Other than Liz Kendall it is clear that Leicester’s two other Labour MP’s have lost their way, their lives seemingly cast asunder from the working-class politics they pretend to engage with. Liz Kendall can be considered to be the exception of Leicester’s three MP’s, only because she makes no pretense of promoting working-class politics. Long ago Liz cast her lot in with a grouping called Progress, which is the right-wing faction of the already right-wing Labour Party. She has thus firmly dispatched with Labour’s working-class heritage.
So what do Leicester Labour MP’s do to help enable their constituents to stay warm during the colder months… worse than nothing. Energy costs and heating bills thus soar at the whim of private companies, but instead of calling for the renationalisation of such greedy businesses, our dubious Labour duo, Keith Vaz and Jon Ashworth, simply serve up uncritical press releases on a plate to energy giants like British Gas.
For instance, in January 2014 Keith went for a jolly to British Gas Energy Academy on Ayleston Road, where he stopped to chat (or rather to pose for a photo opportunity) with their hard working and barely paid apprentices. Opened by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2009, “Keith was able to learn about the new technology being trailed at the Academy to make homes, schools and buildings more energy efficient.” Keith then kindly posed for a picture with British Gas’ Regional Director, Andrew Bacon, a man who cut his corporate teeth at the tax-dodging accounting firm KPMG.
No mention was made of the profiteering role of energy companies like Centrica (which owns British Gas) being one of the primary reasons why the vulnerable are unable to keep warm in winter. A phenomena perhaps not unrelated to the fact that Centrica’s CEO, Sam Laidlaw, is also a board member of the gangsta bankers HSBC.
Following hot on Keith’s gas-luvin heels, earlier this month Jon made the pilgrimage to British Gas on Aylestone Road. And as reported with some fanfare in the Leicester Mercury, “Ten British Gas apprentices have showed their MP how they are helping people keep safe and warm this winter.” Amazed by their good work, Jon said: “The apprentices are helping to keep Britain warm this winter by taking calls from customers who may need help with their heating or hot water and getting an engineer out as soon as possible.”
All very moving stuff, but it is perhaps obvious that an effective and fairer way to keep people from freezing because they can’t afford to heat their homes would be: (1) to ensure that all workers are paid enough money to live, and (2) to renationalise all the energy companies to keep prices affordable for everyone. Needless to say, the Labour Party has little to say about either of these potential remedies to counter the intensifying stress being placed upon the people of Leicester.