The “allthesame” lie aims to divide and disempower the Left – kittysjones


On January 2, [the speech-writer for David Cameron during the 2010 election, Ian] Birrell cobbled together a somewhat strange and hugely speculative article in the Guardian, claiming that “a Tory-Labour unity coalition may be the only way forward after 7 May” and “the two parties have more in common with each other than with the insurgents. A national government would prevent a constitutional crisis”, writes kittysjones.

There is of course a subtext to Birrell’s article. It is a piece of propaganda. The subtext is “the political parties are all the same.”

Of course they’re not – but it is in the Conservatives’ best interests for left-leaning voters to believe they are, and that Labour has betrayed its core voters. That way, they will be persuaded not to vote – or at least, not to support Labour – and the Tories can sweep to victory on yet another huge lie.

You’re not stupid enough to believe that, though, are you?

Even if you’re not tempted by this evil piece of spin, give the article a visit on the kittysjones blog site.

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36 thoughts on “The “allthesame” lie aims to divide and disempower the Left – kittysjones

  1. Thomas M

    I don’t fully trust Labour-but I know they are much better then the Tories and their little yellow helpers. Labour didn’t starve the disabled to death or sell the NHS off bit by bit.

      1. Ross

        Yes, seriously; me too.

        As I have previously argued both parties are wed to the same neoliberal wet dream of perpetual economic growth. Where are the radical policies designed to deal with the gross wealth inequality which prevails?

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Considering the Tories have been doing their damnedest to make the economy contract for the past four years (barring the odd artificial bubble, created to make them look good), I think you’re on shaky ground there.
        I’d like to see policies to deal with wealth inequality; I know we won’t see any from the Tories or UKIP, who are desperate to wring every last penny out of the poor and then turn them into slaves (in effect, if not in name). Labour forms the best chance to avoid that.

  2. David

    Labour are just as responsible for the plight of disabled people as the tories are. It was Labour that introduced ATOS fit-for-work assessments which victimised the sick and disabled. And Labour attempted to privatise the NHS through PFI. There is nothing to choose between Labour and Conservatives. Or UKIP.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Labour was going to get rid of the ESA system (or at least the assessments as they were) having seen that they were producing adverse results – but the Coalition got into office and introduced tougher criteria which have caused the victimisation you lay at Labour’s door. PFI was a Tory initiative. Unfortunately, when Labour came into office in 1997, the damage to the NHS was so extensive that, on advice from civil servants at the Treasury, Labour was persuaded that PFI initiatives were the only feasible way to bring much-needed renewal to the service. I would not have wanted it that way but the result is plain, as the NHS under Labour recorded its highest approval ratings ever and was independently rated as the best health service in the world.
      Would you like a list of Labour’s other achievements?

  3. Andy Davice

    Absolutely seriously. With regard to neo-liberalism, austerity, privatisation, fracking and TTIP, what are the differences? And if not in those areas, then what are the other actual, substantial differences?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      With regard to the topics you mention, the Tories are full-on in favour of all of them and Labour isn’t. Beyond that, you really should do some research of your own. Reading Vox Political often will be a great help.

      1. Ross

        You are entirely blinded by loyalty where the Labour party are concerned. As you point out the difference is essentiually the Tories are more gung ho, the Labour party more liable to wring their hands a bit, but the end result is always the same: the working class get screwed, the rich get richer, and the country remains in the grip of a privately educated mafia.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Either you haven’t been reading this blog for very long or you have your own axe to grind, Ross – which is it?
        I’m a Labour member and supporter, sure – but I do criticise that party when I think it is deserved; all the more harshly because I’m a part of it.
        As a result of your comments about me, I have to question what you write and your motives for writing it.

  4. Jim Round

    They are all the same in that most politicians would sell their own Grandmother to get elected.
    In that they won’t change FPTP as it benefits said parties/politicians.
    In that Neo-Liberalism looks set to continue under either party.
    In that private companies will still sell us Gas/Water/Electric/Public Transport/Mail and other essential services at an inflated cost.
    In that they still believe we are a super power who can go round bombing brown people and telling them what to do.
    In that anti-union laws will be kept and bad employers will get no more than a slap on the wrist if naughty.
    In that there will be no review of our antiquated drug laws that lock people up for doing what they want to do rather than rehabilitate. (Same for other petty crimes, think prison works)
    In that I do hope that one day I’ll be proved wrong and a major rethink of all those policies will happen one day.l

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      What do you described as neoliberalism in the Labour Party?
      I certainly hope you will be proved wrong on many of your other claims in the VERY near future.
      (Hint: It won’t happen if people vote Conservative!)

      1. Jim Round

        It won’t happen if people vote Labour either, nowhere have Labour said anything progressive about any of the above.
        Labour is neo-liberal as it still subscribes to failed capitalism and centralised micro management of everything.
        No plans to re-nationalise Royal Mail etc..

  5. tony567052457

    Problem is, THEY ARE THE SAME!!!
    Exactly so, there are only a few in any of the ranks who could be remotely considered “opposition”.

    Of those are the various independent candidates and small parties like the Green’s, the SNP, Plaid, Probably no more than 2 labour MP’s including Dennis Skinner, a few conservative MPs and probably another 1 in Lib Dems who I have seen to regularly vote against but for the life of me cannot recall the names.

    I have kept my eye on the voting pattern of most of Scotlands Labour MP’s at Westminster.
    They have regularly voted WITH every nasty piece of Tory legislation, abstained from any opportunity to have it rolled back, along with their counterparts of which there are several I have kept my eye on in Yorkshire.

    Aside from the obvious splinter groups of rogue MP’s afore mentioned, I have no hope for the latter of Labour, or LIb Dems.

    We need alternatives, we ideally need lots and lots of press coverage of the Greens who, as far as parties go are the only ones aligned with public opinion. Like a 100% public run NHS, state owned public transport, breaking down the reckless banks and changing how money is created.

    We wont see any of them at the next general election, the next parliament, so long as those old parties continue to follow the same line.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I question your interpretation of Scottish Labour MPs’ voting record. Labour has voted, in its entirety, AGAINST every single “nasty” piece of Tory legislation. They were whipped votes and Labour MPs followed the whip.
      I have checked a sample vote against your claim and found that, of 40 Labour MPs, 38 were present and voted against it; two were absent. I have no doubt that I would find a similar situation in every other such vote.
      Your claim is inaccurate.

      It follows that your support of the Greens now calls that party into question. If its supporters believe the only way to get votes is to tell falsehoods about (for example) Labour, then it follows that the Green Party itself must be similarly untrustworthy.
      You have brought the Green Party into disrepute.

      1. Callum

        You state that “Labour has voted, in its entirety, AGAINST every single “nasty” piece of Tory legislation”, yet that is categorically not true (well unless for example you don’t count Workfare as nasty).

        One (particularly vile) example:
        The courts declared Workfare undemocratic and unlawful, yet Ian Duncan Smith could not accept this so rushed through retroactive legislation to change the law and make it legal. This could be argued as one of the Tories NASTIEST bills, undermining the courts which rightly pulled up Workfare as being illegal, and coming up with retroactive legislation which in reeks of totalitarianism. Labour should have stood against this tooth and nail, and used it to show how vial Ian Duncan Smith is, instead they allowed it to pass through in a single day, and whipped their MPs into abstaining.

        If this doesn’t show that the Labour party is rotten to the core, and has an abhorrent voting record, I don’t know what does.

        (there are some more honest Labour MPs left, who refused to tow the party line, however the vast majority, including all of the front bench followed Labour whips and abstained allowing the bill easy passage, opposed only by SNP, Green, Plaid and DUP)

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        The example you quote is the “one dishonourable exception” I mentioned in another comment. You really need to check a few things before making such comments. Here’s the relevant article:

        No, it doesn’t show that the Labour Party is rotten to the core or that it has an abhorrent voting record. It was ONE vote, at which the front bench advised members to abstain in the belief that worthwhile concessions had been negotiated (I disagree, and I think I’ve been proved right).

        You find another such vote.

      3. Callum

        “You find another such vote.”
        How about the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers (DRIP) bill, which again was rushed through parliament with the three major parties colluding, and again only SNP, Green, Plaid and SDLP were providing opposition.
        A Labour MP rebel (David Winnick) described it as “an outright abuse of parliamentary procedure.” whilst another Labour rebel, Tom Watson, said “It is democratic banditry, resonant of a rogue state. The people who put this shady deal together should be ashamed.”

        There are of course a host of other reasons not to side with labour (keeping trident, opposed to renationalisation etc), but your claim the “Labour has voted, in its entirety, AGAINST every single “nasty” piece of Tory legislation” is (as shown by BOTH these votes) categorically inaccurate.

        And if I use the dubious logic you applied to tony567052457’s post, your support for Labour (somehow) brings the Labour Party into disrepute (just re-read the last paragraph you replied to him with, remembering that you lied in you reply, so replacing every reference to Green with Labour… only it’s falsehoods about your own party so even worse)

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        I stand corrected. Again, this was legislation that Vox Political opposed: – so this is a slip of my memory, rather than an intentional attempt to mislead.
        No, this is not the same, unless you are suggesting that tony567052457 was also having a slip of the memory about every major vote in Parliament since 2010.
        Labour is NOT opposed to renationalisation, so now YOU are propagating a falsehood about Labour. The party is committed to creating a new, nationalised rail company to bid against the private firms in order to regain franchises and run them in a cost-effective way, while also pushing the private firms to do the same. The privatised energy firms may also face renationalisation after Labour’s planned price freeze and review.
        I’m sorry you think I’m being dishonest. I’m also sorry you won’t accept that my omission of the Data Bill (which I opposed) was by error, but that’s up to you.
        Calling me a liar won’t earn you any credit here, though.

      5. Callum

        My issues aren’t with Vox Political’s stance in general, but with the outright statement that labour always voted against, which I saw as an untruth (mistake or otherwise). Having re-read the full conversation, I take back some of what I said about the two arguments being directly comparable, but I think tarring the full Green party based on one member (which was what I was thinking was the bigger problem with your final paragraph, but admittedly didn’t express myself clearly) is taking things beyond what is justifiable.

        And doing so whilst stating Labour was always in the right (rather than some of the time) thus not being 100% accurate yourself when arguing against inaccurate statements isn’t exactly the best move.
        If it was just a slip of your mind I wonder how many other times Labour has supported the Tory nastiness that you aren’t remembering, I dare to say there may have been a few more, certainly there have been many a vote where turnout has been abismol – from all sides I will add.

        Labour for renationalisation – well I hope so, unfortunately there no sign of it when they were in power, in fact quite the opposite, but times do change (once Labour was a party that I would have supported). I’ve not heard of it being a policy, but I’d be very happy to accept it if it is – so honest mistake on my side, though I’m not convinced yet. The rail nationalisation would have my support, however I’m not holding my breath. The price freeze on the other hand is not a proposal for renationalisation (last I heard) more like a bribe for voters, if this does indeed lead to re-nationalisation then all well and good, but that seems well beyond the scope of anything currently on the cards. How about water companies? And why are Labour not being seen visibly and strongly campaigning against TTIP?

        It is worth noting that whilst I am anything but a fan of (new) Labour, I would have them over the Tories, but they seem to be edging ever closer to them, if the rightwards slide can be reversed then superb. In fact being realistic, I will admit that Labour being in the next government is in fact likely to be the only way to get the Tories out – now if only we could have a fairer voting system so this sort of tactical thinking wasn’t needed. The best (least worst?) outcome as I can see it would be an SNP/Labour coalition with backing from Greens and Plaid, not an ideal outcome, but I think the best I (and the left in general) can hope for in the election.

      6. Mike Sivier Post author

        The Green Party supporter in the original comment is not the first Green I’ve met who has attempted to smear Labour with inaccurate allegations – I would have reacted differently if that had been the case. The simple fact is that the internet is full of people flinging around untrue allegations with gay abandon. Am I the only one online who has the courage to admit when a mistake has been made?
        For clarity: The price freeze is intended to take place while Labour examines the record and role of the privatised energy firms, and considers their future. That has been the aim since the freeze was announced.
        I would like to see the water companies added. Did you hear the edition of Any Questions when Owen Jones pointed out that we had a drought in SE England when reservoirs were full – the problem being that they had been sold off to foreign water companies? Ridiculous situation.
        Labour’s attitude to TTIP is also lukewarm and I’m mystified by that as well. If the agreement doesn’t benefit the worker, why would Labour support it?
        SNP/Labour coalition would not be my favourite option as I wouldn’t trust the SNP any further than I could throw a bear. They like trying to smear Labour too.

      7. Callum

        I respect the fact that you do accept making mistakes, and own up to it, and it is a breath of fresh air 🙂

        I didn’t hear the episode but it seems we may agree on more than first meets they eye. I in fact believe that there are honest souls left in Labour, but the overall impression I get (especially from the leadership) is far from positive. In an ideal situation we would be able to get a true alternative party to power, and at the same time end the failed experiment with neoliberalism (which labour aren’t quite as totally blinded by as Tory, but hardly immune) for once and for all.

        I personally have a lot more respect for the SNP than Labour (did they side with the government on either of the above issues?) from my viewpoint here in Scotland (No to fracking, reducing impact of bedroom tax, remove trident, as well as the lack of most of the major scandals such as expenses etc). When it comes to smearing, Labour did it’s fair share in the run up to the referendum without a doubt.
        Leaving independence out for now, SNP policy combined with their track record leaves me with far more hope.

  6. HomerJS

    I think that in some way Labour have played the ‘all the same’ game too. Faced with a largely hostile media they have tried to avoid looking too different from the Tories, particularly on the economy (deficit) and welfare. The differences are there, but you sometimes need to look more carefully than many people will bother to. The announcements have often been ‘one at a time’ and perhaps quite low key. It is a gamble between reassuring their supporters, and not triggering the media backlash. I also feel it is a long term approach, with the full picture of Labour’s position not being truly clear until the election is upon us. With a fixed election date it will be a long campaign and Labour do not want their position to become too obvious to the right wing press from the start. It does make it difficult for the ordinary person in the street, but we know how nasty the press can be, and how little they care for the truth. They don’t even care about their obvious recycling of Tory propaganda.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Part of the problem for Labour is that claims that austerity isn’t necessary (it really isn’t) would be shot down by the right-wing press and the Tories who own those papers as being a confession that Labour will spend, spend, spent – even though that’s not the plan.
      Nevertheless, Labour has taken great pains to demonstrate that it isn’t the same as the Tories. One example is the fact that the Parliamentary Labour Party has voted against every punitive piece of Coalition legislation (with one dishonourable exception – and you know which one that is!) since May 2010.
      If anybody reads a comment here or elsewhere that claims otherwise, consider the commenter to be a liar.

  7. Landless Peasant

    Labour introduced Benefit Sanctions along with their dreaded New Deal which in effect was nothing more than a 3 month stretch in an open Prison for the unemployed. Tories ran with Benefit Sanctions along with their dreaded Work Programme – 24 months of bullying and intimidation. The difference? About ten quid a week. I’ll be voting Green.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I hope you can substantiate your claims in a better way than tony567052457 managed.
      I have no experience of the New Deal; can anyone else support Landless Peasant’s claim?
      The Work Programme was nothing to do with Labour, having been introduced in 2011, if my memory serves me.

      1. Landless Peasant

        Yes, the Work Programme is courtesy of the Tory scum, whereas New Deal was Labour’s own version of the same thing. Both underpinned by the sanctioning regime. Both punitive and in my experience, horrendous. I was forced against my will to undergo New Deal at least 4 times, that’s 12 months of my life wasted sitting in an overcrowded stinking classroom endlessly re-writing my CV for the bloody sake of it. I’ll never forgive Labour for that, or for setting the ball rolling with sanctions. That’s the reason I no longer vote Labour.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        So you oppose Labour because of an out-of-date policy that is no longer any part of our political landscape?
        What do you think of Labour’s current policies?

      3. Ross

        The New Deal scheme was every bit as mean and spiteful as the Work Programme. It involved the same pointless work placements, the same workfare principles.

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        Mm. But you’ve already shown you have an axe to grind against the Labour Party, so why should any readers believe you?

  8. Liam John Liburd

    “that Labour has betrayed its core voters”

    It kind of has, but it’s not all lost. There’s a battle to be fought for a big leftwing party. Perhaps this can take place within the Labour Party. Some policies and speeches have indicated the party is changing. It’s not socialist yet, but there are some positive steps promised, a stronger stance against tax avoiders, an increase in the minimum wage to eight pounds (not enough) and support the living wage, reverse Osborne’s tax cut for millionaires and introduce a lower starting rate of income tax and action against exploitative employers using zero hours contracts, to name a few.

    Hopefully this is the beginning of something great, regardless we all need to keep the pressure up inside and outside the party for a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

    I don’t believe Labour are perfect but I believe giving credit and criticism where they’re due. They’re the party with the best policies that are also most likely to win.

  9. Landless Peasant

    It’s still relevant, the sanction system still exists, Labour still support it and their so-called ‘Jobs Guarantee’ is to be underpinned by Benefit Sanctions. That’s why I now vote Green (or SWP or Class War).

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I can’t say I support much of Labour’s policy on benefits (even though it is better than the current system by a country mile). That being said, even Labour has pledged to remove the sanction targets that the Tories say don’t exist. That’s a step in the right direction. By May, its possible we’ll have more changes.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      While I respect the Angry Yorkshireman hugely, I can’t help but wonder whether this article was written before Labour announced its plans for a new nationalised rail operator, and how that might have changed his viewpoint.

Comments are closed.