Saturday 24 May 2014

Post election musings

Having a rest this weekend after a few weeks of heavy campaigning with TUSC for the council elections. Don't worry though this isn't going to be one of those '4,000 votes for socialism' posts.

But it has been a good campaign -  and it feels good to have been a part of it. Maybe we are in a rare little pocket of sanity here in my bit of North London but here the SP and the SWP, community groups, independent socialists and activists and rank and file trade unionists have all genuinely worked together amicably. And that felt good. Good to break out beyond our own political ghettos. Good to be getting out on the streets of where we live. And good to reach out to many people who had all but given up hope that there was any alternative to austerity.

Certainly in London as a whole I am all too aware that we are in a pocket of sanity when it comes to UKIP. Thankfully UKIP's worst results were in London, but I fear that in the rest of the country their in-roads into the white working class heartlands vindicate my suggestion that name-calling and ridicule are no substitute for a strategy against them.

Is TUSC the future? I don't know. I hope so.  Although the ramifications of the RMT leadership contest may now  jeopardise its future. And without the weight of a trade union behind it, I fear that the project could be reduced to another left unity-style love-in of the Far Left.

Sunday 11 May 2014

Errors of judgment ...

I've made a few errors of judgment in my time, Some of them big, some of them small:

The other day I did a short journey on my bike - it was drizzling but I didn't bother with my waterproofs - and I ended up getting soaked. Or, I was depressed in my work for several years thinking it was too late to make a career change - then it was forced on me and now I regret not doing it earlier. Both these things were errors of judgement. That is to say I thought about what I was doing, made a decision and in good faith, got it wrong.

However I didn't send a series of misogyist emails (like Football boss Richard Scudamore) or recite a racist nursery rhyme on TV (like Jeremy Clarkson) or misuse public office for private gain (like my own local Labour mayor Sheila Peacock). And yet all these people within the past few days have claimed to make an 'error of judgment'.

Let's get it right. These people fucked up. They didn't have the misfortune to  make a wrong decision in good faith.  Their dark and deep-seated arsehole-ness was just publicly revealed for all to see .

Saturday 3 May 2014

The real thing about UKP ...

UKIP continues to be over-exposed in the media - along with the very real risk that every discussion about its threat may very well turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

There now seems to be a couple of different takes on UKIP - essentially these boil down to Farage and his crew being either nasty racists or just crass and daft - or possibly all of these things.

But the thing about UKIP is  not so much that they are Oswald Mosley as that they are Jeremy Clarkson. Or Alan Partridge. Smug xenophobic and small-minded yes - but cryto-Fascists not so much. Their immigrant scape-goating is no less of a threat - but in truth the 'mainstream' parties are not so very behind in jumping on that particular band wagon.

The real danger of UKIP is not that those golf club reactionaries of Mail-land are turning to them in droves. This will only cost the Tories some votes amongst the aspirational lower middle classes. The real danger is that genuinely disaffected working class voters might just actually swallow the insidious nonsense that UKIP reflects their interests.

The real way to challenge UKIP is to expose the falsehood  that they are a party of 'real people' who stand outside the elite political class that has come to dominate all the parties. 

Farage might well be a bigot and a twat, but the most important thing you need to know about him is that he is a public schoolboy, a fat cat former city trader, the son of a stockbroker, and a politician from his early days as a Young Conservative. He is every bit as avaricious and corrupt as the rest of them. And most importantly of all, his party wholeheartedly supports a vicious austerity programme whilst also  wholeheartedly opposing any sort of workers' rights. 

In other words UKIP has absolutely fuck-all to offer the very people it is now trying to appeal to - and that is the message we need to be taking up rather than name-calling.