Tag: #ukip

Lots of little Englanders wont make Britain great

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 Brendan Cox gave a moving speech yesterday in honour of his wife as worldwide tributes were held on what would have been the MP’s 42nd birthday.

Some people have been angered by my previous article about the murder of MP Jo Cox, and insist that Thomas Mair committed the murder because he was “mentally ill” and unstable. That’s a cop out, it’s taking the comfortable and easy option as far as offering explanations go. Many people are mentally ill, but they do not plan cold-blooded murders. My article explored the political, social, economic and cultural context of prejudice more generally, and the appalling normalisation of a corrosive, far Right rhetoric. It was hardly controversial.

England as a nation has often experienced confusion, seemingly lost and adrift, uncertain of its role since the end of empire, and of course, the rise of devolution. Our sense of collective identity has been portrayed as fragile, especially by the Right wing media. But “national identity” is always a facade. More recently, we witnessed the unprecedented rise of nationalism in Wales and Scotland, where patriotic sentiment runs high, whilst in England, the insular, self-regarding enclave of Government has a strong whiff of a deeply disdainful supremicist Regency aristocracy. There are no local loyalties to be seen there, well, none that extend further than just 1% of the Country. Neither post-imperial cringing nor nationalism will alter that. 

Brexit is an English rather than a British symptom of a collective sense of disempowerment. But those responsible for the erosion of democracy in the UK are in London, not Brussels. It was the Conservatives that provided opportunity for UKIP and the far Right to become established as a populist part of the mainstream political conversation, the Tory rhetoric, founded on social divisions and established hierarchy, has created a space for far Right’s subversive “insurgency”.

And Brexit may well hasten the further breakup of Britain. The constitutional fallout will also extend to Northern Ireland. A Leave vote would turn the open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic into a guarded frontier with Europe, since Ireland would remain a member in the union. This would undermine a major provision of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, the peace deal that ended three decades of the Troubles.

Prejudice in the UK is manifested not only in racism, but in dominant narratives and policies directed against sick and disabled people, unemployed people, people on low pay and poor people more generally. There is also a growing culture of sexism, increasingly evident in the impact of Conservative policies. We have never been more fragmented as a society, nor has any other UK government in our lifetime been responsible for such extensive, divisive social outgrouping, systematic exclusion and massive inequality. And it’s intentional. The thing about prejudice is that it multitasks, grows and culminates, invariably, in violence.

Thomas Mair, it emerges, is a neo-Nazi who managed to remain stable and calculating enough to plot, gain weapons and to savagely kill Jo. Furthermore, she was targeted because of her strong beliefs, clear principles and her outstanding work. That’s not a random or impulsive act, it was intentional and deliberate. He knew what he was doing. I’ve yet to come across a mental illness that directs a person to murder someone they consider a political opponent in cold blood. Furthermore, to use the term “mental illness” so casually and to present it as the single reason for what he did risks adding another layer of stigma and social prejudice, potentially, for those with mental illness. Yet another prejudice.

For those of you who don’t think that the far Right, including groups like Britain First, encourage hatred and violence, well I have had some direct experience of it. Last year shortly before the General Election, a malicious meme about me was designed and circulated by Tommy Robinson, formerly leader of the English Defence League. It was eagerly shared on every Right wing page on every social media platform, by every single Right wing group, from UKIP to Britain First. There were even a few Conservatives that posted it. Robinson claimed that I had dismissed the Rotherham child abuse as a “far Right myth”, which of course is absolutely untrue. I’d basically told him to stop mithering me on Twitter, to go peddle his Right wing myths elsewhere.  He had been aggressive and rude.  I never mentioned Rotherham or child abuse to him during any of the exchange.

He used my account details and photo to direct people to “tell her what you think of her.” I had death threats, rape threats and threats of murder from combat 18. I had to involve the police. In my teens, under the Thatcher government, I was part of the Anti-Nazi League and Rock Against Racism movements. On peaceful demonstrations, the National Front  turned up and I had my head kicked in and stitched up more than once by size 20 male boots, just because I was there. Are all of these people “mentally ill”, or is it truer to say that the far Right are motivated by fear, anger and hatred, intolerant of anyone who doesn’t agree with their misanthropy, or their petty, mean and grubby prejudices?

I think it’s the latter. My article cites psychosocial studies of the growth of prejudice and outlines the terrible consequences of that. I cited, as I often do,  Gordon Allport’s “The Growth of Prejudice,” for example. I asked for people in our society to pause, and take a good look at what is going down, because of the perpetuation of prejudice, and the politics of division, of social outgrouping, of a culture of us and politically constructed others.

In an interview following the brutal murder of MP Jo Cox, her bereaved husband, Brendan, has said that Jo was “very worried” about the political culture in the UK.

He said: “I think she was very worried the language was coarsening, that people were being driven to take more extreme positions, that people didn’t work with each other as individuals.

On issues it was all much too tribal and unthinking.”

He said that Jo was “particularly worried about the direction of politics, around creating division and playing on people’s worst fears rather than their best instincts.”

The Times reports that Jo was preparing a report on the dangers of far-right nationalism when she was murdered, which she had planned to publish on June 29.

Nationalist Jack Buckby, press officer of “Liberty” GB, ex-member of the BNP, launched a despicable political point scoring and smearing campaign against the Labour Party. He offered an endorsement of violence by suggesting it’s somehow justified, and issued something of a threat as a consequence of Labour’s continued commitment to diversity and equality. Buckby wants to see a candidate put forward from this far Right group (himself) in Jo Cox’s community, when all other parties have stated they will not contest the by-election out of respect for Jo. He said:

“The Labour Party has blood on its hands. And by shutting down debate and labeling working class people concerned about their communities as racists, they risk driving desperate, disenfranchised people to further horrendous acts like this.”

“Concerned about their communities” is a euphemism for hate, racism, violence and murder, then. Deeply divisive, despicably Machiavellian politics.

Even more despicable and utterly inappropriate is this post, which my friend and fellow writer, Steve Topple, screengrabbed:

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Brendan Cox said of his wife: 

“She was a politician and she had very strong political views and I believe she was killed because of those views. I think she died because of them, and she would want to stand up for those in death as much as she did in life. 

I don’t want people ascribing views to her that she didn’t have, but I certainly want to continue to fight for the legacy and for the politics and views that she espousedThey were what she was. She died for them, and we definitely want to make sure we continue to fight for them.” 

British and American imperialists employed the language of social Darwinism to promote and justify Anglo-Saxon expansion and domination of other peoples. Such different personalities as Machiavelli, Sir Francis Bacon, Ludwig Gumplowicz, Adolf Hitler, and Benito Mussolini, each reasoning on different grounds, nevertheless arrived at similar conclusions. Imperialism to them is part of the natural struggle for survival. Those endowed with “superior” qualities are “destined” to rule all others. Imperialism has been morally excused as the means of liberating peoples from tyrannical rule or of bringing them the benefits of a “superior” way of life. Imperialism is all about human aggressiveness and greed, the search for security, drive for power and prestige and particularly nationalist emotions, amongst other things.

Nationalism is anti-progressive. It’s a paradigm of competitive individualism that further undermines principles of cooperation, equality and social cohesion. It’s also a recognisable symptom of the rise of fascism. The UKIP brand of Parish pump politics nurtures fear, spite and vilifies people on the basis of one of our most wonderful assets: our human diversity.

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Granfalloonery, scapegoating, social dominance theory and Conservatism

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Anyone who has read Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle will know what a granfalloon is. The University of Chicago awarded Vonnegut a Master’s in anthropology for what was essentially a work of satire, irony, black humor and parody. The term has since been adopted by market researchers and social scientists.

A granfalloon is a group of people who affect a proud and shared identity or some cohesive purpose, but whose mutual association is actually meaningless – associations and societies based on a shared but ultimately fabricated premise. Yet members often feel very superior in some way to others.

Granfalloons are powerful propaganda devices because they are easy to create and, once established, the granfalloon then defines social reality, demarcating and maintaining social identities. Granfalloons also play to our strong normative tendencies towards sociability, grouping and a fundamental need for a sense of belonging. 

However, group identities constructed around labels such as “strivers”, “tax payers” and “hard working families” are non inclusive, too. These are created politically to justify economic exclusion and outgrouping, and to manage public perceptions. Exclusive language and dominant, prejudiced narrative is an effective means of social control since it can be used to frame the interpretation of events. The group categories are designed to create or redefine moral norms and also, to stigmatise, to define deviance and to create scapegoats.

One of the purposes of the construction of granfalloons is to create categories of outsiders, as much as it is to create a false sense of privilege amongst ingroup members.

The granfalloon technique is used in advertising, in political rhetoric and by pseudoscientists, cults and other dubious groups, as a technique of persuasion in which individuals are encouraged to identify with a particular granfalloon or social group. The pressure to identify with a group is meant as a method of securing the individual’s loyalty and commitment through adoption of the group’s symbols, slogans, language, norms, rituals, actions, goals and beliefs. We like to conform and we like to “belong” and that is manipulated endlessly by granfallooners everywhere.

It’s ultimately very socially divisive.

Think of UKIP’s extensive granfalloonery; the shrinking island of logic; an ever-decreasing ingroup of supremicists, and you get the gist. The only people who properly “belong” in UKIP  are older, “hard done by” white labourers, predominantly but not quite exclusively males, who don’t like anyone else’s social groups. Everyone else is “privileged” in some way, and that’s a bad thing to be, apparently. Scapegoating can often cause oppressed groups to attack other oppressed groups. Even when injustices are committed against a minority group by a majority ingroup, minorities sometimes lash out against a different minority group in lieu of confronting the more powerful majority.

Sometimes the oppressed can be very oppressive too.

Then there is the “all in it together” granfalloonery of Conservatism, where social groups are targeted by the ever-electioneering, purposeful and powerful elite to vote for policies that serve absolutely no-one but the elite, and cause real harm to other group members of society. All that “hate thy neighbour stuff”, you know: it’s the sick and disabled people, the unemployed people, the ethnic minorities, the working poor, the junior doctors, the unions, the Labour Party, Harold Wilson, Ed Miliband, Jeremy Corbyn, the “extremist” critics and academics. How very dare they.

But the biggest miscreants of all are in office, for crying out loud. “They’re behind you!” came the pantomime call from a usually passive, disengaged audience. We all know the score, yet here we are as an entire society of sub-grouped granfalloons, following all the divisive finger-pointing and scapegoating like dizzy, distracted cats running around in circles chasing unravelling strings.

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The Conservatives are creatures of habit rather than reason. Traditional. That is why their policies are so anti-progressive, and stifling for the majority of us. It’s why Tory policies don’t meet public needs.

I’ve observed before that there’s always an air of doom and gloom when we have a Tory government, and a largely subdued, depressed, repressed nation, carrying vague and fearful intuitions that something truly catastrophic is just around the corner.

I’ve said more than once before that we always witness the social proliferation of fascist ideals with a Tory government, too. It stems from the finger-pointing divide and rule mantra: it’s them not us, them not us. But history refutes as much as it verifies, and we learned that it’s been the Tories all along.

With a Conservative government, we are always fighting something. Poverty, social injustice: we are forced to compete and fight for political recognition of our fundamental rights, which the Tories always circumvent. We fight despair and material hardship, caused by the rising cost of living, low wages, high unemployment or more recently, underemployment, and recession that is characteristic of every Tory government.

I think people often mistranslate what that something is. Because Tory rhetoric is all about othering: dividing, atomising of society into bite-sized manageable pieces by amplifying a narrative of sneaking suspicion and hate thy neighbour via the media. Scapegoating serves as a mechanism of psychological dumping and emotional relief in acts of misplaced aggression towards oppressed outgroups for oppressed ingroups. The social order is maintained this way.

In social psychology, the granfalloon concept stems from research by the British social psychologist Henri Tajfel, in particular, from social identity theory. The significance of ingroup and outgroup categorization was identified using a method that has come to be known as the minimal group paradigm. In his research, Tajfel found that strangers would form groups on the basis of completely inconsequential criteria, such as liking certain paintings, fictions, pseudoscientific dogmas or Elvis.

In one study, Tajfel’s experimental subjects were asked to watch a coin toss. They were then designated to a particular group based on whether the coin landed on heads or tails. The subjects placed in groups based on such meaningless associations between them have consistently been found to “act as if those sharing the meaningless labels were kin or close friends.” Research demonstrates that people are differentially influenced by ingroup members. That is, under conditions where group categorisation is psychologically salient, people will shift their beliefs in line with ingroup social norms.

Outgrouping leads to the homogeneity effect. This is a process where the perception of members of an outgroup as being homogenous arises (“all the same”), while members of one’s ingroup are perceived as being individual and diverse. This is especially likely to occur on the basis of prejudiced, stereotyped negative characteristics. Of course ingroup members can be perceived as being similar to one another in regards to loosely identified positive characteristics. This effect is called ingroup homogeneity.

Authoritarian governments often utilise granfalloonery, maintaining social order by the creation of social allegiances through various means of outgrouping and ingrouping, socialisation and indoctrination. This is used to justify socioeconomic inequality.

Being sociable is a positive human quality. But perhaps being duped by trivia and artificially constructed categories, intentionally stigmatised identities and politically constructed social taxonomies is also a human tendency. It seems so.

Granfalloonery is used as a propaganda technique. It is an improper appeal to emotion, which purposefully bypasses the rational thought-processes of populations. It used for the purpose of changing the opinions of a targeted audience or population. The closely related Bandwagon technique involves encouraging people to think or act in some way simply because other people are doing so.

Some people much prefer wide social inequalities. Social dominance orientation (SDO) is conceptualised as a measure of individual differences in levels of group-based discrimination; that is, it is a measure of a person’s preference for status-ranking and hierarchy within society and domination over what are perceived as lower-status outgroups. It is a predisposition toward anti-egalitarianism within and between social groups. High scores of SDO predict stereotyping, discrimination and prejudice. SDO correlates with forms of right-wing authoritarianism. Hello Mrs May.

The concept of SDO as a measurable individual difference arose from social dominance theory. Individuals who score high in SDO desire to maintain and, in many cases, increase the differences between social statuses of different groups, as well as individual group members. Typically, they are controlling, manipulative, competitive, aggressive, dominating, tough, and relatively unempathic, uncaring power-seekers. People scoring high in SDO also prefer hierarchical group orientations. Often, people who score high in SDO have strongly held beliefs in ‘meritocracy’, hierarchical societies and forms of social Darwinism.

See also:

Groupthink

False-consensus effect

How to sell a pseudoscience – Anthony R. Pratkanis

Don’t believe everything you think: cognitive dissonance

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I don’t make any money from my work. But you can support Politics and Insights and contribute by making a donation which will help me continue to research and write informative, insightful and independent articles, and to provide support to others. The smallest amount is much appreciated, and helps to keep my articles free and accessible to all – thank you.

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UKIP: Disability claimants are “parasitic underclass of scroungers”

 

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With thanks to Political Scrapbook

Accused of “pointing at immigrants and the disabled and holding his nose” on Question Time last night, Farage retorted that he “never has” criticised people with disabilities.

Yeah, Nige. Apart from in that manifesto policy document which was mysteriously deleted from the UKIP website last year.

The party claimed that 75% of incapacity benefit claimants “are fit and healthy”, dubbing them “a parasitic underclass of scroungers” and handing them a £1,300 cut in state aid:

“The welfare state has also created a brazen culture of benefit “scrounging”, whereby individuals who are perfectly capable of working refuse to do so, and go on benefits instead. They frequently justify this by feigning illness.

“This gives rise to a parasitic underclass of “scroungers”, which represents both an unreasonable tax burden on the working population

What is that if not an attack?

 

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Related

UKIP: Parochialism, Prejudice and Patriotic Ultranationalism.KIP

Not that I can ever endorse Russell Brand, either, for the reasons outlined here: Apathy and the alchemical dissolution: bring on the dancing horses

1380472_552739704795562_483105758_nThanks to Robert Livingstone  @LivingstonePics

A snapshot of stupidity – from a Ukip voter

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Quote from an “informed” resident of Clacton, after casting a carefully considered vote…

 UKIP suffers from a chronic, persistent failure to appeal to three key groups of voters – women (because of the chauvinistic and anti-feminist views of Ukip members and politicians); young people (who find the party almost farcically out of touch with their own world-view) and ethnic minorities (because of its strident and emotive language about immigration), but UKIP does represent something of a “blue-collar revolt”- its electoral base is “old, male, working class, white and less educated,” say academics Matthew Goodwin and Robert Ford. This would explain the strong anti-intellectual prejudice. Anti-intellectualism is a dominant feature of far-right politics.

And apparently, in Clacton, so is forgetfulness.

Gosh Carswell, the great “voice of the people” overthrowing that Westminster right-wing establishment…. with an established right-wing member of the establishment…

Ukip: for when the Tories aren’t Tory enough….

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 Perhaps it was that toupée that fooled ’em….

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Many thanks to Robert Livingstone for his pictures.

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UKIP, Conservatism and the racist race to the bottom

UKIP: Parochialism, Prejudice and Patriotic Ultranationalism

Why did people in Clacton vote for UKIP in by-election? Here’s an exercise in superficial thinking

The disgruntled beast

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Miliband doesn’t pander to populism, and upholds the inclusion, equality and diversity principles that are embedded in policies which Labour pioneered. He aims to address and curtail exploitative employers, which of course is a real problem, rather than migrants, who are being exploited in the same way that “nationals” are. We have workfare, analogous to slavery and counterproductive in decreasing unemployment, which is universally exploitative, and absolutely nothing to do with the poor migrants, and everything to do with profit-driven greed, and a government that has encouraged that greed to thrive and flourish at such catastrophic expense to others.

Miliband knows that Britain is not divided by race and culture, it’s divided by wealth inequalities fuelled by the Tory-led Coalition’s austerity policies. Blaming the unemployed, the sick and disabled and immigrants for the failings of the government has fuelled misperceptions that drive support for the far-right. People complain they can’t get council houses, and the only really honest question an honest politician ought to ask is: “Why aren’t there more council houses?”

And when there are large numbers of people receiving unemployment benefit or tax credits, then the only honest question to ask is: “Why is the economy failing to provide enough jobs, or pay adequate wages?”

Miliband’s emphasis on equality is bothering the Tories, because their entire ideology is founded on Social Darwinism: to the Tories, inequalities are an inevitability, because of their emphasis on competition between individuals for resources in the “free market.” Miliband’s social democracy program provides an alternative that challenges the established right-wing neoliberal consensus.

The media and the government have stigmatised vulnerable social groups as a justification of cruel and punitive policies aimed at those least able to fight back, as an explanation of the failings of this government to be fair and honour a degree of legislation to reflect public needs – the public they are meant to serve.

As a society that once promised equality and democracy, we now preside over massive inequalities of wealth: that’s a breeding ground for racism and other vicious resentments.

It’s awoken the disgruntled beast within people, the one that feeds on anger, demoralisation, fear, resentment and uncertainty.

And wherever antipathy and a degree of enmity exist, the far-right have always tried to perpetuate, exploit and increase rancour. The fascism of the 20s and 30s gained prominence because it played on wider public fears, manipulating them, and deflecting attention, as ever, from those who are truly to blame for dire social conditions: the ever-greedy elite. There’s a well-established link between political extremism, economic hardship and recession and social cleavages, with the far-right “anti-system” parties deceitfully winning the support of those who would never previously have thought of themselves as extremists.

Such extremism and rancour feeds the disgruntled beast. The political right have always sought to divide sections of the poor and middle class and set them to fight one against the other; to have us see enemies in our midst which do not exist, so that we see economic policies – the Tory-rigged “free market” competition – as the solution rather than the cause of our problems.

And here we are again. A Tory government, another rigged recession, and the politics of fear, despair and micro-managed discontent.

Fascism plays a specific role for the ruling class: it is a weapon against civil unrest during social crises caused by recession. It redirects public anger from the government to scapegoats. To build such a movement, fascists have to delve into the “lower classes” using a mixture of crude economic radicalism and racism. Oswald Mosley also started out as a Tory and he was a rich aristocrat. His tactic was “street politics”, rather like Farage’s appeal to woo “ordinary people.” Mosley cut himself adrift from the mainstream ruling class when in early 1934, he launched a campaign for street supremacy in key working class areas.

Farage is comparable with Mosely: he also tried to entice the working class, and those blue collar defectors who don’t feel solidarity with anyone except their “own kind” need to ask themselves how a fascist party would better reflect their interests, because fascists aren’t just fascists when it comes to your preferred target group – in this case migrants – fascists are fascists, full stop. And most migrants are working class, too.

Fascists are not known for being big on unions and worker’s rights either, Hitler smashed the unions, Mosely fought them too. But fascists do like to use the oppressed to oppress others.

Mosely was defeated by working class solidarity – Jews, communists, socialists, the labour movement, and the middle classes, who all stood side by side in Scotland, Newcastle, in the Valleys, Yorkshire, at Olympia and on Cable Street. Unity and regard for the rights and well-being of others was their greatest strength.

That community spirit and solidarity is precisely what we need to find again. The disgruntled beast is divisive, and it feeds on demoralisation, alienation, feelings of isolation and a lack of regard for others.

Identity politics and the faultlines of division

Lynton Crosby, who has declared that his role is to destroy the Labour Party, rather than promote the Conservatives, based on any notion of merit, is all about such a targeted “divide and rule” strategy. This is a right wing tactic of cultivating and manipulating apostasy amongst support for the opposition. It’s a very evident ploy in the media, too, with articles about Labour screaming headlines that don’t match content, and the Sun and Telegraph blatantly lying about Labour’s policy intentions regularly.

One major ploy has been to attempt to rally the disgruntled working classes behind the flag of identity politics – aimed exclusively at the most disgruntled, very purposefully excluding other social groups. It also sets them against each other, for example, the working class unemployed attacking migrants – it really is divisive, anti-democratic, and flies in the face of labour’s equality and diversity principles. It also enhances the political myth of convenience – the “out of touch/allthesame MPs”, some of those stoked-up disgruntled blue collar workers have defected to UKIP.

There’s an immediate danger that if the far-right succeed in colonising the anti-mainstream vote, as they are aiming to, and developing party loyalty, it will block the development of an independent working class politics capable of defending our conditions and challenging the status quo.

UKIP (and the Tories) first and foremost are traditionalists and defenders of property, with the socially paranoid ideology of the hard right. A dominant theme is a conspiratorial view of the EU as a sort of “socialist plot”, with the Eurocrats encouraging mass immigration, stifling small businesses with legislation and fuelling the welfare state. And working class cultural imperialism – some blue collar workers and working class supporters have disgruntled beasts that respond to the populist, “anti-establishment”, Islamophobic agenda. The wealthier middle class supporters who were traditionally Conservative want to force the Tories further to the right.

Thanks to the persistent propaganda work of the government and the media, the tendency is to see the far-right’s behaviour as merely the justified reaction to the provocation of socially stigmatised groups – the sick and disabled, the unemployed, Muslims and immigrants. This is the climate in which UKIP and its allies thrive. As a result, there is an urgent need to shift toward a wider cultural and political offensive against prejudice more generally. Again. The only party concerning itself with that, as ever, is Labour.

UKIP supporters manifestly don’t care about prejudice directed at others. At the very least they are not repelled by racism, sexism, disablism and homophobia, they seem unsentimental about the types of alliances they find themselves in. Yet working class UKIP supporters are cutting off their own noses to spite their faces, as UKIP are Thatcherites: neoliberal white trash. Fascists don’t support the working class –  they never have and never will. No matter how much they say otherwise.

I’ve talked about UKIP, here, but they are not the only party drawing on the propaganda of the right. I have seen Left Unity, the Greens, the SNP, and a range of so-called socialist groups utilise right-wing myths about the Labour Party, too. This means we end up repeatedly fighting to clarify truths amongst ourselves instead of simply fighting the injustices and lies of the Tories.

It also struck me that we have a raft of writers loosely writing about the Labour Party that don’t seem to promote achievements and positive policies, which is at the very least as important as the negatively weighted “critical” analyses of the last Labour government, for balance and for providing a framework for those perpetually disconsolate readers that tend to feed their pet disgruntled beasts from buzz phrases and glittering generalities for the perpetually unhappy orthodoxy obsessed narxists – like “working class disenfranchisement”, “New Labour”, “Progress”, “Blairite”, “weakened unions”, “blue labour” and so forth. Many narxists have a peculiar elitist and very  non-inclusive obsession with what socialism ought to be.

Ticked boxes and pressed disgruntle buttons.

It was mostly the disgruntled blue collar workers that found UKIP’s inverted elitism – anti-intellectualism, anti-middle-classism and a few other prejudices more appealing, and defected, in a false conscious moment of supreme nose-cutting and spited faces. I don’t see anything to be gained in fueling their discontent, propping up populism, and its irrational response – a nod in the direction of fascism from people claiming they are excluded from mainstream politics – so they defected to a party that is founded on the rhetoric of exclusion.

There are contradictions between UKIP’s ultra-Tory policies and the instincts and interests of its working class supporters. So, not quite “breaking the mould of British politics” then.  UKIP demagogically and disingenuously attack Labour for abandoning white workers, but they also focus on attacking David Cameron for not being Conservative enough.

Farage implies he has some sort of superior social knowledge and wisdom compared with the rest of the mainstream political class, and that he understands “ordinary people”, but he speaks fluently in the language of anti-progression, the fact that anyone at all is listening is indicative of an internalisation of the national right wing prejudice toward a profound anti-intellectualism.

And of course anti-intellectualism is to be expected from the Conservatives, who have historically used the repression of critical thinking as a way of deflecting scrutiny, and as a means of ensuring a compliant, non-questioning workforce to exploit. From the working class, however, it’s just the politics of resentment, and another disgruntled face of bigotry. So much for class consciousness. And solidarity.

It’s worth remembering that Marx and Engels were hardly working class, and they most certainly were intellectuals. Left wing UKIP supporters have no fig leaf to hide behind.

It’s one thing to be opposed to traditional elites, but to show support for a party so vehement in its hostility to democracy, trade unionism, socialism, human rights, our NHS and the welfare state because someone speaks with a pint and a ciggie in their hands, indicates the need for some responsible critical thinking, paying attention to details, less resentment, superficiality and disgruntled grunting.

Fascism always presents itself as your friend, it extends a cozening arm of camaraderie around your shoulder with a sly smile, a malicious grin with far too many teeth.

It’s a disgruntled beast that loves disgruntled beasts, but this public school boy and ex-Tory with offshore tax havens isn’t one of the lads from the shop floor. Farage didn’t take any lessons from the school of hard knocks, that’s for sure.

But many of us have membership in more than one oppressed group, surely its possible at least to recognise in principle the validity of other struggles against oppression, it’s important to recognise that these struggles are not in a zero-sum relationship with one another. They are complementary and cumulative. I believe the collectively oppressed are natural allies in a larger fight for justice, and create a whole greater than the sum of its parts, and this kind of intersectionality and solidarity undermines the ruling-class’s “divide and conquer.”

I think the divisions are what happens when you just feed the disgruntled beast.

That’s the problem with identity politics: it tends to enhance a further sense of social segregation, and it isn’t remotely inclusive. Of course it also enhances the myth of  “out of touch/ allthesame” politics. It’s a clever strategy, because it attacks Labour’s equality and inclusive principles – the very reason why the Labour movement happened in the first place – and places restriction on who ought to be “included”. Think of that divisive strategy  1) in terms of equality. 2) in terms of appealing to the electorate 3) in terms of policy. Note how it imposes limits and is reductive.

The Tories set this strategy up in the media, UKIP have extended it further and the minority rival parties, including the Green Party have also utilised the same rhetoric tool. Yet we KNOW right wing parties have NO interest in the working class. And those amongst the working class that have.

The Tories do not offer up public critical analysis of themselves. Indeed the anti-Labour bias on display by the Murdoch-owned news empire has never been more apparent. That’s not just because of ideology, it’s because Miliband stood up to Murdoch. But Tories don’t collectively and painfully self-scrutinise or soul search, and certainly not in public sight: they self promote. They speak with unfaltering conviction, and from that platform they control public debate and that’s despite their continuing assault on public interests.

So, where is our fully informed pro-labour spokesperson in the media? Where are the articles that inform people – the ones about what Labour do, rather than what they ought to do? Because the implicit message over and over from undoubtedly well-meaning left-leaning writers is that Labour constantly get it wrong and need advice on how to get it right, whilst their policies are not being publicly promoted, analysed, and their progress and achievements remain hidden from view. What gets attention is myth reduced to populist pseudo-critical soundbites.

The media and the message

That means, potentially, many people don’t know enough on balance to make informed choices. Disgruntled defectors often take the medium to be the message, unfortunately, and with no balance, no genuine pros and cons, just a perpetual party wish list, that reads as a list of deficits, many are fueling an often misinformed, unreasonable, hungry disgruntled beast. You present the policies from source that fill the cited alleged deficits, and dear lord, people actually get angry and abusive.

A few months ago, a well-known left wing commentator wrote a “critical” article about Labour that was based on inferences drawn from a very suspiciously muffled recording of Jon Crudass, which was a couple of minutes long, and which ended, somewhat dubiously, in mid-sentence. The recording was very well-utilised by the right wing, too.

At the time, having heard it, I challenged the writer concerned regarding the references to that very dodgy recording, and the inferences he had drawn from it, which echoed those of the Tories. I was ludicrously and condescendingly told I was being “anti-democratic”, in my “blind and uncritical” support for the Labour Party. From where I’m stood, it certainly isn’t me that is being anti-democratic, here.

It seems to be almost trendy to try and undermine Labour’s credibility and completely regardless of the accuracy of any “criticism” used. Since when was it anti-democratic to want to tell the truth, supported with facts? Why is it that people have such objections to a person being supportive of the Labour Party, anyway? That doesn’t make me undemocratic, “blind” or “uncritical” at all. I’m discerning, and the truth actually matters to me, in all of its detail. I put a lot of work in researching to ensure that I’m well-informed. And why is any of this a reason for people to direct condescending and disgusting abuse and nastiness? Yet somehow, this behaviour has become normalised and acceptable.

One response I’ve seen frequently is: “oh, but people are disillusioned with Labour”. Yeah? Well stop writing inaccurate commentaries that create disillusionment and alienation, then. Perhaps it’s time people learned to research facts for themselves, anyway, rather than allowing their apathy and disgruntledment to be fed by willing, earning authors or propaganda merchants and Tory/SNP/UKIP/Green shills and trolls on Facebook.

The Tory press operation had handed the Daily Telegraph and the BBC the transcript of that same recording of Jon Cruddas, who was approached in the foyer at the Fabian summer conference at the Royal College of Surgeons in London.

A note from the Conservatives accompanying the transcript made clear that the recording had been made by researchers posing as students, according to the account on the BBC website.

The Labour Party is considering referring the transcript of the remarks to the Press Complaints Commission, and the former standards watchdog Sir Alistair Graham has accused the Tories of entrapment. It was a dirty trick. Why on earth would someone on the left take advantage of such chicanery pulled by the Tories? 

No party is above criticism, and quite rightly so. But the criticism needs to be balanced, fair, accurate and based on informed analysis and fact. And not on any old bullshit that’s masqueraded as “criticism.” Or on secretly recorded partial conversations. If debates are not open and honest, and if criticism of parties and their policies are not based on facts, that isn’t actually debate you’re engaged in: it’s a propaganda campaign.

Surely by now we all know the media lies and excludes anything important; that it’s under authoritarian Tory control? That Iain Duncan Smith “monitors” the BBC for “left wing bias”, that the Guardian’s occasional forays into truth are stifled by jackbooted officials marching into their office and smashing hard drives? Does anyone REALLY imagine that such a government spokesmedia will do any justice to reporting about the positive intentions and actions of its opposition? It won’t. Not one bit.

Yet I see people running around hysterically clutching at cherry-picked, distorted media spun soundbites, as if the media is somehow suddenly credible when it talks of the opposition, and when you actually read what was said and proposed at the unspun initial source, it bears no resemblance at all to the media tale of the unexpected. If you trouble yourself to investigate these things, the crap being published and broadcast doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. But it does feed the disgruntled beast.

And when the media resort to personal smears – like they did last year about Ralph Miliband – you KNOW they are worried about being defeated. And behold their disgruntled beast.

It’s a crucial time when we need to make sure we know the difference between truth and propaganda, fact from fiction. It’s up to us to discern – please. We are each responsible for what happens next. It mustn’t be 5 more years of the same neo-feudalist rulers.

The nitty gritty

The Right are engaged in an all out war. The disgruntled Right know that Miliband has edited their script, abandoning the free-market fundamentalist consensus established by Thatcherism in favour of social democracy.

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.

And they know Labour under Ed Miliband will probably win the 2015 election.

This is a war, and the Tories think that chucking an avalanche of lies at the opposition is enough. It isn’t. Where are their positive, supportive, life-enhancing policies for the citizens of the UK? The Tories have NOTHING but increasing poverty and pain to offer most of us, and no amount of smearing Labour and telling lies will hide that fact. And they will do all they can to make sure Labour don’t get space in the media to tell you about their own positive social democracy program, based on tackling the inequality and poverty that Tories always create.

We simply can’t tolerate another 5 years of the terrible consequences of New Right Conservatism.

Some on the left also need reminding that there is far more at stake than tiresome debating about what “real” socialism entails. I can tell you categorically that socialism isn’t about feeding your own pet disgruntled beast at the expense of concern and care for comrades who are suffering, living in absolute poverty and dying, because of the policies of this authoritarian regime. We need to address the current crisis, the sociopolitical dysfunction, and escape Cameron’s vision of a feudal dytopia before we can even begin to design our utopia, based on orthodoxy or otherwise.

The outcome of the general election, and the future of this country, and the well-being of is our citizens is what is important, please let’s not lose sight of that.

Because when you feed only the disgruntled beasts, you just end up with beasts.

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Thanks to Robert Livingtone for the excellent memes