Free to speak his mind

I met Jack Straw in the 1960’s as he overcame the poverty of his German Jewish background in Essex to become President of the National Union of Students. Last week he spoke with the frankness of his youth when he said that Labour needed the votes of the “decent, hard-working families” ignored by Gordon Brown. By “decent” I suspect he meant not feckless or irresponsible; “hard-working” meant not career welfarists; and “families” meant the father staying around to raise his kids. He also talked of the “fairness” of not taking money away from people who have worked hard in order to subsidise the lifestyles of those who have not.  My father was a local politician and councillor all his life and that was the sort of Labour party beliefs and manifesto he proclaimed in the 1940’s and ‘50’s.

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