Yesterday, Hazel Blears wrote an article for the the New Statesman which focused on the recent Crewe and Nantwich by-election. For copyright reasons I cannot simply copy the text onto this blog, but you can read the article here. My thoughts are as follows.
As is often the way with Blears, she begins by pretending to be gracious only to sneak in a snide little threat. She warns that Edward Timpson's parliamentary career will be a brief one, on the assumption that this by-election was an upset and not indicative of a national trend. The Conservatives making significant gains in the local elections, and Boris Johnson's triumph in London, suggest a changing political tide and not a one-off banana skin.
She goes on to say that the voters of Crewe and Nantwich were giving the government a message. This is a line that has been peddled by just about every Labour person interviewed in recent weeks. However, it doesn't seem to occur to any of them, and particularly to Hazel Blears, that that message isn't that people want Labour to fix these problems; it's that they want Labour to get out of the way so someone else can sort them out. She also denies that people in Crewe and Nantwich were concerned with political personalities, which is a coded way of denying that Gordon Brown is electoral poison.
In the next paragraph she moves to quash any attempts to dethrone Gordon Brown, while simultaneously lying about the previous Conservative government. She uses the old adage of 'record interest rates' during the Major administration, which is a total falsehood. Interest rates saw a steady decline from 1990 onwards, usually floating somewhere between 5% and 7% during the Major years. And of course she mentions sexual and financial scandals; things which have, naturally, never caused any Labour ministers to resign.
The next paragraph is full of the usual nonsense about Labour having loads of policies and the Conservatives not having any. In fact, the Conservatives have plenty of policies, many of which Labour haven't gotten around to stealing yet. She actually mentions the points system of immigration as something Labour will look to implement; it was a Conservative policy proposal. And I do wonder why she and Gordon Brown persist with this 'salesman' jibe against David Cameron. Do they not know how many salesman there are in this country?
In the penultimate paragraph, Blears attempts to justify the sickening 'Tory Toffs' campaign Labour employed in the by-election. While she is right that all parties have run stunts during election campaigns, I have never seen a Labour candidate referred to as a "con man" on any Conservative literature. However it is this paragraph that I really take issue with:
"My view is that we are all products of our backgrounds, whether we’re from Eton or Salford (Point of note; David Cameron is not from Eton. He went to the school there, but he is actually from a small village called Peasemore. Similarly, Edward Timpson is from Cheshire and didn't go to Eton.) Our experiences form our values and approaches to life. So in a by-election it is right that we should point out the different political values and backgrounds of the candidates."
Unfortunately, this is not what Labour were doing in Crewe and Nantwich. They were not pointing out Edward Timpson's background or political values, they were simply lying about him to energise their core vote. Blears has said time and time again that Timpson's comfortable financial situation and private education means he is not receptive to the concerns of ordinary people. However, what would she say to me if I said she was unsuitable to hold her current position because she's working class and went to a polytechnic? Moreover, doesn't the fact that I went to a prep school and a red brick university mean she is not in a position to understand my concerns? This is the problem with class warriors like Blears; they only find this behaviour unacceptable if it is directed at them. And the fact that she is entirely unsuitable to hold such high office has nothing to do with her background, her education or her financial situation, but rather her mediocre intellect, her bitterness and her distinct lack of ability.