The historical reasons why Daily Mail Socialism has been much stronger in north-east England, Scotland and Wales, places where a deep-rooted antipathy to the Tory party is combined with an equally deep-rooted social conservatism, than in the WCML cities (whose populations have been far more shifting and varied) and in the southern English shires (which have been, broadly, C/conservative in both the party political and literal senses, and whose self-image has seemed ever more ridiculous and ill-thought-out in recent years through the irreconcilibility of the two), have been gone over well enough already. It is not surprising in this context, and in that of Liverpool's very specific history where both traditional socialism and most (in my lifetime, all) forms of Toryism have seemed equally alien and out-of-place, that the only use Google reveals by anyone other than myself of the term "Daily Mail Socialism" is by a Liverpool season-ticket holder criticising Gordon Brown's use of the term "British jobs for British workers".
This was and is wholly accurate; my partial defence of Brown here in the past extends only to the crude Blairite/Cameronite taunting for reasons that have nothing to do with his politics rather than out of any real defence of those politics themselves; now the dust has settled, the pathetic, futile nature of such rhetoric is most reminiscent of the utter impotence of Major's ministers opposing aspects of Sky's influence, having previously done nothing to stop it while there was still time. Brown, as a leader with some residual, sentimental ties to the older incarnation of his party following an overpowering political personality who had achieved unprecedented electoral success at the expense of the party's entire cultural base, stands perfect comparison; while he had never been as wholly committed a cheerleader for neoliberalism as the Blairites themselves, he had no meaningful opposition to it either, certainly not sufficiently so to prevent him waving through such policies in his decade as chancellor. For him then to mouth vague statements in favour of the organisation of the economy along the lines of heavily protected and separated, psychologically socialist nations, when he had spent the previous decade happily pushing through economic policies which aggressively confined such things to history, just made him look stupid and weak. Of more direct relevance to the issue being discussed here, though, is that a Liverpudlian should use the term "Daily Mail Socialism" to describe the rhetorical language of a Scot, a fact which seems aptly to sum up the differences between the dominant versions of socialism in these two left-leaning places.
This of course also explains the recent political history of Barnsley, a town where a disillusioned "Old Labour" emotional feeling of betrayal combines with a profound insularity and fear of outsiders, and where the residual Tory vote - obviously never anywhere near enough to win the seat even in an election like 1959, but still greater than they could expect now - felt so alienated by the party's abandonment of "One Nation" politics and confrontational attitude towards South Yorkshire during the 1980s that much of the area's Tory vote collapsed for good, perhaps to the Lib Dems in the days (how long ago they now seem) when they were a protest vote for disillusioned supporters of both larger parties. While a Tory vote could obviously never be any kind of protest vote now, it could - without the legacy of the 1980s - have been a protest vote against Labour when they were still in office, but in practice could not be because the hatred for the party's handling of the industrial disputes of that time (one far above all others, of course) was still too strong.
This dual alienation led directly to the disturbing success of the BNP in the 2009 European election (where the party won 16% of Barnsley's vote, a significant factor in the shameful election of Andrew Brons to the European Parliament) and in last year's general election (more than 3,000 votes in Barnsley Central) - sheer despair and isolation, the long-term legacy of a cultural fear of the much more hybridised, cosmopolitan style of socialism "over the Pennines" (and even, to some extent, in Leeds and Sheffield), and the insular racism and Europhobia of certain aspects of "Old Labour" culture (typified in the late 1990s by Austin Mitchell's Mail on Sunday column and defence of the Duke of Edinburgh's dodgier remarks because, effectively, "everybody said that in my day and it never did us any harm", and by Dennis Skinner's claim that the German owners of Rolls Royce were "getting too big for their jackboots", both arguably worse than the worst Blairite) manifesting itself on the most odious level imaginable. Last week, the BNP's decline since the general election was thankfully evident (though they still won more votes than is comfortable to think of) and it was inevitable that the Lib Dems would have fallen as far as they did (as they undoubtedly will, for the same reasons, in the Scottish and Welsh elections) seeing that they are propping up a government that many in Barnsley will see as something akin to an occupying power, but UKIP's second place was deeply depressing, and clearly very much the same kind of misguided and deluded protest vote, inheriting both the Daily Mail Socialist and Tory-but-for-Thatcher tendencies.
We can say, as much without argument as that both Britain and the wider world would have been unrecognisably different without the Beatles, that the comparative success in Barnsley of parties like UKIP and the BNP is one of the worst legacies of an organised safe tribal war that never needed to happen. This Hugo Young piece - written three months before the death of John Smith - is a fine example, with all the eloquence and command of language that The Guardian still misses, of what is probably the second best point of departure other than "In Place of Strife" succeeding. As things are, though, the political alienation of so many in Barnsley is very precisely the legacy of 1984/5, and as depressing and enervating as anything else that can be so described.