...a blog by Richard Flowers

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day 3923: Hard Labour – The Weal Truth


This makes me sick. And not JUST because I have to link to the wretched Daily Hate Mail.

(I'd much rather hat-tip Stephen and Neil.)

On Monday, we felt for Rory Weal, as he told Hard Labour's Conference how the Welfare State saved his family when their home was repossessed.

I was PUT OUT to see, smugly shaking the boy's hand, Mr Potato Ed, one of the very people RESPONSIBLE for destroying the economy and hence wrecking young Rory's life.

But now we learn Master Rory is just as much of a PRIVILEGED little LABOUR PRINCELING as Mr Ed.

All week Hard Labour have been going on about how the recession/deficit/debt (delete according to ineptitude of speaker) was not no way never caused by Hard Labour OVERSPENDING but by the wickedness of the bankers and the speculators…

…and it turns out that Rory's daddy was a bit of a property speculator.

Yes, far from being a VICTIM of fallout from the global collapse, it appears Mr Weal Senior was one of those people that we bailed out when they trashed the economy. You know, the people Labour have been BLAMING all week. In fact all YEAR.

Now, you can say I shouldn't judge Weal Junior by his BACKGROUND. It's not HIS fault what his father did during the Credit Crunch. And that's TRUE. But I can blame him for his CRUSHING IGNORANCE.

(Something, oddly, I was much more willing to forgive before I learned that:

"What does [Cameron] advise when I can't afford to go to school in the morning?"

doesn't mean: "we had to choose between my bus fare and feeding the electric meter"

but actually: "I had to leave my very nice private school for a very nice grammar school")

Master Rory and his mummy, even AFTER divorce and bankruptcy, appear to be better off than my daddies. And my daddy Richard is BLOODY WELL OFF! So Rory doesn't have a CLUE about the Welfare State. All he knows is his own PRIVILEGE.

To deconstruct Rory's speech a little, then, when he complains about the Coalition "tearing up the Welfare State", what he's ACTUALLY saying is: "I want the state – by which I means the rest of you – to carry on giving people like me a free guarantee to gamble!"

What he wants is a promise that HE can collect the nice homes and £13,000 a year school fees when daddy wins and WE will pick up the pieces when they lose.

And that's – if you'll forgive the grisliness of the pun – just a bit RICH.


neilmonnery said...

I just found the whole thing well and truly staggering. It was like he didn't live in the real world and let me tell you this for nowt - whilst the welfare state may have helped him it certainly didn't save him.

One day he might learn what it is to genuinely have to save literally every penny that you get from the welfare state to feed a family. During the recession of the early 90s my mum and dad did and come Monday's lets just say food wasn't plentiful as we awaited the money on a Tuesday.

This kid had it slightly worse than he had it before. Big effing deal.

Like you I was disgusted.

Simon Fernandes said...

The sins of the father, eh?

Actually I couldn't agree less. Rory Weal never stated that he was from any kind of underprivileged background, so there's no hypocrisy there. And in any case, why should he have to come from such a background to hold the views he does? After all, one of the most left wing socialists the Labour party ever produced was one Viscount Anthony Wedgwood Benn, and nobody ever claimed that he had no right to hold the views he did because of his ancestry. Or is it that you can only support this apparent dichotomy by making a very public song and dance about distancing yourself from where you came from?

Neither myself nor, I suspect, the Daily Fail, can look into Rory's head, so we've no way of knowing how he came to hold the views he does. It may be that he thought quite differently until his family had the merest brush with financial inconvenience, and had an epiphany then. Or it may be that these are views he's always held - it would hardly be the first time a child had diametrically opposite politics from his parents.

And why would his attending a private and/or grammar school invalidate the sincerity of his views? Some of the best socialist thinkers in history have come from less than underprivileged backgrounds. Indeed, I know plenty of left wing - and Liberal, for that matter - people who attended that bastion of establishment privilege, Cambridge University. By the argument the Daily Mail - and you - seem to be making, they have no right to vote any way except Conservative. Indeed, the Mail's viewpoint, if reversed, would mean that its many working class readers have no right voting Tory; in which case the Conservative party would barely scrape together enough votes to continue to exist.

I've read Rory Weal's speech, and media coverage aside, it's nothing special. It's about what you'd expect from someone of his age, full of idealistic principle but short on achievable specifics. To criticsie it on that basis, and on the basis that the media have rather prematurely canonised him as a saviour of the Left, would be fair enough. But to say that he has no right to hold these views because of where he comes from is a partonising, specious argument that would only hold water if he'd made an explicit claim to come from an underprivileged background, which he certainly did not. To put it another way - if you hold to the view that anyone's economic class automatically shapes their political views, you're as good as admitting that no party will ever win voters from outside a particular economic base. And at this point, a centrist party like the Lib Dems should be courting all of them, not stating they have no right to certain views because of their background.

Millennium Dome said...

This is a placeholder.

I’m not ignoring this; I did write a reply… and then our servers melted down, which I’m trying not to take as an omen. So it’s stuck on my computer at work. Sorry.