I’m glad that, amid the clamour of the past month or so, a group of comrades has got it together to start the Wage Concern campaign, lobbying to have Tory MP Christopher Chope’s bill to destroy the minimum wage thrown out of the Commons when it is debated on Friday.
It appears to have some of the best usual suspects from Labour’s online presence behind it: Alex Hilton seems to be co-ordinating a large part of it, and born-again-blogger John Prescott is (of course) right where the action is. The facebook group already has nearly 4,000 members.
This is important, I think, for two reasons.
First, the national minimum wage is one of our greatest achievements in government. Millions of the worst off are its direct beneficiaries. It tells everyone exactly what a Labour government is meant to be about. Its defence should be an absolute concern for any good Labourite.
Secondly, it shows that – notwithstanding the bashing we’ve had over the past week/three weeks/three months/three years (delete depending on how many antidepressants you’ve started taking) – there are still good Labour causes worth fighting for, and good Labour people there to fight them.
It’s easy to lose track of what politics is meant to be about sometimes, especially when the narrative is all process driven. That’s not to say that the items of process being focussed on (expenses, Smeargate) aren’t important or serious or worthy of criticism; just that, fundamentally, we’re meant to “believe” in politicians not because of their personal morality, but because of their political principles and the policies they enact.
Anyway, don’t take my word for it – Stephen Fry agrees.