Sunday, April 29, 2012

Why Havering and Redbridge needs to vote on May 3rd

Far right nationalists used to openly walk around London Nazi-saluting in jackboots and smashing up community meetings. Today that kind of thing puts people off, and so does the story they used to tell about natural supremacy and entitlement of the pedigree British race. So these days the far right tell us (well, not me - I’m apparently part of the problem) that we’re a weak and disinherited tribe of losers, victim to racist policies which promote the interests of people from overseas over our own.

From any angle this is wrong. If you’re somebody who tends to view the current wealth of the world as a big pie, it clear to see that the British nation has an astonishingly large share for such a tiny place - particularly one that has supposedly been ‘robbed’, ‘strangled’, ‘cheated’, 'raped' &tc, &tc. In the spirit of the nationalist parties, if you compare national statistics you quickly reach the conclusion that far right politics doesn’t simply want a fair share for this native tribe - we have that fair share and more but they’re still griping. For example, we’re close to the top in terms of average individual purchasing power. On average we live more than twice as long as somebody from the country with the lowest expectancy. We eat too much for our health whereas citizens in other countries don’t get enough .

Only we don’t - only some of us do. If we, put the nationalist averages aside and look a little closer at UK, the story is very different. There’s plenty of poverty in the UK and - cheek by jowl with the greatest wealth - London has more poverty than anywhere else. To add insult to injury, the poorest tenth have seen their income fall while everybody else - particularly the richest tenth - have enjoyed a rise in income.

Rather than simply trying to make excuses for hating foreigners, what political parties who do actually care about people who have been cheated and robbed should be telling us is this: by comparative standards we live in a prosperous country and therefore the problem must be the way wealth and opportunity are allocated among us. You can spot the far right parties because that is the opposite of their message. Because the far right actively embrace division between haves and have-nots, they push the view that poverty is a struggle between those who don't have much and those just below them in the pecking order. It seems we aren't all in this together - the far right start scraps among the people most hurt by poverty by pushing the story that the people at the very bottom of the social heap are a threat to the income, homes, health and education of the people who are doing just a little bit better than them. In other words, the far right favour the status quo - they’re just unhappy with the pecking order.

In fact there shouldn’t be any pecking order that sees such a widening gap between the top and the bottom, or the middle and the bottom. That goes for Havering and Redbridge, no less than for London, England, the UK and the world. If you feel you are being undercut by people prepared to work for less than you, then the London Living Wage is an excellent prospect. But try finding even a reference to the London Living Wage on a far right party's site.

So it naturally follows that the far right parties present newcomers to this country as central to the problem of poverty and blame them at every opportunity, along with the development called globalisation which within living memory was flooding the UK with wealth from what are now other people’s countries. The far right is content that the British Empire has left a legacy of infrastructure, institutions and trade networks which will continue to benefit the people of this country for some time to come, along with a legacy in the exploited countries which includes bloody havoc. The far right is happy to dine out on the benefits while slamming the door on the people affected.

Where the far right gain a toe-hold their insulting ways and the clear threat they pose to those who are outside their tribe lead to tit-for-tat escalation which corrodes entire communities - and they have an infuriatingly irresponsible attitude to this violence.

The far right wants countries (and by implication, cities within countries and communities within cities) to compete for top dog position. If their own tribe wins, that’s only right and proper. But if it doesn’t, they start kicking the cat and railing against the outcome, whinging about victimhood and being cheated. They have no dignity. That's exactly the wrong attitude to run a city, let alone a country - and it’s the attitude that has brought about societal rot and contributed to world wars.

And because bigotry is a state of mind, if the far right got their way, we’d soon find that all members of the tribe aren’t equally entitled after all - only the people the far right say deserve the booty - the right religion, the right politics, the right sex, the right appearance, the right abilities, the right sexual orientation.

But to prevent them from mucking things up it’s important to vote. When turnout is low the extremes often secure a higher share, so do turn up and vote on all three ballot papers for a candidate who is not far right. The far right did quite well in this constituency last time round, but for most of us there will be a candidate we can tell would do better than the far right ones. So here are the mayoral candidates, the candidates for our constituency and the London-Wide Assembly Member candidates.

So, shun the far right this Thursday May 3rd, but above all go and vote. Here's how.

Update: worth explaining - as Weggis has below in the comments - how smaller parties can pick up seats in the GLA. One way the far right could win a seat is on the London-Wide Assembly Members vote. There are 11 seats available and this vote is counted last of the three. As B21 has pointed out in Section 3 here, calculating its outcome involves counting votes for a party that has already won seats in the other two votes (for mayor and for constituency representatives) less favourably than those cast for a party which hasn't.

29 comments:

  1. You're not going to persuade me to vote on Thursday just to annoy the far right, who haven't got a hope in hell of gaining a seat in Redbridge. The top four candidates are all fat cats who pay more in taxes than I earn. So I'm not voting for any of them either. In fact it would take a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce to persuade me to visit the polling station. Any offers?

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    1. But they DO have a chance of gaining a seat on the Assembly from the London wide vote which includes (or NOT) *yours* here in REDBRIDGE.

      You've not been paying attention, see section 3 here.

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  2. Heaves huge sigh: Nazis, fascists, Le Pen's group in France aren't 'far Right', they believe in autocracy, huge State control etc etc. Labelling them far Right is typically lazy journalism (admittedly adopted by all the media nowadays) and extremely misleading.

    And yes, their world-view, or whatever you wish to call it, is horrible, but so are any groups that practice bigotry, segregation and racial superiority (which would include large swathes of the world's major religions).

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  3. After reading this, I shall now be voting for the far right as you call them. Who are you to tell us how and who not to vote for. Now who do I vote for? BNP, NF or ED.

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    1. Clearly, B21, somebody who do not live through it. But why are these brave souls always anonymous?

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    2. This blog has a Green agenda and is perfectly open about its political preferences. It has no duty to be impartial, and is at liberty to express enthusiasm for its principles - if it thinks another Party or political tendency is offensive or dangerous, there is no reason why it shouldn't say so.

      And with due respect to the Editor, will you really be voting Fascist just because B21 is openly against them?

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  4. Ed, who cares whether they get a seat on the London Assembly or not? They'll just be sent to Coventry if they do. I think everyone is missing the point here. A bunch of fat cats are applying for a few jobs when the country is in recession and many people are losing their jobs. Look at the fat cats' CV's and ask yourself, an an employer, would you give any of them a job? I wouldn't.

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    1. An unnecessary - and expensive - layer of government where, after 12 years, the Assembly Members are still trying to dream up a role for themselves. In reality they are even more impotent than MEPs - but not on quite such a gravy train.

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    2. Patsy Whiteside11:39 am, May 03, 2012

      Well, someone's going to get the jobs whether you vote or not. In that case doesn't it make sense to vote for the least worst- provided you can work out which one that is. I have read all their manifestos and they are great at telling us what they will do and rubbish at setting out how they will do it.

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  5. True, Morris. Money for old rope on the Assembly.

    I'm surprised none of the mayoral candidates have mentioned one of London's biggest problems: rats. They are everywhere. I have a friend who has a rat in her bedroom. She's too frightened to go in there. She'll vote for anyone who's prepared to kill the damn rat for her. Don't all rush at once, candidates.

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    1. Not much chance - they don't generally kill their own kind.

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  6. When engaged in political\philosophical debate amongst ourselves, you will oft find those of us beastly and horrid `far-right` types wrestling with the following thorny question: Left-wingers and liberals - Are they evil, stupid, or mentally ill? Upon reading this particular article on B21, I now find my own position shifting towards the third option...
    Best wishes
    Julian Leppert

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    Replies
    1. Mental illness is a clinical condition which sometimes can be treated successfully. Evil and stupid are not!

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  7. Further advice for the troubled mind behind this article:
    1. Google `Oikophobia (Scruton's usage)` and `Xenophilia`
    2. Accept your condition and the harmful nature of it.
    3. Seek psychiatric advice from a registered professional.
    Always happy to help
    Julian Leppert

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    Replies
    1. Stick to delivering the post. You'll find it less demanding.

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  8. Calling your opponents mentally ill is something you do when when you don't have any arguments.

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    1. As stated above on 2 May by a political thug.

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  9. So Evans has scraped (but only just) a further 4 years free ride on the gravy train.

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    1. He ran a decent campaign, stood on his record but is still the shortest AM elected so far ...

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    2. Pity he does nothing in the 3 years and 8 months between campaigns.

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    3. I shall be exercising his synapses on a local Planning matter shortly ....

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  10. Roger Evans had about 40,000 knocked off his majority. Boris "scraped home" by 3% over Ken after second preferences allocated.

    Interestingly, there are NINE Conservatives so the Opposition do not have the Two-thirds Majority necessary to block budgets and so on (and introduce their own, which they would be obliged to do under 'The Rules'.




    "Have you seen the price of Velcro? What a rip-off!!"

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    1. Given the size of the electorate Evans came uncomfortably close to joining Barnes (Ealing & Hillingdon) and Coleman (Barnet & Camden) in ignominious defeat. Now he can look forward to another £220k (before deductions) on the gravy train before starting work again 4 months before the 2016 election.

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    2. I find it interesting that nobody seemed to pick up on the occasions recently when Ken shot himself in the foot (feet?) over the Olympics.

      When he was being taken to task over traffic chaos recently he said that he hadn't known how bad it would be because, when the contact (for the Olympics) was signed, there was very little detail attached to it ...

      Translation = "I signed a blank cheque".

      Endeavouring to make a political point over policing levels, he pointed out that London will be the prime terrorist target in the world ...

      Translation = "I made London the prime terrorist target in the world."

      This was reinforced a couple of days later by the announcement of the surface to air missile installations which, if brought into action could turn part of London into a second Lockerbie ...

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    3. And of course, Knowsie, there were no bureaucrats in City Hall/Whitehall to check out the chaos (both physical and financial) suffered by virtually every other Olympics host nation since WW2, which might just - in a teensie-weensie way, have alerted The Old Newt to possible risks.

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  11. I don't think they would have made the slightest difference,Judith. Ken wanted the Olympics and that was all that mattered.

    No difference to Boris when he decided to get rid of the bendi-buses (because they didn't kill any cyclists).

    A fleet of well over 400 buses at around £350,000 - £400,000 a time, some only three years old - and, if anybody tells you they are enjoying a second life in the Maltese sun they are lying. About 70 were exported to Malta, that's true, but the remaining 350 are rotting in fields the length and breadth of the country.

    Don't forget the cost of the replacements, either - nearly twice as many double deckers - a snip at £200,000 apiece (not to mention the additional drivers needed)>

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