Left Disunity

 

Left Unity was formed in 2013, after Ken Loach’s “Spirit of 45” documentary and a call for a new voice of the left.

‘Labour is part of the problem, not the solution’
Ken Loach

The Labour left has all but disappeared, being left of the Conservatives or UKIP isn’t the same as being on the Left, and sadly Tony Benn has passed away.

‘Viewing the Greens many admirable policies, but lack analysis for fundamental change.
Calling for a new party, democratic, principled and properly organised.’ Ken Loach

Medway Left Unity was formed soon after. Keevil did not go to the launch, but Jennings did and reached the conclusion that it probably wasn’t for him when someone declared that they wanted to “kill the fucking Tories” to the approval of many in the room.

Medway Left Unity is listed on Left Unity’s website of local branches, yet when Left Unity launched there 2015 manifesto, from a squat in Soho, Medway’s Left Unity were silent.

Since we launched this blog we have repeatedly requested comment from Medway Left Unity, in the beginning were informed of MLU’s GE2015 intentions, and then asked not to publish and we would receive official word.

And we never did.

Left Unity, the new voice of the left, democratic, principled and properly organised is not standing parliamentary candidates in Medway in 2015.

To no fanfare and little notice they decided and much later announced that they would instead be supporting TUSC candidates.

We contacted MLU for confirmation and received no reply.

So all things considered, what’s left for what’s left?

– Is this the Labour left? (The guy in the background)

– Joining MLU and support TUSC who have taken aim at Medway Greens, their former anti-cuts comrades, over Brighton Greens implementing council cuts, showing that TUSC are the only anti-austerity party to seemingly no response from the Greens?

– Or join the party of the NHS, and no tax on minimum wage, that sounds left?

Are watermelon’s the political Jabberwocky?

 

Grain’s ‘China Syndrome’

Grain village is on the Isle of Grain, part of the Rochester & Strood constituency, and on the edge of the Thames estuary.

Grain

On the island is a Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) plant owned by National Grid, which was expanded upon with giant gas storage tanks, moving it closer to the village.

One Grain resident, Jack Hope, has since 2011 been questioning the validity of any emergency plan and been vitriolic on social media on the issues. Calling many local politicians out on the situation, this has left many of them, some of whom feel they are not being given a fair deal having previously engaged with Jack, to ignore and in some cases, block him. As a result, many were reluctant to engage with us for this piece, if at all, due to not wanting re-engage with the issue or Jack Hope, who has been viewed as ‘obsessive’ and ‘abusive’. We want to make it clear that whilst we have used information provided by Jack, this is not a piece by him, and not a piece written with the intention of unreservedly supporting him.

Jack posted the following comment on Facebook before the publication of this post.

“A big thankyou to Steven Keevil & Ed Jennings for taking the time to at least ask questions about my concerns.
I could be about to be torn apart here or I could be shown to be right that my questions deserve answers and that the safety here in Grain should not be hidden in redacted documents. Whatever this blog shows, Steven & Ed have taken the time to write this up and to put across my views and the views of certain Politicians.
If the Politicians in Medway had not been so devious in their attitude to being questioned publicly then maybe the off site plan would today be fit for purpose and not hidden away. ( For the record I have no Idea what the centre and whats left have written. ) All I ask for is the airtime to be heard and to show how politicians here in Medway have placed people in danger zones so that National Grid can profit. Kids are at risk and politicians are trying to hide that fact!!
Thanks Ed & Steve looking forward to reading your blog.”

I’m not going to go into detail about LNG here, for which there are environmental concerns, or about the nature of LNG storage, for which there is evidence of hazards.

There are two main concerns to consider;
1) There have been allegations that the Emergency Plan for the island, in case there was a serious incident, has been hidden and redacted.
2) That children have  been placed in a danger zone.

A map dated 2010, the most up to date we have seen, shows the outer zone in the event of an incident would affect the whole village, and we are given to understand the current plan requires a manual barrier to be placed on Grain road, to stop people driving into the incident, Jack maintains the planned site for the barrier, is in the wrong place.

map 2010

Medway Council and National Grid have in the past maintained that there is little likelihood of an incident, and that is why no public evacuation test has been done. Jack Hope believes this to be one of many unsatisfactory conditions, including the fact that;
– the village fire station is not manned 24/7,
– there is no clear plan to deal with panic should an incident occur,
– or any plan to evacuate the village.

‘Stay home, tune in’ is the best advice given by the council.

In 2011 Cllr Mike Obrien responded by saying:
“I’m confident that I can say to the people of Grain. You have nothing to fear”

The worst case scenario that is acknowledged, maintains that the incident would be contained to the LNG site, and that any attempt to evacuate would result in residents or first responders being placed in danger. If residents go home and stay there they can be contacted and found. The river and beach front then used to bring services to the island. First responders only responding when a risk assessment had been carried out.

Robin Cooper, Medway Council’s Director of Regeneration, Community and Culture, said at the time that a new escape road would be unworkable.

What didn’t help the situation, if not caused the situation, is the reported dropping of an LNG safety leaflet which incorrectly stated significantly high casualty figures as a possibility. More people in fact then lived in the village, which Cooper stated was a blunder. This led to several meetings to be called, meetings which did not alleviate the fears of all residents.

There is a belief that telecommunications would not be vulnerable, despite them traveling past the LNG site, and that the residents homes would provide suitable shelter, offering a safer option then any attempt to evacuate, with Grain having approximately 2,000 residents. Jack Hope’s concerns being for those not in their homes, and for those at school. Would children be safe in those buildings during an incident?

Have children been placed in danger? It is an incredibly emotive question. The 2012 plans are confidential, as they contain sensitive information and intended for emergency responders. There has been no public consultation, and it was suggested that it was actions by Jack Hope that led to previous plans being removed from public view, though we do not know what those actions were.

Jack Hope has requested that a compensation package be made available to those residents of the village who wish to relocate due to the LNG site.

The councils Health & Safety Executive are satisfied the current plan is well tested with an emergency notification system and a warning siren, which Jack insists is not sufficient. And the council insists that the school is beyond any danger zone, though again Jack points out the consideration of wind carrying any fallout.

“Should something happen to the LNG facility it would affect the whole of the Medway towns in a worse case scenario.”
Chris Sams, council candidate for the Liberal Democrats

TUSC candidate for the Peninsula Chas Berry does believe that children have been placed in danger for this very reason.

We spoke with Vince Maple, Labour Group Leader, and a significant target for Jack’s anger.

“We met with Jack because in the large amount of emails there was legitimate concerns… one being the siren system, which is now louder.
Glyn Griffiths and I visited the National Grid LNG plant – I am not “on the payroll” when I say it seemed to be well run and as safe as possible.
With regards redacted files, the plant is a site of National Interest, there will be redacted information, which the public, which I as leader of the council opposition do not have a right to see. I think that for national security that is acceptable.”

Have children been placed into a danger zone?

“I don’t believe this is a simple yes or no.

When a child crosses the road they are at risk, but using the green cross code and safe driving dramatically reduces that risk.
So is there is a risk, but the risks are being managed.”

Mark Reckless, the UKIP MP for Rochester & Strood, of which the Village of Grain is part of told us

“Jack’s approach hasn’t necessarily encouraged bodies to co-operate, but when he started he drew attention to important issues;
1) the evacuation plan involved the parish council, something they weren’t aware of and hadn’t agreed to.
2) The siren which had been installed wasn’t sufficient and hadn’t been fully tested.
3) I ensured that a senior HSE representative came to a meeting of Grain residents, and I feel this meeting was constructive and showed safety was being taken seriously.

I have visited the site three times, and before I visited the LNG I met with other MPs researching LNG sites and I was satisfied the plant was well run and they take safety extremely seriously, for what is in a worst case scenario a horrific outcome.
It is a concern about the information that is available, but there is a trade of between local concerns and National Grid/ Police concerns about making information available to those that would do us harm.”

Have children been placed into a danger zone?

“I think there is a small, a tiny, possibility, as there would be when you store that much gas in one place, although the temperature it stores at mitigates against the risk. I believe HSE believe the most stringent measures in place.”

It is our measured and non-scientific or expert opinion that whilst there is a real risk with LNG, just as there is with any gas storage, it is unlikely to cause the destruction of Grain village, however the lack of clear continual communication on the issue has given the appearance of a conspiracy to hide the fact that people, including children, have been placed in danger without care or consideration.

A clear frustration for Jack Hope is that he is the only person talking about this. A clear frustration for others is that Jack Hope is talking about this.

Following the issue becomes difficult for some on social media, with Jack’s passion being a barrier to some from using Facebook groups where Jack can frequently be found accusing many of Medway’s local politicians for being silent and complicit in the danger. We contacted members of each party regarding this post and there was reluctance to speak with us and answer questions on this issue because of the connection with Jack, and he needs to take some responsibility for poisoning the well of available information, and muddying the water of available information, on this issue.

Medway Council refused to answer any of our questions seeking clarity on the points above, citing the fact that we had been in contact with Jack Hope as the reason.

Parish councillor Chris Fribbins said on his blog:
“with hindsight the worst thing I did was trying to help you (Jack) in the first place”

We hope that isn’t true for us at this blog also. If so, then this was written by Jennings.

Keevil

The Virtual Doorstep

timthumb

It is said that elections are won on the doorstep, and that may well be true. Being an armchair activist, it’s difficult to check up on that. Labour, TUSC and the Greens recently launched their Medway election campaigns on the High Street, and again this was difficult to check from the armchair. Twitter and blogs however are part of our social media present and future, and if the election was decided there, how would the Medway parties do. (The following is accurate at the time of writing) (Images were the first offered for each under a google search!) (Image size was not manipulated)

Conservatives

@Medwaytories haven’t tweeted since sept 2014, the home page has the same content and the latest news is dated 2012! Either the webmaster has defected to UKIP or they have no news. Both MPs Crouch and Chisthi have Twitter accounts, and Crouch genuinely appears to connect on a human level, with a mixture of MP news and personal responses. Chisthi is almost automated response unit of pictures and statements, informative but at times cold. PPC Tolhurst regularly tweets, about the issues on the campaign, however does appear to tweet in the 3rd person! Cllr Mike O’Brien regularly tweets and blogs, and something to like about it is it genially reflects his day to day activities as a Councillor,  but the rest of the @Medwaytories seem to not feel the need for electronic communication.

Labour

@medwaylabour regularly tweets, though they have been accused, by Keevil mostly, of being negative. @Cllrtrisosborne, regularly tweets in support of Labour national and local, as well as individual ward. He also blogs. Reports that he would sacrifice your young to the Twitter gods to win remain unsubstantiated. The Rochester & Strood Gillingham South candidate @naushabahkhan semi regularly tweets in a fairly pleasant if unremarkable fashion. @paulclark4GandR regularly tweets from the campaign trail, or at least somebody does. @vinceMaple leader of the labour group, and fellow beardy, regularly tweets along party lines. Well say regularly, its almost as if he does social media in bursts. And you can often find older tweets retweeted. Vince has challenged Rodney Chambers to a debate #BattleForGunWharf and we fully expect Cllr Chambers to respond in the next 3-4 not in your lifetimes.

Liberal Democrats

They don’t trust the internet, they don’t think people of Gillingham have the internet, and therefore Twitter is one of the only places a Gillingham resident wont get sent a picture of Goeff Juby pointing at a pot hole. The above image on the Medway Lib Dem website is, in a rumour we are making up here and now, part of a Lib Dem plan to annex Rochester from Stood Constituency and close the bridge. Chris Sams, a LibDem candidate in Gillingham does tweet but wants it to be made VERY clear he does so in his own capacity and does NOT have a view that represents the Medway Lib Dems. On anything. In unrelated news he also runs the @medwaylibdems account. @Prue4Rochester is the Lib Dem PPC for Rochester. Do not mention to her that she is from outside Medway. Its not relevant. Or of interest. Or have any merits in mentioning. Which is why we haven’t brought it up here. At all. No. @MedwayPaul Paul Chaplin representing the hallowed Gillingham Lib Dems. This sentence is as interesting as his tweets. Contact has been received from Tonbridge & Malling @TMLibDems so that’s Chatham and Aylesford covered.
UPDATE:
We have been ‘accidentally’ blocked by @medwaypaul so he may have got much more interesting. or liberal. its impossible to tell.
Prue Bray fairly requested us to actually say something about her tweeting, What’s of interest is her Rochester centric account @prue4rochester hasn’t tweeted in a week (at time of writing) whilst her regular account @pruebray has. Does this mean she has given up on Rochester already?

UKIP

Medway UKIP hasn’t tweeted since February. @UKIPRochester is currently tweeting. Has @MedwayUKIP been expelled from the party? MP @MarkReckless semi regularly tweets and shows a mixture of party line and seeming to actually care. He has so far failed to say anything racist, which just goes to show that Medway Ukip are not a racist party. Cllr Chris Ivine aka @ci247 formerly @cgi247 is the tweeting voice of Medway UKIP, happy to inform or cause offence in equal measure. Not all tweets survive. TUSC

TUSC

@MedwayTUSC regularly tweets, and can be easily angered. PPC @Jacqui Berry regularly tweets and blogs pushing the anti-austerity message, somebody should.

Medway Greens

If we hear anything we will let you know.

State of the Unitary

What is a Unitary Authority?

 

 “A Unitary Authority (UA) is a local government structure which combines the functions of the two tiers of County and District/Borough Councils.
Medway became a UA following the decision to amalgamate Rochester Upon Medway and Gillingham Councils with the relevant part of Kent County Council.”
Cllr Vince Maple, leader of the Medway Labour group

 “Usually, you have two tiers of Local Government, the County Council which deals with strategic and major issues such as organising elections, working with schools and emergency services for example. They work parallel to the District Council, which is responsible for a much smaller area. So you would expect many district councils to operate in the same area as one county council. District Councils are responsible for issues such as housing, car parking and environmental health.

The concept of a unitary, is to for a specific area merge those powers under one authority. Therefore, in the case of Medway, all decisions be they working with emergency services or with social housing are taken by the one council.”
Cllr Mike O’Brien, Conservative councillor for Rainham Central

“Obvious answer is that it is a single tier of local government covering a specified geographic area to reduce costs, as opposed to wider areas which may comprise of district and county councils.
Medway does still have Parish Councils which some argue represent another tier of local government. I am generally supportive of Parish Councils as they tend to be made up of representatives from distinct villages who may be better placed to consider and address hyper-local matters, though at a cost in the form of a Parish precept.”
Cllr Chris Irvine, leader of the Medway UKIP group

“A top tier local governing body that administers an area but is separate to the local council”
Chris Sams, Liberal Democrat council candidate for Gillingham South Ward

“Unitary authorities of England are local authorities that are responsible for all local government services within a district.
So says Wikipedia anyway.”
Jacqui Berry, TUSC PPC Gillingham and Rainham

 

 Why isn’t Medway part of Kent?

 

“The majority of KCC administers rural areas and Medway being the largest urban area was not being represented so broke away possibly? But before my time!”
Chris Sams, Liberal Democrat council candidate for Gillingham South Ward

“Because it is a unitary authority. Seemples.
I’m not sure however that many people get the nuance and it is largely subjective as to whether someone in Medway considers themselves to be in Kent.
I think it’s nice to be both.”
Cllr Chris Irvine, leader of the Medway UKIP group

 “Medway is part of the historic county of Kent through basis of our geography and for many other services is recognised as such.
In local political terms it is distinct; Medway Unitary Authority was formed in 1998 when the City of Rochester-upon-Medway amalgamated with Gillingham Borough Council and part of Kent County Council to form Medway Council, a unitary authority independent of Kent County Council”
Cllr Tristan Osborne. Labour PPC for Chatham and Aylesford

 “It is in Kent, but it’s a bit big to be a borough of Kent County Council. Plus, with the dockyard it’s always been a bit separate.”
Jacqui Berry, TUSC PPC for Gillingham and Rainham

“The individual towns in Medway are classed as Kent as far as what ceremonial or geographical county they belong to. Therefore the Lord Lieutenant of Kent is responsible for the Medway towns as much as he would be Maidstone. The Medway Towns however are not under the prerogative of Kent County Council as they are a Unitary Council, though as you would expect there is much scope for joint working between the two.”
Cllr Mike O’Brien, Conservative councillor for Rainham Central

Why is Medway a unitary authority?

 

“Very good question.
Many in my ward of Peninsula feel no affinity whatsoever to Chatham, Rainham and Gillingham, and some are even calling for independence from Medway Council, particularly following the council’s decision to concrete over Lodge Hill.
Unitary authorities are, in my opinion, a reasonable proposal but we need a representative democracy on the council which we simply don’t have under the current Leader and Cabinet model which UKIP will scrap.”
Cllr Chris Irvine, leader of the Medway UKIP group

 “There is a massive population in one of the largest conurbations  in the south.
Makes sense it is self governed.”
Chris Sams, Liberal Democrat council candidate for Gillingham South

“At the time it was recognised by the government that Medway being a major urban centres has major strategic and political challenges best managed at a Medway-level. The Labour-led Borough Authorities at the time supported the move towards a single-layer of local government.
The creation of the UA led to the lowest Council Tax in England and a single layer of political representation and accountability.”
Cllr Tristan Osborne, Labour PPC for Chatham and Aylesford

“The formation of Medway Unitary Council goes back to 1998, when John Gummer as Environmental Secretary rolled out plans for Unitary Councils. Representatives of various councils met with Mr Gummer and it was felt that the towns would benefit from being a Unitary.”
Cllr Mike OBrien, Conservative councillor for Rainham Central

“I’ll be honest, I don’t know if anyone really cares.”
Jacqui Berry, TUSC PPC for Gillingham and Rainham

(Delayed) Reaction: Winning Back Medway

During the Sunday Politics South East (SPSE) on 15th Feb there was a piece entitled ‘Winning Back Medway’ book-ended with an interview with Medway’s own Labour PPC for Chatham & Aylesford, Cllr Tristan Osborne. We at The Centre and What’s Left thought it would be good to consider and counterpoint the piece, and a month later, here that is!

The programme makes the valid starting point that Medway should/ could be a key battleground – we covered this with Medway Voter Power – yet only Chatham & Aylesford appears on the target list for Labour, whilst Rochester & Strood is in a nexus point of being/not being a target ward for the Conservatives. Whether Chatham & Aylesford is a target for Tonbridge & Malling Liberal Democrats remains unclear, but we probably all know the answer to that.

Former MP for Gillingham & Rainham Paul ‘confident of a Labour comeback’ Clark appeared in the piece full of political bluster. He is obviously not going to appear on SPSE and say Rehman Chisthi has a clear lead, even if he does. Clark stated he is

“determined the Labour Party wouldn’t forget about Gillingham and Rainham”

If he is true to his word we can expect additions to ‘Our Honoured Guests’.

The piece goes on to interview the Prime Minister, in Chatham, the Labour target. Yet he fails to mention he was there with Conservative PPC for Rochester & Strood Kelly Tolhurst, not Tracey Crouch MP, because whilst the location was Chatham, the constituency was Rochester & Strood.

The presenter then hits the high street to vox pop our way to meaningless insights. Asking people who they would vote for, then showing the party leaders for the Conservatives and Labour, rather than Tracey Crouch MP and PPC Tristan Osborne, who they can actually vote for (ignoring this is a High street, so the people being asked might not even live in Chatham). The meaninglessness was compounded when residents were also offered Nigel Farage, somebody else they can’t vote for, and at the time of writing UKIP don’t have a candidate standing in Chatham & Aylesford!

In the main show Labour PPC Tristan ‘I am aspirational’ Osborne appears to discuss issues live, there is no sign or mention of Tracey Crouch the MP for Chatham & Aylesford in the whole show. Importantly however they do point out that Tristan did use to be a choirboy, and he for good measure points out that ignoring the concept of target seats Labour are “fighting to win every seat”, it will be interesting to see how good a fighter they really are for the Medway seats, and if they do have a full slate of 55 Medway Council Candidates, name them.

“Will be announcing that on Saturday (21st March) as well as launching local government manifesto”
Cllr Vince Maple. Labour Group Leader

Keevil

 

 

 

Vote for Policies 2015

When Jennings and Keevil undertook this political blogging mini-adventure, they wanted to be open about their politics and so they used a variety of tools to demonstrate this.

One of those tools was Vote for Policies and as the title suggests it has been updated for 2015 policies.

Two clear differences this time: The first is no BNP.

The second is more meaningful. Your first option is to decide whether policies are something you would definitely vote for or not.

And this was interesting because presented this way, unattached to a party name. there were policies that you might not vote for, but you also potentially wouldn’t definitely not vote for them.

 

So how did Jennings and Keevil do?

Here we will be presenting the results of their 2015 vote. Later blogs will look at individual policy areas and invited others to comment and counterpoint those.


If you want to take the Vote for Policies 2015

(For full transparency it should be made clear that Keevil contributed to a crowdfunding site to support VfP2015, and received a sticker)

VfP2015c

VfP2015b

Potentially interesting points to notice.

Jennings not Lib Dem areas of choice are evenly split between the other parties, including Conservative and UKIP. His support for Conservative education policy will undoubtedly be an area of future conflict with Keevil.

Keevil’s support for Green policies has declined since VfP 2010, most notably like Jennings supporting the Liberal Democrats policy on the environment, which arguable identifies why he is no longer a member of the Green party.

Repost: Taking Votes

quote-let-s-not-just-look-at-it-as-taking-votes-away-from-gore-our-support-comes-from-a-lot-of-people-ralph-nader-133577

(The last of three reposts from an initial political blog in 2011 – Keevil)

A Local Elections Blog Post, by a new Labour Councillor could not go without comment.

(It is no longer available to view. Which highlights the lie that things are on the internet for ever, and that people aren’t fans of archiving – Keevil)

As much as I don’t want this blog to be a constant rebuke to things that other party members say,

(which is why this blog was created! – Keevil)

sometimes it is needed to raise the level of debate in these towns.

(it’s still needed. again hence the new blog – Keevil)

In it, it said;

“Despite the protestations by those on the left; if the Green Party or this TUSC band of lunatics, we would have been able to dent the Tory majority. This point is stressed every single time – if you split the left vote with fringe parties (and lets be frank they are not a realistic prospect of being in government, and even less so with no AV) then you open the field up to the right. Fact.”

I’m not indifferent to the situation. I was inclined to only reply to this with a West Wing clip, which makes the point I would like to make marvelously, though you have to wait till the end of the clip.

(at about 1:49. if you can’t watch it all – Keevil)

However, I couldn’t just leave it there, for one simple reason.

“Fact.”

The blogger in question had used that at the end, and by the rules of intellectualism had won the point. The only thing they could have done to make a stronger point would have been to put “QED” at the end of the sentence. Now I don’t fully understand this, but a housemate used it all the time at Uni, and he got his way a lot.

Anyways.

(a decade later and I’m still not over it – Keevil)

There are two points, firstly the admission that the voting system is unfair under FPTP (which favours a two party system)  compared to what it would be under AV, or heaven forbid Proportional Representation.

(There having been a referendum – a completely fair and open referendum at that – this topic can never be again discussed – Keevil)

Secondly is the idea that the Green Party should stand aside for the Labour Party. This implies that the voters like sheep would automatically vote Labour which they wouldn’t. Also I could not in good conscience support a local party which refuses to apologise, on any level, for the New Labour Government.

If I concede that good things happened under New Labour, will the blogger concede that bad things did to? Or will the very attempt cause them to go into mental breakdown?

Thirdly, they should look at the large percentage of people who don’t vote in Medway and ask themselves what they did to encourage/discourage higher turnout.

I am reminded of a ballot paper in the second By-Election where the voter had written no in every candidates box. Except mine. Except for the Green Party.

How could I stand aside in my

(by my, I meant I lived there, not owned it – Keevil)

ward for two Labour representatives, one who in his acceptance speech upon becoming Councillor stated regarding his Conservative opponent

“we agree on a great many things”

(nearly half a decade later and I’m still not over it – Keevil)

The other who argues loudly for cuts and defends Trident, despite it being illegal and unaffordable.

Labour members continue to assume they have a right to be the party of opposition, whilst siding with the Conservatives on issues and ignoring the growth of a party which now has an MP and successful councillors in Brighton and Norwich.

The Brighton Politics blogger, in his Post ‘Labour is no closer than ever to understanding how to respond to the Greens’  talks about how Labour have rejected a coalition with the Brighton Green Party.

(That blog is still there. Brighton bloggers, showing it how its done – Keevil)

“There is no way that Labour will come anywhere near taking control next time. The next locals are likely to take place on the same day as the general election in 2015. Caroline Lucas will be re-elected with a thumping majority, with Labour coming in a distant third.”

They go on to state that Labour have misled the public twice in recent Elections and that Brighton Labour activists are blinded to reality.

“Labour’s obsessive attacks on Caroline Lucas make the party look like bad losers, and many people are delighted that the City has produced the first Green MP.”

Can we one day expect as has occurred in other areas, a Labour campaign of;

Vote Green get Tories.

(There has been instead a rise of the UKIPper instead. Who do campaign under ‘Vote UKIP, Get UKIP’. Ahem – Keevil)

All I know for certain is that in the first By-Election I stood in

I beat the BNP.

And they didn’t stand in the second.

Come the next election, should the opportunity arise I will most likely stand again,

(which I did. Yay me – Keevil)

and I will definitely support any member of the Green Party that stands also. As I can not support a party which assumes too much and concedes nothing. More importantly, I shouldn’t force the people that voted for me or the Green Party to do it either. QED.

Keevil

RePost: You’re right, I’m wr- left

(This post was originally posted in 2011 – Keevil)

i-disagree-with-you-but-im-pretty-sure-youre-not-hitler

In my previous blog post I discussed my continuing emotional turmoil towards the Conservatives.

(Following the reposting of that blog, they former Councillor in question spoke out against relevance 5 years later and completely missed the point (again) and reinforced why I reposted – Keevil)

And as part of that post I questioned a quote by a former local councillor, and they have taken the time to respond to the question about leftist mass-murders.

(Sadly the post is no longer available online – Keevil)

Now the knee jerk reaction was to challenge again what they had said, but a little time has passed and its enabled me to reconsider, and to question,  he pointed out my ignorance, and what if he was right? That’s why they win: no self doubt, tough on ignorant left bloggers, and tough on the causes of ignorant left bloggers.

(Seemingly disagreeing with what I have to say and my right to re-say it – Keevil)

Before we go any further, I think it is essential that we discuss what do we mean by left and right wing.

Cue West Wing Clip…

 

 

Okay, firstly what is Political Compass?

(We now have a whole section on this blog on this here – Keevil)

Our friend Wikipedia says;

‘The political compass is a multi-axis model, used by the website of the same name, to label or organize political thought on two dimensions.’

So left or right. Authoritarian or libertarian.

Sorry that was a distraction, what DO we mean by right and left wing?

The original idea of left and right wing, actually comes from the pre-revolutionary French assembly, where the Conservatives sat on the right and the Liberals on the left.

Also right means correct and left actually has a Latin translation meaning sinister.

Which actually highlights an issue with the Political Compass, but we shall return to that in a second.  Let us address the above image which shows us a left wing BNP.

Well if we refer to the Political Compass for UK Compass for UK  Political Parties in 2010 you will see something different.

The BNP are firmly on the right!. Left of Labour and the Conservatives sure, but still on the right.

Which does mean Conservatives ARE more right wing than the BNP.

This article in the New Statesman, looks further at whether the BNP is on the left.

However this is because left and right as referenced to in this diagram is based on an economic approach.  With communism on the far left and neo-liberalism on the far right.

Whereas I would argue, ignorantly and wrongly, that the general understanding of left and right is still based on that historical French model. And in the political compass would be understood by the up and down axis of libertarian and authoritarian.

If we were to flip the compass so that that axis was left and right then we would see that the BNP were now far to the right and the Lib Dems were back on the left.

(A friend with autism said they couldn’t comprehend flipping the compass, I suggested turning the screen on its side, that just made things worse. So take my word on it.  Or you know be right and don’t – Keevil)

This is pre-coalition obviously.

However,

Who knows what unforeseen effects could occur from moving the axis so…

So let us accept the left and right economic axis.

Which would mean that historically there have been dictators and mass-murderers who were on the left…

Now I feebly inquired of the blogger whether there could be accidental mass-murder and they clarified that if mass death wasn’t caused by the left wing then it was by “instances of unintentional plagues by release of stored diseases or other exceptions”.

So not only have I learned that there was only left wing mass murderers but that there were no right wing dictators who committed mass murder.

Here is an interesting article about why left wing dictators are more popular than right wing ones.

Where does this leave Hitler, Franco, and Thatcher’s friend Pinochet?

Are we to say that they were left wing?

Whilst Franco and Pinochet killed a small amount compared to icons of the t-shirt wearing Left, Stalin and Mao, they did still kill. Or commit an “exception”.

Can we for the sake of clarity at least no longer refer to it as left or right, but communism and neo-liberalism. We do not refer to libertarians and authoritarianism as up and down.

Something that is worth celebrating is the continued success of the Conservative Party, the political underdog, in light of a left wing conspiracy of teachers and media whose leftist agenda makes our nation’s children ignorant.

If only they had the support of a multi-national ultra conservative neo-liberal press baron… C’est la vie.

Though read this interesting article which argues that the BBC far from having a leftist agenda is actually Conservative at its core.

Okay let us wrap up with a run down of other gems from the blog post;

their (Brown and Blair) “New Labour’ party is also highly involved with those shadowy organisations (e.g. Bilderberg)

Thanks for clarification that the Conservative Party are in no way linked to the Bilderberg Group.

And that this Wikipedia entry, saying that it was attended by Prime Minister Thatcher as well as Chancellors Kenneth Clarke and Osbourne respectively is obviously wrong.

The State is everything and the individual is nothing.

I’ve looked through the Green Party Manifesto and that really isn’t covered, I’m hoping that it will be updated soon.

(I am unaware if it is in the 2015 manifesto – Keevil)

http://www.greenparty.org.uk/policies.html

It does however say

We are demanding the introduction of a ‘Living Wage’. This will help ensure low paid workers earn enough to provide for themselves and their families and eradicate poverty in Britain for good. The Green Party will fight for a National Minimum Wage of 60% of net national average earnings (currently this would mean a minimum wage of £8.10 per hour).

Which I’m assuming is a typo.

The usual three-prong lefty approach: theft (ever higher taxes, property theft, losses of liberties and rights)

Loss of liberty, again is an interesting one, I’m against national ID cards and detention longer than 48 hours without charge. I’m also against rendition and the torture of suspects.

I will have to check if I am in conflict here with others on the left, if I am, this could be awkward.

(you were when this was written sadly – Jennings)

I must end my post (and repost – Keevil) there and read no more, as according to the Blog post I only have three options;

1) Live in ignorance.

2) Become evil.

3) Become right wing.

Feel free to let me know which option you think I should go with.

Keevil

RePost: A comment on ‘Defence Against The Dark Arts’ 

(The following comment was left on the original post and I present it here, unedited – Keevil)

It would be worth asking a conservative if your most ravenous, militant revolutionary anti-capitalist is evil – they will say yes, certainly and probably cite a similar argument to the one in your former Tory Councillor’s blog post that you referenced. These political differences are a conflict of social and economic interests – ‘lefties’ aim to do away with the excessive economic privileges of the minority of successful capitalists and share this wealth amongst all people to raise their living standards, what act is more evil than this to a businessman or the elected representative that swears to protect his interests? By their standards, they have earned this privilege through hard work – it would be very evil in their eyes for this to be taken away. On the other hand, the ‘leftie’ sees this privilege as something built by the masses of labourers who are the physical power behind all of these economic gains, therefore not one individual’s efforts can be attributed to these gains and they should be shared out for the benefit of the common good – for a small group to enjoy these gains is an evil act in this regard, or at the very least a horribly greedy and immoral act.

In reply to the Tory’s argument that you posted, I would say to him or her that wonderful capitalism causes more deaths, either directly or indirectly, every year than any kind of alternative ever has had the chance of causing and if pushed I would ask all of my leftie friends to help me dig out numbers to highlight this fair point.

Is a Tory evil? The Tory is just a person and his/her politics represent a certain set of interests that they may well find totally morally correct. With the definition you posted in mind, I will take one word: immoral – this will be the word for the basis of my determination of whether the Tory’s political and economic outlook on life is evil in relation to the interests I find morally correct.

Here’s one of the latest Tory policies that has made me feel sick to my stomach – is that immoral? Based on the false election pretenses alone, such as the ‘big society’, it is nothing short of immoral (unless we consider our homeless citizens outside of this ‘big society’).

Take your pick of other Tory policies implemented post-election – for me, it would be incredibly difficult to find a Con-Dem cut that could be morally justified. Perhaps we can justify these policies from an economic standing-point, from the perspective of business interests, but I would not accept the notion that the economic interests of those with a lot of money is a moral interest that has the majority of people in mind, from the single-mother who’s benefits are being cut, to the homeless man on the streets of London who’s soup kitchen has been closed down – what do these people care about what’s good for business? What’s good for business is almost always bad for these people.

So what can we say? Can the individual Tory, who really believes that what (s)he’s doing is morally correct, be called ‘evil’? I would say that they represent a political force which has a whole political and economic outlook that is immoral in a broad social sense, and I would argue that the policies they defend have met a majority of the population with significant misery and poverty – morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked are words I think are perfectly adequate in this regard. With my perspective on the table, we assume that the individual Tory is either politically evil or politically naive and therefore evil by proxy of his or her ignorance.

The same goes for all mainstream politicians with my perspective in mind, or rather, all of those who are conscious in maintaining a system that is inherently immoral, as it serves a minority’s interests over the majority’s and is responsible for war, famine, poverty and conflict all over the world (including at home). These people, whether Tory, Labour or Lib-Dem all have lied or will hide behind nice, morally correct terms like ‘the big society’ whilst continuing wars, taking away people’s services, selling off their healthcare to private interest, evicting them from their homes and taking away their soup kitchens. It is not the individual that matters entirely, but the system they represent which is fundamentally immoral and perhaps evil by the definition provided.

Individually, these politicians might be the nicest, most loving people you could ever meet, but we separate their politics and their person and judge them accordingly. People aren’t inherently evil I wouldn’t say, but their actions can be, and Tory politics are inherently immoral by my ‘leftie’ standards, so perhaps Tories are evil by proxy of ignorance or they are evil because they actually like making people’s lives a misery in order – who knows?

I was talking to an ultra-conservative the other day and we had great a great conversation when politics was aside – I still find his views fundamentally morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked though.

Olie Martin / June 4, 2011