Recent publicity about the hypocrisy of some of Labour’s Shadow Ministers is, of course, nothing new.
The Left has historically found it a very uncomfortable balancing act to tell people what to do one hand and then failing to practise what they preach on the other.
Property ownership has been, perhaps, the best example where Labour has found itself in difficulties.
I can speak with some experience on this subject when in the 1980s I had cause to be in two rented council houses, one occupied by a leading official within the local Labour Party and the other the family of prominent member of the miners’ leadership.
Both were planning to take advantage of the Conservative’s Right-to-Buy (RTB) scheme, something of a political hot potato for Labour activists at the time.
A shrug of the shoulders from the Labour official and the admirable “he will do what he is told in this house”, from the wife in the second property, were the two contrasting reactions when I raised the subject of them buying their council houses.
The advent of New Labour in the 1990s of course released the shackles and Lord Mandelson gave the green light for anyone to be “stinking rich” under his clique.
The slight problem is that his leader, Anthony Charles Lynton Blair, took this to extremes and at the last count had well over 30 properties in his family’s property empire.
The Labour Party, over the years, has contained a good many of its leadership, who while professing their working class roots and/or politics, have spent a lifetime trying to get as far away as possible from it, with their devotion to making money through property.
As for those who bought their council properties while professing their left wing credentials, they had the best teacher of all when it came to that – Comrade Arthur Scargill, who for years tried and apparently succeeded to acquire the union property he occupied, under the RTB scheme.
The firebrand was recently described by the current NUM Secretary as follows: “The public image that Arthur portrays is nothing like the reality.”
That just about sums it up.
Coun Michael Dixon,
St Michael’s Ward