By Sophie Squire
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2910

Why Keir Starmer can’t define the working class

The working class don’t have any ownership or control over the ways we produce goods and services in society
Issue 2910
Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party schmoozing billionaire Theo Paphitis (Picture: Keir Starmer on Flickr)

Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party schmoozing billionaire Theo Paphitis (Picture: Keir Starmer on Flickr)

Keir Starmer was floored by a simple question in an interview on Monday—“What do you mean by working class?”.

It’s become a joke that Starmer endlessly repeats his “My Dad was a toolmaker” phrase.

That’s a vague reference to the class feeling Labour feeds off.

In fact the key understanding of the working class is that it is those people who don’t have any ownership or control over the ways we produce goods and services in society.

Starmer couldn’t talk about the reality of class, because to do so raises the existence of the bosses and the conflict with them.

To talk properly of the working class is to talk of the social power of the enemy—the ruling class.

Labour, which cuddles up to the ruling class, is reduced to empty talk of people’s hopes of “getting on” within the present set-up. 

In 1999 Labour prime minister Tony Blair said the “class war is over”.

But 25 years later it will be the class anger of ordinary people, tired of cuts and falling wages and benefits, that is central to ejecting the open party of the bosses from Number 10.

There’s another reality that Starmer wants to avoid.

Working class people are not just forced to work to live but also have the power to shut down society if they stop working.

That prospect should haunt Starmer and all his pro-boss mates—and we should try to make it a reality now and also after 4 July.

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