Sunday, 28 August 2011

What is wrong with 'The Right'?

In today's 'Observer', the Labour Party are said to have drawn their new mode of attack against David Cameron (1).
They will be branding him as 'recognisably right-wing' and as an 'old-style tory', the Conservative party will also have moved 'rapidly rightwards'.

Labour will have to be very careful with how they actually go about this 'attack' for a number of reasons. Firstly, and I believe most importantly, they have yet to define where they stand. It is impossible to go into battle without having your own lines drawn, therefore we will have to assume that the Labour party are 'anti-Right'.
Secondly, without getting too deep into a debate about what is 'left' and what is 'right', we have to look at the grounds on which these accusations come from. Effectively, what has caused this apparent shift to the 'right'.
And finally, the centre. If Cameron has moved rapidly to 'the right' and taken the party with him, who or what will fill the void left closer to the centre?

Since Miliband's election as Labour Party leader, he has done very little with regards to laying down his policy and vision. Much of his rhetoric has been standard opposition to whatever the government says, nothing that establishes his/his party's position, just simple opposition.
Establishing a line of attack is all well and good but it's no use going to a duel without a gun yourself.
Labour should first focus on what it is they stand for instead of launching supposed attacks, Gordon Brown was fuelled by savaging the Conservatives and finding their weaknesses but at least he always had policies of his own to fall back on, even if they were purely partisan.

I struggle to see what has changed about Conservative/Cameron policy to signify this lurch rightwards. His, and the party's rhetoric has remained very much the same for the past few years now. Examples cited in the 'Observer' article are lacking in conviction and substance.
Cameron has spoken of a 'Broken Society/Britain' on the verge of or having experienced a 'moral collapse' for a long time now, this is no sudden development that he wants to change the way that society is structured and functions. Tougher sentencing in the wake of the London Riots is not a move rightwards, it's just populism. The same game that Miliband tried to play but failed at post-Riots.
Regarding immigration, it's not a shift rightwards to speak of multiculturalism failing or to point out the negative effects of immigration on communities. Once more it may be somewhat populist but at the same time it is very consensual and nothing ground-breaking or new.
Criticisms of Cameron's brand of 'compassionate conservatism' are sure to show up but effectively, where have the Conservatives shown a lack of 'compassion'?
Being tough on crime shows compassion to those who deserve it, the victims. Just as underlining the failures of multiculturalism shows compassion to those who have had to live under a system of 'state/forced multiculturalism' but 'compassion' in this sense is not the same as that between people, 'compassionate conservatism' is the shedding of the 'nasty party' image, it's realising that the more staunch partisan politics of the past are not so relevant today.

I have been of the belief that Cameron is looking to change the political consensus for quite some time now, so much so that my undergrad dissertation will focus on it.
What we have to look at is the actual shift of political wings post-war and post-Thatcher.

‘Thatcher made the market the central place in politics, and Blair announced that he intended to “rule from the centre”. That meant the market, and in practise meant a large measure of “Thatcherism” (James, 2003: 360).

The 'centre' in modern Britain is what would have been regarded as the 'right' in 1945. If the centre has shifted rightwards, the 'left' becomes what would have been the centre, everything has to shift along otherwise we would have a vacuum of ideology between the 'left' and 'centre' or vice versa.
So if Cameron is (according to the article) moving more towards the 'right', the 'centre' becomes vacated. Labour now either move to the 'centre' (which is effectively the 'right') or move further away to the 'left' and create the aforementioned vacuum or gulf thus creating two distant poles, neither attending to the 'centre'.
What Labour are doing is painting a picture of Cameron as a 'typical right-wing politician' and planting him on the 'right' so that they themselves can fight for the 'centre' which as we've seen IS the 'right'!

I fail to see what is wrong with a move to the 'right', it's what the people seem to want in the wake of a poorly orchestrated dosage of socialism (in the form of bank bailouts).
People want police to be tougher and more respected, they want to be more selfish and care for themselves, they want their community to be structured not to have a structure imposed on it.
Populist nationalism wins hands down over petty socialism or party politicking, what Labour need to do is go back to the drawing board. The theories of old are losing relevance, a new consensus is coming in and it will bring with it new ways of dealing with things. Labour are classing Cameron as 'right' but their definitions are outdated, Cameron is at the centre and what he is doing is most certainly right.



James, H., 2003. Europe Reborn – A History, 1914-2000. Pearson Longman: Harlow

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Retrospective excuses and how the cracks begin to show

My first post in a very long time, mostly because I've been plain lazy and just kept thoughts in my head rather than write them down, hopefully it won't happen again.

The August riots, along with the 'Hacking scandal' and home-bred Norwegian terrorism have ignited the social networking scene, turning each and every member into an automatic socio-political expert.
One need only refresh their 'News Feed' to see the point of view of their online friends and the ensuing debates which take place. Most of which are very sensationalist, inaccurate and founded on hearsay, I spend enough time reading the news, absorbing and arguing with contributors from around the world, when I click on facebook I'd much rather be confronted with the mundane occurrences of someone's day, not their stab in the dark as to why this, that or the other happened!

That rant aside, lets look at the recent spate of British anti-social hooliganism that has gripped the world and ignited trans-generational debate since its inception.

'They say are going to help us but I don't see any of it, there has to be more opportunities and jobs.'

'Everything we wanted we could get.'

'It was Comet - they didn't reply to me emailing my CV, or going up there so this was payback man, payback' (1)

Do either of the above quotations resound with the death of Mark Duggan at the hands of police? Do either of them relate in anyway to the IPCC investigation surrounding his death?
Do either of them have any link whatsoever to the candlelit vigil held in his honour?

A rather emphatic 'NO' seems to leap from the page doesn't it.

Violence erupts due to police handling of the situation at the aforementioned vigil and all of a sudden a storm of messages are sent round to people in local vicinities to take to the streets and cause some carnage. Shopfronts are smashed in and fires started, this continues through the night.
The world then wakes up to find that this has carried on and more and more people are piling onto the streets, looting high-end electrical goods, designer clothes and sports wear.

If anyone can draw a logical link between the shooting of a man and the need to trespass and steal a pair of trainers, please show me how.
Even better, if someone could show me how the shooting of a man in London leads to copycat vandalism and wanton destruction in Birmingham, Liverpool and other UK cities, then please, please let me know.

The three quotes given above are from a SkyNews special on 'The Riots' and why they happened, taking those three quotes each in turn, lets see what is trying to be said.

'They say are going to help us but I don't see any of it, there has to be more opportunities and jobs.'

'They', presumably the government, say they are going to help 'us', presumably the rioters. First and foremost, what role did the government play in the catalyst for this series of events?
Did the government shoot Mark Duggan?
It's very easy once you've committed a crime or done something wrong to turn around and point the finger of blame at the first thing that comes to mind. The government is of course a very easy target because the media and opposition (regardless of party) can pick up on it and try to seam a link but when the perpetrators of the majority of the damage turn out to be very young (11 being the youngest cited age), one has to wonder firstly whether they know who or what the government is and then question what they themselves have put into society to deserve said 'opportunities' and 'jobs'.

'Everything we wanted we could get.'

Imagine that. Everything that you wanted was right in front of you and you could freely take it at will.
So who stopped these people from getting what they wanted?
Everyone has dreams and things that they'd like but most rational people I know have to go out and work for them, how did the rioters arrive at a situation whereby they could have everything they wanted?
The exact opposite. Rather than go out and work, they grouped up with friends, smashed a few doors down and tore a couple of televisions from walls, grabbed the latest playstation game on the way out for good measure and of course a DVD player for the fun of it.
It goes without saying that if that was the way of the world then 'nice things' and 'luxuries' wouldn't exist.
What kind of person brings a child into the world and lets them believe that is the right thing to do?
What kind of person destroys someone else's livelihood because they don't have the same things as them?

A very dark picture is painted when we sit back and reflect on these factors. The family unit and set of values is well and truly dead in the areas worst-hit by the riots. Blame government cuts all you like, blame 'social mobility', blame 'racism', blame any invented excuse under the sun but it all boils down to the values of our society today.
People have become far too reliant on the state (this is not a party political swipe) and now that the cost of this reliance has come to light and some belt-tightening has been suggested, people aren't happy... They're losing what they didn't do anything to earn; other than be born that is.
So the government takes away what they don't deserve, what happens? They take something they truly don't deserve BUT, herein lies the crux.
If they truly felt deep down that they did deserve what was taken away, why did they have to wait until a man was killed to jump on the back of his death? Why were they not in the streets and burning down buildings?
Because that isn't the reason at all. The reasons pure and simple are greed, laziness and lack of respect.

'It was Comet - they didn't reply to me emailing my CV, or going up there so this was payback man, payback'

I best forewarn the London School of Economics or one of the other 5 Universities that rejected me first time round, they turned me down without a reply so I'm going to go and torch them. That makes sense doesn't it? Then again I best wait until a policeman arrests somebody because then I'll have a great excuse... I hope they're prepared!

There you have it. Someone used to being given everything doesn't get given a response, therefore they must get pay back for the callous injustice carried out upon them.

That is THE problem with British society, everyone wants something but not everyone is prepared to work hard or make the sacrifices for it.
These events had no connection to the original death and violent breakouts but they soon become related by their own central locus, the disease of a welfare state and benefit culture.
It's not the police, it's not David Cameron, it's not the kids that did it. It's their parents and to some extent parents parents.

If we bring up children with no respect for authority, why does it surprise people when they act as such?

If we spend our whole lives out of work and getting what we want all the time, why is it a surprise when our children follow suit?

If we constantly blame someone else for all of our own shortcomings and never think of pointing the finger at ourselves, how will we ever get out of our own little rut?

It's easy to do something wrong and then think of who you can blame to quickly get out of it but when you've only got yourself the blame, the truth will always get you.