Sunday, May 04, 2008

Laban's Election Roundup

A few points

a) Labour did well in the Assembly votes - they finished with one extra seat

b) this was in marked contrast to the Labour vote elsewhere. The Ken effect, or an effect of the (relatively) high turnout ?

c) outside of London the working class Labour heartlands are losing the tribal Labour votes. And once identification stops being tribal, it's difficult - if not impossible - to go back. I remember how I felt when I first walked into a booth to cast a Tory vote (2001 after voting Labour since 18). The first time is the hardest. I would still vote Labour again (if Frank Field led them!) but it'll never be a tribal thing again. My children haven't inherited the 'Labour are for people like us' culture that I was brought up on, either. Look at the collapse in the South Wales Valleys. Look at some of the places the BNP gained seats - Bedworth, Rotherham, Stoke. These aren't Tories switching votes. Look at the performance of the Barrow in Furness People's Party. Labour's contempt for the working class - over immigration, the smoking ban, pensions, the 10p tax rate, crime - is at last being returned with interest.

d) Both Respect and the BNP underwent damaging splits over the last year in which some of their best and most committed organisers departed. The BNP seem to have weathered this somewhat better - I'm surprised Respect didn't do better in London. However Respect aren't going to go away - the odd comment at Socialist Unity tells me that Galloway's Talk Sport radio show is attracting a steady trickle of interest and recruits. (En passant, any split in the far-right immediately brings forth conspiracists seeing the hand of MI5 - and to be fair, they do have a lot of enemies. The Respect split sees to have been accomplished without people seeing the hand of the Bilderberg/Freemasons/Jews/Special Branch everywhere). Two possibilities for the Respect performance :

i) (IMHO most likely) Livingstone's courting of the Muslim vote in London squeezed them - but I'd still expect them to do better in City and East. In Sparkbrook (Brum) they gained a seat and now have three.

ii) they miss the organisational skills of the SWP aka Left List

e) the SWP rump Left List got hammered as once again 'the workers failed to recognise their own best interests'. In Lambeth they only got a few more votes than the delightfully named Jasmijn De Boo of the 'Animals Count' party.

f) the BNP vote in London was only half a percent or less up on its previous vote.

g) but in people terms it was up from 90K to 130K - around a 45% increase. Supporter Guessedworker thinks their candidate ought to show the sort of grace that his beloved does.

h) the anti-BNP case has two contradictory strands

i) they are well-organised suited thugs with a Nazi master plan which will end by revitalising the British rolling-stock industry and lead to the construction of new railway lines to some mysterious buildings in mid-Wales

ii) they are incompetent lumpen thugs who don't turn up to council meetings and don't know what an agenda is
They can't both be right. A bit like the Miliband/Burnham dichotomy or the Tory confusion noted by outradgie.

i) in London the Greens appear to be the acceptable left-wing alternative to Labour

j) some exceptions to the Labour disaster - Oxford, where the IWCA, a genuine left-wing workers party, lost two of their four seats and Cambridge. Could it be that liberal academics and NGO wonks outnumber horny-handed sons and daughters of toil in those fair cities ?

k) now comes decision time for Labour. Do they sack Gordon now, or wait, hypnotised, hoping for Boris to say 'picaninnies' again or something else to turn up ? I think they should, but I hope they don't. Let's draw out the agony. Either way, they'll wait for the Crewe bye-election. If their vote collapses there - which I think is quite possible - they really will be on the rack. Inshallah they'll bottle it anyway and the torture (for them) will continue for another two years.

l) yesterday I knew Gordon was doomed when I looked at the press, looked at a few Labour supporting blogs saying 'In the name of Gord, go !' and actually found myself feeling sorry for him. It didn't last. I went to this site to see what the stealth increase would be on our 2.2 diesel car, which does a not-too-bad 44 to the gallon. £170 this year - £270 two years from now. And it's not a 'green' tax, which would be on petrol consumption. The money's just being used to fill the gaping holes in Gordon's book-keeping. The Labour Party can tar and feather him as far as I'm concerned.

This is all straight off the top of the head stuff based on a trawl of news and blog sources. The big picture for me is the fragmentation of the Labour vote and the end (or a long pace towards the end) of tribal working-class loyalty to them. Quite right too, given that Labour hasn't been loyal to them since ... when ? Jim Callaghan ? Wilson ? Gaitskell ?

Comments/corrections welcome.


Anonymous said...

I think you will find GWs support for the BNP highly qualified.

You yourself have said that the BNP or something like it (a white party) will eventually emerge from the multicultural train wreck.

Im not sure that GW believes that the BNP is that party, not yet.

Guardian apostate said...

Labour lost me several years ago so it's no surprise what happened last week.

With my concerns over immigration and all the issues surrounding it I kept a close eye on the BNP over the course of the campaign. Their vote may only have been half a percent up but that was in the face of an incredible, all party, 'anyone but the BNP' crusade, the usual negative press (an 8 page pull out in the Daily Mirror) and the mysterious combination of ballot box seals being broken and around 400,000 votes 'spoilt'.

I also thought along similar lines to Guessedworker when I heard Richard Barnbrook's speech (I'd read GW's post as well). If they are ever going to make a real breakthrough their approach needs a radical overhaul. A subtler. friendlier way of doing things would reap rewards. To be fair I think Nick Griffin himself has realised this and seems much more astute. As an outsider it seems to me they been in a long drawn out battle with 'the reds' and it's become a bit personal. If ever either of the anti-BNP assessments you cite were true I don't think they are anymore. At the very least the rank and file are mostly good, ordinary, people who are in despair over what's happening in their community. That's something I can empathise with completely.

The most cheering thing with the results in London was the snub given to Galloway and the far left. That, combined with the exit of Red Ken, made it a satisfying night for me. Whether there'll be much of a noticeable change for those of us concerned about immigration and the worst effects of multiculturism is an open question. Boris Johnson's election speech could easily have been penned by a Guardian leader writer.

dearieme said...

"Quite right too, given that Labour hasn't been loyal to them since ... when ?" Since Ernie Bevin. Who, oddly enough, had earned a considerable respect from his political opponents. Unlike Wilson, Gaitskell,.....

Foxy Brown said...

Anon @ 1.12 pm and Guardian Apostate

Check this party out:

Their name is self-explanatory and they were my second preference choice, after the Tories. They seek to protect English identity without excluding people whose cultural ancestry lies outside the British Isles.

They also transcend class and are pro working class. Just the remedy to heal this fractured and fragmented country.

Foxy Brown said...

I'm hoping for a summer of discontent to drive the final nails into the coffin and bury Labour for the next 25 years.

Sgt Troy said...

Well Mr Goldman Sachs says that the UK economy is very vulnerable in the context of a de-leveraging world economy. Those of liberal economic persuasion presumably believe this is a blip, albeit a serious one. And normal, money lending, service will be resumed in a year or so.

Those of nationalist persuasion believe that something serious has gone fatally bang under the bonnet. I incline strongly to this view. And believe that this is what is going to determine political outcomes in the coming years.

"Labour" can hardly go from Globalised Gordo to "Dig for Victory" in one fell swoop! Incidentally did anyone note the "national songbook" fiasco? Gordo, presumably, had issued an edict that 30 defining national songs be collected to be sung by happy schoolchildren, building identity and so on and so forth. How you can be Globalised and have distinctive, apparently somewhat exclusive, "British" values at the same time remains as opaque as ever. Only if you have "psychological issues" I suppose, and are a schizo.

Be that as it may, it certainly is the case that Labour will be absolutely finito when sharply rising unemployment, re-possessions, spending cuts, falling pound, consequent price rises cut in. We could expect them to be out of the game for at least 10 years, hopefully.

The Tories are just the same bastards gleefully rejected in 97. Liberals, as ever, are an irrelevance.

Much of what the population has been told, particularly about the economy, is a pack of lies. The mood will turn very, very ugly. If the liberal economic component, the motor really, of liberalism blows up, then the anti-racism mantras will likely go up with them.

In this context where can the distressed indigenous working class, and indeed elements of the middle classes go, but the BNP? "hope not hate" may have little resonance, it does't really have a fat lot now. I'd have said that Griffin is just as good a communicator as the MSM party leaders - he's better than Brown obviously, he is widely read, writes well - and has ideas which may prove relevant to this unhappy juncture in the nation's history. Indeed it will be determined over the next 10 years, IMO, whether there will be anything that can meaningfully be described as a British nation(or an English one) at all in the future.

I think it is futile to believe that a credible nationalist alternative, eschewing all the hard choices and baggage, will suddently emerge out of next to nothing.

I do think that it is possible that lib-lab-con will try a thirties style National Government, but that would fall right on its arse.

Sgt Troy said...

Incidentally I've been brooding over what to do with the likes of Carling

We will need legal weapons to deal with people like him. Fortunately our ancestors did in fact provide us with an awesome legal recourse. These were the Statutes of Praemunire, the first of which dates from the reign of Richard II. These were originally enacted to counter untoward Papal interference and their effect was to to make it an offence of the utmost gravity to introduce a foreign power, a state within a state, in England(later Britain). Today one could easily identity anyone assisting Islamic colonisation or EU encroachment in our land as being guilty of praemunire. The legal penalities for such an offence were fearsome, they included outlawry and forfeiture of all goods. This would be a quick and easy way for dealing with such people, proportionate to the offence. It may be thought significant that the laws of praemunire were abolished in 1967, I think it highly significant.

I was pleased to discover that Enoch Powell thought the same: “There is a name for appealing over the head of the Crown to an authority outside the realm, and that name is treason. The word may be disused, but the thing is not; and the penalties of praemunire, which those guilty of it formerly incurred, were not disproportionate to its seriousness. Speech in Lancaster (8 )

No Good Boyo said...

Congrats on your return to the Harry's Place blogroll of honour, Laban. Times they are ap changing.

Ross said...

"in London the Greens appear to be the acceptable left-wing alternative to Labour"

I reckon that it has more to do with the Lib Dem protest vote fracturing when there is a PR system.