Gordon Brown’s Lies about Labour and the NHS in Scotland

buddyhell:

Gordon Brown and the rest of the Labour Party like to tell us how it was their party that created the National Health Service. That’s true. But what is equally true is the way the Blair and then Brown governments handed over millions of pounds worth of contracts to private companies under the Private Finance Initiative or PFI. Brown, who has recently been seen in Scotland in a desperate bid to save the Better Together campaign, is damaged goods. No one will ever trust him or his party again and it’s his and Blair’s fault. The Scottish Labour Party, too, is guilty because they refused to make a clean break with their English cousins. Johann Lamont, the party leader, has hopelessly tied herself to the same rotten neoliberal economic policies as Blair and Brown.

A Yes vote is not only good for Scotland, it’s also good for British politics. Saor Alba! Bon Accord! Vive la revolution!

Originally posted on :

blairandbrownBy Jo Murphy-Lawless, Trinity College Dublin, and Nadine Edwards, Pregnancy and Parents Centre, Edinburgh.

In yesterday’s Herald, 10th September, Gordon Brown described how well Scotland’s NHS had supported him and his wife at the time of the tragic death of their baby daughter, in the Simpson Memorial Maternity Pavilion in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in 2002.

He went on to say that “we [meaning Labour] created the NHS, we, not the SNP, built the NHS, we cherished the NHS, in Government we took the pain of a tax rise to double the budget of the NHS.”

He also stated that it would be the SNP who would put the NHS at risk “not the Labour Party.”

The facts are these:

Gordon Brown and the Labour Party pressed ahead with Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deals for new hospitals, including the new Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. By 2002, the plans to…

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BBC reporter caught red-handed manipulating video in Scottish indy campaign

buddyhell:

I just had to reblog this. Trust the BBC’s political editor, Nick Robinson, to edit Alex Salmond’s response to his question to give the impression that Salmond hadn’t “answered his question”.

This morning, Robinson tweeted the following:
Nick Robinson @bbcnickrobinson · 12h
To all tweeting about me saying that @AlexSalmond did not answer me : He DID answer re RBS but did NOT re why trust him not company bosses

Wriggle, wriggle, squirm, wriggle. We don’t trust you, Nick.

Originally posted on Pride's Purge:

(not satire – it’s the BBC!)

Even a hardened old cynic like me is a little bit shocked by this.

The BBC’s Political Editor Nick Robinson edited out an answer by Alex Salmond and told viewers the Scottish First Minister didn’t answer his question:

But Mr Salmond did answer the question. Compare Robinson’s version with this unedited footage of what really happened:

There was a time when a clear case of factual manipulation by a BBC reporter like this would have been a sacking matter at the corporation.

No longer it seems.

.

Please fee free to comment. And share. Thanks:

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The Words Of The ‘Better Together’ Campaign

unionist alliance better together

Unionists: what great bedfellows they make

The Unionists have called their campaign “Better Together”, but it’s a dismal campaign based on fear, negativity and old fashioned bullying. Better Together’s message is little better than someone telling their friend, who is being abused by their partner, to stay together “for the sake of the children”. Alternatively we can compare their words to those of an abusive partner standing over their spouse shouting the words, “You’re nothing without me and you’ll never amount to much” before hitting them. These are the words of the ‘No’ Camp.

For the last couple of weeks, Unionists have sought to personalize the independence campaign by insisting that a vote for independence is a vote for Alex Salmond. Two days ago, we had the Bank of England governor, Mark Carnage Carney claiming that currency union is “incompatible” with independence. Carney’s words are those of a Mafia soldato who’s running a local protection racket.

The three stooges leaders of the main political parties at Westminster flew up to Scotland to conduct some ‘love bombing’ sorties. Cameron’s words were, to be honest, pathetic and patronizing. He claimed that the independence vote was being seen in the same way as a general election and urged the Scots to turn their backs on the idea. He pleaded “I care far more about my country than I do about my party. I care hugely about this extraordinary country, this United Kingdom that we have built together. I would be heartbroken if this family of nations we have put together – and we have done such amazing things – was torn apart”. Shame, then, that successive Tory governments have worked so hard to tear the country limb from limb. In The Guardian Cameron is reported to have said:

The rest of the world “looks on with awe and envy” at the modern British achievements such as the National Health Service and state pension system, Cameron said.

This is the same National Health Service that he and his ministers are working hard to abolish through privatization. Such words fall on deaf ears.

St. John Major was also in Scotland telling voters that the country would be “diminished” on the world stage. Such empty macho words fail to impress.

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister spent his time in a Liberal Democrat friendly area in the Scottish Borders where he invoked the name of Gladstone.

“People say this is all last minute, [William] Gladstone was campaigning for home rule in the 1880s. This is something my party has been campaigning on for generations.”

Such insincere words make him look like yesterday’s man.

Ed Miliband, the Labour Party leader performed his schtick for a Labour crowd where he told his activists:

Let me say: this thirst for change is shared across the United Kingdom.

We cannot carry on with an economy that only works for a few people at the top and doesn’t work for most people.

A Labour government will act.

Changing the way our country works and tackling the injustice we see is at the core of the Labour Party’s programme, and the contract we have set out with the people of Scotland.

The last Labour government aggrandized itself and continued the work of Thatcher. Given that his party will continue with the present government’s cuts, there is no reason to suggest that Labour will rediscover its socialist backbone any time soon. We want change but do the Westminster parties want the same thing? I doubt it. Such words make him look shallow.

The Orange Lodge will be marching through Edinburgh to rake over old coals and summon up the dead from their graves. Their words come from the dead language of a long-deceased Empires and its silly rituals.

UKIP’s Nigel Farage, who was last run out of Edinburgh with his tail between his legs claimed that Scottish independence is driven by “anti-Englishness”. His party wanted to abolish the Scottish Parliament, so anything he says can’t be taken seriously because his words are those of a Little Englander.

The banks have threatened to quit Scotland but then they are based in London, so their words have a hollow ring to them.

The supermarkets chains like Asda and retailers like John Lewis have threatened to increase prices if the Scots vote for independence. Their words are those of blackmailers looking to extract the last ounce of flesh from their victim.

North Korean dictator and Scotch whisky drinker, Kim Jong-un, apparently feels “positive” about Scottish independence, but his words were seized on by the corrupt Tory press (and no doubt MI5 and MI6 too) as evidence that Alex Salmond is a commie spy.

These are words and words have power. Politicians choose words for specific reasons. Sometimes they are deployed to shape people’s thoughts. Sometimes they are used to express violent intent. For the last 4 years we have heard the same kinds of words ‘cuts’, ‘slashing’, ‘hardworking’ and we’ve grown weary of them.

Whatever the outcome of the Scottish referendum, there will be demands for greater autonomy in the English regions and there will be demands for a new political settlement. It is inevitable and there is nothing Westminster can do to stop the juggernaut. We will have new words to replace the old words.

The genie has been released from his bottle and he doesn’t want to go back in. He wants to make some mischief. These are my words.

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The Scottish Independence Referendum: Some Historical Perspectives

The closer we get to the date of the Scottish independence referendum, the more bizarre and ludicrous the Unionists’ arguments (well, narratives actually) become. One such argument concerns an independent Scotland’s continued use of the pound sterling. “No, you can’t use it” screams George Osborne but hang on, don’t the Isle of Man, Gibraltar and the Channel Islands, all of which are independent, use the pound? Yes, they do. Then there’s the question of national borders. Last week, The Mail on Sunday interviewed Ed Miliband, who apparently claimed if Labour win next year’s General Election, his government would consider putting guards on the border between Scotland and England. But I wonder if Mr Ed, in his moment of petulance, realised that the border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland is effectively open and this has officially been the case since 1993? Even when the Irish Republic was declared, the border was lightly patrolled, if at all. Consequently, Labour members have been quick to claim that Miliband’s views had been “misrepresented”, but I suspect that they’re being dishonest.

I have seen some Labourites and self-described socialists complain that a vote for independence is a vote for the Scottish National Party. It isn’t. In case they weren’t paying attention, this is about independence and nothing else. Others make even wilder assertions, claiming that Scottish independence will lead to fascism north of the border because the SNP is really like the British National Party (sic). Really? This is a country where the far-right have fared worse than their cousins south of the border. Fascism has no traction in Scotland. Many Unionists on the political Right, like historical revisionist, Niall Ferguson, try to channel the Darien Scheme and summon up the ghosts of Scotland’s single failed colonial episode to deal a hammer blow to the idea of independence. This is an event that happened over 300 years ago. Isn’t it time to move on? Apparently not. A peevish and newly-bearded Ferguson, appearing on Newsnight on Monday, went from comparing a potentially independent Scotland to the US state of Colorado (presumably because it legalized the sale and consumption of cannabis earlier this year) to making specious connections with Belarus and Moldova. The desperation! Iain Martin of the Telegraph moaned that Newsnight had “finally found a historian other than Tom Devine”. He, of course, meant Ferguson, who’s defended neoliberalism by rewriting the history of capitalism from the perspective of the powerful, and writing out those on whose backs great fortunes were made. Devine, on the other hand, was a Unionist but defected to the Yes camp a few months ago. Given his slippery grasp of history, Ferguson is not a man I’d trust to make a logical and reasoned case for the continuation of the Union. But this really is the best the Unionists can offer. Have you seen who else they’ve got onboard? Uh huh, look away now.

Since the beginning, the ‘No’ campaign has used hectoring, threats, petulance, outright bullying and yes, lies to try and convince the Scottish people to side en masse with their dismal campaign. Indeed their behaviour is reminiscent of English Unionists in the months before the passage of the Act of Union in 1707.  The idea of union was so unpopular with the common people that when the draft of the Act was made public, riots ensued. Aware of the Act’s unpopularity, the English bribed and cajoled the Scottish nobles into accepting it. The poet, Robert Burns, observed:

We’re bought and sold for English Gold,

Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation.

The gold was distributed to aristocrats and some of the money was used to hire spies like Daniel Defoe, who reported “A Scots rabble is the worst of its kind, for every Scot in favour there is 99 against”. Today, the Unionists offer more devolution, which is no doubt backed with more gold for wealthy landowners and businessmen. As for spies, they may well be operating on the ground. Plus ça change.

The 1707 Act was passed by the Scottish Parliament by 106 to 69 votes. By doing so, Parliament had ignored the wishes of the people and effectively voted for its own extinction. The Treaty of Union contained 25 articles, most of these were economic, while the other articles dealt with symbols. Many Scottish nobles, like the Campbells of Argyll (Archibald Campbell, the 3rd Duke of Argyll was even educated at Eton), were absentees and had taken up residence in London and the South-East, but still ruled over their clan from afar.

The Act of Union was so poisonous that it invited insurrection in the form of the Jacobite Rebellions of 1715 and 1745. This reveals something else about English motives behind the Act: it was designed to prevent Scots from choosing their own monarch – even if the monarch was Protestant. In the aftermath of the rebellions, the Highland Clearances forced communities from the land . The wearing of tartan, the playing of bagpipes and the speaking of Gàidhlig (Scottish Gaelic) were proscribed by law. Thus, the Union was enforced culturally as well as economically. There were similar clearances in the Scottish Lowlands.

Yes, Scotland was poorer than England, which had overseas possessions and material wealth (partly through legitimizing piracy with its privateers armed with guns and letters of marque). It is true that the Darien Scheme bankrupted Scotland, but the idea that the Act of Union was promulgated on the basis of English altruism is patently absurd. This lie has been magically transformed into a handy myth to be invoked in response to the case for independence and I’ve seen it used many times. England had always wanted to dominate Scotland and, indeed, it continues to do so, economically, to this day. North Sea oil, which was discovered off the Scottish coast in the 1960s was later used to finance tax cuts for wealthy, mainly English, capitalists. A sovereign fund could have been established with the royalties (Tony Benn had proposed this when he created the British National Oil Company in the late 70s), as Norway had done, but Thatcher and her Tory ministers regarded it as an opportunity to have a piss up at the expense of ordinary people. In other words, the money made from this Scottish asset was used to shore up the same kind of people who supported the Act of Union in the first place. Ordinary Scots, aside from those working in the oil and gas industry, haven’t fared so well. The heavy industries like shipbuilding that had so dominated cities like Glasgow are but a memory.

The Poll Tax was first introduced in Scotland, apparently because, according to Ian Lang, the Rugby School-educated Tory Secretary of State for Scotland, it would appeal to the Scottish ‘sense of fairness’. Nothing could have been further from the truth. The Poll Tax ensured that Scottish Tory MPs became less common as the 1990s wore on. Only one Tory was returned to Westminster in 2010. The Conservatives in the Scottish Parliament are also in decline. Most Tory MSPs sit in the chamber thanks to the regional lists.

One thing that I have always found amusing when travelling across the English-Scottish border is the difference between the national signs. If you’re travelling from south to north you will be greeted by signs that read “Welcome to Scotland” but if you travel in the opposite direction, the sign simply says “England”. What? No welcome? In some small way, this sums up the difference between the two countries. One sign is friendly and welcoming, while the other may as well say “You’re in England now. What more did you expect? A hug”?

There’s talk that the Scottish independence referendum will finally prompt long overdue debates on the way politics is done in the rest of Britain. It is clear that the current Westminster arrangement is damaging the country. Westminster politics, for the most part, are corrupt; rotten to its core and is in desperate need of a good kicking. The Union is stale and backward-looking, and draws on an imagined past that is replete with the redundant symbols of prestige (think of the honours system and the House of Lords). Scottish independence could change all that.

Vive l’Ecosse! Saor Alba!

 

 

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Community responses to child sexual exploitation Pt4 – Addressing the cultural issues

buddyhell:

I’ve written about this issue before and was considering another blog about it. Whatever happened in Rotherham isn’t confined to men of Pakistani origin, it’s a male problem. It’s an issue of patriarchy. This includes the objectification of women and the sexualization of children – especially girls- by right-wing tabloids like The Daily Mail. I have spent weeks trying to get this point across to people who ought to know better but who persist in taking the media’s word as the undiluted truth. Then there are the boys who are groomed by sadistic pederasts who are being forgotten in all of this. The far-right in particular believe that the raping of girls by grown men is much worse than when it happens to boys. It isn’t and both are as bad as the other.

Originally posted on itsmotherswork:

This is the last of four blogposts about what I think are the main ways in which communities can help prevent child sexual exploitation. These are:

- helping the children to be less vulnerable
– making the perpetrators more visible
– providing support and challenge to the professional bodies tasked with protection functions
– addressing cultural issues that help to sustain abusers and minimise abuse

I’ve covered the first three bullet points in the first three posts. Here they are:

http://itsmotherswork.wordpress.com/2014/08/29/community-responses-to-child-sexual-exploitation-pt-1-helping-children-to-be-less-vulnerable/

http://itsmotherswork.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/community-responses-to-child-sexual-exploitation-pt2-making-perpetrators-more-visible/

http://itsmotherswork.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/community-responses-to-child-sexual-exploitation-pt3-support-challenge-to-the-professionals/

This post, then, picks up what I’m calling “cultural issues”.

When you read the title of the blogpost, did you think I would be writing about race? Ethnicity? Religion? Quite often when people talk about a “cultural issue” they are trying to imply the culture of those “other” people who are different from “us”, usually for reasons of race, ethnicity or religion. That’s not want I want…

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Are You Horrified Enough Yet?

The bewildering variety of names of the entity known as “Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL/The Caliphate/[insert new name]” is enough to worry paranoid survivalists and bloodthirsty neo-fascists alike. The people who invent these names are well aware of this.  It’s as if each new word and phrase has been specifically crafted to strike a chord within the minds of a variety of constituents. For example, it is likely that Sun readers will respond more favourably to the simple phrase “Islamic State”, while classically educated people who are familiar with names like The Levant, the classical name for the Middle or Near East, will respond to the name “Islamic State in the Levant”. The British far-right has convinced itself that Muslims in general (never mind that Islam, in common with other mass religions, is far from being a homogeneous religious group) desire to carve out a caliphate and that this caliphate will challenge Western (often referred to as Judaeo-Christian) hegemony. Hence the word “caliphate” was used to appeal to this target group.  Interestingly, the use of this word has slipped from media usage and has been superseded by ISIS/ISIL. It goes without saying that a gullible public can always be counted on to fall in line when the state dictates. Are you horrified enough yet?

The revelation in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph that the video of James Foley’s apparent execution may have been staged is reminiscent of the many atrocity stories that are produced on behalf of the state has been happening since time immemorial. The First Crusade, which took place before the advent of mass media, was prosecuted on rumours, innuendos and lies. A largely illiterate population was convinced, by those who controlled the production and flow of information, of the need to fight “the Saracen” by graphic stories of unspeakable horror. Crowds of people would be whipped into a frenzy by the plausible speeches of dubious characters like Peter the Hermit. As a bonus, those taking the cross were told that participation in the Crusade would achieve the remission of their sins. There is no remission of sins offered in these latest escapades.

In the weeks leading to Britain’s entry into the First World War, newspapers printed stories that were broadly referred to as “The Rape of Belgium“. The most memorable line from those stories was “Huns rape nuns”, this was joined by variations like “Huns eat babies”. The public fell for these stories to the extent that thousands of pals signed up to fight Germany, even though it was apparently Serbia that had started the war. European monarchs fearful of potential revolution at home, were eager to commit hundreds of thousands of working class people to fight for a war that only they wanted. For we must remember that in the years leading up to World War One, there was a great deal of industrial and social unrest that was marked by the Tonypandy and Llanelli riots, and the anchoring of gunboats in the Mersey and the Humber. The propagandists did their jobs and revolution was avoided.

But this is not the Crusades (in which thousands of Jews as well as Muslims and Orthodox Christians were also slaughtered by Western Christians) nor is this the First World War, but the basic intent of atrocity propaganda has stubbornly refused to change. It is designed to strike horror and fear into the minds of television viewers and readers. The apparent execution of James Foley is one in a long line of horror stories produced by propagandists to horrify otherwise sensible people and persuade them to hate others for no reason at all. Are you horrified enough yet?

Within hours of the video of the “execution” going live on the Internet, the British government informed us that viewing it would be a breach of national security and people watching it on YouTube could face arrest. Twitter and YouTube dutifully removed the video, even though they had no evidence of its veracity and complied with government diktat. On the BBC, security correspondent Frank Gardner, who himself has close ties to the intelligence services, offered his expert opinions on the video and what it signified. The subtext of this signification was adopted by Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond (who is also a member of Conservative Friends of Israel), who warned that “ISIS could strike on British soil”. To this, he added,

“[it is an] utter betrayal of our country, our values and everything the British people stand for”.

Hammond’s ideas of “British values” ignore the gross violations of human rights committed by British forces in Northern Ireland, India and Iraq over the course of its imperial history. Are you horrified enough yet?

You will also notice how quickly Binyamin Netanyahu latched onto the Foley story and, within hours, his office produced a series of propaganda graphics to claim Hamas is the same as ISIS (or whatever they’re calling themselves this week). Here’s one example that was produced within hours of Foley’s “execution” as it appeared on his Facebook page.

10620577_919399164741496_2462230725611090201_n

Netanyahu and his fellow Revisionist Zionists hope that the average person will be ignorant of the fact that Hamas and ISIS are ideologically opposed to one another. Furthermore, the name “Hamas” has been used by Israeli propagandists as a shorthand for all Gazans. You will recall that early into wittily titled “Operation Protective Edge” that Netanyahu and his propaganda minister, Mark Regev, insisted that because the Gazans (sic) had voted for Hamas, this was sufficient grounds for them to collectively punished. However in terms of their callous disregard for human life, one is tempted to argue that the Zionists and ISIS have much more in common than Netanyahu would care to admit.

Israel has also been known to employ agents provocateurs in the past and the current crisis in Gaza is no exception. Today we learned that Israel had staged the recent ceasefire violation in order to assassinate Commander-in-Chief of the Al Qassam Brigades, Muhammad Al-Daif.

The website of Makor Rishon newspaper said that Ben Yair, who also worked as a judge in the Israeli supreme court, tweeted on his twitter account the following: “There is no agreement and hostilities have been renewed, but who is the culprit? Hamas who wants an agreement with accomplishments or Israel who staged the breach of the ceasefire in order to justify the assassination of Muhammad Al-Daif?”

ISIS or whatever they’re being called this week is part truth and part fiction. The simple fact is that whatever is being reported about this group, and there appears to be some doubt as to its cohesiveness, much of it is gibberish. This is not say that the group called ISIS doesn’t exist and isn’t killing civilians. But the mass media’s hysterical reportage fits in with the Israeli state’s objectives and the murderous desires of Western warmongers, who can’t wait to start another war. Why? Because war is big business and as Major General Smedley Butler wrote “War is a racket”.

Are you horrified enough yet?

You won’t be, if you refuse to live in fear.

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Life on Hannan World (Part 14)

A week or so ago, I was reading a comments thread on Facebook that someone had started in response to a statement that Daniel Hannan had made on a subject on which he knows little (let me tell you, there are many of them). On that thread, someone asked “Why doesn’t he join UKIP”? The answer to that question is simple: he’s comfortable where he is. However, today, he offers a long-winded explanation for his reluctance to join a party with which he clearly has a great deal in common. For example, they both share a love of Enoch Powell. Need I say more? Well, to employ a useful analogy, it’s impossible to separate the art of the Italian Futurists from their evident love of fascism, love of war and hatred of women. Powell poses a similar conundrum. Yet Hannan and the Kippers will gleefully elide Powell’s racism to focus on his free market economic views. But then racism is more than just a simple matter of bigotry, it’s also exercised economically.

The title of today’s blog is:

So why don’t you join Ukip, Hannan?

What follows this title is worth a laugh or two.

The question is put to me, with varying degrees of politeness, 20 times a day – on Twitter, at public meetings and, not least, in the comment threads that follow these blogs. Well, chaps, here’s a collective answer.

Generally, most people who leave comments on his anti-EU blogs are either Kippers or ethno-nationalists of some description. Today, the Kippers are slugging it out with the Tories and it’s quite a spectacle. The phrase “two bald men fighting over a comb” springs to mind. He continues.

I have many friends in Ukip. You won’t find kinder, braver, more generous men in public life than Stuart Wheeler or Malcolm Pearson. Many of the finest Conservative activists from my region have moved to that party. As for Nigel Farage, he is in politics from decent and patriotic motives and, in the 15 years that we’ve represented the same patch, I’ve always found him gentlemanly and pleasant to deal with.

You may recall that when Pearson stepped down as leader of UKIP, the Lyin’ King offered his gushing praise.  Pearson is an “honourable and decent man” he opined. He’s also chummy with Geert Wilders, whose idea of ‘freedom’ is, well, unfreedom. Like Pearson, Stuart Wheeler is an Old Etonian and spread-betting mogul, who once claimed that “women aren’t as good as men” at things like chess. Really? Sexist much? Like Pearson, Wheeler is a former Tory and this is the thing about UKIP: most of the party’s leadership is drawn from a cadre of disgruntled Tories.

I found this passage particularly amusing.

It’s true that Ukip has its share of eccentrics, as every party has. It’s also true that Ukip has more extremists than the older parties. This is an unavoidable side-effect of being an anti-Establishment movement.

“Eccentrics” is a rather euphemistic way of describing the membership of UKIP, but “anti-establishment” is something the party is not. UKIP is deeply rooted in the establishment as I pointed out in this blog.

Here, Hannan gives the image of UKIP an airbrushing.

Ukip has been pretty good at expelling racists while respecting the presumption of innocence. The presumption of innocence matters, by the way, in a climate where a photograph which is very obviously of a man trying to grab the camera can appear on a tabloid front page as a Ukip candidate “giving a Nazi salute”.

UKIP is so good at “expelling racists” that there are still plenty of them in the party.  Janice Atkinson, the party’s MEP for the South East (the same constituency as Hannan) referred to Thai people as “ting tongs”. What a charmer.

So why won’t he jump ship?

I share Ukip’s view that Britain would be better off outside the EU. As far as its other policies go, I agree with most rather than all of them – which is exactly my position vis-à-vis the Conservative Party.

I’m still none the wiser, but please do continue…

For most of its existence, this was also Ukip’s overriding goal. But now the party has adopted a spread of domestic policies aimed at picking up disillusioned voters. It has every right to campaign on whatever issues it wants, obviously. But it is no longer focused on getting out of the EU and, in consequence, is prepared to subordinate that goal to its wider electoral interests.

Yet, in this paragraph, he doesn’t really offer any real explanation for why he won’t join a party to which he is clearly well suited (and booted). It’s obfuscatory mush.

This represents a shift. The Ukip of ten years ago, or five years ago, would gladly have thrown its weight behind whichever of the main parties offered an In/Out referendum. Its activists used to boast that this is what made them different: unlike all the other politicians, they said, their aim was to get Britain out and then quit politics. Now, though, they would rather maximise their vote than ensure a pro-referendum majority in the Commons. To adopt one of their own favourite phrases, they are “putting party before country”.

UKIP of “ten years ago, or five years ago” was still whining about immigrants and offering more or less the same hysterical drivel about how they “wanted their country back”, a line that came straight from the mouths of John Tyndall and the National Front. So are UKIP’s domestic policies (such as they are) not to his liking? He doesn’t really say. Guts? I’ve seen more guts on a set of violin strings.

So what about the electoral pact Hannan was proposing alongside his stablemate, Tobes? Well, it seems he’s had a change of heart… well, sort of…

I’ve almost given up arguing for a Tory-Ukip pact. Though the electoral logic is irresistible, there are evidently too many objections on both sides.

Crumbs! Why?

It’ll happen eventually – the first-past-the-post system more or less demands it – but it may, as in Canada, take a decade.

He still isn’t clear, but this idea that the two parties will merge at some point in the future reads, not like a fantasy, but something from a dystopian nightmare. Tories are good at dystopias and nightmares.

A decade of Ed Balls and Ed Miliband. A decade of Labour’s wastrel incontinence.

So that’s unlike the “wastrel incontinence”, not to say, the economic illiteracy of the Tory Party in government? Hilarious.

A decade of deeper European integration. And, when it eventually happens, we’ll ask ruefully, as Canadian Conservatives do today, why we let it take so long.

Curiously, there’s no mention of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in his piece, though one suspects he (and the Kippers) regards it as “socialist”.

By the way, Hannan has a book out at the moment titled How we Invented Freedom and Why it Matters. You can guess who the “we’ is in the title, but let’s just say that no one can invent an abstract noun.

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