Gordon Brown signalled last week that he wishes to fight the next election on “class” lines. This is frankly bizarre, especially when we consider that Tony Blair spent fifteen years modernising the Labour Party to shake off this out of date approach to politics in Britain.
As I wrote recently in the Widnes and Runcorn Weekly News, Labour got its fingers burnt in Crewe last year when it tried to run a by-election campaign against “Tory toffs”. The people of Crewe responded emphatically, rejecting Labour’s negative message, and electing Edward Timpson. Thankfully, in Britain we care about where people are going, not where they are from. We care about whether the people who want our vote have the right ideas and values to represent us; not worrying about which school they went to, or whether their parents were rich.
It is the hypocrisy of Gordon Brown on this issue that disturbs me most. He makes constant references to Eton as if to embarrass David Cameron, but doesn’t mention that Labour’s most successful leader, Tony Blair, went to one of Scotland’s most prestigious public schools. He sees David Cameron’s background as a barrier to high office but not (rightly) John Prescott’s. What a strange way to try and win an election in 21st century Britain.