‘By focussing on class, we would effectively be conceding that we don’t have anything to say about Tory policies.’
– Tom Harris MP
Like Bob Piper, we should all be shocked that Labour MP Tom Harris doesn’t seem to understand the importance of social class and why a class based analysis of politics should continue to inform Labour Party policy (there’s a clue in the name).
From his short piece, Tom appears to accept the Tory line that the politics of class is the politics of envy. That it’s about poking fun at the privileged or trying to get them back for some misconceived wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth.
A class-based analysis of society acknowledges that the biggest determining factor in anyone’s life is the accident of their birth. Some are born to wealthy parents and get to go to public school, others are born to drug addicts and drop out.
A party for labour should promote the idea that society – not just the state – has a duty to recognise this huge disparity in opportunity and do what it can to mitigate its effects. This underlying principle should inform, and provide a focus for, all social policy.
Far from leaving Labour with nothing to say about Tory policies, as Tom Harris claims, focussing on class provides an easy tool with which to analysis them. Of each proposal, we need ask; will this make Britain a fairer place or not?