Friday 27 November saw an online launch of Paul Embery’s book, Despised: Why the Modern Left Loathes the Working Class, sponsored by The Full Brexit, a group which promotes the fantasy that Brexit is an “historic opportunity… for restoring popular sovereignty.”
Embery is a well known proponent of “Blue Labour,” the idea that a moderately social-democratic project in the Labour Party can be reinvigorated only if it also promotes conservative social values, not just Brexit but supporting immigration control, opposing Black Lives Matter, lauding Britain as a Christian country, and supporting “family values” against gay marriage and trans rights. This, Embery argues, is the only way that Labour can reconnect with its core voters, which he identifies entirely with those who voted Conservative in the “Red Wall” seats.
Comically, he was supported in this book launch by two London and Home Counties academics whose only claim to diversity is that one went to Oxford and the other to Cambridge. If these academics ever dirty their hands, it is only by rummaging in the dustbin of history in search of nationalist ideas to present as innovations in socialist thought.
The working class is not the homogenised entity that Embery presents. To use a (very dodgy) analogy, the working class can be compared to a dog. This dog has a forward looking, thinking, and purposeful front half, and rear portions that carry the scars and despondency inflicted by a generation of defeats. The front half of the dog could move forward with regard to bringing its rear half with it, although, like a real dog, it might be able to leave some of its most objectionable elements behind. That will involve a struggle within the working class against nationalism and racism.
But Embery’s advice for the front of the dog is to forget looking forward and chase its tail. The dog will go nowhere and engage in no more than a dizzying and ever more frenzied chase to the bottom.
• The event is on YouTube here.