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Amazing that in the 21st Century we still get such ancient Class War rhetoric from a senior politician (admittedly aging). Tories & toffs v Labour and hard working sons of toil. Seemingly the last half century passed Lord Hattersley by - he still talks the language of 1930's Fabians.

Good to see 20 of our MPs doing something to better understand the social problems facing the weak in our society. While many scoff at what a few days can achieve the demonstration of real problems and difficulty of creating easy solutions is a useful bit of education.

Thanks Ted but it isn't only a few days - the MPs have signed up to keeping in regular touch with the groups they spend time with and hopefully will be able to offer a parliamentary internship to some of the people they meet. This scheme will help ensure the parliamentary party is populated with more people with first hand knowledge of major social problems.

Because the projects are being chosen by the Centre for Social Justice they are particularly effective projects - they are not 'local government schemes in voluntary sector clothes'. They are genuinely innovative-minded and community-rooted in character.

Understanding a problem is the key to finding its solution(s). All credit to IDS and his fellow MPs. As I have suggested before, get Shaun Bailey to a conference/seminar on inner city deprivation. He is quite excellent.
As a PS, my wife and I attended an association lunch the other day and I mentioned to a senior party activist the plight of 18 to 30+ year olds caught in the student loan/trying to get on the property ladder/trying to start a pension trap; she couldn't understand that such a problem could exist: "Oh, surely any parent would help their children out" was her answer.

Is it really worth taking the words of Hattersley seriously?I saw him being interviewed this weekend making the outrageous comment that he thought that Blair was not corrupt.How much evidence do you need Roy?If he can say something like that and still keep a straight face he can say anything!

Sorry I couldn't comment before, Lord Hattersley, I was occupied with grinding my heel into the face of one of the local peasantry. This is but one of the obligatory duties laid down in my local Conservative Association rules, along with shooting members of ethnic minorities and spending Saturday afternoon laughing at inmates of one of our local mental hospitals whilst swigging champagne.

We all note that Hattersley was willing to forsake his Socialist principles and enter the Lords - would anyone take any notice of him otherwise, even the Grauniad?

So the class war continues. Hattersley is obviously continuing the Bevin theme that all Tories are vermin.

I applaud the 20 MP's working with the centre of social justice on this. It would be good if a few of the other 178 would as well. I would think the experience would benefit some of our potential parliamentry candidates.

What a spiteful comment by Lord Hattersley! I agree with you, Andrew, that it would benefit others amongst the MPs and aspiring candidates. The trouble is that you can't make this kind of thing compulsory and, by and large, the people who volunteer are not really the ones who need to do it. All of these listed so far are people with deeply developed social consciences.

I don't find Hattersley's piece as offensive a some here, just wildly outdated. I'm sure that for quite a few people in the thirties, joining the Conservative Party was something you did once you could afford to buy your own house, like joining the masons, or the rotary club.

But it's a very poor analysis of party allegiance in this era.

Andrew it wasn't Bevin who said that.For a Labour foreign sec he was an absolute top bloke.The vermin comment came from the hugely overrated Nye Bevan who was the original Welsh windbag.
Despite being in the same party these two did not like each other.Famous story about how someone described Bevan to Bevin as 'his own worst enemy'.Bevin replied 'not while I'm alive he ain't!'Sadly Bevin died shortly afterward.

Sorry Malcolm. Typo. There is still the Bevan feeling out there in the Labour party. Tories keep the rich rich and make the poorer poor. Unfortantely over the last few years, we've not done anything to counter the argument. IDS saw that and hopefully the party can build on what he's set up in the Centre of Social Justice.

Hattersley has obviously forgotten the old Tory concept of noblesse oblige. He also seems incapable of distinguishing between those who are disreputable but harmless and those who are disreputable and criminal. The former deserve our help and sympathy. The latter deserve our help and sympathy if their crimes are relatively minor and they are capable of rehabilitation, although this shouldn't involve making excuses for them or making their sentence more lenient.

The CSJ once again leads the way. However, I have to question how Ed Vaizey is going to find the time to get his hands dirty in between his appearances on any television show that will have him and, if the rumours are to be believed, his forthcoming audition for the next 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here'. Or should that be I'm In The Wrong Party Get Me Out of Here?

Ed Vaizey was on The Wright Stuff as well this morning. I don't know where he finds the time. The Tories male Edwina Currie??

In my part of the world (Tottenham, north London), generations of families have suffered under Socialism. Margaret Thatcher's Right-to-Buy policy enabled many to buy, sell and move on to ‘new towns’ like Stevenage and Harlow. But those that could not afford to buy (even with the discounts), are stuck on sink estates living in fear and squalor - thanks to the couldn’t-care-less Labour Council. The residents that do work are subjected to Gordon Brown's tax credits and other bureaucratic gimmicks designed to keep people reliant on government hand-outs (taking less of their money would be easier and more dignified, Mr Brown!). This story isn't too different to that of pensioners. And there are those who are trapped in the benefits system - some of today's children have grown up without seeing a single member of their family in paid employment. Parents, pupils and teachers have all 'given up' - expectations are non-existence and here starts what Oliver Letwin rightly called "the conveyor belt to crime". These are all problems generated by socialists: a desire to keep people poor, powerless and reliant on the state. Conservatives must seriously grasp life in our inner-cities and come up with radical ways to create opportunities and restore hope.

Typo: should have read "opportunities are non-existent", not "non-existence".

I've always thought that there was more than just a whiff of "Brave New World" about the labour party, plus overtones of "Animal Farm" With every pasing day, I am more than confirmed in that belief.

Blunkett gets £150.000 from News of The World, so I suppose Hattersley is now pulling £350.000 pa from his Socialist-Realism Act.

He was a useless politician, more apparatchik than thinker but ideal for Rent-A-Quote.

'It is not possible to demonstrate conspicuous respectability if you show sympathy and understanding for the sections of the community that are unapologetically disreputable'

What an extraordinarily nonsensical remark. I should have thought it was precisely those people who show sympathy and understanding for others who are the most 'respectable' - meaning those to whom respect is due. Respect is earned by showing respect to others and with his abusive and intemperate remarks Hattersley has certainly lost mine.

I have experience the class war rhetoric first hand. We recently won the argument at a planning enquiry ( although Ruth Kelly still has to approve the recommendations) to stop development development north of Harlow.
What was Bill Rammell's, Labour MP for Harlow's, response?
He called our camapign "well resourced", "well heeled", "wealthy outsiders" (albeit the proposed development was where we live and not even in his constituency!).
We are simply a group of well organised campaigners with cross party backing in East Herts who developed a well researched planning case with the support of Mark Prisk, MP
What we get is class based slurs.
It seems to have back fired on him though based on reaction in the local papers.

I should have thought it was precisely those people who show sympathy and understanding for others who are the most 'respectable'

My thoughts exactly.

However the Left brands anyone who disagrees with their bankrupt methods as uncaring.

Here we see Labour bigotry at its worst, describing everyone who is struggling most as "unapologetically disreputable." This, as well as being absolute tosh, is extermely unkind.

The reality is that the poorest usually come off worst under Socialism; compare North Korea vs. South Korea for a good example. Of course, that involves looking at the real world. Something that Hattersley and co struggle with.

This is my letter to tomorrow's Guardian, if it doesn't get in there at least I would like to feel that it was posted somewhere.

Dear Sir Mr Hattersley says that it is ‘not possible to demonstrate conspicuous respectability if you show sympathy and understanding for the sections of the community that are unapologetically disreputable.’ (Too posh for compassion 17/7/06) I would like to draw his attention to the Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, a Conservative and close friend of Queen Victoria, who managed both. Indeed, Karl Marx said that if it had not been for the work of Lord Ashley there would have been a revolution in England in the 1840’s. His legacy lives on today across London.

Alison Inglis-Jones
London Youth

What a great initiative by Cameron-IDS.
Less talk, more action.

Thanks Alison. A great letter.

Alison might also have mentioned Iain Mcleod - founder of crisis - and John profumo who did so much for Toynbee. But the list is endless. Hattersley is ridiculous

Mr. Sir Hattersley sounds somewhat desperate, desperate both to be seen to be true to his labour roots (with all the hypocrisy that involves), and desperate to try and prove to anybody who will listen that the new Tories, who just MIGHT be getting closer to ordinary people and actually have some in their midst, are still the nobs that his hypocritical government colleagues could always try to pillory when they were in power - long ago.
After all Kinnock is of the same strain, well lined from the EU, and left-wing titled!!!

A problem with this initiative is that it does encourage the perception that Conservative MPs need to become aware of society's problems rather than actually know about them anyway.

Tory MP's (and candidates) will already be actively working with similar groups in their constituencies.

This high profile initiative may help to further educate MPs but it should be made clear that it is only building on what Tories are doing anyway.

I am very passionate about wanting to run in the next election, ideally in Leeds Central. I personally believe as Conservatives we must work together.
We must show that we have what I will use as my campaign slogan: "Shared Values, Shared Concerns".
We must work to fight inner-city poverty.
We must mend broken communities.

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