Tag Archives: UKIP

UKIP: The Only Way Is Down (Hopefully)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There’s always 2020.

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

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

UKIP: the only way is down.

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Filed under Government & politics, Political parties, UKIP

The Fraudulent Anti-Elitism Of The Right

Nigel Farage and UKIP have, for the past 10 years or more, cast themselves as anti-elite and anti-establishment. The mass media, for the most part, has accepted this without question and have even referred to UKIP and the politics they represent as “anti-politics”. This is a curious formulation that has been coined by the mass media to describe a form of political expression that supposedly opposes mainstream politics. Yet it overlooks the fact that politics is more than stuffed shirts speaking in soundbites and platitudes in the Daily Politics studio. It takes place in everyday life and can be encapsulated in the maxim “The personal is political”.

Guy Debord (1957) observed that the mass media refuses to allow any space to contradictory or marginalized ideas. This almost always means that left-wing ideas are effectively excluded or are otherwise ridiculed. The mass media has thus constructed a simulation of anti-establishment politics in place of genuine anti-establishment politics. The anti-EU ranting of Farage, Evans, Nuttall, et al is seen somehow as having greater legitimacy than the Nordic-style social democracy that is proposed by the Corbynite faction of the Labour Party, which is characterized by the media, The Tories, UKIP and the Labour Right as “dangerous”. The only danger posed by Corbyn’s Labour is to the establishment that has shoved neoliberalism down our throats for the last 35 years.

As I pointed out in this blog from 2014, UKIP’s anti-elite and anti-establishment credentials are entirely bogus. This is a party that is led by former Tories, billionaires, City traders and other bourgeois types.

UKIP and parties like it provide a receptacle for voters’ grievances against the establishment. They divert their energies to the dead-ends of xenophobia, bigotry and hatred of the Other, rather than towards the structural problems that have been created by the establishment that keep people in their place or otherwise divide them. At the risk of contravening Godwin’s Law, even Hitler and his Nazi Party cast themselves as anti-establishment and anti-elite by appearing to oppose moneyed interests. We know how that ended.

Reference

Debord, G. (1957). Report on the Construction of Situations. Available at: http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/report.htm accessed 7 March 2010

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Filed under Government & politics, Ideologies, Media, Society & culture, UKIP

No Compassion For Refugees Please, We’re British

“Charity begins at home” at least this is what Britain’s “no refugees here” types have been saying on comments threads on The Guardian and Independent websites. Ironically (or perhaps not), these are the very same people who would not only claim that “people are receiving to much in social security payments”, they would also tell you that the existence of foodbanks proves there is a “food shortage” in this country. Logic? It was never there in the first place.

Many people like to think of The Guardian and The Independent as liberal newspapers with socially liberal readerships. In the case of The Indy, this notion was blown out of the water by the paper’s support for the Tories at the last election and in the case of The Graun, there has been a steady rightward drift in its editorial orientation for years. Sadly, however, the change in direction for these papers has also attracted legions of right-wing racists and keyboard warriors, all of whom have been drawn to the stories of what is now being called the “Refugee Crisis” (formerly the “Migrant Crisis”), a crisis that was entirely created by the actions of the so-called West.

Yet the idea that there is a cause behind the Refugee Crisis is barely mentioned by the tabloid hacks and their pals in Parliament. Instead, in the mind of the knuckledragger, these people are coming here variously for “economic reasons” or the “presence of McDonalds and KFC”, or some such nonsense, and not because they are fleeing the conflicts and tyrannies that the West has created and sustained for decades. Causality, as far as these people are concerned, is a hospital drama on BBC1.

Readers, I have been disgusted by the lack of compassion shown by these keyboard warriors and slackwits but I have been even more disgusted by The Indy’s and The Graun’s tolerance of the vile hatred that’s being openly expressed on its comments threads. If I want to read that kind of shite, I can always go to St*rmfr*nt. Dig?

I always remember reading about this country’s hostile reaction towards the thousands of Jewish refugees who were fleeing the Nazis in the 1930s. This article by Anne Karpf from 2002 – in The Guardian – recalls that those years.

The parallels between past and present are striking. Just as the majority of Jewish refugees were admitted less for compassionate reasons than to meet the shortage of domestic servants, so today’s refugees tend to do the low-paid catering and cleaning jobs spurned by the native British. And just as in spring 1940, when German Jews were interned on the Isle of Man, British newspapers blurred the distinctions between refugee, alien and enemy, so today, according to Alasdair Mackenzie, coordinator of Asylum Aid, “There’s general confusion in many newspapers between an asylum seeker and someone from abroad – everyone gets tarred with the same brush.”

Hostility towards the refugees was stirred up by the virulently anti-immigration rag The Daily (Hate) Mail. Many people internalised its xenophobic and anti-Semitic messages and demanded the government refuse to land any refugees. Déjà Vu? Malheureusement, oui.

The comment below appeared on this Guardian article by the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas. Her name, alone, is enough the get hordes of slavering knuckledraggers thumping their chests and declaring themselves the defenders of “common sense”.

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Britons would probably be far more receptive to the idea of allowing many more refugees into Britain had the country not experience almost two decades of mass immigration in which over five million people had entered Britain.

Here, we have a comment in which the views expressed are little different to those expressed by UKIP’ Nigel Farage (or that Nuttall wanker) on a weekly basis. Although it avoids offensive language and isn’t obvious in its racism, its premise is based on the notion that there has been an “invasion”. Yet, this commenter offers no proof for the numbers they’re using; they are seemingly axiomatic.

On the other hand, this commenter doesn’t disguise his hatred. This is what passes for wit.

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So it turns out now that the guy who recklessly ended up drowning his wife and children had turned down asylum.

Oh.

Sickening.

The government’s response to the crisis has been characteristically Tory: blame “people smugglers” and keep repeating the word “criminals”. It’s as if the refugees themselves have become secondary to the need to punish “those responsible for the trafficking”. In April, in response to refugees drowning in the Mediterranean Sea, Michael ‘Polly’ Portillo, the son of a Spanish republican refugee who fled Franco’s dictatorship, said they should be “sent back where they came from” – and should be “dumped on a Libyan beach”. And you thought he’d been rehabilitated? No way, he’s the same as he ever was.

This nation has been governed by bullies for centuries and people have internalised the bullying to such an extent that they, themselves, have become bullies. This is evident from the lack of compassion shown to refugees. The idea that “charity begins at home” is noble one but one which is now being used dishonestly to bolster the fash’s absurd claim that this country is “full up”.

A few days ago, Cameron appeared on television to give an account of his sluggish response to the crisis. He told the reporter with a straight face that the solution is to “bring peace in Middle East”. But that’s after he’s bombed it back to the Stone Age first.

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Filed under Africa, Eritrea, immigration, Journalism, Libya, Media, Middle East, News/Current Affairs, propaganda, racism, Society & culture, Sudan, Syria, World

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

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

The Mail on Sunday? Seriously?

Watch

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Filed under General Election 2015, Political parties, UKIP

The Main Parties And The Election’s Forgotten Voters

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

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

The rates are

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

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

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

UKIP claims it

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

Nothing there, let’s move on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UKIP and their idea of culture

I’ve just returned home to find this UKIP election leaflet on my door mat.

Policies for Brain-dead People

Policies for Brain-dead People. But a UKIP government? Isn’t that wishful thinking?

My eyes were drawn to the section marked “culture” and nowhere does it mention the word ‘art’. Instead, we are treated to a list of things, which have little or no relevance to culture.

At the top of the list is this predictable pronouncement:

UKIP recognises and values an overarching, unifying British culture, which is open and inclusive to anyone who wishes to identify with Britain and British values, regardless of their ethnic or religious background.

Two questions – and these are questions that I’ve posed to white nationalists when they bleat about “British culture”: what is British culture and what are British values? Readers, I have to tell you that I have yet to receive an answer. All I get for my trouble is personal abuse and paranoid assertions about how this country is being “contaminated” with “foreign cultures”. There is no such thing as “British culture”and  as for “British values” one could argue that this includes bullying, an obsession with property ownership and institutionalized child sexual abuse. But we don’t like talking about those things, do we?

One proposal states:

UKIP opposes ‘plain paper packaging’ for tobacco products and minimum pricing of alcohol.

Well, they would oppose these things because their glorious leader is a chain-smoker, who’s rarely seen without a pint of beer in his hand. But I can’t see the connection with culture here. Can you?

Like the Tories and other right-wingers, UKIP hasn’t got a clue when it comes to culture. In fact, I would go as far as saying they don’t understand culture. When the Department of National Heritage was created under John Major in the 1990s, the word ‘culture’ was distinctly absent. “Heritage” is about paintings of dead people, statues, stately homes; in other words, it’s alien to most people’s everyday lives. Culture is a living thing and UKIP and the Tories, who are forever looking backwards, will never grasp this.

The rest of the Kippers’ election leaflet ploughs a tediously predictable furrow: shrink the state, reintroduce grammar schools, big up the military, spend more money on arms; abolish green taxes; frack everywhere; retain the benefit cap; keep bashing ‘migrants’ and so on and so forth. Their section on housing is especially woeful. There is no mention of the housing shortage nor is there any mention of possible solutions to the crisis. UKIP if you want to, the gentleman isn’t for kipping.

Just think: there are just under four more months left of this tedious bullshit.

 

UPDATE @ 2115 9/1/15

You know the image being used for the UKIP leaflet? Well, I’ve just spotted a similar image on Facebook being used for a YouGov advertisement.

Here it is.

The Kippers can’t even use an original image. How sad and pathetic is that?

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Filed under General Election 2015, Government & politics, UKIP