Spare Us Your Emotional Blackmail, Labourites – The Critique Archives

"If everyone voted for the policies they agreed with rather than for their habitual party-banner, the Greens would actually be the largest party."

“If everyone voted for the policies they agreed with rather than for their habitual party-banner, the Greens would actually be the largest party.”

Earlier today, Thomas G. Clark, the Angry Yorkshireman, published a new post about an increasingly reflexive pet-soundbite of Labour Party activists, “Vote Green, Get Tory”, writes Martin Odoni.

If the Green Party ends up splitting the Labour Party vote, that is not the ‘fault’ of Green voters, it is the fault of the Labour Party… Quite simply, and this is something Labourites have to accept sooner or later, if Labour does not offer a clear and firm commitment to the ideals of the left… many in the left simply will not vote for them anymore. If Labour really devoted itself to the ideals of its support-base, its vote would not be splittable.

And this is certainly not a question of ‘voter-disloyalty’ either… a Party must go to its electorate, not arrogantly demand that its electorate must follow the Party.

While I would agree with those who argue that the Greens are not exactly a left-wing party in itself, it is quite simply the most left-leaning of the current ‘Big 5’ … It was interesting to note last week’s survey on the Vote For Policies’ website, which concluded that, if everyone voted for the policies they agreed with rather than for their habitual party-banner, the Greens would actually be the largest party in a probable Hung Parliament.

Thirdly, if the Conservatives get in again, why not tell off the people who vote for the Conservatives? Why not point out to them why this is quite plainly against the interests of the overwhelming majority of people?

There’s much more, and you should visit The Critique Archives to read it.

Some of you may be surprised to learn that I agree with Martin on this (and with Tom Clark). Labour should be campaigning on its own policies, and listening to voters in order to improve the direction of the policies on offer; if people think the Greens are closer to what they want from a Party of the Left, then that should send Labour back to think again – not spark internecine bitchiness.

The only certain result from such behaviour would be the victory of the Conservatives, who would be left with clear space to win over voters while the Parties of the Left fight among themselves. The Tories are the real enemy of the nation, along with their farther-to-the-right-wing friends in UKIP.

My own distaste for the Greens is related to the behaviour of that party’s supporters, and if Martin is annoyed by that of the Labourites he mentions, one hopes he would be just as annoyed by the behaviour of these Greens. This extends to the party’s sole MP, Caroline Lucas, when she involves herself in silly party games in an attempt to score points (like when she re-tweeted a claim that there were only 18 anti-austerity MPs in Parliament after Labour supported the Charter for Budget Responsibility).

My antipathy does not extend to the Green Party’s policies; I have mentioned before that I think Labour would do well to adopt some of them, or that a coalition or merger of the two parties in the future would not be a bad thing.

The Tories and UKIP, on the other hand, are a lost cause.

So let’s put our efforts where they need to go – into fighting the parties that have made the UK the mess it is today.

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25 thoughts on “Spare Us Your Emotional Blackmail, Labourites – The Critique Archives

  1. Ian

    I don’t think it’s feasible to try and convince Tories to not vote Tory. Sadly, many people are just outright gits. Maybe some are true believers and genuinely think Conservatism is the way ahead (despite 35 continuous years of it, in one form or another, proving otherwise) but many, I suspect, are just nasty, selfish, frightened little tossers who will happily vote to worsen their lives if it meant others will have their lives worsened even more. Nose, spite and face etc. The meanness of spirit in these people almost defies belief and if it wasn’t for the existence of the Mail and Telegraph comments sections I would hardly believe it myself.

    Britain needs to split into smaller units/regions, each politically autonomous, allowing each of us to live in the one that most suits our politics. See how a Toryland gets on when only right wing cretins want to live there and there’s nobody else there to exploit…

  2. hstorm

    Oh yes, I do indeed get very annoyed with a number of Green campaigners – I’ve met a few myself whom I find embarrassing at best. My impression is less that the idiot-fringe is cynical so much as *just* idiots; when they misrepresent Labour policies, more often than not it is because they haven’t understood them.

    But I’ve had arguments with a few Labour supporters about this article since publishing it, and what I’m noticing, depressingly is that their counter-arguments are all about “Meh, Greens are liars!”, “Meh, Greens keep calling us names!” etc. Which is at least partly true, yes, but it really is quite irrelevant. The point I was making was that if the Tories get back in, it won’t be because of the Greens, and it is equally-dirty trickery on the part of Labour to keep trying to frighten or guilt-trip people into voting for them. It is people who support the Tories who put the Tories in power, and no one should pretend otherwise.

    Some of the people who responded to the essay have even gone and demonstrated precisely the behaviour I was highlighting, by saying things like, “The Tories are trying to split the left!!!”, “The Greens are playing into the Tories’ hands!” etc.

    Another article on this was shared with me this evening; –

      1. hstorm

        Well, depends how you define ‘representatives’. Some of them are activists with party membership cards. But no, they’re not party spokespeople or officials.

  3. paulrutherford8

    I’m of the opinion that quite a few ‘Green’ supporters are people who may have supported Labour, but have now reached a point in their lives where they are no longer directly affected by the current, unelected government’s pernicious policies affecting the poor, sick & disabled.

    While not directly affected by such policies, many ‘Green’ supporters appear to be ore idealogically driven towards the sort of ‘hippie’ ideal… everything ‘eco-friendly’, etc.

    I firmly believe such people have become somewhat complacent and, finding themselves in a fairly ‘secure’ personal place, have put more environmentally-driven ideals ahead of what I would have expected such people to have possessed in bucketloads… human compassion.

    I don’t believe the ‘Greens’ truly represent people like myself and my family, and the 1000s of others in our situation.

    In other words, I think a ‘Green’ vote is a ‘selfish’ vote: a wasted vote and, as getting rid of the Tories *is* the most important thing in 2015, I’d ask anyone considering voting Green, to think again. Please think about the Warrens of this country; think of those people less fortunate, less healthy, less able… they truly do need all the help and support hey can get..

    Help get Labour in and *then* try to influence them to adopt more green ideals.

    I believe that is possible.

    Rant over.

    1. ben

      hi paul – i’m a green supporter and my only point of discomfort is exactly what you described – that voting green may alleviate my conscience (after making a terrible mistake of voting libdem last time as a protest against how right wing labour had become) but may result in the tories getting in again.

      but if you don’t vote for the party who best matches your views it’s not much of a democracy is it?

      but you’re asking me to vote labour when they’ve said they’ll match the tory cuts. where’s the caring for the less fortunate in that?

      i’m not against labour too much. i am massively frustrated that they’ve been awful at being an opposition party when the coalition are a gift to any opposition but i know labour people are generally good people. it’s probably the same with the majority of tory voters (who’ve just swallowed the propaganda or still think they’re not radical thieves) and those poor ukippers who really don’t have a clue and are being deceived in a way that’s tragic to witness.

      i would like labour to view the greens as a positive – they’re clearly demonstrating that there is a sizeable group of voters who have an appetite for policies a lot of which should really be labour’s.

      personally i like the way the greens aren’t burdened with the baggage of labour (all that marxist jargon that make me feel woefully inadequate as a voter) and the new labour unpleasantness.

      but the citizen’s income is probably the most radical policy they have – it will change immediately the way workers and employers interact. it eliminates absolute poverty instantly. why aren’t labour campaigning on renationalisation – isn’t that what the veterans of world war two wanted – an explicitly socialist government? we never hear about that in labour campaigns and the tories are always harping on about ‘our greatest hour’ ‘the dunkirk spirit’ and using hot air to inflate a winston churchill who never existed in the way they pretend he did.

      anyway that’s my rant response!

      if i’m honest i feel many greens may vote labour at the last minute and are using their intentions now to try to drag labour back to where they should be. a green/labour coalition would be my preference in the next government – radical green policies (that are largely old labour’s anyway) and labour know how.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        Point of information: Labour has not said it would match any Tory cuts.
        Labour has said it will match Coalition SPENDING plans for the first year of a Labour government. The most likely reason is that it will take a year for contracts signed by the Coalition to run out in any case.
        Labour has admitted that it will have to make cuts, but has not said they will be in benefits – which is what I take your “caring for the less fortunate” to mean.
        Your claim that Labour has been an “awful” opposition party is not borne out by the facts. Can you remember any Opposition leader – ever – who managed to change a government’s decision in the way Ed Miliband did on Syria? Neither can I because it has never happened in my lifetime. That’s just one example of Labour being an excellent Opposition. I’d like to know who told you this particular fabrication because it’s doing the rounds far too regularly for it to be a coincidence. Someone has been lying to you deliberately.
        I don’t understand what you mean by ‘Marxist jargon’. I do understand what you mean by ‘New Labour unpleasantness’ but I would point out that the Greens have a history also.
        The veterans of World War II did not want an explicitly socialist government, no. They wanted the welfare state and the National Health Service and they voted Churchill out to get those things. That being said, Labour is considering renationalising certain utilities – as you’ll know if you follow the news.
        I’m hoping for an outright Labour win, but if that can’t be achieved, then I’d also like to see the Greens in any Coalition with Labour.

      2. paulrutherford8

        Hi Ben… just read your response.
        In the past I have voted both Green and Plaid Cymru. But now, without any doubt, is the time for objective pragmatism.

        Democracy means everyone has a right to be heard and vote with their conscience. My hope is that people will vote in that way.

        Idealism and ideology are all well and good, but it is the *real* needs of the most vulnerable in society that require, possibly demand that the ‘electorate’ take stock of what is really happening in the country today.

        If people vote according to ideology, that is up to them. If that vote costs more lives, literally or figuratively, then in my opinion, they are selfish votes.

        There are less and less people in this country who are ‘safe’ in their jobs or their lives under this current regime. Anyone is vulnerable to a sudden, detrimental change in fortune.

        I speak with people on twitter daily who call [any], benefit claimants ‘scroungers’ or worse. Yet what does someone do who is made redindant, suffers a debilitating illness, an accident? They*have* to claim benefits to survive.

        Labour, as I have said elsewhere, are, at this time unable to state exactly what they will do for ordinary people, unless they have costed policies to the penny. They will not know exactly what financial state the country is in until/if they win the election.

        Labour are afraid that the money maynot be there to enable them to fulfil what they may genuinely desire to promise.. I have spoken personally to Rachel Reeves [in my home], and am certain that Labour will do as much as they can to rectify what has happened in the last 5 years.

        Mike has also made some very accurate and relevant points above. Labour’s cuts will not be as Tory cuts will be. Labour will tackle tax avoidance, bankers, raise minimum wages [albeit slowly at first], but they don’t have a magic wand. There are areas where Labour will stop privatisation, in the NHS for example, but must wait until legal contracts come up for renewal.

        There is a whole depth to this political arena at the moment which is not being reported on, or addressed by anyone… except perhaps by bloggers like Mike and some others, and people like myself. My voice is not prominent by any means, but I know what is right. I know what is needed, and I know that Labour *must* get in after the election, or people like myself, my family and 1000s of others may as well give up on everything. There is no hope at all if the Tories get back.

        Lynton Crosby, the Tory propagandameister is absolutely brilliant at his job. He already has people believing Labour and Tory are the same. *He* is the architect of the lies Mike speaks about above.

        Headlines, tweets, Facebook posts by the hundreds say that ‘Labour supported and voted for Tory austerity’, last week.

        But reading the Hansard transcript of the debate in parliament last week where Labour are accused of ‘supporting Tory austerity’ shows what a monstrous, terrible lie that is. But despite evidence, people believe the headlines, the tweets and posts. I’m tired of being told by Greens, Plaid, SNP & ukip that I’m lying. I’m not. I research for the truth.

        Labour *do not* support Tory policy at all.

        The Greens, Plaid, SNP, Ukip, and to an extent, LibDems all sing from Crosby’s hymnsheet. It is his job to make people believe the propaganda.

        Simple as that: Labour are to blame for everything and are just the same as the Tories.

        NOBODY at all criticises the Tories… apart from Labour and their supporters.

        Surely that alone makes a statement?

        I am afraid. Very afraid indeed.

        I do hope the above made sense. I’ve just had a quick chat with Captain Morgan and Sister Morphine, to try and beat the pain to get some sleep 🙂

      3. paulrutherford8

        Hi Ben… I’ve read your ‘rant response’ a couple of times now, so hope I’ve understood you properly.
        First point, in a *real* democracy, we all have a say, not just by way of a vote, but in the place it matters – parliament. That doesn’t happen under our current system, especially when an unelected government persists in detroying much of the country’s vital services.

        Second, Labour have not agreed to matching theTory cuts at all. They have simply committed themselves to following the same *time-table* as the Tories. What ‘savings’ or ‘cuts’ Labour may make are certainly not the same as those proposed by the Tories. Not at all. Too many people have been ‘taken in’ [aka lied to], by all other parties, who say that Labour agreed to Tory austerity in the recent vote. A read of the debate transcript puts that myth firmly in its place… as a myth.

        I agree that Labour have been an awful opposition party, which is largely, I think, because so many of them and [especially], their ‘advisors’ are badly informed, are disconnected from ordinary people, and are afraid of confrontation. However, I think they are learning, albeit slowly, to ‘listen’.

        I read a lot about the citizens’ income and agree that, in principle, its a good idea, but not so sure it would work at this moment in time. Too radical, too fast? An aim for the future perhaps.

        I also think Labour would look at re-nationalising some services, but they have to be given time to examine the contractual situations involved and implications they may carry. It is nowhere near as simple as just cancelling contracts. In the NHS, for example, I believe they will return services to the NHS itself, but as and when current contracts expire.

        Anyway, there’s a few more thoughts. I also believe, by the way, that the Greens could do a lot worse than actually join with Labour. But maybe that’s a discussion for another day!!


  4. wrjones2012

    Of course as ever I agree with you,up to a point!Of course AAA’s current post is in response to Labour activists having to endure Red Tory jibes from Greens and their SNP “allies”.As I’ve mentioned the SNP,first of all they fall for the meaningless Tory stunt re the “Austerity Vote” last week,then we have the SNP’s performance yesterday.

    Their linkage of the two votes in the Debate yesterday was deliberately designed to frighten any Labour MPs who may well have considered voting for the motion.Normally when debating these type of motions such as yesterday,if you are seriously attempting to maximise support for your motion you don’t give possible supporters an excuse not to vote in favour!

  5. Chris

    … I’m of the opinion that quite a few ‘Green’ supporters are people who may have supported Labour, but have now reached a point in their lives where they are no longer directly affected by the current, unelected government’s pernicious policies affecting the poor, sick & disabled….

    Completely wrong.

    I am 60, nil state pension for 6 years, facing nil state pension for life from the flat rate pension offering as low as £55 to new claimants next year, nil benefit as cannot work and cannot apply for Jobseekers as could not comply, and nil disabled and chronic sick benefit after medically diagnosed.

    I am tempted to vote Green because they offer a Full Citizen State Pension , irregardless of National Insurance history, whereas the right wing press of The Daily Telegraph and The Daily Mail inform that the flat rate pension is the biggest con in UK history, and will not deliver even anything like the £148-155 flat rate pension to at least
    2 million workers by current official government figures next year.

    The Greens offer me Full Citizen State Pension, instead of the nil state pension for life coming to me from the conditionality of the flat rate pension, even after 30 years of paying NI and the NI Fund wrongly called in surplus (found out by Labour in House of Lords Library) since 2013, which is my state pension money.

    Vital food and fuel money I have lost for 6 years and now lost forever.

    The majority of public sector austerity job cuts are to low waged women, on early retired works pension of lowest 4 per cent income, as an average of us all.

    So I am directly affected by welfare and pension reform and died in 2013 by welfare reform, now living on life sustaining medicine fortunately still free, and pension reform, when all MPs of all parties get an 11 per cent pay rise this year.

    My mobility is lessening, so I cannot vote Labour. I am poor, old, sick, disabled, unable to work, my eyes and hands and back unable to do the computer work after a third or more of a century in work.

    The Greens Citizen Income solely ends starvation, risen hugely and causing malnutrition hospital admissions. Even to a 23 week pregnant woman benefit sanctioned before Christmas, bringing on premature birth when left with no food.

    If Labour want my vote, then repeal the Pension Bills 2010-2014 (flat rate pension) and better what The Greens offer.

    Give me the Greens’ Full State Pension of about £10,600 per year, now at 60 (to those women who lost payout since 2013), and equalise in 2015 to men turning 60 this year, without the conditionality that leaves the poor, who only have the state pension as income in old age, with nothing at all.

    Give the poor mostly in work, with kids, and grannies left alone with nothing, the Citizen Income, and get their votes. The only way to get the Citizen Income is for all incomes to get it equally or jealously will bring it down.

    The Green’s Citizen Income and State Pension is to the level of the basic tax allowance, and then all other income is taxed at the 20 per cent of first tax band.

    Income tax only brings in 25p of each pound to government, and 75 per cent of all tax comes from stealth taxes and VAT (latter second biggest source of money to the state).

    Either push the basic tax allowance beyond the Greens’ Citizen Income and Full State Pension rate of around £10,600 (basic tax allowance tax year 2015-2016) Greens offered now, or make pensions from all sources tax-free until they hit above average wages.

    The Citizen Income could be bettered by putting more tax bands at the front of the basic tax allowance of rates 5p, 10p, 15p, and so on.

    The Citizen Income ends the 750 Jobcentres and their staff, and a lot of the Department of Work and Pensions management levels and all the private welfare contracts. And lots of all other costs within benefit admin, so putting all that wasted money into peoples’ hands. Ends Workfare, employment programmes delivering nothing, and all the other daft ideas costing ever more billions, especially to private companies, often paying nil corporation tax.

    The poor spend all their money, unable to hoard a penny every month.

    The over 60s are the main people shopping in town centres, so would create huge numbers of youth jobs on the high street.

    And the poor smoke more and drink more (not me, but others), which is almost totally taxed.

    I drive a car so fear The Greens’ tax regime upon my sole means of getting about.

    The Greens would up fuel duty, already over 60 per cent of tax and VAT on each litre of petrol.

    I would vote Labour if Labour put 65 per cent tax and VAT on the lowered fuel price now, and got rid of car tax (replacing the disc with a disc proving the car is insured provided by the insurance firms not government).

    Instead of talking about stuff you do not know and sniping at each other, out compete your competition.

    As Gandhi observed, People’s Politics Are Their Daily Bread.

  6. Callum

    Did labour vote to stop wasting millions on renewing Trident yesterday?
    Did the majority even bother showing up?
    The chamber was deserted for much of the debate, and when it came to the vote only 46.9% of Labour MPs bothered showing up. Not the first time that their attendance has been shameful (even when they’ve been standing up for the right thing).

    If everyone stopped voting for Tory-lite, maybe we’d actually see a valid opposition who’s policies are more like what people actually want, not just the (slightly) lesser of two evils.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Labour supports Trident. Why are you attacking a party for following its policy?
      Something people need to understand is that political parties don’t need to oppose each other on every line of policy; it simply isn’t possible. Rightly or wrongly, Labour agrees with the nuclear deterrent. That isn’t “voting for Tory-lite” because it’s Labour policy and has been for years.

      Why have you tried to twist this into a claim that Labour IS “Tory-lite”?

      1. Callum

        If they are truly trying to help the people whilst balancing the books, why would they waste so much money on Trident?
        Why would they (and others) not turn up to the debate on such a key issue? Nor is it out of character for them not to turn up to a debate.

        I absolutely agree that political parties need not disagree on every policy, but pumping millions into an ineffective “deterrent” whilst strapped for cash for worthwhile projects is morally repugnant, let alone what it says about the Labour party that they support funding a weapon which can only be deployed against civilians.

        I wasn’t trying to twist Trident into “Tory-lite”, they were two separate issues that came to mind whilst reading the article. I still haven’t see anywhere near enough from Labour to convince me that they, in their present form offer something that is anything but a lesser of two evils, and until they are able to present a better option I can’t in good conscience see me voting for them. (Particularly in Scotland – just look at the sudo-Tory they appointed as their Scottish leader)

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        One of the principle reasons for any government to exist is defence of the realm. Labour policy for this includes Trident. It’s as simple as that.
        What makes you say Trident can only be deployed against civilians? That’s very interesting and I’d like to see some documentary evidence about it.
        Regarding the “lesser of two evils” – Labour might argue that it is in a tight corner due to the selfishness of the bankers who caused the financial crisis (and remain unpunished by their friends in the Tory-run government) and the ineptitude of the Coalition, and for this reason the party must exercise caution. However, there are plans to expand the economy in a meaningful way (rather than George Osborne’s silly housing bubble) and there could be more, once Labour are able to examine the books and see what is available.

      3. Callum

        I could find documentation re Trident, but just using common sense, how can you possibly deploy nuclear weapons without slaughtering civilians?
        Yes some “baddies” might get caught up in the blast, but how can a weapon designed to be able to flatten whole cities (whilst throwing deadly radioactive material across the area) avoid killing majority civilians. It’s not as if those who are the (potentially) legitimate target are going to distance themselves hundreds of miles from the nearest civilians, and if they did there are far cheaper and more effective weapons to deal with them (humans are depressingly good at devising ways to kill each other). This is even before we consider that if just one missile is fired, the retaliations lead us to full scale thermo-nuclear war.

        Targeted killing of individuals is what conventional weapons are designed for, WMDs are (as the name suggests) designed for mass-destruction. Nuclear weapons – by design – kill en mass.

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        That is not what you were suggesting, though. Your words: “they support funding a weapon which can only be deployed against civilians”. I would certainly hope that no UK government would ever deploy a weapon of any kind, intending specifically to target civilians. Now you have modified your claim to say civilians would be the majority of those killed. But don’t you see that this deterrent is intended to stop those who would use similar devices to target our own civilians? That’s why it’s called a deterrent. It becomes much less politically-acceptable to advocate their use if your electorate knows they could be killed in the retaliation. That is precisely how the nuclear deterrent worked during the Cold War – Mutually Assured Destruction (accurately known as MAD).
        It may seem crazy to spend so much money on something that you hope never to use, but recent history makes it abundantly clear that the world is still full of lunatics who would happily deploy such devices; therefore Labour deems it necessary for the defence of the realm.

      5. Callum

        Well, if you count a weapon where 99.99% or so of the victims of any one strike to be civilians as anything but only able to be “deployed against civilians” then we have a very different outlook on wars.

        Yes, during the cold war MAD was realistic, but now is it still possible, or is a terrorist group using a nation’s weapons against them more likely, hard to say, but either way, I’d rather not have any part to do in MAD. Besides, if you look at how small a drop in the ocean Trident is wgt world nuclear arsenal – we’re totally insignificant. MAD happens with or without the UK, only whilst we keep them, more are aimed at us. Who are we actually deterring?

        This deterrent only works against a state (not a terrorist group, they’ve shown themselves happy to be blown up), so we are deterring against a state attacking us. The argument used by a Labour MP for Trident was laughable – If there really are things like that happening then it’s clearly not a deterrent, therefore purely a waste of money!

      6. Mike Sivier Post author

        It’s not my outlook; it’s Labour’s. I thought everybody knew I don’t approve of Trident.
        The argument that more weapons are aimed at us because we have it is countered with the argument that we don’t know any fewer will be aimed at us if we take ours away.
        As for terrorist groups being “happy to be blown up” – are you sure? They want some members to survive, otherwise they can’t win their fight. Still, it’s an interesting glimpse at the workings of your mind.
        The YouTube clip you mention also says much about your argument – it’s a single comment by a single Labour MP, and not indicative of the party’s overall policy or reason for having it.

      7. Callum

        and besides, in terms of only targeting civilians, those in power (the targets) tend to have bunkers to hide in, further preventing the “targets” getting killed, just civilians

  7. Joy Morby

    I do not understand where you’re coming from Mike. UK governments of both hues have been involved with wars where civilian casualties were in the majority.Afghanistan & Iraq.I’m extremely angry that I have to vote Labour in May.I would vote Green. They’re thinking of the future of our planet,thus giving future generations a more stable environment.But, unfortunately if I don’t vote labour I’m giving the tories a chance at number 10 again.Some democracy

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Is this about Labour’s nuclear deterrent? Don’t mistake my presentation of Labour’s case for support of it. It’s one of the policies on which we diverge. My understanding is that we can’t use Trident without permission from the Americans and, to my way of thinking, that’s a danger to a successful defence of the realm; another country can prevent us from using this weapon so there’s no good reason to have it.

  8. Dan

    Don’t support the Judean Popular Front, it means the Popular Front of Judea will lose to the Romans! Splitters!

    To split the left vote, labour would have to be a left wing party and assumes people will vote Green because they’re socialist, not environmentalist.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      So you’re saying neither Labour nor the Greens are left-wing?
      Good – can we all get on with attacking the Tories, then?

Comments are closed.