There was a fascinating vignette of the way Labour thinks in relation to hard work, opportunity, meritocracy and social mobility following the promotion of Sajid Javid to Home Secretary this week. You might have imagined that they would celebrate the elevation of someone of his background and ethnicity to one of the great offices of state, the first ever BAME representative to be so elevated. But not a bit of it. Richard Burgon MP opined thus:
Sajid Javid reportedly earned £3 MILLION a year as an investment banker before being elected to Parliament, where he voted 16 TIMES against a Bankers' Bonus Tax.— Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) April 30, 2018
Another Tory protecting the few and ignoring the many.
There is so much wrong with that it is hard to know where to begin. But let us first point out that the Conservative Party has now had the first female Prime Minister, then the second and now the first ever BAME Home Secretary. In fact Burgon's response was at least not vile, merely obnoxious and sanctimonious. Others could not contain their fury that a man of brown skin is a Tory and the first Home Secretary to boot. So clearly, they said, he is a coconut. I kid you not. Or an Uncle Tom. Labour really does think that it owns and is deserving of the undying loyalty of the working class but also of BAME people under all circumstances. They are not allowed their own opinions and politics. If they exercise their own choices in a democracy then it must be imputed to something contemptible and suspicious. And then they wonder how anti-Semitism is so rife in their party. Anyone doubting why the left quickly becomes so authoritarian whenever it is given power only needs to look at the way they behave towards the aspirational working class.
Sajid Javid is a second generation immigrant whose parents came to this country, worked hard in low paid roles, gave their son an education and have now seen him elevated to one of the most important roles in the country.
What does Labour do? They complain that in the job he used to do he earned a lot of money or allege that he is a sap. That is instructive is it not? He was a highly successful investment banker in one of the industries at which this country excels and which employs thousands of people from around the world in highly paid, highly skilled jobs. It is an industry that pays huge amounts in tax and those who work in it contribute huge sums in income tax too. Do we really need to repeat the statistics about how the top 1% of taxpayers in the UK pay a quarter of all taxes?
And note that Sajid Javid, despite his being in such a highly remunerative job chose to give it up in order to work for the public in a rather poorly paid, demanding, stressful role that is inherently unstable. Not that this stops Labour from being churlish about it.
I used to be a huge fan of Sajid Javid's until this renowned Euro sceptic became a born again remainer at the referendum. Apparently however he has been a great deal more pragmatic on the issue in Cabinet. His ministerial career has also been something of a disappointment, although his performance in recent months as he sought to address the housing crisis has been more impressive.
He now gets the chance to show his mettle in probably the toughest role in government, a poisoned chalice at the best of times and one that has frequently brought down our most talented politicians. It is an unusually bold appointment for Theresa May, not least because she and he often don't see eye to eye. It is also a smart appointment because his background makes him the perfect choice to deal with the Windrush scandal. He should have no compunction in trashing the legacy of Theresa May and her idiotic immigration policies, demanding extra funding for the police and the criminal justice system and reviewing policy on issues like stop and search. He is the perfect man for this role at this most trying of times. It might even give him the springboard to vie for the top job. That would be yet another first for the Conservative Party, but don't expect Labour to be anything other than sour about it if it happens.