Category Archives: UKIP

Where’s The Outrage?

We keep hearing from the corrupt Tory press and assorted right-wing halfwits of how Labour is “riddled with anti-Semites”, but where is the outrage over this piece of dog-whistle anti-Semitism from the self-styled ‘Prof’ Godfrey Bloom? The silence is, er, deafening.

I’ve taken a screenshot in case he deletes this tweet.

What’s interesting is how @GnasherJew and his creepy Twitter friends have said the sum total of fuck all about this.

Bloom is already well known for his racist and sexist outbursts. But if you’re expecting him to face the wrath of the self-appointed guardians of the Internet, you could be waiting a long time.

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Filed under anti-Semitism, Racism, UKIP

UKIP: The Only Way Is Down (Hopefully)

Say what you like about UKIP  but they’ve always been good comedy value. If they wanted to remain a serious force in British politics, the events of the last 8 months have conspired against them.

Once the referendum delivered the result it had longed for, UKIP’s raison d’etre expired. Within days, Nigel Farage resigned and like the rest of the Tory Brexiteers, he cut and ran. He flew across the Atlantic post-haste to prostrate himself before Donald Trump and accept a well-paying job as a political analyst for Fox News (seriously).

Farage’s departure plunged the party into a leadership election, which was won by Diane James, who resigned after 18 days in the job. She then joined the Tories.

UKIP attracted more negative coverage when two of its MEPs were involved in an altercation in the European Parliament, involving the appropriately monikered Mike Hookem and Steven Woolfe, which put the latter in hospital. The party cleared Hookem of punching Woolfe.

Woolfe himself had been tipped to succeed Farage but his hopes were dashed when he failed to deliver his nomination papers on time. He later admitted that he had “been in talks with the Tories”. No one was surprised.

Farage returned as interim leader to no one’s surprise.

With Woolfe out of the way,  UKIP’s second leadership election was won by Paul Nuttall, who immediately announced that he was going to “challenge Labour in its heartlands”. His chance to shine came in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election. He even had the BBC talking up his chances of winning and he still lost. The accumulation of his lies and deceptions having conspired against him.

But last week, things went from bad to worse for the Kippers. Arron Banks, one of the party’s biggest donors, announced he was leaving after allegedly falling out with the leadership. He invoiced them for his last donation of £200, 000. It isn’t personal, you see. It’s business.

Then, over the weekend, UKIP’s only MP, Douglas Carswell resigned and became an independent. Carswell, a maverick and self-confessed Ayn Rand fan (sic), had always been at odds with his party leadership. UKIP’s deputy leader, Peter Whittle,  even claimed that Carswell’s resignation was “a breath of fresh air”. A bizarre admission, for sure.

Carswell, for his part, has denied that he will return to the Tories. He told the Evening Standard:

“I’m not going to rejoin the Conservatives — I’d need to call a by-election, my wife [Clementine] would kill me and my constituents wouldn’t be too happy.

There’s always 2020.

In spite of its posturing, UKIP was never a serious anti-establishment party; it was a project for disenchanted Eurosceptic Tories and like-minded ethno-nationalists and Empire Loyalists Its leadership is dominated by former Tories and many of its major donors are former or current Tories. It railed against elites but is controlled by elites.

After the referendum and Farage’s resignation, UKIP was on life support. That isn’t the case any more. It’s lying lifeless on a cold slab in the mortuary waiting to be buried.

UKIP: the only way is down.

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Filed under Government & politics, Political parties, UKIP

Nigel Farage Blames The Mail On Sunday For His Supporter’s Violent Attacks On Anti UKIP Activists

The Mail on Sunday? Seriously?

Watch

Feel free to share.

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Filed under General Election 2015, Political parties, UKIP

The Main Parties And The Election’s Forgotten Voters

At election time, politicians from the main parties (and UKIP) will repeat the mantra of low taxes and blah, blah, blah. There is a group of people whom these politicians always ignore, unless it’s to claim they will “create jobs” or offer some kind of “job guarantee” for a certain age group. Who am I talking about?  The people on out of work benefits. These are the forgotten voters.

The rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) has failed to keep pace with the increased cost of living.  There are two kinds of JSA: Contributory and Income-based. The rates for each are exactly the same. I won’t bother going into detail about the minor differences, because they’re not that important. The only real difference is the rate for couples.

The rates are

Age JSA weekly amount
18 to 24 up to £57.90
25 or over up to £73.10

For those on Income-based JSA, you get a little more if you’re a couple. A massive £114.85 a week. Big wow.

There isn’t a single frontbencher from the three main parties that will stand up and say how little people on out of work benefits are paid, let alone defend them. It’s just tough. For the three main parties (and UKIP) the unemployed are out of work by choice. All three main parties (and UKIP) continue to punish or ignore the unemployed and complain about the ‘welfare’ bill. I’ve looked at their election manifestos and I have to tell you that I’m not impressed with what I see.

UKIP claims it

is fully committed to maintaining a strong and supportive safety net for those who fall on hard times, but will not be a soft-touch on welfare.

Nothing there, let’s move on.

Labour’s position on the unemployed isn’t much different to the Tories, save for this caveat of sorts:

  • We will pay a higher rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance to those who have paid in over the years, funded by asking people to contribute for longer before they receive the contributory benefit.

In other words, if you’re languishing on 73 quid a week, tough shit. Get a job… if you can find one.

For the Tories, there’s no mention of the unemployed at all. Instead, they talk about reducing tax for those on low pay and there’s loads of guff about “creating jobs for all”. Be suspicious about the last clause. Be very suspicious. If you’re unemployed, you could find yourself in a forced labour camp.

The Lib Dems aren’t much better. Like the Tories, they also talk about raising the tax threshold for the low paid but make no mention of the unemployed.

So, from the manifestos of the three main parties (and UKIP), you can see that anyone out of work is regarded either as a non-person or fodder for unscrupulous employers in the fast food industry, the supermarkets or Poundland. The Tories claim they want to “make work pay” but there’s been no evidence of that in their five years in office. The unemployed have been made scapegoats for the banking crisis and the recession that followed.

Labour, on the other hand, is more interested in shunting people into jobs that don’t exist, while continuing to punish the unemployed by paying them as little as possible. It also says that people will have to “pay in more” to get a higher rate of JSA, though it doesn’t say how high this rate will be, or how much more in contributions you’ll have to pay. Finally, there’s Rachel Reeves, who claimed last month,

“We are not the party of people on benefits. We don’t want to be seen, and we’re not, the party to represent those who are out of work,”

That’s loads of potential voters alienated by a few foul words. Reeves just sees a reserve army of labour ready to be exploited and/or punished for the lack of work. Red Tories, eh?

If you’re unemployed there isn’t much choice on the menu: it’s either a shit sandwich or a shit sandwich. If you don’t want to eat a shit sandwich. Tough shit. Eat up.

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Filed under General Election 2015, Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, Political parties, Tories, UKIP

UKIP, Robin Birley And The Peterloo Massacre

UKIP funder, Robin Birley

Many observers have commented on UKIP’s anti-establishment credentials and found them wanting. Farage’s “People’s Army” is a top-down party, which while claiming to be a grassroots movement full of ordinary people, is run by the same vested interests that control the Conservative Party and share close ties to the unseen hand of Britain’s security services. Those ordinary voters who believe that by supporting UKIP they will, somehow, effect great change on Britain’s political landscape are in for a surprise. With UKIP, it’s business as usual but with an extra dose of Thatcherism. We already know that a number of aristocrats and  ex-public school boys fill the top positions in the party. We also know that many of their MEPs are former Conservatives and a few, like Jeffrey Titford, were members of extreme right-wing parties.  Prominent Kippers like Malcolm (Lord) Pearson and Roger Helmer are also members of the Orwellian-sounding Freedom Association (TFA). TFA, as I’ve pointed out elsewhere on this blog, is not concerned with freedom per se but with protecting the freedom of the ruling classes.  TFA, through John Gouriet, was heavily involved in strike-breaking, the Grunwick Dispute being a notable example. TFA were also supportive of the apartheid regime in South Africa.

UKIP, as Another Angry Voice points out, is not an anti-establishment party, it is an establishment party. This article from The Socialist discusses the establishment position of UKIP . Unfortunately, neither article discusses how deeply UKIP is rooted in Britain’s ruling class. These are roots that go deep and wide, and stretch back to the early 19th century.

A couple of days ago, I saw a Facebook status update that linked to an article which reported that Robin Birley, ‘businessman’, son of hospitality industry mogul, Mark Birley, and stepson of James Goldsmith, has been funding UKIP. Birley was previously involved in his stepdad’s Referendum Party, which folded shortly after Sir Jams Fishpaste (qv. Private Eye) died. Add the names Goldsmith and Birley to the name of John Aspinall and chuck in his zoo and the Clermont Club and what do you have? Britain’s reactionary establishment. So reactionary were the group that gathered at Aspinall’s Clermont Club to gamble and hobnob with others of their class that they formed GB75 with a few disgruntled Army officers with the intention of fomenting a coup against the Wilson government. This subject has already been covered at some length in Adam Curtis’s BAFTA award-winning, The Mayfair Set and by the para-politics journal, Lobster. These paranoiacs seriously believed that Harold Wilson was a KGB spy. Seriously. Is this the Harold Wilson, who sucked up to big business and turned a blind eye to US involvement in Vietnam? Yes, it’s that Harold Wilson. He was hardly a socialist and barely a social democrat. Wilson was a massive disappointment to the Labour left, who had hoped for better things after years of Tory rule.

The Clermont Club boasted  no less than five dukes, five marquesses, twenty earls (including the infamous Lord Lucan) and two cabinet ministers. Colonel David Stirling, the founder of the Special Air Service (SAS) was also a prominent member as were James Bond author, Ian Fleming and Peter Sellers. Stirling was the son of a Brigadier General Archibald Stirling and Margaret Fraser, the daughter of Simon Fraser, the 14th Lord Lovat (his uncle), who was a descendant of Charles II.  Lord Lucan was also a member of the Clermont Club. Because of his charisma and charm, he was considered for the role of James Bond, though he had no acting experience or clear talent. Lucan disappeared in 1974 after killing his nanny, Sandra Rivett. If anyone knew the whereabouts of Lord Lucan, it was Aspinall. Lucan was, himself, a notorious fascist and I’m not using that word pejoratively. Lucan actually sympathised with fascists and even supported the creation of a British fascist state. He was also a rotten gambler and was used by Aspinall to bring a “touch of class” to the club. In 1972, Aspinall was forced to sell the Clermont to Playboy, who in turn disposed of the club. However, Aspinall remained in the gambling business and you can see one of his clubs, called “Aspers”, at the Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford, East London. Aspinall died in 2000. His son, Damien, runs the business.

Robin Birley had his face mauled by a tiger at Howlett’s Zoo in 1970. Aspinall, an eccentric as well as a reactionary right-winger, believed that people should be able to interact with animals at zoos, which he referred to as ‘animal parks’. Even the most dangerous of animals, like the big cats, were considered harmless and people were encouraged to stroke, pet and even play with lions. So even when the bones on the left side of Birley’s face were crushed, Aspinall stuck to his guns and refused to change his zoo’s policy. There was no falling out between the families and no legal suit for damages was filed. Aspinall also stood as an unsuccessful candidate for The Referendum Party in 1997.

George Osborne’s grandfather, Sir George Francis Osborne, was married to Mary Grace Horn, who was previously married to Robert Stavali Aspinall, an Army surgeon. They had a son, John Victor Aspinall and yes, that’s the same Aspinall who owned the Clermont. In effect, John Aspinall is Gidiot’s step-uncle. But Aspinall’s real father was apparently an unnamed soldier. The rich have trouble keeping it in their pants, but are quite happy to lecture the working class about their sexual habits. Surprised? No? Neither am I.

Robin Birley was also involved with fellow UKIP donor, Paul Sykes, in the anti-EU pressure group Democracy Movement that was founded by his mother,  Lady Annabel Goldsmith (the daughter of the Marquess of Londonderry and mother of Ben, Zac and Jemima) as a continuation of the Referendum Party. Sykes also financed the project. Birley was also president of the Mozambique Institute which supported RENAMO, a reactionary conservative party in Mozambique that was also supported by the apartheid regime in South Africa in its struggle against the anti-colonialist FRELIMO during the Mozambique Civil War. As a leading member of Chilean Supporters Abroad, he also supported the Pinochet regime in Chile, and complained bitterly at Pinochet’s detention in 1998 telling the press “It’s a case of rank hypocrisy. It’s also an abuse of hospitality to ambush an old man when he has come to this country year after year. He has done an immense amount for Chile. No one is supporting him and I have sympathy for the underdog”.  Birley also financed Pinochet’s luxury house in Wentworth, Surrey.

When Mark Birley was confined to a wheelchair following a stroke, he handed the reins of Annabel’s (named after his ex-wife) to Robin and his sister, India Jane.  However in 2006, he dismissed Robin after discovering that he’d hired a private detective to conduct a background check on his sister’s boyfriend. The private eye turned out to be a fraudster and Birley had actually paid £200,000 for false information. There’s no sucker like a dim posh sucker. Mark Birley died in 2007 after suffering a massive stroke. India Jane and Robin remained estranged to this day.

So how does the Peterloo Massacre figure in all of this? Robin Birley’s great- great-grandfather, Hugh Hornby Birley was a prominent Manchester Tory and businessman, who led the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry in the fatal charge against unarmed men, women and children at St Peter’s Field on 16 August 1819.  According to reports, the yeomanry were drunk and spoiling for a fight. 15 people were killed and hundreds were injured, many of them seriously. Birley had been previously involved in violent confrontations with workers in 1818. Birley and the yeomanry had, according to Spartacus Educational, a “deep hatred of reformers”. It seems as though little as changed since then. This is what UKIP stands for.

A vote for UKIP is vote for the same old tired system. A vote for UKIP is effectively a vote for Britain’s aristocracy. A vote for UKIP is a vote to sign away the hard-fought rights that we take for granted today. If it ever got anywhere near real power, UKIP would take us back to the past. It is a party that concerns itself with nostalgia and its idea of freedom is the continuation of a system that brutalizes workers and represses progressive forces through the use of violence and intimidation. UKIP is a party of anti-intellectuals, nationalist romantics, bullies and reactionaries. A vote for UKIP is a vote for your own enslavement – unless you happen to be a member of the establishment.

PS Robin Birley should not be confused with the archaeologist, Robin Birley, of the Vindolanda Trust. They are, however, cousins.

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Filed under Government & politics, Political parties, UKIP

UKIP: elitism, libertarianism, anti-intellectualism and contradictions

Ever since last Friday’s county council election results tumbled in, the Kippers have been crowing. Emboldened, too, by the BBC’s rather one-sided coverage their party, UKIP supporters have taken to social media in their droves to spout their anti-intellectual bullshit and hurl abuse at anyone who doesn’t share their belief that Nigel Farage is Britain’s political messiah. The BBC ought to know better: UKIP doesn’t have a single Westminster MP, while The Green Party not only has an MP, it also has a large number of local councillors and members on the Greater London Assembly (The Green have 2 AMs and UKIP has none). It also has representation in the Scottish Parliament (The Greens have 2 MSPs and UKIP has none), whereas UKIP have found it difficult to win a seat in both parliaments. But the Greens got no mention, while  Farage and his mates Paul Nuttall and Godfrey Bloom have been interviewed and given free passes.

Right-wing parties hate ideas and they despise anyone who possesses critical faculties, whom they erroneously refer to as “elitists”. The use of the word in this context owes a great deal to the American Right who employed the word to describe intellectuals, academics, city-dwellers, the disabled, gays, lesbians, Blacks, Asians and anyone who didn’t share their reactionary point of view. Anti-intellectualism is a dominant feature of far-right politics – especially fascism and Nazism. Franco’s regime wasn’t textbook fascist but it came close. In Spain, the Falange held ideological sway and like other far-right variants it was notable for its anti-intellectualism. In a right-wing world, you question nothing and accept everything that you’re told by the leadership – who form the elite group of their party (as it is with other authoritarian forms of government, including Stalinism). A Kipper will lazily join a few dots rather than produce anything that borders on a coherent argument. Just look at the way they dismiss climate change science out of hand without producing an epistemologically-sound counter-argument  of their own.

Speaking of which, here’s a video of UKIP’s Christopher Monckton railing against climate change.

Monckton once claimed to have been Thatcher’s science adviser… which is odd, because he has no science qualifications. John Selwyn Gummer, the former Environment Secretary, poured cold water on Monckton’s claims, saying that he was “a bag carrier in Mrs Thatcher’s office. And the idea that he advised her on climate change is laughable”. Brilliant, eh? I’ve seen some figures that give us an interesting profile of the typical UKIP voter. 51% are over 50 years old and around the same number hold nothing more than a GCSE. In other words, these are largely under-educated old reactionaries who take their opinions directly from the mouths of UKIP’s elite and the Telegraph’s bloggers who play them and their paranoid emotions like fiddles.

The discursive tricks used by UKIP supporters are redolent of those methods used by the Tea Party in the United States. This is manifested in their inability to discuss anything without hurling abuse or breaking Godwin’s Law. I had several of them rock up on Twitter and spout the most unbelievable rubbish at me. One tried to proselytize and when he resorted to flattery, I cheekily told him that “flattery would get him nowhere” and that I was on the Left of British politics, this gave him the excuse to chuck “Hitler” at me by way of reply. “Nice riposte” I thought, so I blocked him. I can’t be bothered with trolls. The leadership of UKIP describes the party as “libertarian” but as I’ve pointed out elsewhere on this blog, their brand of libertarianism is both a means to deny their true authoritarian core beliefs and rationalize their social Darwinism and imperialism (the latter is perhaps the highest ideal in the mind of the New Right). For example, how can a self-described libertarian party claim to stand for freedom and then say that they’re against equal marriage while keeping a straight face? Well, Kippers can and do. Thus far I have only been able to identify a single example of their libertarianism: the freedom to kill oneself by smoking 100 cigarettes a day. Farage admits to being a chain-smoker. That says a lot about the party’s ‘libertarianism’: it’s pretty selective. Some UKIP supporters believe that those of us who work to expose them as a party of hypocrites and liars are simply scared of them. Well, if criticizing them and shining a light into the dark recesses of their discourses is “scared”, then baby, I’m shit scared; too frightened to come from behind the sofa scared. The only people who are really scared of UKIP is the Conservative Party’s high command. Other Tories, like Daniel Hannan, have even argued for a merger or, in this case, a coalition with UKIP.  Yes, you read that correctly: a coalition with a party that doesn’t have a single Westminster MP.

Let’s have a look at what the Lyin’ King’s saying.

The prospect of a Tory-Ukip coalition is no longer theoretical. A blue-purple pact – which I think this blog may have been the first to propose – is now at least a mathematical possibility in Cambridgeshire, East Sussex, Gloucestershire and Lincolnshire. Whether or not such pacts happen will, of course, be decided county by county, and rightly so. No truly localist party would want to tell its councillors whom to sit with. Still, my guess is that most of the Conservatives in question would rather deal with Ukip than with the Lib Dems.

The Cat thinks Hannan is getting a little ahead of himself here. We’re two years away from a general election and already, the one of the party’s biggest headbangers is calling for a coalition. Of course Hannan is trying to cover his arse by suggesting that the two parties co-operate on a local level to shaft the voters with their authoritarian-libertarian mush. But, make no mistake, a man like Hannan would love to see a Tory/UKIP coalition in government with Bozza as PM and Farage as Deputy PM. Sort of makes you want to vomit. No? Towards the end of his piece, he tells us:

Six months ago, I mournfully predicted that the two parties would fail to get their act together, because of all the petty considerations that held up Canada’s Unite the Right movement for a decade:

“Unite the Right”? Good luck with that, Danny. In my mind, there’s no chance of a unified right-wing electoral arrangement either now or in the immediate future. Indeed, Farage has demanded the immediate removal of Cameron as a precondition for any kind of marriage. We must remember that Hannan was previously involved in the formation of a British (read English) Tea Party. The project, it would seem, has not taken off in the way that he or The Freedom Association would have liked. I guess there is little demand for this kind of Americanized right-wing astro-turfing here in the UK, and as much as men like Hannan enthuse about such things, the more I am likely to think they’re deluding themselves.

The fighting between UKIP and the Conservatives has exposed the barely-concealed fault-lines over the EU within the Tory party that have existed since the time of John Major’s government and his “bastards” comment. On that occasion, the divisions in the party over Europe contributed to the Tories battering at the ballot box in 1997. It now looks like history is repeating itself for the Tories, only this time they face external pressures from the upstart Kippers. Some Tories may be tempted to run off and join Farage’s motley band  of late League of Empire Loyalists and chain-smoking free-marketeers, while others like Hannan will continue to make conciliatory noises without making any effort to join the party. Shouldn’t he be putting his money where is mouth is?

Finally, here’s something for you to dance to.

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Filed under Conservative Party, County Council elections 2013, Government & politics, UKIP

Rotherham Council takes foster children away from UKIP couple

A foster couple in Rotherham who are members of UKIP have had three children taken away from them by social services. The reason given by the council is that the “children were not indigenously white British”. The phrase “indigenous white British” is one that is often used by parties like the BNP.

The unnamed couple told the Daily Telegraph social workers had accused them of belonging to a “racist party”. UKIP said it was an appalling decision.

Rotherham Borough Council’s Strategic Director of Children and Young People’s Services, Joyce Thacker, told the BBC that her decision was influenced by UKIP’s immigration policy, which she said calls for the end of the “active promotion of multiculturalism”.

UKIP’s immigration policy states the party wants an “end [to] the active promotion of the doctrine of multiculturalism by local and national government”, and urges Britain to leave the European Union (EU).

The Labour Party has called for an investigation into the Labour-run council’s decision, after claims from UKIP it could have been politically motivated.

This is a propaganda coup for UKIP, who will use this as a stick to beat the Labour Party. Bravo, Labour-controlled Rotherham council for getting it so badly wrong.

UKIP leader, Nigel Farage is being interviewed on telly. He’s just said that he’s “publicizing the case”. Farage also claimed that the couple in question were former Labour Party members, which adds another dimension to this. I expect this won’t go away. But I also suspect that there is something more to this than the BBC is telling us.

With the Rotherham by-election due to take place next Thursday, this could seriously impact on Labour’s campaign. The choice of Labour candidate has not gone down well with local party members, who walked out in protest. The by-election was called after Denis MacShane, the MP for Rotherham, stepped down after admitting to wrongly claiming over £7,000 in expenses. MacShane has been described as a Eurofanatic.

This has happened with less than a week to the by-election and UKIP will use this case as its battering ram. I only hope that TUSC’s Ralph Dyson can take the seat and wipe the smiles off the faces of UKIP and Labour.

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Filed under Society & culture, UKIP

The EU, human rights and right wing hypocrisy

Since the European sovereign debt crisis, the usual voices  on the Europhobic right have been in full cry, “Let’s withdraw from Europe”! “Give the British people a referendum on whether we should stay in the EU”. To the latter, I’d say, “We’ve already had the referendum and the majority of British people elected to join the EU”. To the former, I’d say “The only reason you want out of Europe is to scrap crucial workplace legislation”.

The one thing that has caused them to increase their anti-EU noise levels over the past few years is the Human Rights Act or, rather, its interpretation by judges… but that isn’t something that they want you to know about. They’d rather you think that it is the convention itself is the problem. We can’t have people coming here and breaking the law, only to be allowed to remain in the country because they have a cat. It simply won’t do.

Yet, when it comes to Syria, it’s a different matter. In that country, human rights are routinely abused as they are in Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea, Burma and many other countries. They’ll complain bitterly about abuses in those countries but  yet, they want to scrap the act in this country and replace it with something called the “British Bill of Rights”. According to the Newsnight studio guests last week, the proposed bill would be exactly the same as the HRA.  As the average bloke in the high street would say, “It’s, er, like the Human Rights Act but it’s, er, British. Because, like, we ‘ave nuffink in common wif dem bloody Europeans”.

But that sort of flushes over 1000 years of history down the khazi, doesn’t it?

This country owe much of its character to continental Europe. Okay, the Normans were a brutal bloodthirsty bunch who introduced feudalism but what about those Romans? Or the Norse? Or those Saxon hordes? They all hated human rights….well, to tell the truth, they had no conception of human rights. If they didn’t like the look of you, they’d have cut you down where you stood.

Europhobes claim that the reason they want Britain to withdraw from the EU is “sovereignty”. They want Britain to be able to lock people up without trial without recourse to human rights legislation. They want to roll back workplace legislation because they believe that “health and safety” is a form of red tape that prevents people from making a profit.  People should work in dirty, dangerous and unsanitary conditions and like it. Just as workers did in the 19th century. Which reminds me, the Tories tend to view the 19th century through rose-tinted spectacles. For them workplace deaths were a price worth paying. After all, it made Britain great. Those dead workers were martyrs to the cause of capitalism. Well, they weren’t actually.

The problem for the Tories is that, for all their talk, they can’t repeal the HRA, as this blog points out.

The Conservative Party has its own Human Rights Commission. As one might suspect, the commission is only concerned with human rights outside our borders.

Are they hypocrites?  Of course they are.

But are the Tories the only ones to oppose the HRA? Well, no and predictably enough, UKIP also oppose the HRA… but then UKIP are, for all intents and purposes, cut from the same cloth as the Tories. Here’s what UKIP’s Paul Nuttall had to say in 2007,

The second problem is the Human Rights Act, which was incorporated into British law in 1998. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for human rights, but only the human rights of the victim. Those perpetrators of low-level crime who ruin the lives of many hard-working citizens could not be locked up as in New York because it would contravene their human rights. It leaves a sour taste and a feeling that the human rights of the criminal are well protected but those of the victim are routinely trampled on. It has also been a golden opportunity for human rights lawyers, such as Cherie Booth QC, to make a fortune. Again, if you want “zero tolerance” then the Human Rights Act needs to be ripped up.

“Don’t get me wrong” he says, “I am all for human rights, but only the human rights of the victim”. In which case he isn’t in favour of human rights at all.

What really makes me laugh is the way some vox pops on television will actually claim that they “hate” human rights. Maybe a few months in concentration camp will help to change their minds?

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Filed under Conservative Party, Government & politics, Tory Party conference, UKIP

The Rally for Cuts – a poor show

Rally Against the Poor?

It was billed as the “Rally Against Debt”. It was supposed to be a response to the TUC sponsored March for the Alternative at the end of March.  The rally was organized by UKIP, the Libertarian Party UK, The Freedom Association and the Taxpayers Alliance – the usual suspects.  Out of morbid curiousity, I decided to go along. The RAD’s Facebook event page had 1,908 intending to go.  I suspect the numbers will be much, much lower. To get an idea of what sort of numbers I might realistically expect, I checked the LibertarianUK forums. The numbers are small. Some of them make excuses for why they can’t  go. This one is the most pathetic.

Re: Rally Against debt

Postby Agalloch » Thu May 12, 2011 9:29 am
I wanted to… but I really can’t afford it, sorry. Car is no problem, but I’d rather not drive to london, and Train means Hoter to be honest.

The commitment is underwhelming. Those who took part in the massive TUC March for the Alternative had coaches organised well in advance. These people appear to travel individually in their own cars.

Before I set off, I check the BBC News Channel. Matthew Sinclair from the Taxpayers Alliance is repeating the line about “saddling our kids with debt”. It’s intended to appeal to our parental instincts but if these people were really so concerned about our kids, they would do more to protect the environment and spend more time thinking about society and less about themselves.

The reports that I get before I arrive at Westminster tell me that the turnout is low. As I arrive at Old Palace Yard, I can easily see that there aren’t many people. They’re corralled behind a set of pedestrian barriers and there is only a handful of police. It’s an odd location for a rally and two things come to mind: first, no anti-cuts protest would be allowed this close to the Houses of Parliament and second, the RAD is only expecting small numbers. But the numbers tell us something: there is no appetite for cuts and those who advocate “faster, deeper” cuts are in a tiny minority. For all the libertarian rhetoric, these ‘protesters’ actually support the state in what’s it’s doing in terms of deficit reduction. Therefore this isn’t a protest, it’s a rally to urge the government to cut more.

There aren’t many counter-demonstrators here save for this pair of ‘anarchists’ corralled behind some barriers. The thought had crossed my mind that this could be a RAD stunt.

Self-described anarchists penned in for their 'own good'

Most of the placards are facing the towards the focal point, which is the statue of George V, where there is a speaker, whom I cannot see or hear, addressing the crowd. The sound is terrible and seasoned protesters understand how to use public address systems. The organizers have signally failed to grasp this important point. I decide to take a seat on some steps of an adjacent building. A pair of right libertarians sit next to me and have a smoke. I can tell they’re right libertarians: their shoes and their corduroy trousers betray them. On the far side of the rally I can see a placard that reads “Ban Union Pilgrims”. Don’t ask. It looks like some kind of in-joke. In fact, there is an absence of real humour to any of the placards.

I move away from the steps and make way into the corral and stand at the rear of the rally. A bloke in an Atlanta Braves baseball cap sees that I’m wearing a similar cap and says “Snap”! I say “Hey, the Atlanta Braves” and leave it at that. I don’t want to engage these people in conversation. I’m not in the mood for it. I catch a glimpse of James Delingpole through a small gap in the crowd. I think he’s just finished speaking.  I see some more placards.  “Ban Unions” says one. Another says “Cut Foreign Aid”. By far the weirdest is “Cut the Debt. Read Ayn Rand”. I don’t get it. Is it supposed to be a joke?

I walk around the right flank of the crowd and see BBC London’s Paraig O’Brien who’s looking for a place to shoot a report. He tells me that he’s going to be “moving back and forth long this pavement”. I tell him “Help yourself, mate”.  Like I care what he does.

It’s about 1230 and the rally looks like it’s finished. These people have no staying power. Am I surprised? Quite frankly, no.

I circulate as best I can, looking for any familiar faces. I think I can see the blogger who calls himself “Old Holborn”. He’s wearing a Guy Fawkes costume.  His beergut is struggling to escape through his obscenely tight top. Guy Fawkes, eh? How ironic. To my left, I can see that Nigel Farage is about to leave. He stops to chat to what looks like a UKIP supporter.

Farage talks to supporter

Before I can say anything to Farage he slides off in the direction of Parliament Square. I overhear a couple of people talk about picketing the Fabian Conference. Good luck. If you people can’t organize a rally, what makes you think you can picket a meeting?

It’s just after 1pm, I leave and make my way to Victoria Street to get a coffee and find somewhere to use the loo. As I’m walking away from the rally, I think of how haphazardly it was organized. The words “piss up” and “brewery” spring to mind and these people run the country? No wonder things are the way they are. They even forgot that today is the day of the FA Cup Final but something tells me that this isn’t a crowd that likes their football. The Guardian informs us that there were 350 at the rally. I have to say it didn’t look like that to me.  It looked more like a mere 150. But even if there were 350 at the rally, it’s only a small fraction of people who support the cuts or want them to go deeper.

This was really a small gathering of like-minded souls that are united by a sense of imagined injustice. Above all, they hate public services or, for that matter, anything to do with communities. If they really want to live in a country without public services, they can always go and live in Somalia.

This one's off to the pub

Sinclair  claimed that they were a “quiet majority”. On the basis of these numbers, I’d say he was talking out of his arse.

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Filed under London, Rally Against Debt, UKIP

Who’s behind the Rally Against Debt?

Last week saw the announcement of the forthcoming  Rally Against Debt (which should be called the Rally For Cuts). The event to be held on 14 May was announced in the wake of the massive TUC-organised rally in Hyde Park, which various Tory commentators like Dan Hannan and Hon Tobes used their blogs to attack it for having either no credible alternative or being responsible for a “tsunami of violence”. The Rally, it seems, is supposed to be a peaceful response to the anti-cuts protests. It is more than that, it is an attempt by certain right wing groups to claim the moral high ground. It will be portrayed by its defenders as a grassroots protest but it is anything but.

Here’s their Facebook page.

They appear to have taken their idea from the US , who had this Facebook page.

It shouldn’t surprise any of us to learn that Hannan has been throwing his weight behind the Rally. He says,

Imagine that you were reviewing all your household expenditure: your utility bills, your mortgage, your car, your mobile phone, your annual holiday. What would be the single biggest item? If you are in work, there is no doubt: it would be your consolidated tax bill. According to the ONS, the average household pays 33.5 per cent of its income to the state, not including the taxes which businesses are obliged to pass on to their customers and employees. The average figure, of course, takes account of pensioners, students, benefits claimants and the nearly 40 per cent of the population who pay no income tax. In a working household, the figure would be far higher.

The problem with this simplistic ‘analysis’ is that it is really a reductive narrative. Household finances cannot be compared with the nation’s finances. The phrase “comparing apples with oranges” springs to mind. Further down the blog, we find the first clue.

Few of us realise it, of course, because the costs are disguised and distributed. Income tax and national insurance are confiscated at source. VAT is built into the advertised price of what we buy. So, in effect, are duties on alcohol, petrol, tobacco and air travel. One of the reasons that council tax arouses so much controversy is that, for many people, it is the only time they feel they are making a direct payment to the state. For a fuller sense of quite how much most of us pay, watch this superb clip from the TaxPayers’ Alliance.

He is disingenuous when he talks about Council Tax. The real reason why people hate the tax has little to do with it feeling like “a direct payment to the state” and has more to do with its regressive nature; it is not a fair tax that takes into consideration a person’s ability to pay.  Did you notice how he mentions the Taxpayers Alliance (TPA) here?  I watched the clip and it tries to rationalize taxation with how you spend your time. Have a look at the photo on the blog.  We’ll return to that in a moment.

It appears that there is considerable input from both the Tory front group, TPA and The Freedom Association (TFA). Last year, Hannan wrote this blog, in which he appeals for a “British Tea Party”. If you’ve ever seen him attack the NHS on Fox News or read The Plan, you will realize that Hannan wants to transform Britain into an American ‘Mini Me’ complete with elected police commissioners and presumably, elected dustmen. After doing a little Googling, I found this page on TFA’s website. Hannan, who is a leading member of TFA can be seen addressing a group of people. Remember that picture on his blog? That’s a picture for TFA’s “Taxed Enough Already” campaign. Here’s a snippet from the page,

The Tea Party Movement in the UK had a massively successful launch on Saturday 27 February 2010 with a talk by Daniel Hannan MEP at the Best Western Brighton Hotel.  Over 300 people packed in to hear a brilliant speech by Daniel.  We apologise to more than fifty others who had to be turned away for lack of space.

That was last year. The British Tea Party, whose numbers are thought to be in their hundreds had help from US-based group Freedom Works. You can find out more about Freedom Works here.

The Libertarian Party UK is also lending its support to the Rally. On its blog, it doesn’t say much but there’s that picture from the US Rally Against Debt page again. The Liberal View website has the same picture and says,

Protest marches are rarely a very effective way to change public opinion. Most look self-serving, some get hi-jacked by violent minorities. They act more as rallying points for the already convinced rather than ‘could be persuaded’.With tongue firmly in cheek to make a serious point then, opponents of ever larger government are organising a “civilised and well mannered” rally against “pointless government initiatives” on 14th May 2011.

It is unlikely the rally will attract the quarter million claimed by the TUC. Cuts make a small number of people very angry, debt reduction benefits everyone largely invisibly by reducing crowding out and other barriers to growth. The balance of emotion is in the other camp.

It should though attract a good crowd and is a thoroughly recommended day-out for fans of liberty and a smaller state. Liberal Vision will be there.

This is a distortion. I wonder what sort of incomes those thinking of joining this rally draw down? I’m willing to bet that none of them will be on £25,000 or less per annum.

So I had to dig some more and I discovered that someone called Harry Aldridge is one of the movers behind it. Here’s his Facebook page. His “inspirations” include FA Hayek and Nigel Farage. So it comes as no surprise to learn that Harry is a member of UKIP and was also the party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Horsham. Aldridge is also a regular contributor to a site called “Independence Home”. Here is a page of his archived writings.

I found this clip of young Harry (he’s 23 or 24) on YouTube.

Here he is on one of UKIP’s  blogs

My name is Harry Aldridge, I’m 23 years old, and I run a telecommunications company. I live in Slinfold and have lived in the Horsham area all my life.Politically I describe myself as a classical liberal and believe in government of the people, by the people, for the people. In the UK government is too big, too costly, too unaccountable, to remote, and too intrusive into the lives of its citizens. We need to decentralise power, first and foremost bringing power back from the European Union and then disperse it among communities and individuals.

Notice how he describes himself as a “classical liberal”. This is just a way of putting some distance between himself and neoliberalism – which is, for all intents and purposes, dishonest. Hayek was also a classical liberal whose vision became known as neoliberalism, which was itself a late 20th century variant of classical liberalism. The sudden revival of interest in classical liberalism is entirely a romantic one. The people who tell us that they are socio-economically inclined towards classical liberalism have a nostalgic view of the past that allows them to ignore the fact that, as an economic model, it was a failure. Exponents of free trade claimed that it would end wars. The opposite has happened. Classical liberalism also led to the colonization of foreign lands and subjugation of those peoples. It also legitimated Social Darwinism, which has been revived in the right’s current thinking towards such things as the welfare state, poverty, housing, education and other social issues.

So who is behind this rally? Well, it is a coalition of TFA, TPA, UKIP and some Tories. Whether or not it  will attract huge numbers remains to be seen. I don’t think numbers will reach anything more than a few thousand. However, this new tendency to graft features of American political culture onto Britain is the beginning of a worrying trend. But it also shows us something else: there is an intellectual and philosophical vacuum at the heart of right-wing thinking.

Importing  ideas from the US right will not fill that void.

UPDATE: 4/4/11 @ 1525

There appears to be something wrong with Harry Aldridge’s page. Too many biscuit crumbs in the UKIP server maybe?

UPDATE: 6/4/11 @2220

Pssssssst! They’ve changed the profile picture on their Facebook page. Don’t tell anyone!

@2224

The very right-wing (if I say “far right” they’ll only threaten me with a law suit. So much for free speech. Eh?) ‘youth’ group Conservative Future (Yorkshire and Humber chapter) is organizing a coach to go down to London. Here’s their Facebook page. Nowhere Towers thinks their name should be “Conservative – What Future”?

UPDATE 11/5/11 @1149

It seems the main instigator of the RAD is UKIP’s Annabelle Fuller, who was once a long-term mistress of leader, Nigel Farage.  Fuller is also working as Farage’s assistant in Brussels.  Fuller had left UKIP in 2008 after being she claims that she received “menacing phone calls” accusing her of being a “whore”. There’s an interesting thread about Fuller and her resignation from UKIP and her subsequent reinstatement on the Democracy Forum here.

I wonder if  Farage will be joining his chums on Saturday?

If this is a rally against debt and credit is a form of debt, is this also a rally against credit?

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Filed under Economics, Ideologies, Late capitalism, social engineering, Society & culture, UKIP