The hypocrisy of the Labour Party in the post-Ed wash-up is simply galling.
It seems today every prominent left winger, particularly those currently running for the leadership, claim to have been well aware from the very beginning of the potential negative fallout of the deluded far-left visionary who led his party to its worst defeat in almost 30 years last month.
However, having seen at first-hand the effects of the Miliband anti-aspiration class based campaign in Nottingham North, I know it not to be the case.
The Balls, Coopers, Kendalls and Corbyns followed it only too willingly because, backed up by and trusting what the polls were saying at the time, they believed Miliband’s mantra would deliver the goods of political office for all of them
In areas of deprivation, Labour framed the election as a stark moral choice. There were just two classes of people (the exploiters and the exploited), and only one party cared about people’s dignity. Guess which one?
To vote for a Conservative government meant more policies like: the ‘cruel’ Bedroom Tax; an NHS where poor people couldn’t afford lifesaving drugs but the privileged could; scandalously rushed 15 minute home care visits; demeaning zero hours contracts; and unscrupulous landlords.
In light of which, it is not surprising that Labour increased their hold on a city which comprises public sectors workers, NHS devotees and, in my constituency, an above average number of the long-term unemployed and people with disabilities.
Nor that the Council is now comprised of 52 Labour councillors out of 55 and that so many Labour grandees like Dan Jarvis and Chuka Umuna claim links to the city to boost their credentials.
In Nottingham North, Labour’s `Representing People Like Us Are People Like Us’ campaign went one step further. Exploiting the cultural loyalties to their mining and textiles past, the threat of isolation and betrayal was prevalent. It aimed to `remind people where they came from’.
As one of our supporters confided, “In this area, if you vote Conservative you’re considered to be rising above your station. People don’t want to be seen like that.”
My job was to counter these claims and, at the same time, present an alternative. It meant a quest to identify the pockets of grass roots support which existed right across the constituency, from those who’d bought their one and only home under Margaret Thatcher in the 80s to retired school teachers and RAF officers.
I also actively sought out the aspirational generation who can no longer identify with their antecedents, and endeavoured to persuade them that Tory values were more relevant to the independent lives they were developing.
They are there in abundance: small car parts manufacturers; self-employed electrical contractors; hairdressers; publican; and a tattooed KFC worker with dreams of promotion, to name list a few.
I like to think I managed to do that to some degree. So that despite being the safest Labour seat in the area, with a 28 year incumbent to boot, on polling night Nottingham North got the lowest swing against the Tories of all three city seats.
The buzz political term `one nation’ would likely be shrugged off by the pragmatic, enterprising and particularly decent people of Nottingham North. However, if, as Lord Feldman suggests in his article on this blog there is a review of party practice, it is important not to overlook our true core vote in the East Midlands, and their shared conservative ideals.