Marx on Monday – the rise of UKIP

I don’t know about you but I for one am not impressed by the so-called unstoppable rise of UKIP. When all is said and done British Politics is determined by one thing and one thing only – social class.

If you are upper-class and, like Michael Gove, you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you vote Conservative. If you are working class and, like Ed Miliband, your formative years were a constant struggle against hunger and grinding poverty, you vote Labour.

Gove was born into a working class family but, at the tender age of four months he was adopted by a wealthy fishmonger and his lab assistant wife. Raised in the opulent city of Aberdeen he attended state school only very briefly before gaining a scholarship to a posh public school. His parents had a beautiful home on a splendid right to buy council estate in the Granite City with a very small mortgage which, at its height was worth nearly fifty thousand pounds. He never went hungry, eating fish for breakfast, lunch and supper (some people say this accounts for his large fish like lips) and after school he went to Oxford where he met David Cameron. Narrowly missing out on joining the Bullingdon Club (some say it was because he was too rich) he had to content himself with being President of the Union. After leaving Oxford he immediately obtained a job at the prestigious and world renowned “Aberdeen Press and Journal” where he spent several years as a cub reporter. He then got a job at the Times where he became a leader writer before leaving to become a Tory MP in 2005. Apart from his brief seventeen year stint as a journalist Gove, like most Tory MPs, has never had a proper job outside of politics.

Compare Gove’s life to Ed Milliband’s.

Ed was born into a Marxist family. His mother was the daughter of a Polish factory owner and his father a teacher (a professor of politics at the LSE.) His parents were torn between sending Ed and his brother David to a posh public school or to a local state school. The problem with the local state schools was that, as the family was living in Leeds at the time, the local state schools were rubbish. Ed’s father, Ralph, had a difficult choice to make. On the one hand a posh public school would give his children a better education but they offended his Marxist political principles. On the other hand although he was attracted by the social equality of state schools he didn’t want his children’s education to suffer. Thankfully, however, he found a solution. He bought a house for £2 million in the run down London district of Primrose Hill and sent his children to the local comprehensive.

Ed is intensely proud of the fact he went to a state school and tends to mention it at least every other minute. In a recent article in the Metro he explained, “Going to a state school in north London taught me about life and how to get on with people from all backgrounds. My background means I can feel the pain lots of people are feeling and the struggle in their lives. I went to my local comprehensive and that was an incredibly good education for me, not just about how to pass exams, but about life.”

Ed’s five years at Primrose Hill Comprehensive School were a constant struggle. He had three main ambitions. He wanted to captain the school football team; he wanted to win the heart of Tulisa from N-Dubz – who went to the same school as him; and, most of all, he wanted to win the school debating competition. He came close to achieving all three but lost out on the football team captaincy to John Barnes, lost the heart of Tulisa to his brother David and lost in the final of the school debating competition to the footballer Joe Cole – who was just a little bit too eloquent for Ed on the day.

Ed’s five years at school were also very hungry years – the reason being that every Monday morning without fail his lunch money was stolen from him by fellow pupil – Eastenders hard man Steve McFadden.

Like Gove Ed also went to Oxford but, unlike Gove, he didn’t go straight into politics from university but spent several weeks working as a researcher on “A Week in Politics” before breaking into politics entirely through his own intuition and hard work. Sitting at home one day, wondering how he could break into Labour politics, he suddenly remembered that his dad’s best friend was Tony Benn, the veteran left wing MP.  Ed quickly gave “Uncle Tony” a call to see if he had a vacancy for an intern. By sheer  good luck Tony did need an intern. He had just interviewed a few candidates and had selected one entirely on merit and although he had written to her telling her the good news he had not yet posted the letter. Tony quickly tore the letter up and appointed his friend’s son instead and after that there was no looking back for young Ed. He then became a political speechwriter and researcher for fellow working class MP Harriet Harman until the leadership fell vacant. They had to choose from the sitting Labour MPs and Ed was the best Labour MP in the Commons. I know being the best Labour MP is a bit like being the best car in the Skoda range or the healthiest snack at Greggs but Ed seized his opportunity with both hands and is now well on the way to being the first truly working class Prime Minister in Britain’s history.

So there you have it. Gove might be cleverer than Miliband and is without doubt a much better public speaker, but Ed is a better fighter (he once famously beat Gove up in an argument over football on New Year’s Eve when they were at Oxford) and, unlike Gove, Ed has had a tough life full of grinding poverty which means that he feels the pain and struggles of poor people.

So if you are rich, posh and eat a lot of fish, vote for Gove and the Tories.

But if you are unemployed and can’t find a job, if your children are desperate to find work but can’t, (because Tony Benn isn’t a good friend of yours,)  if you are struggling to cope with the bedroom tax, if your children are cold and hungry, if your children are getting a poor education at the rubbish local comprehensive school and you can’t find the £2 million needed to buy a house in the Primrose Hill Comprehensive catchment area,  if there’s no food in your fridge, money in your purse nor hope in your heart – don’t despair! There is a politician out there who feels your pain and understands your struggles – his name is Ed Miliband and never forget (which I’m sure he won’t) that – just like you – he went to a state school.

4 comments on “Marx on Monday – the rise of UKIP

  1. Henry Brubaker (@Inst_4_Studies)
    May 20, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    It will be an indictment so damning upon Cameron that he might need to go into a really, really dark room and think about what he has done if Milliband beats him to be the next PM.

    That we could have some working class scum like Milliband as PM is something we should all fear….

    In short: vote UKIP! You know it makes sense…..

    What do you mean a vote for UKIP is a vote for Millibland…. Garrrrrrr!!!!

  2. James Wonnacott
    May 20, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    I think you’re probably being a bit cynical, you know.

  3. joe cooke
    May 21, 2013 at 9:43 am #

    I suggest you look at some of the literature on social class and voting – perhaps Evans “end of class voting” – traditional conception of class is a weak indicator of pol preference. if there is any significant relationship remaining it is the development of the creative classes and the splintering of the middle class: if class plays a role, its not as it once was and is more likely to impact via the development of values and career choice.


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