Daily Archives: 20 April 2007

Darlo Dunce and Metrosexual Maude (UPDATED)

I wasn’t going to comment about this story, but I’m afraid Francis Maude has got me riled up:

There can be no excuse for a mainstream political party promoting extremism and racism. The evidence is there for all to see. Menzies Campbell must get off the fence and sack Steve Jones. He must send a clear message to the rest of his Party that racism will not be tolerated by expelling this councillor from the Liberal Democrats. It’s also alarming that, of the three main political parties, the Liberal Democrats have the worst record in local elections of fielding candidates against the BNP. It is time that they woke up to the danger posed by this extremist party.

Bottom line, the Tories are in no position to start smearing about the BNP and they know it.

You don’t need an elephantine memory to recall that the Tory links with the BNP go right to the top with Nick Griffin’s father who Iain Duncan Smith made a Vice President of his leadership campaign. Only last week, Iain Dale was hailing a frankly bigoted post by Nadine Dorries MP about travellers in which she condemned gypsies and travellers for not ‘settling down’ while simultaneously saying they shouldn’t be allowed to (her blog has been designed by a gibbon and you don’t appear to be able to link to specific posts – scroll down to the post titled ‘She was born in the wagon of a travellin’ show’). Here’s the deal Francis: expel her from the party, and then let’s start talking about which party has the biggest problem with racism and the extreme right.

It’s clear that Stephen Jones has been a bit of an idiot, but it is equally clear that the first person this has undermined is himself, by nominating someone to stand against himself. It isn’t as cut and dried as, say, the situation a few months ago in Burnley where the local Lib Dems really were flirting with the BNP in a way that I find unacceptable.

Francis Maude’s comments will come back to haunt him because as night follows day another Tory is always just days away from getting into a race row. In the ward neighbouring mine here in Barnet, a local councillor – whose idea of fun is to black up and impersonate Nelson Mandela – appears to believe that we should stop immigration to stop Britain from becoming the ‘dustbin of the world‘. Throw a stone anywhere in this country and you have a pretty good chance of hitting a racist Tory.

I’m not saying the Tories are fundamentally racist. I’m not saying the Lib Dems, like all parties, don’t have their own problems with racist elements from time to time. I am saying that if they want to start playing this zero-sum game, they can’t possibly win. Bring it on Francis, bring it on. If you want to drag political discourse down into the gutter, you are going a textbook way about doing so.

You would have thought that Maude would have rather more sympathy for Stephen Jones’ situation given that, less than 24 hours ago, he was mistakenly nominating a Lib Dem to be the Tory candidate for London Mayor. We all make mistakes, but Maude has made bigger ones than most. Perhaps it’s time Cameron came off the fence and sacked him?

UPDATE: I’ve been asked to link to this story about Tory candidate Luke MacKenzie who Francis Maude has mysteriously failed to disown. Happy to oblige.

Holocaust denial ban? Don’t blame the EU!

I too am deeply concerned by reports that the EU is to make holocaust denial an offence (Liberal England, Iain Dale). I’m intrigued though by the suggestion that the Religious and Racial Hatred Act already covers the scope of this law.

What this means is twofold: firstly, a backdoor offence of holocaust denial has already been imposed – by Labour – and that by acquiescing to an EU Directive on the subject, Labour will effectively ensuring this law cannot be revoked without EU approval. The British representative on the Council of Ministers – presumably John Reid – could have vetoed this Directive if they wished: they didn’t.

The problem with the EU is not fundamentally a problem of unelected bureaucrats imposing their will onto the rest of us – it is elected politicians using it as a smokescreen to press for undemocratic agendas. Does it need reform? Undoubtedly. But our fundamental problem in the UK is that, unlike in countries such as Denmark, our government gets to do pretty much what it likes in Brussels without Parliament – never mind everyone else – from having a say.

Courage and substance

Via the Fluffy One, we learn about a book by a wannabe leader that rather shows up Gordon Brown’s efforts:

Something that Mr James did not mention was the PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING book by a Mr Senator John F Kennedy: “PROFILES IN COURAGE”.

What an UNFORTUNATE coincidence!

Written in 1956, four years before he would become President, the book presents eight portraits profiles of US Senators who defied public opinion and their own parties in order to make a stand on an issue that was important to them.

Nor were these EASY decisions to defend: Thomas Hart Benton stayed with the Democratic party even when they were in favour of expanding slavery to the new territories; Edmund G Ross was one of seven Republicans who voted to acquit President Andrew Johnson of the rival National Union Party; Robert A Taft criticised the trial of the Nazis at Nuremburg.

Scottish Elections: it ain’t over ’til its over

Today’s poll in the Times alone does not indicate a trend, but it does conform with what I suspected would happen as we got closer to polling day. The only thing that seems to be losing public support more quickly than the SNP is Scottish independence. People want to give Labour a kicking, but the more polling day looms, the more the Scots appear to be realising that a populist demagogue like Salmond at the controls would be disastrous.

Meanwhile, Salmond appears to be in meltdown mode:

Mr Salmond warned of a “huge public backlash” if the unionist parties “cobble together to circumnavigate the will of the Scottish people”.

I’m sorry, but what? If the majority of the Scottish people reject the separatist parties, we should give them what they want anyway? Part of me would quite like to see us call the SNP’s bluff and let a referendum go ahead, but if independence is less popular than the independents – which it appears to be by almost 2-1 – perhaps Salmond ought to be a little less keen in pressing ahead regardless. The more he shrill he sounds, the more his support is likely to peel away.

He may be comforted to find he has an ally in Tom Watson, who appears to think that the fact that PR is preventing the Scots from having independence foisted on them without their consent is a bad thing.