Welcome news for London

April 26, 2012 9:34 am

Today’s announcement, that if elected next week Ken Livingstone will appoint Oona King as his young people’s champion, is welcome news for London. This focus on ensuring they achieve their potential can only benefit all of London’s citizens.

Our capital is a young city, with many more residents in this age group than other UK regions. Last year Oona’s own pitch for Mayor identified how the fortunes of London rest on their fate; on getting them into education, into jobs, and able to thrive not just survive on our streets.

The reality for our young residents here is very different. Ken spent last Saturday afternoon at a youth crime event in Paddington organized by by young people from every corner of London. Brought together by a concern that only 17% of their peers feel safe in the city, these campaigners have been working together to ask what would improve their prospects in London – from getting their EMA back and changing their relationship with the police to the need to know there will be jobs and careers for them.

With just days to go until the election, Ken’s decision to appoint Oona shows he’s listening to these concerns and determined to use the talent and energy we have in our city to help address these issues. As anyone who has ever met her knows, Oona will bring expertise and passion to working with young people. Her track record of campaigning in this field- from apprenticeships, to youth re-offending and early intervention – means she could bring insight and ideas to help drive action for and with them in City Hall. And we know action is badly needed in a capital where one in four young Londoners find themselves unemployed and knife crime rates amongst young people have shot up on Boris Johnson’s watch.

Indeed, whilst Boris’s own track record on action for young people in London has been found wanting, Ken is providing a powerful offer for them. Whether pledging to restore EMA, supporting Safe Havens, cutting fares or his commitment to tackling gangs, including girl gangs, this latest addition shows he’s serious about giving the next generation a key stake in the future of London.

Stella Creasy is Labour and Co-operative MP for Walthamstow and Shadow Home Affairs Minister for London 
  • Daniel Speight

    Ha-ha, I wish Livingstone would stop kowtowing to these minorities. Muslims, Jews, Gays, Bengalis, Irish and now Blairites. Enoughs enough Ken.

    • jaime taurosangastre candelas

      Do you really believe that left whingers are a majority in London?

      • Daniel Speight

         Sorry Jaime, I’m not sure I understand. Are you on the sauce?

        • jaime taurosangastre candelas

          No, it is simple.  You list some minorities which in recent British political history have been addressed by politicians seeking their votes, and then “Blairites”.  My point is that if you believe that Blairites are just another minority, you may be looking at life from the wrong end of the telescope.

          There is a fairly standard bell curve distribution of the electorate, and London is not going to be different.  “Blairites” in their political beliefs (i.e. centrist, mixed economy, self-reliance) will number rather more than out-and-out left wingers, because that is statistically demonstrable.  You could also label a “Blairite” a “floating voter” – the point is that centrism does not require a voter to be a member of the Labour Party.

          However, your good self and several others on LL are I believe looking to make Blairism, or New Labour, or sanity, or whatever you want to call it a minority activity within the Labour Party, and you are perfectly entitled to do so.  But to castigate a Labour politician for trying to gain votes from the centre seems odd.

          The only sauce I am on is going to be the HP Sauce with my lunchtime bacon and tomato roll, once I have mowed the garden (if the rain stops).

          • Daniel Speight

             I must be mistaken then Jaime. I saw the ‘whingers’ instead of ”wingers’ and thought you must be on the meths and seeing jokes where they didn’t really exist.

            But no it seams when I say Blairites instead of that rump of Tony Blair supporters left inside the Labour Party, which although large inside the party, would be a tiny minority outside, you see the vast majority of the British population. I think that many of them of would be a little surprised.

            Still it seems my humour is as wasted on you as yours is on me. I suspect that is connected to us being raised in different countries, although of course now it is the opposite in that I have lived abroad most of my adult life.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            That is OK Daniel.  Apart from maybe different cultural references, it is always difficult to communicate on the internet.  I believe that is noncontroversial.

            If “Blairite” is the wrong term, there are dozens of others.  “Mondeo Man” and “Worcester Woman” are equivalent.

            I am not by any means a fan of Ken, and hope – for positive reasons, not personal antipathy – that he is not elected.  Nevertheless, his team will be calculating all of the way to the election on how to maximise his chances of success.  Part of that will be the realisation that he is toxic to a proportion of Labour voters who would prefer a lass controversial Labour figure, probably from the right wing of the Party.  Pushing Oona King at this stage seems designed to sway those previously Labour voters in his favour.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            Also, Daniel, Jaime is incorrect – there are clearly people on both Right and Left. The issue is that in the UK, because of the FPTP electoral system, parties cannot be narrow in the way they can in, say, the Netherlands, which has far more parties

            They have a range of parties on the Left and Right, some of which are clearly right wing (The Freedom Party) and some clearly left wing (Socialist Party). There are also centre-right parties (Christian Democrats) and centre-left parties (Labour). But none ever expect to gain a majority and the usual pattern is either a left-orientated or right-orientated coalition 0r a centrist coalition of the CD’s and Labour , sometimes supported by the Liberals – an there are right and left versions of that as well

            In the UK, we have two large catch-all parties inhabited by people who could quite easily be in the other party, through to those very much on left or right. Voters have traditionally also gone this way. However, the total votes for the two main parties has gone down – the LD’s have been the main beneficiaries, but also the National parties, and lately the Greens and UKIP. Now the LD’s are no longer a convenient protest vote, there may be a lot more fluidity in voting patterns.

            But no one grouping has a majority – including the Blairite right of the Labour party. An attempt to set up this sort of centre party in the form of the SDP surely displayed this very clearly.

            Thus, the main parties have to hold on to their core and attract some centrist voters. Labour managed to do the latter well during the Blair years but there is plenty of evidence that many of the core stopped voting in the process. Hence they lost in 2010. 

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            I do not believe that I am incorrect, and statistics back me up.  I am clearly talking about the context that is the UK, not Holland.

            There is a time of flux, and we are in it.  New parties being set up on either the left (e.g. BNP) or right (e.g. UKIP) of the 2 main parties offer opportunities for those attracted to shift allegiance.  The Liberal Democrats for whom I voted in 2010 have a very confused position on both sides of centre, and I expect them to suffer heavily in 2015.  Other parties like the Greens attract people as well, as do the national parties in Scotland and Wales.

            The net result may well be those on either end of the bell curve to transfer allegiances elsewhere, thus lowering the height and density of the bell curve, but it will still exist.

          • Brumanuensis

            I presume you’re joking when you put the BNP on the left. Populism is not a left-wing ideology.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            But the BNP are on the left.  If you take away the racist elements of their platform, their economic policies are demonstrably of the left.  The left/right spectrum measures economic and ownership factors.  The other axis, authoritarian / liberal is where the BNP are way off to the authoritarian end.

            I will probably regret visiting their website to collect this information, but here is a direct cut and paste of their economic policies in 2010:

            The nurturing and encouragement of new and existing British industries;

            - The protection of British companies from unfair foreign imports;

            - The promotion of domestic competition;

            - Increased taxes on companies which outsource work abroad;

            - The reintroduction of the married man’s allowance;

            - The raising of the inheritance tax threshold to £1 million;

            - The encouragement of savings, investment, worker share-ownership and profit-sharing;

            - Halving council tax by centralising education costs and eliminating multiculturalism spending and unnecessary bureaucracy;

            - The renationalisation of monopoly utilities and services, compensating only individual investors and pension funds. Privatising monopolies does not benefit either the consumer or the country. All that happens is the ‘family silver’ is sold off and monopoly utilities and services are asset-stripped, often by foreign competitors.

            There are some commenters on LL who would approve wholeheartedly of many of those policies:  protectionism and nationalisation without compensation in particular are a favourite of Mike Homfray

          • derek

            It’s funny when you get your  charango out and go all plucky, El pisco! with a little bit of pepper! yeaaaahaaa!

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            Only I think protectionism should be at European level.  Certainly agree with nationalisation without compensation, though. Their economic programme is typically populist – it blends aspects of left and right . The proposals on the married man’s tax allowance , on inheritance tax and council tax are right -wing. Then they throw in something about co-ops as well! 

            However, what places them on the right overall is their extreme social conservatism – you are trying to judge all politics by economics again. It simply doesn’t work like that. My primary political interests are not economic, and I think economics should always follow politics, not the other way round.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Not really Mike, I measure politics on 2 axes, and believe there is a case for including a third axis for social policy.  I don’t judge all politics through the prism of economics – that is only one measure.  But you believe that I do.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            Then its clear that the BNP are populist and authoritarian

          • treborc1

             Well Hitler’s movement was on the right does that make him a Tory.

            The BNP are  now stealing the ideals of the old Labour party, does not make them labour  it did not make Hitler’s lot Tories. he stole the socialist element to ensure he had the Unions and the German workers with him.

            The BNP are a far right party, who talk the talk of the Labour party as they want to be seen as being legitimise, does not make it so thought does it

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            But statistics simply don’t back you up. They may have done in the 1950′s when the vast majority of people voted for one of the two major parties, but clearly not now.

            Because of the two catch-all parties, their vote will always consist of both those on the left or right, and centrists. Their vote has been constantly decreasing as a total of the voting public at each election, and it is only our electoral system which forces concern to look centrist.

            Is there really any reason for John McDonnell and James Purnell, or Ken Clarke and Douglas Carswell, to be in the same party, other than electoral convenience?

            If the electoral system was different then the two large parties would very soon break into their constituent parts. The Tories would give way to a Christian democratic/moderate party, a socially and economically liberal party, and a nationalistic socially conservative party. Labour would equally easily break into a socialist party and a social democratic party, and I reckon some would end up in the liberal party too. The LD’s would probably split three ways.  And the Greens would poll much better too.

          • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

            that’s actually quite a fair analysis Mike. What I’d add is that Blairism didn’t lose the 2010 election – Brownism did.  Tony Blair said that Labour would lose if it moved an inch from New Labour – when he stood down, Brown did indeed move away from New Labour and look what happened. We lost.

          • Peter Barnard

            Indeed, Jonathan Roberts, the electorate was so enthused by New Labour that four million less electors voted for New Labour in 2005 than in 1997 (13.5 million down to 9.5 million).

            Post-war, up to and including 2005, that was the second-lowest total for Labour (in any of its “guises”).

          • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

            which is still susbtantially up from the 1983 figure of 8.5million.  1983, when we had a policy platform I suspect you would rather like to see us revive.

            Regardless, we won the election in 2005.  It should come as no surprise however, that 8 years into a Government you are receiving fewer votes – Government’s grow progressively unpopular from the day they are elected, it’s whether you can retain enough support to win an election that counts – and in 2005, we did just that.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            Not entirely – the lack of Tory return to their fold helped too

          • Brumanuensis

            But less than 1992 when we lost. Or indeed 1987 when we lost even more heavily. Or 1979. But absolute figures aren’t useful anyway. A 5.5 point drop in your share of the vote – only slightly better than 2010 – is not a sign of a healthy level of support.

            2005 was an election the Tories lost. They had a manifesto – main author, David Cameron – which rehashed 2001. Michael Howard had the charisma of an IKEA table. If Cameron had been leader, or perhaps even Ken Clarke if the the Tories had had any wits about them in 2001, then it would probably have been extremely close.

          • Brumanuensis

            What about the Conservatives during the 1950s and ’80s btw? Hardly a progressive loss of support.

          • AlanGiles

            Jon. On the first Wednesday of May 2005, Labour had a majority of 167. On the first Saturday in May 2005, after many recounts in which Bill Renell just managed to scrape in in Harlow the majority was 68.

            Doesn’t that tell you something – anything?

          • derek

            There’s no proof what so ever that Blair would have won the 2010 election? indeed Scotland had already turned on Blair.Jon, do you really believe that new labour is still a bright beacon?

          • Brumanuensis

            “Brown did indeed move away from New Labour and look what happened. We lost”.

            He did? Prior to the financial crisis, I don’t recall Brown’s policies massively diverging from Blair’s. Certainly not on welfare, foreign policy, or even fiscal policy. Brown’s main difference with Blair was that Brown didn’t want Blair to be Prime Minister. That was what made the whole sorry business so distressing; there wasn’t a penny’s worth of real political difference between ‘Brownites’ and ‘Blairites’. If there had been, it might have been rather less sordid.

            As it was, Brown got to the top and promptly realised he didn’t actually have that ‘vision thing’ we’d all thought he had, and then the recession saved him from terminal vagueness.

          • treborc1

            I spoke to Brown and saw him in 1990′s. I was also not far away from him when he sang the red flag at the end of our meeting, and he was one of those people who sort of sang and sort of hummed the bits he did not know.

            But I have to say in all honesty you never ever saw him as a leader.

          • AlanGiles

            Frankly Jon, Gordon may have been driving the hearse, but Tone was the one who nailed down the coffin lid, back in 2003 when he took this country to war on a false prospectus.

            Perhaps you don;t remember even many Labour members and supporters were glad to see the back of Blair in 2007. Probably partly as a result of losing half the majority in 2005

          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            My mum, in her eighties at the time, tore up her membership card over the false prospectus.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            I think that Labour would have crashed in 2010 no matter who was leading it – I do actually think there is such a thing as the electoral cycle, and its quite rare for a party to buck it.

            Also, Brown didn’t really have the chance to change anything very much before he was having to deal with the financial crisis – and don’t forget that all the things which were popular during the Blair years were Brown’s doing. Bliar’s only legacy is the Iraq war and excessive reliance on spin

          • Daniel Speight

             This attempt to see a difference in policies between and Blair and Brown is so obviously false in that we know Brown was writing the New Labour song book from the very beginning. What we can see is a clash in personalities between the two but no more than that.

          • treborc1

             I doubt you would have call  it a song book, have you ever heard Brown sing, because I have.

            But your right Campbell, Gould Kinnock, Brown and Uncle Tony.

          • Daniel Speight

             Glad I didn’t have that pleasure Treborc;-) I suspect that Brown was rather deeper than Blair and a bit more intellectual. His book on Maxton is actually a good read, and I think no ghost writer was involved back then.

          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            “Tony Blair said that…  etc.”

            Just replace “Tony Blair” with “Leon Trotsky” and the shared blind fundamentalism becomes painfully apparent.

          • GuyM

            It’s payback for them Jaime.

            They spent years losing elections with more left wing policies and can’t forgive Blair for winning from more towards the centre.

            My experience of “socialists” (a catch all phrase as they themselves seem to split into schisms all over the place) is that they can’t fathom why so many at the ballot box don’t want to vote for increased taxes and a huge welfare state.

            Now of course they see their chance, Blairites on the back foot, a Tory government in economic trouble…. the perfect recipe for the Labour left to gain power for the first time in nearly 40 years and have some fun. This is exactly the thinking of the Unions and people like McCluskey.

            Once they’ve wrecked the country for a few years they’ll go quiet again, fight amongst themselves for a decade or two and then announce whoever was in charge during the most recent failed attempt at “socialism” was in fact some sort of traitor, that it wasn’t really “socialism” and they need another try as it’s what’s best for everyone even if we can’t see it.

            Socialists are all nuts, controlling and dangerous nuts, but still nuts.

      • Brumanuensis

        According the opinion polls, we are.

        • GuyM

          Not in the outer boroughs, London really needs to be broken down with the Mayor only in control of the inner London core boroughs and the outer boroughs left to govern themselves.

          I say that even if Boris wins, it is not a good system when one of other of the two core areas gets a political leader thrown at it that it clearly didn’t want.

          • Brumanuensis

            That’s an interesting point actually, Guy. What do you think would be a better way of organising the outer boroughs? Should there be a replacement outer borough body to represent them, or should they perhaps be merged with the surrounding counties for administrative purposes?

          • GuyM

            Leave them to govern themselves, much as they did between closing the GLC and starting up the Mayor.

            Most have at least 200,000 residents, with a few well over 300,000. A lot already share services and expertise, they are of a size that means they can be happily left to it.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            Yes, I agree

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            I actually agree with you there. Surely Bromley has more in common with Surrey, and Havering with Essex? Why is Chingford stuck on to Waltham Forest when it is much more an Essex borough?

            Actually, you have to blame the Tories because they realised an inner London only area would be permanently Labour so added many outer boroughs to Greater London. Also, some outer boroughs such as Hounslow and Mertonhave swung to Labour

          • GuyM

            Yes, the picture is not uniform, but generally speaking Tory/LibDem votes are higher in the outer doughnut.

            Whether the Tories are to blame for tagging on areas that are more Surrey or Essex (by the way Bromley is in Kent) is to a large extent past tense.

            I can see the reasononing for having everything within the green belt classed as “London”, but I don’t see the reasoning for giving control of certain aspect of local government in say my area right on the very edge to a London mayor based right in the centre. My area is best governed by a local council.

  • alexagiusuk

    Labour know they picked the wrong candidate.

    It may be too late for Labour to dump Ken and replace him with King this close to polling day so this is the next best thing.

  • mikestallard

    Good job for Baroness King that George Galloway already has a full time job, isn’t it.

  • AnotherOldBoy
  • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

    A very good post Stella. And thanks for the reminder re Ken’s policies. It’s now clear – Ken and Oona will play a blinder for all Londoners, including young people. What’s not to like?!

    • GuyM

      “What’s not to like?”… the latest opinion polls maybe?

      • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

        For you, certainly. The rise of UKIP could see the demise of the Tories at the next general election. 

        • GuyM

          As much chance of that as there is of Respect, the BNP or the Greens overtaking Labour.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            I do not believe that either Labour or the tories should be complacent.  New parties are threats to the way in which both main parties see themselves and to their established pattern of campaigning.  UKIP will stop 10-20 tories being elected in marginals.  The Greens, BNP and Respect if they stand take votes away from Labour.

            In one sense it is easier for the tories as all they really need to do is to turn up the euroscepticism, and maybe even promise a referendum to stop UKIP. I fully expect to see that happening in the last 18 months of the coalition as the tories concentrate more on winning in 2015 than on the health of the coalition.

            It is more difficult for Labour, as the three outlying left wing parties all want different things. Ed Miliband appears to not know at all what he wants, and on a different angle the union barons are all baying for socialist meat like the dogs they are.

          • GuyM

            Exactly, get a bit more eurosceptic, have people worried about Milliband getting in and the UKIP vote will likely be contained.

            Love the union barons and dogs line, I must remember it.

          • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

            It’s the marginals where it will all happen. UKIP may not win a single seat, but there will be consequences. UKIP will want to enhance their Westminster credibility by going in hard, against the Tories, on the UK economy. By 2015 Cameron and Osborne will have painted themselves into the most uncomfortable of corners, they’ll be as vulnerable on the economy as on the EU.

            Where else can disaffected Tories go? And there will be a lot of disaffected Tories by then.

            And that’s without even mentioning the effect the new medic’s party will have in Tory marginals.

  • AlanGiles

    With all due respect to Ms King – this will sound ungallant – but isn’t she a little long in the tooth to be “young persons champion”?

    What next Tony Blair as poverty zsar?

    • Brumanuensis

      45 is the new 25, Alan.

      But seriously, I think Oona would do a good job. She’s an intelligent woman and fundamentally decent, in spite of the Iraq blemish.

      • derek

        Didn’t Oona once hold a london MP’s seat but was defeated? and ain’t that some form to suggest she might not do a good job?

        • Bill Lockhart

           Only if you think Galloway is an admirable, decent politican who won after a fair campaign. And I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that you *do*, since fact and fiction seem to merge into an undifferentiated mass in your mind.
          I would have thought the problem for Ms. King would be working for someone she rightly despises.

          “The “perception of
          cronyism” during former mayor Ken Livingstone’s term has eroded the
          trust in City Hall, Labour challenger Oona King has said.
          Ms King added that if elected she would bring in an independent body to vet mayoral appointments.”

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10592319

          I can imagine voting for Oona King. As it stands, I’ll vote for whoever is most likely to defeat Livingstone.

          • derek

            Doesn’t really answer the point? if Oona had been, lets say outstanding then Oona wouldn’t have lost her seat. I guess that’s a factual point. 

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            She supported the Iraq war. In the seat she was representing, that was enough to see her defeated.

          • Bill Lockhart

             No, it is not a factual point. She lost on an anti-Labour, anti-Iraq war, largely Muslim protest vote, after a typically filthy Galloway “campaign”. Her abilities had nothing whatsoever to do with it.

          • derek

            Didn’t Oona say that if Bethnal green voted against her(one of the poorest constituencies in london) would be poorer? is the Baroness really to the left? 

          • AlanGiles

            In all honesty, I think Ms King was so focussed on her career, ever anxious to please the leadership that her constituents felt she cared more about her career than she did about their problems.  Anything the Blair/Brown duo proposed, however much it might  hurt her own constituents in one of the poorest areas of East London, she was a cheerleader for it. That, I think, is why she lost to George Galloway – but she didn’t   lose it just because it was GG – , any candidate from the left who did not support the Iraq war could have done it.

          • derek

            I’d agree there @Alan, it seems a bit late in the day to announce such a move? kinda desperate. I understand where @Mike H, is coming from but unity can’t be stuck together with a sticky plaster. I think it will be an on the day decider the swing vote should vote with the candidate that offers a fairer deal, that’s why I remain confident Ken can still win this on the day.   

    • treborc1

       Tony Blair poverty Zsar, any money in it.

  • derek

    Stella, not long now till polling day so the “if” will remain an “if” until the returning officer calls the day but are we expected to believe that Oona is now the difference between a win or a defeat?

  • Peter Barnard

     
     

    @ Jaime (way below),

    You are being very selective in your selections from the BNP
    manifesto to show that the BNP are “left wing.” Here’s a bit more, if
    selectivity is your game :

    On Crime and Justice the BNP would (i) free the police and
    courts from the politically correct straitjacket which is stopping them doing
    their jobs properly (ii) end the liberal fixation with the rights of criminals …
     (iii) reintroduce corporal punishment  … (iv) restore capital punishment …as an
    option for judges

    On Democracy, the BNP would (i) abolish the Human Rights Act
    (ii) reject ID cards

    On Economics, the BNP would (i) reintroduce the married man’s
    allowance (ii) raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1 million. The BNP also
    state that “personal tax is too high.”

    On Education, the BNP would (i) … restore corporal
    punishment (ii) reintroduce grammar schools

    On Immigration, the BNP would  … “offer generous grants to those of foreign
    descent resident here who wish to leave permanently.”

    This last item of the BNP’s policy on immigration chimes exactly with
    what Enoch Powell said to the Annual Conference of the Rotary Club of London at
    Eastbourne on 16 November, 1963 …  

  • Peter Barnard

    @ Jaime (way below),
    You are being very selective in your selections from the BNPmanifesto to show that the BNP are “left wing.” Here’s a bit more, ifselectivity is your game :
    On Crime and Justice the BNP would (i) free the police andcourts from the politically correct straitjacket which is stopping them doingtheir jobs properly (ii) end the liberal fixation with the rights of criminals … (iii) reintroduce corporal punishment … (iv) restore capital punishment …as anoption for judges
    On Democracy, the BNP would (i) abolish the Human Rights Act(ii) reject ID cards
    On Economics, the BNP would (i) reintroduce the married man’sallowance (ii) raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1 million. The BNP alsostate that “personal tax is too high.”
    On Education, the BNP would (i) … restore corporalpunishment (ii) reintroduce grammar schools
    On Immigration, the BNP would … “offer generous grants to those of foreigndescent resident here who wish to leave permanently.”
    This last item of the BNP’s policy on immigration chimes exactly withwhat Enoch Powell said to the Annual Conference of the Rotary Club of London atEastbourne on 16 November, 1963 …

    • Peter Barnard

      Apologies for the words running into each other above, but I still haven’t conquered Disqus.

  • Peter Barnard

    @ Jaime (way below),
    You are being very selective in your selections from the BNPmanifesto to show that the BNP are “left wing.” Here’s a bit more, ifselectivity is your game :
    On Crime and Justice the BNP would (i) free the police andcourts from the politically correct straitjacket which is stopping them doingtheir jobs properly (ii) end the liberal fixation with the rights of criminals … (iii) reintroduce corporal punishment … (iv) restore capital punishment …as anoption for judges
    On Democracy, the BNP would (i) abolish the Human Rights Act(ii) reject ID cards
    On Economics, the BNP would (i) reintroduce the married man’sallowance (ii) raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1 million. The BNP alsostate that “personal tax is too high.”
    On Education, the BNP would (i) … restore corporalpunishment (ii) reintroduce grammar schools
    On Immigration, the BNP would … “offer generous grants to those of foreigndescent resident here who wish to leave permanently.”
    This last item of the BNP’s policy on immigration chimes exactly withwhat Enoch Powell said to the Annual Conference of the Rotary Club of London atEastbourne on 16 November, 1963 … 

    • jaime taurosangastre candelas

      Peter, I am not being selective.  I have done a cut and paste from their Economics section.  Left and Right is measured by economics, not those other areas that you highlight.  There are other axes that are used to measure those.

      It really is a wonder to me how people can so lazily ascribe all sorts of political positions along a single axis.  It is primary school thinking, and it has the intellectual finesse of a piece of stone.  It is why you see such idiocies as “far right BNP” published in comments, and then never questioned as though it is correct.  Have people never learned the basis of popular politics or civics at school?  The competing political philosophies, their histories and defining features?  The age of enlightenment, or how industrialisation and post-colonialism changed most things? It was not possible to graduate from Mediano to the equivalent of the Sixth Form unless you passed your civics exam. I remember the questions used to include having to discuss and separate Fascism, Marxism, Bolivarianism and Maoism, as well as a discussion of voting systems and require an discursive opinion on the rights of the individual and the duties of the state.

      • Peter Barnard

        Jaime,

        You say that you aren’t being “selective,” but you selected the “Economics section” only … that seems to me to be a self-defeating posture. Politics is more than economics, although the two are very closely linked.

        Now tell me, of the BNP policies that I listed, how many are coincident with current Conservative thinking, which is, as far as I can see, to the right of “neutral?”

        Having said that, I don’t think that it is mainstream Conservative policy these days to repatriate those who “don’t really belong here.”

        • jaime taurosangastre candelas

          Peter,

          I think we are approaching this from different perspectives.  I have told you that I (and many many others, for example Ferguson, Eysenck, Potreach, Nolan and even Thomas Jefferson) measure politics on a number of axes, of which one – the left / right axis – is to do with economics, and economics only.  This is not some modern trend, it has been the case for well over a century.  It is the only axis that is called by a historic name (from the French pre-revolutionary days, according to the sitting positions of the parties as observed from the Speaker’s chair); the other axes are more descriptively labelled.  The reason that economics and ownership and control of the means of productivity (not production) is associated with the left /right axis is because that was the nature of the disagreement in 1788, culminating in 1789 with the Estates-General and later the National Assembly.

          Given that is my perspective, it seems odd for you to make cause about me not including other measurements on the left / right axis.  I measure them on different axes.  I find it hard to believe that a man of your erudition and exact approach to figures cannot understand politics on more than one axis.

          It is my observation that it is politically inexact to try to measure authoritarianism, or respect for the rights of individuals, or many other political factors on a left / right axis, as they do not easily sit there.  That is how Stalin and Hitler were able to make common cause in 1938-1941, because both were authoritarian figures who wished to crush liberalism.  The fact that one was a fascist populist and the other a (nominal) communist, apparently at polar opposites did not matter, because on the authoritarian axis their positions coincided.  You should read Eysenck on exactly this conundrum – Eysenck believed in a T-chart to plot these things.  You cannot measure that sort of thing merely by applying a single axis.

          I am aware that it is simple for people to think only in terms of one axis, but that is for simple or uneducated people, and results in such idiocies as “far right BNP”, when clearly they are anything but.  They are left wing populists with a marked authoritarian stance, and a trajectory towards fascism.  They are in many respect repeating Hitler’s political journey, and so far have reached about 1932.

          I realise it is uncomfortable for Labour people to examine the BNP, most of whose support comes from previously Labour voters (look at the ward by ward analysis of voting patterns over time in wards where they stand).  But, given the political imperative given to multi-culturalism over the last 20 years, mostly by Labour, and relaxed attitude to immigration, it is unsurprising if some white British working class people begin to desert Labour for the BNP.  They did not leave their economic thinking behind and become radical free-market supporters, they took it with them.  Hence the BNP is a left wing party in economic terms.

          I can’t tell you much about the tories, because they do not really interest me.  Their economic policies are slightly right of centre, their social policies slightly libertarian, their approach to governance laissez-faire and decentralising, and their social safety net set far below Labour’s, judged purely by a self-selected measure of affordability.

          • Peter Barnard

            Jaime,

            But you chose just one “axis” – economic – in your original and subsequent comments to state that the BNP was “left-wing.”

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Well Peter, in economic terms it is, on balance.  I do note as both Mike Homfray and you have pointed out that there are some oddities more in tune with typical right wing economic thinking, but the systemic value of those oddities is vastly over-whelmed by the typically left wing policies such as nationalisation.

            As I say above, you can also only measure economic factors on a left / right scale.  If you want to measure freedoms, or social care, you need to use different axes.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            No, you can use a left-right scale, because left and right does not only refer to economics. Jaime is wrong.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Well Mike, if I am wrong (and I take my instruction from widely published standard academic texts), perhaps you can explain how using one single linear scale can account for all shades of political opinion, from economic to social care to views on the rights of the individual to corporatism, dealing with differences, the role of the nation state against conflicting demands of supra-national organisations and individual expression, etc etc.

            I’ll bet that you cannot.  No one ever has.  You’ll get a cheer from me, and probably a Nobel Prize if you can.

            You appear to be the living proof that nothing “right” ever came out of Liverpool, in both a political and “correct” sense.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            Its you who uses one linear scale and labels it ‘left’ and ‘right’ to refer to only ONE topic!

            Its that which is inaccurate. Whether something is ‘right’ or ‘left’ wing is not based purely on economics, and the terms can be used to describe other political issues – and are. 

            France is an example of a country where the ‘centre’ of economics is to the left of us, yet the terms left and right are used happily – and the Front National are not considered to be on the left, nor Sarkozy, even though intervention in industry is something widely supported by French parties across the spectrum. Their stances on other issues place them on the right.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Do not be so obtuse.  If you trace this thread to the origin, you will see that at it’s heart it is a discussion about economics and how parties are miscategorised by being judged one the economic scale.

            There are multiple scales, but if anyone wishes to give an opinion that a party is left or right, knowledgeable people will assume it is a judgement on their economic plans.

            If someone wishes to give an opinion on a party’s attitude to liberalism, they will use a different scale.

            I could not have been clearer that I am fully capable of using other scales, as are many other people.  

            I’ll give you a clue.  You have a shoe size.  It refers to the length of your feet.  It tells no one anything about your waist size, your IQ, your weight, height, blood pressure, cholesterol level or ability to recover from systolic overload to resting norms.  In the same way, the political axes.  They measure different things.

            If you really believe that your shoe size tells me about you in great detail, feel free to make that argument.

            I’m going to enjoy this. “The BNP are shoe size 10. Therefore they are fascist murdering B*stards”.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            Perhaps some more contemporary knowledge of political studies would assist….

      • Brumanuensis

        Why make economic policy alone the gauge of left and right? If anything, this just shows that the convention ‘left-right’ axis is incapable of capturing political variety.

        On the current measurement, there are left and right-wing libertarians, for example. The real measurement of left and right is not policy, per se, but philosophy. Why is a party advocating a particular approach? On gay marriage, socialists and liberterians both generally support it. Does this make them the same? If we use a mono-causal logic like you’ve done, then the answer would be yes. But that would be inaccurate.

        • jaime taurosangastre candelas

          Brumanuensis,

          it is a convention.  There are perhaps a dozen proposed axes, although most political philosophy envisages 4 or perhaps 5 co-existing.  I am not making the road on this, merely following along more than a century of academic development.

          Anyone of course is at liberty to challenge any of this, but for reasons of common understanding and debate the conventions are followed.

          I played a few games of 3-D chess when I was at medical school, which in some ways is similar.  There is also a game of 4-D chess in which pieces appear and disappear according to time.  It taught me the limits of my mental capacity to follow different dimensions.  But no-one would say that chess on a board of one square wide by 8 squares long would be a very good game.

          So, if there are multiple axes, they can each be ascribed to certain parameters, and academic convention is that left / right is economic.  That is not to say it is more important than other axes, measuring control, social compassion, individual freedom, and so on.  They are just axes, equally valid.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            Wrong. Social and Political science has never dealt with political ideologies in such a simplistic way. I don’t lecture you on medicine, I really wish you wouldn’t try and pretend that you have academic knowledge which you clearly don’t

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

        No, Jaime. That is how you think of left and right. It is not how political science regards the terms, nor political parties themselves.

        As already indicated, the BNP’s position is essentially a populist one, in terms of economics, which blends right and left. It is not unique – the Peronists in Argentina have managed to have a right and left wing which share some populist and protectionist characteristics. Fianna Fail in Ireland are another populist party. Both of those have been very successful – the BNP have not. This is because if you know anything about their history and development, they are a Fascist party. hence they are deeply socially conservative, which makes them clearly right of centre overall.

        • jaime taurosangastre candelas

          Well Mike (rounding up your various comments above and below), quite a few widely published authors and proper academics disagree with you.  That’s proper academics from respected institutions, published widely, and over a period of more than a century.  Academics such as Ferguson, Eysenck, Potreach, Nolan and even Thomas Jefferson.

          It is almost strange how you believe a single linear scale can encompass so many contradictions and apples vs oranges comparisons, when so many others draw conclusions that multiple axes are required to make these fine distinctions.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            Exceptionally old, Jaime. And you’ve entirely misunderstood what I have said – again.

  • Peter Barnard

    @ Jaime (way below),

    You are being very selective in your selections from the BNP
    manifesto to show that the BNP are “left wing.” Here’s a bit more, if
    selectivity is your game :

    On Crime and Justice the BNP would (i) free the police and
    courts from the politically correct straitjacket which is stopping them doing
    their jobs properly (ii) end the liberal fixation with the rights of criminals
    …  (iii) reintroduce corporal
    punishment  … (iv) restore capital
    punishment …as an option for judges

    On Democracy, the BNP would (i) abolish the Human Rights Act
    (ii) reject ID cards

    On Economics, the BNP would (i) reintroduce the married
    man’s allowance (ii) raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1 million. The BNP
    also state that “personal tax is too high.”

    On Education, the BNP would (i) … restore corporal
    punishment (ii) reintroduce grammar schools

    On Immigration, the BNP would  … “offer generous grants to those of foreign descent resident here who wish
    to leave …”

    This last item of the BNP’s policy on immigration
    chimes exactly with what Enoch Powell said to the Annual Conference of the
    Rotary Club of London at Eastbourne on 16 November, 1963

  • Peter Barnard

    Can anyone tell me (please) why, if I type a comment using a MS Word page to begin with and then try to copy the page into the “top box,” the comment appears 3/4 the way down the LL page?

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