Bilbo Baggins Dials Back The Anti-Conservative ‘Tory Scum’ Rhetoric

Martin Freeman – the artist best known as Bilbo Baggins / Dr. Watson – now says that it is wrong to call conservatives ‘evil’. But that’s not what he was hinting before the general election…

Now that he is no longer shilling for Ed Miliband and the Labour Party, actor Martin Freeman has come over all thoughtful and introspective.

Well, everything’s relative. But in a new interview given to the pretentious Rake magazine, Freeman pontificates that it is wrong and unfair to call Tories and those with conservative political opinions “evil”.

The Spectator notes:

In an interview with The Rake, Martin Freeman — who starred in Labour’s election broadcast when Ed Miliband was leader — says it’s unfair to call all Tories ‘evil’, as the left has been responsible for more deaths in recent years.

While Rake quotes Freeman as saying:

My team — the left, generally — has been responsible for more deaths in the last century than the other team if you count Stalin, Mao, the Khmer Rouge, the Shining Path… that’s not a good team.

The left is quite at home with evil bastards, actually. Religion doesn’t have a downpayment on genocide: there are atheists, materialists and socialists who have gone on quite happily with rape and murder.

How magnanimous of Martin Freeman, placing us all (conservatives, left-wingers and genocidal maniacs alike) on the same end of the sliding scale of evil – as though there were no difference between government making an honest and sometimes flawed effort to help and work for citizens on the one hand, and deliberately terrorising and oppressing them on the other.

But Bilbo Baggins was not always so well disposed to people on the political Right. Only a few short months ago, Martin Freeman’s face was barking at us from our television screens with his Labour-supporting party political broadcast, part hagiography of Milibandism and part bully pulpit from which to bash the Evil Tories.

Just for fun, let’s remind ourselves of what Martin Freeman was saying about anybody who failed to appreciate the wonders of Ed Miliband before the general election. I’ll interject with some observations of my own every now and then.

It’s a choice between two completely different sets of values. A choice about what kind of country we want to live in.

Well, if by “completely different” you mean New Labour with a red rosette and New Labour with a blue rosette, then yes. The colours under which the two main parties are fighting the campaign, blue and red, are indeed very different.

Now I don’t know about you, but my values are about community, compassion, decency, that’s how I was brought up.

Won’t somebody give that saint a halo already? The man cares about decency and compassion, didn’t you hear him? And as we all know, the basic human tenets of compassion and decency can now only be found in those who espouse left-wing politics.

So yeah, I could tell you the Tories would take us on a rollercoaster of cuts while Labour will make sure the economy works for all of us, not just the privileged few – like me. But it’s not just about that.

He could tell you that the Evil Tories are the barbarians at the gate, chomping at the bit to sink their fangs into our Precious Public Services and rip them to shreds. Martin Freeman could tell you that. He could wax eloquent on the subject for days. But he’s just a humble guy like you and me; he isn’t the kind of person to sully himself with party politics. So he’ll just let you know what he would say, were he inclined to mention the Tories.

I could tell you it seems like the Tories don’t believe in the NHS, while Labour is passionate about protecting it.

Martin Freeman could tell us that the Tories hate Our Blessed NHS, but since it would be based on absolutely no evidence whatsoever – neither the declared intentions of the Conservative Party or a reasonable inference from observing their behaviour in government over the past five years – instead he will just leave the vague accusation hanging ominously in the air. Because that’s what humble, regular guys like Martin Freeman do all the time. It certainly isn’t a long-practised political smear.

I could tell you that the Tories have got sod all to offer the young, whereas Labour will invest in the next generation’s education and guarantee – that word again – apprenticeships for them.

If Martin Freeman were so uncouth as to talk politics with us, he could mention how the Evil Tories absolutely loathe the young, and yearn for a future where a failed generation of ill educated and uninspired young people sit around getting pregnant, committing crimes and claiming endless benefits. As we all know, the Tories simply love it when people fail to reach their potential as human beings and live stunted lives of despair, deprivation and grinding poverty. What can I say – it gives us a warm glow inside. And Martin Freeman could tell us all about that, if only his speech were some kind of political message.

I could tell you that Labour will put the minimum wage up to £8, and ban those ‘orrible zero hours contracts, while the Tories would presumably do more of their tax cutting for millionaires.

Bilbo could tell us this, but he doesn’t know for sure. As the inclusion of the word “presumably” indicates, Martin Freeman didn’t actually bother to do any research before standing in front of the camera to pitch for Ed Miliband. Maybe the Tories would undo some more of Gordon Brown’s spiteful and counterproductive tax hikes on the rich (tax cuts for millionaires!), or maybe they might – oh, I don’t know – introduce a national living wage of £9 per hour, even higher than Labour propose. But since he couldn’t say for certain before the election, it was probably right to assume that those Nasty Tories will keep turning the screws on the poor.

But real though all that stuff is, and important though it is if you’re young in this country or broke in this country or if you’re unwell in this country – and let’s face it, we all need the NHS at some point – or if you are just plain working hard and finding life tough, there is a choice of two paths. The bottom line is what values are we choosing. Because in the end this choice we make really does matter.

Labour: they start from the right place. Community, compassion, fairness – I think all the best things about this country. I love this country so much and I love the people in it, and I think you do too. But really, for me, there’s only one choice. And I choose Labour.

Martin Freeman loves this country and everyone in it. Everyone, that is, apart from those people who disagree with him and think that a Labour government and a prime minister Ed Miliband would have been an unmitigated disaster and an utter failure of national aspiration. Those people, Bilbo Baggins somehow isn’t quite so keen on.

So to paraphrase Martin Freeman’s sanctimonious, moralising, self-aggrandising attitude toward the nearly 50% of his fellow British citizens who voted for a more right-leaning party in 2015: “I’m not saying that all Tories are Evil Nazi Scum. They may hate the sick and yearn to destroy Our NHS. They may have no compassion, unlike we Virtuous People of the Left. They may not care about the future of our children. But they’re not evil. Heavens, no. I certainly never intended to give that impression. The Tories aren’t scum, they’re just ethically challenged.”

Conservatives should rejoice, to thus receive the benediction of Martin Freeman. They aren’t evil after all. They just hold evil values. Not proper, wholesome Labour values.

What pious, self-regarding, moralising nonsense Bilbo Baggins talks. In fact, Martin Freeman represents everything that is wrong with left-wing politics today – captivated by its own supposed virtue, yet utterly bereft of ideas for improving or transforming the country besides the same old, tired schemes to bash the rich, punish success and reward mediocrity.

And now here comes Martin Freeman once again – a diminished and discredited figure after his beloved Ed Miliband barely persuaded his own friends and family to vote Labour at the general election – attempting to worm his way back into the good graces of the public by smugly pontificating against those who took him at his word back in May, and who now hysterically accuse conservatives of being “evil”. Suddenly, calling conservatives “evil” is a terribly gauche and inappropriate thing to do.

But that’s not what you were saying back in April and May 2015, is it, Mr. Freeman? When the general election campaign was raging, you lent your voice, image and public profile to a party political broadcast designed to benefit the Labour Party and in which you made highly speculative and slanderous statements about the priorities and the very character of conservative-minded voters.

Well, Martin Freeman can keep his values, and he can stick them. The hobbit’s newfound realisation that it is wrong to demonise half the population as being greedy, avaricious and soulless monsters is tired, belated and hypocritical in the extreme – especially considering the fact that Bilbo Baggins was leading the charge against the Evil Tory Scum on national television only a few months ago.

Martin Freeman: your half-hearted, obscure non-apology is most sincerely not accepted.


Martin Freeman - Labour Party - Tory Scum - Left Wing Hate Watch

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Labour’s NHS Party Election Broadcast: Jo Brand Is A Big Fat Liar


“A decent society looks after its people” is the moralising title of Labour’s latest celebrity election broadcast about the NHS, starring comedian Jo Brand.

That Jo Brand is a loyal supporter of the Labour Party hardly comes as a shock – the comedian was a supporter of the People’s Assembly anti-austerity coalition, and performed at the Stand Up Against Reality Austerity gig organised by that group last year. And credit where credit is due: she puts her time and money where her mouth is, supporting a cause she believes in. But unfortunately, in the case of Labour Party scaremongering about the NHS, that cause is a blatant falsehood.

Brand opens Labour’s latest celebrity ad with one of those “oh! fancy seeing you here” introductions, as though we were the last people she expected to encounter as she exercised on a lone cross-trainer slap bang in the middle of a brightly lit TV studio:

“There’s an election coming up. You might know that. And we all have our own personal axes to grind. Mine is what’s gonna happen to the NHS. Not because of my undeniable status as a national fitness icon, but because once upon a time I used to be a nurse.”

Establish credibility? Check.

When debating healthcare reform in Britain, nothing sweeps away logical debate and replaces it with hushed reverence more effectively than uttering the words “I’m a nurse”, or “I’m an NHS doctor”. Suddenly the speaker becomes an oracle, imbued with deep and mystical wisdom about national healthcare policy thanks to their selfless occupation on the front lines of clinical care.

If you are employed by the NHS, that huge organisation, the largest employer in Britain and fifth largest in the world (just behind McDonald’s), is there not the slightest possibility that working for such a vast branch of government – with a bureaucratic life of its own and a very strong survival instinct – and relying on it for your pay cheque just might skew your judgement when it comes to changing structures and working practices? Apparently not.

Regardless, Jo Brand then whips out the first of her many personal axes to grind:

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UKIP’s Subdued 2015 Election Broadcast: “Believe In Britain”


The first of UKIP’s party political broadcasts for the 2015 general election sets quite a different tone and mood than we are used to from the party. In fact, everything about the broadcast, now viewable on YouTube, seems designed to confound the expectations and prejudices of those who are reflexively opposed to UKIP and Nigel Farage.

Yes, the subject of immigration – UKIP’s key vote winner – is discussed in some detail. But this is the only context in which the European Union is mentioned, perhaps reflecting the party’s realisation that “banging on about Europe” is not attractive to voters in itself, and can only bear fruit when clearly linked to other subjects that voters consider important – like the state of Britain’s schools and hospitals.

The broadcast begins with Nigel Farage, seated against a black backdrop, channelling Monty Python by saying “And now for something completely different!” before breaking into a cheeky grin.

But what follows is neither laughably absurd nor tub-thumpingly, flag-wavingly nationalistic, which will no doubt come as a great disappointment to the party’s detractors.

Cue footage of Nigel Farage arriving at UKIP’s spring conference in Margate, greeting supporters and waiting in the wings while he is introduced before going on stage to deliver his speech. We then snap away to a voiceover, where Farage explains:

“UKIP was founded because people like me who were businessmen, not involved in politics at all, felt our political class were disconnected from ordinary people and were taking the country in the wrong direction. I think the point about UKIP, and the reason we call it the People’s Army, is it’s ordinary folks against the political class. That we’re a broad-based party and you’ve got people from all different walks of life, all classes, all races, all ages, and we want change”.

This is good counter-argument to those on the left who insist that Nigel Farage is every bit as much a part of the establishment as David Cameron or Ed Miliband, simply because he went to a private school and worked in the city – while overlooking the fact that Farage did not attend university, and makes the convincing case that he only entered politics because nobody else in Britain was advocating the policies that UKIP now champions.

When Farage goes on to claim that UKIP are “closer to the kind of conversations that go on in households up and down this country” not only is he likely right, he is also effectively rebuking the other party leaders – Ed Miliband is particularly guilty here – for their endless recounting of supposed interactions with “ordinary people” who just happen to think that they are doing a brilliant job, and who agree with their every policy pronouncement.

The broadcast then goes on to talk about concerns shared by nearly all British citizens, not just firm UKIP supporters – like worries about being able to afford a house, their children being able to find a good job, and whether the next generation will enjoy a better living standard than we enjoy today. When Farage bemoans the fact that “the rich are getting richer in this country, the poor are getting poorer and we want to do things, positive things, to help people” such as removing any income tax on the minimum wage, he sounds positively Labourite, not at all the Son of Thatcher.

It takes until the half-way mark until the first mention of “an end to uncontrolled, unskilled migrant labour coming into Britain and putting British people out of work” – as the camera cuts to the white cliffs of Dover. And then comes UKIP’s key message, placed very firmly in the context of needing independence from the EU to fully achieve everything else that the British people want: “I’m not against anybody, but I do think we have got to put the interests of ordinary British people first. We cannot have a net 300,000 people a year coming into Britain because of the impact on schools, on hospitals, on houses. But the problem is this: we cannot control our borders as members of the European Union.”

One man talking simply and honestly to the camera, contrasted with UKIP’s leader receiving a rapturous welcome at a local town hall meeting. With no tub-thumping and no scaremongering, no accusations or scapegoating of immigrants in sight. This calm and measured party political broadcast by UKIP is the work of a party no longer trying to expand its support base, but rather reassure their existing supporters that a vote for UKIP is “okay”, not something to second guess as polling day draws closer, or feel ashamed of as the other parties step up their attacks.

In an election campaign where Labour decided to wheel out the celebrity endorsements and the supposedly resurgent Green Party decided to squander any claim to seriousness with their boyband-themed election broadcast, UKIP decided to keep it simple – a sign of a party quietly confident of achieving gains, despite the barrage of attacks and a brace of new polls and articles suggesting that the party’s support is slipping back from its highs of late last year.

No dark warnings of invasion by foreigners. No union flag bunting. Not a single rendition of Land of Hope and Glory.

UKIP’s political operation is growing up. And the other political parties should be afraid.


UKIP Believe In Britain Party Political Broadcast General Election 2015

Cameron / Miliband’s Bland And Inoffensive Path To Not-Quite-Victory


Today saw the launch of the Conservative Party’s latest election broadcast, emailed to their supporters and promoted on YouTube. And from a strictly artistic and technical perspective, it’s not bad.

The video was distributed along with this blurb:

Samuel,​ <– thanks, mail merge personalisation

Have you seen our new Election Broadcast?

It shows how our plan is securing the things we all want for our children and grandchildren: a good education, a decent job, great public services and the chance to make the most out of their lives.

It’s really important that everyone knows the choice at this election: a better, more secure future with the Conservatives or putting all the progress we’ve made at risk with Ed Miliband propped up by the SNP.

Cue lots of video footage of babies and small children, and voiceovers in which the parents express their hopes that little Johnny will emerge from the British educational system reasonably literate and numerate, never have to “worry about paying the bills each month” as an adult, and to come of age in “a Britain with opportunities” (duh). All of this is accompanied by the gentle strumming of guitars familiar to any fan of the TV show Gilmore Girls, and the same amiable whistling that TSB currently uses in advertisements to trick people into thinking that they are a friendly local bank.

But despite the focus on youth, in reality the Tories (and Labour too) are much more concerned with “securing the things we all want” not for our children and grandchildren, but for our parents and grandparents. The welfare state certainly needed reforming in 2010, and Iain Duncan Smith’s rollout of Universal Credit could yet go a long way toward eliminating the benefit trap, but it cannot escape anyone’s attention that the younger generations have borne the brunt of the necessary corrections to excessive government spending.

Meanwhile, Britain’s pensioners – who are much more likely to be homeowners and free of the cost of young raising families – have not been asked to contribute a penny, even as we were told that we are “all in it together”. Instead, the older generation are showered with non-means tested benefits such as free television licences and bus passes, while their pensions are protected with a “triple lock” which ensures that they will always get richer in real terms.

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