Willy tells us about the left

There were not many ideas on offer at the Progressive Governance conference in Oslo at the end of last week – a gathering of the leaders of Europe\’s centre-left and policy thinkers. Denial is the default position, because the left does not want to believe its own people could descend to hating immigrants with the ferocity of the populist right. To make concessions is to legitimise attitudes that should only stay on the margins.

Isn\’t that nice?

If we don\’t notice it it will all go away?

And this is simply wrong:

David Cameron\’s Tories lose votes to the British National Party and Ukip.

You what? Tories and BNP are fighting each other for votes? The BNP (before it\’s quite delightful recent implosion) competed for Labour votes in Labour areas. Barking and Dagenham? Stoke? Anyone really trying to say that these are or ever could be Tory areas?

14 comments on “Willy tells us about the left

  1. We know, as much as we can know anything in the absence of AV, that BNP supporters lean Tory. When polled in 2009, 40% of BNP voters identified as ‘right-wing’ compared to 14% ‘left-wing’, and 59% of BNP voters said they would prefer to see a Tory government rather than a Labour government.

    They’re the same working class Tories who voted for Mrs Thatcher. They may have drifted to Labour in 1997, but not in 2001 or 2005, nevr mind last time round.

  2. What John said–I used to think the same as you, looking at the polling data. Then I remembered my training.

    In any electoral district, politics will normally boil down to two candidates, an incumbent and a potential challenger. Multi-way seats are unusual and normally don’t last.

    Due to effective targetting of resources into marginals, ‘safe’ Labour seats began to get ignored by all parties, especially the Tory party. A safe Labour ward in a safe Labour constituency won’t see anyone, from any party, outside of election time, and only see Labour people to deliver one leaflet.

    Then the BNP arrive, start competing, trying to motivate voters who’ve given up voting as no one wants theire anti-Labour vote.

    I’ve been supposed to write this up, properly, for ages, there’s research, polling data and real evidence supporting this, the BNP attracts the anti-Labour vote in most areas its active in, the way to get rid of them is to move in other anti-Labour parties (Conservatives in B&D, LibDems in Burnley).

    They would never be Tory voting areas, but there would be a significant number of people within them that don’t like Labour and might in the past have voted Tory, there are after all residual Tory votes on virtually every horribly impoverished ward in the country.

  3. John-b said: “When polled in 2009, 40% of BNP voters identified as ‘right-wing’ compared to 14% ‘left-wing’,”

    Given the media and political set’s love for labeling a party of nationalised industry and expansive welfarism as ‘right wing’ when it is not, this is no surprise.

  4. Following on from what Gareth said, what did the polling firm mean by the terms “right-wing” and “left-wing”? Is it the same as what those being polled meant by those terms? Are either the same as what we mean by those terms?

    The British MSM have been telling us for years that the BNP is “right-wing”. Is it any surprise that its supporters should then call themselves “right-wing”?

  5. The media calls both the libertarians and the BNP ‘far-right’. This is a rather strange situation, where a nationalist, protectionist anti-immigration party is supposed to be politically similar to an internationalist, free trade and open borders party. The only conclusion that can be drawn is ‘far-right’ is the establishment’s word for evil — thanks to its dubious association with Hitler — and they can apply it however they want, with the convenient effect of having ‘right’ in the name, thereby making anyone on the right suspect.

  6. Philip, while it’s not a surprise, you’re right there, the BNP themselves describe themselves as Right Wing and also talk up their stated prefence of fighting Lefties and Liberals (for whom they seem to make little distinction).

    If it quacks like a duck…

    (they are, thankfully, a mostly spent force in my area now, one remaining Cllr unlikely to get reelected, but they’re still a threat)

  7. MatGB

    If it quacks like a duck…

    Well, yes and no. As President Lincoln is supposed to have said, if a tail is called a leg, then a dog still has only four legs, because calling a thing something else doesn’t make it so.

    The German Workers’ National Socialists fought the Soviet People’s International Socialists, yet by my definition of Left and Right, they’re only different sides of the same (Leftist) coin.

  8. Then I posit, atrongly, that your definition is one not in use or popular with, well, anyone.

    They’re both very very authoritarian, but the BNP/Nazis were authoritarian right wingers, with corporatist tendencies (seriously, they created private profit making corporations to act at the Govt will), whereas the others are left wing authoritarians.

    Both equally disgusting and wrong, especially from a fairly extreme liberal like me, but the differences are as strong as the similarities.

  9. To quote from Wiki:
    “In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist are generally used to describe support for social change to create a more egalitarian society.”
    Which pretty well sums up Mein Kampf for a restricted definition of society.

  10. They’re both very very authoritarian, but the BNP/Nazis were authoritarian right wingers, with corporatist tendencies (seriously, they created private profit making corporations to act at the Govt will), whereas the others are left wing authoritarians.

    As opposed to left wingers who believe in propping up failed companies using tax payers money, especially in marginal constituencies, and nationalisation so that these companies can act at the Govt will.

  11. Philip – sorry I was unclear. By “identified as right wing”, I (and, more to the point, they) meant “described themselves as right wing”. Not by any kind of policy-based trickery, but by being given a scale of “are you left wing, centre, or right wing”.

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