Anger in Acacia Avenue

Is an English Tea Party on the way to exploit middle-class discontent?

Gavin Kelly's cover story in this week's New Statesman on the intensifying squeeze on the living standards of ordinary working Britons has been attracting attention across the Atlantic, where the discontent of the "middle class" (in the American sense) has been politically salient for some time, in the form of the Tea Party and other emanations of inchoate suburban rage.

Reporting from London for the New York Times, Alan Cowell introduces American readers to the discourse of the "squeezed middle", which ought to sound rather familiar to them. He observes that Ed Miliband borrowed the phrase from Bill Clinton in order to "denote what was once called the lower middle class – which feels singularly threatened by the coalition's contentious plans to reduce Britain's crippling deficit through a combination of tax increases and spending cuts". And he cites Kelly's claim, in the NS, that the "typical working household is now poorer in real terms than it was a year ago. Millions of families are living through a prolonged, personal recession."

Cowell wonders where middle-class anger will go and quotes the prognosis of the former Daily Telegraph editor Max Hastings:

The rich have always been with us. But for decades, the rest of society saw its own circumstances improving in step. That is no longer so. The Tea Party has not yet crossed the Atlantic, but suburban anger in Britain is real enough.

Jonathan Derbyshire is Managing Editor of Prospect. He was formerly Culture Editor of the New Statesman.

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Tony Blair won't endorse the Labour leader - Jeremy Corbyn's fans are celebrating

The thrice-elected Prime Minister is no fan of the new Labour leader. 

Labour heavyweights usually support each other - at least in public. But the former Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn't bring himself to do so when asked on Sky News.

He dodged the question of whether the current Labour leader was the best person to lead the country, instead urging voters not to give Theresa May a "blank cheque". 

If this seems shocking, it's worth remembering that Corbyn refused to say whether he would pick "Trotskyism or Blairism" during the Labour leadership campaign. Corbyn was after all behind the Stop the War Coalition, which opposed Blair's decision to join the invasion of Iraq. 

For some Corbyn supporters, it seems that there couldn't be a greater boon than the thrice-elected PM witholding his endorsement in a critical general election. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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