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National politics

One Nation: Hello white, married, wealthy people. We care about you

Interesting to see the image that Labour has chosen to go with its One Nation slogan and line about the impact of government policies on families. It is a stock photo that Labour has bought from an agency that has already sold it to at least two organisations dealing with debt issues:

The choice of image is interesting. No ethnic minorities. No alternative family models. Stereotypical gender roles with mother engaged in childcare and father working on the family finances. The father’s wedding ring in the foreground, left of centre, is consciously the focal point of the image.

The mother figure looks a little tired and washed out and is simply dressed. The father figure has a (literally) blue collar, sleeves rolled up look but this household is firmly middle class, even wealthy by national comparisons. They live in a fully modernised house. Note recessed lights and fire alarm sensor in hall ceiling, modern kitchen unit below mother’s elbow and custom made dresser behind father. The house is immaculately decorated and well furnished. Someone has gone to a lot of trouble to bring out the period features. The period house is comparatively large comprising at least two floors (you can see the stairs) and is large enough to have a kitchen dining area. The fire alarm sensor indicates that they have had a loft extension (the building regs force you to put in a fire alarm when you go up another floor). Most people would have to be high rate tax payers to live in this home, certainly in the South. The middle class values are underlined by the display of the children’s artwork on the stairs over the mother’s shoulder.

Maybe Labour comms people think that this is how the majority of Britons really live. What are they trying to say? Does One Nation mean: “Hello white, married, wealthy people. We care about you.”

5 replies on “One Nation: Hello white, married, wealthy people. We care about you”

This post might be slightly tongue in cheek but one or two fair points about the photo, especially the outdated gender roles on show. However using this image isn’t as bad as having such an under representative cabinet, with so few women in it! I voted Conservative at the last General Election and probably will do again locally in 2014, but nationally they’ve lost my vote for the next General Election and for some time beyond, due to their silencing of women, which as well as being dangerous for the country, is incredibly damaging to girls and young women growing up.

Lucy,

The numbers are here:

http://www.ukpolitical.info/female-members-of-parliament.htm

Labour has 34% women MPs, the Conservatives 15% and the LibDems lag with only 12%.

One of the problems the Coalition has is the dearth of good women LibDem MPs.

Labour has used all women shortlists to push women forward. Many would argue that this was a good thing but others would argue that Labour in government did have rather a lot of not very impressive women MPs.

The Conservatives have been blessed with a number of successful female cabinet members, not least Margaret Thatcher. Theresa May is currently proving at one of the great offices of state, the Home Office, that women make a huge contribution to British politics. Quality is important as well as quantity.

Interestingly, locally Ealing Southall, the largest constituency Labour party in the country, was due to have an all-woman shortlist (AWS) until the 2007 by-election. That went out the window and Labour chose yet another old, Punjabi man to represent Southall. The decision to ditch the AWS was made by Labour’s NEC. As a result the female leader of the Ealing Labour group, Sonika Nirwal, resigned her Greenford Broadway council seat the next year which Labour lost in a by-election.

Thanks for the interesting response Phil. I agree with some of your points, though personally feel the all women shortlists Labour used were a ‘necessary evil’ – not ideal, but something had to be done to tackle what I see as inherent sexism in selecting candidates for winnable seats (in all parties). One of the reasons the Tories won me over in 2010 was Cameron pushing for more women to be MPs for the party. I’ve been disappointed since, though. Theresa Villiers had been Shadow Transport Secretary yet was shunted out when the government was formed, and at the last “reshuffle” even fewer women are in the Cabinet, which I think is bad for women around the country and as I said does have an impact on girls growing up and their ambitions. I do think Theresa May is doing a generally good job and am glad she’s proving herself.

The point about the Lib Dems is definitely true. I’d say there’s a dearth of good Lib Dem MPs, women and men! As far as I’m concerned they’re not fit for power and don’t have the calibre of MP to hold it.

Thanks for the information about Ealing Southall, I’d not know that! I’m not in that constituency nor have any great knowledge of it but have thought for a while I’m not keen on the workings of that particularly constituency Labour group and what I know of the workings of it. This doesn’t help!

The reason I think I’ll vote for Labour in the next General Election is I see this government as hitting women particularly hard in a number of ways, setting women back a lot in terms of forcing women out of the workplace, and I think as a young woman I failed to appreciate how much the Labour government did do for my generation of women, things many of us including myself took for granted. However locally I’m far more impressed with the Conservatives and what they do on a local level. I think the Council I hear the most good things about these days is Hammersmith & Fulham for example, which seems to be delivering a lot of savings whilst still providing a well regarded service and council tax cuts. Plus I think the commitment of local Tory councillors in Ealing not least yourself is clear to see.

Quite a long reply there!

Choosing to focus on the photo is ignoring the point to focus on trivia. The point should be that Labour cannot claim to be a One Nation party either. The Conservatives announced a tax cut for those earning over £150k at the same time as taking child benefit away from those earning over £60k, yet in order to pander to their core Northern vote Labour chose to say nothing about this as “up North” anyone earning over £60k is seen to be wealthy. Labour only represent certain section of the population as well.

Let us be clear about the 50% tax rate. Labour was in power for 13 years. It applied to only the last month of Labour’s time in power. It was brought in knowing that it would cause tax receipts to fall which they duly did. It was brought in knowing that it would make the deficit worse. There was no economic case for bringing it in.

If it was brought in only to ensure “fairness” why did it take Labour 12 years and 11 months to act?

The reality is that this tax rate reduces tax income overall and was simply bought in so that Labour could take an entirely hypocritical position. Don’t fall for it.

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