Sunday 10 March 2013

What Is The World Coming To?

When you can be on the Question Time panel for nothing more than having lost a by-election one week before. That said, Diane James did have one good line: "Three years into a five-year Government, to keep on laying the blame at the previous Government is a nonsense." Is that the UKIP view? Is there one? Not that she said anything else memorable. Melanie Phillips was otherwise there to do her job for her. As Ken Clarke put it, "Imagine UKIP handling the Syria crisis." Quite.

But that outspoken anti-UKIP woman in the audience was Amy Rutland, who is a Labour Party employee. My Facebook friends and my Twitter followers knew that while her words were being broadcast. Mind you, she was right about UKIP's wildly inflated figure for the number of Bulgarians planning to move to what little might remain of this country by 2014. And notice that no one ever any longer suggests that migrants would be "coming over here, taking our jobs." Only that they might come over here and claim our benefits. We have no jobs to take.

Astonishingly, Bob Crow was allowed onto Question Time to state the left-wing cases both against the EU and for immigration controls, always a Labour and especially a trade union cause historically. Like opposition to the EU, in fact. Good stuff: "You couldn't go to Cuba without a work permit, so why should you be able to come to Britain without a work permit?" Or, as it might otherwise be termed, a union card. His point was directed at both issues, and it hit them both. Quite where Phillips got the idea that there had ever been a "taboo" against discussing immigration, I honestly cannot begin to imagine. When, exactly? And where, exactly? In the Daily Mail?

The formation of which Crow is the Joint Leader, the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition, was at that time busily taking 60 per cent of the vote for a 20-year-old welder called Joe Robinson in a by-election to Maltby Town Council, which, while within the Metropolitan Borough (though not the parliamentary constituency) of Rotherham, is a self-contained country town, albeit one with an industrial, specifically a mining, heritage. Like Consett, another such town, it is very largely Irish Catholic. Classic territory of the Old Labour Right.

Yet Robinson beat an "Independent" who was in fact the local Labour stalwart whom that Group had sought to co-opt without an election. Yes, he beat such a figure in the sort of place where the official Labour candidate tries to maximise his chances by pretending to be an Independent. It is possible that this surpasses even the presence of Neil and Zsuzsana Clark on North Hinksey Parish Council, under what designation I do not know. Or even the presence as an Independent of one David Lindsay on Lanchester Parish Council.

To return to Bob Crow, professing himself an atheist, he manfully defended the Catholic Church: "Are we saying that because of the Savile row, the BBC is wrong?" Phillips seemed, as the Right so often is, unable to understand that religious organisations which conformed to capitalism or to neoconsevative foreign policy were just as much conforming to worldly values; that particular lack of self-awareness has since become strikingly apparent in the reaction of the Americanist Catholic New Right to the death of, the far from saintly, Hugo Chávez.

But Clarke was extremely anti-religious, anti-Catholic, and, right there on a  platform with Phillips, borderline anti-Semitic. (Some people have suggested an adverse reaction from Middle England to her description of herself as "a Jew". A certain section of the audience in the studio might have been, and a certain section of the audience at home will have been, blind. But surely not both of either?) Who knows what, if anything, either Diane James or Stephen Twigg said on the matter? Who cares?

Still, next week we may presumably expect the panel to be graced with the presence of Nigel Lutton, another nominal Independent. In this case the one who, with the support of all the Unionist parties, came second at the Mid-Ulster by-election on Thursday. If not, why not?

Internally, supporting Lutton's candidacy has cost the UUP very dear indeed for an election which, after all, no Unionist was ever going to win these days. The characters who have represented that seat would make a book which even the most seasoned would struggle to read to the end, dismissing each as more improbable than the last. Or the next. Newest up is Francie Molloy, and he certainly keeps up the standard of sheer colour. But Sinn Féin dropped below half the vote, while the Unionist total and the shares for the SDLP and the Alliance Party all went up. In the SDLP's case, it went up quite healthily, considering the starting point.

What is the world coming to?


  1. "Quite where Phillips got the idea that there had ever been a "taboo" against discussing immigration, I honestly cannot begin to imagine"

    I can't possibly imagine. Maybe during the 13 New Labour years of mass immigration when Labour, the BBC and the Guardian slandered anybody who opposed it as a racist?

    Hilariously, even Wiliam Hague and Michael Howard were accused of being "racists" by those people.

    And the Labour plant in the audience is another robotic PC career politician in the making.

    Pro-immigration, pro-EU and anti-British-I'm surprised she's not already in Ed Miliband's Cabinet.

  2. Because Miliband is not yet Prime Minister.

    And you were obviously too young to have been politically conscious at the time. Total rubbish.

  3. "Total rubbish"?

    Hague wasn't accused by Labour of playing the race card in 2001, and Howard wasn't accused of "dog-whistle" racist politics in 2005?

    While Labour was letting 3 million people into the country?

    Opponents of multiculturalism haven't been relentlessly slandered as racist by the BBC and the Guardian?

    It's all been an unpleasant dream?

    I wish New Labour's time in Government was just a bad dream.

  4. No.

    You are just wrong about this.

    I have been reading self-falsifying newspaper articles about this "taboo" for as long as you have been alive. It has never existed.

  5. I've just given you historical instances where it happened.

    Even Ed Miliband admitted it had been a taboo in his speech last week-he said Labour should have made it clear that "it's not racist" to be concerned about mass immigration.

    Why does he need to make speeches pointing out such an obvious fact, and apologising for not listening to popular concerns, if it wasn't for the fact that his party and the Left-wing media have silenced sensible debate with this smear for so long.

    If you think the taboo never existed, ask Peter Hitchens.

    He's been on the receiving end of decades of Left-wing abuse for criticising mass immigration.

  6. He's spent decades proving in print that the taboo did not exist, yes.

  7. The fact that he still has a legal right to free speech, doesn't mean he hasn't been smeared as a racist by the Left for decades.

    Ed Miliband himself admits this. He's apologised twice for refusing to listen to voters concerns over immigration, and (twice) reaffirmed that "it's not racist" to oppose it.

    A statement that is so obvious it wouldn't need to be said, and the apology wouldn't need to be made, if the Left and Laboour hadn't created a taboo around the subject for so long.

  8. I used to think that it was because you were about 12. But no, although you are about 12, it is because you are just not very bright.