminate from. Throughout the "ruling classes" is the self-believe in their entitlement, to astronomical salaries; to bonuses for doing what they are already paid to do; privileges of expenses for themselves and their families that would otherwise be paid for from their vast salaries. Has nobody ever wondered why goods in Britain are always more expensive than in other countries - it is the added cost of the extras. For years bank employees have benn entitled to reduced rate mortgages while the customers who struggle to pay "the going rate" are evicted at the slightest delay in payment of inflated interest rates.

    Gordon Brown, now is the time to break the distorted structure, tell the public what they want to hear - that any addition to taxable salary will be taxed at a detromental rate (bonuses; perks; privileges) to finance the payment of debts created by the already wealthy (who appear to be getting richer on the taxpayers support). Provide a Bill of Rights where the British become citizens not subjects, ensure meritocracy in the removal of selection from education (whether through wealth; access or privilege - in a recent Antiques Road Show it was revealed that a certain Prep-School even takes this to the extreme of the inheritance of the role of Headteacher (Master in the case of private education)). Give every individual in Britain the right to expect equal opportunity; fare and proportionate share of the gross domestic product; a clear and effective voice in the decision making process. Stop the rot of Thatcherite self-interest that is rotting the present fabric of society, and please end the cult of celebrity - why should the views of actors/footballers/entertainers/chefs be of any more value than the raconter in the local public house. The American desire to be "Hollywood", to be party to the fiction of glamour (Marilyn Monroe had multiple operations to make her glamorous; Kate Moss and co. are freakis of nature not representations of good health) needs to be expunged from our psyche. Gordon needs to be honest - rather than emulating photo-opportunity David who cannot decide which face fits.

  • Comment number 62.

    Gordon Brown and Labour are not perpetrating a class war its a war against the English. Every man, woman and child living in England is getting a raw deal from the British Government.

    Brown says "...our priority will be to remove all the barriers that are holding people back."

    That's just a blatant lie.

    Why is it that the English that have to pay tuition fees for University whilst Gordon Browns constituents and all Scots get them paid for by the state?

    The answer is the Barnett Formula. Each person gets he following per year from central government.

    * England £7,121
    * Scotland £8,623
    * Wales £8,139
    * Northern Ireland £9,385

    The English are treated as forth class subjects in their own country.

    Only an English Parliament will ensure a fair deal for the English people.

  • Comment number 63.

    "I get what life's like for you the voters, and the (Tory toff) leader of the opposition does not."

    Is that as opposed to his (labour Toff) deputy who has every bit as much personal wealth and every bit as privileged an upbringing as may so called Tory toffs, as have many other Labour MPs. OK, there is a core of 'working class' Labour back benchers who remain true to their socialist roots - not my flavour of politics, but I respect their commitment, success and their maintaining of their personal values - Frank Field or Dianne Abbot for example.

    There may well be more 'personal wealth' on the Tory side of the house - so what - does that make them bad politicians? In any case, there are also many Tory’s who attended Grammar Schools and Comprehensives who have worked hard to be where they are today.

    Let’s face it; the main 'barriers' to success in life are a lack of personal aspiration and a poor education. Being dependent on benefits and handouts is no way to create aspiration. Aspiration is for the most part instilled by parents, families and role models. People like my late Grandmother who came from a very poor family but worked hard at school and was the first female to win a scholarship to Loughborough, she went on to teacher at a Grammar School in Cornwall and ran a cub scout pack in her spare time. I have a fairly unusual surname and if I had a £ for every 40+ year olds something I meet who say to me “are you any relation to ---“ I would be a wealthy man. Many ‘locals’ of note cite her as their inspiration; including the late David Penhaligon “the best leader the Liberal’s never had”. It is people like my late Gran who break down the class system! I bet everyone who reads this and considers themselves a ‘success’ in life will be able to name a person in their life who made them what they are today.

    Education relies on inspirational, respected teachers and tailored teaching according to ability and need of the pupil (just like the Grammar School system used to provide). No amount of rhetoric will put things right, nor will taxing the 'Middle Class' until the pips squeak.

  • Comment number 64.

    "Why can't someone at the BBC spend 5 minutes researching the point and then put it to Ed Balls (or whoever) next time they bring the subject up?"

    you dont really need an answer to that do you mate? Because Labour have them in their back pocket.

  • Comment number 65.

    58#

    Yes.... you would say that wouldn't you Saga? [rolls eyes and walks off]

  • Comment number 66.

    No doubt about it Brown is a washed up reactionary hypocrite of the first water and if he believes the people of this country would waste a vote on him, he's even more deluded than he thinks he is. His retirement wont be a happy one as most sensible people will shun him like the plague which is no more than he deserves.

  • Comment number 67.

    Son of the Manse means what Brown wants it to mean and not what we would expect.

    What it actually means is that Brown's background is not one of enterprise or creating work at all but a lifetime of spending other people's money and just expecting to do more fundraising by whatever means is suitable in context if the funds run out.

    In strictly economic terms therefore Brown has no notion as to how to create money or growth but only how to deal with projects and funding and, even more spending.

    He wouldn't know how to do anything else and we expected more of him than he was capable of delivering.

    And Zebedee said it was time to go home...boing boing Brown!

  • Comment number 68.

    Brown is going to say anything and promise anything in an attempt to win votes but it's pretty obvious that most voters will not be swayed. On the other hand Cameron is not being very forward looking with his tax relief for married couples (seems like another policy they haven't thought through)and as for 'elite teachers' doesn't he know that the most brilliantly academic people don't necessarily make the best teachers? Frankly I despair of all politicians. Is there anyone out there capable of running the country?

  • Comment number 69.

    61 "the Conservatives who propose redistributing even more wealth to the those who already have far too much."

    That's interesting. So now, NOT taxing the bejezus out of people is 'redistributing' wealth to them? I thought it was their wealth to start with and all the Tories were doing was suggesting taking less off them.

    It's a bit like a burglar saying that he's not going to rob your house and then claiming he is redistributing wealth to you. Amazing.

  • Comment number 70.

    Bill @ 47

    As far as BBC impartiality goes, all I will concede is that the corporation tends to attract well-educated and talented people, rather than blinkered ignoramuses, so there will be a fair number of posters on this site who consider their outlook to be under-represented.

    On the issue of toffs, which I agree is a puerile term, you can be privately educated without coming across as a toff (although the reverse might not be true). It's all about perceptions. Blair was middle class and had a privileged education but also had a common touch, which is partly why he appealed to such a diverse range of voters. In saying that Cameron's toff image is an electoral liability, I am not making a value judgement about him or his background, although I realize that nuance is too subtle for some. Similarly, you could ackowledge that Kinnock wasn't helped by his Welshness while at the same time decrying such prejudice.

    Finally, let's forget this silly notion that the Tories are no 'toffier' than Labour. David Cameron is a direct descendant of King William IV and Osborne will become, on the death of his father, the 18th Baronet of Ballintaylor. I don't have anything against the aristocracy, but to pretend that the Tory front bench is no different from the Labour front bench when it comes to social pedigree is just a lie. So why lie about it if, as Tory supporters keep claiming, the 'toff' charge has no traction?

  • Comment number 71.

    Idea for an election billboard for Labour to use...

    WE CAN’T GO BACK TO THIS!

    Conservatives: 1979–1997 AVERAGE INTEREST RATES = 10%

    1979–1997 AVERAGE INFLATION = 11.4%

    1979–1997 AVERAGE UNEMPLOYMENT = 8%

    All those clamouring for a Cameron goverment should look who is advising him, a lot of the old culprits behind the figures above (Haig, Clarke etc). (all figures approx. but over 12 of the Tories 18 years in power there were double digit interest rates, why would any business person vote for that again?)

  • Comment number 72.

    #20 pdavies65 (AKA Labour Central)

    So wrong - it's only an issue for those steeped in the politics of envy.

  • Comment number 73.

    I think Brown and Labour have got this all wrong as they are driving more swing voters, which many are in marginal seats, to vote Tory.
    It may play to the type of voters in strong Labour seats, but will not win them any more seats.

  • Comment number 74.

    69. AndyC555:

    "It's a bit like a burglar saying that he's not going to rob your house and then claiming he is redistributing wealth to you. Amazing."

    You are absolutely right, but I hope you're not hoping that things will change much even if Cameron is elected? Even to get in, he has to overcome a combination of (a) a skewed electoral system, and (b) huge vested interests (6 million government employees, a similar number of benefits recipients).

    Even if he does get in with a workable majority - which I doubt - he will soon become a prisoner of the machine (the bureaucracy, the quangos, the PC and H&S brigade, etc).. I think it's over, whoever wins in May.

  • Comment number 75.

    Isn't it true that Gordon was given something of a "leg-up" in his education? Didn't he receive special attention?

    Isn't it the Labour administration that has removed the assisted places schemes?

    I'm afraid all I see is an aspiration for serfdom

  • Comment number 76.

    Friendlycard said:

    "Labour abolished the grammar schools, hitherto the route by which working class youngsters reached Oxbridge and the professions."

    I think you will find that it was, in fact, Margaret Thatcher (as secretary of state for education) who closed most grammar schools - far more than Labour, who talked about it but didn't do all that much, in fact.

    btw - I am convinced of the case for grammar schools, even at the risk of being derided as 'elitist'. I'll get over it!

    Also concur with the generally derogatory observations of the Fabian society - bunch of wishy-washy control-freak liberals!

  • Comment number 77.

    I believe I would be considered middle class and in my view life has been pretty good for the past twelve years. Apart from the unjustified fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, I think that Labour has done a good job since 1997.

    Having said that, I don't necessarily think that there is anything wrong with the country being led by those that attended Eton and Rugby etc. That is just an election tactic. I'm sure both sides will stoop pretty low in the run up to the election, as has become the accepted way in recent decades.

    Some of the comments on this site seem so angry that I cannot understand them. Are things really so bad? Do people really not have enough money to enjoy their lives? I don't think we've ever had it so good.

  • Comment number 78.

    more WARS from the war moggers of Labour,

  • Comment number 79.

    Gordon Brown seems to me to be very wishy washy. One minute he says INVESTMENT not CUT. Then he says CUTS not INVESTMENT. Then he says both. He says I am for the working class., then he says no I am for the middle class. He one minute says he will have the election in 2007 then no I will leave it till 2010. We have ended Boom and bust and the economy will grow were his words at his last budget in 2007 then we have the largest reccession since 1921.

  • Comment number 80.

    What is the point of Gordon Brown? He seems to shuffle around from one position to another with no real purpose or consistency.

  • Comment number 81.

    71
    Just call yourself lucky, but what is your job?

  • Comment number 82.

    There appears to be a hidden agenda at the BBC to push the 'toff' charge on behalf of New Labour. If this bias is to continue until the election both the ECU and the BBC Trust should investigate as a matter of urgency.

  • Comment number 83.

    I thought last week's class war against the toffs was a desperate measure to shore up the core labour vote because I wonder whether they are going to come out and vote.

    He lost the middle classes a long time ago as Chancellor - stealth taxes, pensions, stamp and fuel duty etc. Most people I know including those that aren't interested in politics just will not vote for him. They may not vote tory but they aren't going to listen to Brown in the way they did Blair. This latest "class war" as Nick calls it just confuses the picture and may well alienate some of their core voters.

  • Comment number 84.

    https://www.justsolutions.eu/marginals/secParties.asp

    Look at the swing seats and tell us how many will Brown hold with this line of attack.

  • Comment number 85.

    number 79

    It was a global recession, not solely home made, as the 2 previous recessions of the eighties and nineties, this is what Cameron does not understand, funny that as he was an economic adviser to Lamont at the time.

  • Comment number 86.

    The Grammar School's were abolished by Wilson's Labour government in the 60s when selection at 11 was stopped. As there were still pupils who had been selected the schools continued through Heath's administration. If labour had intended to do anything about Grammar Schools they could have rescinded their decisions of 5/6 years earlier.

    To say Mrs Thatcher closed any schools is Labour spin.

  • Comment number 87.

    #68:

    "Is there anyone out there capable of running the country?"

    I suspect there are plenty of people out there capable of running the country. I like to think I'd make a reasonable go of it myself (I know I'd definitely do a far better job than Gordon Brown has done). No doubt many others would do a better job than I would.

    However, I have no desire to demean myself to the level of being a politician. That's probably true of most of the other people who'd be capable of running the country. So sadly, we're stuck with politicians running the country. I doubt that any of them is capable (with the possible exception of Vince Cable, but he has no chance of becoming PM).

  • Comment number 88.

    #29 you forgot IR35 (1999) , ah that was targeted at the working class, rather than the wealthy sorry. Must not kill the golden goose but he did by letting in the foxes

  • Comment number 89.

    No wonder the average no show elector cannot be bothered. Nothing constructive from anyone just constant "they are wrong" from each side.
    All a smokescreen to stop the public noticing the real issue.
    I think all of you on here know but are head in the sand ostriches: "I do not believe that the people of this country yet have any idea about the seriousness of the position that we face."
    An honest line of sense from a politician! No party has the courage to approach the people in this manner. Every party run by self obsessed cowards.

  • Comment number 90.

    Another week, another relaunch and revised strategy.

    Brown is trapped in the vortex, circling the plughole of electoral disaster and reaching out at every imagined life saving rope thrown to him, pleading for help, it would be pitiful if it wasn't so embarrassing. As May draws nearer, he circles faster and faster in the flow of a current he cannot control, passing in front of the poor, the working classes, the middle classes, parents etc etc. every general/special interest grouping in our society hoping someone will throw him a life-ring close enough he can grab it.

    When will he get the message - the electorate are not trying to save him , they are trying to hit him with the life-ring to finally finish him off.

    Thankfully we only have to wait until May for him to finally disappear down the hole and round the U bend to obscurity.

  • Comment number 91.

    71#

    Its not necessarily about clamouring for a Cameron government, the main priority is to get that stupid power crazed eejit Brown away from No10. THAT'S the priority!

  • Comment number 92.

    77. At 11:37am on 18 Jan 2010, IDG wrote:
    I believe I would be considered middle class and in my view life has been pretty good for the past twelve years...............

    .......................Some of the comments on this site seem so angry that I cannot understand them. Are things really so bad? Do people really not have enough money to enjoy their lives? I don't think we've ever had it so good.

    *******************************

    I take it you are either a Lottery winner or a benefit claimant then!! 8-)

  • Comment number 93.

    #61 would this apply to the family courts as well ?

  • Comment number 94.

    "Briantist wrote:
    #17 MIRAS was got rid of long before "New Labour". There's nothing like having your facts right if you're going to rant, eh?"

    Really? The HMRC website mentions:

    "Relief under MIRAS for home loans was withdrawn with effect from 6 April 2000"

    Now I was under the impression that New Labour came to power in 1997, but obviously you would have got your facts right before making a statement like:

    "There's nothing like having your facts right if you're going to rant, eh?"

  • Comment number 95.

    "71. At 11:27am on 18 Jan 2010, telw wrote:
    Idea for an election billboard for Labour to use...

    WE CAN’T GO BACK TO THIS!

    Conservatives: 1979–1997 AVERAGE INTEREST RATES = 10%

    1979–1997 AVERAGE INFLATION = 11.4%

    1979–1997 AVERAGE UNEMPLOYMENT = 8%"

    You missed out:

    1800 - Tories oppose ending of slave trade

    4000 BC - Tories in favour of cannibalism.

    And you're not doing Labour justice either. A piffling 11.4% inflation? That's nothing, it was 26.9% at its peak in 1975 under Labour and was a wopping 90.72% between Oct '74 and May '79.

    And Labour managed average mortgage interest rates of 14.665% between 1974 and 1979, so they're ahead in that department too.

    Should make an interesting billboard.

  • Comment number 96.

    #71 why not add

    "... thats what it took to sort of the 79 mess left by labour"

  • Comment number 97.

    The best possible way in which Brown could help these 130,000 super smart kids is to buy air tickets for them and their families to Australia, the USA or indeed anywhere else!

  • Comment number 98.

    #85 your right the 80/90 recession were home made by labour from 64-79
    it took that long to put it right.

    this time much of the recessuion was made in england but GB oversight or lack of it of the banking sector, he just wanted the money to spend spend spend,

    My guess its going to take another 20 years to get over GB and labours latest mess

  • Comment number 99.

    With this trash from Labour while DC promises to make teaching a respected profession again, I might well vote Conservative...

    We have a desperate need to improve our schools. To do that, we have to improve the quality of our teachers and that's going to be very difficult. Consider a first rate mathematician/physicist/engineer. Look at the choices:
    1. Make a fortune working for a bank.
    2. Follow and enjoy your profession in industry or university.
    3. Become a teacher, suffer abuse from undsciplined children, abuse from their parents, follow idiotic advice on how to do your work all for a teacher's salary and very decent holidays.

    You have to want very badly to teach to take option 3, even with the long holdays. I would never consider it.

  • Comment number 100.

    70#

    "As far as BBC impartiality goes, all I will concede is that the corporation tends to attract well-educated and talented people, rather than blinkered ignoramuses, so there will be a fair number of posters on this site who consider their outlook to be under-represented."

    Oh, right. So, you wouldnt be saying that those who run the BBC are well educated, talented and somewhat politically left leaning, whilst those who post on here in reply to what they are paying a licence fee for are a bunch of right wing ignorant bigots who think they should hear more of their own voices?

    Just how much more condescending can you get pd? And you think I'm insulting?! Are you familiar with the concept of the licence fee and political impartiality? We're not subscribers to DailyMail TV here, this is meant to be an institution that is meant to give it to you straight, unvarnished, not a regurgitating propaganda mouthpiece, for either side. If that makes me a right wing bigot, then hell, I think you're sailing pretty close to Planet Saga and you know how barking he is.

    "On the issue of toffs, which I agree is a puerile term, you can be privately educated without coming across as a toff (although the reverse might not be true). It's all about perceptions."

    Hurr, hurr... Yeah, who'se perceptions? Yours? Gordons? The average sink estate brick-throwing mouth-breather?

    "Blair was middle class and had a privileged education but also had a common touch, which is partly why he appealed to such a diverse range of voters."

    He was exactly the things that you decry Cameron for. Why try and deny it?

    "In saying that Cameron's toff image is an electoral liability, I am not making a value judgement about him or his background, although I realize that nuance is too subtle for some."

    Then precisely what judgement ARE you making on him pd? Are you saying comments like the playing fields of Eton and knowing all the potential benefits of the IHT change in Kensington and Chelsea by first name arent some kind of "value judgement" and are too subtle a nuance for the average sink estate mouth-breather?

    "Similarly, you could ackowledge that Kinnock wasn't helped by his Welshness while at the same time decrying such prejudice."

    It had nothing to do with his welshness, it had everything to do with the fact that like the tories at 97, 2001 and to a lesser degree 2005, the electorate didnt trust them or their policies. They were pro unilateral disarmament, they were still in their pre-clause 4 days, they were still remembered by too many voters as the party that got us in the crap last time in 1979 and the winter of discontent. Militant didnt help their cause either. Had nothing to do with the fact that he was Welsh. Personally, I thought he was an under-rated passionate orator. The fact that he had more faces than a town hall clock doesn't diminish that capability.

    "Finally, let's forget this silly notion that the Tories are no 'toffier' than Labour. David Cameron is a direct descendant of King William IV and Osborne will become, on the death of his father, the 18th Baronet of Ballintaylor."

    Whoop de doo. Hatty is the related to the Earl Of Longford. Tony Benn was a Viscount, wasnt he? So what?

    "I don't have anything against the aristocracy, [I dont believe you, by the way. I think you do] but to pretend that the Tory front bench is no different from the Labour front bench when it comes to social pedigree is just a lie. So why lie about it if, as Tory supporters keep claiming, the 'toff' charge has no traction?"

    So what are we calling "social pedigree" then, if it is not connections to the aristocracy? Or Education? Eh? Precisely what are NL beating the bloody gums about??

 

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