Thursday, September 30, 2004

Hartlepool: Ordinary People Don't Care

....about Iraq. They care about being nasty to asylum seekers, and dog dirt. Everyone knows that, especially Labour's candidate for the Hartlepool by-election, Iain Wright.
"“I’ve met more than 4,000 people by now, and do you know?” Wright said. “Only two have even mentioned it. It’s local issues people care about; that’s why they want a local candidate.” Not five minutes later we met a man who had voted Labour all his life, but wouldn’t this time because of the war. “What an amazing co-incidence,” Wright marvelled afterwards. “He was the third.”

(from Backword)

A parallel experience: the other day I was listening to BBC Radio 5, running an interview with John Rentoul of the Independent on Sunday (and author of a life of Tony Blair) about Blair's party conference speech. Rentoul, who is a Blair loyalist (if his column in the Sindy is anything to go on), gave the usual spiel. Iraq? Mutter mutter middle-class mutter mutter oppositional mindset mutter lefties mutter mutter doorstep mutter antisocial behaviour mutter ordinary people. They opened the phone lines, and promptly enough some dozen callers popped up to rant and rail against "Taking us to war on a false premise!" and "Never voting Labour again...because of the war!" and "Bliar" - you know the stuff. Ha.

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