Labour: how NOT to respond to the threat from UKIP


4:24 pm - October 12th 2014

by Sunny Hundal    


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We are back to the news cycle whereby Westminster freaks out over how to deal with the threat from UKIP. The political parties will respond with the same promises, soundbites and narratives. Then they’ll go back to existing plans until the next ‘crisis’.

Thrown in this debate are two academics – Rob Ford and Matthew Goodwin – who have written about UKIP in a book and therefore invited regularly to offer their opinions. I’m reading it now and it contains some great research. But I have a problem with their political analysis, which I find increasingly simplistic. Here is why:

Rob Ford and Matthew Goodwin (RF+MG) have a narrative that goes like this:

Working class voters are natural Labour territory. But the party is complacent about the danger they face from UKIP and that’s why UKIP is doing so well in the north. Why, for example, didn’t Labour increase their share of the vote in Middleton last night? Why are poorer voters struggling with austerity not going to Labour?

For example:

And other tweets where I’m accused of having my head “in the sand”.

To be fair it isn’t just RF+MG saying this – I’ve seen similar questions by others on Twitter too. But there are vast assumptions in each of those sentences that don’t stack up.

1. Working class people are not natural Labour voters. Poorer voters are not always motivated by money or economic concerns; many working class people have always been culturally conservative. As Labour has become more socially liberal (rightly, in my view), they have flocked to the Tories. In the US and UK this happened during the Reagan & Thatcher era on the issue of race / immigration, and (more recently) on issues like homosexuality and gender equality. This is why Cameron wanted to challenge his own party on gay-marriage (to ‘modernise’ it) and faced a bigger backlash than Labour did. This is also why Farage doesn’t back gay marriage despite his supposedly libertarian outlook.

More working class people have voted Labour traditionally, for economic reasons, but that doesn’t mean working class people are “naturally” Labour. Nor should Labour go for every last working class vote, unless it wants to alienate its middle class voters.

2. The Labour leadership is not complacent about the threat from UKIP. I’ve heard directly from Ed Miliband in a private meeting that he thought UKIP were a “significant” threat to the party. There is no sign whatsoever that the Labour party is complacent about UKIP, though their main focus has always remained the Tories. Quite rightly too. This oft-repeated claim that Labour is “complacent” is outright rubbish.

3. Why didn’t Labour do massively better last week in Middleton? Various reasons. Many were ex-Tory or ex-LibDem voters who disliked Labour and found a vibrant, new vehicle to register their support. Secondly, in most metropolitan areas in the Midlands or further north, Labour isn’t the opposition – they are the incumbent. All politics is local, remember? Third, it takes a while for voters to forgive Labour for their mistakes of the past (Iraq, financial crash, immigration), and they won’t just flock back quickly like some commentators think they should. It takes long, grinding contact with voters and mobiling around their issues to win back trust. Even four years is not enough.

4. Why aren’t angry voters flocking to Labour on austerity? The fact that Rob Ford seriously asks me this question reinforces my broader point about the simplistic analysis. First, a lot of voters think they haven’t been affected by austerity, or aren’t motivated against it.
Second, Labour isn’t vehemently anti-austerity anyway, the leadership has partly accepted the need for it! Those people have gone to the Greens
Third, many voters blame Labour for the austerity they’ve had to face, because they were in charge when the economy crashed.

For all these reasons, and more, Labour didn’t see a big rise in support in Heywood. Labour is not on the verge of a landslide next year, and we knew this all along.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I have no doubt I’m going to be called “complacent” for writing this, which has become the standard non-response these days.

There is a final example of how this narrative is too simplistic. In almost interview given by RF+MG, they will get a nudge from the presenter to talk about how immigration is the biggest issue for Britons right now. So they will dutifully repeat the polling in interviews.

But again this is too simplistic. Douglas Carswell was vehemently pro-immigration and open about it, and yet won with a stonking majority. Locals gave all sorts of reasons for voting for him, including street lights, not having seen their Tory MP and much more. Plus, in places like Manchester or London, Labour cannot run with an anti-immigration or anti-multiculturalism message as it will repel more of their voters than it will attract.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I will only say this. A lot of Labour seem to be under the impression that their party should be doing much better now, without recognising it takes much longer to turn around people’s indifference to Labour. This is why no party in British history has turned around a stunning defeat by the next election.

Its unfashionable to say this, but a Labour panic over UKIP (in the way Gordon Brown panicked over immigration after the Gillian Duffy incident) could hurt its own prospects far more than responding more calmly and carefully.

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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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Reader comments


I agree that most working-class people are conservative but that is with a small ‘c’, old Labour were the natural party of the working-class because they were firstly socialist, not in a revolutionary sense, but in a slow, evolutionary way, changing culture to compliment a new social and political backdrop. Also agree that new Labour, and that means current Labour, are not the natural party of the working-class they (Labour) are but another neo-liberal party competing against the tories and lib-dems and most voters prefer the expertise of those parties rather than some Johnny-come-lately.

I also agree that Labour will not win with a landslide in 2015 indeed we may yet see a return of the cons/lib-dem coalition because the working-class have long memories and the name ‘Blair’ will take a long time to disappear into oblivion.

Labour would still be the natural party of the working-class had it followed the old adage ‘if it’s not broken don’t mend it’.

1. Quite right – we’re not motivated by money, and any campaign that focuses on “the poor” will fall on deaf ears of those who have got out of bed to go to work for the last forty years – the famous “closed curtains” debate.

Political correctness has not instilled in ordinary working people a love of racial diversity and homosexuality – the voices have been silenced but the thoughts are still there.

There is one aspect that is overlooked by the intellectuals and that is environment – the British have always loved their countryside, within and outside their cities. Mass immigration has seen the destruction of our green, open spaces as Labour dominated councils have forced their agenda upon our cities.

I think you miss the point. The labour party has always been a coalition of working class folk wanting a fairer share and middle class liberals. One half if that coalition has deserted it in droves and shows no signs of coming back. Ukip gets around half its votes from 2010 con voters but in 2010 labour was at a real low point and alot of those voters would be the kind of people who labour should be able to win back. The dact that they can’t speaks volumes for the current dire state of the party. For these voters the ket issues are not immigration or austerity ir gay marriage but jobs and houses. No party (ukip included) have any coherent policies on these issues which will help such folk. So they may as well stick two fingers up and vote ukip. I will be but I’m open to voting to a party that xan show me it at least knows what the problems the working classes face.

More sense written here on the Ukip insurgency than I’ve read anywhere in the past three days (itself an argument for the full resuscitation of this site but I guess that’s another story). The other elephant in the room has been the way that Ukip clearly hoovered up the BNP vote wholesale in both Middleton and Clacton. One can understand Farage keeping quiet about this but I can’t understand why anyone else is. From around 2001 – 2010, Labour was told to pander to the BNP message on immigration or risk wipe-out in its heartlands. That argument has no more credibility with Ukip just because Nigel Farage is more fluent on Question Time than Nick Griffin and is more acceptable to disillusioned Tory voters. I suspect many of the latter will have woken up to Farage’s comments on HIV on Friday morning and wondered what exactly they had done. Poor old Carswell is almost certainly one – his argument on today’s Andrew Marr show about a liberal, tolerant Ukippery sounded like a man desperately trying to persuade himself. In time, Carswell and others will move back to the Tories and the transient BUF/NF/BNP/Ukip vote will find fresh meat. As Sunny says, this is not an argument for Labour complacency – Ukip may well inflict some damage over the coming months. Long term though, we should remember what makes us Labour and stick to those values.

5. Sunder Katwala

This is a confused and muddled post, though one of the main conclusions is something I would agree with.

The ‘simplistic’ narrative of Ford and Goodwin is not the core argument of their work at all. Its a simplistic characterisation of it. The irony is, that by mischaracterising it, you miss the central point of agreement you have with those authors.

The view you set out is a simplistic view, but it is a piece of ventriloquism by Sunny Hundal, and you are offering a detailed analysis of your own sentences, not the sentences of the people you are critiquing.

Ford and Goodwin don’t argue the appeal of UKIP is a result of Labour complacency. One of the core points of the book “a long time coming” is that the long-term sociological drivers of the populist vote are underestimated, and the short-term political factors (David Cameron, Labour strategies) over-estimated. That’s why they argue that UKIP votes come more from the Conservatives post-2010 but have more potential in Labour seats post-2015.

Labour had a very poor result in Heywood and Middleton. Obviously. Matching the 2010 share in an Autumn 2014 by-election is poor, unless the opposition is on a 29% strategy. Anybody in Labour told this would be the result, a fortnight before, a week before, the day before, would have been shocked.

Every other think-tanker, candidate I’ve spoken to thinks there is an issue, or at least a debate about complacency for Labour over UKIP. So its unusual to hear somebody say that’s all nonsense. The complacency charge seems valid because the core analysis, briefed to the shadow cabinet and to the media, is ‘UKIP are a Tory problem, much more than a Labour problem. They won’t stop us winning, they will help us winning’. There remains something to support some of that analysis, because the UKIP voters remain most likely to be 2010 Tories, but there is no doubt Labour’s take has changed since May 2014. Candidates, polling and other research suggests the UKIP vote will have differential effects in different areas. The Marcus Roberts ‘Revolt on the Left’

However, the question of whether the Opposition should take some votes from the government, instead of 1/4 Con votes going to an insurgent outsider and many fewer to the opposition, is a good one. An opposition strategy to win without taking votes from the main governing party is possible, but tricky, and unconventional.

A Labour response to go hard on immigration could well do more harm than good, especially if it was inauthentic and misbelieved. It would increase the salience of UKIP. The Labour debate needs to move away from “change the subject”/tell people they’re wrong versus “concede the argument”. Labour needs to engage anxieties constructively, with its own solutions, not dismiss or stoke them.

I tend to agree with you here. So, ironically, do Ford and Goodwin. They have made this point quite often.

There is little doubt that the tory deserters to UKIP are mainly influenced by the immigration narrative but the decrease in Labour support goes much further back and long before the credit crunch:-

If we look at Doncaster North (Ed Milliband’s constituency) the decrease in Labour support started in 2001, which coincided with the second term with Blair, and since that time votes have decreased, they slightly rose in 2010 after Ed M had taken over the leadership, however, he received seven thousand fewer votes than were cast in 1983, supposedly the year of Labour’s longest suicide note in history. And the surrounding Labour held constituencies follow a similar pattern.

Labour have only held on to safe seats because those supporters that have been lost have not voted elsewhere, most because of loyalty. And now UKIP have played the immigration card and the tories have jumped on to the band-wagon. I agree with Sundar, if Labour do the same they are unlikely to be believed. I also agree that Labour’s complacency about UKIP is insignificant compared to their complacency with their once natural supporters, the working-class.

UKIP are still not getting the numbers the Lib-Dems did at the height of Clegg-mania, a political phenomenon as ludicrous and transitory as Farage. Who is not yet even as popular as Churchill.

That the English are aggrieved about a policy aggressive settlement in their country hardly requires explanation. The interesting question is why exactly do the left hate the English? If you want to work out a response start by examining your own anti English dogma.

Simon Hatensone, in the Guardian wrote (post referendum) “I would be a little Englander – an identity I’d always despised. ..”,and long ago Orwell wrote ,“.In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman …”

Our relatively successful economy is sucking in cheap foreign labour via an open border, forcing wages down and aggravating our housing crisis. Amongst those applauding are Douglas Carswell,the Adam Smith Instituteand the Institute of Directors. Interesting allies for the Party of the Working man.

Labour encouraged three million immigrants between 97 and 2010 ‘.to rub the Right’s nose in diversity…..(as Neather, the Labour speech writer admitted…). Now Yvette Cooper has announced that Labour would remove the cap on immigration entirely. Add blocking English votes for English Laws ,rendering the English second class citizens, and refusing a referendum on the EU, and you have an undeclared war. Why?

Marxism viewed Nations as ‘false consciousness’, of course, but post war Labour was really ‘National Socialism’. This rival left wing position did some great things, but collapsed in economic failure. T There was a vast state to run for sure,but what was to be the crusade?The commanding white upper middle class left found a new cause in a rattelebag of accessory issues attached to them for somewhat ignoble reasons.

As social mobility increased during the 20th century, a new lower middle –class challenged their superiors who responded by emphasizing their professional and educational status. Despising patriotism became a class weapon and to be “Too clever for the Daily Mail” or god forbid “The Sun” continues to be the archetypal assertion of class status. Today anti Daily Mail-ism is the irreducible credo of the broad left. It cannot help but alienate its working class support, its purpose was to alienate class inferiors from the start. Rising second generation incomers find this home an especially congenial vantage point with which to view the people they suspect do not respect them as they should.( Sunder Sunny Hopi….)

If reasonableness is to prevail then the left must start to examine its own dogma. I hope they can or we will find ourselves out of Europe the economic consequences of which are too terrifying to contemplate.

Newmania – You were doing so well up until your last sentence. The EU is in decline and we’d be better off out.

Sunny Hundal – I back gay marriage. My dismay over it was how it was prioritised over the massive economic and cultural problems facing our country. On this (and other issues) I fail to see how Mr Cameron is a Tory and this is why I no longer vote for his party.

Others – Your persistent conflation of UKIP with the BNP:

OK. If you insist. We can work out the entire BNP element of UKIP. I’ll be generous with you. I’ll agree to assume ALL BNP voters have gone to UKIP – they haven’t, but we shall assume that they have anyway for simplicity.

There. Done.

Now you can work out that as a total percentage of UKIP votes. Tiny, wouldn’t you agree ?

The BNP were eschewed by the good British electorate who have chosen to express their dissatisfaction through the appropriate orderly and peaceful democratic process. For this they have been mocked and demonised.

Nowhere have they been thanked for their patience and tolerance in the past decade or so. Instead on person here seems almost proud of the fact that certain viewpoints ‘have been silenced but the thoughts are still there.’

And this is what is driving voters to UKIP. It is YOUR predilection for thought control and the use of political correctness to set the parameters of political debate by limiting the language we are allowed to use.

Enough. We want freedom from YOU and compared to you UKIP is just so refreshing.

Can you not see this ?

10. Man on Clapham Omnibus

It is slightly unfortunate that since Ed’s election nothing much has happened to Labour Party policy. The particular mode of political thinking appears to be check the polls ,see what is a hot topic and then lets develop a policy to cover that base. The fact that Ed has had 4 years to think up something and has only really come up with ‘saving the NHS’ is all a bit sad.

What Labour hasn’t done ,and probably can’t do, as yet another conservative party , is come up with any fundamental thinking in relation to our economy and the inequality it is creating which is a concern to both economists as well as anyone with a social conscience. Serious issues abound – the role of corporate capitalism, the role of money, the role of the EU as an antisocialist construct and the role of international trade relations and the current TTIP negotiations. Yet on these matters, which are the things determining our society and should be the things that determine our politics, the Labour party remain steadfastly silent.

Without any basic rethink Labour is unable to provide any vision of the future and that is ,I believe, what wins elections. Add to that they are ‘the party that destroyed the economy 5 years ago’,an accusation that has no basis in fact but one the Labour freely admitted to and hey presto a party that, even in a fair wind, noone will trust for a decade.

Further, I think many of the comments here try to reduce the notion that political thinking and class position are naturally related which is a big mistake. The idea of the working class being natural supporters of Labour has only been engendered by the historic role of instrumentalism exercised through primarily the trades unions. Even so Tory administrations were regularly returned through the working class vote. Now that its pretty much everyone for themselves as they complete for zero hour contracts, individuals seek economic betterment through individual means rather than collective action. This defines a different kind of politics.

As for Farage, he speaks for the common man and has all the credentials to back it up. Stockbroker spawn, private education, city trader, belief that we can all go back to the 50’s and all that implies for ‘white society’ as well as fags and booze galore. He also believes that Britain should govern itself but strangely likes TTIP and its secret international court which can fine Governments if they get in the way of corporate profits. As to the big issues – silence.

In that respect he shares a common platform with all the other major parties.

Except the Greens that is!

11. Man on Clapham Omnibus

E-K

No he wasn’t – it was crap throughout including the last sentence. If anyone uses the yardstick of ‘agreeing with the Daily Mail’ as some sort of objective measure then its not just the religious who are insane.

MoCO – I doubt very much that Newmania reads the Daily Mail. He is an English Literature graduate and his wife is black.

Sorry he does not to conform to your stereotypes (nor do I for that matter.)

MoCO

“NHS !” is Labour’s dog whistle.

“Immigration !” is UKIP’s dog whistle.

“Ed Miliband !” is the Tory party’s dog whistle !

Personally I (a UKIP voter) don’t hark back to the ’50s. I wasn’t there. My era was the ’80s, Ska, New Romantic – I went to a 50/50 black/white school in south London. I’m not particularly proud of being white. I’m jealous of my black mates’ effortlessly buff bodies and their general coolness.

Britain is full. And I happen to think that the culturally diverse country I grew up in has been ruined.

How on earth can you reconcile a low carbon footprint with mass immigration without a massive drop in living standards ?

14. Man on Clapham Omnibus

12 EK

An English degree is not only irrelevant to this discussion its completely irrelevant period. Similarly, the colour of his wife. I’m not sure what stereotypes you think I have in mind. I do take issue with stereotypes implicit or otherwise in the contribution however.

13 EK

Firstly as to carbon footprints I would say everyone’s pattern of consumption will have to fall where fossil fuels are used irrespective of where they live. That is the general consensus of the informed and that is what is the driver for Global emissions negotiations. The fact is, when taking economic externalities into account, Green fuels are the least expensive. You wont generally hear that however because the debate is entirely dominated by the fossil fuel/Nuclear lobby.

As for Britain being overpopulated ,I think it is necessary to define what you mean by this. My personal view, long espoused at this site when it was in full swing, was that net immigration was bad for both donor and recipient country because it created uneven economic development across the respective geographies. Moreover, it undermines the educational priorities of the recipient nation as well as lowering wage rates. Where the immigrants are highly mobile ,young and educated, which they generally are, then there are economic benefits which why business favours cheap labour from abroad. That doesn’t mean there aren’t significant social downsides and infrastructure pressures.. The counter effect for the donor country, is a net deficit of economically active individuals which depresses economic development – Ireland is a classic example. You have to ask yourself though when the ratio between the economically inactive and economically active drops to 5:2 who is going to generate the wealth the old. Who will support you in your old age?

In respect of the EU I have been totally opposed to the notion of further expansion particularly with implication of a unified currency which was destined not to work from the outset. But you have to recognise that the EU is something business has pushed. There have been some advances for social policy;the Human Rights Act is a particular case in point given some of the deplorable leanings of successive British Governments who have now created secret courts in which illegal M15/M16 excesses can be hidden.

The acid test of whether to leave is whether we gain more from staying than leaving. I’d be interested on your views on this point particularly what you think you are hoping to gain.

If you are a UKIP supporter and presumably like the idea of British people voting for British Laws maybe you could also tell me why your party is supporting an EU initiative(TTIP) being held in near secrecy which would allow Multinational corporations to determine the spending behaviour and policy making decisions of all future British Governments. These decisions would also take place in secret and outside the British jurisdiction.

For your information ,I was born in the 50’s grew up in the 60’s and noted with complete despair the desolation of British Society under Thatcher (‘there is no such thing as society’) who ushered in the ‘loads of money’ era which continued until the crash in 2008 and appears to be reviving with banks encouraging yet more credit. It is unfortunate that you support a party that implicitly agrees with this position;one which has seen the largest divergence in incomes and life chances since the 1800’s. If that isn’t a recipe for social disintegration then I don’t know what is!

Thanks for your fulsome response, MoCO. I will return to give a more deserving reply to you once I have sorted out a DIY job which is going bandy for me at the moment.

(Do Yerself In ???)

Of TTIP. I confess. I know nothing about this and won’t pretend to by Googling it. The primary attraction in the United Kingdom INDEPENDENCE Party is independence from the EU (as distinct from Europe – with which I have no issue at all.)

Ergo I infer that TTIP would have no effect on us if we’d left the EU as UKIP intends.

The Tories would do well to play on this fact as it is their party most at risk – as yet they haven’t. I note that The Daily Mail is Mr Farage’s most vociferous critic. They are petrified of a Miliband government (I am not.)

I am ready for education, MoCO.

I shall answer other points later.

Thanks.

PS, It is the EU which conducts its affairs in near secrecy.

Oi leave me out of it,I `

DIY problem sorted. (I highly recommend a product called Powerbond)

Keeping with Sunny’s post I can see why Labour bring up education and the NHS to distract from the killer issue of mass (I stress *mass*) immigration. Few people are against immigration per se – least of all me. The issue is more complex than ‘kick ’em out’ and the typical Ukipper’s opinion more sophisticated than given credit – hence the BNP took no ground (thank goodness.)

Labour cannot take on UKIP directly but instead should take a passive position and allow them to continue to split the right wing vote. A 2015 election they can win by default – with losses which cannot be avoided. Those votes have gone, they will not come back. Live with it, as they say.

UKIP will not form government. They will fail in office owing to resistance by full time government officials, lack of experience and the inability to reach consensus within their own organisation because of the broad base of people they are attracting. (Though all parties are a coalition of ideas I suppose.)

Point by point to MoCO’s 14 if I may be allowed to continue the digression, Sunny:

– Your point about the English degree – accepted. Ditto stereotypes. I’m sorry. I’ve caused offence. I hope you will accept my apology.

– Carbon footprints. We have gone for greenism max – and then continued to add hugely to our population. Whatever mandate existed for carbon cuts was agreed on clear per capita losses. These have changed markedly and we need a review. Windfarms and solar arrays require government subsidy so how can they be cheap or economically viable ?

– Immigration: All immigrants are ‘highly mobile.’ I would be highly mobile too in their position. We don’t know how many are educated as we don’t select them. As for the economic benefits of low skilled labour, where these workers :

– contribute no tax
– receive in-work top ups
– force indigenous workers to take top-up pay through depressed pay
– displace an indigenous worker

then they can be considered to be taxpayer subsidised and are not ‘cheap’.

No one mentions the ramifications of our open borders policy which includes the outlay for wars in the middle east and stepped up homeland security in order to ‘prevent jihadism on our streets’ (so they tell us.) Or today’s news that foreign criminals are costing the treasury up to £1bn per year (as well as a lot of misery)

Are these costs deducted from the economic ‘benefits’of our open door policy ? Not that I’ve ever heard of.

The tax take is down – public borrowing up which all attests to my belief that this is a bad idea. The much vaunted Tory ‘jobs galore’ will not deliver higher wages as Mr Cameron claims – why should it with an endless supply of cheap labour to keep supply in the employer’s favour and her tax burden high so that she has to squeeze her costs ?

Paying for old age pensions (Ireland.) Immigrants get old too. Where does it stop ? We’re toe punting this one down the line with a workforce too poor to save for their own old age. What of those who aren’t paying tax either ?

Business may have pushed the EU but business is not The People and democracy ought to – in a properly enfranchised society – win out on that one.

An industrialist argued with me that he preferred to work in Europe when I mentioned facing his business towards the emerging BRICs. He balked at the idea stating that he preferred the European Union’s ‘civilised’ approach and disliked the corruption elsewhere. I countered that the future is owned by the BRICs (largely our own fault) whether we like it or not and it’s something we’d better start getting used to.

I doubt very much, if we left the EU, that BMW or Mercedes would stop selling their cars to us – correct me if I’m wrong but we run a trade deficit with Germany so the bigger loss would be theirs if Europe started to get funny with us.

London will always remain a cultural centre with restaurants and entertainment to rival the world. Our reputation (undeserved I think) as a safe place to trade, do law and to store wealth will remain intact. We have remained outside the Euro and it has not affected our position – in fact it has been our saving grace.

There are plenty of small countries with a fraction of our gift thriving on their own.

In any case there is far more at stake than wealth. Liberty, democracy, autonomy and sovereignty. Earlier generations knew that these things were worth sacrificing all for.

Thatcher’s leadership followed a disasterous Labour administration when Britain was a broken IMF candidate. Was the ‘loads a’ money’ era which followed really a bad thing ? Surely it was a vindication of the Thatcher policies during which period we went from ‘sick man of Europe’ to powerhouse.

Her demise was by Hesseltinian putsch once she’d worked out what the EU was really about – it had nothing to do with the Poll Tax as many believe.

That boom actually ended when the Major government pegged our currency to the EU ERM. The later 2007 crash was a different thing altogether. Preceded by the worst credit binge ever under the Brown/Blair government – greed and excesses which put the ’80s in the shade but no-one ever mentions that.

It was far worse and not just because of its scale but because it was so unethical. What can be worse for the carbon footprint than excessive borrowing beloved of the Left ? The natural brake on consumption – that you can only consume what you earn – is broken and an unborn generation is left to foot the economic and ecological bill.

Newmania – I hope things are well with you and yours.

20. Man on the Clapham Omnibus

– Your point about the English degree – accepted. Ditto stereotypes. I’m sorry. I’ve caused offence. I hope you will accept my apology.

No offence caused. Actually I am quite interested in the structuralist aspects of the literary cannon but dont see its wider application in the same terms that Gove seems to regard Latin and Greek (what did the Romans ever do for us!)

– Carbon footprints. We have gone for greenism max – and then continued to add hugely to our population. Whatever mandate existed for carbon cuts was agreed on clear per capita losses. These have changed markedly and we need a review. Windfarms and solar arrays require government subsidy so how can they be cheap or economically viable ?

All forms of energy need either continuous subsidy or start up subsidies. Nuclear for example is extremely expensive and requires continuous lifetime subsidy. Take the new EDF development for example. High Strike price with 32 years inflation proofing from HM Government . Add to dispensation for any health and Safety issues during construction ,all damage, polution explosion death etc underwritten by the taxpayer for what it uninsurable by the private market. Add to that decommisioning cost. If you want to follow the success of decomisioning you can check google sources. Needless to say it runs into hundreds of millions of pounds and the lack of progress at Sellafield has attracted select committee ire.

As to fossil fuels, the obvious costs are environmental damage which is why emissions are associated with a considerable number of deaths each year. Also let us not forget Ownen Patterson,the man that drowned Somerset. That little escapade can realistically be put down to fosil fuel burning. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), in 2012 global fossil fuel subsidies totalled $544bn (£323bn; 392bn euros), while those for renewables amounted to $101bn. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) puts the total for hydrocarbons nearer $2 trillion. (BBC Source) As I said in the last piece this has been covered up for years. There was a EU minister (name starts with an O I think) who seeing the level of subsidies to fossil fuels in comparison to green energy deleted the whole referring paragraph out of a high level report the story goes.
Of interest may be a report that came out within the last couple of weeks saying the same thing.

– Immigration: All immigrants are ‘highly mobile.’ I would be highly mobile too in their position. We don’t know how many are educated as we don’t select them. As for the economic benefits of low skilled labour, where these workers :

– contribute no tax
– receive in-work top ups
– force indigenous workers to take top-up pay through depressed pay
– displace an indigenous worker

then they can be considered to be taxpayer subsidised and are not ‘cheap’.

Immigrants who are not mobile have caused the greatest consternation because they have kids and place stress of existing infrastructure either temporarily or permanent if insufficient resource is not available for housing or schools etc.

The is little evidence to suggest that we are being swamped by unskilled labour.Far from it since in the main these immigrants are young and educated.But there remains an argument about the long term value to both donor and recipient countries. My position is that an indigious workforce should be trained for all the skills neccessary to support the economy. If you need to import labour in drastic terms it says something about the effectiveness of your education system . You need to bear in mind that business oftens looks to foreign labour to minimise wages and maximise profits irrespective of the social consequences of that encouragement.

No one mentions the ramifications of our open borders policy which includes the outlay for wars in the middle east and stepped up homeland security in order to ‘prevent jihadism on our streets’ (so they tell us.) Or today’s news that foreign criminals are costing the treasury up to £1bn per year (as well as a lot of misery)

Are these costs deducted from the economic ‘benefits’of our open door policy ? Not that I’ve ever heard of.

That isnt the long term worry in my view. My worry is the whether future changes loom because of the failure to integrate some communities. Belgium is destined to become culturally a muslim country in the not to distant future. That will generate its own social issues.

The tax take is down – public borrowing up which all attests to my belief that this is a bad idea. The much vaunted Tory ‘jobs galore’ will not deliver higher wages as Mr Cameron claims – why should it with an endless supply of cheap labour to keep supply in the employer’s favour and her tax burden high so that she has to squeeze her costs ?

The major reason that the tax take has gone down is because the Tories are engineering a low wage ,low productivity economy. Sure unemployment is down but if I sack a permanent worker on a good wage and replace him with four on zero hour contracts then job done! You wont make much tax out of it though. The other demographic is that wealth is increasingly becoming more concentrated ,a process that will get worse since wealth derived from capital dramatically exceeds that from productive work. As a result no matter how fast you try to keep running young workers in particular will never get to afford the house or a lifestyle that you and I (particularly me( my first house cost 21K ))are used to. What we are seeing is the economy rebounding in a craze of further credit. A 2008 is on its way again!

Paying for old age pensions (Ireland.) Immigrants get old too. Where does it stop ? We’re toe punting this one down the line with a workforce too poor to save for their own old age. What of those who aren’t paying tax either ?

Yup your right but you’d be surprised how many countries have ABSOLUTELY NO PROVISION for pensions. Portugal Germany Greece Japan US and the UK all with a demographic perfect storm on the way.

Business may have pushed the EU but business is not The People and democracy ought to – in a properly enfranchised society – win out on that one.

I think you’ll find that business is all there is. The recent lobying bill that the Tories pushed through was an overt attempt at stiffling democracy whilst allowing an undisturbed flow of business lobbyists through number 10. Think Bilderburg and the Tory summer parties to see how the Tories are the handmaidens of international capital. Hell they are even putting legislation through to allow frackers to leave polutiontents under you garden lawn if they so wish.That’s quite apart from selling of the NHS to a lot of companies in which they have a direct finacial gain.

An industrialist argued with me that he preferred to work in Europe when I mentioned facing his business towards the emerging BRICs. He balked at the idea stating that he preferred the European Union’s ‘civilised’ approach and disliked the corruption elsewhere. I countered that the future is owned by the BRICs (largely our own fault) whether we like it or not and it’s something we’d better start getting used to.

Working Chinese hours is what we need to get used to!

I doubt very much, if we left the EU, that BMW or Mercedes would stop selling their cars to us – correct me if I’m wrong but we run a trade deficit with Germany so the bigger loss would be theirs if Europe started to get funny with us.

Except a viable country needs to produce not just consume and for that we need close partners.

London will always remain a cultural centre with restaurants and entertainment to rival the world. ( Consumption again! )Our reputation (undeserved I think) as a safe place to trade, do law and to store wealth will remain intact. We have remained outside the Euro and it has not affected our position – in fact it has been our saving grace.

We are a safe haven for internation business for sure . Some of that derives from the historic priveledges of the City of London which operates out of effective democratic control. Many suggests it operates like an offshore Island.

This is all well and good for the beneficeries but a whole country cannot proceed on the basis of usury. We need a solid productive base.

If you are pinning your hopes on the financial industry then dont hold your breath. The casino will run dry in the next crash for certain. That is unfortunately the downside of running an entire economy on credit.

There are plenty of small countries with a fraction of our gift thriving on their own.

In any case there is far more at stake than wealth. Liberty, democracy, autonomy and sovereignty. Earlier generations knew that these things were worth sacrificing all for.

Couldnt agree more but if your suggesting that is in someway what we have then I dont agree. Remember only 30 odd percent gets a govt elected which means that 60 odd percent are permanently disenfranchised

Thatcher’s leadership followed a disasterous Labour administration when Britain was a broken IMF candidate. Was the ‘loads a’ money’ era which followed really a bad thing ? Surely it was a vindication of the Thatcher policies during which period we went from ‘sick man of Europe’ to powerhouse.

Thatcher and her supporters Blair Brown etc believed that money could be made up. Thats why there was a huge explosion in Docklands. The ‘loads of money’ was never real money which is why 2008 happened. It wasnt Brown’s Goverment it was the fuse set by both Regan (and others) in the US and Maggie in the UK that sytematically took the shackles off of casino banking. This is why Glass Steagall is oft mentioned by notably Vince Cable and others. No one in the know actually blames labour. The fact was that the PSBR was dropping from 2006 and even Osbourne acknowledged we were the least indebted country in Europe at the time of the crash. Check out utube with key words of debt osbourne select commitee and it should come up.

Her demise was by Hesseltinian putsch once she’d worked out what the EU was really about – it had nothing to do with the Poll Tax as many believe.

That boom actually ended when the Major government pegged our currency to the EU ERM. The later 2007 crash was a different thing altogether. Preceded by the worst credit binge ever under the Brown/Blair government – greed and excesses which put the ’80s in the shade but no-one ever mentions that.

This just isnt right see above. Moreover you should bear in mind that Labour spending went mainly to the young and old and was extremely well targeted . Check out how the national health service underwent impressive changes after the Tories ran it down. I

It was far worse and not just because of its scale but because it was so unethical. What can be worse for the carbon footprint than excessive borrowing beloved of the Left ? The natural brake on consumption – that you can only consume what you earn – is broken and an unborn generation is left to foot the economic and ecological bill.

If you believe this you should definitely check out Postive Money on the web. They are non partisan and have many interesting videos to watch. But also consider the relationship betwennthe Government and private capital. Amazon earnt 4.2 Billion in UK sales and 0.01 % tax bill

21. Man on the Clapham Omnibus

20 and consider also the way that the private sector supports private capital through tax. The railways are a good example .Because of a shortfall in profit the tax payer recently paid £359 per head to private companies. In the SE where services a way below par a rail company has just has its franchise extended with any competitive tendering for another 15 years. That cost 149M. Consider too the amount of tax payer subsidies that goes into the coffers of private heath companies servicing the NHS. This is all about how politics is selling the interests of capital.

“The is little evidence to suggest that we are being swamped by unskilled labour.Far from it since in the main these immigrants are young and educated.”

We don’t know. We don’t check these things or have a points system.

Of ‘our country being too crowded’ (quoting me) so long as we have:

– a cost of living *crisis*
– a school *crisis*
– an NHS *crisis*
– a housing *crisis

I think it’s a fair presumption that we have too many people chasing too many resources. You mention that we should get used to working Chinese hours but our governments have done nothing to mitigate this.

Casino banking:

13 years of Nu Labour intervened and they did nothing to correct it. In fact they enjoyed the tax receipts and even when so far as to abrogate responsibility for setting interest rates – a Chancellor’s one and only method of taking steam out of an overheating economy.

My purpose for commenting here is not to change anyone’s ideology or perception (a near impossible thing in my experience) but to make clear that my reasons for voting UKIP are not thought-less. They are well considered – mainly it is an abstention with an indication of why I abstained. A protest yes, but a real defection from the Tories nonetheless.

I was perturbed by one comment above which said “We have changed what is being said but not what is being thought.” which I think is rather sinister. It is, however, a good indication of why people are going for UKIP.

They’ve had enough of the name calling, being called racists, closet loons and fruitcakes. Chukka Ummuna’s (spelling ?) outburst today was not good. UKIP are not blaming immigrants – they are blaming politicians. He is out of touch and will lose votes if he is not careful.

*Correction*

too many people chasing too *few* resources

I’m very reluctant to blame it on immigration but half a million people (that we know about ) arriving here every single year from generally poorer nations, versus three hundred thousand leaving every year who are generally tax paying and skilled, is not a good way to improve things.

We may know little about the skills of people arriving but we know for sure that those leaving are off to less generous countries and will be expected to be self supporting – in that respect the quality control of the people leaving is even more stringent than those arriving !


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