Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Now More Than Ever, We Need Strongbow Spirit

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Now More Than Ever, We Need Strongbow Spirit

Article excerpt

Byline: Sarah Sands

WHATEVER happened to Motorway Man, the key election demographic unveiled by polling companies and never heard of again? I've been commuting from the junction between the M40 and the M1 and have grown fond of the early morning convoy of heavy goods lorries and trade vans. I check in the rear-view mirror to catch old-fashioned girls' names on Eddie Stobart trucks. I love watching the solid foundations of a British economy -- cement, wood, furnishings, food -- thundering down the motorway.

New Labour grew squeamish about the working class, preferring the romantically destitute or the filthy rich. Now they are regretting their loss. The Miliband brothers and Ed Balls talk of a failure to connect. I wouldn't trust any of the candidates in a white van.

They'd be better off watching the adverts for Strongbow cider. There is the Braveheartish battle of working men -- plumbers, gas fitters, men in hard hats. Then the masonic style ceremony of honours. A vast congregation of rough, broad faces, one with a tear of pride down his cheek. Three honest men in working overalls make their way, full of wonder, through the workers.

They represent the sofa delivery men, the burglar alarm engineers, the pork pie fillers. Their reward for long working days is a pint of cider. It makes Labour's attempted tax on the drink seem crass.

So why hasn't Labour been celebrating the boiler men, the window makers, their beleaguered manufacturing heartlands? …

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