What exactly is Labour’s election narrative?


9:00 am - January 12th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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Possibly the worst news to come out of the failed H&H coup, for Labourites, is that Gordon Brown has been forced to expand his team of ‘election campaign chiefs’. Sure, Brown is in a weak position, but any political team should never let a range of people decide election strategy or messaging.

At this point New Labour needs one strategy and one clear message. Then it needs ministers to repeat that message endlessly in the context of their policy announcements. The political anoraks can find the policy detail if they want; for the 10-second attention span of BBC News @ 6 viewers – the message has to be coherent and repetitive (so it be internalised). That’s the way it is.

The problem with these extra chiefs is that not only will they send out mixed messages, but it gives the media an opportunity to run the narrative that senior ministers are in-fighting over the election message. They’ve been doing this for a while anyway.

I’ve said this repeatedly and I’ll say it again – there’s only one viable election strategy and that is the class war strategy. Labour should ignore the right-wing press and the Guardianistas, the polls bear me out.

The most worrying finding for the Tories is that Mr Cameron is seen to be on the side of the rich over ordinary people, by 50 to 42 per cent. By contrast, Mr Brown is seen as 64 per cent for ordinary people and 26 per cent for the rich.


From the Times yesterday. This remains the only area where Labour is still ahead and can play to its advantage.

The free latops scheme isn’t a bad idea but where was the word ‘privilege’ Mr Balls? I don’t care if the party publicly states that it hates the class-war strategy: it needs to push the narrative that Labour is for the ordinary people while Cameron isn’t. It gets Cameron (and right-wingers generally) rattled and is their most popular and coherent message. They need to use it.

Two side notes.
As I predicted, there has been no obvious fall-out from the weekend revelations by Peter Watt. People on the street rarely pay attention to such Westminster bubble back-stabbings.

Secondly, I think Nick Clegg is making a huge mistake by dropping the pledges. Once the economy recovers we’ll be back to the economic position we were in (albeit with a nominal deficit). But the Libdems are now open to the charge that if they knew these policies were unsustainable they should have axed them ages ago and not just in a recession (the economy will recover sooner or later, and signs are by next year we should be in full recovery mode). Dropping these pledges takes away the incentive for many progressives who cared about those issues to vote Libdem.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Economy ,Labour party ,Media ,Realpolitik ,Westminster

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Reader comments


1. Mike Killingworth

Sunny, your last paragraph is completely wrong and in particular

Once the economy recovers we’ll be back to the economic position we were in (albeit with a nominal deficit… the economy will recover sooner or later, and signs are by next year we should be in full recovery mode).

1. The deficit is not “nominal”. The policy problem is that its size does not matter in absolute terms but only relative to that of other similar economies. Cameron clearly takes a far gloomier view of this than Brown does – neither has or can have anything like real evidence to support their position because we’re talking about the future.

2. We will not go back to where we were because the jobs that were lost in the recession will be recreated not in the UK but in China and the Subcontinent. Indeed, it is perfectly possible that jobs will continue to be lost no matter what the economy does – the global labour market means that the positive correlation between the level of economic activity and the level of employment will hold only in those economies with lower than (global) average wages. Nor is it of any use trying to “skill up” the workforce through education because everyone else is also doing that and most other cultures exhibit a higher regard for education than ours does.

3. The combination of public sector cuts (including cuts in pensions and the marketisation of social housing rents) with employment trends will lead to social tension at best and most likely chronic unrest. (It is probably only the latter which will stop Cameron’s austerity programme.) However if capital decides that these measures are a prerequisite of its own survival it will not hesitate to organise a putsch. See you in the football stadium, comrade.

2. Biffy Dunderdale

Please, please go for the Class War strategy.

Well Clegg isn’t saying he’s “dropping” anything from his main policy book, only that they won’t be able to achieve them in one parliament. And quite frankly the accusation that they shouldn’t have them on the books if they are “unsustainable” is absurdly disjointed with the changing face of the economy in this country. But hey, while headlines about the Tories and Labour are generally positive with their “determination to cut public spending” and get us out of a rut, when Lib Dem’s actually come out and say what will have to happen on the policy side of things to make that happen they get negative headlines about plans being shelved or dropped!

It’s pathetic, and if people looking for another party can’t see the progressiveness in a party that is still determined to redress the tax system in the favour of the poor, that is determined to continue investing in education rather than squeezing it, that has always been, and is still, determined to push through electoral reform…well, then perhaps they’re not as progressive as they would like to think?

But perhaps I’m mistaken, perhaps progressiveness, for example, is just forcing voters to choose from all woman short lists?

4. astateofdenmark

3

What does ‘progressive’ mean this week?

Sunny, I think you are wrong about Clegg.

“Once the economy recovers we’ll be back to the economic position we were in (albeit with a nominal deficit)”

No. No. No. We will be in a position that is 5% worse, structurally. That is £80bn if we are optimistic, and with the backwash of a giant recession to deal with. The voting public will understand this, sooner or later: sooner than Gordon Brown, I sometimes think. Once the economy recovers, we have to adjust all the 2002-7 spending plans toward a new reality. If the Lib Dems do not demonstrate that they are up to this task, they will not be trusted.

I’m praising Clegg to the skies on my blog, as is the Guardian in their leader.

4. Not what Labour supporters have attempted to transform it in to meaning over the last few years.

once the economy recovers we’ll be back to the economic position we were in (albeit with a nominal deficit).

What on earth does this mean? Does it mean once we come out of recession? In that case, we’ll be approximately 5% short of where we were (and with a thumping great £175bn annual deficit, which is not nominal…). Or does it mean once the economy recovers to the point where the losses of the recession have been recovered. In which case, it’s not just the deficit that’ll be the problem (and if it’s really only nominal by then, then well done us). It’ll also be the trillion pound debt, the costs of servicing which will weigh down the economy like lead boots.

Back to economics class I think.

And as to class war, what is the point of this strategy? If it is to shore up a crumbling core vote, then there probably is some mileage in it, repugnant as it is. If the intention is to remain largest party, or even to hold the Tories to a hung parliament (the prospect of a Labour majority is now laughably remote), it’s a bust. It makes Labour look like Spartist losers.

We can pass lightly over the risible nature of a class war strategy fronted by the niece of the Countess of Longford, we can even ignore the role played by a cabinet a third of which went to private school, but ultimately the only person who shows either the enthusiasm or the aptitude for a class war attack is Ed Balls. An election campaign with lots of Ed Balls? Yes please!

Sunny, the merits of class war strategy aside, there is one fundamental reason why it won’t wash with people:

Even if class war is what people want, they do not trust Labour to be on the right side of that war, because they have had 13 years in which to be on their side but have evidently failed.

It matters not a jot what their narrative is, because anything they promise to the electorate will simply be met by “well why haven’t you already done it in the 13 years you’ve had?” Right now, sadly, the only people who can successfully use the class war strategy (i.e. with some credibility among the electorate) are the BNP.

9. astateofdenmark

6

That’s the point, it is a term that has become meaningless from misuse. Wasn’t there a poll last year that asked voters who they thought more progressive and came up with the tories?

Please go for class war.

Though I see you already are…

http://www.progressivelondon.org.uk/conference/progressive-london-conference-2010.html

Good luck with that crowd!

10 – what a line up! Running the gamut from traitors to idiots and back again…

I totally agree with Sunny’s analysis.

However, whether people in charge of New Labour will take heed, that’s a different story. Too busy gazing at their own navel, which is partly inevitable when you’ve been in power for 13 years.

Indeed, you couldn’t make it up.

I’m sure the Venezuelan Ambassador will have a lot to contribute…things are going frightfully well for Chavez…

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/90dcf1ac-fd1b-11de-8952-00144feab49a.html

As for the Islamist crew…well it is the Ken show after all.

And I wonder whose gold Richard Gott is taking now the KGB is no longer paying him?

Tim J@7 – “Class war” is possibly not the right phrase. Pointing out not only the privileged backgrounds but also pointing out that the Tories policies favour the privileged.It’s about showing the Tories up as self serving.

It seems that whenever Sunny mentions the words class war he is instantly greeted with a bunch of straw man arguments treating it as a form of identity politics.

Sunny – Agree with what your saying, there seems to be a struggle between those who want to emphase cutting the deficit (which I think would include Mandelson and Darling) and those who want to pursue a strategy based around “class war” (for want of a better term) and attacking Tory cuts. Labour needs to decide more clearly what it’s message needs to be.

15. Luis Enrique

this is prob best bet

I really struggle with things like “Progressive London Conference”. Is that really what the progressive left looks like? In which case I want no f*cking part of it. Or is there a saner progressive left out there somewhere? Why must self proclaimed progressives organize a conference where half the speakers are repulsive loonies? I mean we’ve just had post about how awful it would be if Liddle was appointed editor of the Indie, and some of his “greatest hits” – I shudder to think what I could come up with if I spent a few days trying to dig up the most repulsive utterances from the speakers at that conference. So why are progressive comfortable with that bunch, yet horrified by Liddle?

‘Even if class war is what people want, they do not trust Labour to be on the right side of that war, because they have had 13 years in which to be on their side but have evidently failed.’

Absolutely. The specticle of a bunch of lawyers pretending to be class warriors after 13 years of war against the working class has been risible.

Fuck ‘narrative’ – look at the evidence.

Labour supporters are like dogs running back to their masters hoping THIS TIME they won’t get a kicking.

Einstein said repeating the same action in the hope of a different outcome is the definition of madness.

Luis@15 – Surely there’s a difference between inviting someone to speak at a conference and appointing someone as editor of a national newspaper. I’d suspect that most British lefties would think the Venezuelan Ambassador would be a bad choice as editor for the Independed as well.

People already think Labour favours the poor and Conservatives favour the rich. How does campaigning on this topic change people’s voting intentions?

Class war sounds good. Can we target cjcjcjcjcj first?

Isn’t Daniel Double-Barrell the guy who is always moaning about personal attacks?

Oh lighten up you fanny!

It’s not a personal attack, it was a josh based on your trolling of this thread with stuff about the progressive london thing, but if it caused any upset to you then of course I hope you realise that no one will be targeting you.

Labour only care about staying in power. “The poor” and their votes are just a means for them to keep hold of it. They keep enough people in this country dependent on the government for their income, but never give them enough to truly improve their lives over time making them indentured to the state.

After all, if these people ever became rich, Labour would tax them heavily and then discriminate against them on the basis of some form of elitism, so they’d quickly stop voting Labour.

Far better then, for Labour, to keep these people sucking at the state’s teat.

23. Luis Enrique

AP, yes there’s a difference, but so what? How does it make sense to oppose a newspaper editor on the basis of his odious views, but be comfortable with conference of “progressives” stuffed with people with odious views?

Imagine, for a moment, that you are a reasonable moderate conservative – what would you make of a self-described conservative conference featuring speakers like Nick Griffin, David Irving and various other nutjobs with loony views on economics and international politics? Hopefully you’d want to disassociate yourself from it, and you’d presumably be angry about such a conference tainting the conservative image and making conservatives unelectable. Hopefully we’d see sensible conservatives condemning the conference on blogs and in newspapers etc.

Furthermore, if such a conference existed, LC writers and other lefty bloggers would probably use it as evidence of how odious conservatives are. If, say, George Osborne was attending, we’d be asking what the hell he thought he was doing, and talking about mainstream conservatives are evidently happy associating themselves with repulsive nutjobs.

How does this differ?

I don’t particularly like the label progressive, on these grounds. But I think of myself as a left winger on the basis of my views about economics, social questions and such like. However, that’s in the abstract – what actually existing political movements should I support … if there is a movement calling itself left-wing, do I want to part of that movement? This is why I am so troubled by things like this “progressive conference” … I just hope to God that political left wing does not react to the coming election defeat by moving in that direction.

Perhaps a ‘class war’ based attack would be best for Labour after all. In the long run anyway. After all, they’re going to get such a kicking in May that there’s going to be a big old backlash against whatever strategy was used. If Labour are persuaded that it was a combination of Brown, Balls and ‘class war’, that got them so utterly trounced then they might even manage to get back into power within, ooh, a decade or so.

If they don’t run with class war, on the other hand, they might conclude that if only they’d been more obnoxious and Spartite they might have won. Balls will become leader and we can look forward to maybe two decades of Tory rule…

I love the way that the troll cjcjc has changed the direction of this thread to Ken Livingstone’s event when it has no relevance to what I’ve said above. Anyone has read my blog for for a while (as cjcjc has, but why let facts get in the way of trolling) I’m not a fan of many ppl at that event. But I’m going there to talk about impact of new media and none of my panel members is a neo-Nazi or advocates racism/bigotry. And no one said that was the entirety of the left movement. So perhaps you could show a bit more nuance next time Luis Enrique instead of falling for silly attempts to derail the discussion by a bunch of Tory trolls.

John Booth – I don’t think Labour has done enough for the poorbut in a straight choice between Tories and labour – the polls disagree with you

Yeah, Luis, it’s all in the nuance … Sunny’s appearing at the same event with all these charming folk, just not on the same panel .

I take it back cjcjcjcjcjcjcjc, you’re a doofus and may the class war be right upon you.

29. Luis Enrique

Sunny,

I’m not sure what nuances you think I’m missing. I know that my thoughts on the Progressive Conference and what it says about left wing politics are only loosely related to the OP. My concerns on that front remain, regardless of why you have chosen attending or who is on your panel.

Lighten up, you fanny!

Your wig is slipping troll.

Honestly, Daniel, if there’s one well-known-phrase-or-saying that applies to you it’s “you can dish it out but you can’t take it”.

Or, if you have a short-term memory problem, can I refer you to your post at 21?

I also think it’s ill-informed and frankly insulting to compare individuals like Nick Griffin and David Irving to the speakers at the Progressive London Conference.

Does Luis Enrique refers to people from the country’s Trade Unions or the environmental movement, or journalists with a celebrated history of fighting for human rights like Johann Hari when he makes the analogy with “repulsive nutjobs”?

Ok, a couple of people in that list may not be my political cup of tea, but Luis Enrique’s comparison (“How does this differ?”, he writes @23) with Holocaust deniers, outright racists and fascists is totally out of place.

“What this list shows is Livingstonism. Labour Party people will tell you that Livingstone’s Socialist Action placemen have basically taken over the London Labour Party. They’ve also made pretty serious inroads into Labour Party HQ as well.

What will Livingstonism get you?

It will provide us with the same old coalition of USSR nostalgists, Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaat-e-Islami activists, and employees of the Islamic Republic of Iran that has so discredited the term “progressive”.

So, with this team, you have a foresight of what the future for Labour will be, in opposition.”

http://www.hurryupharry.org/2010/01/05/progressive-london/

The bad me does surely hope so.
Though the good me hopes not.

35. the a&e charge nurse

A party riven by internal disputes and obvious dissatisfaction with it’s leader after years of uninterupted power sounds awfully familiar?

The least worst argument might work to a point (NuLab v Tories) but inventing narratives while the Titanic slowly sinks is hardly edyfying, is it?

33 – Richard Gott perhaps, who was in the pay of the KGB? Andrew Murray, who is a prominent apologist for the North Korean Government? There’s George Galloway of course, who’s a bit litigious so I’ll leave it at that.

And that’s without mentioning the real villain of the piece – Toilets Maguire…

Back on topic, and as an anti-Socialist, can I offer some limited agreement to Sunny’s plea for a unified message.

Firstly it would allow me to consider voting Labour (unlikely – I don’t trust Mr Brown or most of his government to do the right thing, but…) as I know what I will be voting for. For some reason ‘more of the same’ is not a winning argument.

Secondly, it will force the hands of the other major parties and allow me to know where they stand. At the moment Labour’s lack of direction allow them to be all things to all men, but a clear message will require one right back. At the moment I face voting for a slightly more trustworthy bunch of people with no clear policy or a single issue party. With clear direction in manifestos, I may have a better choice.

Thirdly, it may energise things. The country is drifting when it could probably do with some direction.

However, if you want to attract the votes of people like me (doubtful perhaps) don’t try something stupid like class-war or a sophistical version of it. It will get ripped apart by some working-class Conservative spokesman regularly during the campaign, and will only appeal to the the 24%-30% of the population already supporting Labour. It is not positive, it does not solve the problems, and it looks like politics rather than governing. Labour is the government – it can’t sit back and expect people to trust it, so it must say exactly what it will do and why. Same as now, with added class hatred, is not an election winner.

Hear hear Claude at 33! It’s as if no one trolling about this has any associations with anyone that could be deemed dubious depending upon your own personal beliefs or ideology, no one is immune from that.

cjcjcjcjcjcj:

Glad to see you retreat behind that line and to be clear, I’m not the one trolling a thread with irrelevant nonsense in a fit of pique.

39. astateofdenmark

I note at the Livingstone Conference they have something called ‘why the tories aren’t progressive’. If anyone is going, could you try to infer what progressive means, from what it doesn’t mean and report back. TIA.

@36 Tim J
Richard Gott perhaps, who was in the pay of the KGB? Andrew Murray, who is a prominent apologist for the North Korean Government? There’s George Galloway of course, who’s a bit litigious so I’ll leave it at that.

Careful with allegations like those above, because those (the KGB ones) were purely an unproven smear job by the Spectator. For the record, the same soucre made the same accusations against Micahel Foot and was successfully sued for libel.

As for George Galloway and Andrew Murray, you’ll find that a) you’re blowing their influence out of proportion – which I understand is convenient to a certain political agenda b) still the comparison with Holocaust deniers and outright racists and fascists doesnt stand.

From the HP post:

“Richard Gott – writer

Surely that should be “Agent of Influence” for the USSR, or more simply “traitor”?

Kate Hudson – Chair, CND

… and member of the hardline Stalinist and pro-North Korean Communist Party of Britain. The woman who invited the Iranian Ambassador to CND Conference to defend his country’s nuclear programme.

Yeah. Very “progressive”.

Professor Tariq Ramadan

The man who is so progressive that he is actually able to call for a “moratorium” (not a ban, of course) on the stoning of women for adultery. If only people in the Conservative Party were this “progressive”.

Dr Abdul Bari – MCB

… and the Jamaat-e-Islami front, Islamic Forum Europe. Not to mention the institution which hosted the “progressive” Anwar Al Awlaki.

Lutfur Rahman – Leader LB Tower Hamlets

Ditto

Samuel Moncada – Venezuelan Ambassador

You got to be joking”

Though perhaps the latter can teach us how to devalue sterling further than it already has, given that they have just devalued by 50%!

Anyway, glad to see that Labour’s bonkers wing is thriving…

Gott admitted knowingly lunching with KGB agents in return for “expenses”…though the joke is probably on them for believing such a buffoon had any “influence” to begin with, but he admitted the contact when he resigned from the Guardian.

Sunny@25 – Luis was replying to me, apologies for taking the bait.

Edward@18 – An awful lot of people, especially those in the middle don’t identify themselves as poor and don’t think Labour has done all that much for them. WIth the recession and an uncertain financial future I think an awful lot of people could potential change their mind about who best represents their interests.

Watchmen@37 – If the class war argument is based around the idea of the of the Tories being self serving (this whole “class war” label seems to revolve around two one liners, one about David Cameron’s Christmas card list the other about policy being thought up on the playing fields at Eton). How will that be ripped apart by any Tory spokesmen whatever their background?

40 – actually, they were one of the allegations made by Colonel Mitrokhin in The Mitrokhin Archive. He was also accused by Oleg Gordievsky. What is open to question (ie Gott denied it, but resigned from the Guardian anyway) is whether or not Gott was ‘an agent of influence’, that he took money from the KGB is not even denied by Gott himself.

And I’m not making comments on the influence of Gott, Murray or Galloway. Merely stating that they are all shits of the first water (which, as I’m sure you’ll appreciate, is non-actionable abuse…). As for Murray, isn’t it a bit of an open question as to whether it’s worse to deny the murder of six million people, or to acknowledge the murder of millions but to excuse them? Repulsive nutjobs seems like quite a friendly description, all things considered.

45. Luis Enrique

33. Claude, I’m sorry but I don’t think the comparisons are out of place – clearly a holocaust denier is a different thing to an apologist for the North Korean regime, or whatever, but that’s just saying right wing nut jobs differ from left wing nut jobs, I think they are still comparable in nut jobbery. You think I’m making outrageous comparisons, I think you’re blind to / tolerant of left wing nut jobbery.

Labours election narrative? The usual lies and bullcrap to cover up the real neo-marxist agenda. What a shower.

@46 and Sunny

I thought Lib Con had made it impossible for the Speak your Branes robot to post here? Check out the code.

Giles – heh, unfortunately they slip through.
Well, we have SyB 2.0 robot: cjcjc – the tinfoil hat wearing global warming denier who simply copies and pastes from other blogs. What’s one to do?

Luis – fine, your opinion. I just think trying to say I should equate the likes of Andy Murray of Socialist Unity to Nick Griffin says you don’t understand politics as well as I thought you did.
I’ve criticised Livingstone for allying with religious reactionaries loads of times. But those people aren’t for racial war and racial segregation – you gets me.

Anyway, (with re: to cjcjc et al) I don’t take lessons on what constitutes ‘progressive’ from people more akin to Holocaust deniers given their views on AGW.

Holocaust deniers are not really that different from AGW deniers given they both like to ignore evidence in front of their faces.

I’ll come to back to the points made about Nick Clegg a bit later, sorry gotta run now.

Luis – fine, your opinion. I just think trying to say I should equate the likes of Andy Murray of Socialist Unity to Nick Griffin says you don’t understand politics as well as I thought you did.

Because communists are just better than fascists, remember? Because that is Andrew Murray of the Communist Party of Britain isn’t it? The one who praised the Soviet Union for promoting “the cultural, linguistic and educational development of each ethnic group, no matter how small or how historically marginalised”. Except the Ukrainians obviously. And the Chechens, Tartars, and the rest of the poor bastards variously starved, deported and executed. Lovely fella, I can see why you like him.

Sunny H,

“Holocaust deniers are not really that different from AGW deniers given they both like to ignore evidence in front of their faces.”

What insanity. Do you really believe that?

There is much evidence against AGW too that is right in front of peoples faces, should that be ignored too? Should AGW just be taken as gospel and never a cross word ever spoken about it, like it is some kind of jealous, angry and infallible God?

51. Luis Enrique

Sunny,

I don’t think I did say that you should “equate the likes of Andy Murray of Socialist Unity to Nick Griffin”, whatever that would mean. I wonder if you could give me some indication of the areas in which my understanding of politics is lacking.

I think both Andy Murray and Nick Griffin, have odious views, of different sorts. What concerns me is not so much how to rank nut jobs with odious views (whose nuts jobs are worse? what’s worse, a racist or a totalitarian?) I’m more worried about the fact that events I imagine to be somehow representative of the left wing political movement in this country (attended by trade unionists, environmentalists not to mention your good self) features so many odious loons.

I don’t think I did say that you should “equate the likes of Andy Murray of Socialist Unity to Nick Griffin”

Well then on what basis should I boycott a conference given I’ll be on a panel discussing left-wing online activism? Some of the people coming are odious loons – but then I think all AGW deniers are odious loons too – if I boycotted them I’d never get anywhere in discussion. I try and keep my boycotts to people who are active fascists. Hope that clarifies.
Though it’s amusing to see you now declare you’ll start boycotting anyone who you think is odious. Thought you were against ‘no-platform with BNP’ on the basis they should be debated and exposed?

Sunny,

I think your right about Clegg but for the wrong reasons. We wont go back to that time ever again or at least not for a significant period of time. However, there are other areas where Clegg could cut (and wrongly wont) and still provide the opportunity for those programs to go ahead. Clegg is also wrong because now is not the right time to be ‘talking-up’ cuts economically speaking.

Instead, there is a positive case for the state taking action to be made and those programs would have represented that kind of positive intervention. That is why Clegg is wrong.

Once the economy recovers we’ll be back to the economic position we were in (albeit with a nominal deficit).

The Treasury believes that getting that “nominal”deficit under control will require cuts comparable to (perhaps greater than) those of the early Thatcher era.

Any election narrative will require someone to pick a mixture of:

Option A: Promise tax rises and spending cuts for all.

Option B: Lie.

“Clegg is also wrong because now is not the right time to be ‘talking-up’ cuts economically speaking.”

Well…I guess this is where people differ on the meaning. I saw it very much as a positive speech with a vibe of ensuring that investment in the key areas of the UK won’t be cut, and that to help that Lib Dems won’t be the party that offers stupid policies that will cost money just to gain votes. I think the only “cuts” they talked of explicitly were that of the child trust fund (IIRC) and tax credits for middle income families.

I guess I saw it more as talking-up “shoring up resources” and “not wasting money on soundbites”, but it’s interesting to see a Lib Dem view on it that is critical

Sunny H,

“Holocaust deniers are not really that different from AGW deniers given they both like to ignore evidence in front of their faces.”

Seriously mate, do you really believe that? Really?

There is much evidence against AGW too that is right in front of peoples faces, should that be ignored too? Should AGW just be taken as gospel and never a cross word ever spoken about it, like it is some kind of jealous, angry and infallible God?

Seriously mate, do you really believe that? Really?

Yup. AGW deniers = 9/11 Truthers = Holocaust deniers = Creationists etc. Different categories of course, but they are all driven mostly by conspiracy nuts who think there’s a conspiracy against them and refuse to evaluate scientific evidence properly.

“to help that Lib Dems won’t be the party that offers stupid policies that will cost money just to gain votes”

Huh? Free childcare to help working parents give their children a better start in life, reducing poverty amongst female pensioners, and letting elderly people live with dignity are “stupid policies” which are just to gain votes?

Childcare subsidies and putting money in the pockets of poor people who are likely to spend it are absolutely the right thing to do to promote economic growth. If parents can’t afford to go to work because of crippling childcare costs, and pensioners can’t afford to buy even the necessities because their income is too low and care costs are too high, then the only way the economy will grow is by people taking on yet more debt…and we know what happens when we try that.

Clegg’s statement isn’t some kind of courageous acceptance of reality, it is a craven attempt to push the political consensus further to the right, based on the assumptions which got us into this mess.

How can anyone who describes themselves as “liberal” or “progressive” support Labour? It’s one thing to oppose the Tories, but I can’t for the life of me understand why Sunny thinks Labour are any good for this country.

Alex, thanks for dealing with ‘Homer’.

With regards to your question: I’m working on the assumption that Labour are going to lose badly. I want to help in making sure that their defeat isn’t terrible. Most of all, I want to make sure the Tory victory isn’t massive. So that means trying to ensure Labour don’t get wiped out.

Sunny H

“Yup. AGW deniers = 9/11 Truthers = Holocaust deniers = Creationists etc. Different categories of course, but they are all driven mostly by conspiracy nuts who think there’s a conspiracy against them and refuse to evaluate scientific evidence properly..”

And what about the ones who have evaluated the scientific evidence and don’t believe it? Like the tens of thousands of scientists? Are they on par with Shoa deniers too?

I am not saying they are right, what I am saying that is that no idea or theory is infallible and beyond scrutiny and scepticism, that is a very dangerous attitude.

Attitudes like that are why young British Muslims felt it was not only their duty to blow themselves up in London but that they would go straight to heaven for it too along with all the rest of the fanatical nonsense globally supposedly ordained by an idea of a God so powerful and infallible he cannot be questioned, to do so is the act of an unbeliever, a denier with all it entails.

You sound extremely fanatical to the point of a religious zealot.

Like the tens of thousands of scientists?

And these tens of thousands of scientists are where exactly?

I am not saying they are right, what I am saying that is that no idea or theory is infallible and beyond scrutiny and scepticism, that is a very dangerous attitude.

Well that’s not what Sunny is saying. What Sunny is saying is this:

http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/about.php

Put simply, there are people who believe things and it doesn’t matter how much evidence you give them, nothing will change their minds. Do you think such people don’t exist?

So I hope you enjoyed burning the straw Sunny Hundal.

‘Alex’ & ‘Sunny’

“And these tens of thousands of scientists are where exactly?”

Well 31,486 are here actually (with 9,029 of those with PHD’s)

http://www.petitionproject.org/

“Well that’s not what Sunny is saying. What Sunny is saying is this… Put simply, there are people who believe things and it doesn’t matter how much evidence you give them, nothing will change their minds”

Well no, that is not what he said at all.

He used the term “AGW deniers” which quite obviously implies that people who do not “believe” in or question AGW are “deniers” as if AGW is some sort of unassailable truth and that they are also on par with Shoa deniers.

That is clearly what he meant. Is it not ‘Sunny’?

Homer – here are two blog posts pointing out why that’s an astro-turfing project signed by people who’ve had nothing peer reviewed published:
http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2008/05/22/one-more-petition-still-a-consensus/
http://greenfyre.wordpress.com/denier-vs-skeptic/denier-myths-debunked/the-oregon-petition/

nice try though!

This is why I call you people ‘deniers’. No amount of evidence is going to convince you to take off that tinfoil hat.

65. Luis Enrique

Sunny @55

mate I’m genuinely puzzled – I don’t think I referred to you at all, let alone suggested you boycott the event … this one wasn’t about you. Yes, what I wrote has implications for you and yes I do wonder why you are attending, but really I was just writing about why I’m troubled by the existence of a progressive event packed with loons. It does’t have to be that way you know, we could live in a world where progressives don’t invite loons to their events. I don’t think ‘active facists’ are the only category of loon worth keeping away from. I don’t think I’ve ever said anything about opposing a ‘no platform’ approach to the BNP, and even if I did oppose a ‘no platform’ approach it wouldn’t mean I’d happily attend a conference featuring BNP speakers if I was, say, a sensible conservative. You’re fighting an imaginary opponent here.

66. Mike Killingworth

[60 etc] The point about Climate Change denial (I think there is a reasonable argument about the nature and extent of the human contribution to it – if only because James Lovelock also thinks that) is that it isn’t about climate change.

It’s a means to an end: the end being to protest the primacy of the scientific worldview as being emotionally threatening/disabling. Those of us who find it no such thing either have little use for religion or interpret science and religion as mutually compatible.

In other words (and here I follow Karen Armstrong who is excellent on the point) people like Sunny or her or I live in a world of logos in which words and actions are essentially outcome-judged. Deniers live in a world of mythos in which words and actions are judged by the extent to which they sustain and nourish the pre-existing narrative by which deniers live their lives. Think Sarah Palin to get an idea of the mindset, although it’s by no means confined to political conservatives.

I have recently had a painful reminder of this. Two years ago I led a campaign – I may even have talked about it on here – to move a local doctors’ surgery, otherwise threatened with closure, into an empty office suite owned by the NHS on this central London estate where I live. Who, you might think, could possibly object to that?

No one, of course, who operates by logos, But a former Chair of the Residents’ Association (who has received a gong for his community service) is bitterly resentful against me for not involving his Association in what I was doing. In the world of mythos, it is at least as important to be respectful as it is to deliver outcomes.

And for Deniers, science itself is disrespectful of traditional world-views, whether written down in particular scriptures or nourished in oral tradition.

67. So Much For Subtlety

64. Sunny H – “here are two blog posts pointing out why that’s an astro-turfing project signed by people who’ve had nothing peer reviewed published”

It probably is a nonsense project run by fools. But claiming that two blogs prove anything about it worth knowing is a little odd. Citing two astroturfers to disprove another is not exactly a refutation.

It is also an argument by credentialism, which is foolish.

“This is why I call you people ‘deniers’. No amount of evidence is going to convince you to take off that tinfoil hat.”

Oh I don’t know. How about coming up with some half decent evidence and seeing if that works? Give me three good reasons to think that any feedback caused by CO2 emissions is positive and not negative. Easy.

68. So Much For Subtlety

66. Mike Killingworth – “It’s a means to an end: the end being to protest the primacy of the scientific worldview as being emotionally threatening/disabling. Those of us who find it no such thing either have little use for religion or interpret science and religion as mutually compatible.”

Yeah. Here I am with a background in the hardest of hard sciences and some how I am threatened by the scientific world view. Engineers and mathematicians are, in my experience, the most likely to be skeptical. Biologists and psychologists the least. Tell me which deals with the world in a scientific way.

“In other words (and here I follow Karen Armstrong who is excellent on the point) people like Sunny or her or I live in a world of logos in which words and actions are essentially outcome-judged.”

Uh huh. Citing Karen Armstrong at this point is sort of a credibility killer don’t you think? Given she has given her entire life to a non-scientific world view of one sort or another. And indeed defends such world views regularly. You think that this is just more of the typical liberal self-congratulation from Ms Armstrong – she believes she is so special, so clever, so rational, so humane and everyone who disagrees with her is not merely wrong but an arse to boot?

As for outcomes, if CAGW was based on outcomes they wouldn’t be hiding their data would they?

“Deniers live in a world of mythos in which words and actions are judged by the extent to which they sustain and nourish the pre-existing narrative by which deniers live their lives.”

Sounds pretty much like supporters of CAGW to me. Which is why they like to throw accusations of Big Oil and Tobacco around – they live in a mythic world where some people are Good, ie themselves, and anyone disagreeing with them is evil. So because Skeptics are skeptical they must be part of the same Grand Coalition of Evil that Big Tobacco was. It is like a mediaeval inquisitioner calling the Waldesians Bogomils.

“Think Sarah Palin to get an idea of the mindset, although it’s by no means confined to political conservatives.”

Sorry but what evidence is there that Palin lives by this world view? I mean actual evidence not the hatred and bile that is poured all over her every day for being uppity and thinking her place wasn’t in the kitchen.

“And for Deniers, science itself is disrespectful of traditional world-views, whether written down in particular scriptures or nourished in oral tradition.”

Uh huh. Right. The Register is skeptical if not in denial mode. Tell me how they all are shaped by a fear of science and a love of scripture.

69. Mike Killingworth

[68] If you were what you claim to be, you wouldn’t hide behind an (admittedly amusing) nom de blog.

70. So Much For Subtlety

69. Mike Killingworth – “If you were what you claim to be, you wouldn’t hide behind an (admittedly amusing) nom de blog.”

And yet even if I were a dog in the pay of Phillip Morris, my point would be true.

Can we not make this thread about Climate Change Denying wingnuttery? we all know that they will not be convinced,.

I thought the point of it was to show how utterly, horribly, comically wrong Sunny was to disparage Nick Clegg’s excellent speech

Labours election narrative:

We screwed up society, then we screwed up the economy, but we won’t do it again, honest, oh and we’re “listening” and we’re gonna carry on taxing and spending, sorry that should be “investing” and blah blah bla social justice blah blah blah equality blah blah blah climate change blah blah bla please vote for us

@Lee54

I just purely and simply do not accept the whole narrative around the debt and I think its a strongly ideological one in substance. He also talked about junking a committment to free universal childcare which is deeply unfair and also economically a bit silly. Also, the committments on elderly care strike at a very vulnerable group.

74. Mike Killingworth

[73] Are you saying you agree with my comment at [1], that you don’t understand it or that you haven’t read it? If you mean all of those, I wouldn’t blame you in the least.

I can understand so little of what goes on in these comment boxes. For example, [70] appears to mean “I am the cleverest human being ever born and you should all bow down in front of my magnificience”. It appears at least once – in some form or other – on most threads, attributed to a whole range of different people. Or, of course, the same person using lots of different names.

Sunny:

Alex, thanks for dealing with ‘Homer’.

No probs. I just realized that I missed the most stupid part of his comment. He took offense at you for saying, “AGW deniers = 9/11 Truthers = Holocaust deniers = Creationists”, and yet he himself compared you to an Islamic terrorist.

With regards to your question: I’m working on the assumption that Labour are going to lose badly. I want to help in making sure that their defeat isn’t terrible. Most of all, I want to make sure the Tory victory isn’t massive. So that means trying to ensure Labour don’t get wiped out.

Why not help the Lib Dems? They seem more progressive to me, and definitely more liberal. Otherwise we get stuck with two parties, one only slightly better than the other (if that).

I mean it’s not like I’m saying vote Nader not Gore, is it? We’re not yet in a such a bad place like they are in the US where essentially the left can support Obama (a centrist who is continuing with some of Bush’s policies), or it can have the tea baggers running the country.

Homer:

He used the term “AGW deniers” which quite obviously implies that people who do not “believe” in or question AGW are “deniers” as if AGW is some sort of unassailable truth and that they are also on par with Shoa deniers.

No, you’re reading into the words what you want to read. Please demonstrate what it is about the word “denier” which makes you see in your mind “unassailable truth”. I do not speak the same language you do, clearly.

It’s really quite simple. Have you never heard of the phrase “living in denial”? If someone is “living in denial”, is it because they are challenging “unassailable truth”, or is it because they are deluding themselves and aren’t acting properly skeptical.

Why does every thread on LC seem to end up being about climate change ?

I propose a new internet law, similar to Godwins’ law. The law is;

“No discussion on LC shall last for more than 20 posts without a reference to climate change”

The law shall be known as “Sunny’s Law”

Sunny H:

Your rather aggressive fanaticism shows quite clearly on your AGW subject as I am not even remotely a “Denier” and nowhere have I indicated that I am; I merely challenged that you claim AGW to be akin to Shoa denial and AGW beyond any doubt whatsoever and beyond criticism.

You link to two blogs as proof of what exactly? 95% of the people who signed the petition were vetted and are indeed scientists of varying disciplines including nearly 10,000 Phd’s so they do have extensive training in scientific process.

I am sceptical of AGW but I do not, in the quasi-religious parlance “deny” it as I am not an expert and I don’t think anyone has the killer evidence to prove it one way or the other.

Out of interest though, tell me the one or two pieces of evidence that tipped the balance for you to become such a “believer”.

Alex:

Lets get this out of the way, you didn’t “deal me” at all; you just misunderstand the point and linked to an article.

And again you misunderstand the point as I didn’t compare Sunny to “an Islamic terrorist” I compared the process and belief of infallibility of an idea be it a God or AGW and its dangerous results, so do try to be more honest.

If you don’t understand that the word “denier” (that is sceptics, challengers and reviewers too) is used to describe and divide those who are not “believers” (full and unquestioning acceptance) then you do not speak the same language as the rest of us.

The polarising effect of the term can be seen by Sunny’s decision to label me as a “denier” wearing a “tin foil hat” solely because I had the gumption to challenge even the legitimacy of comparing AGW “deniers” to Shoa deniers, and not any actual AGW theorem.

Mike

And for Deniers, science itself is disrespectful of traditional world-views, whether written down in particular scriptures or nourished in oral tradition.

Well, that would disclude – in AGW scepticism – Ian Plimer, author of the fiery polemic Telling Lies for God – Reason vs Creationism. If you mean it more broadly – people fitting theories around pre-existing beliefs – you’d have to discount some of the more prominent advocates of 9/11 Truth, who were card-carrying Republicans. Don’t misunderstand me: a lot of people fit the latter interpretation, but they’re not excluded to particular theories, they can be found grouped around any cause that can be slotted into an ideological worldview. It’s insufficient grounds for dismissing something.

79. Mike Killingworth

[78] Ben, you lost me around “disclude”, a word I have never heard of before…

Mike

(nonstandard) To exclude, not include; to remove from inclusion.

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/disclude

81. Mike Killingworth

[80] So why not say “exclude”? Are you trying to communicate or just to shoe off?

You’re right. I build up my confidence in life through using arcane vocabulary under a pseudonym on blogs. Forgive me: I’ll do away with obscurantist mush like “disclude” and get back to talking about logos and mythos.

Actually, sorry, that was overly snarky. I can assure you that the world merely sprang into my consciousness mid-type.

84. Mike Killingworth

[82] And why do you use a pseudonym?

Cowardice. The “real me” is remarkably easy to find, though (well, except for me – just ask my psychiatrist).

However, I’m not and have never been a Communist. I mean, I tried to read Das Kapital but, y’know – just too many long words…


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