UKIP And The Bigots

The political fringe grouping, the UK Independence Party (UKIP), is rejoicing at the recent controversy in Rotherham for all of its free publicity and the lack of critical comment.

I thought it helpful to remind readers of the unsavoury characters in and around UKIP.

Firstly, Aidan Rankin, who according to his confessions in the New Statesman, once “had held standard progressive views and written occasional contributions to New Left Review” later to be sucked into the xenophobic world of UKIP supporters via the Far Right. Perpetually stupid, Rankin seems to have associated with well-known Far Right figure Patrick Harrington’s Third Way. Older readers will remember Harrington as a National Front member and one-time student of North East London Polytechnic. Rankin finally left UKIP, but as much in sorrow as in realisation. Harrington, predictably, has joined the BNP.

Next, Alistair McConnachie a one-time UKIP executive member and candidate for the party, was an open Holocaust denier and supporter of David Irving.

Andrew Moffat was a member of UKIP for 12 years and a long standing candidate. Hope, not Hate relates:

“Andrew Moffat: A former National Front member who was booted out of the Army in 1980. He was once David Irving’s political secretary and has remained close friends with former NF National Activities Organiser Martin Webster. He stood for UKIP in Beaconsfield in 2001, finishing in last place. He later joined the BNP, becoming the BNP’s economic spokesman and became Andrew Brons’ close political assistant, running his Brussels office. Moffat will become deputy chairman of True Brits. “

Another unsavoury element was Alastair Harper, UKIP’s one-time candidate in Dunfermline West. Harper had been a leading activist with Roger Pearson’s neo-Nazi, Northern League.

One of UKIP’s MEPs, Mike Nattrass, was a member of the Far Right, New Britain Party in the 1990s

I expect that their excuse will be “we have moderated our views” or “we have changed”.

But what they really need to say is “UKIP has been a party full of racists, cranks and misfits from the Far Right, but now we are different”. I am not sure how many people would believe that, even if UKIP had the courage to say it!

In the interim, Richard Corbett’s PDF pamphlet on the UKIP makes interesting reading.

I would recommend studying UKIPwatch.org’s blog and Junius on UKIP.

Still, I must have missed out any number of questionable characters snugly hidden in the UKIP family, or other examples of racism within UKIP.

I would welcome readers’ contributions on bigotry in UKIP.

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Women’s Rights And The New Statesman

Over at the New Statesman, Mehdi Hasan has exasperated many women by his new post, Being pro-life doesn’t make me any less of a lefty.

I am not really that interested in his points, rather the marvellous response from feminists and the quality of their arguments.

Stavvers at Another Angry Woman says:

“A few more points on your piece. I’m very disappointed in you, seeing you repeating the anti-choice porky pie that France and Germany have a 12-week limit, so the UK should too. What these countries actually have is a law which allows abortion on demand up to 12 weeks, i.e. you go up to a doctor, say “I’d like an abortion”, then you have your abortion. After the 12 weeks, the legal situation resembles that of the UK: you have to jump through hoops, provide reasons, see more than one doctor.

The rest of your argument, I’m afraid to say, is a hot mess of appeals to authority. You’ve just listed the few people who agree with you who aren’t thoroughly objectionable, many of whom died centuries ago. I’m also rather baffled by the fact that you’re not ashamed to agree with Jeremy Hunt, a man who has what I like to call the Copro-Midas Touch. Literally everything that man touches turns to shit. Are you genuinely comfortable with agreeing with a man who hides in trees to avoid being seen by journalists?

You’re also repeating the tiresome “it’s a baby” myth. Again, I’m going to refer you to one of my sisters, because pretty much everyone’s already said what I want to say, but please read this heartbreaking post from Fearlessknits about life at 25 weeks gestation. “

Kelly Hills takes another tack:

“These rights are undermined when women are denied the freedom to decide whether and when to have children, and how many of them to have. Reproductive freedom is an essential part of women’s right to liberty. It is vital to both liberty and responsible moral agency that we be free to protect our health, to plan and shape our lives. So vital is this social good that wherever safe, legal and affordable abortion is unavailable, many women risk death, permanent physical injury, social disgrace and legal prosecution to end unwanted pregnancies.

Hasan argues, at the end of his article, that the biggest problem with the abortion debate is that it is asymmetrical, “the two sides are talking at cross-purposes”. But the biggest problem with the abortion debate is not that it is asymmetric – it is that one group, the anti-choice group, is attempting to force their views on everyone else. As a pro-choice woman, I am not interested in whether or not another woman is carrying a pregnancy to term or aborting, save in the case where the woman asks for my opinion or involvement. My pro-choice position is not pushing her to abort – not even if, in my opinion, it would be the best thing for her life. As I do not believe in forced pregnancy, I do not believe in forced abortion.

I believe in choice.”

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Ed Miliband, Owen Jones And A Poverty Of Ambition

I don’t tend to comment on domestic British politics, much of it is uninspiring and would bore a sloth off of a tree.

Notwithstanding that, I couldn’t let the much heralded Ed Miliband interview in the New Statesman pass without comment.

The British Labour Party cannot, in spite of the obvious unpopularity with the Tories, land a knockout blow, whilst the polling figures are fairly good at CON 33%, LAB 45%, LD 8%, UKIP 6%.

Given everyone’s contempt for the Tories and the open booing at the Paralympics you might, not unreasonably, expect an invigorated Labour, just waiting for the opportunity to take power, however, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

The charismatically challenged, Ed Miliband, could only manage the feeble wonkish soundbite of “predistribution” in his New Statesman interview. All strikingly unimpressive, as Stumbling and Mumbling pointed out.

Even Jonathan Freedland, who is obviously very sympathetic to Miliband, argued, Ed Miliband could learn from Bill Clinton’s masterclass:

“So the transatlantic trade in political ideas is always going to be bumpy. Still, there are some items I assume those returning pols have stashed into their hand luggage. For Labour, item one is surely a DVD of the Clinton speech: Ed Miliband should sit down, pen in hand, right away to watch and learn.

He would conclude, first, that a politician does not have to talk down to an audience. It is possible to talk seriously. Indeed, if you show the voters you respect them, they’ll respect you. Second, it’s wise to deal with the opposition’s arguments, rather than hoping they’ll go away. Clinton went through the Romney-Ryan chargesheet and tore it apart. Labour must do the same with the persistent claim that it cannot be trusted to run the economy because it overspent last time. It takes effort, but it’s worth it.

What’s more, Clinton showed the power of arithmetic. He walked through the Republicans’ numbers, exposing that their sums did not add up: you cannot cut taxes, spend more on defence and cut the deficit. Labour has to persist making the apparently counterintuitive case that austerity in a recession actually adds to, not reduces, the country’s debts because it kills growth. “

Reading the comeback interview at New Statesman with Miliband I can’t help thinking not much will improve his poor grasp of politics and lack of appeal. I hope I am wrong.

The problem would seem to be Miliband is, sensibly, prepared to drop the New Labour nonsense but haven’t thought of a clear-cut alternative.

Owen Jones has a few radical suggestions for Ed and his team and this is an obvious winner:

“Fourthly, we should be calling for a far more progressive tax system. Shortly after reducing the taxes of Britain’s richest 1%, George Osborne expressed his supposed shock that some of the wealthiest people paid no taxes at all. As well as clamping down on the £25 billion lost through tax avoidance, we should be looking at making sure the booming rich pay more. A YouGov poll for Class showed that the majority of Britons – including more than 4 out of 10 Tory voters – would support a 75% tax rate on those earning £1 million or more, a policy suggested by new French President François Hollande. “

Most people are disgusted by casino capitalism and how, no matter the outcome, the rich are rewarded more day by day, so whatever Miliband and the Labour Party does I would suggest being bold, like Clement Attlee!

The New Statesman’s Faulty Cartography

One noticeable aspect of the debate on the Middle East is not the lack of opinions, rather the inability to render history with any competence or accuracy.

I can understand polemics, they might be unhelpful but that’s what people do.

The problem in the West is the shaky grasp of facts that comes out whenever the Middle East is discussed.

One example of that phenomenon is the strikingly poor cartography found recently at the New Statesman, as shown below:

The top left image purports to show Palestine under the British Mandate between 1920-48.

However, it misses off over 32,000 square miles, ceded to Transjordan in the early 1920s.

That is a major omission for a modern publication.

After all it is entitled: Palestine British Mandate.

Missing a few miles might have been acceptable, but losing more than 32,000 sq. miles is incredibly sloppy for the New Statesman.

This Dartmouth College’s map of the region, just prior to division of the British Mandate in 1922:

BBC Understatement, Racism and Rounding Up

I was about to put out a number of individual posts, but it is probably more worthwhile to include them in a round up:

Surprise, surprise, neofascist killer, Breivik took drugs before going on his murder spree.

I wonder if the chess playing Israeli boycotters will avoid the games of Boris Gelfand?

The singing neo-Nazi, Gary Marsden I’Anson, is on his uppers.

Whilst I had appreciated the level of uranium enrichment completed by the Iranian regime, the actual volume and size of the material, some 6 tons of UF6 enriched to 3.5 percent, was a shock to me. That is a lot of enriched uranium.

Searchlight on Journalist falls for EDL’s absurd claims.

Norm on How much more murder (in Syria)?
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After Tonge

The discussions ramble on concerning Jenny Tonge losing the Liberal-Democrat whip in the House of Lords.

On Twitter Tonge’s supporters have been rather vocal, however, have sometimes undermined their case by citing Ken O’Keefe or the racist, Stuart Littlewood.

Some have sought to make Tonge into a victim, that her rights to freedom of speech somehow curtailed.

They have not been.

Tonge is free to shoot off her mouth where and whenever she wants.

In fact, I wish she would, so we can dissect this polite racism and point out the problems with it.

Tonge is still a member of the Lib Dems. They haven’t kicked her out, just remove the whip, which is a minor inconvenience.

There are broader societal issues involved in this type of racism that we should be discussing. We should be examining the use of polite racism in society, conspiratorial language and why otherwise intelligent people are not sensitive to it.

Sunny Hundal at Liberal Conspiracy explains the issues with refreshing clarity, Why Jenny Tonge had to go for her comments on Israel.

Martin Bright’s piece is good, Goodbye Baroness Tonge, it has been a long and troubling ride.

The comments box at the New Statesman are depressing and overflowing with racism, that is despite the NS’s moderator deleting comments.

Elsewhere in the world, Mother Jones covers anti-immigration laws in America, all 164 of them.

The Tablet looks at Julian Assange’s Chutzpah.

CNN provides good but dispiriting coverage of Syria.

In the Middle East, OneVoice Israel launches campaign against illegal outpost. The settlements don’t help peace. They are a thorn in the side of any long term agreement and should be removed.

A debate in the British House of Lords draws out how poorly the Church of England pays its staff, Bishops’ chauffeurs ‘deserve more pay’.

How the Syrian regime is slaughtering defenseless people, Syrian Army Using World’s Biggest Mortar Against Own People.

Finally, Beyond the Headlines is a very worthy endeavour.

Blogs To Read And One To Avoid, The New Statesman

I found a thoughtful site by Marc Goldberg. He makes sharp observations and writes well.

At the other end of the scale is Ben White, a would-be writer and anti-Israeli obsessive. For some inexplicable reason the New Statesman has given him a platform. Now I am all for criticism of governments but White’s monomania beggars belief.

Whilst revolts of rippled across the Middle East the last year White’s eyes remain firmly focused on what Israelis are doing.

Whilst the dictatorship in Syria shells its own civilians and is responsible for the murder of thousands in the past year, White scrutinises Israelis.

I can’t help feeling that the rest of the region deserves a look in, all 300 million.

Ben White was the author of this appalling piece, Is It Possible to Understand the Rise in Anti-Semitism?

Shuggy picked it apart.

The anti-racist blog, Bob From Brockley covered White previously in Poor research and poor reasoning.

Finally, I had never realized that the New Statesman had such a racist readership, evidence by another thread and the comments about the BBC’s poor decision to censor the word “Palestine”. If the New Statesman can’t be troubled to deal with the anti-Jewish racists that pollute its comment boxes then I think it is one to avoid.

New Statesman, Examples Of Racism

Rob Marchant’s article at the New Statesman certainly stirred up the bigots.

The comments box there is stuffed full of very questionable reasoning and praise for the racist, Gilad Atzmon.

Elsewhere I found one of Rob’s old posts at Labour List, Our tolerance of extremism will do for us.

The warnings in that post have been born out by the rejection of Raed Salah’s appeal.

The CST has more:

“The tribunal considered five pieces of evidence against Salah: a poem he had authored which we argued could incite hatred of Jews, but which Salah argued was not antisemitic; a speech in which he made a ‘blood libel’ slur against Jews, but which Salah claimed was not about Jews; Salah’s inflammatory claims that Israel intends to destroy the al-Aqsa Mosque; the outstanding charges he currently faces in Israel for incitement to violence and to antisemitism; and Salah’s conviction for funding organisations linked to Hamas.

When these allegations were first aired, Salah denied having written the poem; denied making the blood libel comment; denied facing any charges in Israel; and denied any links to Hamas. Only after CST provided evidence to the contrary, did Salah admit to having written the poem and making the blood libel comment, and argued instead that CST’s interpretation of those texts was wrong. He also admitted his conviction for funding organisations linked to Hamas, but claimed this was for “charitable and humanitarian purposes.””

This is Salah’s poem:

“You Jews are criminal bombers of mosques,
Slaughterers of pregnant women and babies.
Robbers and germs in all times,
The Creator sentenced you to be loser monkeys,
Victory belongs to Muslims, from the Nile to the Euphrates.”

I think most considered people would see the racism there, but as Rob points out, that’s not enough.

Not A Single Post

I had intended to separate out a few different posts on various subjects, but now is as good as any time to put them all together.

Left Foot Forward covers how the ill named, English Democrats, are happy to take ex-BNP racists as members.

Liverpool antifascists remind us how neo-Nazis still pose a real threat.

Foreign Policy has an amusing post on the peculiar habits of dictators, and what they hoard.

David Allen Green at the New Statesman shreds St Paul’s Cathedral’s feeble excuse for closing.

In more religious news, a Catholic Archbishop indulges in a bit of Jew baiting.

Earlier this month, the convicted Holocaust denying reactionary Bishop Richard Williamson took another swing at Jews, although from the Guardian’s rather anodyne coverage you wouldn’t know that. The Vatican insider explains the background in more detail, but you get the impression they themselves are ambivalent remarking that Williamson’s “positions are extreme even within the traditionalist world, they are certainly not isolated even within the Lefebvrist community itself. “

Meanwhile in Germany, the Catholic Church has apparently been profiting from pornography according to an article at Worldcrunch. Who would have thought it? First, antisemitism, now pornography, whatever next?

In the JC, David Aaronovitch deals with some nasty subconscious thinking by his fellow journalist, Deborah Orr.

Rob Marchant writes, Anti-Semitism is the new black, showing the worrying level of denial of anti-Jewish racism in the trade union movement.

The comments box at the New Statesman confirms how timely Rob’s article was. I can’t help remembering how many once loyal trade unionists resigned from UCU over institutionalised racism in that union, Engage has more.

Norm on Orr’s an apology of sorts. I really liked his first piece on it, opening with “You may think you’ve plumbed the depths of human stupidity and blind prejudice, but you never have.”

Finally, my own word of advice to those Westerners “interested” in Middle Eastern topics.

If you don’t want to be thought of as a bigot or racist then try and avoid using Far Right terminology such as “Chosen”, etc.

Better still, educate yourself on how the Far and Extreme Right use these topics and take extra, extra care.