The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

Archive for the 'UK Politics' Category

14 December
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Are The Mail on Sunday & Margaret Hodge Really Accusing Three Distinguished Academics Of Creating A Racist Quiz For UKIP?

 

 

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Thus thundered Simon Walters, ace reporter, otherwise known as  Political Editor For The Mail On Sunday

Nigel Farage was in another race row last night after asking supporters to rate ‘blacks, Muslims and Eastern Europeans’ in a game – with prizes of cash and a Ukip golf umbrella.The ‘rate an immigrant’ survey is part of a Ukip private survey of members aimed at helping the party draw up its policies.Sent last week by Ukip chairman Steve Crowther, it asks members to say ‘how close they feel’ to a number of groups.They include ‘Blacks, Asians, Muslims, English, Eastern Europeans and Whites’ as well as the four main political parties.Ukip activists are urged to rate each on a scale from 0 for ‘not close at all’ to 10 for ‘very close.’But the survey was slammed as a racist stunt after details were leaked to The Mail on Sunday.Last night, senior Labour MP Margaret Hodge condemned the Ukip survey as ‘shocking’

Gotcha, UKIP….we’ve finally caught up with you. It’s Hate An Immigrant week and obviously the biggest prizes will go to the biggest haters. Another coup by the fearless UKIP sniffers at the  Mail

Except ………….there is something that was missed by ace reporter Simon Walters and his team…..the survey was designed and distributed on behalf of UKIP by a team of highly respected academics. It was framed to gain an overall picture of UKIP member’s views and attitudes. Simon Walters took a set of perfectly acceptable questions, a regular feature of many of these surveys, and pimped it up as a “race quiz”. A shoddy piece of reporting that, regrettably, is often par for the course for the Mail.

Here is your UKIP Members Survey.   Please help UKIP by completing the Members Survey.

Your Answers Help the Party and You Can Win Great Prizes!

Three academics are helping us. They are Professor Matthew Goodwin (University of Nottingham and author of Revolt on the Right),
Professor Harold Clarke at the University of Texas and Professor Paul Whiteley at the University of Essex, who are former
Directors of the prestigious British Election Study.  Professor Clarke is distributing the survey.

That’s this Prof Harold Clarke

That’s this Prof Matthew Goodwin

That’s this Prof Paul Whiteley

Now, are Mr Ace Reporter Simon Walters of the Mail on Sunday and the very wealthy Labour MP Margaret Hodge (who gained a Third Class Degree at LSE) really ready to accuse these three highly distinguished academics of putting together a racist quiz for the entertainment of UKIP’s membership?

I really think we should be told….

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13 December
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When Russell Brand Was Treated Like An Adult Rather Than A Precocious Infant He Collapsed Like A Deflated Balloon

Russell Brand – sliced and diced during BBC Question Time by a member of the audience (who was obviously a UKIP supporter)……

It had all been going so well for Brand – he had been interrupting with impunity, shouting over the women on the panel, shrieking simplistic slogans buttered by vulgarities.
‘Stand for Parliament then!’ the old man boomed. Russell looked as though he had been rabbit-punched. ‘Stand!’ repeated the man. ‘Do it!’
‘I’m scared I’d become one of them,’ mewed Brand. He meant become one of the Westminster crowd. The audience scoffed at this pathetic excuse, perhaps suspecting that multi-millionaire Brand would hate to be an MP because he’d have to declare his income and would soon be exposed as a political fraud……….The fight went out of Brand. A balloon shrivelled

Brand had prepared for the show by memorising a few pithy phrases (Farage as a “pound shop Enoch Powell” was clearly contrived but nevertheless a neat barb) and, on a series of cards, had written down a series of Unite bullet points. Add to the mix those trusty old BBCQT crowd pleasers ”bankers” (BOO) “the city” (HISS) “tax dodgers” (SNARL) and orgasms of ecstasy were rippling through many in the “balanced” audience.

Everything was working to script.

But Russell had made a fatal mistake. He had forgotten that BBCQT is a two way show. Unlike his own routines or the regular chat shows or HIGNFY the audience is not there as a congregation of sycophants whose sole purpose is to massage showbiz egos with rapturous applause. It’s there to come back at the panel with awkward ripostes – and that’s where the script gets blown out of the window.

Brand was obviously shaken by that man’s contemptuous put down and, for the rest of the programme, appeared visibly shrunken.

But why the hell does it take an anonymous face in a crowd to show up Brand as a stuttering, stumbling knownothing with less grasp of political and economic reality than an earwig of average intelligence?

It’s because, on television, he’s been given an easy ride with softball interviews, indulged like some sort of precocious infant actor from a remake of “Annie”….Paxman, anyone?

That hasn’t always been the case with other inarticulate peddlers of political  infantilism. BNP’s Nick Griffin was mercilessly dismantled on one BBCQT show and the assault was so savage that both himself and his party slipped mercifully into oblivion.

So why not Brand?

The answer, my friend, is obvious. His infantile pseudo revolutionary rhetoric, his friend of the downtrodden posturing, his carefully choreographed presence at left wing protests fits comfortably with the mindset of the middle class metropolitan poseurs who dominate the worlds of the media and the arts. They despise the “fatcats” of industry and commerce, the men and women who run the systems that generate the wealth that funds the cultural sector either directly by paying the wages which enables their employees to purchase the tickets or indirectly via the taxes that subsidise elements of the media (BBC) and whole swathes of grant funded artistic ventures.

If only once, on television, an interviewer or a fellow panellist had just turned round at the end of one of Brand’s unintelligible diatribes, looked him squarely in the eye and and said “What a load of bollocks” and asked him to explain his commercial activities in Hollywood, his association with nice little tax avoidance schemes in the UK and his regular forays into the Ritz and Claridges.

But he’s a luvvie – and luvvies never eat their own…unless they’re called Angus Deayton

 

 

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12 December
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Green Anarchists Think We Are Stupid – So They Turn To Violence

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It seems that The Revolution is alive and well in Bristol

In recent months, police in Bristol have dealt with over 100 related acts of vandalism to police stations, military bases, banks, multinational companies, railways and churches. The police are in little doubt as to who is responsible – anarchists and animal-liberation activists – and have put up a £10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of even one suspected offender. 

It’s all part of rage against The Man, of course, particularly, the establishment’s “failure to live up to green ideals”. It’s no good trying to convince ordinary voters via discussion and debate, naturally, because, frankly, the masses have been brainwashed by an education system and a media that simply sneers at environmentalists and their concerns.

It’s the Russell Brand school of “don’t vote – act” Which is rather strange when you come to think of it because isn’t it The Man in Westminster who has increased energy bills by making us pay for vast numbers of expensive and inefficient windmills – and insisted that the school curriculum should teach some very questionable “facts” about “manmade global warming”

The primary driver of  this “green vandalism” is, of course, hatred of humans….we are all far too stupid and selfish to rein in our greed – and we need to be taught a lesson. Echoing the ISIS jihadists the fault lies with the seductions of the modern world. We need to return to a life of marginal consumption away from the technologies that have poisoned our world view. In other words – a medieval rural based self-sufficient society where travel is limited and priests (be they imams or green gurus) can keep our minds tamed and our horizons lowered….

….and if they have to use violence to recreate that world….so be it…

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11 December
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Exit Neil Hamilton…Much To The Relief Of UKIP Members…

That is really good news. In the age of Douglas Carswell, Diane James, Tim Akers and a multitude of others like them – serious people for a serious party – poor old Neil has simply too much baggage. Rightly or wrongly he will always be associated with brown envelopes and cash for questions and 1990s Tory Sleaze  and subsequent appearances on low level TV shows, describing himself as  “an object of professional curiosity” Perhaps he hoped UKIP, which he joined in 2011, would provide an opportunity for a political second coming.

On the surface he appeared to receive a welcome but, though he had aspirations to become a candidate for the Euros he failed to make the final cut. I heard him speak at the 2013 UKIP Conference where he was presented as the party’s Campaign Director. He was pure unadulterated ham. The party was already on a high and all speakers, good or bad, got a good round of applause – except Neil. The clapping was polite, nothing more and I noticed that quite a few members kept their hands apart. Obviously they shared my  misgivings.

He was removed from his new role a few months later and appeared to be a fading star so the news that he was replacing Natasha Bolter at the South Basildon UKIP hustings was a nasty shock. However, by a strange coincidence (cough,cough,) on the very day of the hustings it seemed that Mr H received a letter from UKIP’s beancounters asking some rather awkward questions about expense claims. He then turned up at the hustings, withdrew his candidacy and endorsed local UKIP councillor Kerry Smith.

 

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Sighs of relief all round….

With hindsight the candidate selection procedure for South Basildon showed up some flaws. Not much due diligence appears to have been done on Mrs Bolter, a Labour defector who joined UKIP only four months ago. Councillor Smith had been blocked from the hustings and although he didn’t throw his toys out of the pram some local members were unsettled. Then the sudden appearance of Neil Hamilton, carpetbagger extraordinaire, threatened to turn the whole thing into a circus…..but, fortunately sanity prevailed.

I do have a sneaking admiration for Neil. He has taken quite a few kicks from fate (mostly as a result of his own actions) and remained chipper and self deprecating. His wife, Christine, is his tower of strength – a tough cookie and a tiger in defence of her man.

Now if Christine Hamilton took it into her mind to put herself forward as a candidate, well, that might be a different story…

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03 December
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Libertarianism – Nice Idea But For UKIP A Bit Ivory Tower…

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A confession.

My first political action was helping my dad, a working class Tory, put a poster in our window for the 1950 election. Since then, until 2013 I was often an active party member but always a loyal Tory voter…sometimes while holding my nose (Heath) other times almost ecstatic with enthusiasm (Thatcher)

Admittedly from 2006 I had my doubts about Cameron and developed an interest in UKIP but I only actually joined UKIP in 2013 because of Diane James and Eastleigh. Until then, outside of Farage, many other UKIP figures did appear to me to be oddballs. Diane James was no oddball and, more importantly, she almost won – and that was why I joined. UKIP was obviously appealing to a considerable number of ordinary voters.

But I have never been a libertarian.

After all, who in terms of practical politics could honestly see a “libertarian” government being elected and then proceeding to dismantle the apparatus of the state? Ron Paul won the devotion of a handful of bright young Ayn Rand groupies. He managed to win straw polls yet remained electorally irrelevant. The Tea Party was a genuine grassroots movement with a laser like focus on fiscal probity that fired the 2010 election and began the undermining of the Democrats and their hold on political power that had been handed to them on a plate by the beltway GOP in 2006 and 2008. After 2008 the GOP leadership and their media pundits were all for going with the flow and working with the Democrats. The Tea Party and their biggest fan, Sarah Palin, went for Obama, Pelosi & Co with knives and baseball bats. The beltway pundits rolled their eyes but the voters liked what they heard. Meanwhile Ron Paul stood aloof from the Tea Party and watched as politics passed him by.

Similarly while UKIP was a tiny fringe cult where libertarians could play all day it attracted few votes outside the meaningless Euros. Once it began to be perceived as a populist party resonating with a shift in public mood in 1913 it began winning local council seats and making an impact in parliamentary elections. This was accompanied by a dramatic increase in membership and the expansion of the branch structure which in some areas generated a lively and energetic core of local activists. The result? More local election gains in 2014 and UKIP’s first MPs’

Not all of the pre 2013 kippers have been impressed, particularly the libertarians. Policy shifts on the NHS, taxation and welfare have led to mutterings about “red UKIP” and perhaps one can understand their concerns. But I also feel that some of them are maybe subconsciously uncomfortable with the influx of new members and the prospects of electoral success. They were happier being perceived as the followers of a fringe cult baying helplessly at the moon because it helped to reinforce their own conviction that they were prophets crying in the wilderness, ignored by an ignorant majority who would suffer on the Day of Judgement.

I would guess that the vast majority of the post 2013 UKIP intake are, like me, inclined towards small government. But we also recognise that a modern nation state is a highly complex structure that needs a modicum of direction if only to guard its citizens from the designs of those who wish us harm through criminal activity within or without the realm.

Of course any political movement needs to be grounded with principles – yet it must also seek to gain power to put those principles into practice. There are only three ways of doing this – by taking over an existing party, by creating a separate party and start to win elections or by some sort of coup or insurrection .Either way means getting your hands dirty with political action….and I really can’t see any of our libertarian dream weavers leaving their ivory towers to do that….

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02 December
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Hey – We Called UKIP Guy A Turk To Celebrate Diversity Says Tory MP

 

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Whoops – sorry….

Hey, that leaflet calling UKIP’s Tim Aker “Timur” issued by the Tories in Thurrock is not a negative snide reference to his Turkish ancestry says Tory MP Jackie Doyle Price – it’s really a celebration of his diversity…and that’s A OK ‘cos we all know diversity is good…geddit? (nudge nudge wink wink – anyone for a kebab…lol)

Ms Doyle-Price will be running for re-election against Mr Aker next May, defending a majority of less than 100 votes – one of the smallest in the UK at the 2010 election.

Yup – stay classy, Tories…

 

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14 November
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Two Big Myths Parroted About UKIP Nailed – By Left Wing Writers!!!!!

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Listen to most of the political class and media pundits talking about UKIP and there are two dominant narratives

UKIP HAS PEAKED AND WILL FADE AWAY AT GE 2015

UKIP IS JUST A PROTEST VOTE

Hmmmmm…..

UKIP HAS PEAKED AND WILL FADE AWAY AT GE 2015

John Harris at The Guardian

supporting Ukip is essentially an act of defiance and a hostile media is one of the forces Ukip’s most enthusiastic fans think they are resisting. Indeed, the place of the media in this story shows the rise of Ukip to be as much a cultural phenomenon as a political one.  Tellingly, a lot of Ukip supporters defiantly describe themselves as “English”, a deep, complex identity that transcends the dry stuff of elections and voting behaviour. At its core is a latent anger about snobbery and the supposed sidelining of the white working class, and antipathy towards most things considered “politically correct”, which can explode in response to stories and events that are said to fit that basic narrative. Ukip will not win all of the Westminster seats it is targeting, ……But make no mistake, Ukip’s support now runs deep and wide, the public’s faith in mainstream politics shows no signs of any revival and through 2015 and beyond, what Nigel Farage calls his “people’s army” is hardly likely to go away.

UKIP IS JUST A PROTEST VOTE Tim Black at Spiked

And this is why UKIP’s emergence is so potentially significant. The withdrawal of the party-political establishment from the public, its separation from the people it is meant to represent, has finally been seized upon. The emperor is wearing deeply unpopular clothes. Or to put it another way, UKIP is effectively confronting the political class with its own estrangement from vast swathes of British society. To those who have long been condescended to, whose views and lifestyles have been dismissed as backward or unhealthy, UKIP offers a voice. To those whose sense of dislocation amid so much politically championed social change have been ignored, UKIP offers a bulwark. And to those who have found little to vote for from the mainstream political melange, UKIP offers an opportunity. (It’s no surprise that a survey of UKIP voters at last year’s Eastleigh by-election revealed that over 20 per cent had not voted at previous General Elections.)

Fascinating….and what is strange is that both Harris and Black are left wing commentators. Strange that they can be a little more perceptive than the “experts” at supposedly right wing organs like the Telegraph, the Mail and Spectator…..but then they don’t have to keep in with Tory HQ

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10 November
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Suddenly “English Votes For English Issues” Becomes Devolution To “Regions”….I Wonder Why?

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For just a few days after the No victory in the Scottish referendum last September there was much talk of the need to “do something” about England.

The prime minister promised a devolution revolution across Great Britain, including votes on English issues by English MPs at Westminster, as he hailed Scotland’s decision to remain inside the UK.

Polling data appears to indicate that “English votes on English issues” has the support of a clear majority of the people of England. How that could be done is obviously a matter of opinion. My own view would be relatively cheap and cheerful…no separate English Parliament providing yet another gravy train for politician and civil servants. Instead, when debating and voting on matters pertaining to England only (e g education, health) the Commons sits as a committee of English MPs only, excluding Scottish and, maybe, Welsh and Northern Ireland MPs.

Simples…

Except that, suddenly, the Labour Party began to get nervous. Tapping their calculators brought forward the unappealing prospect of taking out 59 Scottish MPs from those “English votes”…hardly any of them conservative.

So the rhetoric began to change and devolving powers to “the regions” became the mantra – and you can see why. Not only could the boundaries of some of these “regions” be gerrymandered to fit the core Labour tribal vote but there would be plenty of new troughs for political and bureaucratic snouts to gorge themselves on taxpayer funded goodies.

Naturally they roped in their left wing allies at the BBC who sent Mark Easton to do a series of vox pops. He wrote an interesting post on the history of local government in England but but he framed the discussion with a subtle  piece of subliminal propaganda

Calls for English devolution raise a thorny but age-old question – how might England be broken up into regions?

Notice how with one of the findings of the BBC poll

Some 80% of people in England support having more powers devolved to local areas, a poll on devolution commissioned by the BBC has suggested.

“local areas” has suddenly morphed into “regions”

Now nobody would deny that there are some issues which justify some form of regional strategy (transport comes straight to mind) but there is no reason why existing local authorities cannot be involved alongside Westminster and other interested parties. To set up a completely new  layer of administration providing outwork for even more politicians and bureaucrats smells of only one thing..

Another Gravy Train – paid for by us….

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08 November
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Media Hacks Know Frack All About UKIP – So They Make It Up….

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Rod Liddle at the Speccie has gone all Dan Brown and reckons he’s cracked the UKIP code….it’s a London thing…

 I suspect that the real pull of Ukip in England is that the party, and Mr Farage particularly, are seen as a corrective to the vapid, flaccid, spineless, politically correct and wholly London-centric mitherings of what, until May next year, we must call the main three parties.

I do love it when media hacks and TV pundits who know frack all about UKIP and its 40,000+ members pontificate about the motives of its supporters and why it is rising in the polls. Fact is these scribblers and prattlers have long lists of contacts in the lobby and among the bright young things at party HQ (whose parents they know from their own Oxbridge days)…they are all constantly networking, sharing gossip and swapping nannies.

UKIP leadership cadres simply do not move in these circles and, until a couple of years ago, were, at best, politely ignored or, more often, treated with contempt by these hacks. Even today, like their political contacts in the three main parties they cannot bring themselves to contemplate the possibility that the tectonic plates have shifted. Come “real politics” next May they are convinced that UKIP will fade away and once again North London dinner parties will be where it’s all happening. – so why bother to cultivate any UKIP contacts?

Hence the tendency to treat the party in a similar way to those newly discovered tribes from the depths of the Amazonian forest. There are a few photos published in the Daily Mail alongside a report big on hype and short on facts, a brief flurry of media interest that peters out after six days – and then the whole story just..evaporates.

I suppose it was a bit like that in St Petersburg in the last few months of 1916….

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23 October
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Were Our Soldiers In Afghanistan Betrayed By Politicians & Generals?

Poor leadership from the top brass?

Military leaders failed to calculate the magnitude of the conflict in Afghanistan, the former head of the British army has told the BBC. Gen Sir Peter Wall said they thought they had a “reasonable force” for their limited objectives, but he now admits they got it wrong. The commander in Helmand in 2006, Brig Ed Butler, said troops were “underprepared and under-resourced”.

Peter Oborne in the Telegraph dots the i’s and crosses the t’s in a savage indictment of the UK’s political and military leadership.

British forces were ill-equipped, underprepared and, at the most senior strategic level, atrociously led. The men themselves were nevertheless brave as lions. The conflict in Helmand will be remembered for centuries as a shining example of astonishing heroism combined with pointless sacrifice

Reading Oborne’s article will make you angry – and frustrated. In essence good men and women were killed and maimed so that politicians and senior officers could grandstand at meetings in Westminster and Washington. The politicians (are you listening Mr Blair?) are now either waxing fat with lucrative speaking engagements around the world or are still in Parliament trying to sell themselves as the next government. I guess that also many of the senior officers slipped seamlessly into cosy and well paid consultancy positions in the UK armaments industry…perish the thought that better kit might  be available off the shelf elsewhere.

Metaphorically thoughts of Admiral Byng might well come to mind – and not just for senior officers….

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