Some thoughts about the general election

  1. Your vote won’’t change anything. For a number of reasons. Clearly, Labour will win whatever you do. For the Conservatives to produce a workable majority, they need a national swing of about 11%. That is never going to happen. Our arcane political system is actually stacked up against the Tories due to the continual migration of people to the (beautiful) south and the electoral commission not being able to redraw the constituency boundaries quickly enough. Therefore a Labour vote in the north is more valuable than a Tory vote in the south. Boo, and indeed, hoo. The Liberal Democrats aren’’t serious contenders and even they know it. In any case, the first-past-the-post system ensures that third parties are left as impotent as the UN Security Council. Voting for Veritas? UKIP? Respect? More fool you, they are all led by the vain, the pompous and the vile. (George Galloway is a cunt, by the way. No returns. Just as bad as Robert Kilroy Silk.)
  2. The agenda for the next parliamentary term is already set, regardless of who wins. Like it or not, the proposed spending plans of Labour and the Conservatives across the board are pretty much identical. By 2007-08, the tax burden under Labour will be 40.4% of GDP; under the Conservatives it would be 40.1%. They will both have to raise taxes one way or the other to avoid further borrowing (£34 billion in 2004-05, fact kids!). Not that either of them will admit to that – spineless, lying cocksuckers that they all are.
  3. On that note, the Labour Party’’s claim that a vote for the Tories is a vote for massive cuts to essential spending is massaging the truth somewhat. Like Labour, the Tories are committed to year-on-year increases, just not as much by 2008/09. They plan to reduce spending by cutting waste and improving efficiency – although haven’t actually said how. But (and here’’s a controversial opinion for the left), there’’s nothing wrong with a government committing themselves to spending less of our money! Who wouldn’’t want to pay less tax if savings can be made elsewhere? The public sector is notoriously wasteful. Just look at the Child Support Agency revelations from earlier this week. Do we have any reason not to suppose that every government agency is just as badly run and poorly managed? No, I suspect we probably don’’t.
  4. The immigration issue is yet another opportunity for politicians to lie to us. Yes, immigration has gone up under Labour since 1997, but we need to distinguish between economic migrants and asylum seekers. Michael Howard wants you to believe that the country is overrun with Romanian gypsies who want to pimp out your daughter and poo in your laundry basket before picking up their welfare cheques. The fact is, there have been a large number of economic migrants entering the country since 1997, but they are not entering the country illegally. Often they are invited to do jobs that people in this country are either too fat, lazy or stupid to do, or to fill a skills gap in the market. Fact: the NHS would have collapsed without a steady stream of nurses, doctors, porters and cleaners from overseas. As for asylum seekers, well, take a look at the world since 1997. There have been a lot of countries to flee from: Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Zimbabwe (notice how each of these countries either has historical links to Britain or, more recently, there’ s a good likelihood that we’’ve been bombing them for one reason or another). So yes, there are many genuine asylum cases. What the Conservatives and their army of little Englander, jam-making, Daily Mail-reading plankton really mean when they express concern about rampant immigration (although they would never admit it), is that there are too many ““coloureds”” coming into the country for their liking. And there, at last, is a tangible difference between the Conservatives and the Labour Party.
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Centrist. Atlanticist. Dry liberal. Anti-totalitarian. Post-ideological pragmatist. Child of The Enlightenment. Toucan.

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7 comments on “Some thoughts about the general election
  1. Anonymous says:

    You do not seem to have have much insight into why larger swathes of English jam makers worry about immigration. They are not worried about skin colour, they are worried about the effect that immigration may have on the society that they feel a part of. From my experience the people who seem most sanguine about immigration are those who do not have that much interaction with the broad swathe of British society, even though they themselves are often members of very introspective, intolerant and exclusive ‘micro-societies’. There are still a lot of people around who do care about having a functional nationwide society, and it is right that they should highlight trends that they feel have the potential to effect that society.

  2. sparx says:

    I think most people who worry about things like immigration do so because papers like the Daily Mail tell them to.

    Want further proof as to our middle classes inability to thing for themselves? Look at the MMR fiasco, sparked by an ill-informed paper. No guesses as to which one!

  3. Citizen Sane says:

    Well, exactly. What the Tories and the Daily Mail both do is tap into a particular facet of British psychology that fears “invasion” or anything that will threaten “the British way of life” (whatever that is). The Tories do it to win votes, the Daily Mail do it to shift copies of their tawdry little rag. Both are pandering to the lowest common denominator, playing to people’s fear and using scaremongering tactics (Gypsies! Immigrants! Immigrants with HIV! More gypsies! Immigrants with criminal records! Immigrants with halitosis!) without considering the consequences, which is why they are both despicable.

    And as for skin colour not being an issue: bullshit. Do you think the people who whine about Johnny Foreigner would be anywhere near as concerned if those coming in were white Canadians? No, of course they wouldn’t. Scratch the surface of anyone who feels this country is under threat from immigrants and you’ll soon find a racist theory underpinning it all.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Again you are being somewhat simplistic about skin colour. Yes you are correct that Canadians would engender less concern, but I would say that this is because their culture is very similar to ours and so have less impact on the cultural cohesion of British society. I would say that it is the immigration of cultures into Britain rather than the immigration of different races that concerns people. You have over played the race card, but why shouldn’t you, it nearly always works. Especially amongst those with a very conformist set of views.

  5. Citizen Sane says:

    No, the only simplistic argument here is that immigration automatically leads to rising crime and civil unrest. Michael Howard has even evoked Enoch Powell today with his warnings about race riots. Why doesn’t he just prophesise rivers of blood and be done with it? The point is, Howard and the like have a vested interest in claiming that immigration is “out of control”, when it just isn’t. Nobody is advocating a complete open door policy, so what exactly is his point? He’s feeding people’s fears to attract votes but, fortunately, it looks like it’s backfiring: http://politics.guardian.co.uk/conservatives/story/0,9061,1462954,00.html

  6. Anonymous says:

    I agree immigration certainly does not automatically lead to civil unrest, but extensive migration can lead to a lack of social cohesion. My view is that humans are social creatures and human happiness is rooted in social cohesion. Just a thought – can there be a multicultural society, when it is culture that defines a society. You can have a multicultural country, but that is a country made up of separate societies, societies that often have little interest in each other.

  7. Citizen Sane says:

    But what IS British society? It never was and never will be some homogenous concept. My life has virtually nothing in common with people living in the ex-mining towns of Wales, for example. Equally, I can find little common ground with the socialites of Chelsea. Stockbrokers living in Guildford have a very different concept of what it means to be “British”, than say, students living in Sunderland. There is no single definition of British culture, or society. Therefore it cannot be under threat, can it?

    Another question for you: why is it that the people who carp on most about the “threat” of immigrants almost invariably live in areas that are barely affected by it?

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