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The real victories of last night’s by-elections belonged to UKIP. But what might this signal and how will  Mr Cameron, Mr Miliband and Mr Clegg translate the messages?

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

 – ‘The Second Coming,’ W.B. Yeats

After last night’s by-elections, the only party that has cause to celebrate is UKIP. Coming second place in both Rotherham and Middlesbrough, and third in Croydon, is no small achievement for a party that has worked tirelessly along the tributaries of British politics into the mainstream in only a matter of years.

That Labour won in all three seats is no surprise, but as Daniel Hannan has remarked with regards to Rotherham in particuar, ‘I don’t want to hear any Rotherham Labour voters moaning about the arrogance of the political class’, since it was under the governance of that party that Denis MacShane resigned after criminally obtaining public money by deceit, and it was also the party that saw inactivity over child grooming cases and the removal of foster children from UKIP-voting parents [1]. Tribal voting is the stuff of primitive thinking, so of the 9,866 voters in Rotherham who voted Labour, it is probably fair to claim that some did so with only half their wits.

It is also no surprise that the Conservatives should made no progress in these areas. That the Liberal Democrats lost their deposits in Rotherham and Croydon proves beyond doubt that they are the party of insignificance and that they can no longer be used to amplify the voices of discontented voters. Expect them to be annihilated at the next General Election.

What of this? In a previous article, this blog suggested that UKIP’s ascent in Corby was not the result of a mid-term blues protest suggested by the Conservatives, it was the result of long-term disenchantment with useless politicians and their discredited parties. UKIP’s showing in Rotherham and elsewhere would seem to underscore this notion.

Mr Miliband need not break the habit of his leadership; he need do nothing, nor come up with credible policies – the coalition are perfectly adept at blustering incoherence and unravelling without the aid of parliament’s odious Chief Scout. Heaven help the UK when Prime Minister Miliband has to actually make the ‘tough decisions’ he bleats on about. Yet what the Rotherham vote has shown is that UKIP are not just a party of and for the right, they are increasingly a party of and for all political colours. If they can succeed in Labour ‘safe’ seats at the same level as they have in Rotherham, Corby and Middlesbrough, then Mr Miliband may actually have to call an inquiry into thinking about the direction in which he is heading.

And what of Mr Cameron? He is the best publicist of his own stupidity. He continues to alienate the sort of Conservative voters his party has haemorrhaged to UKIP under his leadership, not only because of his dogged determination to make social democrats out of the Tories, but also by refusing to  retract his typically immature remarks that UKIP members are mostly ‘closet racists’. The truth is that ‘centre ground’ politics is not only unpopular, it is inherently damaging to democracy. Yet it is clear that Mr Cameron is just a less uncomfortable looking version of the unhinged Gordon Brown: he is intractably stubborn, to the extent that an easy victory in the 2015 General Election will not be his for the taking. He will sooner listen to the likes of Matthew D’Ancona, who wrote in a wildly inaccurate and faintly bizarre recent article:

…the very worst thing Cameron could do now is to rip up his centre-ground strategy and hurtle off to the Right in search of these voters. Not many of them would come back. And many more centrist waverers would be lost in the process. [2]

Though this is precisely what Mr Cameron would want to hear – and certainly the only advice he is likely to listen to – it is at the cost of his own party and democracy. So Mr Cameron’s likeness to Mr Brown is evidenced once again: when a person (let alone a politician) cannot be seen to fight for their own survival, then it rings as defective. By heading off in the right direction, Mr Cameron could outflank UKIP’s ever growing number and bring under his wing the working class vote that UKIP appeals to: immigration, crime, withdrawal from the EU. Since the moribund Lib Dems have had their life support terminated, what consideration need Mr Cameron give to them? Yet he persists in targeting none of these matters, which appeal to all voters. The consequence is a further disenfranchised electorate and the collapse of his vote. As Yeats wrote:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

UKIP may yet have to win parliamentary seats, but it signals the direction in which any successful party or thinking person should be heading: a politics of consent, of decisiveness, of the nation state. Under their current leaders, Labour, the Lib Dems and the Conservatives are interested in ideology, not practicality. Ideology is cheap and easy, since it exists in the mind. Practicality and workable policies are much more credible victories, but intellectually beyond the reach of those on parliament’s front benches today.

© thepanopticonblog, 2012

Notes

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The result of the Corby by-election has wider implications beyond the borders of this disputed constituency…

That the Conservatives lost their Corby seat in today’s by-election came as a surprise to no one, least of all the Conservatives. Their majority was always precarious, but not unmanageable. Their mistake was to ever think that the lobotomized Louise Mensch was ever a credible MP, let alone one strong enough to hold on to such a narrow margin, especially when the potent forces of her own ego would always come before public service.

Whilst the odious Edward Miliband paraded the victory of his candidate, the Liberal Democrats were not only beaten into fourth place by UKIP, they lost their deposit after receiving a woeful 1,770 votes.  The Conservatives only beat UKIP by a mere 4368 votes, a statistic that should have them very afraid, especially in a seat seen as a litmus paper for the views of middle England.

At this point one might suggest that Mr Cameron has some thinking to do – he could lurch to the right and cast off his social democrat colours in favour for radical Tory reform – but as has been implied, this would mean Mr Cameron has to not only think, but think strategically and perform acts of self-evaluation and intellect that he is woefully incapable of commanding.

Instead, what do Mr Cameron and his cronies say? They spin the result as simply the mid-term blues that all incumbent governments undergo as voters register their discontent with the direction of the ruling party.

It is a line that typifies the disconcertingly patronising tone of politicians from all the main parties. It suggests that to them it is almost a badge of honour, a virtuous failure, to be mauled by the electorate halfway through a parliament, as if governing in the interests of the electorate and securing or sustaining a popular mandate are laughable impossibilities. They chose to ignore what is in front of them – whether it is the striking election results by UKIP or by the success of independent candidates as Police Commissioners – this is not a mid-term blues protest: it is the result of long-term disenchantment with the useless politicians and the discredited parties they serve.

By voting Labour, Conservative or Lib Dem, the electorate are merely changing the guard, all of whom protect the same thing: their interests, which are dependent upon their mutual survival as political parties. Today’s results are a victory for independent candidates away from Westminster, and it is a story of success for UKIP, whose ascent is damaging the three party system, and above all, Mr Cameron, who had better watch his back from his own party members before anyone else.

Mid-term blues? Hardly! Things have rarely looked better…

© thepanopticonblog, 2012

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As if proof were needed that the British Government is incapable of looking after its people, the case of  Abu Qatada serves to underline this bitter truth.

Next year a limitation on the number of immigrants allowed from Eastern Europe into the UK will no longer be viable, just in time for immigrants from the new EU nations of Romania and Bulgaria to travel to arrive and claim the benefits and jobs that any rational country would issue to its own populace as a priority. This is on top of the immigrants from across the EU and the world who recognise that the UK is a soft touch, with its skewed cultural values and its prolongation of a damaging permissive society. Among these people will be a serious criminals including the possibility of terrorists who could quite easily exploit the weaknesses of the UK’s borders to their own nefarious ends.

Is anything done about this? Of course not. EU law binds the UK to an open borders policy which means that the most one can hope for is containment of the problem, certainly not resolving it. As was alluded to in the previous post, some 320,000 immigrants are likely to be granted an amnesty to stay in the UK because the Border Agency have (no thanks to political parties of all persuasions) not been provided with the adequate resources to stop this from spiralling out of control. And to emphasise, the Government is not serious about patrolling the UK’s borders because their loyalty is to the EU and its ideology before their own territories.

Not only is the problem coming from without, the problem is also from within. When an alleged Al-Qaeda affiliate like Abu Qatada, the ‘the spiritual leader” of this rat-bag organisation in Europe, who has been connected to several terrorist plots and attacks is kept in the UK on account of his human rights, then it is clear something is fundamentally wrong with the system of justice, which is meant to protect the people of the UK. And, of course, it indicates how seriously defective the government is for having the UK signed up to a charter that allows the ECHR to supersede the decisions made my British courts.

The real threats to the UK do not come from without, they come from the government and their inability and unwillingness to assert the rights of its people and its principles from within. So the government sends troops out to die in the  futile and regressive conflict in Afghanistan under the auspices of keeping the streets of Britain safe, but fails at every turn to address the real threats to jobs, welfare, social cohesion and benefits posed by uncontrolled immigration. Furthermore, it fails to  act decisively against known criminal threats like Abu Qatada because it prizes the sovereignty of the EU as a political project before the rights, liberties, freedoms and democracies of its people every time.

Do not think for a second that the government has yet to decide on its relationship with the EU, that decision has long since been made and so long as it lines the pockets and furthers the careers of the political class, so the people of the UK – soldiers and citizens – will pay for it.

© thepanopticonblog, 2012

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Gareth Shanks (Yorkshire Young Independence Regional Secretary) presents his take on the forthcoming Police Crime Commissioner Elections.

I’m no fan of how the Government is running the Police and Crime Commissioner Elections: high deposits which lock out smaller parties, an expensive not to mention at times wasteful campaign, and a projected turnout of just 18.5% – to put that into context, my local ward election attracted 29.05% turnout. This does not bode well for the Conservative Party which has traditionally been seen as ‘tough on crime’.

However, the idea of electing my Police Commissioner is an interesting one and a notion I support. Policing is a pressing issue in every community; regardless of how poorly organized the elections are, they present a chance for some unique changes in policing in the UK.

One of the benefits of the PCC elections is that one can pick which types of crimes are prioritised by their local force, no longer (I add a very generous ‘hopefully’ in here) will crime targets be dictated by Whitehall. The post also adds a slightly increased sense of localism: different areas, rural or urban, will have very different policing needs, so it is a chance to elect someone who understands one’s local area. Worried about anti-social behaviour? Vote for a candidate tough on anti-social behaviour – if you like to keep cannabis for personal use, vote for the ‘soft on drugs’ candidate.

It is likely only a small percentage of people are able to name who is in charge of their Local Education Authority, or their local NHS health board. The PCC elections present a public face to policing in your area, instead of being run by anonymous and arguably unaccountable police force chiefs.

With the advent of this election I believe it will bring more scrutiny to the top job.  Other parties and journalists looking to smear their opponents will hopefully allow for a more transparent police force, something I believe has been needed for a long time. The actions of a very small number of police officers  has led to a skewed perception of policeman as being needlessly aggressive against protesters, for instance (that the protesters normally throw bricks and abuse at the police first is often omitted). Nevertheless, anything that improves the transparency of the police force is surely a good thing.

The single most important matter heralded by these PCC elections is that elected PCCs are just that: elected. They are accountable to the electorate; if crime goes up, don’t re-elect them, if they backtrack on promises, don’t re-elect them, if they are found dressed in a Nazi uniform in a compromising position with some livestock, don’t re-elect them – although that may increase popularity in some areas.

Gareth Shanks

  • Young Independence Yorkshire Secretary
  • @garethshanks

Remember that The Panopticon is always happy to consider publishing articles written by its readers. Email: thepanopticonblog@gmail.com

When Douglas Carswell claimed that the UK had ‘shackled itself to a corpse’ by continuing to belong to the EU, his remarks entertained an alarming, but unintentionally accurate implication…

Europhiles have begun to look like necrophiliacs.

Any thinking person has long since known that justifying the UK’s ongoing relationship with the EU, let alone attempting to justify the EU’s very existence, is a hiding to nothing. As it begins to resemble the government of a third world country (with its excessive spending for those who least need the money, its corruption, the violence it has bred, the bankruptcy it has initiated, the poverty it has caused), support has become a marginal voice.

But it still has its champions, who cite the following arguments in the EU’s defence:

1. The EU Safeguards Peace

The EU has never prevented a war in Europe, let alone safeguarded peace. At the present time, significant civil unrest continues to rock Greece and Spain as a direct result of EU policy, whist even recent history proves this notion a false one – in Bosnia, Kosovo and the Chechen wars, intervention was led by British and American initiatives carried out by the UN and NATO whilst the EU twiddled its thumbs, actively arguing against intervention.

2. The EU gives states more power on the global stage

One pro-EU website repeats the familiar line, ‘EU membership gives states increased influence on the global stage.  While nations would find it easy to ignore Britain or any European nation acting on its own, the combined influence of all twenty-seven member states acting together is harder to ignore.’ This feeble argument is presented by EU necrophiliacs and from within the UK by apologists. In fact, the UK is the world’s tenth largest exporter, with $495,400,000,000 worth of exports occurring in 2011 alone. Considering the UK’s size compared to other countries in the top ten (France, Germany, Russia), this is not to be underestimated. Notwithstanding the fact it is also a nuclear power, the UK is also one of the biggest contributors to the UN.

3. The EU makes us better off

EU necrophiliacs continue to claim that by creating a customs union and later the single market, the EU has been hugely successful. But this does not account for the fact that the collapse of the ideological project of the euro has left about a quarter of working-age people in recession-hit Spain unemployed. Indeed, Spain’s economy is set to shrink by 1.5 per cent this year with the recession due to continue into 2013 and beyond. Its level of unemployment is now the second highest behind Greece where the average is 11.4 per cent.

4. The EU encourages our neighbours to reform

Instead of presenting an argument against this, I have chosen to quote directly from a pro-EU website (that claims to be impartial):

“The EU shares land or sea borders with a great variety of nations including Egypt, Libya, Serbia, Turkey, Syria and Israel, with unstable governments, histories of conflict or different cultural and political outlooks to our own. Despite this, the EU’s European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) ensures stability with the region by offering favourable relations with the EU in exchange for nations living up to standards such as the rule of law and democracy. Meanwhile, nations that look to join the EU are encouraged to reform their national institutions in order to fit in with the European liberal democratic model.  This encourages wider stability and improves people’s lives.” [2]

Claims as fatuous as this do enough damage to themselves without the need for annotation.

Leave the EU, now.

© thepanopticonblog, 2012

Notes

In no particular order, some reasons why Labour will, one way or another, win the next general election either as a government or as a majority party in coalition. Please feel free to add your own…

  • It promises benefits and big spending to country addicted to ‘free’ money and profligacy
  • It has managed to position itself as the party of fairness to an ill-informed, benumbed electorate
  • It does not discriminate in any way whatsoever, so the good are as bad as the bad, and the bad are as good as the good – anything and anyone goes
  • It does child-care, education and thinking for you, so personal/public responsibility need not be exercised
  • It promotes ideological fancy, which is much easier to cultivate than practical, workable policies
  • It still maintains an entrenched tribal loyalty in parts of the UK despite it having long since having forgotten working people
  • It has created a generation unable to think and critically analyse the follies of voting Labour thanks to its bankrupting of the education system
  • It is not the Conservative Party, nor the Lib Dems, which for many people is reason enough to vote Labour

© thepanopticonblog, 2012