Tag Archives: patriotism

Fake Labour: Starmer should know obsequious flag-waving and a haircut won’t fool voters

Fake: Jeremy Corbyn had authentic Labour policies; Keir Starmer has a flag, a haircut, and a face that looks more like Frank Spencer than Gavin Williamson’s.

A leaked internal strategy presentation suggests Keir Starmer’s Labour Party is hoping to win back voters with exaggerated patriotism, smart suits (and haircuts), and the exploitation of veterans.

There seems to be no suggestion that Starmer should try to present his hollowed-out sub-Tory party as actually standing for anything. “Labour” seems to be be nothing more than an old title that no longer has any significance at all.

The presentation itself is based on the findings of focus groups, showing that the general public no longer has any idea what – or who – Labour is supposed to represent and thinks that Starmer’s position on any subject is to sit on the fence.

And he’s considered to be the party’s “biggest positive driver”!

It seems Starmer is trying to find a way to present himself and his fake Labour as “authentic”. In short: it’s a blueprint for lying to the nation.

Obsequious flag-waving nationalism isn’t going to cut any mustard with Labour’s core voters, though – for reasons that Clive Lewis, an MP who served with the armed forces in Afghanistan, has made clear:

“It’s not patriotism; it’s Fatherland-ism. There’s a better way to build social cohesion than moving down the track of the nativist right.

“The Tory party has absorbed Ukip and now Labour appears to be absorbing the language and symbols of the Tory party.”

His critique is mild. Here are a few more:

And here’s an answer to the whole sorry mess:

Source: Leak reveals Labour plan to focus on flag and patriotism to win back voters | Labour | The Guardian

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No policies, no direction, no hope: Theresa May’s speech showed the Tory Party is in its death agonies

How times change: No security, no stability in 2018 – and the only opportunity for Theresa May’s political group is to die.

Things have come to a pretty pass when the most useful part of Theresa May’s speech was the silly attempt at a dance at the start.

Still, I suppose we should consider what she said and what it meant.

Don’t get your hopes up.

Patriotism

After the usual flannel you get at the start of speeches, Mrs May gave us a lot more flannel about the centenary of World War One and the patriotic sacrifice of those who laid down their lives for their fellows.

It was a bit much, coming from her.

Because Theresa May knows very little about patriotism – as Arthur Snell laid out in a series of tweets:

https://twitter.com/SnellArthur/status/1047420015849484289

https://twitter.com/SnellArthur/status/1047420020064751616

https://twitter.com/SnellArthur/status/1047420024154206208

https://twitter.com/SnellArthur/status/1047420029262860288

https://twitter.com/SnellArthur/status/1047420056429314048

Compassionate politics

She said: “No party has a monopoly on good ideas. That getting things done requires working together – within parties and beyond them.

“When our politics becomes polarised, and compromise becomes a dirty word, that becomes harder.

“We have in our hands the power to set a standard of decency that will be an example for others to follow.

“Let’s say it loud and clear: Conservatives will always stand up for a politics that unites us rather than divides us.”

That was a bit much, too:

Labour and Jeremy Corbyn:

She went to town on Her Majesty’s Loyal Party of Opposition and its leader, with claims that every Labour Government left unemployment higher than they found it, ran out of other people’s money to spend, left the economy in a mess. False claims – for example, Labour has spent far less of other people’s money than the Conservatives, and Labour has paid back more of it than the Conservatives ever did.

She lied that the heirs of the old Labour Party were sitting on the back benches while something called the “Jeremy Corbyn Party” was in charge. Mr Corbyn’s politics is classic Labour; the charlatans are the so-called “moderates” who Mrs May would far prefer to face because their beliefs are far too similar to hers.

And she repeated a few of the lies that have been circulating recently, such as that in which “a leading Labour MP says his party is ‘institutionally racist'”.

Sajid Javid:

The following tweet is self-explanatory:

The National Health Service

Apparently Conservatives have looked after the NHS for most of its life. That is probably why it is currently being run into the ground and privatised by stealth.

Austerity

Mrs May said: “A decade after the financial crash, people need to know that the austerity it led to is over and that their hard work has paid off.”

This is a lie. Her own Chancellor, Philip Hammond, announced he was sticking with austerity in his own speech to the same Conservative Party Conference at which Mrs May spoke those words.

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1047479981364981761

Savings

Mrs May tried to tell us that her government will help ordinary people with the cost of living. This at a time when there is more in-work poverty than anybody living can remember, when child poverty is at a record high, when wage increases have been artificially depressed to make more money for the rich and when savings are at an all-time low.

She chose this moment to say: “The difference it makes to have a little bit of money left to put away at the end of each month isn’t measured in pounds and pence,” and to claim the Tory Party exists for these people, and instituted measures like the National Living Wage (a misnomer as it doesn’t cover the cost of living, and not a Tory innovation as it is based on Labour’s minimum wage), the extension of free childcare (which is failing) and the freezing of fuel duty to help them. It is more accurate to say she believes these people exist for the benefit of the Tory Party.

Our best days are ahead of us

Finally, Mrs May pleaded with her audience to join with her in another whopper: “I passionately believe that our best days lie ahead of us and that our future is full of promise.”

Last word

What are we to make of all this, other than that Mrs May did not come out with any solid policies at all in more than an hour of oratory. She mentioned a plan to improve cancer diagnosis that had been trailed already, and that she was lifting the cap on local government borrowing in order to allow councils to build more houses – but local authorities are already going into debt and it seems more likely that they will need the money for other purposes.

I thought the whole speech was just one lie after another, embedded in a series of meaningless platitudes.

And I notice that another person who was deeply unimpressed appeared to be former Chancellor Kenneth Clarke*, who didn’t even bother to hang around and listen:

He had the right idea. Theresa May’s speech showed the Tory government is leaderless and in crisis. But this time, with an aging membership and voter base, it has nothing left to do but die.

*Alas, it seems likely this was a parody account.

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We have an Education Secretary who wants to overwrite history with lies

– Having failed to find a video clip, here’s an audio version of the scene in Blackadder Goes Forth, in which Captain Blackadder explains to Private Baldrick how World War I began. Michael Gove questions its accuracy but it seems correct, according to the history I learned at school.

If anybody doubted it before, now we can be certain: Michael Gove does not want schools to teach facts – he wants your children to learn jingoistic propaganda. By rote.

We can deduce this from his extraordinary attack on one of Britain’s most revered TV comedies, Blackadder Goes Forth.

He said the show (which, as we all know, mixed some of the best verbal humour of the 1980s with searing social commentary and arguably the most moving ending of any TV comedy at all) peddled left-wing “myths” about the First World War, “designed to belittle Britain and its leaders”.

According to politics.co.uk, Gove said the popular series had sought to denigrate British patriotism and had been used by “left wing academics” to portray the British war effort as a “shambles” led by an out-of-touch elite (so in that way, one assumes, the war was run much as the entire UK is today).

“Our understanding of the war has been overlaid by misunderstandings, and misrepresentations which reflect an, at best, ambiguous attitude to this country and, at worst, an unhappy compulsion on the part of some to denigrate virtues such as patriotism, honour and courage,” the article quoted from his article in the Daily Mail.

He’s wrong, of course. Putting patriotism to the side (it is arguable whether that is a virtue), honour and courage are celebrated by Blackadder; there is no lack of it in the lead characters. Blackadder is perfectly willing to help the war effort by foiling a spy in one episode, for example. Lieutenant George is full to the brim with ideas about honour, courage, fair play and Britishness. Even Baldrick does his bit (although he probably doesn’t understand why). The point of the show is simply that the title character is not willing to lead the men for whom he is responsible into certain death.

“The conflict has, for many, been seen through the fictional prism of dramas such as Oh! What a Lovely War, The Monocled Mutineer and Blackadder, as a misbegotten shambles – a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite,” Gove continued.

“Even to this day there are Left-wing academics all too happy to feed those myths.”

In fact, there are academics of all kinds happy to feed these notions because they are based on facts, rather than the ramblings of Mr Gove’s deluded mind.

It is, frankly, terrifying that a man with such ludicrous and – in context – dangerous views may hold the position of Secretary of State for Education.

Gove went on to claim that the war was a “noble cause” and a “just” conflict against the “social Darwinism” of the Germans.

Social Darwinism, for those who don’t know, is the attempt to apply the concepts of natural selection and survival of the fittest to politics; it argues that the strong should see their wealth and power increase while the weak should see it decrease.

It is strange that Gove should attract attention to this theory, as its strongest supporter in today’s Britain is his cabinet colleague, Iain Duncan Smith. Coalition policies on social security are clearly based on this principle yet Gove has never raised a whisper of protest against them.

Gove went on to say the war “was seen by participants as a noble cause”. Of course it was – they were fed a constant stream of propaganda by their commanders, in order to ensure their co-operation and keep their spirits up. This did not mean soldiers could not use their own eyes and ears to work out what was going on, and repressive behaviour by authorities at the army camp in Etaples led to the mutiny of September 1917, dramatised in the novel (and BBC TV series) The Monocled Mutineer, which attracted considerable criticism at the time of transmission (1986) for alleged left-wing bias.

It is worth noting that questions in Parliament after the novel was published led to the revelation that all records of the Etaples Board of Enquiry, where the mutineers were tried, had been destroyed long before.

And Gove ridiculously claimed that the Battle of the Somme – which the politics.co.uk article claimed has become a byword for futile and indiscriminate slaughter, was a vital “precursor” to victory. In fact it was nothing of the sort. The Germans gave up because the failure of one offensive after another had left their troops severely disillusioned and their country in danger of revolution – which in fact took place shortly before Armistice Day.

You have much to fear from an administration willing to have a man like Michael Gove running its schools.

He would rather tell your children lies than let them learn the truth; it might give them political ideas that disagree with his own.

His comments are yet more proof that we have a government built on lies.

How are we going to change it?

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Whatever happened to patriotism?

I was just watching a TV discussion about the debate over dropping the 50p tax rate, and the attitude of the Tories seems very strange to me.

Firstly, the party of patriotism seems to be suggesting that Great British people should all prefer to leave these shores, rather than pay the current top rate, which doesn’t strike me as being very patriotic at all.

“Breathes there a man with soul so dead, he never to himself has said, ‘This is my own, my native land’,” – unless he has to pay the top tax rate, in which case he should scarper to foreign parts, apparently.

Also, this only emphasizes the fact that most of us are tax prisoners here; we can’t afford to up stumps and hightail it abroad, and many countries wouldn’t have us because we wouldn’t have unique skills that they’d want to employ.

Equally important is the fact that they seem to be saying a lower rate would encourage people to immigrate to the UK.

Aren’t they the people who are critical of immigration? Don’t their supporters want fewer foreigners coming to Blighty and taking advantage of the system? They might say it’s okay if they’re contributing, but they would be contributing less and benefiting just as much.

I was born in the UK; I live here and I expect to die here, paying the rate of tax set for my pay grade by the government. It’s one of many ways in which I contribute to my country – part of my patriotic duty as a citizen, if you like.

If the Conservatives are suggesting higher earners – who are more likely to support them – will do the unpatriotic thing if they are asked to do their bit, then they are not the party of patriotism.

Perhaps it’s time someone else took that mantle off them.