Readers of the Star will know that David Cameron’s attempts to pose as the friend of ordinary people while presiding over a government dedicated almost exclusively to the interests of the rich and powerful receive a regular and well-deserved raspberry from Terry Palmer.
His letter of October 7 concerning Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘manifesto’, however, deserves to be taken seriously by anyone who hopes the Labour Party can do better in the 2020 General Election than it did last May.
Those inside and outside the Labour Party who appear to believe that Labour lost the last election through being not enough like the Conservative Party can only maintain that view by ignoring the many people like Terry Palmer who abandoned Labour for being insufficiently interested in their lives and turned instead to the dubious consolations of UKIP.
It’s my guess that a large number of Ukip supporters, especially in working-class areas, would be as open-minded about Jeremy Corbyn’s vision for the country as Terry Palmer seems to be, if only the Labour Party rediscovered the point of its existence and began to address their concerns.
After all, what now passes for dangerous radicalism in the fevered brains of the Tories and their media attack-dogs (not to mention the Parliamentary Labour Party) is what used to be known before the triumph of market fundamentalism as social democracy.
A Labour Party that wishes to win back at least some of the votes it lost to UKIPcan either think about ways of curtailing the free movement of EU workers, or else promise to cushion the effects of economic migration on vulnerable communities through investment in infrastructure and help to local councils.
What it can’t do is choose to continue doing neither.
No doubt some in the Labour Party will find it hard to give up the comfort blanket of visceral distaste for UKIP
Nevertheless, the way to reduce that party’s appeal is not to abuse its supporters (though some may indeed be incorrigible xenophobes) but to convince them that their interests are best served not by the scapegoating of immigrants but through political action by a party dedicated to greater equality and social justice.