Griffin is finally legitimised. Thanks New Labour!


2:06 pm - June 8th 2009

by Aaron Murin-Heath    


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And so finally, fascist flabby arse-wipe Nick Griffin has achieved national political legitimacy by winning a seat at the European Parliament.

And guess what?

We put him there. The progressives. Or so-called progressives, anyway.

The New Labour project, that brave centre-left experiment to bring Clintonian Third-Way politics to a post-Thatcherite Britain, is over.

Yeah, Slippery Dave promises us pragmatic politics without “isms”, but we know that’s a crock to triangulate the Tories for the maximum haul of MPs at the next general election. Cameron will use his majority to remind us what a bunch of twat-necks the Tories are, and always have been.

I’m not a socialist. I’m a centre-left liberal. I believe in robust markets and social liberalism. Labour’s failure is not its adoption of Ordoliberalism, but its failure to deliver it.

The State has spent millions on management consultants, yet it has been proven incompetent at improving systems and controlling costs — two pillars of good management.

Look at the colossal clusterfuck that is tax-credits. Hard working families have found themselves repaying thousands back, because the system is convoluted, over-complicated and utterly mismanaged. Brown’s gargantuan tax-system is an operational catastrophe that has ultimately failed the working poor.

Then there is Labour’s abject failure to communicate to the working classes. New Labour’s kowtowing to the Murdoch press and its rabid commitment to spinning a narrative to the bloated middle classes, have ensured it no longer speaks directly to the poor and disenfranchised. Whenever a section of society is ignored and marginalised, the predatory fascist right move in to fill the vacuum. I predicted this years ago, as did many writers and commentators.

The final nail was the expenses scandal, which was a plague on all their houses. But it was Labour, with its huge majorities, which could have reformed the system — had they not been abusing it like alcoholics at a free-bar.

Our politics is broken, but the Labour Party is shattered. It’s on life-support and few people actually want to see it pull-through. If we forget tribalism for a second, wouldn’t the progressive cause actually be helped by the quick suffocation of The Labour Party?

We need to reclaim the conversation from the far-right. We need to address, both rhetorically and practically, the concerns of the working poor.

Progressive politics must have a carnival of ideas. We need to experiment with proven policies that have been successful across Europe and the world, and we must remain focussed on efficiency and delivery. These are lean times, but it doesn’t mean we can’t work towards better times.

Labour will lose the next general election, but it lost a commitment to progressive politics a long time ago.

See also… A contrarian but insightful response by Mr. Dillow at tygerland

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About the author
Aaron Murin-Heath is an occasional contributor. He is a writer based in Newark-on-Trent and Tallinn, Estonia. He is both socially and economically liberal. Aaron blogs at tygerland.net.
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Story Filed Under: Labour party ,Lib-left future

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Reader comments


Is it the North-South divide rearing its head? The BNP did well in the North West and Yorkshire/Humber but not so well in the south and particularly poorly in the South West. I’m moving to Cornwall!

Ah, but then again, UKIP did well there… Has the whole country gone mad?

But what could actually replace Labour and how long would it take?

“twat-necks” – is that a technical term?

Good piece though, I liked it a lot – despite being a Tory!

“twat-necks” – is that a technical term?

Indeed, it means “Tory”. ;o)

“If we forget tribalism for a second, wouldn’t the progressive cause actually be helped by the quick suffocation of The Labour Party?”

No.

Sorry, Aaron, but this is a terrible article.

We don’t know how the BNP’s support was made up – was they the ‘working poor’, or were they mainly amongst the unemployed or the middle class? former Labour voters? former Tory voters? what were the main issues they were concerned about? etc. etc.

I’ve read lots of these kinds of articles which argue ‘Labour failed because they did not adopt the policies which I personally support, and therefore are responsible for the success of the BNP’, but they contribute literally nothing of value to the discussion.

You may personally believe that tax credits are really bad, and that the ‘bloated welfare state’ is partly responsible for the rise of the BNP, but that is only relevant to this argument if you have some actual evidence that your personal views are shared by even a small percentage of the people who chose to support the BNP last Thursday.

I’ve read lots of these kinds of articles which argue ‘Labour failed because they did not adopt the policies which I personally support, and therefore are responsible for the success of the BNP’, but they contribute literally nothing of value to the discussion.

Sorry, don, but no – I’m not having that.

The BNP have thrived in exactly the sorts of regions that Labour abandoned. Indeed, many Labour MPs have warned of this.

Your the second Labour-supporting person today who’s tried to close down this debate, based on the suggestion that my opinion doesn’t matter. Weak.

My comments re. tax credits are operational ones (and therefore reflect a popular opinion that Labour are, well, a bit incompetent). Are you suggesting the system is robust and well-run? Also, as a former accountant, the tax system has become immeasurably more complicated under Brown.

Also, I would like to note that there are a great many honourable and hard-working Labour politicians. Lions etc.

I was once proud to be a campaigning Labour supporter. Maybe my frustrations and thoughts have some merit. Clearly you’d rather just dismiss them. Maybe that’s part of the problem?

Also, I don’t accept that just because the BNP’s vote actually shrunk, it somehow excuses Labour. That people felt they could no longer support the party, and decided to vote elsewhere or abstain in BNP battlegrounds, has pretty much the same effect.

But spin away, please.

I’m not a socialist.

Then, like New Labour, you’re part of the problem.

Then, like New Labour, you’re part of the problem.

Fair point.

Next!

Of the 291 councillors lost by Labour only three went to the BNP. That hardly amounts to a surge of the BNP at the expense of Labour.

If UKIP had got another thousand votes they would have kept out Griffin. Does that mean this is a failure of Euroscepticism as well?

Just because BNP candidates have succeeded in traditional Labour strongholds doesn’t mean that it is just because voters have just deserted Labour to the BNP. How do we know that Conservative voters dissatisfied with that party’s shift to the centre didn’t desert Cameron to the BNP?

I agree that Labour have lost touch with working class voters, but they’re not the only ones. The whole political class has lost touch with the public full stop. It’s too easy just to pin this all on the Labour party, whatever their failings.

I agree that Labour have lost touch with working class voters, but they’re not the only ones. The whole political class has lost touch with the public full stop. It’s too easy just to pin this all on the Labour party, whatever their failings.

Agreed. But aren’t UKIP a party of the right? Are we not seeing a swing away from progressive/leftist politics in working class areas? The Lib Dem didn’t capitalise, so the shift is decidedly rightward (as Dave Osler points out). This surely, is a failure of Labour?

People of the United Kingdom,

Don’t bother with protest votes, people will just ignore them anyway!

>>”‘Labour failed because they did not adopt the policies which I personally support, and therefore are responsible for the success of the BNP’,”

Despite the low numbers of seats (and votes) the BNP got, I think the failure is still with Labour. How did the BNP get in? Because people are out of money and Labour is only promising more of the same. Simple.

The BNP claimed they’d be centre-left financially, so a few more people went for it because “anything but Labour” is valid when you’re facing bankruptcy (and can presumably remember that the Tories won’t be any different.)

Is it a disaster? Oh hell yes. It’s appalling. But it was utterly predictable, and not due to the BNP suddenly becoming convincing or voters changing their mind to want racist policies. It’s about Labour’s failure, and money.

Are we not seeing a swing away from progressive/leftist politics in working class areas?

No, we’re seeing the overwhelming majority of voters in working-class areas staying home. We’ve been seeing it for quite a while and it has now grown to the level where the BNP is benefitting. We are seeing this because Labour has, for the past fifteen years, subscribed to a Thatcherite consensus and stopped offering progressive/leftist politics.

Hi Aaron,

Clearly your frustrations and thoughts have merit, particularly when it comes to how Labour could do more to appeal to former supporters and activists like yourself – but you still haven’t provided any actual evidence that the tax credits system or the ‘bloated welfare state’ have anything at all to do with why people voted BNP or why Labour voters decided to stay at home this time.

I don’t want to close down this debate, but I do think it will be more productive if it is evidence-based. I think that if you want to appeal to the working poor, then cutting welfare spending is just about the worst idea possible, but if you’ve got any anecdotes or data which suggest that this is a major cause of people voting BNP – I’m open to persuasion.

Saying that the debate should be “evidence focused”, under the logical assumption that a magical poll of most BNP voters isn’t about to appear, is an implicit attempt to “close down the debate”. If anyone knows that Ipsos MORI are working on a large-scale poll of BNP voters, feel free to correct me; but the last time I checked a debate over ideas is still allowed.

don,

Evidence? How about Labour’s collapse in former strongholds?

Other than that, I guess you go out and speak to people. I speak to a lot of unionised workers in the manufacturing sector. I’m constantly intrigued as to where they stand politically – they feel betrayed by Labour.

Whether they vote elsewhere or abstain, the result is the same where there is no viable alternative. These were protest votes dammit. Why can’t Labour people understand this?

There is a C4/yougov poll out covering this very question, amongst other things.

http://www.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/3681043/poll-suggests-that-bnp-success-was-due-to-labour-failure.thtml

Aaron/ Donpaskini

Some evidence to decode the culpability for the BNP for you taken from this yougov pol.

http://tinyurl.com/lodu4w

Our sample included almost 1,000 BNP voters

They were also more working-class. In the country at large, professional workers outnumber manual workers by 20 per cent to 18 per cent. Among BNP voters the pattern is very different: 36 per cent manual workers, 11 per cent professionals.

It is not money that marks BNP voters apart as much as their insecurity. Just 19 per cent of BNP voters are “confident that my family will have the opportunities to prosper in the years ahead”. This compares with 59 per cent of Labour voters, 47 per cent of Lib Dem and Green voters, and 42 per cent of Conservative voters.

But perhaps the most startling finding came when we tested anecdotal reports that many BNP voters were old Labour sympathisers who felt that the party no longer speaks up for them. It turns out to be true. As many as 59 per cent of BNP voters think that Labour “used to care about the concerns of people like me but doesn’t nowadays”.

Make of that what you will. The most telling statistic here I think is the one that expresses the feelings of marginalisation amongst BNP voters (19%). Although I didn’t quote it here, UKIP voters had similar feelings (28%). I suppose one could argue that after 12 years of a labour government, if anyone is feeling so marginalised, the blame can only be layed at the door of the government.

Aaron.

I enjoyed your piece. Whether we are left or right, I think we should agree that an overly bureaucratised state is not an efficient one.

Aaron:

No, suffocating the Labour Party wouldn’t help at the moment, nor is it likely to happen.

As things stands, only the wholesale withdrawal of financial support from the Trade Union movement could prompt a complete collapse and the unions are unlikely to move against the party at a time when, with the party likely to be in massively weakened state after the next election, they will scent the possibility to increasing the influence over the party in the post-election period.

Similarly, Clegg has already embarked for Fantasy Island if he genuinely thinks that the Lib-Dems will overtake Labour at the next election and become the main opposition party – although I doubt he really believes that anyway, it just made a nicely bit of post-election rallying the troops rhetoric.

Moreover, I very much doubt that the cock-up over tax credits was a significant factor in last nights events or that its played much part in boosting support for the BNP.

As far as the latter goes, I think the pivotal moment was Blair’s decision to take the populist Daily Mail line on immigration after the 2005 election – that’s where we dropped the ball and began to create an environment which helped to lend the BNP an undeserved veneer of credibility and respectability. Beyond that the reasons are complex and will take time to digest fully, but for noting the obvious, i.e. ‘it’s the economy, stupid’.

What is, however, clear is that if Labour goes down to a heavy defeat at the next GE – which looks extremely likely – then its from that position that work needs to begin on forging an effective liberal-left opposition to the Tories.

21. Richard (the original)

“New Labour’s kowtowing to the Murdoch press and its rabid commitment to spinning a narrative to the bloated middle classes, have ensured it no longer speaks directly to the poor and disenfranchised”

The problem is that you need the “bloated” middle classes to win an election. The old traditional Labour-voting working class has been shrinking for decades.

Richard (the original),

I agree. The centre is where elections are won and lost. But I don’t see why that means you have to stop selling yourself to low-income folk. Where would the Labour Party be without the union subs of factory workers etc.?

Unity is right, the Unions do have a chance of regaining control of Labour. For better or worse.

18/19 – thanks.

One statistic which leaps out for me from that is that 40% think that white people face unfair discrimination, higher than the proportion who think women, gay and lesbian or non-white people face discrimination. 77% of BNP voters think white people face unfair discrimination, and so do more than a quarter of Green Party supporters. It might also kill off one particularly tedious argument that 51% of their supporters think the BNP is right wing, and only 14% think they are left-wing.

@19:
Seriously, does anyone think Peter Kelner is a credible figure any more?

He tells us we tested anecdotal reports that many BNP voters were old Labour sympathisers who felt that the party no longer speaks up for them. It turns out to be true. As many as 59 per cent of BNP voters think that Labour “used to care about the concerns of people like me but doesn’t nowadays”.

He then goes on to say that 63% of the British public as a whole share that view. 63%! This means that, by his reckoning, we can say 63% per cent of Britons were old Labour sympathisers. If that’s the case, surely only voter fraud on an unprecedented scale can explain the 1980s.

I am very suspicious of people who switch from Labour to a neo-fascist party because they feel they have been “abandoned” by Labour. Isn’t that just a bit too easy? In fact, aren’t we being a bit too easy on people who choose to vote for a party whose membership consists of holocaust deniers, white supremacists and admirers of Hitler’s Germany?

No-one votes BNP without knowing what the party stands for. Even if BNP voters are not all racists, they are remarkably relaxed about giving their support to people who quite clearly are. The only conclusion we can really draw from this is that if current BNP voters were once Labour supporters, they never really understood what the Labour Party was (and I use the past tense advisedly) all about; or they are lying about ever having being Labour supporters.

If we want a different kind of Labour Party – and I get the feeling that most of us do – let’s not waste time on trying to win over people that vote for the BNP, let’s focus on those who currently stay at home on elections days.

Probably worth flagging up John Curtice’s analysis again:

0155 Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University says: The Labour Party were clearly the principal losers where the BNP’s vote went up most. In areas where the BNP vote went up by more than three points their vote was down by eight points, whereas where the BNP’s vote fell Labour’s vote fell by only five points. This three-point difference is much bigger than the equivalent statistics for the Conservatives and Lib Dems. In contrast, above-average UKIP increases in their share of the vote seemed to have hurt all of the Westminster parties. Thus, it seems possible that UKIP may have picked up some of the anti-Labour protest vote as well as pinching votes from the Conservatives.

Right wing or left wing, it looks as though the BNP is picking up most of its support in Labour areas and from Labour voters.

@23

Aside from women, there are many more white people than gays or non-whites so that stat isn’t surprising. I would suggest that if the number of women who self-identify is discriminated against is lower than 40% (I didn’t check the number), then that is a sign of an improvement in the enlightened state. a positive, no?

Can I suggest that we drop the left/right dynamic. Some policies are arguably right wing, some left wing. They argue for workers co-operatives. Show me any right wing manifesto that promises that.

@24

I wan’t commenting on the validity of the poll or its interpretation. Donpaskini asked for some facts and those were some that I found and offered comment free.

@25

If 81% of BNP’s supporters are feeling marginalised, I’m not sure that failing to address those concerns are going to help you with the stay-at-homes. If they are not just lazy, then they too are marginalised and are more likely to find solace in a BNP than in a major party not attuned to an increasingly perceived reality in some quarters of society.
——————————–

We should all rightly be critical of the leaders of this vile party, but should ignore the voters at our peril.

@27:
I wasn’t getting at you, I was just taking the opportunity to ridicule Peter Kelner.

also @27:
They argue for workers co-operatives. Show me any right wing manifesto that promises that.

I’m not sure it’s ever made it into any manifestos, but in the 80s more than one Thatcherite think-tank advocated the government helping workers form co-operatives as an alternative to nationalisation when private capital was not forthcoming, and some Thatcherite thinkers have recently started returning to the idea.

@cjcjc

What a terrible poll! I quote

Forty-six percent (46%) of all voters agree that “there is no real difference these days between Britain’s three main parties”.

But then they go on to say:

Overall, 63% of the British public think Labour used to care about their concerns – and only 19% think it does today. In contrast, just 29% think the Conservatives used to care about their concerns; this figure has climbed to 37% who think they care in the Cameron era.”

So voters do detect a difference then… But based on this spurious correlation, the article comes up with the suggestion that it’s Labour’s fault the BNP have two MEPs.

The better explanation I’ve seen is that extremists are more motivated to get out and go to the polling booth. Figures were higher when it was an all postal vote. So, with a poor turnout, the extremists just managed to swing into MEP territory based on relative numbers. It would be interesting to see who was the most apathetic.

@26
Right wing or left wing, it looks as though the BNP is picking up most of its support in Labour areas and from Labour voters.

Actually, their biggest gains were in the South East and East regions – both traditionally Tory. They won seats in two traditionally Labour regions, but as I have been pointing since the votes were announced, their votes actually feel in both regions. Once again: They aren’t picking-up support from Labour voters, they are benefitting from Labour voters staying at home.

Actually, their biggest gains were in the South East and East regions – both traditionally Tory

Hmm. Shall we look at some figures regarding the BNP’s gains?

London – change of the vote +.09 (-3.5)
South West – change of the vote +0.9% (-6.8)
West Midlands – change of the vote +1.1% (-6.4)
South East – change of the vote +1.4% (-5.4)
North West – change of the vote +1.6% (-6.9)
East of England – change of the vote +1.7 (5.8)
Yorks & Humber – change of the vote +1.8% (-7.5)
East Midlands – change of the vote +2.1% (-4.1)
North East – change of the vote +2.5% (-9.1)

Incidentally, I only looked at England there. In Wales the BNP were also up 2.5%, but then I suppose that is a traditional Tory area…

In Wales the BNP were also up 2.5%, but then I suppose that is a traditional Tory area…

It is now……..(so long as you discount the word traditional and insert very temporarily).

Shall we look at some figures regarding the BNP’s gains?

Yeah, why not?

East Mids +14,459
East Eng +31,456
London +10,268
NE Eng +2,451
NW Eng -2,765
SE Eng +36,892
SW Eng +17,236
W Mids +14,173
Yorks -6,399

As I said, the biggest gains – by far – were in the SE and East. Now you can argue that in the SE that’s mitigated by the sheer size of the constiuency – but both London and the NW are similarly large. But the East of England is one of those bang in the middle.

Keir Hardie, Nye Bevan, Neil Kinnock, are you listening Neil Kinnock? Your boys took a hell of a beating…

Incidentally, Tim J, if you look at the percentages you quoted (you’ve got both the BNP rise and the Labour fall, I see), do you notice that they don’t remotely match what John Curitce says in his analysis?

Keir Hardie, Nye Bevan, Neil Kinnock, are you listening Neil Kinnock? Your boys took a hell of a beating…

Kinnock I’ll give you, but both Hardie and Bevan would have long since defected to another party if they’d lived to see Blair and Brown.

39. WhatNext?!

The idea of the Lib Dems replacing Labour is interesting, and not impossible.

1) Yes it’s highly unlikely, but it can happen (after all, Labour had to replace the Liberals once, and did so during exceptional times).

2) The electorate is more ignorant and apathetic than ever before, but are now being re-engaged (by expenses and the economy). The electorate is open to persuasion and less likely than normal to vote as their parents did.

3) The Lib Dems don’t have “heartlands”, but this is all Labour has left at present.

Who knows?

35 – Of course that’s affected by the constituency size! When you’re looking at how well parties are doing, it’s the share of the vote you care about.

And the South East is substantially larger than any other constituency – turn out of 2.3 million compared to 1.6/1.7 million for the next largest.

@40:
When you’re looking at how well parties are doing, it’s the share of the vote you care about.

That’s the kind of analysis which is at the heart of the disconnect between the political class and the electorate. Turnout has been tumbling, and the political parties and the media have ignored this because all they care about is the share. If you look at the number of people voting for Labour in its heartlands, it lost 6 million voters between 1992 and 2001 alone – and those voters simply stayed home, other parties didn’t increase their votes in those seats. I think that went up to something approaching 9 million in 2005. That’s Labour’s core vote, and it disengaged from politics under Blair. Now Brown has lost the voters Blair won from the Tories and Lib Dems, there’s literally nothing left.

Curtice was looking at individual constituencies within the regions rather than the regions as a whole – as can be seen by the fact that he talks about the BNP gaining “more than three points” which they didn’t anywhere.

In fact our whole discussion is largely meaningless (no offence!), as regions like the South East vary from the definitely Tory Weald to the last few remaining die-hard Labour areas in Kent. What’s interesting is precisely where in these regions the BNP’s vote has increased the most.

I’d be very interested to see the regions broken down into more useful analytical blocks.

In the council elections, of course, the BNP’s councillors were all won off Labour.

I’d be very interested to see the regions broken down into more useful analytical blocks.

It would – and I would be very surprised if they bucked the trend (seen again in the recent council gains) of the BNP winning because the Labour vote doesn’t turnout, rather than because it switches.

44. the a&e charge nurse

Perhaps the Griffinheads have learnt a lesson or two from the meister of spin himself, Tony B.

The fortunes of the Labour party certainly picked up after Blair and his coterie of spin doctors (Gould, Campbell, Mandelson, et al) worked their electoral magic?

Certainly the BNP have raised their game since the shambolic days of Tyndall and the old National Front:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4670574.stm

Not that anyone is any doubt here about what the BNP represents but let’s remind ourselves of where the Griffinheads are really coming from:
http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/48136,features,the-sayings-of-bnp-leader-nick-griffin

I’ve been listening to people at work about who they would vote for and most would say the Tories but given the chance they would vote for the BNP which they did get the chance to in the Euro elections. This is in a warehouse picking and packing based in the Tory stronghold on the Daventry/Banbury border, so you would consider ourselves the Working Class. I feel if this was researched enough you would find that most votes for the BNP will be coming from the Tory Working Class and that a vast amount of the Labour Working Class just abstained.

@45:
Indeed. I can remember when the Conservative Party was proud of the existence of working-class Tories (such as my parents, who have indeed considered voting BNP in recent years). But for Tory bloggers, the goal of somehow seperating the BNP from the (accurate, universally-accepted) far-right tag is worth pretending such people simply don’t exist and Conservatism is for toffs and the middle class only. I can remember when it used to be left-wingers who made the mistake of thinking the working class was a uniform block that could be claimed by any one party.

“Similarly, Clegg has already embarked for Fantasy Island if he genuinely thinks that the Lib-Dems will overtake Labour at the next election and become the main opposition party – although I doubt he really believes that anyway, it just made a nicely bit of post-election rallying the troops rhetoric.”

He’s doing it purely to try and change perceptions. If the polls can say the Lib Dems are closeish to overtaking then he can try to put an end to the “wasted vote” rhetoric. You’re probably right, assuming nothing else bad happens to Labour, but it’s sensible to try and capitalise politically.

“No-one votes BNP without knowing what the party stands for. Even if BNP voters are not all racists, they are remarkably relaxed about giving their support to people who quite clearly are.”

Precisely. Politicians are now falling over themselves to say that BNP voters aren’t racist…they want the votes back so that’s sensible, but the reality is people are voting for a party that they know is acting at worst in a racist manner with racist intentions or at best in a racist manner with spiteful, childish, “you get to do it so why can’t I?” intentions. Ignorance is most certainly not a defence, not while there are no shortage of other non-racist parties that still wish to restrict immigration.

No-one votes BNP without knowing what the party stands for.

I don’t doubt they know what the BNP stands for. That’s why it’s such a shocking(!) protest vote.

49. Chris Baldwin

“If we forget tribalism for a second, wouldn’t the progressive cause actually be helped by the quick suffocation of The Labour Party?”

I don’t care a damn for the progressive cause. I care about the socialist cause and I don’t think the collapse of the Labour Party would do that any good at all. The Lib Dems would probably fill the gap and we’d become like Canada, with the left as the third party.

As many predicted the BNP’s rise a few days ago:

http://armchairnews.co.uk/2009/05/23/whos-afraid-of-the-bnp/

The BNP are not the problem, odious as they are. It’s Labour, who have promoted racist policies the hard right can only dream about. The centre left need to wake up to this brave new world. This is democracy, and the people (of the North) have spoken…

I don’t care a damn for the progressive cause. I care about the socialist cause and I don’t think the collapse of the Labour Party would do that any good at all. The Lib Dems would probably fill the gap and we’d become like Canada, with the left as the third party.

That, Chris, is a completely valid point. But I adopted Labour as a centre-left/ordoliberal party. Clearly I have no place in the modern party or the historical one, but was merely seduced by Blair and his Clintonesque rhetoric. Damn him!

#49: The Lib Dems would probably fill the gap and we’d become like Canada, with the left as the third party.

The UN’s “Human Development Index 2008” ranks Canada 3rd (the UK comes 21st).
In the Economist’s “Most Livable Cities 2008”, Vancouver came first and Toronto fifth (no UK entries in Top 10).
In Mercer’s “Quality of Living Survey 2009”, Vancouver came fourth (no UK entries in Top 10).
The “Economist Intelligence Unit’s quality-of-life index, 2005” ranks Canada as the 14th best place to live in the world (the UK slides in at 29th).
Compared to the UK, Canada has higher life expectancy, a higher literacy rate and better income equality.

Remind me why “becoming like Canada” would be a bad thing?

Put it this way: it is not just the policies of Labour (the New prefix is unnecessary, Labour IS New Labour) that have disillusioned people and put them off giving a shite about politics, but also the style and manner in which they have governed the country these past 12 years. From the early days of Blair right through to today, Britain has become a thoroughly depoliticised country.

Remember, the BNP won not because they had a huge increase in support but because Labour’s support evaporated. Obviously those people who stayed at home, their fat asses perched on their credit-purchased couches whilst watching live footage of Big Brother and endlessly replaying clips from Britain’s Got Talent on YouTube, would never have come out and vote for Labour because no one in their right mind could vote for Labour after all the betrayals and the corruption they’ve let run amok during their time in power. But they could’ve got out and voted.

The rise of crappy reality TV, Heat magazine, public outpourings of grief and all the other bollocks is roughly analogous to the history of this Labour government.

Aaron, if you believe the market can deliver progressive outcomes, I think you’ve seduced yourself more than Blair seduced you. 😉

Gregg, I think you’re both right and wrong. I live in Yorkshire. Up here, the BNP vote is strongest in Labour wards, and weakest in traditionally Tory wards.

I attended the Calderdale count, and spent most of my time watching the boxcount for my district (a Tory/Lib Dem marginal). BNP vote was negligible, UKIP vote was high, I thought we were going to take 2nd place. But then I wandered the hall, and saw the box counts for the areas where Labour are strongest.

The BNP vote there was massive. The results are available by local authority, and I will be digging into it to do a full analysis over the next few weeks, but from what we saw as results came in, the BNP vote grew the most in Labour’s rotten boroughs.

When the other parties abandon an areas because it’s “safe Labour” and they can’t afford the resources to campaign there, the BNP move in. They doubled their vote %age and the numbers went up in Barnsley, for example. In the areas of the SE and London where you’re right to observe the total votes cast did go up, they did so in areas where Labour has traditionally been fairly strong, especially east end boroughs like Barking and Dagenham.

The answer, of course, is to ensure that another party moves back in to areas abandoned, as the Lib Dems have done in Burnley, by giving voters a valid alternative they took 5 out of the 6 wards. The BNP still got one of them, but without the massive effort put in, it would likely have been all 6.

It’s a mixture of different reasons, naturally, it’s not just “Labour voters switching” nor is it “Labour voters staying at home”. Some of those voting BNP are simple racists who’ve always voted for a different party before but in a list PR system go back to their natural home. Some are old Labour supporters, etc.

For those above that doubt the “66% used to think Labour represented them”, that’s not 66% were old Labour, that’s people thinking that the 1997 “big tent” included them as part of it. I definitely did. I got disillusioned in 1998 when Blair used the Parlt Act to force through closed list PR, but still voted Labour in 2001.

Now I’m branch chair in a Lib Dem target ward that, in 1997, was held by Labour, they’re now a distant 3rd. Labour used to speak for me, it used to speak for a broad church. In office, it’s abandoned both its core and the liberal left. The latter have come to the Lib Dems, the former are either staying at home or voting elsewhere. Unfortunately, some of them are for the BNP.

Unity:

I think the pivotal moment was Blair’s decision to take the populist Daily Mail line on immigration after the 2005 election – that’s where we dropped the ball and began to create an environment which helped to lend the BNP an undeserved veneer of credibility and respectability

You’re partially rigth, but in the two regions where they won seats, they did so on a decreased number of votes from 2004. So they didn’t pick up any new voters this time around, so it can’t be explained by events that happened since then.

@55:
Some of those voting BNP are simple racists who’ve always voted for a different party before but in a list PR system go back to their natural home. Some are old Labour supporters, etc.

Some of the people voting BNP are old Labour, yes. Some of them are New Labour. Some of them are Tory. Some of them are Lib Dem. The notion that the BNP attract a disproprtionate number of switches from Labour rests purely on the notion that the Labour Party and the working class are effectively synonymous, and that because an area has traditionally elected Labour representatives, everyone in that area must be Labour.

And on Unity’s point – surely Blair took the Mail’s line on immigration long before 2005. I was working in immigration around 2000, and the over-riding concern then was how to shut-down the asylum system in response to negative tabloid coverage of asylum seekers (up to the point that, allegedly under direction from Straw himself, there was an attempt to remove the “human factor” from considering asylum applications and leave it all up to a points system).

The BNP vote there was massive. The results are available by local authority, and I will be digging into it to do a full analysis over the next few weeks, but from what we saw as results came in, the BNP vote grew the most in Labour’s rotten boroughs. ~ MatGB

I hope you do look at those results. I’m not a detail guy – I’m more visceral, I go in for heart-felt anger and disillusionment (backed up by admittedly anecdotal evidence) – but I’m pretty sure the stats will confirm my piece (when analysed in detail).

I’m no Lib Dem’r. I’m just a pissed off former Labour member/campaigner/voter.

As you’ve undoubtedly noticed by now, my ‘planned vs actual’ track record isn’t good. But I think this one has to be done.

At the moment, evidence suggests that a disproportionate number of BNP votes came from traditional Labour voting areas/wards, and is indicative that their campaign to portray themselves as “what Labour used to be” has been vaguely successful.

I have no doubt that they’ve picked up voters from all other parties, and from the “won’t vote/none of the above” party as well, but my suspicion based around doorstep experience is that a disproportionate number is traditional white aspirational working class Labour voters. I suspect many of them might’ve previously voted Tory, especially in Yorkshire, back before Thatcher made the Conservatives a pariah party during the miner’s strike (and that visceral hatred runs deep in some areas around here, very scary).

But between the 80s and now, they’ve been Labour voters, and I suspect once Labour is out of office, many will go back, but that’s all suspicion.

It might need to be a crowdsourced research project, I’ll start looking into it and post when I’ve got my head around it.

I definitely blame Blair’s forcing this voting system on us though, STV would’ve seen them off easily.

60. Planeshift

What do you mean by ‘out of control’?

do you mean: (a) More immigrants than I would have liked came into the country, (b) not enough immigrants for my liking came into the country.

Surely “out of control” would imply that large (or unmonitored) immigrant numbers have some sort of negative effect on this country? Because that hasn’t actually been seen.

62. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

@62 – He doesn’t mean anything, he overheard it at the day centre and now wanders up and down Dunstable high street with a Tesco trolley full of dolls heads mumbling it to himself.

Though it is amusing to watch him being reduced to the state of some giberring HYS lunatic wibbling on about how his oh so edgy and inflammatory views are being censored and of course the ruthless censors are nice enough to let us read all about it.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot – PUBLISH THIS IF YOU DARE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111111.

63. sevillista

@newmania

Of course Immigration having been out of control for years might have a teeny part to play in it ..

I think immigration of British citizens to foreign countries is out of control – the BBC says that there are 5.5 million of these immigrants around the world.

761,000 of these live in Spain. They refuse to learn the language. They refuse to assimilate into the culture. And they make enclaves for themselves, making large parts of the south coast of Spain feel like a foreign country to Spaniards and spreading fear throughout law-abiding Spaniards with their strange fondness for drinking excessive alcohol and fighting. Many of these read the Daily Mail and whinge about how immigrants are turning the UK into a foreign land without the slightest bit of self-consciousness.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/in_depth/brits_abroad/html/default.stm

Or is this a one-way problem, because British culture is superior, or British immigrants are ‘good immigrants’ or some other bizarre argument?

Rayyan #53:
“Obviously those people who stayed at home, their fat asses perched on their credit-purchased couches whilst watching live footage of Big Brother and endlessly replaying clips from Britain’s Got Talent on YouTube, would never have come out and vote for Labour because no one in their right mind could vote for Labour after all the betrayals and the corruption they’ve let run amok during their time in power. But they could’ve got out and voted.”

Abso-bloody-lutely.

I lived in York for 4 years (’87-’91, ahh, the fond memories of the old NF skinheads trying to stage their ‘wreath laying’ ceremonies at Clifford’s Tower), and I’d personally like to give all the f@cking “stay-at-home” ‘traditional Labour’ voters a damned good slap. Except I haven’t got the time, but still…

Of course, I doubt anyone was taking the time on the doorstep to explain that if people stayed at home, it would be easier for the BNP to get in, so even if you wanted to see the government humiliated, *please* could you at least vote for someone else… 🙂

Of course, up here in Scotland, the BNP only got 2.5% of the vote (up 0.8% mind), and UKIP only just over double that (but down 1.5%)…yet another argument for independence, methinks :-))

(oh, just in case anyone tries to resurrect the old “SNP=Tartan BNP” smear – even for ‘wind up the Jock’ value – you’re being very silly, there are plenty of voting stats to disprove that tired nonsense, and nyaah! boo! sucks! so there…)

F@cking lazy Labour sheep.

(just felt it was worth saying again)

We put him there. The progressives.

Personally I blame the people who voted for him.

Oh look(!), it appears a simple scan of this, proves that indeed the BNP have penetrated Labour areas in particular.

Is that enough evidence for you?

67. Claire Young

Hey here’s a thought: Perhaps the BNP got voted for because its what people want! I know, I know, obvious 😉

I find quite ironic that the left think they can do exactly what they castigate the right for. Hypocritical? I think so!

Claire Young,

Maybe you’re right. After all, the BNP have a long history of uninterrupted electoral success… oh right, they don’t. Maybe it was a protest vote, after all.


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  1. Steven Stockham

    Liberal Conspiracy » Griffin is finally legitimised. Thanks New … http://bit.ly/AoXTm

  2. Steven Stockham

    Liberal Conspiracy » Griffin is finally legitimised. Thanks New … http://bit.ly/AoXTm

  3. Aaron Murin-Heath

    @timalmond Indeed, that’s what I wrote about yesterday. http://tr.im/nVMS





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