Khalid Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, actually resigned from the Opposition Front Bench a few weeks ago, though nobody noticed until he launched an astonishing broadside against his party in the wake of its drubbing in the Hartlepool by-election, which returned a Conservative MP for the first time since 1964.
The article was written for think tank Policy Exchange, and included this jaw-dropping home truth:
“The Tories are deep into what was once safe Labour territory – the industrial heartlands of the North – with a 7,000 majority of their own,” he observed (probably at around 4.00am). “In the West Midlands it looks again like Labour will lose out on the mayoral race and more.” And Khalid Mahmood attributes the blue incursion to the fact that “Labour has lost touch with ordinary British people. A London-based bourgeoisie, with the support of brigades of woke social media warriors, has effectively captured the party.”
This is an unpalatable truth for Labour.
Khalid Mahmood was England’s first Muslim MP, and he has done an awful lot of good in the battle against Islamist propaganda and the extremists who practise a “misguided version of Islam“. He also supported Trevor Phillips when he was suspended from the Labour Party over allegations of Islamophobia. When a prominent and influential Muslim accuses Labour of turning its back on ordinary British people, he is speaking of his own Muslim values, especially the importance of the family, the cultivation of good character, strong moral values and hard work.
These traditional working-class values have been subsumed to the values of the metropolitan “bourgeoisie”, predominantly those of the university cities with their “woke social media warriors”, which are somewhat ‘in tension’ not only with Muslim values, but also Sikh, Jewish and Christian values.
And on the latter, the Labour Party has long been losing support of the Roman Catholic and Nonconformist communities, in particular by abandoning their traditional moral values. It was Tony Blair who forced Roman Catholic adoption agencies to close by insisting that they may no longer place children exclusively with a mother and a father; and the whole obsession with sexual identity (including the treatment of ‘trans children’ with life-changing hormones) has alienated a core faith contingent.
It hasn’t happened overnight, of course: the drift away from working-class Christian values to middle-class wokeness preceded the advent of ‘woke’ by two or three decades. And the latter despises the former, and cannot coexist with it. This isn’t to say that sizeable Christian and especially Roman Catholic constituencies don’t still vote Labour in their northern heartlands, especially in cities like Liverpool, but it is simply a reality that the present generation is more malleable in its political allegiance.
Michael Crick observed the shift on Twitter: “Labour’s rock solid majorities in many of its working class seats were held together by social cohesion – the feelings that your family, friends & neighbours vote Labour so you should do so too, & it was shameful not to. So Labour didn’t have to do much to keep winning.
Which elicited this response:
To which Michael Crick replied: “That quote, if accurate, sums up Labour’s complacency for 100 years or so. And that “nowhere else to go” complacency afflicted the whole Labour Party, right and left. The party won many seats and many councils without having to try.”
As it is with the working class, so it is with ethnic minorities – the feeling that your parents, grandparents and great grandparents voted Labour in gratitude for the welcome they received in the 1950s-60s, and it was a betrayal of cultural values to vote otherwise. They had nowhere else to go until the Labour Party moved so far toward wokeness that they were compelled to seek another political home. And many have pitched a tent in Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party. They aren’t laying concrete foundations and taking out mortgages: they are testing the lie of the land, which may or may not lead to a new settlement. It all rather depends how long Labour’s “London-based bourgeoisie” preaches its gospel of wokeness as infallible dogma, and tolerates no dissent.
And that time may never come. According to trade union activist Paul Embery, “The taboo ha[s] been broken. Having voted Tory once, these voters would — as we have seen — have no hesitation in doing the same again. All of this means that Labour faces the prospect of being out of power for another decade or more — perhaps forever.”