The British Left Rediscovers Euroscepticism, With Help From Greece

 

You know there must be a serious disturbance in the Force when left-wing commentators like Owen Jones begin openly flirting with euroscepticism. But this is exactly what we are now witnessing, with formerly staunch eurofanatics up and down the land executing sharp 180-degree U-turns in their general attitude toward Brussels, sometimes with quasi-admissions of former error (see Owen Jones) but usually done quietly in the hope that nobody will notice.

Never mind the fact that just a couple of short months ago, many of these same left-wing talking heads were taking to the airwaves during the general election campaign to argue that the European Union represents enlightened internationalism at its best, and that only the most unlettered and unsavoury characters (read: Ukippers) could possibly believe otherwise.

Never mind the cognitive dissonance required to accuse Nigel Farage of paranoid xenophobia one month and then find fervent common cause with him the next; wherever there is a David vs Goliath struggle raging in the world, the virtue-signalling Left are never slow to exploit it, even if it means resorting to twisted pretzel logic or making themselves look extremely silly in the process. Thus the British Left have decided that plucky little Greece is “good”, while the European Union – for so long a beacon of social democracy in Britain’s ‘capitalist darkness’ – has suddenly become the evil enforcer of a punitive “neo-liberal” agenda.

Of course, this is done with the level of sanctimonious obnoxiousness that you would expect. Those filthy Ukippers hated Europe for all the ‘wrong’ reasons, one can imagine them thinking as they penned their first tentative polemics against once-loved EU institutions. But we changed our opinion of the EU for ‘good’ reasons, reluctantly, after watching Greece being bullied. So you should sit up and take notice when we criticise the EU, because we’re not like the fruitcakes and closet racists who bang on about Europe the rest of the time.

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Where Are Our Priorities? Tory Defence Cuts Are Dangerous And Unnecessary

Troops Westminster Parliament

 

Ministry of Defence ordered to find £1 billion of further cost savings from the defence budget while OFGEM gives £500 million to power companies to make electrical power lines look prettier

Government has no more fundamental duty than the protection of the realm from threats foreign and domestic. But while David Cameron’s Conservative majority government is quick to take action against domestic threats (eagerly spending money and passing laws which undermine our fundamental freedoms and civil liberties in the process), it is worryingly weak when it comes to keeping Britain well equipped to deal with foreign dangers.

In just the latest manifestation of Tory disdain for defence issues, no sooner had the Conservatives secured their surprising general election victory than George Osborne sent an edict to the MoD demanding that they find another £1 billion of cost savings from an already pared back and insufficient budget.

Isabel Hardman, writing in The Spectator, remarks:

Even though the prospect of Britain failing to meet that Nato target is upsetting Washington, and even though it is something that agitates Tory backbenchers, and even though one Labour leadership candidate (Liz Kendall) has said they would stick to 2 per cent, this is unlikely to cause as big a row in Westminster as perhaps it should.

For starters, the Opposition is still officially not endorsing the 2 per cent target. For another thing, one of the best-briefed proponents of the Tories keeping their commitments, Rory Stewart, is no longer chair of the Defence Select Committee and is now a minister. And for another thing, Tory MPs are trying their best currently to behave rather than pick fights. Even if they did, a rebellion organised by a backbencher would number a few dozen at the most and would unlikely to be joined by Labour unless Liz Kendall wins the party leadership. There will be criticism from the sidelines, but few are expecting any sort of real trouble that is troublesome for the government.

Of course, this is only if you measure trouble as being purely confined to the walls of the Palace of Westminster, rather than the sort of trouble the armed forces may be required to deal with but just with even further reduced capabilities, but there we go.

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Post-Election Left Wing Hate Watch, Part Four – The Owen Jones Intervention

Douglas Carswell UKIP Attacked - Left Wing Hate Watch - Owen Jones

 

Owen Jones is clearly channelling the British Left’s guilty conscience.

As the stories of left-wing hysteria and bad behaviour following the Conservative election victory rack up, at least one left-wing commentator is finally starting to feel a sense of shame and embarrassment at the words being said and misdeeds committed in the name of so-called principled opposition to the Evil Tories.

For Owen Jones, the straw that broke the camel’s back was the way that UKIP’s sole MP, Douglas Carswell, was set upon by foul-mouthed, threatening activists as he waited for a bus outside Parliament. But even now, Jones is unable to simply express regret or disapproval, choosing instead to water down his criticism of the anti-Tory hysteria in a broader (and redundant) argument defending the activists’ right to protest.

From Owen Jones’ Guardian column:

So we’re clear, the way [Carswell] was reportedly treated was out of order. Protest is a basic democratic right, won at great cost by our ancestors. It is often passionate and angry, be it about cuts to public services or opposition to the ban on fox hunting. It includes civil disobedience, employed by protest movements ranging from the suffragettes to tax justice campaigners.

If a disabled sufferer of the bedroom tax angrily accosted Iain Duncan Smith, it would not be the place of privileged me to tut at them. But subjecting Douglas Carswell to what was undoubtedly a frightening and upsetting experience was totally wrong, and it is difficult to see what those involved hoped to achieve.

However, his attempt to use the incident to make political gain – and resort to sweeping generalisations about the left – cannot go without a response. “Austerity, according to the left, is the ultimate evil,” writes Carswell. Well, no, actually. I suspect most on the left, if asked for “ultimate evils”, would opt for, say, genocide, war or murder.

Heaven forfend that those of us on the right should point out the moral wrong of physically and verbally intimidating someone simply because they hold right-wing political views. This is the kind of principle that the Old Left (wherever they went) would have been rushing to the barricades to defend – but apparently no longer.

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Post-Election Left Wing Hate Watch, Part Three

 

And so another supposedly peaceful left-wing anti-austerity protest (this one timed to coincide with the Queen’s Speech) ended with the now-familiar scenes of an beleaguered right-wing politician being escorted to safety by police with baying mobs of young protesters in pursuit, chanting “Tory scum!” and “racist scum!”.

Never mind that Douglas Carswell, their latest victim, is actually UKIP’s member of parliament and no longer a Tory. The protesters may not have done their homework in this case, but the scene would only have been worse had more of them known this fact.

(The general degree of hatred and outright hostility shown by the activist Left increases exponentially as you move further away from the dull, lumpen centre of British politics and towards the right.)

From Carswell’s own account of the incident:

“I’ve just been attacked by a – by a mob, walking home. You can see I’ve just been surrounded by several hundred people, by hard lefties, just… just unbelievable. It got really, really nasty, and I’m an elected MP trying to get home at the end of the day and I run into a mob who, you know, were insane.”

Insane is just about the only word strong enough to describe the hysteria which has gripped much of the Left since David Cameron’s unexpected election victory. From the expressions of disgust in their fellow voters for not embracing Ed Miliband, the alarmist warnings that the NHS would now immediately be sold off to Evil American corporations and the melodramatic apocalypse warnings sounded by those who just like their government big and intrusive, it quickly became apparent that the Left were drinking so much of their own Kool-Aid that they were no longer capable of viewing conservatives as anything more than two-dimensional cartoon villains.

Beyond that, there really isn’t much more to say. This blog stands by its analysis of the general election result, how and why things ended up the way they did, as well as what this means for the Labour Party and others on the political Left. Unfortunately, it is far easier to take to the streets in blind, incoherent protest against reality than it is to sit quietly and dwell on the causes of Labour’s electoral ruin.

And it is far easier to shout “Tory scum” while chasing UKIP’s sole MP into the back of a police van than it is to ruminate on why his party picked up thirteen per cent of the national vote.

The only comfort for the British Left – not that they are rational enough to notice at present – is the fact that the Tories are so timid in their embrace of real conservatism, and so intellectually stymied from having nodded along to arguments about the inviolability of the post-war consensus for so many decades, that even given a free hand with their slim parliamentary majority they are unlikely to do anything to radically shrink the state where it most needs to be shrunk.

But this won’t be a comfort forever. Eventually, at some point in the next few years, the Left will stop taking so much  joy in self-righteous opposition and actually aspire to govern once again. And this will not be possible if the Labour Party becomes indelibly associated with screaming, hate-filled mobs shouting “Tory scum!” at decent public servants as they go about carrying out our democracy.

 

More Post-Election Left Wing Hate Watch here, here and here.

Douglas Carswell UKIP Attacked - Queens Speech - Parliament

 

UPDATE:

Appearing on the BBC’s Daily Politics show today, Douglas Carswell had this to say when asked by Andrew Neil if he had not somehow deserved the abuse he received because of UKIP’s political stances:

Andrew Neil: Does it have something to do with UKIP, though, because it is – although the UKIP overall policy attempts not to be racist, there is a widespread feeling that there is racism in your party?

Douglas Carswell: Well, maybe one or two commentators watching this show and watching those clips might want to ask themselves has stuff they’ve said over the past seven or eight months perhaps created the intellectual space that allows a mob to feel it’s justified to attack an MP.

I’m not sure that “intellectual space” is necessarily the best term to describe the cumulative effect of all the anti-UKIP commentary flying around before the election – after all, there was certainly nothing remotely intellectual going on in the minds of the snarling young activists who hounded Carswell yesterday – but his point is a good one, and well made.

A number of high-profile columnists and politicians should – in light of this incident and other recent attacks on Nigel Farage – be taking a long, hard look at the kind of actions their intemperate rhetoric has inspired.

The Fiscal Profligacy Of The Labour Party Is Not A Myth

Tony Blair Gordon Brown - Labour Party

 

By Ben Kelly, blogger and editor of The Sceptic Isle.

The Labour Party did not cause the economic crash or the recession, this is undeniable. Still, it is becoming a great diversion technique for those who are attempting to abdicate the previous government of all responsibility to focus entirely on this simple fact, and to exaggerate the extent to which people actually believe that they directly caused the crash.

Often those who deny that Labour were at fault at all for their economic policies then, in turn, completely oversimplify the actual causes by saying “it was the bankers”.  Clearly the global crisis was multi-layered and had may root causes including irresponsible and amoral behaviour from the financiers themselves, the central bankers and regulators who allowed them to behave in such a way and poor government policy and supervision of the whole debacle. It may make it easier to understand to simply blame one entity, but that does not make it true, or reasonable.

Still, Ed Miliband continues to deny that the previous government over spent and makes no apologies for its economic policy. This is deeply concerning because he and Ed Balls worked in the treasury and now want to run the country. The recent Question Time audience were not impressed by Miliband’s refusal to accept that Labour overspent, it may transpire that the wider electorate are equally unimpressed. I used to think it was spin, pure politics, but now I think he genuinely believes that the debt and deficit crisis we are now suffering has absolutely no connection to his own actions, or those of his chancellor Gordon Brown.

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