Tag Archives: scare stories

Tories And The Hypocrisy Of Anti-Statism

The Tories often claim to be anti-statists and accuse their opponents, usually the Labour Party, of being ‘statists’. This was the same claim that Thatcher made back in 1979 and throughout the 1980s. However, if you look at their record in government since that time, the claim rings hollow.

Thatcher’s anti-state rhetoric  has been assiduously revived under Cameron’s Conservatives. The state, we are told, must be shrunk for our own good and socialism and, by extension, the Labour Party are regarded as obstacles to the freedom (sic) that will apparently flow from a reduction of the size of the state. Yet the Tories claims to anti-statism are made without any apparent sense of self-reflexivity or irony. In his article “Thatcherism – A New Stage?” for Marxism Today, Prof. Stuart Hall (1980) wrote:

In the development of her anti-statist philosophy, Mrs Thatcher has successfully identified this kind of ‘statism’ with Labour — and with socialism. It was then possible to represent the resistance to and disenchantment with this form of ‘statism’ as a resistance, not only to Labour, but more fundamentally to socialism itself. In this way Thatcherism has successfully identified itself with the popular struggle against a bureaucratically centralist form of the capitalist state.

Yet the privatized systems that replaced state bureaucracies were no less ruthless and no less intrusive. Witness the Work Capability Assessments introduced by Nu Labour and expanded under the coalition. Serco and ATOS may be private companies but they act on behalf of the state.

Hall (1979) also observed “The Great Moving Right Show” that Thatcher’s Tories offered what he referred to as “authoritarian populism”. This authoritarian populism or ‘libertarian authoritarianism’ (a true contradiction if ever there was one) is present in Wednesday’s announcement from Cameron in which he claimed,

For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone’,”

Increased surveillance relies on an enlarged state security apparatus to function effectively, and although Tories rail against the state’s expansion when it comes to its social functions, they have no qualms with a bloated secret state. The so-called ‘snoopers charter’ is testament to this. Thus the idea that one has “nothing to fear if they have nothing to hide” is a mantra that appeals to Tory politicians and gullible voters alike. The latter constituency is kept in a constant state of fear by the near-endless production of scare stories in the right-wing media about ‘enemies within’ and without, who seek to “destroy our way of life”  – whatever that may be – while the former accepts it as an article of faith and needs little persuasion.

The expanded security state also relies on a form of nationalized morality. Hall (1979) explains:

But the language of law and order is sustained by moralisms. It is where the great syntax of “good” versus “evil”, of civilized and uncivilized standards, of the choice between anarchy and order constantly divides the world up and classifies into its appointed stations. The play on “values” and on moral issues in this area is what gives to the law and order crusade much of its grasp on popular morality and common sense conscience.

Yet despite this, it touches concretely the experiences of crime and theft, of loss of scarce property and fears of unexpected attack in working class areas and neighbourhoods; and, since it promulgates no other remedies for their underlying causes, it welds people to that “need for authority” which has been so significant for the Right in the construction of consent to its authoritarian programme

Rather than addressing the underlying causes of crime, the Tories’ solution is to treat the symptoms by smashing the perpetrators with an iron fist. Cameron’s entreaty to the British public in 2006 to “hug a hoodie” is now seen by many as an embarrassing episode of juvenile naivete. But his ‘hug the hoodie’ statement was also PR guff designed to make him look more ‘in touch’ with the youth than the Calvinistic and comparatively older Gordon Brown. He was dahn wif da kids, innit.

The Tories’ small state notion needs a fearful but atomized society that is obsessed with individual needs (me first) over community needs, while also accepting the false need for a suffocating security blanket. The ‘independent’ nuclear ‘deterrent’ is supported by Tory statists who constantly warn of the danger of this external threat or that one. ISIS/ISIL/IS/Da’esh is raised as the all-purpose bogeyman: they are everywhere and nowhere. As Plaid Cymru leader, Leanne Wood pointed out, what good are nuclear weapons against ISIS? Yet the supporters of the expanded security state dismiss this out of hand, and they do so because they stand to make money and win prestige from the uneven nuclear relationship between the United States and HMP United Kingdom.

To aid the efforts in shrinking the social functions of the state, the British people are distracted by the constant bombardment of the government’s advertising messages declaring that the ideal lifestyle is just within reach if you work your fingers to the bone to achieve it. Those who buy into this notion of ‘advancement through hard work’ (which sounds uncomfortably close to the Nazi’s ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ slogan) are encouraged to resent those on benefits because they are told that these people are ‘undeserving’, feckless and inherently lazy. Such people need to be stigmatized by an overbearing Tory government that’s hell-bent on enriching itself and its allies. The state, in this case, is supposedly entitled to poke its nose into the lives of benefit claimants and has the support of the S*n reading public, whose consent it has manufactured. All benefit claimants are leeches, all council estates are dumps and flotillas of immigrants will wash up on our shores to steal your jobs – so the stories go. The Tory-controlled media thus provides both a modern day version of the village stocks, while, at the same time, dispensing scare stories of dangerous elements in our society to keep people in line.

The aim of the Tories’ anti-statism is to return to country to the supposed ‘golden age’ of the 19th century with its yawning gaps between rich and poor; its rampant poverty, high child mortality rates and widespread ignorance. At the same time, it retains the state’s repressive functions to crush dissent and opposition – just as it did in the 19th century. And this is what people voted for? Your freedom is an illusion and even that illusion may be snatched away from you before long.

References

Debord, G. (2005). Society of the Spectacle, Detroit: Black and Red.

Foucault, M (1977). Discipline and Punish. London: Penguin

Herman, E. S. & Chomsky, N. (1994) Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, London: Vintage Books.

Hall, S. (1979). “The Great Moving Right Show” in Marxism Today, January 1979: pp 16-23

Hall, S. (1980). “Thatcherism – A New Stage”? in Marxism Today, February, 1980: pp 26-28

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Filed under Conservative Party, Free Press Myth, Government & politics, Ideologies, Media, propaganda, Tory press

The Weasel Words and Faulty Logic of Michael Heaver

UKIP’s bright young thing or just another tool?

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

Heaver describes himself as:

… a political commentator who campaigns for Ukip.

His Facebook page tells us:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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