Tag Archives: Labour Party

The Daily Mail’s Nazi Past

Recently, the press has been buzzing with the revelation that Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, has had connections with a Czech spy. This has been proven to be a false, fake news from the Daily Mail. High profile politicians across the world have had connections with the Soviets, such as Vladimir Putin who was a man inside the KGB or the soviet spy network. A far darker hypocrisy is the fact that the Daily Mail who has suggested that Corbyn is essentially a traitor, is itself a traitor to British democratic and liberal values by supporting Fascism and the Nazis.

The article “Hurrah for the Blackshirts” is one of the most infamous articles that the Daily Mail in which Lord Rothermere, the owner of the Daily Mail states that the Fascists were a noble cause worthy to be supported. The pro-Fascist sympathies of Lord Rothermere were also published in the Daily Mirror, the other newspaper who owned. However, The Daily Mirror after the war recanted its Fascist past in part with its post-war support of the Labour party since 1945. The Daily Mail has never properly changed from its 1930s paper. Its 1938 “German Jews pouring into this country” is no different from its sentiment today when the paper regularly goes for immigrants as a scape-goat.

It wasn’t that the owner of The Daily Mail just published pro-Fascist publications. According to the book Trading with the Enemy written by Charles Hingham in 1983, Lord Rothermere gave a total of $5 million to help Adolph Hitler ascend to power. This kind of support for Nazi Germany is inexcusable, helping what became the enemy of Great Britain. When The Daily Mail has written articles such as “Crush the Saboteurs”, or has attacked High Court judges as “Enemies of the People”, it has not repented of its Fascist past as it is open in its criticism of Rule of Law and opposition to other political parties, which would make any authoritarian smile. People can change. This almost sounds like a truism. Institutions, political parties and companies change over time. However, The Daily Mail has barely changed since its 1930s flirt with Fascism. It is as much an enemy of the Rule of Law now as it was in the 1930s. This comes at a time when democracies across the world are on the retreat, a right-wing authoritarianism comes back into popularity. Worse though is The Daily Mail’s criticism of left-wingers as “traitors” when such hypocrisy ignores its own past when its owner actively supported a regime that  fought against Britain in a war that killed over 400,000 British people. The Daily Mail thus itself has betrayed British values in the past and has the audacity to attack Left-leaning politicians as “treacherous”.

The Daily Mail is a paper with a Fascist past. This could have been apologised for, could have been repented of, its editorial stance changed. The Daily Mirror certainly has; becoming the largest left-wing tabloid newspaper in Britain. However, The Daily Mail has not changed. The 19th January 1934 article by the Spectator encapsulates The Daily Mail brilliantly;

But the Blackshirts, like the Daily Mail, appeal to people unaccustomed to thinking. The average Daily Mail reader is a potential Blackshirt ready made. When Lord Rothermere tells his clientele to go and join the Fascists some of them pretty certainly will. “

Non-voters: Labour’s chance of winning next election?

Non-voters; the elephant in the room at every political science convention.  In the 2017 general election, the under 40 bracket had a turnout of 60.25% compared to the average of 69%.  This underrepresentation of under 40s has consequences for the Labour party after all 61% of these people voted Labour. That means that whilst older voters are significantly more likely to turnout and vote, younger voters stay at home, which has ultimately affected policies. Younger people have been far worse off due to austerity and older people have been largely unaffected due to austerity and have actually become better off.  Labour supporters regularly argue that Labour should target non-voters to win the next election. The question is could non-voters actually tip the balance of power in favour of Labour?

One of the most important things to consider is if non-voters would actually support Labour policy. Researching into the political opinions of non-voters is quite difficult after all, one of the reasons why people don’t vote is that they aren’t interested in politics at all! One interesting piece of research by Georg Lutz, Kathrin Kissau, Jan Rosset called The political preferences of political elites, voters and non-voters in Europe  suggests that there are actually differences in political opinions across Europe between voters and non-voters. The research paper suggests that non-voters support redistributive policies more than voters and also support tougher immigration policies than voters. At best, this is a mixed picture for Labour. Its advantageous for Labour to see non-voters picking Labour economic policies but highly disadvantageous to Labour to see them support tougher immigration policies.

A far more concerning research regarding non-voters comes from a Survation study from 2013 which included looking at policy views of non-voters. The research has outcomes which offer grim reading for Labour; many non-voters hold consistently right-leaning views on government policy that is to say the government should prioritise right-leaning policy then left-leaning policy. Examples of this include non-voters significantly more like to prioritise cutting welfare spending, cutting taxes and reducing crime. It is true that more left-leaning policies were supported by non-voters such as increasing the number of jobs and improving schools. Non-voters particularly value increasing the number of jobs. However, what is interesting is that in Britain at least, the old left-wing troupe of non-voters being radicals under the bedsheets is completely unfounded.

So why don’t people vote?  There are many reasons for this. Many people generally lack interest in politics, in fact, 18.9% of people are not interested in politics according to the 2013 Survation poll. This is, however, the minority of those who don’t vote. The largest group in the poll were those who said “my vote wouldn’t make  difference”, followed by “parties and candidates are all the same”.  Considering this is half of all of the non-voters, this should be the focus of policies to reduce non-voting. Unfortunately, these issues cannot be dealt with by Labour. To make votes to be meaningful, it would require electoral reform, which the Labour party doesn’t seem in a hurry to support.  If non-voters still believe that “parties and candidates are all the same”, then nothing will ever convince them to vote because all things considered, Labour and the Conservatives are completely different today. Therefore, it is unlikely for Labour to make substantial gains from non-voters.

 

Is it time for Labour to consider a progressive alliance?

A recent report from the Fabian Society has suggested that the time may have come for the Labour Party to seek new ways of winning power. The report concluded that the Labour Party has little chance of winning the 2020 General Election and should consider working with parties such as the SNP and the Liberal Democrats in order to return to government.

Previously the idea of a progressive alliance had been raised by front-bencher Clive Lewis who claimed that working with other parties was essential to beating the Conservatives. This advice has largely been rejected by the party but with the current polls placing Labour in a disastrous position, is the Labour Party really in a position where they can afford to ignore such advice?

From a purely electoral perspective the benefits seem clear. In seats where Labour are the main opposition they can be given a free run at the Conservatives and where Labour are too far behind they can allow a better placed party a free run. Logically the end result would be progressive parties being more competitive in more seats and thus giving the Labour Party and its new allies a better chance of being in power. So what is the downside?

Tactically this sort of deal could prove very difficult. For instance could the parties who are used to fighting each other agree to work with each other and would local party constituencies be happy with any deal. From a policy angle there are also slight but clear differences between the parties. Could Labour act with a party that supports independence for Scotland in the SNP or a second referendum in the Liberal Democrats? Lastly in this scenario you have to consider the response of the opposition. The Conservatives were incredibly successful at playing on voters fears of an SNP-Labour coalition at the last election and would happily go back to their old playbook.

Rightly or wrongly at present the Labour Party still considers themselves a party of government. Therefore for the time being any permanent deal with opposition parties will be firmly rejected. Occasionally at a by-election or local elections pacts may be struck but don’t expect this to be a common theme. The Labour Party may well be on its way to its worst defeat in living memory, but regardless of how bad it becomes there will be no progressive alliance.

 

 

Why has the Idea of a Second Referendum not Materialized?

What makes democracies flourish is scrutiny. Opposition to government brings out the best of the governing parties through scrutiny and compromise with government. The Brexit referendum broke this trend in a peculiar way.  Neither of the two main parties in the UK are ardently pro-EU, and Labour’s ambiguity in their stance towards Brexit makes easier the job of the Conservatives – who face less opposition from Labour in regard to the withdrawal from the EU than they ought to. The fundamental reason for this is down to the fear of alienating large swaths of supporters.

Since the General Election in June, Labour has maintained a narrow lead over the Conservatives in the polls, despite the divisions in the Tory party on the manner of the EU withdrawal, while failing to consolidate a strong lead over them.

Labour’s relative success in this election was founded on a mixture of former UKIP, Liberal Democrat and Green voters. This varied coalition has brought Labour into a strong political position in parliament and aided the collapse of the Conservative majority. The Labour party has long awaited success in the polls, and it appears that they are (on face value) succeeding in that regard. This however, makes Labour’s newly established popularity fragile, if one is to assume that Brexit is a major electoral issue. The support is delicate due to Labour’s mixed messages on Brexit – Corbyn made a career of being a left-wing Eurosceptic; Sadiq Khan and Tom Watson not ruling out a second referendum; and Corbyn resisting calls from Labour members to remain in the Single Market. The Brexit ambiguity that is projected by Labour therefore fails to alienate its pro-remain (students, and former Green and Lib Dem) voters, while keeping Britain’s ‘working-class leavers’ happy (estimated to be around 15 percent of the population).

A radical deviation to either ‘Brexit’ or ‘Remain’ politics would certainly risk Labour’s lead in the polls. This may explain the silence from the strongly pro-EU Labour MPs such as Owen Smith (now in the shadow cabinet), which begs the question: is Labour prioritising its party interests over what many of its MPs believe will damage the UK with Brexit?

Either way, Labour will eventually have to come out of its shell and show a firmer stance in this regard. This will not necessarily harm the party – a plurality of people believe that Brexit will damage the economy, and life more generally. If the damages of leaving the EU become as clear as they were described during the Referendum, then surely a vote on the final deal obtained by the government would not be an unpopular move.