Daniel Trilling wants us all to know that Nigel Farage, and thus Faragism, is simply not the way these things should be done. Instead, well, summat. The actual problem Trilling wants to complain about but really ,’dear, just cannot bring himself to talk about, is that we need to elect a new people:
But none of this success would be possible without the enduring stereotype of the “white working class”. It exploits the blind spot of a London-based media dominated by journalists from elite backgrounds – and plays on liberals’ guilt that they don’t really know the country they are supposed to be representing. Farage isn’t the only politician to have used it to his advantage. A series of far-right political activists, from the BNP’s Nick Griffin to the former EDL leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, have sought to position themselves as the voice of this constituency. “Red Tory” initiatives from the likes of Nick Timothy and Phillip Blond have sought to claim it for mainstream conservatism. Yet only Farage has really succeeded in using it to transform British politics.
“White working class” is a patronising and divisive way of talking about a real problem: feelings of abandonment, fear for the future, and a lack of control that are shared by people from a far wider range of backgrounds than fit the stereotype.
You’d think it was easy enough to understand. If a succession of would be politicians are able to appeal to a significant portion of the population then it’s the portion that’s the interesting thing, not the politicians.
It’s as with newspapers. They don’t tell people what to believe they confirm beliefs already held. The media chases the prejudices of their audience. The Daily Mail isn’t full of woo because the editors want the nation to be taking coffee enemas, it’s because there’s enough of the population willing to believe in caffeine cancer cures that you can sell ads wrapped around articles about them.
Political parties don’t impose centrally planned beliefs upon people, they hope to find enough people who share their plans.
At which point that “white working class”. Not much of it is actually what Britain traditionally called the working class, rather more the artisans and the self employed. Not the mass manufacturing factory fodder but the carpenters, fitters and the like. OK, if you prefer, the skilled working classes. People who, for a long, long, time, have been making rather better incomes that the lower end of the professions, certainly than may white collar workers. They’ve also traditionally been conservative – no, not Tories, but conservative – in many aspects of their thinking and lives.
The great gap in British politics has been, for again a long, long, time, between the economic aspirations of these and the cultural policies of the Labor Party. Trans and Terfs and really, really, being women aren’t of great interest to those who build the country this is all happening in. Trans means Bob who’s now Bobbie and has switched from pints to pink gin, public to lounge, overalls to frocks, but we’re all just peeps unnerneath, right?
Another way to put this is Chesterton’s People of England. There is a point there, that national political party has rather moved away from the interests and concerns of that traditional voting base. Labour isn’t reflecting their beliefs therefore they’re up for grabs as a political support base.
Faragism, or any other political ism, isn’t creating this, it’s appealing to something extant. Who in buggery are these people telling us how to live our lives?
Thus the actual complaint from Trilling and the like. We thought we had this significant voting block in our back pocket. Turns out we don’t – that hurts, butthurts.