I’m Alright Jack

17 March 2022

Diary of a Corbynista

I’m Alright Jack

by Don Urquhart


Mug shot of Don Urquhart

In 1959 Peter Sellers appeared as shop steward Fred Kite in the Boulting Brothers comedy “I’m Alright Jack”.  It illustrated the techniques used by people on both sides of industry to feather their nests. ” I’m alright Jack” is a phrase my Dad frequently used.

He told me that he gave up on politics after the 1951 election that put Churchill and the Tories back in power.

The British working man is his own worst enemy.

Now we have the I’m Alright Jack philosophy again made flesh in our Prime Minister and God help us! What a contrast to that bloke in Ukraine, who goes to hospitals where they are actually pleased to see him.

We were lucky to get John for a family lunch.  It’s mainly funerals these days.  There is one in the offing and the contact that occasioned brought also the suggestion of meeting up.  John is a builder and threw into the conversation the observation that all of his plumbers swear by Boris.

And I thought John’s plumbers are doing alright.  A bit of a boom for them!  And they are not alone.  Boris Johnson’s approval ratings hold up well and I guess they map on to the people who are doing better than the JAMs (just about managing – identified then ignored by Theresa May), although the few truly affluent people I converse with would not send him down the road for a packet of fags.

Donald Trump declared that he loved the poorly educated.  This calumny on his electorate went down well with them and I would contend that Dominic Cummings managed a similar if less explicit approach here with Brexit and the 2019 General Election.  In the US Hilary Clinton described Trump supporters as Deplorables and here Emily Thornberry inveighed against White Van Man which just shows you that you don’t have to be that clever to achieve high office but once there you should be careful what you say.

And President Zelenskyy should speak to our NHS staff who could have told him what to expect when the British establishment claps for you. 

Watching that bunch of losers in the House of Commons thinking they were contributing to a significant moment in history turned the stomachs of decent people,  knowing that the clappers after a teary photo op or two would go straight back to making the poor pay for their chronic mismanagement of the economy and passing draconian laws to stifle protest. 

The Morning Star is always fighting to survive.  For me it ranks with Private Eye as a last bastion.  Here’s their analysis of government economic strategy.

It is a political choice to allow energy bills to rise by nearly £700 without ending the madness by taking the sector into public hands — which would enable government to protect us from market fluctuations. The French government has limited bill increases to 4 per cent and that could be done here.

It is a political choice to hold pay down below inflation across the public sector, a kick in the teeth for workers who’ve made huge sacrifices to keep the country running during the pandemic.

It is a political choice to use attacks on benefits to counter the impact of labour shortages and an uptick in industrial militancy which raise pressure for pay rises. It is clear that the government intends living standards to fall: all its policies are designed to produce that outcome.

This is because super-profits for the few are more important to ministers than the ability of millions of ordinary people to heat their homes or feed their families.

The government — reeling from an endless stream of leaks exposing lockdown-breaching revelry at No 10 — is desperate to distract us.

It is of course treachery to suggest it but I suspect we are not getting the full truth about the Ukraine crisis.

It has come at a very convenient time for our Prime Minister.  He can pretend he is undertaking some kind of international leadership role but all of the evidence is against.  The Russians are not giving him or his subordinates the time of day.  Macron and Scholz are getting access.

Meanwhile here we are waiting for the Metropolitan Police and Sue Gray to publish the results of their investigations.  Plenty of media people encouraging us to give Johnson a free pass because there are more important things going on.

Like most electorates we are easily manipulated by the mass media.  You had to be impressed by Marina Ovsyannikova who sentenced herself to a spell in jail by taking onto the Russian TV news a banner proclaiming that the nation was being lied to about the Ukraine invasion.

I wish someone had done that on the BBC when Corbyn was being slandered and now as the once great corporation still dances to Johnson’s tune. 

When Russia Today was taken off the air I was struck by the danger of blocking dissenting opinions.  Its content was generally laughable but just occasionally they would focus on events in our own country that our establishment would like to keep under wraps – demonstrations, police violence, Corbyn rallies for example.

We are a long way from having a free press when the papers, TV and radio stations are owned by billionaires who want to keep us in a state of compliant zombification.

Does anybody still doubt that the Conservative Party and its leader in particular have been subverted by Vladimir Putin’s cronies into acquiescence with his propaganda?  All horrified now of course but too little too late and too well financed.

The Police were not slow to turf squatters out of a Belgravia mansion belonging to Oleg Deripaska, a Putin crony.  If only they exerted as much enthusiasm in putting the sex criminals in their own ranks out of action.

Evgeny Lebedev is a great pal of our Prime Minister having financed holidays for him and ensuring that the Evening Standard talks him up.  He is a British citizen but you have to ask and keep asking why he is in the House of Lords or anywhere near our political establishment when the security services have flagged him as risky.  But of course he is very rich and passes the Mrs Merton test:

Boris Johnson, what was it about Evgeny Lebedev that first attracted you?

Roman Abramovich is probably back in Moscow now.  As an Arsenal fan I never warmed to him.  He is far from being the first football club owner with a dubious past.  But he might well be the first we have stripped of club ownership for political reasons.

On Twitter there is a wonderful Chelsea fan who complains:

We all feel bad for the Ukrainian people, of course we do, but why should we have to suffer when it’s nothing to do with us?”

And at the games there are banners praising Putin’s pal and chants supporting him during the clap for Ukraine.

I’m alright Jack in spades.

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