Blair’s Blackpool snub illuminates Labour’s true approach to life

Governments never cease to amaze me. The seven administrations I worked for were a continuing source of wonderment and at times John Major’s lot fair took my breath away. But after 11 short months Tony Blair’s is taking the biscuit. Its treatment of Blackpool runs off with the entire barrel.

Governments never cease to amaze me. The seven administrations I

worked for were a continuing source of wonderment and at times John

Major’s lot fair took my breath away. But after 11 short months Tony

Blair’s is taking the biscuit. Its treatment of Blackpool runs off with

the entire barrel.



I should confess that, as a Yorkshireman, I have a soft spot for

Lancastrian Blackpool. Brought up in one of Yorkshire’s border cotton

towns, we looked west rather than east and I spent far more holidays in

Blackpool than in Scarborough. Blackpool during the war was an exciting

place with its endless roar of an infinite variety of planes overhead

and an endless parade of airmen of all the allies on the prom.



It is of course, thoroughly working class. It is ideal for children.



(I regard the systematic attempt to portray its marvellous sands as

polluted as a load of Ratner). It is the sort of place where a Prime

Minister could with impunity eat fish and chips out of a newspaper on a

corner of the street before repairing to the nearest hostelry to wash

them down with Black Velvet (champagne and Guinness). Not to put too

fine a point on it, it is vulgar to the sensitive Islington souls now

governing us.



Yet never in a month of Sundays did I expect Labour - and still less New

Labour with its obsession with presentation - to ditch it as a

conference centre after this year. It makes you wonder what kind of PR

persons inhabit Westminster these days. What does it say about the

Government’s approach to life?



Officially Labour says it is abandoning Labour-controlled Blackpool for

at least three years because, after Bournemouth next year, Brighton’s

Labour council has offered its conference centre free, whereas Blackpool

quoted pounds 52,562 for the Winter Gardens. In other words, to hell

with roots; money talks. Unofficially, Labour is scathing about

Blackpool’s ’shabby’ and inadequate facilities and inadequate hotels,

though the last time I saw the Brighton conference centre I was appalled

by its soulless tattiness.



It may, however, stage the associated money-spinning exhibition more

comfortably.



Even more unofficially, Labour’s elite are relieved they don’t have to

travel north. Brighton, the homosexual capital of the south, I’m told,

is no doubt more in tune with the ’Cool Britannia’ image which Labour is

assiduously cultivating.



In short, Labour is horribly off message about its reasons for deserting

Blackpool. From this little episode it is, however, clear that it is no

longer a party at ease with its ain folk in their heartland. It has

become the capitalists’ party with southern bourgeois tastes. This

presents Tory leader William Hague with a wonderful opportunity to build

the new people’s party out of the ashes of self-indulgent privilege.



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