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!

Julian Assange, Rape And The Decline Of The Left

I thank Owen Jones for pointing me towards a hotbed of sexism, misogyny and rape apologists, the Socialist Unity blog.

Owen, characteristically, doesn’t want to criticise his fellow socialists so merely comments that it is, Socialism with heart cut out.

It leads to a thread, Time For The Left To Stand Up For Galloway.

Within it there are an appalling number of attacks on women who rejected George Galloway’s offensive remarks, that Assange’s conduct was not rape but “bad sexual etiquette”.

Both Salma Yaqoob and Kate Hudson, once allies of Galloway, have distanced themselves from his detestable comments. Yet for their principled stance they are attacked by their one-time comrades in nasty, sexist and demeaning language.

Still, amongst the mess on another thread, In Defence Of George Galloway, there is one thoughtful and non-sexist comment, which pulls the rug from under the paranoid and crazed at Socialist Unity blog:

“21. Who needs to attempt demonise Galloway, it’s not like anyone except for a few misogynistic men cannot see that he shoved his foot so far down his mouth that he can scratch his arse.

Galloway is a rape apologist and denier, he was the minute he tried to claim the allegations did not constitute rape in English courts, they do. The statements which I have read, describe acts that are considered rape, not “bad sexual etiquette”.

Also his attempts to “dissect” the behaviour of the women to “prove” they weren’t raped, also rape apology. Comments like that are why women don’t come forward, because people like Galloway will try to dissect and will HARM victims in an attempt to explain how no man could ever be a rapist.

Addressing the whole “But I’ve had sex like that with someone”, I am presuming whoever you did it with was someone you were in a long term relationship with and someone you could reasonably believe wouldn’t mind, which is quite different to the described situation in the statements.

Seriously, if Galloway and co believe that there is a US witch hunt against, they should be able to muster a better argument than rape apology and claiming that the alleged actions aren’t actually rape when in fact what is described in the statements is rape.

Bradley Manning’s treatment for being a traitor does not prove that the US is in any shape or form after Assange, Assange is not the only person in charge of Wikileaks, yet nobody seems to think they’ll chase anyone else.

In my personal opinion, all claims of persecution made by Assange have issues.

1. For starters prior to this issue, Assange was trying to gain Swedish Citizenship, if the US have been after him since 2010, why wasn’t it a concern then? All Sweden would have had to do was to give him citizenship and then hand him over. A simpler and easier plan.

2. What does Sweden get out of it, that they would spend their money and time pursing a man on the behalf of another nation? and get badmouthed to boot?

3. Why on earth would the US if it wanted someone that badly put together a plan that would involve a double extradition? Not only is it ridiculously complicated, but it means twice as much chance of failure.

Fact: The US could have just applied to the UK who would have handed him over quite readily.

4. If the US was so gungho to get him, the simplest option would be to “disappear” him, via kidnapping. Not a press circus, they’d be suspected by conspiracy theorists either way but they’d definitely have the guy and nobody would ever be able to prove that it was them.

The whole point of conspiracies is that nobody can prove shit, for this to be a conspiracy would make it a fucking stupid one.

5. For such a large and convoluted double extradition scheme to work? The US would have to suborn an awful lot of people, that alone could and probably would blow it in a second.

6. Since Sweden have gone to such efforts to chase him presumably because they do believe he did commit rape. Sweden are damn well going to charge him, after this, they cannot drop the charges, so the US would have to sit and twiddle their fingers while waiting on his jail sentence to finish if he’s convicted.

7. Lastly if we for arguments sake accept that the US felt that a very silly and unnecessarily convoluted scheme was the right way to grab him and they were willing to go that far? It is still perfectly possible that Assange is a rapist and the two women coming forward was a useful coincidence that is being taken advantage of.

Also “hysteria” has a sexist origin.

The problem isn’t believe Assange to be innocent, the problem is people arguing that X actions are not rape, when they are. The two women who have come forward have had their privacy violated, received threats and been publicly attacked, that is rape culture in action.

You want to believe that there’s a global conspiracy against Assange? Go right ahead, but come up with a plausible conspiracy angle that isn’t just another rape apology argument.

Posted by Dawn 5 September, 2012 at 7:32 pm “

Amid the detritus and sediment of male posturing that gem stood out as it dealt with the issues, logically, and showed the fatuous reasoning so often employed by Julian Assange’s supporters.

But when you read those threads it’s not surprising that people are turned off by politics given all of the idiocy, rank sexism and defamatory language found amongst these so-called socialists.

Finally, I can’t help thinking reading those terrible comments, with allies like that Assange and socialism don’t need any enemies. Women’s rights are denigrated when male socialists seek to shift blame from perpetrators to the victims of rape. Women can’t rely on male socialists willing to drop every conceivable principle because of political expediency or the supposed need to defend another faulty male leader.

This shallow approach to politics and principles is part of the reason that the Left has declined, where ends are constantly dragged out to justify means. Who wants to be around such calculating and manipulative politics? No one, and certainly not women.

Update 1: I should have pointed out earlier, but both of those threads at Socialist Unity blog were closed for comments after a comparatively short period of time.

Update 2: One blogger persisted and was eventually banned:

“So when I pointed out that the reasons that these things happened over, and over AND OVER again – because women who raised sexual assaults, and the narratives that sustained them were silenced, I was banned from the site. I was banned from the site because I stated that someone who thought that rape was acceptable behaviour was a potential rapist. I was shut off from the site because it “shut him down”. I wasn’t allowed to contribute because it made a potential rapist feel like he “couldn’t contribute”.

I don’t know how I feel about getting banned from the cesspit of the left. There is a bit of me that is quite happy to let them roll around in their own stinking shite, but on the other hand, I’m well aware of the pollution that it generates well beyond its boundaries. Pollution that generally ends up infecting the bodies of female comrades. “