London is home of the metropolitan elite, is it? Try telling that to the family on the 13th floor of a tower block

The idea that Londoners are the only people who vote Labour, because they eat fancy cheese with walnuts in it, is absurd but increasingly widespread

Mark Steel
Thursday 13 May 2021 18:37 BST
Keir Starmer says he is ‘bitterly disappointed’ with election results

The most sensible explanation for the Labour Party’s problems, accepted by all sides, is proper people, who are all from the north, are too busy carrying girders and mining red cabbage to understand Labour’s daft woke metropolitan elite nonsense.

Because the only people who care about things are people in London who are all posh, which is why “Dickensian London” refers to people in the stories of Charles Dickens, in which little orphan boys lived in a riverside apartment they inherited from their dad, an oligarch. And Oliver was a cheeky urchin who asked for more, when he ran a farmers’ market, and someone only gave him £9.50 for a cauliflower.

This is the story of Britain now, that Londoners are the only people who vote Labour, because they eat fancy cheese with walnuts in it.

Hundreds of articles tell us people in areas such as Hartlepool can’t relate to the dinner-party bubble of Labour voters in places like Lambeth and Battersea. And you only have to glance at this sort of London borough to see how removed from normal life most people are, in their one-bedroom flat on the 13th floor of a tower block. Many of these buildings are even blessed with an in-built gym, because the lift’s been busted for nine years so everyone has to carry a pushchair up 200 steps.

The person that votes Labour in London knows nothing about real life, because they’re probably a 26-year-old woman working 12 hours a day cleaning the office of a website designing company, rather than doing a proper working-class job, like cleaning the office of a company that puts gristle into pasties.

And look at the fancy young London elite, spending 80 per cent of their income on renting a bedsit, full of fancy art-like mould that seeps across the ceiling to form creative shapes and an imaginative array of colours. You can’t dream of that in Darlington.

This is why they’re often described as not just any elite but “coffee-drinking elite”. This is what it’s come to, the party set up to defend the working class is now drinking coffee. If they spent more time in “red wall” areas they’d know if proper people want a drink, they go up on the moors and squeeze a goat until its sweat pours out.

Even worse are the “Hummus-eating elite”. Because there have been many attempts to explain the complexities of what “class” means, but the most accurate is: if you eat hummus you’re upper class. This explains why everyone across the Middle East is upper class, the hummus-eating elite, especially all those snobs in twee little Gaza.

The main evidence for how everyone in London has elite-level wealth is the ridiculously high property prices. Because it’s now impossible to save enough for a deposit on a flat without taking part in a successful diamond heist. When you fill in the form for a mortgage application, there’s a box that asks for any robberies you’re planning over the next three years, and if you can’t list any they’ll turn you down.

Financial advisers must suggest to people in London: “If you have two kids in London, and you want to plan ahead by saving something towards a deposit for them, your best option is to raise enough for one of them by selling the other into a child-trafficking gang.”

But somehow this rule, that it costs 10 times as much to live there as it does anywhere else, is evidence that people in London are much better off.

It’s an unusual approach to economics, to suggest the more you have to pay just to live, the wealthier you are. Supermarkets could learn from this, and say: “Special Offer. From next week we’re charging 50 quid for a banana. Because we know every penny matters.”

Some of the most insulting articles about the “north” are from the people most adamant that everyone’s broke compared to London. So you get news reports that start: “One can only weep as one trundles through the bleak industrial wastelands of this filthy north, where once-proud shipbuilders now crawl along the M62 hoping to spear a badger.”

But places such as Blyth and Doncaster have become relatively better off, compared to 10 years ago, with cheaper housing, and many people feeling life is improving, in a way that isn’t reflected in London.

Even the Conservative campaign for London’s mayor seemed confused, and was based around the high levels of knife crime in the capital. So the Tory view of London is it’s an elite haven of halloumi and specially ground coffee, but it’s also where a lot of people get stabbed. You pop into a boutique for a bespoke cushion cover, hand-woven out of duck spit, and get shanked by the “Evil cru” because they were in the queue first, and a bit excited after a breakfast of sun-dried baked beans on toast blessed by the Dalai Lama.

But everyone sensible accepts for Labour to have a chance of winning back support in places like Hartlepool, it has to tell its young, struggling supporters to sod off. Labour needs to return to its working class roots, maybe by organising dog fights in the woods, or replacing its conference with a market stall selling knocked-off bacon.

This is why Peter Mandelson has been brought back, because he’s the man to make sure Labour doesn’t look elite. Peter “Pie and chips” Mandelson they call him down Romford Market. “Any tips for the gee-gees?” they ask, and salt-of-the-earth Mandelson taps his nose and makes a suggestion for the 2.30 at Kempton Park.

Similarly Tony Blair didn’t win elections by swanning about with the elite, he spent his time befriending hard-working northern commoners like George W Bush, Cliff Richard and Rupert Murdoch.

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