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Sunday, March 28, 2010

What's a Hard Working Family anyway?

I caught a fragment of an interview with Bob Crow where he was saying his union's actions would try to minimize any disruption to the holiday plans of "hard working families". This invocation of the HWF, as it shall henceforth be known, is now one of the most frequently-heard dog whistles of contemporary politics. Apart from the amusing picture it inevitably summons of an extended family taking part in an Amish barn raising or a clan of shoe-making elves whose tiny cottage fairly trembles to the sound of their frantic industry, it raises the question "who is he actually talking about?" You can only assume, as you are no doubt meant to assume, that he is talking about you and not everybody else.

It's all a nonsense, of course, designed to get us on side with whatever plan the speaker is shilling for. Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot did a lot of talking about Hard Working Families. It was their hope that you would cheer the Hard Working Families just as you would revile anyone who wasn't HWF. You are a member of a hard working family. They are a feckless bunch of spongers. And that other lot are a bunch of leeches living off ill-gotten gains. The truth is that difficulties, whether they're little local ones or major catastrophes, are equally inconvenient for all of us. Time and chance are no respecters of whether we're Hard Working Families or not. The rain falls on everyone, Bob.