The candidates in the Conservative Party leadership election have been launching their campaigns today – and I’m sure their speeches make a lot of sense if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool, blue-rinsed Tory.
By a curious coincidence, the following social media post floated across my screen today and I wanted to share it. It says:
“While you were so worried Socialism would take your freedoms, Capitalism stole your pension, took your savings, sent your jobs overseas, robbed you of health care, dismantled the educational system, and put you in debt, leaving you only your racism, xenophobia, hate, & guns.”
The reference to guns suggests it wasn’t originally written for the UK, but the other words are entirely accurate. I would substitute “Conservatism” for “Capitalism” and add that it also sold all your public utilities – water, electricity, gas and others – to foreign firms.
None of the candidates in the Conservative leadership race will reverse any of the disasters listed here. They will worsen them. Remember that, as this election campaign goes forward.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
Perhaps even more jaw-dropping was the article’s comment that Ms Duncan was a card-carrying Conservative Party member and activist for more than 20 years before joining UKIP. Tom’s comment, “At least UKIP threw her out,” is more damning for the Tories than the Kippers.
Finally, it was back to The Critique Archivesfor a discussion of UKIP’s situation that, in fact, had a serious basis – even if it was filled with references to the farcical, such as Nigel Farage’s latest gig as an ‘expert-voice’ on European immigration for Fox News.
The verdict on Farage is triply damning. First, he is described thus: “As addicted to publicity as a crack-addict is to white powder”; then the article points out that the party’s leaders have been trying “to distance themselves from the air of xenophobia and, frankly, comedic stupidity that has pervaded the party since its earliest days, and that job is quite difficult enough when so many of its members are prone to making crass, opinionated and uninformed public gaffes. But the exercise is defeated altogether when Farage allows himself to be so expressly associated with a poisonous and ultra-conservative hate-receptacle like Fox News”.
Finally, we are told: “Even if we were to assume for the moment that Farage is telling the truth when he denies he is a racist or xenophobe, he never quite acknowledges an ugly related fact – that an awful lot of UKIP supporters are both.”
The solution? Farage needs to say, not only that he does not want racists in his party, but also that he does not want them to vote for UKIP either: “Until he does say it, the whiff of suspicion surrounding his own attitudes will remain”.
The dilemma is that the move “will cost him more support than it is likely to win him; anyone impressed by it is likely to vote for the Conservative Party instead (not that they are exactly racism-free themselves), while the easily-angered racist fringe will become disillusioned very quickly and desert in droves”. His support base is too divided – built “on racism and xenophobia in the first place”, it “has only grown due to large numbers of newcomers who know almost nothing about UKIP, but just like the ‘cool-sounding’ idea of voting for a new party”.
Bizarrely, this is one instance of UKIP getting something right: The image by UKIP’s youth branch, Young Independence, makes it clear that the party is opposed by the NUS. There is no mention of a ban.
Our friends at UKIP have been at it again.
What follows is mainly from the A Liberal Life blog, detailing UKIP’s attempt to claim the National Union of Students voted to ban the party from standing for election within that organisation, when in fact all the union did was declare that it formally opposed UKIP.
Daniel Stevens, NUS International Students’ Officer, explained the decision on the NUS website. He said UKIP made the arrival of Romania and Bulgaria in the European Union a central focus of its 2013 election campaign, “using fear, misinformation and xenophobic language. They claimed the move would [lead] to an influx of 350,000 to 400,000 Romanians and Bulgarians a year, claimed that it would have an enormous impact on public services and went as far as to say it would lead to a ‘gateway for organised crime’… I have met Romanian students at UK universities and colleges who have been absolutely demoralised in the way their country has been stereotyped and portrayed by UKIP. One student went as far as to say that they now felt ashamed to be Romanian in Britain. There is something fundamentally wrong and blatantly xenophobic about a party that is willing to demonise and stereotype an entire country for its own political devices.”
Moving on to immigration, he pointed out that the NUS represents more than half a million international students, and that he spoke to members of that group every week “who are incredibly fearful of what UKIP represents, and I don’t blame them. Along with UKIP’s entire manifesto, its policies on immigration are currently undergoing a review. Whilst it stresses that it wants a non-discriminatory immigration policy, there is no indication of what that might look like. What’s clear is that UKIP [is] content to use xenophobic language to get their point across. Its previous manifesto stated that ‘multiculturalism has split our society’ and ‘our traditional values have been undermined’. Its new poster strongly implies that 26 million unemployed Europeans are after British jobs. UKIP’s entire campaign is based on immigration policies. The language it uses is an ‘us vs them’ mentality. Farage has suggested that parts of the country have been ‘taken over’ by foreigners and claiming that this has come at a ‘financial’ and ‘social price’. UKIP [has] repeatedly refused to create policies, or in fact a campaign, based on verified evidence of the impact of immigration. Instead [it uses] negative buzz-words that play on people’s emotions to drive an agenda of division.”
Finally, he pointed to what he called UKIP’s “problematic membership”. He stated: “Whilst UKIP will defend itself as not being racist, almost each week brings another case of a party member standing for a position that harbours racist, islamophobic, disablist or homophobic views”. For example:
• The star of UKIP’s TV ad dismissed Ed Miliband as “a Pole,” tweeted islamophobic messages and said Africans should be left “to kill themselves.”
• A UKIP candidate called for Lenry Henry to “emigrate to a black country.”
• An MEP called for British Muslims to sign a non-violence charter.
• A UKIP candidate in Enfield sent messages saying gay marriage sickens people and made misogynistic comments about a female councillor.
• A UKIP candidate in Leeds listed Nazi war criminals as individuals who inspire him.
“These examples are just from a two week period.”
He concluded that some had claimed that NUS passing policy that opposed UKIP contravened free speech. “On the contrary. Students across the country have democratically voted to hold UKIP accountable [for] its actions and views,” he stated. “We must always be suspicious and vigilant against the politics of fear and any political party that is willing to use xenophobia to gain political influence.”
He made it clear that if anyone else from UKIP wanted to run for office in the NUS next year, they would still be entitled to do so.
Now you know the background, let’s get back to the dodgy dealings on A Liberal Life, where we are told that yesterday (August 3), UKIP “community spokesperson” Suzanne Evans tweeted that the NUS was a “leftie dictatorship” for “not allowing UKIP candidates to stand for election”.
Faced with the fact that no such ban exists, the response was, “Debate impossible with LiberalIsland [that’s the author of the blog] – clearly believes it’s fine to ban party that won last nationwide election.”
Then some supporters of this lady jumped in to, well, support her. None of them had an answer to the main point of fact and the best they could manage was a lame “the opposition is equivalent to a ban”.
This is the face of UKIP today. Yr Obdt Srvt has been enjoying (if that’s the word) a debate over UKIP’s opposition to a European Parliament resolution calling on member states to legislate against domestic violence including marital rape. The latest UKIP position is that they were right to oppose the EU resolution because the European Parliament is undemocratic (so does this mean their election win is not valid?) but it would be inconsistent with UKIP’s intent to regain democratic self-government to oppose the Welsh Government’s planned law on the subject.
Apparently the safety of women in the home is of no interest whatever. In fact, the correspondent made this clear by stating: “I suspect that the practicalities of enforcement will largely vitiate a well-intentioned measure. Rape and assault outside the home are not prevented by laws criminalising them.”
Clearly UKIP is perfectly happy to justify its inconsistencies by playing with words.
Bad taste in the mouth, Theresa? Not nearly as bad as the flavour that faced British citizens, wrongly accused of being illegal immigrants because of your race vans.
Anyone with an ounce of brain in their head knew the Home Office was going to be banned from using its advertising vans again – the ones telling illegal immigrants to “go home”, in the language of “knuckle-dragging racists”, as Owen Jones so memorably phrased it.
That is, anyone except everyone working at the Home Office, including the Secretary of State – Theresa May.
The authority also said the posters on the vans referred to inaccurate arrest statistics, claiming there had been 106 arrests in the area in the past week. The ASA said this was misleading as it did not relate to accurate arrest statistics for the specific areas where people would have seen the vans.
They were out in Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge, Barnet, Brent, Ealing and Hounslow – areas the Home Office believe many illegal immigrants live and work.
The report stated: “The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told the Home Office to ensure that in future they held adequate substantiation for their advertising claims and that qualifications were presented clearly.”
The ASA had received 224 complaints about the vans from individuals, campaign groups, legal academics and the Labour peer Lord Lipsey, who is from Vox Political‘s home constituency of Brecon and Radnorshire, we’re proud to say.
But in an impressive display of tightrope-walking the ASA said the van campaign was not offensive or irresponsible. While the “Go home” slogan had been used in the past to attack immigrants, its report said, the Home Office was now using it in a different context.
Oh! Well, that makes it perfectly acceptable, doesn’t it? Never mind the possibility that nobody seeing those vans in the street was ever likely to consider such a nuance, it was “unlikely to incite or exacerbate racial hatred and tensions in multi-cultural communities” because the intention was different!
What about the message implied by these vans – a message that was clearly pointed out by commentators at the time – that Conservative-leaning voters should treat with hatred, suspicion and contempt anybody who is not a white, Anglo-Saxon protestant?
What about the way they encouraged suspicion that another person may be an illegal immigrant?
What about the way the Home Office Twitter account spent the week-long pilot period in which the vans were traipsing round London tweeting messages about the number of illegal immigrants it wanted us to believe had been detected or turned themselves in? Can we believe those figures, if the number on the vans themselves was fake?
What about the photographs transmitted by the same Twitter account, of suspects who had been arrested, before they had been charged? Does anybody remember if any of these people were the white Anglo Saxons mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago?
What about the spot-checks at railway stations, where anybody who was not clearly white could be stopped by immigration officers wearing stab vests who demanded to see identification proving they were in the UK legally? How galling was it for British citizens – people who were born and raised in this country – to be faced by a flak-jacketed fiend who (it is claimed) became unreasonably aggressive when challenged over their right to behave in this manner without direct cause for suspicion?
What about the fact that the Home Office undermined its own arguments by being unable to reveal the different ethnicities of the people who were stopped – information that was vital in determining whether they had been breaking the law?
What about the fact that all of this effort was hugely out of proportion when considering the number of illegal immigrants it was likely to net? Forget forced labourers who are brought into the country but kept hidden by criminal organisations – these are not responsible for what happened to them and their cases are likely to be part of criminal investigations into the people holding them captive. Who does that leave?
And what about the possibility that this was not about illegal immigrants at all, but a sop to all those people – many of them Daily Mail readers, we expect – who believe that immigration of any kind is out of control? These are people who need to get to grips with the facts.As reported by this blog and others back in August, the UK has a lower immigrant population than almost any ‘developed’ nation; they are assessed via a points-based system, only seven per cent are asylum-seekers and only a third of asylum claims are accepted. They do not have access to most of the benefits available to UK citizens and what they do receive are nowhere near the same value. They are one-third less likely to claim those benefits, meagre as they are, than UK citizens.
The Unite union has been seeking legal advice over this matter, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission has also been investigating this. It will be interesting to see what they say.
But a rap on the knuckles over bad information is a good start. Naughty, naughty, Theresa May!
On the same day, the Home Secretary – along with Justice Secretary Chris Grayling – faced questions from two Lords committees on the UK’s 2014 opt-out from EU police and criminal justice measures, as part of a reopened inquiry.
If this opt-out is exercised, the Coalition government has listed 35 measures that it would seek to rejoin, and it is these that prompted the Lords to reopen their inquiries.
Parliament’s own website said they were likely to face questions on how they defined the national interest in selecting the 35 measures the UK would seek to rejoin, and whether the changes will break the UK’s obligations to European arrest treaties.
And there were questions to be answered on whether non-participation on measures dealing with xenophobia and racism (the issues at the heart of the matter with the advertising vans) sent an “unfortunate” signal to other EU member states that the UK, under a Conservative-led government, no longer regards those issues as important.
Fortunately for Theresa May, these proceedings do not appear to have been made public.
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