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That apology over the UKIP song… October 22, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics.
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Got to admire this particular sentence from the Guardian about the news that Mike Reid wants his pro-UKIP song withdrawn…

Read said he was sorry for “unintentionally causing offence” with the tune sung in a fake Caribbean accent, featuring lyrics about “open borders” and “illegal immigrants in every town”.

Free movement of labour inside the EU and the Tories. October 20, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics, European Politics.
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I’m no great fan of José Manuel Barroso to put it mildly, but he has a point here when he :

…dismissed possible Conservative plans to impose a cap on EU migrants as an “airy fairy” proposal that would never be accepted.

Britain signed up to agreement after agreement in relation to the free movement of labour inside the EU.

What’s compounds that, and is so palpably hypocritical about the Tory stance is the complete lack of interest as regards capital movement.

But it’s also interesting looking through comments BTL to see how indifferent they are to the one actual land border that Britain has, with the RoI and it’s intriguing, is it not, to wonder how this state would fit in with all these plans (though there are bilateral agreements IIRC since the 1920s).

Some see this as a typical bluff by the British government but I wonder? I don’t believe UKIP will have anywhere near the sort of influence some are suggesting it will have in the next parliament, or even the sort of numbers some are throwing around, but there’s little doubt in my mind from talking to people in the UK in recent times and having been there recently that there’s been a decisive shift in the broader mood. Where this takes them is a troubling question.

Speaking of troubling, what of this from those clowns in UKIP?

a new Ukip calypso theme tune sung [by former DJ Mike Read, FFS, and he has form here having sung songs for Tory conferences] in a fake-Caribbean accent that criticises political leaders for allowing “illegal immigrants in every town”.

Clowns… or..?

Sad news for UKIP October 16, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics.
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A Eurosceptic group in the European Parliament (EP) that includes Britain’s UKIP and Italy’s Five Star Movement has collapsed after an MEP withdrew.

The development means a loss of funds and less influence for the parties in the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group.

The other byelections… October 10, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics.
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…on the other side of the Irish Sea. There’ll be no end of stuff about the UKIP win in Clacton and the close enough, but not quite, showing in Middleton – how UKIP can now strike deep into Labour heartlands. And yet two points need to be made immediately. Firstly these were byelections – general elections are a whole different ballgame, and come on foot of remarkably positive coverage of UKIP in recent times. Secondly the Labour vote actually increased in Middleton slightly, and did so without running a campaign that mentioned immigration. And there’s this:

Despite Ukip’s declarations that “the dam has burst”, elections analyst Prof John Curtice said Heywood and Middleton showed that Ukip can come “a very good second”, but winning is another matter.

And as to what UKIP might feasibly win at the next GE?

…pollsters YouGov, for example, believe the party could win 10 – including Nigel Farage in Thanet South, Diane James in Eastleigh, along with a half a dozen between the Humber and the English Channel.

And the thinking is that with UKIP impacting on Tories, and the SNP on Labour ‘leave both Labour and the Conservatives with roughly equal numbers of MPs’ and with the LD’s in trouble it’s minority government ahead. Again, we’ll see.

The Enemy Within October 5, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics, The Left.
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..the draft transcripts of the discarded conference speech [by Margaret Thatcher, abandoned after the IRA bombing of the hotel she was staying at for the Conservative conference] reveal that, far from regretting using the phrase “enemy within”, which she had only used previously used in private, the Tory prime minister was quite prepared, in the middle of the bitter 1984-85 miners’ strike, to repeat it publicly – and widen it to include nearly the whole of the Labour movement.

Now there’s an illuminating insight into how close to the political edge Thatcher was prepared to go.

That Tory ‘Bill of Rights’ plan and the implications for Northern Ireland October 3, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics, European Politics, Northern Ireland.
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reading this was useful. Conor Gearty in the Guardian notes that the Tories ‘promise’ to essentially derogate from the ECHR (which, needless to say they, the Tories, seem to assume is part of the EU structure), has an interesting side effect closer to home:

What of Scotland and of Wales? Neither gets a mention – just a vague reference to working with the devolved legislatures “to make sure there is an effective new settlement across the UK”. The referendum’s message of inclusivity is already long forgotten, it seems. And the Good Friday agreement, which settled Northern Ireland’s conflict – it specifically requires incorporation of the convention into Northern Ireland’s law. What will happen there?

Gearty suggests it’s effectively back of an envelope politicking, yet more reddish meat thrown to appease the unappeasable on the eurosceptic wing of the party. Indeed so. But as always there’s the sense that Cameron and Co simply don’t get, or perhaps more accurately, don’t care about the ramifications of what they do. We saw something similar in the near immediate clawback of promises made during the Scottish referendum once the vote was in.

While you’re thinking about that think about this… George Osborne decides to take a swing at the charity sector in the UK. Looks like some are going to take a swing back.

George Osborne has triggered a backlash from charities after he urged companies to defend the economy against their “anti-business views” and those of pressure groups and trade unions.

He is beyond parody. But he is also in power.

UKIP and potential Labour defectors? October 3, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics.
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Mark Hennessy in the Irish Times a couple of weeks ago had an odd story about how purportedly the Yes side in the Scottish referendum had played ‘nasty’ or something to that effect, a jibe which while put about strenuously by parts of the No side appeared to have little or no substance to it.

And now there’s this from more recently:

Possible Labour defectors
Miliband’s nightmare, even if the odds are against it for now, is that north of England MPs worried about their seats could defect. Almost as damaging, are rumours about such defections.

I think the dangers of same are close to zero. Labour remains ahead in the polls (see UK Polling Reports latest figures here). Miliband is far from loved, but he doesn’t have to be. A certain Tory PM now feted both by her party and further afield was remarkably unpopular before she was elected. And just for the record I’ve little time for Miliband either. But the idea Labour MPs would shift to UKIP is bizarre. Are any driven to the same extent by euroscepticism, or actual europhobia, which is pretty much what we seen in parts of the Tory party these days? I’m hard pressed to think of one. And while UKIP makes a lot of noise about Labour seats truth is their only serious scope for gains is in Tory one’s for so many reasons obvious and not that it’s almost pointless to articulate them.

Even putting aside defections the threat from UKIP to the LP appears at this point to be relatively low level. This piece in the Independent can only point to five seats which are ‘best prospects’ (and that on an extrapolation from local and EU elections which is problematic to begin with).

Here’s some interesting data on all this…

Sickening… October 1, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics.
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Bevan wasn’t far wrong way back when, and look at this now…

David Cameron launched an audacious bid to woo voters in next year’s general election by pledging to raise the personal income tax threshold by £2,000 a year as well as lifting the 40% tax band to £50,000.

Casting the Conservatives as the “trade union for hardworking” people, the prime minister reached out to aspirational voters in Middle Britain by unveiling a £7.2bn double tax cutting promise, which prompted a rapturous reception at the Tory conference.

Let’s hope the good Lord he’s right… September 29, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Labour Party, British Politics.
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I’m not much of a fan of the BLP, though there are good people in it, and many years ago I was a member of it for a couple of years. But when it comes to the Tories I’m happy to read the following:

Labour is heading for a “comfortable majority” at the UK general election as the Conservatives have lost a third of their support and are only attracting a small number of new voters, polling by former Conservative donor Lord Ashcroft has suggested.

After Scotland, some implications for this island. September 29, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics, Irish Politics, Northern Ireland.
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A very readable edition of the Phoenix this week, including an analysis of the left of Sinn Féin TDs currently in situ disguised as a profile of Paul Murphy of the SP – of which more later in the week. But one thing that caught my eye was a piece on Unionism in the North in the wake of the Scottish referendum. It may have offered a No in Scotland, but the Phoenix makes one very pertinent point in relation to Northern Ireland.

By linking changes for the rest of the UK to the Scottish timetable Cameron seems determined to legislate to take away voting powers from non-English MPS before next May’s general election.

It continues by noting that should that take effect then a Labour government despite having an overall majority in the UK would then be likely unable to implement policy for England unless they get a majority of MPs there. Tough for Labour, but as the Phoenix notes, there are ramifications for Unionism.

It’s worse for the DUP: their hopes of holding the balance of power were dashed last Friday. Cameron had been assiduously courting them so that their eight MPs would enable him to continue to govern as a minority government if there is a hung parliament next May. Not any more. The DUP will be surplus to requirements.

And that means they have much less leverage at Westminster. Will this come to pass? Well, I’d think we’ve a way to go yet. But Cameron will most certainly be in a hurry to do all he can to stymie Labour and it may well be that a sort of functional part/near federalisation of the UK would be precisely what he wanted.

Of course it raises difficult issues and contradictions more broadly if Scotland and Wales (and England too!) are gaining increased powers just at the point NI is trying to hand them back and refuse any further ones.

Just in the context of debates about Home Rule still circulating in the RoI, the Phoenix makes an excellent point:

Unionists do not want anything which might increase their separation from Westminster. In effect they are still opposing Home Rule.

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