Tag Archives: Douglas Carswell

Tories, Ayn Rand and Other Things

The current Tory regime – known at Nowhere Towers as the Simulated Thatcher Government (STG) – is fixated with shrinking the state. They don’t even try to deny it. If Thatcher herself “believed” in Hayek’s Constitution of Liberty, then today’s Tory government is inspired by Ayn Rand’s terrible prose. By the way, it’s widely believed that Thatcher hadn’t actually read any Hayek and her knowledge of his ideas were mediated to her by the child abuser, Sir Keith Joseph and former communist, Sir Alfred Sherman.

Four years ago, I spotted, what I’d considered to be, traces of Rand’s ‘philosophy’, “Objectivism”, contained in the 2010 Conservative election manifesto.  Daniel Hannan and Douglas Carswell (now a UKIP MP) wrote a book called The Plan: Twelve Months To Renew Britain. According to the pair, their book was inspired by Objectivism. They gleefully told their readers that some of their ideas had been adopted by Cameron and co. The book itself offers unsourced graphs and a lot of badly thought out remedies for a series of problems that the authors claim are caused by the state. One stand out line from the book is “the state is running at capacity” (Carswell and Hannan, 2008: 18). Does the state have a capacity? Is there a stated “capacity” for the state or is that just an empty rhetorical device? It’s a curious line to be sure. The Plan is essentially a manifesto for a nightwatchman state. Think of a land with no infrastructure, rampant crime and endemic corruption and you’re halfway there.

Rand’s influence can be heard in the language of government ministers: the insistence on “hard work” and the frequent mention of the somewhat vague concept of the “wealth creator” versus the scroungers and layabouts, resonates with the language in any one of Rand’s turgid novels, which cast the rich as downtrodden heroes and pits them against their nemesis: the moochers and looters – the latter being a shorthand for the enemies of unbridled cupidity. A couple of years ago, Bozza wrote an article for The Torygraph which claimed the rich were an “oppressed minority”.

But there is one minority that I still behold with a benign bewilderment, and that is the very, very rich. I mean people who have so much money they can fly by private jet, and who have gin palaces moored in Puerto Banus, and who give their kids McLaren supercars for their 18th birthdays and scour the pages of the FT’s “How to Spend It” magazine for jewel-encrusted Cartier collars for their dogs.

I am thinking of the type of people who never wear the same shirt twice, even though they shop in Jermyn Street, and who have other people almost everywhere to do their bidding: people to drive their cars and people to pick up their socks and people to rub their temples with eau de cologne and people to bid for the Munch etching at Christie’s.

From this rambling mess it’s possible to deduce that Bozza has at least been exposed to Rand’s trashy philosophy and has internalised its central premise that anyone who doesn’t create “wealth” is a leech. We must slap the rich on the backs, admire the size of their enormous wads and tell them how marvellous they are! What! According to this 2014 Guardian article by Martin Kettle, Sajid Javid (aka Uncle Fester) is also a Rand admirer. Well, blow me down! Peter Hoskin on Conservative Home writes:

Javid explained that this isn’t his favourite movie, but it is the most important to him. He first watched it on television in 1981, aged 12, and even then it struck him as “a film that was articulating what I felt”. From there, he soon read the book, wore out a VHS copy of the film, and brought his enthusiasm for all things Fountainhead with him to university. He even admitted, with a self-deprecating grin, that “I read the courtroom scene to my future wife!”

Uncle Fester’s lack of humanity certainly comes across very strongly in his media appearances, so it comes as no surprise that he would read Rand’s dull prose to his future wife. If I were his other half, I’d be thinking “Why are you reading me this shit? Do you hate me that much”?

The continued destruction of the welfare state; the attacks on the poor and disabled and the emphasis on the slippery concept of “aspiration” are clear examples of Rand’s influence on the STG’s social and economic policies. We can add to this, the compulsion to control all forms of discourse, and their tendency to render all facets of everyday life into neoliberal economisms. This can be seen in the way in which the STG and its allies in the press insist that the main opposition party adheres to the government’s doctrine of presumed fiscal rectitude, thus serving to illustrate not just their desire to shrink the state but to create an authoritarian one-party state as well. Why? Because the Tories despise opposition even if they claim otherwise. If they must deal with an opposition, it is better to deal with one that goes on the defensive every time false accusations are levelled at them.

If the Labour leadership’s rhetoric and policy positions look little different to those of the government, then you’re not really being offered a proper choice at the ballot box. You’re being offered a choice between Coke and Pepsi. Life’s a bitch. Now shut up and eat your shit sandwich.

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The Labour Leadership Contest Just Became Much More Interesting

Ed Miliband’s resignation as Labour leader was a classic case of bad timing. Just when the newly elected Tory government is about to force through some of the deepest cuts to public services since the Thatcher era, the Labour Party was forced to engage in an internal dialogue rather than turn and face their apparent enemy. A week after the end of the election, the candidates who put themselves forward for the vacant position of leader were some of the blandest, most right-wing MPs in the party. Liz Kendall was the first to announce her candidacy. Kendall, a self-confessed Blairite, believes Labour came across as “too left-wing”. Hilarious. She was followed in short order by Chuka Umunna (withdrawn), Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Mary Creagh (withdrawn). The words “fag paper” and “between them” came to mind. What a dreary slate, I thought.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, to the surprise of everyone, Jeremy Corbyn threw his hat into the ring. Most political commentators believed that Corbyn, a veteran campaigner, had no chance of getting onto the ballot paper but it happened. Here’s Corbyn making his pitch on Newsnight on 8 June.

Now the Tories are lining up to tell anyone who will listen that Labour has done the wrong thing by allowing Corbyn onto the ballot. By doing this, they reckon, Labour would suffer a massive defeat in 2020 at the hands of the wobbly Tory government. Some Tories, like Ruth Davidson of the nearly defunct Scottish Conservative Party claims that she will join Labour as an affiliate to vote for Corbyn.

Yeah, you go and do that, Ruthie. You’re only in the Scottish Parliament because you’re on a party list. However, The Cat believes the Tories are deluding themselves and in their arrogance, they believe their message of never-ending cuts to public services, anti-working class hatred and fear is a winner with the public. They believe this because they won a slender majority on 24.3% of the vote. Hardly a mandate in anyone’s book. But I think the Tories are secretly frightened that a new narrative will emerge to challenge the primacy of neoliberalism. They under-estimate people’s anger and seek to dismiss it as the rantings of the “extreme left”. This is desperate stuff from a desperate, arrogant and out-of-touch government that is little over a month old.

As Vox Political points out,

You can always tell when Tories are afraid of someone – they produce newspaper articles saying that he’s rubbish.

Let the character assassinations and hatchet-jobs commence, eh? Dan Hodges, who’s become a sort of cross between a pantomime villain and Norma Desmond, was first out of the traps; his kecks round his ankles and shite on his hands, with this smear job titled “Jeremy Corbyn proves the lunatic wing of the Labour Party is still calling the shots”. Jeez, what is it with this guy Hodges?

So he made it. Jeremy Corbyn is on the leadership ballot. Bats––t crazy Labour is alive and well.

The opening paragraph encapsulates the article’s tone. From there it’s a sharp descent into melodrama and paranoia. Halfway down the article, Dismal Dan cites this Tweet from Dizzy Doug Carswell, UKIP’s only MP.

Douglas Carswell MP on Twitter- -Please let_picmonkeyed

Things must be getting pretty desperate for Dan (geddit?) if he has to quote a Kipper for support. Who will he quote next? David Starkey? Paul Kagame? But Carswell’s getting ahead of himself. His party isn’t exactly in the best shape at the moment.What with the infighting, the resignations that aren’t really resignations and the defection of the suspended MEP, Janice Atkinson, to the Euro Parliament’s far-right grouping. Remember her? She called a Thai constituent a “ting tong”.

Jeremy Corbyn’s presence on the ballot paper means an alternative discourse can at last be heard. The media outlets will continue to do their best to smear Corbyn and those who support him, but there is a large body of voters who simply aren’t being represented by the Tories and the Kippers; the two butt-ugly faces of capitalism. Fleet Street and the rest of the mainstream media zombies don’t seem to understand this. Now there is a chance. Now there is a glimmer of hope. Even if Corbyn doesn’t win the leadership of the party, the rest of the candidates will have to listen. If they don’t, they can kiss any chance of a victory in 2020 goodbye.

One thing that you can’t deny is that the Labour Party leadership election just became much more interesting.

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Politicians Then And Now. Carswell, Hogg and Douglas-Home. No Contest

This is a sort of follow on blog from yesterday. Douglas Carswell, the UKIP MP for Clacton likened anti-austerity protesters to a “lynch mob”. He was being melodramatic. I was watching a programme a few weeks ago that looked at election hustings from the 1960s and 1970s. It was fascinating how much contact politicians had with the general public. This was an age when politicians possessed oratorical skills. These days, politicians do all they can to avoid contact with the public who elects them and when they make speeches, they sound as though they’re reading from a phone book.

I found this clip on YouTube. It’s of Quintin Hogg, aka Lord Hailsham and father of former Tory MP, Douglas Hogg. Hogg takes offence to someone in the crowd brandishing a Labour Party placard and lashes out at it with his stick. The year is 1964.

What a charming fellow.

Labour won a small majority and the Tories left a massive balance of trade deficit after 13 years in power.

In the same election, the accidental Prime Minister, Alec Douglas-Home had to escape “potentially violent hecklers” by climbing through the back window of a hall.

Can you imagine Carswell having to do the same thing? No, I can’t either. He’d be cowering in a cupboard shouting for his mummy.

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Britain’s Right And Their Opposition To Protest

The British Right (the Tories and Kippers) will tell anyone who will listen that they’re democrats. One form of democracy which they don’t approve of is the protest. Since the general election, there have been a number of anti-austerity protests up and down the country. The Tories seem to believe that because they won 24.3% of the vote, that should be the end of the matter. People should just put up with austerity. The Tories have never been known to brook opposition. If anything, they despise it. That’s why Thatcher abolished the Greater London Council and the metropolitan county councils.

Yesterday’s anti-austerity protest on the day of the State Opening of Parliament is a case in point. UKIP’s sole MP, Douglas Carswell was caught up in the protests and like all good right-wingers, he lapsed into melodrama. He told The Guardian,

“It got extremely, extremely nasty. Their intentions were pretty murderous and I needed a lot of police officers to prevent them from attacking me,”

He had a bottle of water thrown over him. Wow. It’s not as though someone threw a bottle of warm piss over him. This has the feel of “Mummy, those beastly protesters gave me dirty looks! Make them stop!”. Carswell continues,

“I was stunned. I think MPs should be able to go about their business. It was incredibly intimidating. It was like a lynch mob on the streets of London. I thought this was a country where we had democracy and discussed the issues. “It just got incredibly ugly. It was an attempted lynching. I am in a state of shock. I do not want to have to worry about going about my business.”

The phrase “lynch mob” (which was also picked up by the Daily Mail) is typically hyperbolic, but that’s what Tories, Kippers and their supporters are like. I mean, why use reasoned arguments, when you can use melodrama and mendacity instead? Carswell told The [Notionally] Independent,

“If this is the way the extreme left behave now, I do not think it bodes well for the future.”

Carswell’s characterization of the protesters as “extreme left” chimes with the recent paranoid warnings of government ministers, because in the eyes of Tories and Kippers, anyone who protests against cuts is on the “extreme left”. If you look at the comments thread below The Guardian article, you will see a large number of right-wing keyboard warriors all spouting the same nonsense. “Why aren’t they working” and “soap-dodgers” being the most clichéd refrains, thus showing us the Right’s glaring lack of originality when it comes to hurling insults at their enemies.

The political right never protests because it doesn’t have to, and even when it’s not in power, it’s still pulling the strings from behind the scenes. Even during the Nu Labour years, Britain’s political right stayed indoors and let their lackeys in the ‘free press’ get on with the job of printing lies. Not one of them protested (unless you count The Countryside Alliance protest in 2002 in which a few hundred thousand braying toffs and their hangers-on demonstrated against the Hunting Act). This tells us something about Britain’s political right and those who support them: they are deferential, spineless whingers and they’ll touch their forelocks to anyone in authority. Their idea of resistance is to make the occasional joke about students and those horrible “loony lefties”. It’s so terribly English. Yah?

Finally, The Cat would like to remind readers that Carswell is a fan of Ayn Rand, who once characterized the poor and dispossessed as “moochers”. Protesters were also regarded in a similarly disparaging light. That’s the kind of world Dougie inhabits and it’s a frightening one.

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Filed under Conservative Party, Government & politics, Media, Yellow journalism

You’re Only Allowed To Be Anti-Establishment If You’re Part Of The Establishment. It’s The British Way

He drinks beer and smokes tabs. So what?

UKIP is an anti-establishment party, or at least this is what our beloved media and the party itself tells us. Its leader, the beer-swilling, chain-smoking Nigel Farage, even goes so far as to claim that his party is a “People’s Army”. Laughable. This is a party that is bankrolled by former Tory funders and whose top table is replete with ex-Tories, the latest being Dizzy Doug Carswell, the self-styled libertarian who has decidedly conservative impulses. Confused? Well, so are they. Hell, they don’t even have any policies of note, other than leaving the European Union and “pulling up the drawbridge”. Even when Farage is questioned about his party’s policies, he disavows them. Being a ‘libertarian’, he suggested that the army should be deployed to deal with disorder.  He also tells Andrew Neil that the party’s 2015 manifesto will be similar to the 2010 manifesto. Really? He also admits to wanting flat taxes. I wonder how many of his working class supporters realise how much it will cripple them to pay the same rate of tax as a billionaire?

Watching the reports from last week’s by-elections, I couldn’t help thinking that the people who were being interviewed on camera, who told us they were voting UKIP, weren’t in full possession of their faculties. “UKIP represents change” one opined, while another claimed that UKIP would “shake up the establishment”. Yes, of course they will. It’s like the political satire we get on television: it’s so anti-establishment that it’s produced by scions of the establishment who gently mock their own kind and receive OBEs for their “contribution to British comedy”. It reminds me of Henry Ford’s famous dictum: “you can have any car you like as long as it’s black”. For our media, it’s a case of “You can have any anti-establishment party you like, as long as it’s led by a former commodity trading ex-public school boy and former Tory, and his ex-Tory chums and financial backers”.

Yes, people are turned off by the main political parties but voting UKIP won’t change a thing. If anything, successes for UKIP make it more likely that this country will be pushed further to the right as the three main parties compete with each other to out-UKIP UKIP. British politics has traditionally been seen as the province of the aristocracy and the wealthy. To change British politics for the better, we need to abolish the monarchy and the institutions that stem from it (the House of Lords) and create new transparent democratic institutions in their place. This means greater public involvement with politics. The people of Scotland are already engaging in this process. Isn’t it time the rest of HMP United Kingdom did the same?

A better world is possible.

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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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While Europe is on strike, Britain’s unions sit on their hands

If you don’t know by now, Europe’s unions have walked out on strike today in protest against the austerity measures being implemented by their governments. Meanwhile in Britain, there’s nothing.

A month ago, the TUC leadership proudly announced that they had consulted its members on whether or not to go for a general strike. Since then nothing has happened. It’s all gone a bit quiet.

Like it or not, the UK is geographically located in Europe, not the USA or the middle of the Atlantic  So what happened? It seems to me that our union leaders talk a good talk but when it comes to real action, they’re completely inert. They should be telling their members to express solidarity with their continental comrades and walk out. Instead, they pontificate, prevaricate and procrastinate while the government walks all over us.

A few weeks ago,  Dizzy Doug Carswell claimed that there was “no austerity in Britain”. Such sentiments come from the same wellspring as “there’s no poverty in Britain”. But that’s relativistic tosh. This may not be India or Chad, but for a supposedly rich nation, people are going hungry and many are forced to make the choice between food and heating.

Are we that cowed in this country that we can’t bring ourselves to strike back against those who inflict daily punishments on the nation’s workers, the disabled, the elderly and the poor?

The TUC is weak and led by a bureaucracy that would rather pimp its members to the nation’s rapacious capitalists than fight for jobs.

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