Oldham, UKIP And The Soft Bigotry Of The Guardian

Jim McMahon - John Bickley - Labour Party - UKIP - Oldham by election

In their smugness at the Oldham by-election result, the Left are in danger of learning the wrong lessons from UKIP’s failure to gain traction

It goes without saying that the by-election result in Oldham is of great reassurance to Jeremy Corbyn and a bad, bad outcome for UKIP.

Much is already being written about how the result provides breathing space for Corbyn after a difficult week marked by the Syria vote. But one piece of commentary caught my attention, specifically this throwaway line at the bottom of the Guardian’s analysis:

 

Ukip can take no joy from failing to win in a racially charged area.

 

In this short, throwaway sentence lies all of the sneering anti-UKIP bigotry which has come to typify the new middle-class left-wing clerisy and their house journal, The Guardian.

Why would UKIP “take joy” from winning in a racially charged area? The Guardian clearly accepts this idea as gospel, but why would any decent human being be actively thrilled to profit from racial unrest and community tension?

That’s not to say that UKIP do not benefit from these conditions when they occur. But as newspapers like the Guardian usually love to point out, UKIP actually tend to do best in areas where there are fewest immigrants but where local deprivation is high. If anything, the ideal target constituency for UKIP is not somewhere awash with hardworking Polish immigrants, but a run-down, faded and economically dying coastal or northern town with few job prospects and even fewer immigrants.

No decent person would arrive in a constituency marred by racial tension, rub their hands in glee and look forward to collecting the electoral dividend. But this is precisely what the Guardian accuse UKIP of doing. Because they don’t believe it is possible to be decent and a Ukipper. First they continually equate UKIP’s opposition to unlimited EU immigration with racism, which it categorically is not, whatever the other rights and wrongs of their position. And then they write about UKIP taking joy from exploiting racial tension as though they were the BNP in tweed.

Last week while campaigning in Oldham, Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell stood in front of a crowd of supporters and called UKIP (and, by extension, the party’s supporters and sympathisers) “evil”. That was an incredibly insulting, ignorant and offensive thing to say, as well as being factually inaccurate. But at least we all know where John McDonnell stands and exactly what he thinks of people who believe in democracy, quiet patriotism and the nation state.

The Guardian would never be so gauche as to explicitly say that UKIP are evil. But they don’t need to. Their typical reader assumes it to be true, and so will nod along unthinkingly at a line about UKIP being supposedly disappointed not to have successfully exploited racial division.

Unfortunately, this is just further evidence of the Left assuming a very two-dimensional, cartoon caricature image of people who disagree with them. Conservatives can never disagree with socialism due to honest differences in outlook, they must be selfish Tory Scum. And Ukippers cannot have legitimate concerns over democracy and immigration, they must simply be racist.

We saw this same inability to empathise, to think from the perspective of the other person, when Channel 4 aired their ridiculous mockumentary “UKIP: The First 100 Days”, where Ukippers were portrayed by London-dwelling middle class film makers as two-dimensional, foul-mouthed, racist simpletons with working class accents.

There’s no doubt that the Oldham by-election was a very bad result for UKIP. Either UKIP have reached a natural ceiling in their support, their current electoral strategy is wildly misfiring, or the party’s reported financial troubles are so severe that they prevented the deployment of any serious ground game and voter mobilisation effort. The reality is likely to be some combination of all three.

But sneering that UKIP lost because they failed to exploit racial tensions – as though that goal is what motivates the party, and as though Nigel Farage were just another Nick Griffin – is wrong and ultimately counterproductive to the Left’s attempt to defeat the UKIP challenge.

Lasting victory can only ever come via a thorough understanding of one’s opponent. And the Guardian’s response to Labour’s by-election victory in Oldham proves that the Left are still a long, long way from understanding UKIP.

Labour Launch their Oldham West and Royton By-election Campaign

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Mao-Quoting IRA Apologist Calls UKIP An ‘Evil Force In Society’

John McDonnell - UKIP - An evil force in our society.jpg

Labour’s shadow chancellor has all the time in the world for IRA terrorists, and only praise for their murderous actions. But John McDonnell thinks that UKIP voters and people who believe in national sovereignty are “evil”

While speaking at a Momentum campaign dinner this weekend, John McDonnell took a break from quoting Mao Tse-Tung and spoke instead about his view of UKIP:

But actually, winning for Labour is important but beating Ukip is just as important as well.

We can not allow what I think is an evil force within our society – that divides society often on the basis of race, often on the basis on some of the crudest policies that you can imagine any political party advocating. We cannot allow them to get any form  of toehold within our political system and that’s why it’s about defeating them but more importantly, defeating them — a clear contrast in terms of a sincere, local committed socialist candidate.

This, of course, is in the context of Labour’s loosening hold on the constituency of Oldham, where UKIP may overturn the 14,000+ majority won by the late Michael Meacher back in May.

And it’s good to know exactly what the Labour leadership thinks of those British people who believe in democracy, national sovereignty and self-determination – people who dare to be quietly patriotic instead of angrily insisting that there is any moral equivalence between Britain and the forces of terrorism, religious fundamentalism and communist dictatorship.

But of course we already knew what the Labour leadership thinks of those people. Since the beginning of Ed Miliband’s vacillating, sanctimonious leadership of the Labour Party back in 2010, the Labour Party has strutted around as though they are the sole custodians of the nation’s conscience and morals, the only ones with a soul – while the rest of us are evil Tory Scum who delight in persecuting the poor and the sick.

Even an unprecedented rejection at the ballot box in May and a leadership election did nothing to shake the confidence of the party base that they were enlightened and virtuous souls voting for society, while the rest of us were greedy, avaricious racists, voting for our wallets and a return to the 1920s. This may be the marching song of the Corbynites, but it is a self-flattering myth believed by other more moderate factions of the Labour Party, too.

As it goes with domestic policy, so it is with international affairs and Britain’s place in the world. The slavishly pro-EU stance of the Labour and the British Left are portrayed as the only “enlightened” or “moral” opinion to hold, while anyone who questions whether Britain should continue to participate in a tightening supra-national political union that nobody wanted or voted for is somehow reactionary or old-fashioned.

And that’s before we even mention immigration. The Labour Party are at their thuggish worst when they seek to smear anyone who questions the wisdom of unlimited intra-EU immigration as a bigot or racist. And John McDonnell proves that he is more than willing to do this, when he speaks about the danger of a political party which “divides society often on the basis of race”.

The irony, of course, is that whatever the other rights or wrongs of UKIP’s immigration policy, theirs is inarguably the least racist policy of all the main political parties, including Labour. The Labour Party, together with all others, are fully wedded to Britain’s continued membership of the European Union and the continued free movement of people within that union. Which is lovely for hard-working southern and eastern Europeans with no qualifications, who out-compete unqualified Brits in the labour market, but less so for highly skilled Indian, Pakistani, Chinese or Brazilian workers who may have a huge amount to contribute to our economy but face significant obstacles to working and settling here.

The Labour Party has no response to this fundamental truth. They know that their fixation on continued British membership of the European Union promotes racial discrimination against non-Europeans when it comes to immigration policy, as well as dooming underqualified Brits to a life of minimum wage drudgery. But the socialist, internationalist pipe dream of European government trumps real concern for working people every single day. So they assuage their guilty consciences by ostentatiously pretending to be great anti-racism campaigners, and accusing everybody who sees through their cheap, tawdry tricks of being tantamount to a white supremacist.

It’s cheap and it’s pathetic, and it’s being pimped out by a despicable Labour shadow chancellor who praised the use of terrorism – the bomb and the bullet – against innocent British citizens.

Six months after a general election at a time of Conservative government missteps and scandals, and Labour are struggling to defend a 14,000 seat majority in the safest of safe seats. Those votes are bleeding away in no small part to UKIP, who are convincing many wavering Labour voters that Nigel Farage’s party is now better placed to defend their interests than a Labour Party which has been captured first by substance-free Milibandism and then by Islingtonian, Jeremy Corbyn-style moral hectors.

And Labour’s response? The same response they always give when they are backed into a tight spot – shroud themselves in the white robes of virtue and scream “racism!” at anyone who points out just how morally and intellectually bankrupt they really are.

A humiliating UKIP victory in Oldham – and the banishment of John McDonnell back to the swamps of vile far-left obscurity where he belongs – cannot come soon enough.

John McDonnell - Little Red Book - Mao Tse Tung

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