8 Southern Discomfort


Fabian Society, pamphlet, 1992


Labour’s defeat provoked many inquests. This Fabian Society report asked working class voters in Essex why they remained loyal to the Conservatives. It found they did not trust Labour to manage the economy and believed the party would misspend their taxes. Kinnock’s ‘modernisation’ had made little impact on them. These are some of the views the survey uncovered.

On home ownership: ‘It’s what you would dream of, having your own place, you think I’m doing really well, my own house, nice furniture, little garden, and all that’.

On class: ‘In a way, we’re not working class any more.’

On equality: ‘Rubbish – bloody rubbish.’ ‘It would never work in practice’. ‘Labour believe that everyone should be equal – except themselves of course’.

On welfare: ‘There will always be the lazy – why should we fill their pockets?’ ‘Why should you pay more tax if you work bloody hard?’ ‘Equality is I can sit back and have it on a plate.’ ‘Some people spend their whole lives on benefit – don’t want to work’.

Who is Labour for?: ‘Labour might be for the working class, but people don’t think they’re working class any more’. Labour is for ‘the poor’, ‘gays and ethnics’. ‘Labour … don’t believe in go-getters – they want everyone to be the same’




“8 Southern Discomfort,” New Dawn? 1997, accessed May 23, 2024, https://newdawn1997.omeka.net/items/show/9.


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