Myleene Klass, Emily Thornberry and why I’m increasingly considering voting Green

I’m an instinctive Labour voter, though by no means a tribal one. I support greater social justice, less inequality and strong public services. Even so, I’m finding it harder and harder to support Labour these days.

Two incidents have left me finding it harder to support Ed Miliband at the moment – his debate with Myleene Klass and the row over Emily Thornberry’s tweet. On neither of these though, am I disappointed in these for the reasons being trotted out by the tabloid media.

Myleene Klass has receiving multiple plaudits from the press for “taking on” Ed Miliband over the Mansion Tax, despite the fact that she was self-evidently talking utter nonsense. Not least for her claim that £2million would buy you a garage in London.

This is easily disproved with five minutes on Rightmove. I did a quick search of what was available for £2 million in groovy Islington, pretty much at the epicentre of the London housing bubble. For exactly that price, I found a three bedroom luxury apartment. Admittedly that’s not a mansion, but it ain’t no garage either.

Moving slightly further out, I did another search in Richmond Upon Thames – a swanky area within easy commuting distance of central London. Again, looking for homes at exactly £2 million the first result was a beautiful seven bedroom house, with spacious rooms and an impressive-looking garden.

And then there’s South Wales, where I live. Rightmove returned very few results on or above that price, but it found me a period four-bedroom farmhouse with 78 acres of land and five holiday cottages on the grounds, in the desirable area of Cowbridge – again, for that precise sum of 2 million quid.

Just to add to the foolishness, Klass followed up with, “You might as well tax this glass of water”, apparently oblivious to the suggestion that there’s such a thing as water bills.

What Myleene Klass was doing is what the wealthy always do when confronted with some vaguely progressive attempt at wealth redistribution. They’re never going to go on TV and say, “Well, of course I don’t want to give you a small slice of my big pile of money! I want to dive into a heap of gold and roll around in it like Scrooge McDuck!” Instead they say, “It’ll be bad for you! The little guy!” A 50p top rate of Income Tax? That’ll hurt the aspirations of everyone out there! Never mind that your average teacher, nurse, police officer or squaddie will never reach that top rate, no matter how hard they strive. It’ll hurt their aspirations! The likes of Klass tend to get away with this rubbish because the national media are crammed with people who see a privileged lifestyle as the natural order of things, rather than a lucky accident of birth on their part.

Miliband should have taken her apart, and pointed out that she was obviously shilling for the 1% rather than some poor Granny in the London suburbs. Instead he retreated into burbling talking points about the NHS going backwards. Hence Klass was able to be portrayed as some sort of Robin Hood, albeit a very, very rich Robin Hood.

And then there’s Emily Thornberry’s tweet. Admittedly it was somewhat ill-advised, but to suggest that Miliband’s response was utterly craven. Rather than defending a colleague (who, incidentally, grew up in a far more working class background than he did) he spectacularly caved in to the right-wing media narrative that Thornberry had insulted the working classes.

Because that’s what it is to be working class? To live in a house bedecked with gigantic St George’s flags with a white van outside? Who’s stereotyping who here? I live in a traditional working class suburb of Cardiff and I don’t see any houses round here like that (and before anyone points out the obvious, no, there aren’t any with great big Welsh flags draped over them either).

Miliband’s claim that when he sees a white van he thinks, “Respect” has to be the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in some time. Really, who thinks that on seeing a white van? Mostly, I think, “Oh Christ, I’m going to get cut up at the traffic lights again.”

There’s more I could say about the Emily Thornberry non-scandal, but Sarah Ditum has already said it here.

If there’s one thing Miliband has shown, it’s that he’s at his best when he grows a spine and starts taking on the establishment, as he did over Leveson and the Daily Mail’s treatment of his Dad. But he just isn’t doing it enough. Too often he retreats into pandering to the tabloids, despite their decreasing relevance in an age of social media.

Real change needs a real alternative to the Tory-Lib Dem coalition – not Miliband’s milquetoast, half-hearted opposition, and certainly not Ukip’s drunken band of privately-educated City bankers. That’s why I’m increasingly thinking of switching my vote from Labour to Green.

It’s not a definite decision, not least because my constituency is a key Labour v Lib Dem battleground. My local MP did everything she could to support the Bedroom Tax, before recently resigning from the government on a point of principle. I believe the principle was she wants to be re-elected next year.

I may yet vote Labour in 2015, if only to kick Jenny Willott out. But my vote will not be automatic. If Labour want me to support them, then they’re going to have to work harder than they are right now.

6 thoughts on “Myleene Klass, Emily Thornberry and why I’m increasingly considering voting Green

  1. I know, exactly how you feel. EM should have stood by her. The ConDems stick by their colleagues, they could commit murder and Cameron would come out and say oh well they were in the way of the knife.
    I couldn’t believe that a perfectly good shadow minister was publicly belittled and she obviously knows that the media would drag her down so she left. How lovely it would be to see the real villains who are hell bent on destroying peoples lives receiving the same treatment.
    I had been pretty much sure I would vote Labour but not so sure that squirm in my stomach will die down by then. I hate disloyalty and that is what she was shown.
    Pretty sure the local community would have given Emily Thornbury short shrift if they as much smelt snobbery- we don’t need people to stand up for us, we are not stupid we just don’t have any bloody money because of the feudal system we live in.
    I do not want another government who thinks its ok to censor people on the grounds of some spurious wrongdoing. I think we have all had enough of fake outrage and especially when there is already so much to be outraged about such as people being evicted for no reason and the general ripping off of tenants by landlords, now if I was an MP I could get really pissed off about that.
    They love their scapegoats,

  2. Despite the Ditum link, an excellent post, I too despair over the reaction to both incidents.

  3. Reblogged this on markcatlin3695's Blog and commented:
    Well said. …
    I think this blog sums up quite well what I’ve been thinking about voting Green Party over Labour in GE2015.

  4. although I am probably politically right of you, I think you made some valid points here. I’ve never been a fan of Ed Milliband, but even I was surprised he allowed himself to get owned on live tv by a popstar with a ridiculous argument. Could you see him as PM going toe to toe with political heavyweights like Putin?

    The mansion tax was a non event. Like £250 per month is going to make any difference to the 99% of people who live in these houses. I’m sure it was a diversion tactic to switch attention from something else. Probably worked too, as I can’t remember what we were all talking about before the mansion tax.

    The whole white van thing was just embarrassing. His failure to diffuse the situation gave this tattooed skinhead shitbag his 15 minutes of fame and ended the career of a decent politician. He should be ashamed of himself.

    Personally, I couldn’t see myself voting labour again for a long time. I’m still quietly furious over the previous labour govt’s deregulation of the financial services and gambling sectors which was not only a contributing factor of the banking crisis, but has also given rise to an enormous gambling culture and pay day loans. How very socialist! As a consequence, I simply can’t take labour’s criticism of the Tory austerity seriously.

    I was reading an article on the greens today and I agree with much of what they say. However, to be successful, renewable energy needs to be competitive and financially viable, working hand in hand with private business, and the greens just don’t seem pro business enough.

    Discounting UKIP and Lib dems, I’m afraid it’s looking like a Tory vote for me.

  5. All the main parties have lost the vast bulk of voters in the UK. The SNP will win a landslide in 2015 in Scotland.

    Women born from 1953 and men born from 1951 will get NIL STATE PENSION FOR LIFE
    and three quarters of rest even lower state pension than present lowest level of all rich nations bar poor Mexico.

    Labour will not repeal Pension Bills 2010 – 2014 that have made that possible. Nor brought back their 1975 law that guaranteed pension payout that was revoked by the Tories in 1993 and never brought back by Blair / Brown in 13 years of Labour rule.

    The Greens would save people’s lives, of all ages, being threatened by welfare and pension reform (97 per cent of benefits bill is the working poor and pensioners, that include the 2.6 million pensioners far below the bread line or only just on it):

    – universal, automatic Citizen Income, non-withdrawable
    to the level of the basic tax allowance, to all ages til retirement age

    – Full State Pension, bettered than any state pension payout today,
    irregardless of National Insurance contribution / credit history, mostly lost through benefit rule changes and austerity job cuts.

    As the poor number about the same as those who did not vote in 2010, and number into the tens of millions, then once The Greens finally get a mass advertising campaign in towns throughout England and Wales, then The Greens will be able to deliver a majority government in 2015 without need of coalition, that all other parties cannot deliver.

    I voted Labour all my life, til denied disability / chronic illness benefit, NI credits after decades of looking after elderly parents when flat rate pension reduces my state pension (already denied me 6 years of payout) by rise from 30 to 35 years NI contribution years required, and denied me state pension at 60 after paying 12 per cent of my wage for over a third of a century in National Insurance.

    That Labour is chasing the same middle class voters as all other parties (Tories the 1 per cent richest included) who simply are not coming out to vote, shows it is in its death throes like the Lib Dems.

    The absolute poor invented the Labour party and not without some threats to their life and limb.

    Today Labour does not represent all ages within the 20 per cent poorest income, that were not represented by any party anywhere close to power in government til The Greens’ new policy set.

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