Right-wingers and Tories aren’t “evil” – they’re just wrong

July 18, 2013 11:49 am

This shouldn’t need to be said, but here goes…

A “debate” (if you can call it that) has broken out in recent days about whether or not “right-wingers” are “evil”. The argument reached its peak yesterday a blog from Sunny Hundal, called “Are right-wingers evil? Yes”. I admire his certainty, but I just can’t agree with his argument. I can’t, don’t and won’t believe that right-wingers, Tories (or however we define our political opponents) are “evil”. Whilst it might get an easy cheer in Labour circles to repeat Nye Bevan’s old charge that the Tories are “lower than vermin”, I’m afraid I’m not willing to join the “Tories are evil” bandwagon. Are they misguided? Yes. Do some of them overlook the cruel and damaging impact of their policies? Of course. Are they fundamentally wrong about the future of Britain? Undoubtedly.

But to brand right-wingers or Tories en masse as “evil” is ridiculous. Do I believe that Tim Montgomerie or Robert Halfron, for example, are evil? No, of course not, I actually think they’re rather sensible and thoughtful people. How about IDS? Well I believe his policies are causing untold hurt and pain, sorrow and anguish. I believe that due to his cruel approach to welfare and benefits people will suffer terribly. But do I think he’s “evil”? No. No I don’t. I don’t wish to send you all running for the hills – but some of my best friends are devout right wingers and Tories, and rather than being evil, they’re actually great, kind, generous people.

With that in mind, here are a few reasons why labelling right-wingers evil is a mistake:

It devalues the term “evil” – it’s an incredibly important word in our lexicon is “evil”, providing us with a means of describing the worst kind of person and the worst kind of wrongdoing. But the importance of the word evil depends on it being used sparingly. To bandy around evil about anyone you dislike or disagree with – however wrong and damaging their actions – cheapens the term. There are a few political figures who may genuinely qualify for the term “evil” – Pol Pot, Stalin and – obviously – Hitler spring to mind. But to put all right-wingers in that bracket, to somehow equate “right-wing” with “evil” devalues the term evil and makes a nonsense of the word. (For what it’s worth, I thought the same about “The Axis of Evil”).

It cheapens the debate – Lambasting your opponents as evil also serves to cheapen the debate, and the Left rarely wins a cheapened debate.  Attacking your opponents is merely adopting the reductive attack style most commonly seen on 24-hour nonsense-fest Fox News. Labelling your opponents as “evil” is like beginning a race to the bottom, but starting from the bottom. It’s ugly politics.

It ignores what they’re trying to achieve – Like it or not, Tories actually believe that their policies are good for the country and the vast majority of people in society. They believe that cutting government spending and reducing “the burden of the state” is in the common interest. The dreadful side-effects of such policies – homelessness, poverty, unemployment – are, as some Tories might put it crudely, the cost of doing business, but they don’t – as far as I can tell – set out with the explicit intention of screwing the poor. Sometimes they wilfully ignore the screwing of the poor that is happening as a direct result of their actions, but then again, the Labour Party and the Left hasn’t always been good at spotting the impacts of our own policies either.

The public find this baffling – The public don’t think in terms of “left wingers” and “right wingers” as odd as that might seen for those of a deeply political persuasion. Unlike me, the vast majority of the public don’t try and work out – without asking – who their friends, family and acquaintances vote for come election time. Moreover, the vast majority of the public do not a) bandy around words like “evil” about things they don’t like or b) decide that people are “evil” on the basis of someone’s politics. So when political types do that, people oddly enough find it off-putting and baffling. Because few people think in terms of evil or good, they think in terms of right and wrong, or what works and what doesn’t.

The reason I abhor what the Tories are doing isn’t because I think they’re evil. It’s because I think they are wrong. Damagingly, dangerously wrong about what the country needs and what the future of Britain should look like.

But they’re not evil. That’s dangerously, damagingly wrong too.

  • Barry

    Surely this critique needs to have more on the level of ideology (in the Marxian sense — people being captive to a set of ideas tied to particular kinds of power relations / interests etc.). Analysis is too individualised. Although this is a general problem in the news/political media.

  • Jimmy Thompson

    Sorry but if not evil what is left? Misguided? Nope, just very very stupid and you don’t get to rise in politics by being stupid. You have singularly failed to refute the argument.

  • Aaron D Highside

    Bit obvious, bit repetitive. 5/10

  • John Ruddy

    If you were to say that not all Tories are evil, I would agree. But there are some for whom the category of evil surely fits. IDS is a case in point – he doesnt agree with evidence and facts which prove him wrong – he BELIEVES he is right. Thats not misguided or overlooking the damage their policies are doing.

    • Colin

      IDS evil?

      Get a life. If you want to equate government policy with evil doing, a better example would be deliberately creating a form of welfarism that traps people in a life of benefit dependency. When you add the fact that this was done deliberately to lock in vast swathes of the electorate, to try to guarantee blind loyalty; if not literally evil, it’s down right nasty, heartless and oh so left wing.

    • Hugh

      Actually, if he believes he is right (even in capitals) that his policies will help move people from welfare to work and improve their lives, that’s pretty much the definition of misguided (assuming he’s wrong) isn’t it?

    • Carolekins

      Actually I think he has the rudiments of a conscience; He isn’t willing to lie blatantly (like Hunt and Cameron), so has to bring in the personal belief aspect.

      • John Ruddy

        Does IDS have a conscience? I would suggest the evidence says not. Just look at his attitude when presented with the facts that people have committed suicide in terror of his “reforms”.
        He got very angry and shouted down the those who pointed out these inconvenient facts – and all live on national television. No remorse, not even a “well, we’ll look into that/there’s all sorts of reasons why someone takes their own life” etc….
        IDS is in the same bracket as those Victorians who thought some things were good, especially if the “decreased the surplus population”

        • matt

          So does that come into the same category as plunging us into an unwinnable war, costing hundreds of thousands of lives, on the back of a lie, or is that all ok ‘cos it was a Labour politician who did it??

        • Monkey_Bach

          The actions of IDS have led indirectly to the premature deaths of many. But then the same thing could be said about James Purnell and Yvette Cooper, with David Freud the thread joining much the same social policy from its beginning under Gordon Brown to its culmination under Iain Duncan Smith. Eeek.

    • matt

      Actually it is IDS who DOES have the evidence to back up his policies. It is the hangwringing left who do not have any hard evidence, only cherry picked single examples of individual hardship which is not the kind of evidence needed for big policy decisions. No government policy ever has not disadvantaged some individuals somewhere, but government is about the greater good and the broad effects of changes, and on those terms IDS is on very solid ground indeed which is probably why his benefits changes enjoy such widespread popular support amongst the electorate.

  • Stuck-Record

    Sensible article.

    Here’s your own words. Tiny modification.

    “The dreadful side-effects of such policies – central planning, state-control, mass immigration – are, as some socialists might put it crudely, the cost of doing business, but they don’t – as far as I can tell – set out with the explicit intention of screwing the poor. Sometimes they wilfully ignore the screwing of the poor that is happening as a direct result of their actions…”

    Not evil. Just wrong.

  • PaulHalsall

    As someone who lives in constant worry about benefit tests, and loss of DLA, and as someone who follows the 10,000+ members on the FB Bedroom Tax group, I do think the Tories, and those who support them are evil. You can get a pass for an occasional mistake, but when you engage and support an attack on the poorest in society, then I think such a person is evil.

    I may be depressed, but with treatment, I should not be having to consider suicide every night in future if the Tories continue in power.

    Have you become part of the Metropolitan elite, Mark?

    • PaulHalsall

      Those who are not evil are stupid.

    • sungeipatani

      I certainly would not say it was evil, but it seems to me to be wrong for someone who has no spare bedrooms to be subsidising those who have one or more.

  • Dan Platts

    Maybe not evil, just nasty.

  • ian b

    I agree that the Tories are not evil.
    They are wrong , misguided ,greedy , myopic and self-serving.
    There are a number of other epithets I would like to use.

  • Weygand

    The statement that “right wingers are evil” is so manifestly stupid that it does not require rebuttal.
    There is even something odd in anyone thinking they need take the trouble to provide one, in that such an act implies that the statement deserves consideration.

    • markfergusonuk

      Disagree. If I ignored everything I thought was stupid I’d rarely write anything

      • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.blott Matthew Blott

        LOL true

        • charles.ward

          “Although sadly I think this article will act like a red rag to a bull ..”

          I see what you did there.

          • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.blott Matthew Blott

            Ha ha, actually I didn’t mean anything by it apart from the obvious.

    • Alexwilliamz

      Does it matter how right wing?

      • JoeDM

        What about someone on the wet left of the Tory party like David Cameron?

  • markfergusonuk

    Poor quality trolling. See me after class for remedial lessons.

  • markfergusonuk

    Who said IDS was evil?

    • Colin

      That Ruddy John bloke did, that’s who…

    • Colin

      So, John Ruddy implied that IDS was evil. And my later comment re bedroom tax was factual. Why the censorship?

  • markfergusonuk

    The last thing anyone needs is a Marxian critique of a blogpost. Better to write in plain English if possible

    • BoredInOxford

      “The last thing anyone needs is a Marxian critique … ”

      You could have just stopped there.

      But that made me laugh heartily.

    • Barry

      All I mean (not that it really matters) is that people believe things in groups. ‘Good’ or well-intentioned people can believe some pretty nasty things because of the groups that they’re part of, and the things that that group advocates or assumes to be right. Doesn’t make them evil, just shaped by their chosen group or community.

  • swatnan

    Fully agree with the Fergusson’s analysis.
    ‘evil’ should be used sparingly. Most ‘evil’ people are mentally unbalanced, or insane.
    ‘evil people’ increase our woes and miseries unnecessarily.
    Tories are misguided, thoughtless and wrong, but that doesn’t necessarily make them evil. Facists and extremely religious bigots are may be tending towards ‘evilness’ but fall just a bit short of ‘evil’.

  • therealguyfaux

    I wish to propose a corollary to Godwin’s Law, “The Real Guy Faux’s Law”: As soon as a Leftie can do so, (s)he will brand his/her opponent as evil, when to do so will serve as a poisoning of the well of debate concerning the unintended consequences of Leftie policies.

    E.G., “IDS has no moral room to criticise what Labour did under Blair and Brown, as he opposed those policies when they were proposed, out of pure mean spite, being the irredeemably vile man he is.”

  • Dan Platts

    Your first line, Mark, is about right: it doesn’t need to be said, and I don’t understand why you bothered patronising your readers by telling them that the word “evil” is a bit strong and not quite correct in the literal sense. But you also talk about IDS being “cruel” and causing “untold hurt and pain”. Somebody that intentionally does this must be considered to have an evil side – apart from Satan himself, you couldn’t use the word evil to wholly describe somebody’s character in a literally factual way, but arguably it can be used in a rhetorical way to express your ill feelings towards such people.

    You also feel the need to point out that referring to the “right” in any descriptive fashion is a gross generalisation – again, what is the point of stating the obvious? Politics does a lot of generalising, and anybody engaged in political debate in any meanigful way must be aware of this.

    Unfortunately you go on to commit the error that you are preaching about by saying “Tories actually believe that their policies are good for the country and the vast majority of people in society”. This is a gross generalisation, and as such, is arguably a gross inaccuracy. Many Tories are well aware of the fact that they influence policy and government in the interests of themselves and their peers, seeking to make cosy relationships for the progression of their own careers and personal financial comfort. Any ignorance of this fact suggests a lack of understanding of the key factors of politics and economics today – that of the clear chasm between the capitalist class and the working class. To suggest that these parasites in government currently, that tread on the exploited class while giving vast tax breaks to the exploiting class, do not understand the capitalist system, is quite naive.
    Stick to the usefull left debates Mark; but if you veer onto such inanities as this article, at least maintain some credibility in your left stance against the nasty right-wingers.

  • Carolekins

    No, sorry, they can’t be that stupid. The bedroom tax is an obvious and deliberate screwing of the poor. Most of their policies seem to aimed at the most deprived and vulnerable people. Soon we’ll be like some Americans: no insurance? – you deserve to die.

    • Colin

      I think if you do a little bit of homework, you’ll find that the bedroom tax was an idea mooted by the previous labour regime. The difference between what the evil regime proposed and what is now in place is that the regime policy was actually a TAX.

      But, much in the same way that food banks under the Labour (Welfare) party were known as community outreach projects ( The first modern Food Banks appeared in the UK in 2000), the bedroom tax idea has been edited out of the collective consciousness of the UK metropolitan left.

      And, don’t get me started on the 1 Million + young people thrown on the scrapheap, mainly as a result of pretty vile, if not downright evil policy to flood the UK with immigrant workers. Not to mention, sending troops to fight wars, knowing that they had woefully inadequate equipment or resources to succeed.

      So, all in all, thank Christ that evil shower never got back in. God knows where we’d be.

  • Carolekins

    No, I don’t agree. If being evil just meant being unbalanced, we wouldn’t have a problem. It’s when people deliberately do things that they know will hurt people (viz. bedroom tax) that we can talk about cruelty and from there it is but a step to evil.

    • swatnan

      How can you expect IDS, or Dave, to comprehend what real poverty means. They’ve never really experienced hardship unemployment starvation or making ends meet or any deprivation at all. They’ve had it all on the plate. So their actions are based on ignorance or prejudice, against working people.; they don’t set out with a deliberate intention of hurting people, but they don’t see all the consequences of their rather naive policies: of we’re all in this together and tightening our belts and living within our means. That sort of thinking has no meaning to people on the breadline.

    • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.blott Matthew Blott

      Yes but they argue it’s being cruel to be kind. I occasionally smack my daughter knowing she’s going to get a sore bottom – does that make me evil?

      • Amber_Star

        Yes, a little bit. You should find another way to be ‘kind’. And smacking a child on the bottom is particularly distasteful. A little tap on the back of the hand is sufficient, if you feel some sort of violence towards children is absolutely necessary.
        FWIW, I’ve never hit my son – he’s 30 years old, still alive (so didn’t need smacked to understand traffic, electricity etc can be dangerous); & he’s a responsible, considerate, ‘normal’ citizen – but perhaps I’ve just been lucky.

        • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.blott Matthew Blott

          Yes well I am a little bit evil then. I forgot to add that I don’t hit my daughter when she’s naughty I do it because I enjoy it.

          • Amber_Star

            As there are alternatives to hitting children when they are ‘naughty’ it follows that you do enjoy it – which is, indeed, a little bit evil.
            Have you considered that a child – particularly a girl – who is taught to expect to be hit when she displeases someone is learning to accept domestic violence? You are not being kind, you are setting her up to see ‘cruelty’ as being acceptable behaviour.

          • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.blott Matthew Blott

            I very rarely resort to smacking, it’s not the best punishment and I was just making a wider point about something else which has now gotten lost.

            You say I’m an evil domestic violence advocate who enjoys beating children. I say you are a sanctimonious bore who needs to get a life and a sense of perspective.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            You are really going to get your bottom spanked for that comment….

            I agree the morality and wisdom of Amber Star’s views and certainly none of us should behave in a way that young people could interpret as condoning violence. But then I think also that you would not be violent to your daughter, that there IS a difference between mild correction and brutal violence, that your sense of irony has been completely overlooked, that your joke was quite deliberately taken seriously, and that in your last comment above you also have a very good point.

            (I suspect that I will now be forced to join you in the queue for punishment and anger)

          • Alexwilliamz

            Right both of you on the ‘naughty’ step until you can work out what you have done wrong.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Not automatically caving in to received wisdom and the tyranny of the most vocal? Pointing out logical flaws? Making up my own mind, as others should also do?

            (Not aimed at you, or your comment above which I appreciate was light-hearted but also pointing to something serious) By and large, I don’t accept people telling me what to do on morals. Not even my Parish priest, who is unreasonably wooly in his thinking, and largely ignorable, and only given his position by Canon law. I make my own judgements, within the secular law, and I answer for those choices whether good or bad to my God.

          • rekrab

            And if you proclaim to be made in the image of God as you raise your right hand before God, do you seriously advocate that your the master of your own destiny?

            Some may say you have as much control over your destiny as the proverbial egg in an egg-cup.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Some may indeed say that, but if you wish to see a more nuanced view that Christianity holds, read Genesis 49:1-28. Basically, we are given the gift of responsibility for our own actions on earth, and answer for them afterwards.

          • rekrab

            The Grand Architect of the Universe may well lay out the building plan in front of you however if you chose to destroy rather than build then your soul may well be incomplete.

            If you chose not to slaughter the limb lamb, then by the square your soul is in tact.By the level, I think your Genesis quote is more level to an exodus and the promise of better honey.

          • swatnan

            The Supreme Being has enough sense not to dirty its hands in politics. The Kingdom of God is actually on Earth, and we’re in it, right up to our necks.

          • Monkey_Bach

            Just out of interest where did the good people go after death before monotheistic religions existed? Judaism is the oldest Aramaic faith – about 5,000 years old – and modern humanity has existed on Earth for 30,000 years (or more). Where did the souls of the people go, after death, for 25,000+ years before Abraham was born? Just wondering. Eeek.

          • Amber_Star

            Jaime, If your Parthian shot was directed at me, may I ask: What makes you think I was angry when I questioned whether smacking a child is acceptable behaviour? I may sometimes be a passionate advocate for zero tolerance of domestic violence but I am rarely an angry one.

          • Amber_Star

            Matthew,
            I am relieved to read that you rarely resort to smacking your daughter & that you are aware that it’s not the best punishment.

            You appear to have withdrawn your ‘throw away’ comment about smacking, perhaps because you have realised that your analogy normalises such behaviour.

            I do not mind being called a “sanctimonious bore” but I believe that I do have a sense of perspective: Zero tolerance of domestic violence is more important than your “wider point about something else”.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            “As there are alternatives to hitting children when they are ‘naughty’ it follows that you do enjoy it”

            A complete logic “fail”, or non sequitur if you prefer Latin. The logic parses only to choosing one of several alternatives: it reveals nothing of motivation or intent, nor of quality of decision.

            Goodness, the study of logic really should be on the national curriculum; it is more important in human society than the study of mathematics. Whether computational logic, syllogistic, predicative, modal, philosophical, or propositional logic. It all seems an alien concept to far too many people, and yet it underpins so much of human life and morality.

          • Amber_Star

            Jaime, it is not a logic “fail” nor even a non sequitur. When there is an alternative to cruelty & one chooses to be cruel then it logically follows that the person who is being cruel must find it more enjoyable, satisfying or convenient (for themselves) than the alternative, non-violent option.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            You equate mild chastisement – if that is what it is limited to, which it should be – to cruelty. I do not.

            I was beaten by a cane at school on several occasions, the most being 15 hits for being sent off in a rugby match for a high tackle around the neck. There was an argument between the rugby master and the headmaster, as the rugby master wanted me to be capable of playing in the next match, but the headmaster over-ruled him and I missed the next match. I had no sympathy at all at home for my error, and indeed extra jobs awarded by my father. It did me no long term harm at all, and I learned my lesson.

            I do not choose to hit my own children: instead I give them tasks to do that I know they will hate. My daughter does not like gardening, so she has to do 2 or 3 hours of work in the garden. My son tends to avoid facing up to his responsibility, so he has to write a couple of pages of analysis of what happened, how he felt, and how others might feel.

          • Amber_Star

            It makes me happy to read that you do not hit your own children.

      • JoeDM

        Good point. Most parents occaisionally smack, that does not make them evil, it makes them normal good caring parents.

        Sometimes difficult painful decisions are necessary for the long term good of society as a whole and removing welfare dependency is one of them.

  • FionaUK

    Yes, very good blog, BUT aren’t the most evil people in history the ones who believed they were absolutely right and that it was necessary to impose their harsh methods on the population for ‘their own good?’ If there was such a creature as the devil, he wouldn’t have a forked tail and a red face, he would be sharp suited, handsome charmer: I know, I’ve met a few!

    Evil or not, the Tory’s legacy will be a more divided Britain than few people under 80 will ever have seen. 1% of the population will have had some of the best investment opportunities of a generation and the rest of us ….. won’t!

    • sungeipatani

      Actually income inequality under the current government is less than it was under the last Labour government.

  • sartoris

    Hundal is just Slave Morality in miniature.
    For a debunking and refutation of Slave Morality see Nietzsche and The Genealogy of Morals

  • blondebuster

    It is interesting that the 3 politicians identified as undoubtably evil were self -avowed socialists.

  • rekrab

    What defines the act of evil? is whether it’s premeditated or not? IDS spent a number of years before he came into government studying the effects of unemployment and the welfare system, he must have received numerous specialist reports on the subject and yes some of those reports would have outlined the danger of suicide and death if IDS went ahead with his welfare reforms, well, IDS did indeed go ahead with his welfare reforms and his planned course of action have indeed resulted in suicides and deaths, many MP’s have raised those fears and facts about suicides and deaths.So the question is? was IDS aware that his reforms would result in suicides and deaths and there’s no doubt it was pre-planned or premeditated, so his action do indeed conform to acts of evil against humanity.

    • DECENT-GOVT-PLEASE!!

      Evil is about ‘unconsciousness’; it is about the act not the person. Yes, the behaviour of this Tory government IS evil. Look at the high number of suicides…Those who crucified Jesus – their behaviour was also EVIL, yet they were not different from most people today.

    • jaime taurosangastre candelas

      Derek,

      I don’t think you are correct. The Duncan Smith appears to be an adherent of the philosophy of “the greater good”, otherwise known in political terms as “Utilitarianism”.

      The basic premise is that if something – a policy in this case – results in a greater good (for the country as a whole in this case, as measured by reduced spending on welfare) than the intervening negative effects (suicides, in this case), then it is acceptable to make a judgement that the policy is, on balance a good thing.

      Now, don’t think that I hold those views – I am merely trying to convey the concept of utilitarianism to you. In the plain English, you have to break eggs to make the omelette.

      So, you and I may disagree with the Duncan smith’s policies, but if he genuinely believes a greater good is being served, he is by definition not evil. He may be misguided, wrong, etc, but he is not intending to be evil.

      • rekrab

        Jaime,

        If we extend the possibility of IDS as evil and premeditated, then we also raise the questions that IDS himself said he could run a house and the cost of living on £53 per week, countless of people we’re so livid that they challenged IDS to do so? so far IDS has refused, secondly, IDS has said that he isn’t cutting the welfare bill and he is spending as much today as the DWP was spending in 2010, roughly 77Bn, so the greater good isn’t a stance because there’s simply no evidence that he is saving, which in turn, looks like IDS is deliberately cutting benefits for an ideological reason, which is once more nothing short than a premeditated attack on humanity.

        Thirdly IDS has also been quoted as saying he would cut the WPD by £3Bn to give that money to the armed forces, again it plainly reveals that IDS has an extremely couldn’t care less attitude towards the unemployed and by his content once more it raises the question of whether this man is evil and determined to do wrong by those unfortunate to claim benefits.He simply saying here that bullets and guns are more important than life’s.

        • jaime taurosangastre candelas

          Derek,

          your logic seems like the Swiss cheese.

          He is not responsible for how many new people start to claim existing benefits. You will find that he is paying more people less money per head, so the overall amount remains the same. If you want to blame someone for the fact that more people are receiving benefits than before, blame George Osborne.

          Maybe he believes that the defence of the country is inadequately funded, and should be increased, and that is a greater good than spending some of the available money on benefits? I don’t know what his motivations are: unless you do, with evidence, then you cannot really judge whether he is misguided, correct, or deliberately evil. We are all completely free to disagree with him, but it seems “jumping to conclusions” to state that he is evil.

          As for the first point, he seems a bit foolish to make a statement and then not follow through. I was unaware that he had said it until I read your words, but my immediate thoughts are what are the details? Is that amount inclusive or exclusive of rent, for example? Someone on an income of £53 a week would I assume be getting housing benefit, council tax assistance and a number of other benefits or tax credits. If it is £53 for literally everything, including rent, then it sounds ridiculous.

          I do not want to appear to agree with him, but if it is confined to paying for food, telephone, electricity and gas then yes it does seem possible, if not enjoyable to pay £53 a week for subsistence living. My family does not, we spend around 3 times that on those basics, but we are fortunate in that £159 a week is affordable to us.

          • rekrab

            Swiss cheese, cough! laced with poison and served by IDS,

            “results in a greater good (for the country as a whole in this case, as measured by reduced spending on welfare)”

            I merely pointed out that there isn’t a saving?(so your greater good call isn’t a goer?) some say that JSA claimers are only responsible for 3% of the actual budget.

            Here’s the thing, when the last tory government closed the mines, they didn’t have any other employment lined up for those made redundant. If IDS was serious about the greater good of his services, then surely he’d have jobs lined up for those forced backed into work, not some scheme where those forced into work are doing the same jobs as others just for their benefits. A couple of people went to court over this, they just wanted the minimum wage but IDS rushed through a special bill to legalise his moves, while the judge in question found against IDS and his workfare programme?

            Jaime, how does someone fund the cost of fuel, food, transport, clothing and additional travels cost to and from work per week because their forced to work to keep their benefits.

            Conclusion, no jumping? a serious case has to be put to IDS is he quoting for the greater good of the country? people will die? in order for him to make an unproven saving?

  • Hugh

    “you don’t get to rise in politics by being stupid”

    Really?

  • Michelvis

    If it is found Tories are deliberately falsifying statistics to suit their own ends it would be difficult to not think that party is ‘practising the dark arts’…

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.blott Matthew Blott

    WTF?

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.blott Matthew Blott

    I read the piece by Sunny Hundal and wondered what the bloody hell he was going on about. Which is a shame as I like Sunny Hundal and although I obviously don’t know him he seems like a really nice guy from everything I read from him – his motivation is definitely because he wants to achieve a better society. But when he writes stuff like this people switch off and think he’s a member of the lunatic fringe.

  • therealguyfaux

    Oh, the irony!

    The Left, when presented with evidence that a programme has not worked, will claim to have had the best of intentions, as long as they get to be the ones who get the moral plaudits, even for having paved the road to hell.

    When the Right propose a programme, the Left immediately seize upon it as being motivated by the worst of intentions, hence not capable of being properly considered on the basis of its efficacy.

    In other words, we don’t care who gets hurt, so long as our consciences are clear– we meant well, and that’s what counts. We don’t care who gets helped, we opposed it, and if it was evil to start with, though it may succeed, it’s the fruit of a poisoned tree– and that’s all that counts.

  • Amber_Star

    Theresa May said it best. They’re the Nasty Party. They’re not nasty individuals but right-wingers collectively indulge in a low grade, perpetual nastiness which saps the spirit of their opponents & ‘victims’.

    • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.blott Matthew Blott

      Actually, sorry to be seem pedantic but what May said is always misquoted: she said the Tories were perceived as the nasty party she never said they were the nasty party. It is an important difference.

    • RAnjeh

      They are ‘Nasty’ in the sense of their out-of-touch views on race, sexuality, gender, role of society (well some quarters of the Tories) but not because they are actually nasty people. I know many Tories and some of them are horrible and some of them are nice. Same with Labour people.

    • Denhaag

      nasty ? Wars & torture fit that description

      Now which party was that ?

  • Brian Dôoley

    I know don’t see any difference between the three parties, they are a right wing trinity, this once Socialist party created by the workers to defend the rights of the workers the poor and the vulnerable, has adopted a right wing Ideology and allowed the Tories to dictate policy, I can’t believe some of the things I’m hearing from the Labour politicians, Tories Not Tough enough on benefits (Liam Byrne) I’m going to cap pensions (Ed Balls). as a Socialist, I can not vote for these kind of policies, so my 50 years of supporting Labour has come to an end

  • DeanJB

    I normally categorise the debate thus: rightwingers are unpleasant, leftwingers are hypocrities, and the ones in the middle are naive.

  • Mike B

    There is a different world view between us and Conservatives. In many ways we do not speak the same ‘language’. To debate with them it is important to try to see reality through their eyes and from there draw out inconsistencies as we see them. We might have a few of our own but that is another discussion. There are ‘evil’ ideas out there which we cannot engage with (Fascism etc) but with Tories (and Lib Dem’s) our approach is different. The term ‘evil’ does not cover it well enough although I do tend to think of them that way from time to time.

  • Richard

    No, they are evil. They carry out attacks against unemployed, sick, disabled, not because they think it will help them, they carry out these attacks because they know it is a vote winner. That makes them evil in my book.

  • Monkey_Bach

    Evil is a concept that only has meaning in a human context.

    When a cat toys with a mouse for hours before killing it, rather than despatching it quickly, can the cat be considered to be evil? Of course not because a cat is not a human being gifted with a moral sense and conception of right and wrong and was acting cruelly deliberately and premeditatively. Similarly a deranged madman cannot be held responsible for his atrocious behaviour, since he has no firm grasp of reality or understanding of the consequences of the outcome of his actions.

    The non-human and the mad cannot ever be considered as evil.

    Speaking personally the modern Tories these days seem like such an overtly bad bunch that I often speculate whether they can really be considered as wholly human, let alone sane, so cruel and thoughtless are their actions and so unconcerned do they seem to be in respect to the results of those actions when judged from a human standpoint. I cannot see how anybody could give the richest people in the land a significant tax cut, whilst simultaneously reducing support to disabled citizens, living in specially adapted accommodation, if they have a spare bedroom, and leave them facing possible eviction and homelessness can really be considered as being fully paid up members of the human race.

    So I don’t know if it is fair to call right-wingers and Tories “evil” although, without a doubt, a huge number of their badly thought out and clumsily implemented polices – particularly social policies – undoubtedly have pernicious, divisive, harmful, ruinous, and “evil” consequences as far as the lives of legions of helpless and innocent men, women, and families are concerned.

    Mad, then? Un-human then? Both? Take your pick.

    Eeek.

  • RAnjeh

    Great article.
    Bringing morality into politics in this way, always fails. Sadly, it normally comes from those on our side who keep on using terms like ‘Tory scum’ and vermin. I heard one Labour person say that Cameron used the Woolwich attack to boost his own publicity.

  • mattwardman

    I’d say that a further problem is to address people rather than policies or acts.

    As soon as we get into “these people are x, y or z”, we make debate impossible and indicate that we are doing politics on the basis of emotion not reason.

    In the end we retreat into a mirrored bubble, ranting at our own politial reflection.

    It doesn’t work.

    For my part, there are any number of political policies that I’ll denounce as evil, based on their effects. I hesitate before applying that to people, even of they do appear to be idiots or bigots !

    Mr Hundal does both.

  • Chrisso

    Robert Halfon MP is “rather sensible and thoughtful”. I don’t think so. Some of us did politics degrees with him – we know better. When he became a Tory it confirmed our worst suspicions.

    • swatnan

      Another b****y career politician!
      When are we ever going to get back to the days when ‘Politics’ was for amateurs and you did it out of the goodness of your heart and as a public service, and not for the money. Maybe that’s why some people have difficulty with distinguishing between textbooks and reality.

  • althejazz

    Those who do evil, are evil. That fact is that the tories don’t care who they hurt as long as it isn’t themselves and their cronies. Nobody who is so stupid as to believe that the policies they promulgate are not hurting when they are, would ever have enough nous to get into parliament in the first place. Therefore the attacks on the most vulnerable in our society must be deliberate and conceived by people who care naught for the consequences of their actions. They cannot be conceived as anything but evil under those circumstances by anyone who has a conscience. It appals me to think that a large minority of my fellow human beings could even think about giving their support to such wicked and despicable deeds.

  • $24528624

    ‘the Left rarely wins a cheapened debate’ haha good one.

  • http://sadbutmadlad.com/ SadButMadLad

    And Sunny’s words and attitude just highlights the differences between the left and right’s view of the other side. The left view the right as evil. The right view the left as stupid. The both see the other as the enemy and will do anything to belittle the other side.

    Why not just get rid of left and right and all the politicians (and their hangers on like Sunny) and just let people get on with living their lives with the minimum of interference. Mankind managed to evolve and progress for thousands of years with no state just a leader or two. Has society suddenly got so complex the last century or so that it needs a state to control it?

    Both the left and right are wrong.

  • http://www.worldwithoutrulers.wordpress.com/ BlackFlagMan

    The most sensible contribution to the political blogosphere I’ve seen in a long time. Without wishing to sound patronising may I say well done! I think most politicians of every stripe and at every level are doing what they think is best, albeit some have narrower perspective than others. Some lose sight of what they were supposed to be doing, some overlook some of the consequences of their decisions, but I don’t think many politicians deliberately set out to cause harm. And your point about the general public not seeing the world in the same way as (dare I say) us anorak-wearing political types is a worthwhile reminder.

  • Dan Platts

    Presumably Mr Ferguson is the moderator of these comments and will censor any clear and valid criticism of his article that he may find difficult to respond to. I say this because I wrote a comment yesterday, free of any profanities (which I would expect is the main reason for moderation), for which a notification was displayed proving it had gone for “moderation”. In the comment I criticised this patronising and virtually pointless article about the exaggerated use of the word “evil”, and about political generalisations. Maybe it was not this that made him scared to permit my comment, but the criticisms of his political outlook. I challenge him to permit the comment or, at least, if this is not possible, to assure me that if I re-write the comment I will not have wasted my time again.

  • Jon Rowe

    The whole point of living in a liberal democracy is that we afford our opponents the dignity of being wrong. If a particular political party is ‘just evil’ then we don’t need debate about ends and legitimate means. Sunny Hundal tries to define evil as being prepared to allow people to die for the sake of achieving a wider political goal, but of course a definition of evil that weak would see all Labour governments equally indicted. No, leave talk of enemies being evil to theocratic regimes and the frothing fringes: democracy gibes us a more productive political dialogue than that

  • markfergusonuk

    I’m not “scared to permit” anything. I am, however, quite busy…

    • Dan Platts

      Fair enough, I’m sure it is quite a task. But could you submit my earlier comment please?

  • markfergusonuk

    No censorship – just a busy moderator…

    • Colin

      OK, apologies for that.

  • markfergusonuk

    Just because I call myself a cow doesn’t mean I produce milk. Or something…

    • blondebuster

      You’re right, of course, it would be stupid to brand (geddit) all people of a particular political persuasion as evil, just because some of them were.
      Unless you were Mr Handal, of course.

  • Monkey_Bach

    No. Blair was a deceitful bastard too. Eeek.

  • Monkey_Bach

    Erm. I think this might be news to the ancient Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Persians, Babylonians, Aztecs, Incas, Mayans and such like. Eeek.

    • http://sadbutmadlad.com/ SadButMadLad

      But they had small states, not ones that covered every aspect of our lives to the nth detail as we have now. They might not have had the technology that we have that enables such micromanagement by the current civil service., but that does not mean we have to use it, tech hardly ever solves problems.

  • PaulHalsall

    So everyone, who has lived in a house for years, needs to move when a kids moves out.

    Moreover this should only apply to those on housing benefit, not all council house owners, and does not in fact apply to pensioners, who do have the most empty rooms?

  • Monkey_Bach

    Got any links to any of this evidence backing up IDS? Cheers. Eeek.

  • FionaUK

    Wrong!

    Between 2007 and 2012 inflation outstripped wage increases by a massive 8%. However the biggest pay increases were amongst the highest paid: Check it out on the ONS (and do your homework next time!)

    • blondebuster

      Wrong, the Guardian ran an article about 10 days ago showing income inequality is less under the Coalition thanthe last Labour government. Funnily enough very few comments were made.

    • sungeipatani

      My statement was based on the following: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk-news/2013/jul/10/income-gap-narrowest-margin-25-years

      which in turn was based on information from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

      Perhaps some homework on your part may be a good idea.

  • Monkey_Bach

    Thing is the Tories were full on in support of the war and torture you’re talking about and probably, if they were in government at the time, would have happily gone even further: the Conservatives were fully behind Blair and his cohorts in respect to UK actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. It’s the way the Tories deliberately work overtime to demonise and impoverish the weakest and most helpless citizens in THEIR OWN COUNTRY that singles them out as being especially nasty. Although New Labour was snapping at their heels the current bunch of Conservatives seem to me to be some of the nastiest and most dishonest Tories in living memory. Even the Iron Lady at her most desperate and worst wouldn’t have robbed benefit from disabled people, living in specially adapted accommodation, simply because they have a spare room.

    That’s a new kind of nastiness.

    Eeek.

  • johndclare

    Evil is a relative,not an absolute term: http://j-cduncan.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/are-tories-evil.html

  • Monkey_Bach

    Trouble is there are not enough smaller rented properties for people affected to “downsize” to. Even people who are willing to move will be hit by this measure; most, having nowhere else to move to, will absorb the cost of the benefit reduction by making up the shortfall out of low wages or other benefits. Disabled people living in specially modified accommodation will also be affected. The Bedroom Tax, designed and aimed at penalising the poorest, most disadvantaged, and helpless citizens extant is the most regressive, coldest, and nastiest policy I can remember.

    Here is a glimpse of where we are going:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/homelessness-increases-by-14-in-a-single-year-7545867.html

    Eeek.

  • PaulHalsall

    “Has society suddenly got so complex the last century or so that it needs a state to control it?”

    Yes. Study some history.

    • http://sadbutmadlad.com/ SadButMadLad

      Most of society would disagree with you. They don’t seem to be that interested in politics or the state.

      https://twitter.com/Nye_Rick/status/358197180227538944/photo/1

      They just get on with living their lives and only get involved when the state affects their lives, usually in a negative way. With Labour, the right complain. With Tories, the left complain. The state can never satisfy everyone, so why bother. Just leave the state to do the barest minimum that both left and right can agree on.

      Society has not changed one iota in hundreds of years.

  • FionaUK

    Thanks sungeipatani and blondebuster,

    the GINI scale referred to in the Guardian is about INCOME my point was about the broader position when you add in inflation.

    GINI is also a very broad brush scale which does not take into account the full range of demands on household incomes at the poorer end or the disruption that has taken place to work patterns. It is one of many indicators and not definitive.

    The Guardian article could have gone further to explain the data but it does, of course, refer to 2011/12 (ConDem govt, not Labour, I believe).

    Now that the benefit cuts have taken place and the ConDems have failed to tackle the economy, sadly we can only expect the black hole between haves and have nots widening to even more harmful levels.

    • sungeipatani

      My original post was quite specific in referring to INCOME, nothing else. You responded to this by stating “Wrong!” and telling me I should have done my homework.

      I think your most sensible response would have been to apologise.

  • Ian Young

    I’m sure all right wingers would like to see everyone happy and prosperous and wake up with a smile on their face. The problem with national politics is that it is about making abstract decisions and making tough decisions for the long term good. This is not about good and evil but the question you then have to ask is who do you make suffer. If it is small petty cuts to people who rarely vote, have no power and can result in total desitution its show utter callousness and lack of empathy.

  • FionaUK

    Er no. My initial comment was in response to Mark Ferguson’s article. However, each of your subsequent comments were in the context of my comment about ‘divided Britain and the continued widening gap between rich and poor.’

    When blogging we all use shorthand and quickfire answers but if you wanted to make a different point and change the subject then you should have made it in the main stream of comments not as a response to mine. Your initial comment sounded like you were trying to correct me (and I believe you were) but you used information that was not relevant on it’s own, within the context of my comment.

    Within the context of a ‘divided Britain’ debate it IS wrong to propose/imply that a minute swing in income inequality changes the facts.

    Whatever you were saying, thats blogging for you!

    • sungeipatani

      You told me I was “Wrong!” and that I had not done my homework. In fact I was right and I had done my homework. On that basis an apology is called for.

      Your latest comment is sheer sophistry.

  • Angela Sullivan

    IDS actually went on a day trip to Auschwitz and felt inspired to blog about his reflections on the “banality of evil”. He was struck by the fact that the man responsible for mass murder was not a monster but an unimaginative pen-pusher who took pride in carrying out his orders as efficiently as possible, and was kind to his wife and children.
    The chill of irony I get is my imagination, surely. The Third Reich killed mentally ill people cold bloodedly and intentionally. Coalition policies are not designed to drive people to despair and suicide: if they have that effect does that make the people who designed and implemented them evil? Or just banal?

  • Harlequin

    I don’t know how I ended up on here but I should point out that lefties have been wrong for the past 13 years, they just haven’t admitted it yet. Tbh I think the terms left-wing and right-wing need to be redefined, they’ve been twisted for use of insult and slander to the point that I don’t think anyone can properly define them.

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