Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Weasel Words and Faulty Logic of Michael Heaver

UKIP’s bright young thing or just another tool?

I was looking at Telegraph blogs this morning when I spotted this blog by Michael Heaver.

Heaver describes himself as:

… a political commentator who campaigns for Ukip.

His Facebook page tells us:

Michael Heaver is standing to be UKIP MEP in Eastern England. He blogs for The Telegraph and was Young Independence’s first elected Chairman.

Heaver’s blog has the deliberately provocative title “Britain is massively in debt with major youth unemployment. What do we do? Throw open our borders”. This is enough to get the racists, fascists and closet weirdos out in force.

Scientific racist, Roger Hicks, can’t resist an opportunity to plug his book and repeat his usual spiel about the need to preserve the purity of the British ‘race’ (sic).

rogerhicks 
We are seeking to provide for too many, both our own and those from abroad.The underlying problem is that we don’t really distinguish between the two. To me, native Britons are my OWN. For the government it is ANYONE they choose to give British citizenship to.

When the numbers were small, handing out British citizenship to a few people of different race and culture to our own wasn’t an issue, like adding a few drops of colour to a very large pot of white paint: you are still left with a pot of white paint.

But this is not what has happened. Colour has been added by the cupful, providing a temporary “rainbow” (or “kaleidoscope”! as John Bercow would call it) of colour, but so much that if we stir it in (which we are constantly being encouraged to do), we will no longer have a pot of white paint, i.e. will destroy the ethnic identity of Britain’s ancient native (white) population . . .

It is high time we faced up to this reality, instead of dismissing any reference to it as “racist”, or ridiculing the importance of skin colour as an indicator of ethnic identity (fine for black people to acknowledge as such, but a mortal sin for white people to do the same . . Why? Because of state racial ideology).

State ideology (and IDEOLOGY, with its spurious claim to moral authority, which anyone in public life needs to be associated with, is what this is really all about) insists that “race doesn’t matter”, or even exist, is just a “social construct”, of importance only to evil “racists” like myself.

Only race and ethnic origins clearly DO matter. Not in the way that genuine racists believe they do, but because central to any deep and meaningful sense of both personal, and group, i.e. national, identity. Which is why the state, which legitimises itself and its political elite by deceitfully posing as our nation, need to demonise and suppress this truth as “racist”.

My bold. This guy is clearly a fascist fruitloop. Paranoid, delusional, hysterical and prone to hyperbolic flights of fancy, he always attempts to link skin colour to culture. Notice also how he attacks the idea of ‘race’ as a social construct. This is one who believes that ‘race’ is ‘biologically determined’ but if that’s the case, so are congenital diseases like Huntington’s  Disease. And eye and hair colour? They’re biologically determined too. Yet he wouldn’t demand that we keep the purity of our ‘natural’ British hair colour (whatever that is). Say NO to dying/colouring your hair!

If time travel were possible, I’d like to send Hicks back to Roman Britain just to see how he reacts. Better still, perhaps he should be made to take a DNA test to determine what his ‘racial’ origins are. We’d probably find that his ancestors are a mix of Arabs, Jews and Africans.

Anyway, back to Heaver. Here’s his opening gambit:

Vast swathes of the British political establishment now seem to have their heads buried so deep in the sand I’m surprised they know whether it’s day or night. We stand as a country buried in hundreds of billions of pounds of debt, with a government still spending vast amounts more than it raises, and yet the inevitable pressures are set to continue. Pressures which will be of our own government’s making.

For someone who wants to stand as a UKIP candidate for the European Parliament, Heaver is remarkably clueless about state finances. All governments borrow money and even if the present government says it’s “reducing the debt”, they’re lying and lying badly. Of course, the majority of people are clueless when it comes to state finances and will believe anything that someone with a posh accent tells them to believe. “We’re reducing the national debt”, they’ll say.  Yeah? Prove it, then. “Er, I meant the deficit”. Oh? Show me, then. “Look over there! Migrants are coming to take our jobs”! Yes, that really is the best they can do.

Here Heaver repeats his party’s scare story about the UK being ‘flooded’ with immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria in January. He tries to sidestep this in the opening sentence of the following paragraph:

Talking about mass migration is a silly game of scaremongering, say many of those in Westminster. Yet today we find out that once again, they are wrong. No fewer than 200,000 Roma are already in Britain and that’s before the doors open to Romania and Bulgaria next year.

Realising someone may come along an accuse him and his dreadful party of anti-Roma prejudice, he offers this insincere disclaimer:

I don’t want to demonise the Roma. These are often vulnerable people – who inevitably require resources that we simply haven’t got. Healthcare, schooling, social services – there was even talk on a Channel 4 News report last night of advice on jobseeker’s allowance.

“I don’t want to demonise the Roma”, he tells us but he’s going to anyway.

His next paragraph opens with an appeal to ‘common sense’ in which he cites the ubiquitous but somewhat anonymous ‘man-on-the-street’:

The man on the street can see it how it is: we are a country with one million young people unemployed. Half of our young black males are out of work. Our resources are not stretching far enough for those already here. Committing ourselves to providing for many of those who chose to come is madness. The numbers don’t stack up and nor does the moral argument.

He ends the paragraph with an appeal to moral authority. These people love their logical fallacies.

Instead of proposing sensible solutions, like a reduction in the working week or providing real jobs and training, Heaver – like any Kipper – resorts to the easy solution of scapegoating. Just join the dots and feel the hate.

As I write this, I’ve noticed that Hicks has posted another massive comment that repeats what he said in the first comment. He’s desperate to sell his book. Don’t buy it! Heaver is just as desperate, but in his case he wants get elected, take EU money and spend all his time doing nothing like the rest of his party’s MEPs.

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Filed under Anti-Ziganism, Ideologies, National Identity, Political parties, Society & culture, UKIP

Telegraph Comment of the Week (#13)

This week’s comment was left on this blog by Dizzy Doug Carswell, Randist and sometime writing partner of the Lyin’ King. Carswell – bless his cotton socks – has actually criticized Le Pen’s Front National (it’s run like a family business rather than a political party).

The shocking truth is that the most popular political party in France, according to one recent poll, is the Front National, supported by almost one in four French voters.

The Front National is beyond the pale.  They are not simply a protest party, but extreme. Their political philosophy, in so far as they have one, seems to me to derive from a reading of Jean Raspail’s dystopian novel, the Camp of the Saints.  Pessimistic, they seem to lack any uplifting vision of France or the future.

So far, so good but then Carswell falls back on the same old nonsense about “tax and spend” as if governments don’t tax people and don’t spend money.

Tax and spend decisions in France – and indeed in Greece and elsewhere – are no longer made those the voters elect, but by Eurocrats. So French – and Greek – voters and politicians no longer have responsibility for making the big political choices.

And if you take responsibility away from the people, they behave irresponsibly.

Nothing like a simplistic analysis.

Now comes our Comment of the Week. This one is from someone who calls themselves “artemis in france”. While Carswell attributes the rise in FN’s fortunes to opposition to the European Union, Art of Piss thinks it’s all about those ‘dirty’ foreigners.

Artepiss in France

This screed joins ever single hate-filled dot that right-wing cretins like this one love so much.  Notice how Art of Piss lumps together the two vilified groups du jour in the minds of European fascists and ethno-nationalists: Muslims and Roma. He also manages to finish with the obligatory “Marxist diktats” that are apparently a characteristic of the very neoliberal EU.  How odd. What I find bizarre about this comment is the way Art of Piss claims the Roma protested against the “face veil ban”. Did they? Then there’s his “Many suburbs of Paris ressemble (sic) Baghdad”. How so? He does not say. I think it’s because he sees loads of Les Arabes living les banlieux. Non? I suspect that his only knowledge of Baghdad comes from pictures on the telly that have been refracted through the lens of his own cultural relativism. He’s never been there.

Remember if you see a Telegraph comment that deserves to be included in Comment of the Week, then please send an email with a screenshot together with a link to the blog or article to: buddyhell@hotmail.com

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Right-wing clichés (#5) “Our ‘generous’ benefits system”

As if telling us there’s no poverty in Britain wasn’t enough (or, alternatively, poverty is a ‘left-wing conspiracy’), the right never tire of telling us how ‘generous’ the benefits system is. Of course it isn’t generous at all and if you compare Britain’s out of  work benefits to those in the rest of Europe, you will see that people in France, Germany or even Ireland (where you get a Christmas bonus) get enough money to live on, while in Britain it is impossible to sustain oneself and pay bills on a paltry £74 a week.

Of course, the worst part of this narrative is the way the right seeks to justify its disdain for EU immigrants and others, by telling us there is something called ‘benefit tourism’, where hordes of Bulgarians, Romanians and Albanians pour into the UK to live on less than a subsistence wage.  You’d have to be really stupid to think Britain is the place to come to claim benefits – but that’s the right for you. Like a dog returning to its own vomit, the right returns to the same lies and myths again and again and again.

Hysterical and delusional the right is incapable of grasping the fact that not a single jobless person can survive long on benefits without getting into serious debt. Worse still, is the right’s constant message of “making work pay”, when wages have been stagnating for the better part of 15 years.  Then there’s the “work lifts people out of poverty” myth. Low paid work actually keeps people in poverty. As thinking goes, the right’s thinking is full of gaps. I’d be surprised if these people could tie their own shoelaces without nanny or a servant to do it for them.

Here’s the choice for most workers: live on payday loans or go hungry and cold. Either way, you’re fucked. The payday loans companies, owned mainly by hedge funds, appear to have a compact with the Tories. They want wages to stay low so that they and their bloodsucking pals in the credit card companies can keep people economically enslaved. Friedrich von  Hayek’s book The Road to Serfdom made the bold claim that a socialist economy would lead to serfdom, it seems he was talking out of his arse. The system that he so loved is the one that’s returning people to the days of feudalism.

It’s time to agitate for a Citizen’s Income.  Now who’s with me?

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Felix Dexter. RIP

Last night, I logged onto Facebook at around midnight and the first thing I saw was a status update on John Simmit’s timeline that read “I knew I’d be writing this soon, but it doesn’t make it any easier. RIP Mr Dexter, you talented & very private man. Sleep well bro. Nothing more to say”.

I sat there, still, unable to believe what I was reading. I frantically checked the internet for news. There was nothing. I checked Felix’s Wikipedia entry and someone had updated it but there was still no news.

I saw a later update that had a link from The Voice and it confirmed that Felix had died from multiple myeloma; the same cancer that had killed my mother in 1996.

I first saw Felix (he didn’t have a surname back then) in the summer of 1986 but I don’t remember the name of the club. My ex-girlfriend and I were avid fans of alternative cabaret and we used to look out for two names: Felix and Two Fingers Cabaret (Martin Soan). We liked his smooth style and his wit.

I didn’t really know Felix that well and if we appeared on the same bill, we’d chat… but that was a long time ago. I once remember phoning him up in the early 90s to ask him if he’d had any experiences of racism on the circuit. He was very polite but said very little in response to my question. Yes, people, there was racism on the circuit. Though ‘white’ performers generally can’t see it.

Here’s what Felix told Time Out’s Malcolm Hay in January 1988:

Even ‘alternative’ audiences can be racist and heterosexist. One recent heckle went “Did you come over here on an oil slick”? Alternative comedy is very much a white middle class world.

Issue 908: 20

Personally I felt that Felix should have been bigger than the rather passé Lenny Henry, but the industry being what it is in this country is generally incapable of anything other than tokenism.

Here’s a clip of Felix from The Fast Show.

Rest in peace, Felix Dexter, the first black male stand-up on the alternative cabaret circuit. You were a true star.

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Telegraph Comment of the Week (#12)

Brendan O'Neill: let them eat donuts

Brendan O’Neill: poverty is a leftist conspiracy

At Nowhere Towers, Brendan O’Neill is known as one of the Telegraph’s worst bloggers (James Delingpole is the other one). A Murdoch lackey and an acolyte of The Great Furedi, O’Neill rails against anything that looks vaguely left-wing and this  is in spite of his repeated insistence that he’s a “man of the Left”. Is he a hypocrite? Yes, he is.

Yesterday, O’Neill penned a blog with the title “What’s fuelling the food bank frenzy? The hunger for publicity for anti-poverty activists”.

O’Neill knows what his readers like and they like anything that puts the poor and the needy in their place. They also like their ideas half-baked and O’Neill knows this and plays them like a fiddle.

Here’s my theory, for what it’s worth. Today’s food banks are not fuelled by the needs of the poor so much as by the needs of charities and campaigners. I think the main beneficiaries of the fashion for opening food banks, and for press-releasing these openings to every media outlet in the land, are the poverty industry rather than the poor. The poverty industry is made up of those campaigners who depend, for their very existence, on the idea that there exist hordes of helpless, hapless poor folk – and so the more these campaigners can fuel that idea, the better. Just consider how loose is their definition of poverty.

“Here’s my theory” he says. The trouble is, Brendan, it isn’t a “theory”; it’s a collection of prejudices strung together like diamante pearls. Furthermore, there is no “poverty industry”. That’s blatant hyperbole. What O’Neill is saying is that those who help others are to be despised. So the food banks, which many people rely on, are just publicity fronts? Did I get that right? Yes, I did.

They define “food poverty” as “the inability to afford, or have access to, food to make up a healthy diet”. But who defines what is a healthy diet? If a family can afford unhealthy foods – like cheap white bread, processed meat, beans – can they still be said to be suffering from “food poverty”? In these campaigners’ eyes, yes. Using various modern and ridiculously stretched definitions of poverty, the Trussell Trust, which runs most of Britain’s food banks, says 13 million people in Britain are living in poverty. They mean relative poverty – effectively “not being as wealthy as others” rather than “having nothing”. For them, the important thing is not having a serious debate about living standards in the 21st century but rather promoting the Dickensian idea that millions of people are poor, desperate and starving.

With the rising cost of fuel, travel and foodstuffs, combined with stagnating wages (stagflation), life for the low-waged and those on benefits is tough, but you’ll get no sympathy from O’Neill who thinks poverty is a leftist conspiracy. He nitpicks over the definition of “food poverty” but he hasn’t actually produced an coherent argument to challenge it. Instead he tells us that poverty is a “Dickensian idea”; old-fashioned and no longer ‘hip’. In the last sentence, he shows us that not only is he spiteful and mean, but he’s in denial.

That is what is driving the food-bank frenzy – not Britons’ desperation for food, but poverty campaigners’ desperation for publicity. The opening of a food bank is ultimately a very fancy press release about the need to keep the charity sector and welfare state flourishing. It’s politics dolled up as emergency aid. It’s poverty porn, providing a kick for those activists and commentators who like nothing more than to feel the thrill of pity for the less fortunate.

O’Neill hasn’t got any evidence to support this provocative assertion. “Politics dolled up as emergency aid” just reinforces his selective misanthropy. Better to let people starve. Eh, Brendan?

Now we come to the comment of the week. This one is from “MHammer47”, whose class hatred oozes from every word of this comment:

MHammer Twat

“MHammer47” channels Marie Antoinette by saying “let them eat donuts (sic)”. They’re only “69p”. Living on doughnuts will lead to serious health issues but for people like this, such things are incidental; mere collateral damage.  For MC Hammer, finding oneself in dire financial circumstances is about making “bad choices”. If only it were that simple.

There’s an old saying that Hammer and O’Neill need to learn and understand: There by the grace of God go I.

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Filed under Ideologies, Journalism, Media, social class, Society & culture, Telegraph Comment of the Week, Tory press, Yellow journalism

Telegraph Comment of the Week (#11)

This week’s Telegraph comment comes from “Sir Tabby” who left his rather naive comment on Will Heaven’s blog, which is little more than an anti-Guardian hatchet-job of which I shall quote a portion.

Starting on p.9 of today’s Guardian, you’ll find an impressive range of voices sticking up for the paper’s coverage of what it calls the “Snowden files” (they’re not actually his, but whatever). The first belongs to the editor of the New York Times, Jill Abramson, and on p.13 the very last voice is Dilma Rousseff’s, the president of Brazil. (They could also addVince Cable to the list.)

Fine. But it’s also worth revisiting the comments below – all made this week by respected public or establishment figures. Alan Rusbridger, the Guardian’s editor, would probably dismiss them out of hand. “They would say that,” he’d argue. Or: “Spies and politicians have been making the same arguments since the early 1990s.” “We’re living in a golden age of surveillance.” etc etc.

Heaven  quotes a few people, one of whom is the spooky Jack-in-the-box head of MI5, Andrew Parker.

Andrew Parker, the director general of the Security Service (MI5)

“It causes enormous damage to make public the reach and limits of GCHQ techniques. Such information hands the advantage to the terrorists. It is the gift they need to evade us and strike at will. Unfashionable as it might seem, that is why we must keep secrets secret, and why not doing so causes such harm.”

Heaven then goes on to quote an anonymous “Downing Street spokesman”.

Downing Street spokesman, speaking on behalf of the Prime Minister

“The Prime Minister thinks [Andrew Parker’s] was an excellent speech and we are, as you would expect, always keeping under review the measures that are needed to contribute to keeping our country safe. I would happily point you to all parts of the director general’s speech.”

I never trust anything that purports to come from a “Downing Street spokesman”. Usually such people tend to be low-grade pen pushers. This is the “free press” in action, guys. It works tirelessly to promote the view of the security services and the party that represents those views in Parliament – the Tories.

Here’s Sir Tabby the Alley Cat’s contribution:

Sir Tabby Alley Cat

Poor gullible, naive “Sir Tabby”. He thinks the security services “know what they’re talking about”. The security services couldn’t catch a cold, let alone a terrorist cell. MI5’s job is to keep people in a state of fear and to blackmail ordinary citizens, and fit up politicians and foreign dignitaries by photographing them in compromising situations.

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Guide To The Economic Schools Of Thought

Have you even wondered what those economists were talking about? Here Robert Nielsen explains the various economic schools in a concise and accessible way. If you watch the news on telly, you would be forgiven for thinking there is only one valid economic theory and that theory is the one much loved by the Right and Nu Labour. Well, guess what? It isn’t. Read on.

Whistling In The Wind

Economics is not a homogenous or unified subject, rather there are a series of competing ideas over the key areas. These ideas can be roughly divided into several schools of thought and I’ll give a guide to them here. It is the great myth that economists pretend to be non-partisan when in reality we all have our own biases and opinions. It is impossible to study a topic without forming an opinion of it and economists are no exception. So by understanding the different schools of thought you can not only understand why economists give different and contradicting policy advice but also how they see through different lenses.

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