The unpopulist


One thing is clear from the Crewe and Nantwich by-election. Traditional class politics - epitomized by the ludicrous shenanigans of the Labour Party shadowing Edward Timpson with a young man dressed in top hat and tails - is well and truly dead.

The stunt has failed entirely to hit the right note with the people of Crewe and Nantwich. Gone are the days when political party affiliation was inherited lock, stock and barrel alongside support for the local football club. Those who aspire to better than what Gordon Brown has been able to offer thus far are ready to vote instead for the what the Conservative candidate is promising, and this is no doubt a good thing.

It was the former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who shaped the current political climate. Blair was a populist, undercutting traditional party loyalties through a personal (even if fabricated) connection with the public. Brown’s inability to tune in to this, explains the Crewe and Nantwich tactics and it is much to the credit of the voters that the message of class is being ignored.

Gordon Brown is not a populist, but an ideological left-winger. His problem is that undermining the public’s individual rights, regulating their businesses and offering them pitiful state services has proven to make him very unpopular indeed, something transcending all class divides.