The real “nasty party”

John Harris: The tactics of Crewe expose a truly nasty party: Labour (The Guardian)

An exposé of the “dog-whistle” tactics being used in the campaign for the Crewe and Nantwich by-election next week, in which Labour have circulated a flyer lampooning the Conservative opponent’s wealthy background (he is from the Timpson family, which runs a chain of shoe repair and key-cutting shops):

The Labour campaign, under the command of the Birmingham MP Steve McCabe, has rebranded its chief adversary “Tory Boy Timpson”, and is going for him with an eye-popping ferocity. Volunteers have been stalking him dressed in top hat and tails; now, there comes a very nasty leaflet titled “Tory candidate application form”, replete with questions and ticked boxes. Number one is, “Do you live in a big mansion house?” Question two is - and, really, the sense of humour on display is quite something - “Do you think that regeneration is adding a new wing to your mansion?” The third reads: “Have you and your Tory mates on the council been soft on yobs and failed to make our streets safer?” But the best is saved for question four, at which point pantomimic class hatred is suspended and we get something altogether more sinister. “Do you,” it asks, “oppose making foreign nationals carry an ID card?”

I had thought that the daughter of the much-respected Gwyneth Dunwoody, who died last month, would not face much of a contest, but if they need to descend to this level of personal nastiness and thinly-veiled racism, mentioning local yobs next to the bloody foreigners, clearly they are pretty desperate. Dunwoody junior herself, by the way, is listed in Burke’s peerage, so she is not exactly working-class herself even if some of her ancestors were. Really, it typifies why Labour are going down the drain: they have no ideas left and really are trying to be the “red Tories”, having dumped not only their pro-labour policies but also any progressive stances they once had.

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