Sunday, September 02, 2007

Bob Wareing: Honourable Member



Regular readers of this blog will know that its author has a fairly low opinion of members of the British parliament. The sad truth is that most MPs are- let's not beat about the bush- careerist creeps, who pursue their own interests and not those they are supposed to represent. There are however one or two exceptions. Bob Wareing (above) the Labour MP for West Derby is one of them. I met Bob for the first time at a Houses of Parliament meeting to commemorate the anniversary of the illegal NATO aggression against Yugoslavia.
Bob not only opposed that illegal war, but also the similarly unlawful attack on Iraq four years later.
Listening to Bob reminded me why I once joined the Labour Party. A principled opponent of military aggression and a life-long socialist, Bob supports public ownership, the redistribution of wealth and strongly opposes everything that the 'New Labour' neo-liberals stand for.
And in common with the author of this blog, Bob believes that a moderately conservative stance on social issues, far from being inconsistent with socialism, actually complements it. For Bob, socialism is not defined by support for reducing the homosexual age of consent, or for making divorce and abortion easier; but by one's position on public ownership and redistributive economic reforms.
Bob's social conservatism derives from his background. He is a member of a dying breed-the geniunely working-class Member of Parliament. The son of a Liverpool lorry driver, Bob was educated at council school, before taking an economics degree, extramurally at London University.
This weekend Bob showed once again how in touch he is with public opinion with his attacks on Home Secretary Jacqui Smith's ludicrous idea to create a network of "drop-off ones" for people to hand in illegal firearms, in the aftermath of the horrific murder of 11-year-old Rhys Jones, whose family live in Bob's constituency.

"Does she honestly believe the people capable of perpetrating this terrible crime are going to hand over their guns? Of course they're not. We need far more resources for the police. If you walk around Croxteth you will hardly see a policeman. We need to see them on the ground because we have got to crush this gang culture",
Bob said.
Bob went on to call for new curbs on violent films that glorify gang culture- and said that Conservative leader David Cameron was right to focus on the need to tackle Britain's broken society. Contrast Bob's comments with those from the New Labour hierarchy- and from the party's middle class apologists in the media, who have been telling us all week that rising violent crime is a figment of the tabloids' imagination.

The Labour party used to be full of people like Bob Wareing. Working-class, decent and most importantly of all, in touch with the views and opinions of those they were supposed to represent.

It isn't anymore.

Which is why I am no longer a member.

8 comments:

Reality check said...

Bob maybe a nice guy, but he's as thick as pig shit.

Neil Clark said...

Really? How come he's been proved right on nearly every policy stance he's taken?

Anonymous said...

Is that why Bob Wareing is an MP and you "reality check" are not. Anyone who stoops to personal verbal abuse cannot have much to say on the subject of gun crime which is sweeping through Britain. It is frightening to see how we are following America in everything that is negative.

David Lindsay said...

Hear, hear!

Have the Tories changed? No, not really. Their party used to be a dazzlingly effective means to putting posh boys into positions of power and influence, entirely regardless of their views, if any. It is now a laughably ineffective means to that same end. But that’s all. The real change has been in Labour.

Labour used to believe in social democracy. It did so precisely because it had profoundly conservative social and moral values, not least a strong British (and therefore also Commonwealth) patriotism focused on the institution binding together each and both of the Union and the Commonwealth.

All of this was, and remains, mainstream opinion in Scotland, Wales, the North, the Midlands, and the decidedly less chi-chi parts of the South. In some such constituencies, turnout last time was as low as one in three.

So there is a huge gap to be filled by the restored party of those Labour MPs who defended the grammar schools as the ladder of working-class advancement. By a party tough on crime because most victims are poor.

By the party of the Attlee Government, which dismissed the European Coal and Steel Community as "the blueprint for a federal state", which "the Durham miners would never wear". Of Hugh Gaitskell calling the Common Market "the end of a thousand years of history" and a threat to the unity of the Commonwealth.

By the party of ardently Unionist Labour MPs from Scotland, Wales, and their adjacent areas. Of Roy Hattersely sending British troops into Northern Ireland in order to defend the grateful Catholics there precisely as British subjects defined by their liberties under the Crown (whereas citizens are defined by their obligations to the State and to the government of the day). Of Roy Mason running Northern Ireland as an integral part of the United Kingdom, with terrorism treated as a plain and simple security problem. Of Harold Wilson guaranteeing the Anguillan people’s right to be British, explicitly outside the American hegemony that had wanted to re-create there the brothels and drug dens of old Havana.

By the party of those Labour MPs (mostly Methodists) who resisted relaxation of the laws on drinking and gambling. Of those (mostly Catholics) who fought against abortion and easier divorce. Of those who voted in favour only after warning against exactly what has come to pass: abortion more common than having a tooth pulled, and one in three marriages ending in divorce.

That was the party in favour of the Welfare State, workers’ rights, progressive taxation, and full employment. It dissuaded Truman from dropping an atom bomb on Korea, and it refused to send British forces to Vietnam. It opposed the Soviet Union and wider Stalinism on the same grounds, and with the same ferocity, as it opposed Fascism in the Iberian world and elsewhere, as well as apartheid South Africa and its Rhodesian satellite. It won elections on enormous turnouts and in the face of serious opposition.

Britain is crying out for just such a party today. So let’s get on and build it.

Martin Meenagh said...

David--I agree completely. I grew up in a steeltown which was solid Labour when the steeltown shut down. Aspiration in the Labour Party then meant the aspiration not to micro-manage people's health but to provide a first class health service; being free meant that the country governed itself, in theory; leadership meant more than spin and appearance; social welfare also meant social order. I don't care what goes on in bedrooms--more the merrier frankly--I do care what happens on the streets and in the schools. Faux-radicalism, liberal interventionism, and the gods of the city headings seem to be what modern politics is about. Neil's brought that point out here. Class is what really matters, isn't it, worldwide?

David Lindsay said...

Oh, not that much. These views are shared across all classes except the one that, most unfortunately, is in charge. Which is not the traditional upper class, or at least not the entirety of it, nor drawn exclusively from it.

Michael Ancram, for example, was not especially "Thatcherite" when he was a Minister. In fact, Ancram (long the weak link in The Henry Jackson Society, and good for him) should cast himself, much more accurately, as a voice of the aristocratic social conscience, of its stake in the Keynes-Beveridge-Attlee Settlement through the farm subsidies that pay the rent which sustains it, of Catholic Social Teaching, of the Catholic Unionist traditions in Scotland and Ireland.

A voice desperately needing to be heard, in fact. And what he was really trying to say, I suspect.

Mike Clark said...

What I don't understand about Neil Clark is, if you are a social conservative then surely you would have a little bit of gut patriotism tucked away some where? Surely the idea of always supporting the other side in a war would be a huge turn off for you? I just don't get it.

Neil Clark said...

Mike, if you have a look at previous posts and articles of mine you will see that I did support Britain in the Falkands war. And I strongly defend Britain's role in WW2 too.
But it's not a question of "my country right or wrong"- in WW2 and the Falkands conflict, Britain was responding to illegal aggression from other countries, in the wars against Yugoslavia and Iraq, Britain itself was the illegal aggressor.