Monthly Archives: November 2012

UKIP did well but they’re still a far-right party (and a bunch of liars)

So UKIP are now the official protest party of British politics. The Lib Dems lost their deposit in 2 seats and the Tories were pushed behind the English Democrats in Rotherham. Labour won all of its safe seats and Farage is crowing.

But what do you think the following statement means?

“End support for multiculturalism and promote one, common British culture”.

That’s the offending line from UKIP’s policy on immigration and guess what? It’s been removed from their site.  It says “404 Not Found” This has happened only since the Rotherham Fostering Farce. The Cat is entitled to ask, “Why has it been removed”? I wonder if anyone has a screengrab of the removed page? If you have please send me a copy or post it yourself.

There is no common British culture. There never has been and there never will be. The only countries that force a common culture onto their citizens are totalitarian countries. The far-right loves this idea of a monoculture, they believe that it will erase other people’s cultures (presumably youth cultures too) from the landscape. Shrieking Douglas Murray speaks fondly of monoculture lietkultur, he calls it.

But people who speak of a “single common culture” think they understand what is meant by the word “culture”. Raymond Williams said “it was one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language”.  Anyone who thinks culture can be created in petrie dish and its serum injected into society is hiding something: their far-right tendencies.

The last time a people were deprived of their culture and had one forced onto them was in the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden.

Their culture was demolished, their native language – Gaelic – was banned and marked as a hanging offence if spoken, the wearing of tartan was also made a hanging offence and even the Bible was not allowed to be learnt in their own language, never mind written.

This was the final nail in the coffin of the clan system and way of life. This approach, coupled with the broken spirit of the people, was so successful in Scotland that by the end of the 18th century three-fifths of Hebridean landlords were already absentees, preferring the soft life in London society to looking after their own people in the wild and barren Highland glens and rain swept islands.

UKIP claims that it doesn’t want to abolish the Scottish Parliament but says that it wants to replace MSPs with Westminster MPs.  Weasel words. The party also failed to take any seats in the last Scottish Parliamentary elections. I guess they’re not as “UK” as they tell us.

Finally, the Rotherham Advertiser tells us,

UKIP, the party at the centre of the Rotherham fostering storm, has been linked to far right groups in Europe by one of its former Euro MPs.

The ex-UKIP MEP Nikki Sinclaire said UKIP attended a press conference last week for the right-wing European Alliance for Freedom at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Ms Sinclaire said: “This is a pan-European political party, financially backed by the European Parliament.

“This particular party is of interest as it contains, amongst others, Front Nationale, Vlaams Belang, and the Austrian Freedom Party.

“Yorkshire MEP Godfrey Bloom of UKIP is also a member. A founder member, and an executive of the party, in fact.”

I reported Bloom’s membership of the EAF here.

 

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Leveson and the Tory press’s myth of free expression

Lies are what passes for the truth in Tory media land.

The Tories and their pals in the media are fond of telling us that we have, in this country, something called a “free press”. This is a lie and those who believe that Leveson will magically remove this “free press” have been tricked into believing that by the spectacle.

No Tory newspaper proprietor or its hacks wanted Leveson in the first place. The journalists who write for these papers have mediated the notion of a universal free press in Britain to the public, many of whom have been taken in by the hacks’ complaint that it will spell an end to a free press that didn’t exist in the first place.

The other fear is that the Leveson Report will suddenly prompt a rash of repressive legislation that will affect bloggers but that’s emotional blackmail on their part and they know it. But I ask you this: under the current system, do you think it is right that British newspapers can lie to the public under the aegis of a free press? Furthermore, do you think it’s responsible for a newspaper to print articles they know to be entirely false?

Under the current self-regulatory system, if a newspaper prints a false allegation about a member of the public, what do you think happens? I’ll tell you, not much. The newspaper in question is required to print a retraction. That is all. The wronged party is not compensated and the paper is free to print more lies. The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) is run by the newspaper industry and even then, some papers don’t participate. Northern & Shell withdrew their subscription last year, which effectively means the Daily Express and OK! can print any old shit it likes. Furthermore, the PCC has also been chaired by former Tory ministers or sympathizers. Do you really think that’s right?

Political Scrapbook tells us that David “Shoot the bastards” Blunkett (who’s also a member of Labour Friends of Israel) and the YBF’s Conor Burns had a letter drafted for them by a Daily Mail executive. There’s your free fucking press.

If freedom of the press means telling lies for the sake of keeping one political party in power over another, then that isn’t a free press. That’s no better than the press in the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany. In fact, it’s worse because they lie about the press being free when it clearly isn’t.

According to Reporters Without Borders’ Freedom Index, the UK is number 28. That’s 3 places behind Mali. Even Namibia has a freer press than the UK.

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Won’t someone think of the victims?

Only the Tory press would make this complaint

Well clearly The Evening Standard doesn’t. Look at this headline, the only concern this paper has is with how much money the enquiries will cost. I bet the Evil Bastard won’t ask the same questions of Gove’s investigation into the so-called Rotherham Fostering Scandal.  No, of course not.

Anyone would think the paper has an interest in protecting the status quo.

All the more reason for serious press reforms.

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UKIP, diversity, the thorny issue of the far right and the Croydon North by-election

Throw in the towel, Winston, you’re toast

Yes, it’s another blog about UKIP!

UKIP tell us that they’re a mainstream party and perhaps they are. They are certainly a populist party that believes that they’ve tapped into latent Eurosceptic and Islamophobic feelings of the British people. There is most definitely a heavy streak of nationalism that suggests to me, at least, there’s a longing for the days of Empire. Is this the reason they have attracted so many supporters from the far-right along with many other self-styled libertarians and Europhobes?

Torygraph bloggers like Fred Ed West deny that UKIP is a far-right party but then, you see, West is an inadvertent fan of Francis Galton, who was Darwin’s cousin and the father of scientific racism. Earlier this year, West claimed in his blog that “there’s nothing extremist about rejecting ‘the benefits’ of diversity”. He goes on to say,

UKIP is something of a strange beast politically, a mixture of libertarians and social conservatives; aside from the Greens, it is the only party considering supporting the legalisation of cannabis. Economically it is the polar opposite of the BNP, but it’s true to say that like that party it draws much of its support from people alienated and repulsed by the new moral order. Social conservatives who overall feel happier with the values of pre-1968 Britain, whether it’s patriotism, their views on marriage, crime and punishment, or sexual mores; and libertarians who hate the way that the cultural revolution has brought a massively expanded state with an insatiable appetite for making new laws, New Labour’s era being a nadir. Both wings of the party have a particularly English opposition to the nanny state, telling them off and leeching their taxes, whether it’s in the name of “health inequality” or “promoting diversity” or any of the other mantras that the statist clergy repeat ad nauseam.

I could spend all day taking Fred’s poorly constructed arguments apart and the above passage is a classic but let’s just say that West is not a man for honesty. He describes UKIP as a “a mixture of libertarians and social conservatives” but this isn’t the whole story. UKIP attracts the racists who wouldn’t be seen dead in the BNP or National Front. Some current members hold views that are most certainly on the the far-right and more than a few of them are unquestionably sexist,  racist or xenophobic. Step forward, Godfrey Bloom! UKIP supporters may argue that other parties have their racists and sexists but that would be a deflection, especially since Bloom’s views are a matter of public record. Westie finishes his piece with this classic piece of analysis,

But that hardly makes it “far” anything, any more than Labour are extreme for attracting people who might otherwise vote for the extreme Left and for using the same language of equality and social justice. The irony is that this report seeks to address peoples’ alienation from mainstream politics, and then characterises them as extremists. Is it any wonder that people feel so disconnected?

What jaw-dropping dishonesty: anyone who normally votes for the “extreme left” as he puts it, do not vote for the Labour Party unless they happen to live, as I do, in a marginal constituency where the fight is between the Tories and Labour… in which case they don’t vote for the “extreme left” – thanks to the shitty voting system. Not even the Lib Dems can get a sniff here. West also seems to feel that there is something inherently evil in the concepts of social justice and equality.

UKIP’s leader, Nigel Farage is always at pains to point out that UKIP is not a racist party and will use Winston McKenzie (and Rusty Lee, yeah…) as an example of UKIP’s er, diversity. But look at UKIP’s membership and you’ll see that there aren’t many BME faces among them, which is something they share in common with the Lib Dems, by the way. In the 1980s McKenzie was a member of the Labour Party, he briefly became a Lib Dem, joined Kilroy-Silk’s vanity party, Veritas and he immediately challenged Kilroy for the leadership in a sort of repeat of Kilroy’s immediate challenge to Farage’s leadership. McKenzie left them to join UKIP in 2009.  McKenzie is something of a political journeyman… sort of.  Let’s just say that he’s always on the look-out for a party that will accommodate his ego. But political parties are full of egos. The competition is tough out there.

UKIP’s adoption of McKenzie as their candidate in the Croydon North by-election says a great deal about them as a political party too: they see Croydon North, a Labour safe seat, a place with a large multi-ethnic demographic just there for the taking, but in their naiveté  they believe that they have a vote magnet in McKenzie. They hope he will magically attract those, er, multi-cultural votes to UKIP and they will, at last, be able claim once and for all that they aren’t a racist or a homophobic party. But unfortunately for McKenzie he opened his gob and the world came pouring in. Let’s put it this way, he’s not going to get the LGBT vote.

Can he win?

You must be joking, but would you vote for RESPECT’s Lee Grasper instead? No, I wouldn’t either.

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Right-wing clichés (#3): The ‘loony left’

The phrase “loony left” is one that is much beloved of the British Right. It made its first appearance in the 1980s and has remained a staple of the Tory-supporting press to the present-day.

The Tory press has a long history of ridiculing the British Left, often portraying its policies as deranged and psychopathic. If you want to denigrate your political opponent without engaging with their arguments, what better way is there than to question their mental health? But the use of such language betrays the speakers’ fundamental ignorance of mental health concerns and is the mark of a bully. The ad hominem also reveals a lack of intellect on the part of the person using the phrase “loony left”.  They are incapable of discussion. But the use of this phrase was not confined to the Tory-supporting press, the liberal Guardian used it on occasion too. Even Right-wing Labour party members used it against their fellow members, thereby further damaging the party’s electoral prospects back in the 1980s. As this article from The Times (22 December 1986) tells us,

A senior member of Labour’s shadow cabinet is to urge Mr Neil Kinnock to purge the ‘loony left’ London councillors who, he believes, are bringing the Labour Party into disrepute.

The former minister is to write ‘a sharp note’ to the Labour leader calling on him to make plain that their actions were not ‘in the name of the Labour Party’.

He is also enclosing material handed out to school-children in Labour-controlled boroughs such as Haringey. These documents allegedly actively promote homosexuality, giving explicit details.

The move will embarrass the Labour leader still further when he is under pressure to divorce the party from the actions of extreme left-wing councils which he knows will lose votes.

Mr Kinnock has started the procedures which could expel Mr Tony Byrne, the new Liverpool Labour group leader, and Mr Tony Hood, the secretary, from the party.

He has attacked the ‘zealotry’ of some left-wing council leaders but could not afford to face a further party-splitting round of expulsions. Such a purge would inevitably centre on Mr Bernie Grant, the hard left leader of Haringey council, who has pursued the controversial policies on racism, sexism and the rights of homosexuals.

Mr Grant is to contest a safe Labour seat at the general election.

The former minister said his intervention came after a meeting with parents from Haringey who had complained about ‘what the Labour Party was doing in their schools’.

The above article is fairly typical and shows us how the phrase filtered its way into mainstream discourse. It is also interesting how the “senior member of the Labour party” is not named, which – given the the Tory press’s penchant for distortion – raises a few questions about the veracity of this article.

Examples of how this phrase “loony left” was deployed include the production of apocrypha like the clichéd “Baa Baa Black Sheep” story. This also tells us something about the quality of the Tory press: if it routinely fabricates stories and spreads falsehoods and lies, then it is not fit for purpose. It comes as no surprise that we find the most vociferous critics of the Leveson Inquiry are those so-called journalists who write for the Right-wing press (in other words, most British newspapers). It is they who have the most to lose from any regulation.  Indeed, proper journalists have nothing to fear. The desperate cries from Right-wing hacks that Britain will “no longer enjoy a free press” ring hollow. This country does not and  has never enjoyed a truly free press. Spreading lies and distortions is the business of propaganda ministries. Our newspaper industry would deny that it acts, as Chomsky would argue, as an unofficial ministry of information but this is exactly what it does.

The use of this phrase to describe certain Labour members and councils had the effect of dividing the party. The so-called ‘soft-Left’ was pitted against the so-called ‘hard-Left’. The culmination of this division and internecine strife resulted in the infamous anti-Militant witch-hunts and expulsions. Kinnock willingly jumped through hoops to please the Tory press and the Thatcher government. But I ask you this: what is so “loony” about striving for equality and social justice? I can’t see anything crazy about it.

Since the Tories were returned to power (without a mandate), they have returned to the phrase “loony left”. This tells us that the Conservatives are incapable of dealing with the present and unable to face the future; they have a constant need to relive the past – even if that past doesn’t exist in the popular memory. Referring to the Labour party as “left-wing”, which the Right often does, ignores the party’s slide to the Right under Blair. Take this article written by Bozza in February. Moonlighting as a journalist in the Daily Telegraph, he wrote,

Well isn’t that just great. Isn’t that just abso-flipping-lutely fan-blooming-tastic. Just when you thought the loony Left had reached rock bottom – with their sagacious proposals to “hang the bankers” and put taxes up to 80 per cent – they have come up with something even worse. There are so-called socialists in London who are now taking active steps to scupper young people’s chances of finding employment.

Here we are with an economy still taking ages to recover. We have more and more young people out of work, and who find themselves caught in a catch-22. They are told they can’t get a job unless they have some work experience; and they can’t get any work experience unless someone is willing to give them a job.

Unsurprisingly, such hatchet-jobs are appearing more frequently in the Tory press. The clueless Bozza can only hurl abuse at his ideological foes and repeat the spurious claim that unpaid work will set the young free. He closes with this,

The man who transformed modern Tesco didn’t arrive as an Oxbridge graduate trainee. Sir Terry Leahy began by sweeping floors.

And I’m willing to bet that Leahy was paid to sweep those floors. Today’s youngsters are expected to work for nothing.

Recently I blocked a follower on Twitter, who is a UKIP supporter. He would often retweet me using the hashtag “#loonyleft”. Debate me by all means, but don’t resort to ad hominems, it makes you look like a moron-  a rabid Right-wing moron.

References:

Gunn, S. (1986) “Kinnock is urged to expel ‘loony left'” in The Times, (22 December, 1986)

Johnson, B. (2012). “The loony left, out to destroy youngster’s hopes of a job” in The Daily Telegraph, (27 February, 2012)

Further reading:

Ivor Gaber (2005). “Slaying the Dragon”. In James Curran, Julian Petley, and Ivor Gaber. Culture wars: the media and the British left. Edinburgh University Press. pp. 197, 208–210

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Filed under Ideologies, Journalism, Media, propaganda, Tory press, Yellow journalism

The curious case of Godfrey Bloom and the EAF

Godfrey Bloom, the UKIP MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, has previously stated that he “temporarily” joined the European Alliance for Freedom (EAF) “to see what it was about”. The EAF is a far-right pan-European party of Eurosceptics that includes France’s Front National and Belgium’s Vlaams Belang. This video, featured on Junius on UKIP, blows Blooms’s story out of the water. I should point out that this blog is run by former members of UKIP who left because of “EUKIP lies and corruption” (their words)… no doubt Farage’s planet-sized ego also played a part in their decision to abandon UKIP.

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UKIP hoping for the sympathy vote in Rotherham by-election

Yesterday’s news that Rotherham Borough Council had taken three children away from, what we were told was, a UKIP-voting foster family is beginning to look a little suspicious. No sooner than the news broke, Nigel Farage was facing news cameras and giving his side of the story with not an inconsiderable amount of spin. He also let it slip that the couple in question had been former Labour voters. Interesting, no?

As more information began to surface, we were told that the foster children were from Eastern European backgrounds and that the unnamed foster couple’s views on immigration were at odds with their fostering of immigrant children. UKIP does have an antipathy towards multi-culturalism, its leadership and supporters have said as much.

Looking at this logically, I find it bizarre that people who are anti-immigrationists would foster immigrant children. Their embrace of an anti-immigration ideology and their willingness to foster immigrant children are in conflict with one another. Putting this point to UKIPers is utterly futile as they will talk about “stability” without bothering to engage the fundamental point that I have raised. I’m used to this sort of thing from the Right. The merest mention of the phrase “critical thinking” sends them into abuse mode or they’ll try patronizing me. I mean, how dare you question their moral integrity and flawed logic?

What is also interesting is how Gove got involved in this affair rather than Edward Timpson, the minister responsible for fostering and adoption. Perhaps sensing an opportunity to besmirch his arch-enemy, he went on television to air his views and spread his poison. You could literally see the Pob-faced bastard wetting himself with joy.

Kennite penned some piece about this being indicative of “culture wars”, a phrase that has been lifted from the lexicon of the US Right and how the British Left, represented by the Labour Party (sic) has started this “culture war”. However, he reminds us,

UKIP only got 6 per cent of the vote in Rotherham at the general election – but they came second in another byelection in next-door Barnsley last year. Like many working-class Labour areas, Rotherham showed an undercurrent of disaffection with the party, even before its MP was forced to resign for fraud. In the general election, the total broadly “Right-wing” vote in Rotherham (Tories, UKIP, BNP and an anti-Labour independent) added up to 39.3 per cent, only 5.3 per cent behind the Labour vote.

I made this point about the by-election in yesterday’s blog but what I find interesting is the way he encloses the compound “Right-wing” in speech marks. Three of the parties he mentions are Right-wing parties.  There’s no question about that. As for the independent, I have no clue about him. What is missing from Kennite’s analysis and that of the establishment’s political journalists is the often fluid nature of local politics, which is, at the best of times, a cesspit with councillors changing political allegiances on a near-monthly basis. Kennite should know all about local politics, he’s spent a considerable amount of time attacking Tower Hamlets for being “Islamist-supporting” (it isn’t and he’s being dramatic), while turning a blind eye to the excesses of the YBF-dominated Tory administration in Hammersmith & Fulham.

I also heard that there had been an “anonymous” tip-off to Rotherham Borough Council about this couple. Therefore The Cat is entitled to ask the following question, “Is there a vendetta here that we’re not being told about”?

Another question that demands an answer is “If UKIP is a non-racist party, as Farage says it is, then why does it attract so many racists and xenophobes”?

Have a look at this link from EDL News. Here’s a snippet,

EDL News has previously documented the bewildering racist rants of now former UKIP member Kim ‘Gatling Gob’ Gandy. What she labels as “outspoken” views saw her rightly ousted from the party, although she claims – by virtue of what looks suspiciously like an automated renewal letter – to have been invited back.

It’s hardly surprising that she appears not to be back in the fold given her latest campaign against her former party colleagues. Aided and abetted by her friend and current UKIP online activist Maggie Chapman, Ms. Gandy has, it seems, labelled as “fake patriots” UKIP councillors Mike Baldock, Stuart Parr and Paul Perrin, together with Andy Mills (who has said he’s left UKIP due to lack of organisation), the party’s  Steve Crowther (described as a “former UKIP bigwig” but still listed as its executive chairman here) and various Young Independence (UKIP) supporters. Not one to hold back Gandy also includes the high profile EDL activist Mick Wittman (aka Gil Gould) on her list. All are said to “have been sucking up to the UAF”.

No racists, eh?

It’s clear that UKIP see this as an opportunity to win the seat with the sympathy vote, but I suspect that they’re letting themselves get carried away by something that may never happen.

In the meantime, Rotherham Borough Council is to conduct an investigation.

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