A Labour victory is not acceptable to the guardians of the free market fundamentalist order

1st October, 2013 7:00 pm

The Daily Mail’s stomach-churning attack on Ed Miliband’s father – and him by association – is a warning. The British right are preparing one of the most poisonous, vicious all-out wars against the left in post-war Britain. If this is how far into the gutter this wretched “newspaper” is already willing to plunge, what’s it going to be like six months before the election?

The logic of the campaign is three-fold. Firstly, the right believe that Ed Miliband has veered off script, abandoning the free market fundamentalist consensus established by Thatcherism in favour of what – by historical standards – is pretty mild social democracy.

Secondly, the right-wing media barons who set the terms of what is deemed politically palatable in Britain have never forgiven Ed Miliband for his endorsement of Leveson, which they believe is an unacceptable threat to their power.

Thirdly, they think Labour under Ed Miliband could actually win the 2015 election.

There’s a mixture of reasons why: the fact every time the Tories have won an election since 1955 has been on a lower share of the vote than the time before; the fact the Tories have a glass ceiling of possible support given their disappearance as a political force in Scotland, much of northern England and Wales; that the Tories haven’t won since 1992, and only won 36% in 2010 despite economic collapse and a Labour PM less popular than tuberculosis; the fact Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister in 1979, even though she woefully lagged behind Labour’s James Callaghan as the electorate’s preferred PM; that the electoral boundaries that favour Labour; that those who voted Lib Dem because they thought Labour were too right wing, and are now firmly back in Ed Miliband’s party’s fold; the fact that, even though Ukip’s current polling will subside, even a significantly smaller poll result for Farage’s party in 2015 will inflict serious damage on the Tories; and the fact that Miliband’s social-democratic populism could prove, well, pretty popular a time of ever-falling living standards.

The right fear that, if Labour were to win in 2015, it would inflict a possibly fatal blow to the free market fundamentalist political consensus. It will show it is possible to win on a different sort of programme, including one that at least hints at challenging an arrogant elite all too accustomed to wealth and power being generously shovelled in their direction by successive governments.

Therefore, a Labour victory is not acceptable to the guardians of the free market fundamentalist order.

Some will shrug off the Daily Mail attack as, well, the sort of thing you expect from this almost farcically detestable rag. The brazen hypocrisy of a paper once owned by a supporter of the Nazis and the Blackshirts has been well covered. But, in my view, this is serious. It is a warning shot.

I don’t care if the Daily Mail got someone called Geoffrey Levy to write it. As others have pointed out, this whole episode reeks of anti-Semitism – of the rootless cosmopolitan Jew with contempt for his country, and so on.

George Osborne’s speech this week lumped Ed Miliband in with Marxism. A red-baiting, McCarthyite-style campaign beckons, nearly a quarter of a century after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Jeremy Hunt today effectively endorsed the Daily Mail attack, stating that “Ralph Miliband was no friend of the free market and I have never heard Ed Miliband said he supports it.”

We already know that the Tories are employing Lynton Crosby to replicate the sort of vicious campaign he has pioneered elsewhere. Their strategy is to redirect people’s anger away from those at the top, to people’s neighbours – unemployed people, public sector workers, immigrants, and so on. Rather than be angry at the fact you’re being mugged, be angry that your less deserving neighbour isn’t being mugged enough, is the general gist. This is how they hope to win the election, combined with a possible one-off pre-election tax cut.

We’ve already had public money being spent on vans with ‘Go home’ written on them, sent to ethnically mixed communities; now we have the Daily Mail slandering Ed Miliband’s Jewish immigrant father.

There are many on the left who have misgivings about Labour and Ed Miliband. As someone who wants Labour to be more radical, I more than empathise. But let’s be clear. We’re on the verge of an all-out, frothing-at-the-mouth war against even the mildest challenge to free market fundamentalism. It will be as dirty, vicious and personal as it gets.

That’s why anybody who wants to build a different sort of country – not a Britain treated as the plaything by wealthy barons who can’t even be bothered to pay tax – needs to stand against this poison. That doesn’t mean descending to their vile, reprehensible level. We really are better than them, and in part we must hope they will discredit themselves in the eyes of people who have decency and humanity.

But it does mean fighting back. The build-up to the 2015 election really is going to be horrible. None of us can have any illusions about that now. Let’s all do everything we can to take on this bile and to drive it back. I’m afraid I don’t think it is hyperbole, or a lazy resort to a well-worn cliché, to suggest that the future of this country is at stake.

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  • swatnan

    Owen is right. We’ve got to be prepared to throw back all that the Tories throw at us.
    Its going to be a pretty dirty campaign.

    • JoeDM

      The Mail made a number of valid points about Ralph Miliband’s political views. When I was a student back in the 70s, Ralph Milband’s books were all the rage with the leftwing extremists that dominated the Student Unions at that time such as the International Socialists (later became the SWP) and the IMG.

      Ralph Miliband’s views would have been closer to Militant of the 1980s than the normal Labour Party

      • “made a number of valid points”

        Utter poppycock.

        As Owen points out – it shows how much Ed’s mild criticism of current economic orthodoxy has shaken the Establishment.

        There’ll be much worse to come so it’s good that Ed is responding with vigour. Fight them every inch of the way, I say.

      • swatnan

        … but that doesn’t make RM unpatriotic. Many pacificists for example in the First World War and Second refused to fight, but they still believed in Britain, and the British way of life, neatly summed up by John Major, as a rural idyl with nuns cycling across the village green and warm beer and marmite and marmalade on toast, or something like that. I think even Leftie Hatton would have taken up arms if the Russians had invaded Britain. The Mail was alleging that RM was unpatriotic and that is a lie.

  • Luke Thomas

    The Tory message is that you’re being mugged because your neighbour has stolen all the bruises.

  • Luke Thomas

    The Tory message is that you need to be mugged because your neighbour stole all the bruises.

  • rekrab

    Braw Lad! Awfy Braw!

  • ColinAdkins

    Owen at last. Comment has understandably focused on the outrageous nature of the comments. But this also a hegemonic act designed to put left-wing and I dare I say it Marxist views beyond the pail of political discourse.

  • Graemeyh


  • Highland Eagle

    Sounds very similar to the tactics employed by Better Together (which Labour are part of) against Scotland’s right to self government.

  • leslie48

    Good analysis from Owen; the temperature is turned up because Labour is at 41%or 42% ; Meanwhile the fact that the Daily Mail once supported Hitler and that millions of viewers are being reminded of that fact is good. Give credit where its due both Glegg and Cameron have disassociated themselves from the Mail’s shocking attack on ED’s father & Cameron’s response about missing his own father showed a genuine response.

    The more difficult question is how you reduce the power, influence and nasty drip, drip effect of the Daily Mails propaganda – perhaps a large scale boycott or poster campaign paid for by individuals to condemn the Mails tatics- its not going away = its been very viscous recently and they will be more for many months. Congratulations to Ed for being courageous in confronting this vile, evil newspaper.

    • treborc1

      The paper has been a rag for a long time and the people who read it sadly will not care that Cameron has rightly stated it was wrong, this paper lives off this rubbish, it’s even worse then the Sun.
      Miliband has to let it go now and get on with his politics otherwise it will run for ages and the Mail will make a big deal of it.

      The other thing of course is to wait for the reporter to come out of his office and kick the living Sh*t out of him which I would have done twenty years ago.

      • leslie48

        No, we have been running away from the D/Mails vitriolic for too long and its the drip, drip effect of their nasty front page every day and at election time. They have sank to new depths in recent weeks. The public thinks its another newspaper; we know it has a particular agenda and the public need to be reminded what a vile semi-fascist rag it has descended into. Labour lost to a fourth Tory election in 1992 and it was the press that did it as Kinnock admitted. Mrs Thatcher thanked the press during her years for their support and so began that process where we drifted into Neo-Liberalism and the continent remained social democratic in outlook.

        • treborc1

          I bet Cameron will be thinking I dislike the Mail but boy while he’s attacking that rag he’s not attacking us at conference yesterday all I heard on TV was Ralph MIliband the Daily mail and Ed, hardly an attack on the Tories. This morning it was Campbell having ago and hardly a word has been spent on the Tory conference.

          30 people have bothered to make an official complaint and while all this happens more and more people, think the biggest battle today is Ed Miliband and the daily mail.

          • Mark Reilly

            I Think the Tory spinners will be more disappointed that their conference was over-shadowed, what did they debate yesterday?

  • BillFrancisOConnor

    Completely right. This week at Tory Conference has given the game away – it’s been a hate fest from start to finish. The crucial challenge of the energy price freeze is that it lays bare the ludicrous hypocrisy and double standard of how you can have a wage freeze for several years but not a short price freeze on essentials like heat and light. In this sense it is a challenge to the neo-liberal economic dogma that has dominated this country for 30 years. The veil of double standards that masks the dogma cannot be allowed to slip even a bit and this accounts for the forthcoming viciousness of the Tory ( and their allies) campaign.

    • David Battley

      Not sure I agree with this comment: King Canute could not control the tide, but he could have ordered his armies to get wet.

      My point is that government can easily control pay of it’s employees (and hopefully will use this power in the future to raise theirs to a meaningful living wage, and provide guidance for the private sector to follow), but a government setting a price cap on energy purchased by a third party from a fourth means either i) forcing the third party to make a loss (which they will obviously seek to minimise, for example by selling less energy… i.e. rationing energy and causing a brown-out), or ii) subsidising that loss on behalf of citizens (which will then be paid for by tax).

      Clearly ii) only works if one has a taxation structure which can support it, and this has not (yet?) been announced.

      • trotters1957

        I don’t think you understand the policy. The price freeze is for 20 months only while a new market mechanism is put in place to replace Ofgem.
        BTW, some of the energy companies are already offering 3 years price freezes.

        • David Battley

          Indeed: I have my own gas prices frozen. I paid slightly more than the market in 2012 so that in 2013 I will have lower than market bills. All of which is fine if the price cap policy imposed on customers allows gas companies to find a price that allows them to hedge their own price volatility, although it’s not clear that this is the case since I doubt a sudden price jump at the start of the 20 month period would be politically what is being sought after here.

          The related problem with this is that this “hedging” requires two sides: it is a transfer of the risk of price volatility from one party to another (someone who benefits from higher gas prices, for example BP, would be the perfect hedge for someone who loses out, such as Scottish and Southern Energy). If you artificially increase the number of buyers (i.e. every gas company simultaneously needing to hedge 100% of their customers) is that you end up running out of people who want to buy, and a horrible mis-match of supply and demand that commodity traders (such as JP Morgan) will exploit by demanding a price that is markedly higher that the “normal” price. This ends up being the price that has to be paid for, either by customers, the government, or (noting the brown-out potential) the energy providers.

          Overall, you end up with a transfer of wealth from people to energy traders/JP Morgan.

      • BillFrancisOConnor

        Of course this country had a prices and incomes policy-ie namely placing a restriction on how much each could rise – which coincided with a period of unprecedented GDP growth before or since. I am referring of course to the 1960s and 1970s. Between 1947 and 1973 the UK had an average annual GDP growth rate of 3%. During that period a prices and incomes policy was intermittently applied to the economy. Indeed the Conservative government of Ted Heath implemented their own complex structure of prices and incomes control. During this period the country experienced full employment and the degree of inequality was greatly diminished compared both to the post 1980 period or indeed to the period before the war. During this period (1947-1973) capitalism didn’t collapse indeed it underwent unparalleled expansion while at the same time the standard of living of most people in the country rose exponentially especially when compared with the pre-war period of the 1930s. Since then the country has been infested with a dogma called neo-liberalism (where incomes can be frozen for years while prices are allowed to let rip) which has seen inequality rocket, unemployment rise to hitherto unimaginable levels and the dominance of a kind of cartel capitalism which only serves those at the top of society. If Heath’s government can implement a price freeze then why can’t a modern Social Democratic Party do so?

        • David Battley

          Put simply, Heath’s government owned the mines, so controlled the supply of fuel and hence directly controlled energy prices. The “modern Social Democratic Party” you refer to will not have that power unless a) we undertake an enormous state-owned “fracking” operation or b) go back to using coal-powered power stations.

          Also, though as an aside, growth in GDP is not necessarily a sign of growth in the economy, with a wide range of factors including inflation and movements in state spending potentially skewing underlying growth.

  • Chilbaldi

    While I agree with the sentiment of the article on the whole I find this comment pretty lazy:

    “the fact Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister in 1979, even though she woefully lagged behind Labour’s James Callaghan as the electorate’s preferred PM”

    True. But her personal ratings improved, and she won 3 elections. The electorate preferred her and her party to Callaghan and Kinnock. I don’t really know what point you are trying to make with this comment.

    • reformist lickspittle

      The “point” is that she won in 1979 despite being personally “unpopular”.

      That her ratings improved later (post Falklands!) is not relevant.

      • PaderB

        And why did she win? Simply because many of even the most ‘tribal’ Labour Supporters were sick of seeing their industries and income disappear. The description of the UK as the ‘sick man of Europe’ was no fantasy. Up to then, millions of ‘man hours’ were being lost every year by almost constant strikes. Labour complain of the ‘poverty’ being experienced by people today, yet the Labour Government allowed the economy to deteriorate so badly that the UK had a 26% inflation at one point and brought REAL poverty to low income families. How does that compare to less than the 3% inflation we have now despite the previous 13 years of Labour mismanagement?

        Peter Sellers’ portrayal of Fred Kite, a local Union activist in the 1959 film ‘I’m alright Jack’ was meant to be a parody of British Industrial relations but it was so near the truth that it lost any level of humour to so many. The strikes caused the disappearance of Dockworkers, Printworkers, Ford’s, British Leyland, most other car manufacturers (leaving only private concerns or non-Union agreements such as Nissan). The same occurred in Coal Mining. The NUM tried to bring the (weak) Heath Government down by causing the ‘3 day week’ which caused ordinary people without power in their homes and decimated the firms that they worked for. The Public Services were just as bad; leaving dead people in hospital corridors and rubbish piled 3 or 4 metres high in the street (every street). The Miners tried the same tactic under a Thatcher Government but became unstuck due to her forethought in stockpiling coal and importing. The Miners try to blame Thatcher for the closure of the pits when in fact, many or even most could have been saved except for the intransigence of the Miners that would not allow even essential maintenance to be carried out resulting in irreversible flooding in the shafts.

        Owen Jones is a disciple of that ‘tribal’ group of Labour Supporters that are too young to have known the damage that Labour and the Unions did to this Country. His naive ideology belongs only in a Utopian society of a ‘Workers Paradise’. He would see the Country run by the Unions under McCluskey, Crowe and Serwotka who, for the benefit of a few members, would bring the Country to it’s knees once again.

        The 13 years under Blair and Brown were bad enough, but they are as nothing compared to a potential Government who, under Milliband, would be far too weak to stave of the power of the Union Militants. The Unions have never been so active in the past several decades as they are now because they sense that Milliband is too in thrall to Union funding to rock the boat.

        I truly hope that the young tribal voters are, at the very least, outweighed by even Labour voters who are old enough to remember all of the damage caused by an incompetent Labour Government over the decades since the World War.

        • Danny

          What utter drivel.
          You honestly believe it was Unions that brought about the end of Dockworkers, printworkers and the automotive industry? If you are going to accuse young Labour voters of not having the experience to form opinions, I’m going to accuse you of not having all of your marbles to do the same.
          It was Thatcher who decimated our manufacturing and production industries in this country. It was done deliberately and for political reasons. She shifted the emphasis towards a financial and private sectors which she then gave a total free reign to. She then managed to blind all politicians to thinking that her neoliberal way was the best way.
          The result? An economy woefully ill-equipped to cope with a global credit crunch, the profits from our country’s resources flowing into Chinese and French companies, the slowest recovery in history, queues at foodbanks, terminally ill members of society being told to “get a job”, disabled people thrown out of their home of past few decades.
          And save your comments on “real poverty”. Go an speak to the people in the queues of food banks and tell them they’re not suffering “real poverty”. Go and have a word to some of the neighbours on my estate who cannot afford a coat for the winter. And I don’t mean a coat to go and wear when they are out and about. I mean a coat that they can wear in bed because they cannot afford to heat their home. See how they react when you say, “This is nothing compared to the poverty Labour caused in the 1970s”.
          Stop reading the Telegraph and go and visit the real world. It will help you form some opinions rooted in reality.
          Or alternatively, stick to your anti-EU bile in your Telegraph comments where you will find some like-minded ivory-toweresque individuals who cannot relate to some of the woeful suffering this government, and three decades of Thatcher-inspired policy, has done to our once great, now pathetic nation.

          • PaderB

            Did you get this drivel from your Dad’s old ‘Labour Party Joke Book’? Try reading a proper history book that tells the truth as it actually was and not listen to all of the ideologues and anarchists who deny history. I lived through it. And for the record, I come from a long line of ‘dyed in the wool’ Labour supporters but learned to think for myself.

          • Danny

            If you’d like, I’ll give you the email address for Professor John Charmley, the Head of History at the UEA. He’d be mortified to learn that a graduate from his course completed it without reading a proper history book.
            And generally, if you want a book “that tells the truth as it actually was” then you need an encyclopaedia, not a history book. History is the study of human experience and history books analyse that experience and the facts of a period and then form opinions and conclusions based on that analysis. Two separate authors writing about the same period will not write the same book, form the same opinions or arrive at the same conclusions. So which one is telling the truth? The one that you agree with? That’s a bizarre approach to take to history.
            Try studying it. You’d probably learn to think for yourself in a much more efficient and intelligent fashion.

          • PaderB

            UEA??? Ahh, the University of East Anglia.

            I stand corrected. How did I have the temerity to argue with a graduate of such an august and unbiased seat of learning. Is this not the same University of East Anglia that provided the Labour Government with spurious and discredited data on Global Warming?

          • Danny

            Just for any neutral readers, if my last comment does not appear to address much of PaderB’s previous post then that is because he appears to have been edited his ramblings after I replied to it. It was only a one paragraph (his first paragraph) response when I hit reply.
            As for your comments on “Climategate”, how you can arrive at that conclusion whilst trumpeting that you think for yourself is amusing. Several committees have investigated the happenings and all have concluded that there was zero scientific misconduct or fraud.
            And at the same time (if it gets through moderation) you use the phrase “Gruniad”. Ironically, you mean Grauniad, a term that has arisen from an ill-conceived perception that the Guardian is littered with spelling mistakes and typos (see the irony?!) when the reality is that it fares reasonably well compared with other newspapers, which if you read so many you would know. Thinking for yourself or following the goose-step of the right-wing press? I’ll leave people to draw their own conclusions.
            And your rambling about my desire for a European Federal State is an awful, straw-man argument created so that you actually have something you can beat me over the head with.

          • PaderB

            My editing of that particular post was made immediately after the original posting when I accidentally pressed the ‘post’ button and for some reason, this publication has decided that it needs to ‘moderate’ that one posting. However, back to this, latest, reply:

            As to ‘Climategate’ as you dub it. I have also read the ‘Wikipedia’ account. It leads me to have considerable reservations as to the veracity of encyclopaedias as a definitive source of unbiased knowledge as propounded in one of your proceding posts. Wikipedia can be altered by anyone. Virtually all of the contributors appear to have a vested interest in the controversy on the side of global warming. Personally, my consensus of the article is that; as the usual, the emails have been taken entirely ‘out of context’. It really is strange that so many can be so misunderstood. Secondly, the claim is that the CRU computer was hacked yet the entire might of the Norfolk and Metropolitan computer expertise (used even when they admit that such an investigation, at considerable public expense, was not part of their purview – Why?) cannot trace how the documents were ‘hacked’ let alone who was ‘responsible’ leaves considerable doubt of the absence of ‘official’ interference

            Yes, I admit to the irony of my misspelling of ‘Grauniad’ but as I touch type and the spell checkers cannot cope with that spelling, perhaps I can be forgiven that one mistake. However, you go on to say that it was a misconception of the Paper’s spelling ability. Have you perhaps forgotten, or did not know, that the paper itself recognised it’s own failing when it published at least one issue with the banner; ‘Grauniad’? In fact, typing ‘grauniad’ followed by .co.uk will redirect you to the Guardian

            As to my ‘straw-man’ argument: I reiterate, did you find anything in the Telegraph posting that was wrong or unverified? UK membership of a federalist State is a fundamental political argument that you chose not to comment on other than to attempt to chastise me as something to beat you over the head with. Is your apparent support of EU Membership because you wish the UK to be part of a Federal State or do wish the UK to have it’s own sovereignty? You must have one or the other, not both as to remain is to eventually become a ‘European’ Citizen as opposed to ‘British’ Citizen. You have twice brought my ‘anti-EU’ desires into this argument without relevance. Now at least have the courage to say what you desire for the UK.

          • Danny

            Yes, I’ve read the Wikipedia account. Living in the area and subscribing to the local rag I also read a lot of information about it at the time. As you can imagine, a global story centred on a Norfolk facility was afforded considerable attention in its local media platforms. And even using the right-leaning Eastern Daily Press as an informative source, it is difficult to ignore the fact that the anti-climate change lobby, a group who should be licking their wounds following their comprehensive debunking of their ideas towards global warming by the IPCC report, tried to use the saga to press forward their implausible agenda.
            And the subsequent independent investigations, of which there have been several, support that. In fact, the only people that still seem to think the whole thing was some conspiracy to manipulate data to exaggerate climate change seem to dwell, coincidentally perhaps, among the readerships of the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail.
            And pointing out typos in internet debates I concede is pretty poor form. However, as you were driving home a point about typos yet made one of your own in the same statement, I couldn’t resist pointing it out. I’m British, irony amuses. And the grauniad link to the Guardian website is another example of Britishness which makes me proud; the ability to mock oneself.
            Which leads me onto your last point. Apparently I am about to show courage in a statement for my desire for the UK. It appears our attitudes towards courage are about as far apart as our opinions on poverty. Outlining your political ideas on the internet is not courageous. In fact, the majority of political commentators on the internet are quite the opposite, all forceful and aggressive behind a keyboard and then quite the opposite away from it.
            However, what I desire for the UK is a fair society. My opinion is that being in the EU currently contributes towards this, largely due the added protections for workers that our EU membership provides. If that was to ever change and I felt that a fairer society would be better achieved outside of the EU then I would join the anti-EU bandwagon. However, my motivation would not be fuelled by xenophobia or by being ground down by an obsessive and woefully biased right-wing media. I’m an internationalist and believe that greater cooperation is needed between nations, not just in Europe but across the globe. However, that does not mean I do not value British sovereignty and I do not believe the UK should become a federal state of the EU.
            However, it is a conspiracy theory up there with the New World Order and the fake moon-landings. There is no significant desire for a United States of Europe; not from London, Berlin, Brussels, Paris, anywhere. It is a fantasy that exists only in the Mail, Telegraph and Express, and in the heads of many of its readers.
            Was that courageous enough for you?

          • PaderB

            No, it was not courageous enough for me. You have presented a series of obfuscation and contradiction. You imply that people of my political leaning are xenophobes because we do not wish to be governed by an unaccountable institution. How could you possibly be an ‘Internationalist’ as you put it and, by definition of the word, not be a proponent of supranational government, Yet you go on to say that you that you do not want Britain to be a federal state of Europe. You suggest that the Federalisation of Europe is a conspiracy theory by ‘right wing’ influences in politics and the press. Perhaps you, a graduate in history from that illustrious seat of learning the UEA, can explain what is conspiratorial when referring to Barroso, and his latest ‘State of the Union’ address requiring member States to become a ‘Federation of Nation States’ and in the same address requiring member States to give the majority of their power to the EU means if the intention is NOT to enter a Federal State of Europe? This Sir is not meant to be a slur for it’s own sake, but I believe that your reference to being an Internationalist conforms to at least one of the definitions given on every online dictionary “a member or adherent of a communist or socialist International” and shows your true political ‘colours’. People will make their own mind up about the inferences of such a political persuasion.

          • Danny

            You’re referring to the 2012 state of the union address by the way, not the most recent one where there was no mention of a federation, but he did state that closer ties between Euro states “does not mean national sovereignty or democracy is constrained”.

            It’s good that you make reference to dictionary definitions as the following sums it up for me quite nicely:

            A policy or practice of cooperation between nations; particularly in political and economic terms.

            I believe this is a good thing. If you want to twist the definition to suggest you can’t be an internationalist without being a communist or advocating a United States of Europe then have fun. It’s a peculiar way to debate, creating the beliefs of your sparring partner and then attempting to belittle them for ideals they don’t actually agree with.

            You can be a supporter of the EU and an internationalist without being an advocate of a European nation. That’s a fact. Stop trying to pretend otherwise.

          • PaderB

            Does the fact that it was the 2012 address matter to any degree? The fact remains that he stated that the intention was for ‘A Federation of Nation States’ then went on to call more powers for the EU Parliament. I do believe that any rational person could perceive the ultimate intention given that the Lisbon Treaty allows for ‘ratcheting’ of legislation without reference to Member States.

            I do believe that the definition of Internationalist you selected for yourself is equally apt as the extent of cooperation that will occur as it impossible to have a fiscal policy without monetary union, which in turn will lead inevitably to taxation and legal union.

            You accuse me of putting words in your mouth and trying to belittle you, but I have to point out that you insulted me in your very first posting by saying that I have lost my marbles because you did not agree with ME. Then went onto to make a half hearted apology for picking me on my typo with the excuse that I laboured a point on typos. I did nothing of the kind and would be pleased to be advised where I did so.

            I would also, still, like to know if there were any inaccuracies in the Telegraph posting that I have made. Please do not say that you are unaware of the posting because you made several references to it that I had never made references to in this publication. I tried to supply a link to the article in at least two of my postings here, but apparently, it has called for ‘moderation’ to be called for by adding that link. I am surprised that is the case on my screen, but strangely, you managed to answer the rest of the posting and it would seem therefore, that the postings were published to you and not myself. Also, please answer this time without prevarication. A straight yes or no would suffice. Accurate? Yes or no?

            Incidentally, have you thought about becoming a politician? You do appear to have all of the necessary skills.

          • Danny

            I don’t mind being belittled on a politics website, I’ve done it myself to others enough. What I do mind is when someone contrives a set of beliefs for me and then belittles them.

            For example, I say I am an internationalist, you imply that I am either socialist or communist, pro a united states of Europe and pro a European monetary union, and then proceed to debate against these points. I don’t even agree with the points. It would be tantamount to me saying, “You’re a little bit right-wing so you must be a Nazi and you are pro-fascism” and then taking you to task on it. That’s not debate, it’s idiocy.

            And to answer on the accuracy of your postings elsewhere, I have only read your comments from clicking on your profile and have not read it in the context of the debate it was in, but based on that alone, no, I do not think it is accurate.

            You state that the goal of the EU is to create a single European nation. Whilst I don’t doubt there are a few people within the institution who have that aim, there are far, far more people who don’t. However much the Telegraph wish to preach, it is not a dictatorship and what Barroso (the outgoing Barroso) wants he does not get. There are far, far more individuals in the EU who do not desire a United States of Europe than those who do. The EU needs reform and it needs more democratic accountability, but if something good is broken, I’m minded to fix it rather than simply throw it away.

            You don’t think it’s good and that’s your prerogative and it is one you share with many, many millions in this country. But your accusation that people who support the EU are bleating sheep following the tune of the politicians has just as much credibility as me saying that your anti-EU sentiments make you a bleating sheep following the tune of an influential printed press.

            And I answered your previous question pretty succinctly. I advised I was pro-EU in its current form and even provided a specific reason as to why. Just because I refused to entertain your notion that you are either pro-British sovereignty and anti-EU or pro-EU and anti-British sovereignty does not mean I prevaricated.

            And I have no intention of becoming a politician. Too many people with too many stories. But if I ever change my mind, rest assured, I’ll put you down as a reference.

    • In ’79 Thatcher was pretty much an unknown quantity whereas Callaghan, for Labour, was a busted flush. Callaghan had already signaled an early rejection of Keynesian economics with his “we used to think you could spend your way out of recession” speech. This was a tacit, half-hearted acceptance of the neo-liberal settlement. And he paid the price. This is something the Progress wing of the Labour Party prefer not to mention.

      Blair stood on a very radical programme – the ‘stakeholder economy’ promise was, I’d argue, much more radical than anything offered by Ed today – and won by a landslide for his troubles. Of course, once in office, Blair forgot all about the ‘stakeholder economy’ and the decline set in, eventually becoming unsustainable.

      • reformist lickspittle

        “Stakeholding” had been largely dropped even by the 1997 GE, though – and why?? You guessed, because the Tory press attacked it.

        Similarly, after Blair made probably his best and most radical conference speech ever – the 1999 “forces of conservatism” one – a hysterical reaction from the right wing media forced a rapid retreat.

        These appeasement tactics did not serve him, or us, well in the end.

  • alexagiusuk

    Because the Labour party would never try to make an issue of Camerons family, upbringing and background?

    • Monkey_Bach

      It’s not the Tories attacking Ralph Miliband but the Daily Mail… although… come to think of it… they are pretty much one and the same these days I suppose.


    • treborc1

      What is wrong with Cameron family and his back ground if you start going down that route all you will get is an even bigger turn off of the people from politics.

      • trotters1957

        He made his money from setting up elaborate tax avoidance schemes, that’s how he was able to send his son to Eton.
        Cameron has stated on the record that these types of schemes are immoral, but he forgot to mention how his family made their money.

        • treborc1

          That’s a dangerous game to play when you have a bloke like Blair in your ranks.

          • trotters1957

            Tony Blairs father was adopted by a Glasgow ship yard worker as he was illegitimate.
            What’s your point?

          • treborc1

            I’d say the son did not turn out like the father then …

        • Jonathan Roberts

          Couldn’t you say the same thing about the Miliband’s tax avoidance measures on their inherited home? If it’s wrong for Cameron’s family, it has to be wrong for Miliband’s family.

          Or you could just say both operated within the law, so let’s worry about bigger things.

  • Cari4

    Is it because they can sense that Thatcherism is drawing to a slight close?

  • Mouch

    Good polemical stuff Owen. Full of staple Jones’ fare. But, as always, short on substance and solutions.
    So you don’t like free market economics. But what will you replace it with? How would you produce the growth, the wealth and the jobs that will pay for the services you don’t want cut? We hear how you would spend the wealth that others create (you are of course the product of wealth consuming family), but any idiot can spend other people’s money (nothing drives quite like a hire car after all).
    But how would you create it? That’s the difficult bit. To keep on promising people unearned benefits paid for from the more borrowing is just dishonest and passes responsibility for repayment to the next generation.
    And that is the crux of the issue, because economics always trumps politics. How would you – Owen Jones – create wealth?
    Your politics appear to be rooted in a misty-eyed view of a Socialist past that you did not have to experience first hand. Being a Socialist in a free market economy is so easy.

  • trotters1957

    It’s interesting to point out the famous letter from Tony Blair to Michael Foot in which he said he had ” come to socialism through Marxism”.
    Many of us do reject it after dallying with it in our teenage/student days.
    Even Tony Blair it seems.

  • LittleOddsandPieces

    Labour should not exist as they have said they will be harder on Welfare Reform than even the Tories in win in 2015. You should merge with film maker Ken Loach’s
    Left Unity before the UN proves Blue Labour kills by failing to stop Bedroom Tax and Welfare Reform that threatens the lives of poor old sick disabled by the million.

    Blue Labour went right wing to compete with UKIP. A UKIP that will gain votes in 2014 in a nation despairing of current political class. Unions should not be endorsing nor donating to Blue Labour, that is as much as enemy to the old disabled sick as to the working poor, as well as the entire waged employees. Austerity and Welfare Reform is bringing Greece to England and destroying the nation ever deeper into recession.

    I lost my state pension at 60 (2014) no job, no benefit, disabled /chronic sick and lost council tax benefit. Bedroom Tax is hitting the old / disabled / chronic sick the most. To systems brought into being by Labour and the Tories just kept on going with those policies.


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