Tag Archives: Ed West

Census 2011: can you feel the hate (and hear the lies)?

Douglas Murray: bigot and warmonger who does a nice line in Zionist apologia.

Douglas Murray: bigot and warmonger who does a nice line in Zionist apologia.

The results of the last census have been released and give the racists something to complain about. Religion is on the wane, immigration from Eastern Europe and the Indian subcontinent has increased and the numbers of people who identify as mixed race is on the rise.

I expected to see (Fr)Ed West complaining about the numbers of mixed race people. But he’s been quiet. Last night, the ever-hysterical Douglas Murray was part of a panel on last night’s Newsnight and, as you’d expect, he wasn’t pleased. This morning in the Daily Heil, he writes,

The 2011 census shows that white British people are now a minority in the capital city, London, the first time this has happened in any major region in Britain.

This sets the tone for the rest of the article.

For the first time, too, less than 90 per cent of the country is white, while the population is increasing in size at an unprecedented rate as a result of immigration.

Of course, it is vital to point out, as those of us critical of the immigration policies of successive governments always have done, that immigration is not in itself a bad thing. On the contrary, if conducted in a controlled manner, immigration brings huge benefits to the life of a country.

Yeah, but it’s those damned coloureds, Doug, they’re taking over! Here’s some more,

For countries to cohere and for people to feel any common bond or purpose, it is vital to have common points of cultural and historical reference.

This is revealing: he talks here about a “common bond or purpose”. The reason why nation-states exist is to fight wars; these are wars that Murray wouldn’t fight personally, though I am sure he would be more than happy to see working class kids go off to kill people with different religions and darker skin in the name of “freedom” and “democracy”. That’s the kind of guy he is.

The truth is that immigration has happened at such a rate that, far from augmenting and enhancing our national life as it did in days gone by, it has completely changed it.

This is pure sophistry: immigrants have not always been welcomed in Britain nor have their contributions always been recognized. Murray is talking about a particular kind of immigrant and not one that has dark skin or speaks in an Eastern European accent either.

You may — like so many of our politicians — feel joy that this change has been brought about. Or you may — as some of us do — feel sadness about it. Sadness that we were never asked about this change. Sadness that our concerns were never listened to.

And sadness at the realisation that it is now probably too late to do anything to prevent Britain from becoming so very different a country.

Murray is an odd creature: paranoid and shrill, he couches his deep-seated prejudices in the language of social concern. He talks about “cohesion” but only in the context of forcing an constructed culture onto others. It should come as no surprise that Murray is now involved with the Heritage Foundation, an American right-wing think-tank and is the Associate Director of the warmongering Henry Jackson Society.

The Telegraph leader column, like the party it supports, blames the last Labour government for “unchecked immigration”.

Labour’s decade of virtually unchecked immigration has seen the number of foreign-born residents rise by nearly three million – to 7.5 million – since the 2001 census. It has left this country less white, more ethnically diverse and less Christian. More than one million households do not use English as a first language. The white British make up 80 per cent of the population of England and Wales and in London are now in a minority. There are a million Muslims living here, while the number of self-professed Christians has fallen by four million. All the while, social structures are changing rapidly. For the first time, fewer than half of households contain a married couple.

This would have happened with or without a Labour government. Again, we see Murray’s paranoia vis a vis religion, which is on the wane. But it’s not the decline in religious observance that upsets the right, it’s the kind of religion that appears to be replacing Christianity that irks them.

The Sun repeats Murray’s line about immigration but the article is confused. First it says,

Immigration can be a sign of a dynamic society. The South East in particular would grind to a halt without industrious foreign workers.

Yeah? So what’s the problem?  As if I couldn’t guess…

Controlled immigration of talented newcomers is welcome, and the Olympics showcased the friendly and positive side of the new-look Britain.

Get to the point!

But the sheer scale of the influx, and its pace, raise serious questions.

Labour, who recklessly threw open our doors to the world, never asked Britain if it wanted such a level of immigration.

We were never asked if we wanted our public services privatized and here is The Scum complaining the British people were “not asked” if they wanted these levels of immigration. Talk about priorities!

Nor did it consider how public services such as housing, hospitals and schools would cope. They can’t.

And unlimited cheap foreign labour is frustrating the Government’s attempts to make work pay better than benefits.

What nonsense. Workers in this country, whether they be native or foreign born have never been paid a living wage.  Wages are deliberately depressed for the majority in order to provide business for the banks, the credit card companies and legalized loan sharks like Wonga. If people were paid proper wages, they wouldn’t need benefits to help them survive in this cruel and often barbaric country. The Sun doesn’t understand this nor does it want to, because it colludes with the state in lying to the people.

But the ethnic make-up of the country doesn’t exercise the minds of all right-wing commentators, Andrew Lilico writing for Conservative Home (some people don’t have homes), focussed his ire on what he called the “housing shortage myth”. Divining from sets of graphs that accompanied the census results, he says rather unconvincingly,

Thus was born the notion that there was a “housing shortage” in London and the South East of England.  As house prices began to spike upwards in the early 2000s, that was widely attributed to the housing shortage.  It was claimed that house prices were rising because people were desperately out-bidding each other simply in order to have somewhere to live.  The government established the Barker Review of Housing Supply to investigate how housing supply could be increased, and the Communities Plan for increased housebuilding.

He closes with this,

Does any of this prove that UK planning policy is perfect?  Obviously not.  Ought the UK debate about housing to have been transformed by the 2001 Census data?  Surely.  Will everyone stop talking about a “housing shortage” now, having done so wrongly for about 15 years?  Surely not.  But one day the discussion will catch up with the facts.

Lies, damned lies and statistics. Lilico, like his Tory chums, is in denial about the housing crisis. There is a major housing shortage that was caused by Thatcher’s ruinous Right to Buy policy, which hasn’t been addressed by either the Tories or Labour, who seem wedded to the rather vague notion of “affordable housing”. The only homes being built are those which make a profit for developers. One thing to have come from the Census is that fewer people now hold a mortgage. This tells us that Thatcher’s idea of near-universal home-ownership has failed and catastrophically so. Will Lilico and his mates realize the game is up? Probably not. The government is actively encouraging people to buy their own homes – even if they can’t afford to do so. The words “sub prime” seem to have been entirely forgotten.

The 2011 Census was always going to get the right foaming at the mouth. Religious observance has been in decline for the better part of 30 years. There are more mixed race people in the country than there was when I was young.  I can remember being the only mixed race or, for that matter, brown-skinned kid at Monksdown Primary School in Norris Green, Liverpool in 1963/4. The name-calling was relentless and hurtful. I’m so glad that mixed race children don’t have to put up with what I had to deal with.

Countries do change over time and the right has been slow to understand the nature of human migration. What never gets talked about are the numbers of people who leave Britain every year to seek better lives for themselves and their families. Instead, we are treated to a never-ending stream of paranoid bigoted crap from the likes of Murray, West et al about how this country is being “contaminated” by immigration.

Britain is a multi-racial, multicultural society, get used to it.

UPDATE: 12/12/12 @ 1223

As predictable as clockwork, Fred Ed West has squeezed out a blog about the “evils” of immigration. He also tells us that he has written a book about the subject, which is due out in the New Year. Here’s an excerpt,

But you can have too much of a good thing, and liberalism is a fragile prize. The main cornerstones of liberalism, things such as the jury system and parliamentary rule, are themselves products of very mono-ethnic societies, namely England, Denmark and the Netherlands, where people felt a lot of trust for fellow citizens. The Left likes “diversity” because it hates racism, and because immigrants overwhelmingly vote for the Left, they assume it can only make the country more liberal. But what I suspect (and perhaps fear) is that this demographic experiment our leaders have embarked upon (without asking whether or not we wanted it) is going to make us less liberal. All the evidence, from social sciences and from history, tells us that that highly diverse societies tend to be less trusting, less free, more unequal and more corrupt. These are not the sorts of societies where people will willingly pay for each other’s housing when hard times fall.

That’s probably not what people in nicely diverse middle-class areas of London want to hear, because tolerance is so highly prized. But tolerance is not a faultless good; it can also be the flipside of apathy and selfishness. That’s why “celebrating diversity” is so easy to do.

My bold. What “evidence” is he referring to? It isn’t obvious. I suspect that when he talks about “social sciences” he’s referring to Francis Galton and others.

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Filed under Media, Racism, Society & culture, Tory press

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

Throw in the towel, Winston, you’re toast

Yes, it’s another blog about UKIP!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can he win?

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

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Filed under Government & politics, Media, Racism, Sexism, Tory press, UKIP, Yellow journalism

The Tory obsession with the past

Given their fondness for the past, anyone would think that the Tories knew something about history, but it isn’t history or the past that they’re interested in. It’s something else. Now they won’t admit it to themselves, but what they’re actually concerned with is nostalgia: the romanticized view of the past or, as I often put it, “history with all the bad bits taken out”. It is a ‘past’ where the rich could get on with being rich. The aristocracy controlled parliamentary politics and much more besides and the working classes and the poor knew their place.

This blog from (Fr)Ed West is a case in point. West asks “What was so bad about the 1950s”? This is a cue for his racist readers to complain that today’s Britain is full to bursting with those horrible ‘coloureds’. West opines,

But what do people have against the 1950s? It’s a strange insult to use because, not only were the 1950s an incredibly peaceful, ordered time but they were also, by today’s standards, very equal (and getting more so).

A “peaceful and ordered time”? I think I know where this is going. But let’s deal with the lie that the 1950s was “peaceful”. He forgets the Korean War, in which Britain was a participant. The Suez Crisis, the euphemistically-named Malay Emergency, the continued occupation of Iraq, the struggles that preceded de-colonization (Kenya was particularly nasty) and the ever-expanding Cold War.

It was a great time to be poor – the first time in history when a working-class Englishman could afford to support a wife and two kids, as well as having enough to save, afford a holiday and, often even run a car. Today, especially when housing costs are considered, that is very difficult.

Hang on, it was a “great time to be poor”? Is he for real? Then, with a straight face, he tells us, “a working-class Englishman could afford to support a wife and two kids”. He deliberately confuses being working class with being poor. I think the less time I spend on Westworld, the better.

So what is this Tory obsession with nostalgia? Is it because their knowledge of the past comes from fictionalized historical narratives? Or is it something else? Early into their government, some Tories were openly advocating a return to Victorian’values’. Cameron even told us how we should return to those days to ‘reclaim’ our industrial heritage (there was the subtext of Empire too). This blog from Andrew Hill of the FT, kicks a big hole in Cameron’s ‘vision’.

The Tories don’t like a citizenry that questions things. In fact, they would much rather we didn’t refer to ourselves as ‘citizens’ but as ‘subjects’ instead. A subject is not an active member of society but a passive one. Subjects question nothing, their role is to accept everything that comes from their masters. They are deferential to authority and are happy to take up arms against anyone whom the state has identified as the ‘enemy’.

The thing that started this sudden interest in 1950s nostalgia came from Pob (Michael Gove) and his plans to revive old qualifications, which he declared are better and tougher than today’s qualifications. Never mind that he insulted all those youngsters who have completed their tough exams by telling them that they have it easy or that he has practically set about destroying the comprehensive education system in this country. For Gove and his chums, it’s all about learning facts, dates and figures by rote. Forget about developing a critical mind. In today’s Britain, questions are verboten. Accept your place and like it.

Even many historians who self-identify as Tories are inclined to revisionism. Niall Ferguson, who was asked by this government to rewrite the history syllabus, is notorious for his ‘counter-factual’ histories. Not content with seeing the past as it was, the Tories want to create a new past in which social reforms never existed. They despise the idea of a ‘people’s history’ or social histories because these tell the real story of the people not the Tory version of history with its emphasis on ‘derring-do’ and Empire.  Starkey, in particular, dismisses social history as “feminized”. This probably tells us more about his misogyny than any concern he may or may not have for ‘real’ history.

In the Tory version of history, the Peterloo Massacre was entirely necessary because the Chartists represented a threat to the ‘natural’ order. The Reform Acts of 1832 and 1867  should never have happened because a modicum of power was ceded to some of the people (the property qualification remained until 1918 and women were only permitted to vote in 1928) – too much, in other words. It also meant that politicians were now accountable to the electorate, which was anathema to those who wanted retain their tenuous hold on power through the rotten boroughs.

The 1950s was a time of political deference that was only disrupted by the appearance of Beyond the Fringe and even then, half of the participants in that production came from ruling class backgrounds (Miller and Cook).  This longing for another age is indicative of an inability to face up to the present or confront the challenges of the future. This attitude is best represented by the image of the ostrich with its head in the sand. Gil Scott-Heron, writing about the US Republicans’ penchant for nostalgia in his rap poem B-Movie,  sums it up,

The idea concerns the fact that this country wants nostalgia. They want to go back as far as they can – even if it’s only as far as last week. Not to face now or tomorrow, but to face backwards. And yesterday was the day of our cinema heroes riding to the rescue at the last possible moment. The day of the man in the white hat or the man on the white horse – or the man who always came to save America at the last moment – someone always came to save America at the last moment – especially in “B” movies. And when America found itself having a hard time facing the future, they looked for people like John Wayne. But since John Wayne was no longer available, they settled for Ronald Reagan – and it has placed us in a situation that we can only look at – like a “B” movie.

B-Movie may have been written about the US but it applies to Britain as well. Instead of John Wayne, we have Winston Churchill or any number of rehabilitated right-wing heroes. Enoch Powell, for example. These figures have been detached from history, airbrushed and re-presented to us as demi-gods or prophets. This shouldn’t surprise us, because the Tories don’t like taking a critical look at their objects of worship. It’s easier to accept easy answers to complex issues and if that means re-ordering the past to suit their thesis then that’s what they’ll continue to do.

Nostalgia isn’t real: it’s a representation of history. Nothing less. Nothing more.

Finally, nostalgia is easier to deal with than history because of the uncomplicated nature of the fantasy. Nostalgia is free from the ugly realities of life. This is why the Tories find it so much easier to engage with nostalgia than history itself.

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Filed under 19th century, 20th century, History, History & Memory

Enoch was right!

Well, no he wasn’t.

It must be Rehabilitate Enoch Powell Month over at Telegraph blogs because I’ve now counted at least 5 blogs defending the “prophet” as one blogger called him.  Of course, this month marks the centenary of Powell’s birth. It’s a time when racists and their free-market chums light a candle and say a prayer for the man whom they believe was ‘right’.

Today’s blog from (Fr)Ed West purports to tell “The real history of British racism”. Somehow, given West’s form, I doubt that but let’s have a look anyway.

There was that wonderful Mitchell and Webb sketch a few years ago in which they play German officers on the Eastern Front, who suddenly turn to each other and ask: are we the baddies?

It’s a question conservatives often ask of themselves, aware that in the popular media the baddies generally are conservative, and the prevailing orthodoxies are liberal.

Here he sets out his stall: “the Right are victims! We’re misunderstood”! So what’s caused this irritation for Eddie?

 I was slightly stung by one response to last Saturday’s blog, by Dorian Lynskey in the New Statesman.

Oh? Tell me more.

The gist of his piece was that Powell’s speech led to widespread misery and violence against minorities, and so “rehabilitating” him is wrong, even in effect justifying racist incitement or violence. To many people, Powell is blamed for the rise of the National Front and for a generally poisonous atmosphere of racism, epitomised by Eric Clapton’s drunken rant about “wogs” at a gig in Birmingham in 1976.

You can just see the tears streaming down his lickle face. Diddums. Grab yourself a tissue Eddie and stop sobbing.  Let’s have a look at the article to which he refers. Here’s a snippet,

There’s an ongoing effort on the right to rehabilitate Powell. In a mealy-mouthed piece in the Telegraph on Saturday, Ed West did the “very clever man” routine (Powell picked Wagner, Beethoven and Haydn on Desert Island Discs, don’t you know?), threw in some flattering anecdotes and skipped daintily past the rivers of blood to focus on one area where Powell might feel vindicated: his Euroscepticism. Let’s remind ourselves of what West left out.

And so West’s blog goes on to discuss apologise for those things that I pointed out in this blog.  What West appears to want is the right to apply lots of lipgloss and mascara to a pig and substitute it for a human.

Let’s have some more West,

Taking aside whether Powell was “racist” or not, since I don’t think we’re going to agree on a definition of that, let me address the issue of whether he was responsible for inciting racism and violence.

My bold. This is something that right-wingers like West often use in response to questions about racism. “Well, what about anti-white racism”? They’ll ask as if to suggest that there is a form of institutionalized racism against white people. West’s argument, such as it is,  is one of denial. The history of racism does not begin with Powell. It began with chattel slavery and was rationalized by the pseudo-science of Social Darwinism.  The economic doctrine of classical liberalism that Powell supported and West continues to support, fully embraced the notion of racial superiority. After all, the Empire confirmed this notion in the minds of 19th century politician, so it was divinely ordained. Right?

Like pretty much all my conservative friends, I feel repulsed when I hear casual racism in conversation. So I can see why someone who seemingly raised this to a national level should be so hated.

Oh, do you really? Gosh, you’re such a bleeding heart liberal, Westie.  But if you think that’s bad, have a look at this,

…the racial violence that followed the April 20 speech has been exaggerated in the public consciousness for political reasons. I may be wrong about that, and I don’t doubt that there were incidents of hatred, nor that many people felt scared, but I cannot find any figures to justify the popular idea that there was some sort of pogrom.

What? Put down the crack pipe, Freddie, you’ve clearly lost the plot. But he persists.

Bear in mind that there was far less violence, either inter-racially or intra-racially, in the period following Powell’s speech than in Britain today. The actual, factually recorded rise in inter-racial violence in England began in the early 1970s with the phenomenon of mugging, but this has been largely suppressed in the national consciousness, despite its role in sparking the iconic anti-racist victory at the Battle of Lewisham. People in inner-cities were far more likely to be drawn into political extremism by the experience of street violence against them or friends than by something a politician said in a speech in Birmingham.

West offers no figures, just a lot of hearsay about there being “more inter-racial violence today”.  He won’t say it, because he lacks the courage to do so, but the subtext here is “Enoch was right”. He adds,

Certainly the National Front had a spike in followers after Heath sacked Powell, being before only the preserve of “cranks and perverts”, in the words of one of their leaders. But electorally the NF were nothing, and even at their peak they barely polled more than 10 per cent in their strongest councils wards. This is ignored in the popular imagination, where NF marches were as ubiquitous as gay pride marches are to paranoid old conservatives. (And the dress code was pretty similar, now I think about it.)

This is disingenuous stuff. The “NF”, he tells us, were “nothing” in electoral terms. The fact that they were “nothing” electorally speaking is pretty meaningless when one considers their penchant for violence. Indeed the rise in the NF’s fortunes is directly attributable to Powell’s hate speech. No question about it. It wasn’t just the NF that profited, others did too. Members of the NF could even be found drinking in Conservative clubs around the country. Some were members of the Monday Club. West’s analysis is sloppy but it is sloppy because he is pathologically mendacious.

But did Powell’s speech cause this? No people in history have felt comfortable about large numbers of foreigners moving into the neighbourhoods, whatever their skin colour.

And there you have it: it’s all the fault of “the coloureds”. This is one confused puppy. Here he begins his excuses.

That’s human nature – it would be the same in Pakistan if loads of Brits started moving there. British people actually responded with a fair amount of tolerance, considering the changes they were experiencing. In France in the early 1970s there were a dozen racist murders of Arabs in just one year in Marseilles. Throughout recent English history, popular expressions of nastiness towards minorities has never been tolerated, despite most people opposing mass immigration; the vast majority of people were horrified by the violence of Teddy Boys in Notting Hill in 1958. When Eric Clapton said that “Enoch was right” in 1976  most people thought he was an idiot, including, once he got clean, Clapton himself.

The thing is, Freddie, Clapton has never retracted those words. He continues to believe that “Enoch was right” to this very day. He repeated his admiration of Powell on The South Bank Show in April 2007. In fact, The Guardian reported that,

In 2004, he told Uncut mag that Powell was “outrageously brave”, rather than dismiss his past comments as drunk ravings.

So no, Clapton did not think of himself as an “idiot” for saying those things. But again, West offers another excuse.

If there was violence following the speech, and if racists and extremists were inspired to hatred, then Powell certainly bears the blame. Much of Powell’s speech was inflammatory, which is morally indefensible but also self-defeating, since it alienates moderate followers. Why did he make it? He was a loner and an academic, and perhaps low in what today would be called emotional intelligence. Using such language in the 1880s, when the people who mattered were acquainted with classical literature, might have been sensible, but less so with a mass audience in the 1960s, who had in recent memory endured the horrors of a war inspired by a doctrine of racial supremacy.

The problem with West is that he’s an intellectual coward. He admires Powell but doesn’t have the guts to admit it or to even produce a convincing argument in defence of him.

He concludes,

The arguments are there, and it can be made without recourse to hatred or inflammatory language, and without talk of foaming rivers. In fact it’s less likely to provoke hostility from minorities, who either want to integrate and have British grandchildren and great-grandchildren, or keep separate, than from white liberals, for whom diversity has become a central part of their moral fabric and a successor religion to Christianity.

What is it with this phrase “white liberals”? Notice how he suggests “diversity” is a religious substitute for Christianity.  It’s an appalling analogy to be sure. But what more did you expect of (Fr)Ed West? A coherent argument?

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The Telegraph, Ed West and the not-so-hidden discourses of the anti-immigration lobby

I came across this blog from Fred Ed West in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph. West tells us that a petition has been launched against mass immigration.

Without wishing to plumb the depths of Arab Spring hyperbole (as pioneered by the protestors in “Tahrir Square”, central London), the Greek referendum could be heralded as the start of a European spring. (A bit late in the year, of course.)

Britain, too, is cottoning on to this amazing new thing called “democracy”. Following the first petition about Britain’s place in Europe, and the second, MigrationWatch have launched a petition on that related area of post-national universalism – mass immigration.

MigrationWatch, eh? Well, let’s have a look at them. According to Powerbase, MigrationWatchUK, to give them their proper name, claims to be an,

Independent, voluntary, non political body which is concerned about the present scale of immigration into the UK

Where have I heard those words before? Well, I usually encounter words like “independent” and “non-political” when I look at the websites of right-wing think-tanks like Policy Exchange and Localis. It’s a lie. Powerbase tells us that MigrationWatchUK’s co-founder David Coleman has close connections to the UK’s former European Trade Commissioner, Leon Britton and Baroness Caroline Cox who was ejected from the Tory Party for supporting UKIP. Coleman has also,

been described by the BNP as their “friend at the immigration-reform think tank Migration Watch” and “a very distinguished demographer whom we trust” [16]. Being praised by the BNP of course is not in itself an indication of his political objectives

Coleman is also connected to the Galton Society. Yes, the society is named after Charles Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton, the social Darwinist and eugenicist. The Galton Society is, as one would expect, concerned with the notion of  a pure gene pool- in other words only those ‘superior’  genes of the white British who are of a certain social class should be preserved. Ed West presumably fits into this category.

One of its members wrote the foreword for a book authored by an American Ku Klux Klan leader, David Duke[4] who is the most prominent racist in America today and heads the largest white supremacist organization in the world.

Back to West’s blog. He tells that he has

 enormous respect for MigrationWatch, for the simple reason that as a political campaign opposing the last government’s mass immigration policy carries no social reward whatsoever. No one at a dinner party is going to congratulate you, no one is going to fictionalise your life as a romantic lead in a Richard Curtis-style comedy. In a world where so much political posturing is based on whether one’s views make the holder seem more high-status and more attractive to the opposite sex, few people dare express any opposition to the wonderful, but mysterious and unproven, benefits of diversity.

Here we find two things: the first is that West clearly supports the aims of the socially exclusive and possibly racist Migration Watch. Second, he reduces his argument to one of sexual attractiveness. Listen, Eddie, the only people who are going to find you or your racist friends attractive are those people who have had their eyes gouged out and even then, it’s quite a stretch to assume that someone who has been blinded would ever find you attractive – unless they were members of the KKK, of course.  If we look at the comments left on his blog, we can see that he’s playing to an all too familiar gallery of racists and eugenicists. This one from “Flatulent Emissions” has 102 likes.

Commenter's avatar
Limiting immigration is one thing, but we absolutely must seek to repatriate those who are a net burden to our economy who are already here.The costs and social difficulties will rocket once the wave of babies we’ve imported reaches adulthood, so something must be done before that time comes.
He isn’t the only one who holds these repellent views. “Emily Enso” says,

EmilyEnso

17 hours ago

Simples we pay them to go.
It would be cheaper to give them a lump payment to relocate than keep them here.
Not only that, we could cancel off our foreign aid payments.
By sending back people to their home nations with money for homes, businesses or whatever we would give those home nations a huge financial boost.
Paid for repatriation is a win win win.
Win for us.
Win for the home nation.
Win for people financially enabled to make a new life in the environment of their own people and culture.
I find it difficult for anyone to fault it.

This was the very same policy put forward first by the National Front in the 1970’s and later by the British National Party.

Ed West would never admit to being a racist and he would probably say that he has “Black friends” in an clichéd attempt to deflect attention away from his rather muddled and reprehensible views. For West, expelling immigrants is equated in his mind with ‘democracy’.

Now perhaps it is time that we might ask, in that shy, English way of ours, whether we might possibly be allowed a say in the running of our country, if it’s not too much to ask.

The phrase “having a say in the running of the [our] country” is code for “the only people who should run this country should be white British (well, English) and middle class”.

Here is Ed West’s profile on Powerbase.

He has connections with the LM network through his brother, Patrick and Brendan O’Neill’s Spiked Online.

You can find Migration WatchUK’s website here. Their “What You Say” page is a means of manufacturing consent and it isn’t entirely clear if those who have written to MigrationWatchUK are genuine or not. My suspicion is that some of them are hardened Little Englanders and lost Empire Loyalists. Some of the letters may well have been written by MigrationWatch staff.

Finally, Ed West is more than happy to entertain the racists who collect on his blog to pat him on the back. He would tell us that it’s ‘free speech’. I would tell him that he’s a dissembler.

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Maude exposed as Tory plan to smear the public sector founders

Francis Maude - a chip off the old Mekon block?

The government tried its damnedest to get the public on their side on Thursday. The carefully constructed enemy within – the public sector workers – was little more than a strawman. Some ministers went on the charm offensive: Gove popped up at a school that was still open (and no doubt staffed by scabs) and Francis Maude, the son of a man known as “The Mekon” was horribly exposed by Evan Davis, who is himself a scab of some standing. Maude tried desperately and repeatedly to ram home the point that the government’s plans for public sector pension ‘reforms’ were “fair”. He reiterated the lie that public sector workers enjoy “gold-plated” pensions (the majority of public sector pensions are worth little more than £3000) and that is was “unfair” for the taxpayer to pick up the bill.  First he claimed that the pensions were “unaffordable”, then he said they were “untenable”. Maude, not being in possession of a great deal of logic or intellect, managed to overlook the glaringly obvious: public sector workers are taxpayers too and none of them avoid tax…unlike many of Maude’s millionaire cabinet colleagues and Tory party donors. Incidentally, Maude’s personal wealth is estimated to be around £3m.

Yesterday, Telegraph blogger, Ed West produced an article with a title that looks as though  he found a few words lying about; crammed them into a pestle and mortar, mashed them up and smeared them paste-like onto the blog. Here, he treats us to a glimpse of his childhood.

I bitterly remember that in one year in the 1980s my teacher was almost alone in our school in not being a member of the NUT, and so when strikes occurred, which they seemed to do every week, our class had to traipse in while everyone else went to the park. So I just hope the kids who get a day off today appreciate it, and enjoy their time drinking cider or sending pornographic text messages to each other, or whatever kids get up to these days.

The strikers in one sense have a point; teaching is, in many ways, an underpaid job, not just in the sense that most work very hard for not very good pay, but also because a good teacher can have a hugely disproportionate effect on society compared to, say, a good plumber. A good headmaster even more so.

In terms of sensible investment a society can’t do much better than education spending.

On the other hand there are a lot of bad teachers around and, thanks to the strength of teaching union, their influence on a community can also be significant. These two issues – bad pay and virtual unsackability – are not unrelated.

So the upshot of this is that teachers who happen to be in unions are bad teachers? Lazy thinking.  As with the Hon Tobes and Katharine Burbling Thing, he attracts the usual spittle-laced rage of the Telegraph commenters, all of whom are unanimous in their condemnation of Thursday’s strike. This one is fairly typical,

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7 people
Give it 12 months and the left will hopefully be a spent force in this country and someone on the right will have the courage to step forward and bring this once great country back to normality.
“John Pierre”, eh?
Anyway, back to Maude. Yesterday, Mekon Jnr decided on a slight change of tack.  He suggested that public sector managers who have been made redundant can work for free.  Remember, this is the man who, when asked if he gives up his time freely to volunteer, said that the question was “unfair”.
 
Mekon Jnr has had a tough couple of days. The government tried and failed to convince the people that the public sector were parasitical and responsible for the budget/structural deficit (notice that I didn’t say “national debt” as is the wont of too many Tories and Lib Dems). I’m not a big fan of Polly Toynbee but she comes up with a couple of insights in this blog. Here’s a snippet,

This week the Tories tried to resurrect fears of the bad old 1970s – but it didn’t work. Cameron tried to paint Miliband as the creature of the unions that elected him: he sidestepped that trap and rightly castigated the government’s behaviour over the pensions issue. A bit of history may help: as far as I can discover, no Labour party has ever officially supported a strike, not the General Strike, nor any miners’ strike. Shirley Williams was pilloried for joining the Grunwick picket line which later turned violent, but it wasn’t Labour policy. Neil Kinnock was tormented for not backing the miners against Margaret Thatcher in 1984, or the six-month-long ambulance strike in 1989-90.

It’s both laughable and tragic that the Tories consider Ed Miliband to be a “creature of the unions” when it is quite clear that Milly Band did a “Kinnock” and declared the strike to be “wrong”. The Tories are so desperate to land a fatal blow on their opponents that they will come out with any old nonsense in the hope that someone is listening. But no one is….apart from the lunatic fringe that reads the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail.

In Britain, public support for strikes is split with many of those against strikes taking their views directly from the mouths of government ministers and the Tory-controlled press. In France and other countries (apart from the USA), there is much more solidarity; most people support striking workers. Why is this country so different?

Mekon Jnr has been quiet in the last 24 hours. Let’s hope it stays that way. Perhaps he’ll go the same way as Mekon Snr: he’ll resign and then be kicked upstairs to the Lords.

Finally, this picture from the Daily Mirror sums it up: Milly band is no friend of the unions, let alone a creature of them. The Tories are going to have to rethink their strategy of painting him “Red Ed”, bacause he looks more like a “Blue Ed” from where I’m standing.

Post script

From the Telegraph

  • Francis Maude, the shadow minister for the cabinet office, attempted to claim the mortgage interest on his family home in Sussex. This arrangement was rejected by the Fees Office. Two years later, Mr Maude bought a flat in London a few minutes walk from a house he already owned. He then rented out the other property and began claiming on the new flat: the taxpayer has since covered nearly £35,000 in mortgage interest payments.

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Left? Right? Useful?

The words right and left have been used to define party political positions since the days of the French Revolution. Le droit (the right) was represented by the clergy, the aristocracy and the monarchists. Le gauche (the left) was represented by anyone else who wasn’t born into the purple. In recent years, the words right and left have been described variously as “unhelpful” or “useless”. While this may often be the case – particularly when describing positions within political parties – it is all that we have and regardless of its flaws, it works.

Within the last few days I have witnessed a blatant (and Orwellian) manipulation of language so that the extreme-right appears to be extreme-left.  At least this is the case in the mind of Daniel Hannan and his supporters who seem to feel that the BNP are “left-wing” because there is a trace element of socialist economics in their policies. I say ‘trace element’ because whatever socialism there is within their economic policies is reserved only for les certains, in other words – as Griffin would describe them – ‘indigenous’ British. The BNP is not socialist and they are certainly not an internationalist party.

I often find that it is those on the Right who will shout the loudest about the right/left cleavage. Today another Telegraph blogger has waded into the fray. Gerald Warner shouts,

We have to get rid of this nonsensical vocabulary. The correct terminology for those who futilely seek to improve the world through some innovatory creed such as socialism is “radical”, “liberal” or, preferably, “progressive”, since that places some onus on them to explain to what destination they imagine they are progressing. In the more extreme cases they may be described as “revolutionary”.

The shouts are at their loudest when parties like the BNP or their predecessor, the National Front are described as ‘extreme right’.  It seems as though the problem stems from the fact that parties like the BNP, NF and of course the Nazis lean towards authoritarianism. According to commentators like Hannan or Tebbitt, authoritarianism and tyranny are characteristic of left-leaning regimes and will cite Stalin-era Soviet Union or Maoist China as examples. Apparently this is what happens when left-wing parties take power…or so they continue to delude themselves into thinking.

But they seem ever-so-sensitive about their assignment on the Right. Left-wingers don’t get this worked up.  Ed West says,

This is because, as Daniel Hannan wrote last week, the BBC and the wider liberal media conflates “Right-wing” with evil, even when it’s absurdly inappropriate, anachronistic or nonsensical (such as with the Iranian hardliners).

“Evil”?  Someone needs to grow up. Surely the Iranian hardliners are right-wing? Why get so upset about it? But the BBC are described here as ‘liberal’ when they are, in fact, rather conservative (witness the BBC’s response to the DEC request to air an appeal for the people of Gaza earlier this year).  Hannan was so enraged that he even claimed that,

A true Rightist believes that, other things being equal, the individual should be as free as possible from state coercion: a position equally abhorrent to socialists of the National or Leninist varieties.

His argument comes unstuck when Pinochet, Franco, Stroeßner, the Greek Generals or Salazar are offered as examples of right-wing tyrannies which, incidentally, were all trading partners of the so-called liberal democracies from the 1950’s through to the 1980’s.  For instance, Pinochet had the support of the Thatcher government, ostensibly because of Chile’s succour during the Falklands War. But this support was also ideological: Chile under Pinochet was brutally fashioned into  a model of free-market economics. This ‘miracle’ impressed Thatcher and those on the right of her party, who were referred to as the ‘Dries’.  The left of her party or the ‘Wets’ (or One Nation  Tories), on the other hand, were known to be dismayed. Curiously, in the 50’s and 60’s, some One Nation Tories were denounced for their ‘socialism’.

Stalin: left or right?

As I mentioned above, the Right will often use Stalin as a tactic to undermine the arguments of the Left, pointing to both Stalin’s character and his authoritarian regime. But if we have a closer look at Soviet-era ‘communism’ we see two things: first, there is the regime’s glorification and worship of the military – something that is consistent with fascism. Second, Stalin’s policy of ‘Socialism in one country’ was in direct conflict with socialism’s internationalism; it was nationalist in scope. We could argue that the thesis of  ‘socialism in one country’  gave rise to the former.  Related to Stalin’s doctrine was the need to keep the revolution at ‘home’: this was manifested in the way in which the public was kept in line: through coercion and repression.

Apart from the nationalism and the glorification of the military, Stalin’s USSR had a centrally planned and managed economy; there were no private companies; all economic activity was state-controlled. This is not necessarily the same as a commonwealth, where all the citizens of a nation share in the wealth created through common ownership.

In the so-called ‘free’ world, the act of consumption was regarded as ‘freedom’. However when we unpack this thesis we find that one has to have the economic means – in other words, the money – in order to participate; in order to be ‘free’. This message of ‘freedom’ was sold to the east as an ideal and when the Eastern Bloc collapsed in the late 1980’s, there was a headlong rush for consumer goods. How quickly ideas of freedom evaporated when it was discovered that the West’s ‘freedoms’ rested entirely on the means to consume. As a consequence we now see former Soviet satellite states adopting authoritarian and reactionary regimes.

The end of ideology is a myth

In the early 1990’s we were told by a succession of Right-thinking academics and politicians that we had reached the ‘end of ideology’. Fukuyama described it as the ‘end of history’. But have we come to the end of ideology or is this what the certain politicians want us to think?

One of Thatcher’s objectives was to ‘destroy’ socialism in Britain. How she was going to achieve this was anyone’s guess since, as the character V says in the film V for Vendetta, “Ideas are bullet-proof”.  People who espouse certain ideas can be killed-  often by the state – but their ideas refuse to die. The de-Nazification of Germany in the aftermath of WWII did not lead to a purging of all Nazis from Germany nor did it wipe from the memory the Nazi ideology. Nazi parties, as well as fascists ones, continue to exist in spite of the misguided efforts to eradicate their ideas.

I find it odd that no one has ever declared Conservatism or Liberalism dead, but many on the Right will erroneously claim that socialism is dead because of the collapse of the USSR. Even the Left bought into this idea and so the race was on among social democratic parties to make themselves appear slightly more right-wing. This included the abandonment of long-standing policies and the full embrace of neo-liberal economic policies in order to appeal to ‘floating’ voters. This became known as the Third Way.

Left-wing and proud

I will not apologize for being a left-winger nor will I erroneously claim that Franco was actually a left-winger in order to pervert historical materialism for the sake of ideology. The legacy of the Thatcher years has been to demonize anything that is vaguely left-wing; even the Labour Party fell into this trap when Kinnock expelled the Militant from the party. Labour then went on to reject anything that appeared or sounded slightly socialist. Why? Because 18 years of Tory rule created a culture of intolerance (just look at how loudly they shout about ‘political correctness’). The Tory-supporting press were more than happy to oblige in the ritualistic slaughter of an ideological enemy and so lies were told about left-wing councils in order to make them left look foolish, trivial and silly.

The Left is weak in Britain and it has only itself to blame for this sorry state of affairs. While the Right continue to thrive…but for how much longer?

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Right wing theatre? There’s already plenty of it!

I had to laugh when I saw this blog. Hannan asks “Is right wing theatre possible”? To be honest, I always thought the theatre was full of right -wingers.  Hannan’s query has its roots in this blog by Ed West who doesn’t want to look beyond his own cultural prejudices for salient examples but decides to take a badly aimed swipe at the theatre. When I last checked, Andrew Lloyd Webber was still a member of the Conservative Party. I guess you missed him, Ed. Then there is the West End…do we have to go there? Yes, we do…Cameron MacIntosh  still dominates the West End with his crappy musicals. West End musicals ask no questions about society; they steadfastly refuse to engage with philosophy or anything vaguely political – you need to go to a fringe venue for that. One of the marks of dominant cultural production is to say nothing about lived experience but to render it into a series of meaningless representations. This is the definition of entertainment as  spectacle.

To describe much of the West End’s plays as ‘left wing’ is a little er, stupid, to be sure. However right wing art tends to celebrate war, death and destruction. To any right winger reading this, they will think of me as ‘unfair’ and ‘unreasonable’ but the Italian Futurists did just that.  Most of the Futurists were killed in WWI which is, itself, an irony when you consider that they literally ‘lived’ for war. I believe Ernest Hemingway once observed  that right wing poetry was boring. I have read some and I agree with him. The themes in right wing art tend to revolve around nationalism, ‘heroism’, and the right of might. Pretty dull stuff on the whole. There isn’t a grain of lived experience in any of it.

But West’s suggestion for a musical on the life of the very-much-alive Geert Wilders is barking to say the least (I suspect he’s being provocative for effect). Why not wait until the nasty racist is dead? Oh, of course, Wilders is  not a ‘racist’ because to make that suggestion is too ‘politically correct’ for many of our right wing friends to stomach. Radio Nederland is in no doubt about Wilder’s racism and even cites the leader of the Dutch opposition.

I get the sneaking suspicion that Hannan and West are peddling the same myths about art that their US counterparts have done with the media. Here in the UK, Hannan cannot claim that the media is controlled by a ‘liberal elite’ when much of the media is in the hands of the right. Instead he has selected theatre as an example of ‘lefty bias’.

Face it, right wing art is boring and unchallenging and to claim that it is otherwise is simply delusional.

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