Corbyn’s anti-establishment ideals are working, but his statist approach never will

Recent trends and events have displayed an alarming mistrust in our national and international institutions, so much so that something clearly needs to be done. Parliament seems so out of touch, stuck in a Westminster bubble, while the EU is even further removed from real people; big corporations are seen to be working solely for profit, and want to use our personal data for sinister ends; and in a time of ‘fake news’, traditional media is seemingly no longer the first choice for a growing number, in favour of ‘new media’, like The Canary.

Enter Jeremy Corbyn. The socialist ideals he has held close to his heart for many years, suddenly seem to have hit the spot for so many people. He was surprisingly elected as leader, and surprisingly led the Labour Party to gain 40% of the national vote. He has been running on an anti-establishment platform, full of hope, containing some rather extreme socialist policies. But is this success down to these policies? And can a government built on these statist policies continue to galvanise the support of this growing number of people who feel that so many institutions are so out of touch?

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Jeremy Corbyn – Chatham House

Corbyn’s Labour manifesto contained populist policies, it contained very left wing policies. Key points that brought in the swathes of support were nationalisation, support for pensioners, better funded public services, higher taxes, the government providing more personal services, and a very vague, have-your-cake-and-eat-it attitude towards Brexit.

It is obvious to see how these policies could become popular after several years of post-2008 austerity. People have got sick of cuts, and there appears to be a change of opinion on paying higher taxes for public services. Add these socialist policies to the underdog, anti-establishment figure of Jeremy Corbyn, and we have an unlikely (relative) success.

If people are not trusting of the state, you don’t give more power to the state.

However, although Jeremy Corbyn represents the nonconforming anti-elite, his policies do not adequately answer the main problems people have at the moment. If people are not trusting of the state, you don’t give more power to the state. A Labour government led by Corbyn would not meet the need, for several reasons.

  1. Nationalised institutions are inefficient. Those mistrusting of our institutions may well be happy to roll with this new, ‘exciting’ wave of populist statism, but that is unlikely to last. If Labour were to win an election on that platform, the complaints would undoubtedly begin, about how the government is managing our newly nationalised institutions. Historically a rail company run by the state has not been a roaring success, British Rail definitely was not the most popular service.
  2. They would run out of money. Soon after taking power, Labour would realise that they would run out of money to fund these newly-nationalised institutions, and the better public services. It is true that the manifesto contained some figures, and a broad outline of how they would be balanced; a lot more than the Conservative manifesto gave us. However, they missed some pretty major expenses, like the costs of nationalisation, and their way of paying for it (higher taxes for the rich) is infamously ineffective at raising funds. It is a lot easier for the rich to avoid paying tax than the poorer, and those on middle incomes.
  3. We would get sick of high taxes. Better funded public services seems to be a popular policy at the moment, and will most likely remain to be popular in the near future. People do seem happier to pay a little more tax in exchange for better policing, better NHS, etc. But if Labour get into government and raise taxes, the Tories will be in opposition offering tax cuts. So although people want better services, they will see others offering tax cuts and will be seriously tempted. It is true that taxes will supposedly only be raised on those earning £80,000 and more, but even if their government were to keep to that, it is a large group of people that they will want to keep onside.

For a party to have long-lasting success, and truly please the disenchanted, they need to find a way past the decades of over-reliance on the markets, seen with Thatcher, Blair and Cameron, but not resort to over-reliance on the state, as Corbyn seeks to do. Policies need to positively impact the whole country, not just London, and all types of people. For too many years, the market economy has benefited the ‘Anywheres’, but not the ‘Somewheres’ , according to David Goodhart’s definition. Somewheres don’t live in London, they don’t work in the financial sector, they voted to leave the EU, and they take up most of the country. These are the people who feel that institutions are out of touch, and certain policies are needed to address this:

  1. Protection of workers. Large corporations, and even smaller businesses have lost the trust of many people, valuing profit far more than the well-being of their workers. Alongside this, the ‘gig economy’ is rising in popularity with a shoddy excuse for workers’ rights. Companies like Deliveroo and Uber need to be controlled, to protect those who work for them, and the Taylor Review is a good start. Labour’s manifesto contained several important provisions on this, and the Conservative manifesto had a start at good policy, including putting workers on boards, which is a step toward the concerns of workers really being heard. When company execs are not trusted, give power to workers.
  2. Encouraging co-ops. An even better way to give power to workers is to have businesses that are run by the workers. There are some really competitive co-operative businesses, but government funding could really help them get started. There does not seem to have been that much support for co-ops recently in Parliament, although there are definitely members on both sides who are supportive. Thirty eight Labour politicians have been elected as ‘Labour Co-operative’, and the Labour manifesto partially reflected that with policies such as the workers’ ‘right to own’ a business that is up for sale, but more could be done. The Tory manifesto contained very little on the topic, but co-ops have some support within the party, with MP Jesse Norman setting up the (virtually unused) Conservative Co-operative Movement in 2007. Both parties should be encouraging this important way of giving people power over their lives.
  3. Encouraging volunteers. The most effective way of transferring power from the central government to the people is not through daily referendums, but through making it much easier to volunteer and affect your local area. It is true that a lot of people currently do not volunteer, so maybe this would not make a big difference. However, evidence suggests that if there are obvious ways to help people, and improve the community, many will get involved. This was a central, and unsuccessful, part of David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ project, promising paid volunteering leave, and the hopeful ‘Your Square Mile’ project. A functioning democracy requires a way for normal people to feel they can make real, distinct changes to society. Volunteering is the best way to achieve that.
  4. Rethinking public services. The debates surrounding public services tend to be very polarised, ‘nationalise or privatise’ seems the be the big question, when there are more questions to be asked on topics like the NHS and railways. Because of the way our NHS is fetishised, any change to it is considered to be despicable, and the only debate is about how much money is given to it, while Tories are accused of privatising. But there is so much more nuance to be considered, of which we have been deprived, and Tory MP George Freeman shared an example of this in his article about how we can get more for less in the NHS.
    Looking at the railways as another example, it is, once again, Mr Freeman who is suggesting alternatives. In an article for the Res Publica think tank, he outlines the idea for a mutual train company. This would give people much more power to control how the service is provided.

We need “an end to the monopolisation of society by the state and the market” as Phillip Blond expressed in his book, ‘Red Tory’. We take power away from the market, away from the state, and give it to families, to communities, to people.
Corbyn has seen and responded to disenchantment with our major institutions, and is seeking to replace hopelessness with hope. We really need this at the moment. But it needs to come with the appropriate policies, and a reliance on the state cannot be the way.

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Has Tim Farron Confirmed that Christianity Is Now Something to be Ashamed of?

Recently journalists such as Cathy Newman for Channel 4 have been asking Tim Farron some appalling, unnecessary questions about his Christian faith and its relation to his liberalism. The Lib Dem leader has a history of very liberal views on many issues, from LGBT rights to drug legalisation. This is clear from his voting history and from everything he has said about which policies he support.

However Newman seemed to think that wasn’t enough and has, on several occasions, asked him whether he thinks homosexuality, or homosexual sex, is a sin. For starters (and I may be wrong) I believe that if a Muslim politician was asked that, liberals would not be happy, it would be seen as attacking people for their personal beliefs. But Tim Farron was asked, and he struggled to answer, saying how we’re all sinners and his job is Lib Dem leader not the Archbishop of Canterbury. Understandably he wanted the Lib Dem campaign to be about their policies and not about their leader making theological proclamations. You may agree or disagree with what his biblical views say (even Christian opinions on that differ quite widely), but his faith doesn’t matter. He said that everyone is a sinner, so he thinks that gay people are no worse than anyone else, and his political views are very liberal anyway. I cannot see the relevance of this question. If you want to vote for someone who will try to enact liberal policies, then his party will do that, whatever his answer to that question is. I will not be voting Liberal Democrat, partly because I think they are a bit too liberal and mainly because of their Brexit policies.

bigot
en.oxforddictionaries.com

I can find endless tweets and quotes of people calling Tim Farron a bigot for what he is saying, and it drives me up the wall. He is not ‘intolerant towards those holding different opinions’. He goes out of his way to accept others, and makes sure he fights for the rights of all. Suggesting that someone who has Christian beliefs is a bigot, despite their views, despite their history of accepting others is a lot more bigoted a position. I don’t understand this view that he must be this disgusting human being as a result of his faith. David Baddiel, Sue Perkins, Owen Jones and others have joined this witch-hunt, and it has had a pretty devastating effect.

The effect of the witch-hunt has worried me, as a Christian. In Parliament, Tim Farron seemed to change his mind. He was asked the question again, and this time was ready to say it is not a sin. Clearly that was not his belief when he was asked before, or he would not have been as ambiguous when answering. I understand, that as a politician needing to be elected, he had to answer those questions ambiguously, he didn’t want a soundbite that would follow him for the rest of his career. But this reversal is totally different, it’s a denial of his belief. I do not want this country to become one in which politicians (or anyone) feel ashamed to be Christian. The foundation of this nation’s morals are in the Christian faith, and this change of heart from Farron concerns me greatly.

I can’t say for sure whether the same would have happened if he were a Muslim or a Jew, but definitely a humanist/atheist. This is either a secularisation or a de-Christianisation (that’s definitely a word) of our society and politicians, and either of those could be extremely dangerous.

May’s Dilemma- to Debate or not to Debate…

Since she called this snap election, Theresa May has hammered one ‘fact’ home more than any other: this election is about who would be the strongest Prime Minister to negotiate Brexit, and the person who would be strongest is her.

However, one way to prove that she is the very best party leader could be a number of head-to-head, televised debates. Although, it is widely believed that these debates almost always favour those in opposition (all incumbent PMs since Blair have opposed debates) and it’s not like Jeremy Corbyn’s approval ratings can get any lower. The Labour leader could not disappoint in a debate, he can only meet expectations or be impressive.

This leaves a tricky dilemma for the Prime Minister and her campaign team: to debate or not to debate…

Theresa_May_in_2007
How much of this will we get to see? (Photo credits: Andrew Burdett)

It seems that May has decided not to risk giving Corbyn any opportunity to gain on her through a debate, and has refused to take part in any, despite certain channels confirming that they’ll hold them anyway. That approach does seem to be tempting. She cuts off a chance for Labour to gain on the Tories. But it also seems that in trying to cut off the Labour vote, she is putting a cap on the Conservative vote. She wants to pitch herself as the candidate for Prime Minister, the only one capable of running the country, and she may be right. But there’s no cohesive message if she’s found ‘running scared’ of debating Corbyn and the other leaders. She’s not willing to prove the fact that she would be better, and it adds to the dishonesty factor that is affecting her popularity at the moment.

The debate issue is one of several that add up, although the others are probably less visible to the public at large. One biggy is the fact that she’s making her speeches to a specially selected audience and no journalists are invited. It feels so odd to me that this supposedly great statesman can’t take a few questions from journalists. Are they the people you want to be rubbing up the wrong way?

We’re yet to see if any of this matters. Will anybody care about or notice the lack of journalists at her speeches? Will we have another u-turn from May with regards to debates? Will any broadcasters have the guts to ’empty-chair’ her? I’m intrigued to find out if any of the Prime Minister’s decisions will come back to get her.

 

Twitter: @simontgriff

My Short New Year Letter to the UK

Dear all

For many people, 2016 has not been the greatest of years, and we’re happy to see it consigned to history. For that reason, it is vital that we make sure 2017 is a much better year for everyone, most importantly those we can actually help. Every single one of us needs to take the responsibility to make our New Year’s Resolution to bring happiness and contentedness to those around us. I’m not one to appreciate fashionable, ‘inspirational’ quotes, but (supposedly) Gandhi did put this well. He’s quoted as saying “be the change that you wish to see in the world”, and that’s exactly what I’m trying to get at. 2016 has been a year we’ve loved to see problems, and find despair in everything, often for valid reasons, but there’s absolutely no reason why you cannot be the solution to those problems. Let 2017 be the year of solving problems.

Now I can understand that some people may be thinking “the main problem of the year was Brexit, how can I affect that?”, or “what can I do to stop Donald Trump?”, or more likely “how can I bring David Bowie back from the dead?”. Now before you start dusting off your Ouija Boards, I want to ask you a question: do these events themselves mean that people will be irreparably disadvantaged? I think the answer is no, we can help anyone who is in need, whatever the reason. We can provide food, friendship, community spirit; it doesn’t matter where your skills lie, there are hundreds of ways to bring joy to others. So, although we may see most of our problems as being in the political sphere, that’s not where we can find the solutions. I think an increased knowledge and interest in politics is extremely important, and acts like joining a party can help make change take place, but to combat direct need, you need to tackle the issues at a much more local level.

So, what should we do, and how do we get involved? That’s not really as hard or daunting as it sounds, there are so many charities and community events you could get involved in. Firstly, you need to make sure you give more than your money. Giving financially is great and you should do that, but if you have some spare time, you should definitely be giving that too. Serving your local community can be a lot of fun, so don’t go thinking it’s just another lot of work. Choosing which charities or causes to focus on is probably the hardest bit. If you have any area you feel is particularly close to your heart (be it struggling asylum seekers, homeless veterans, people with dementia), whatever is meaningful for you is the best place to start. If you don’t feel you have an issue that affects you personally and you don’t know what there is locally, you should try asking a church. Whether you are religious or not, it is likely that your local church is a pillar of your local community, and will be serving the community in multiple ways. You can help them directly, or they can recommend a charity or group of people who could use your help. Church leaders will be more than happy to set you up with something.

If you feel you don’t particularly want to be involved with a charity, or your free time doesn’t match up with when they would want you, there are other ways to improve the lives of you and those living around you. You may know your neighbours well, but I know how so many people don’t, and are just living totally separate existences from them. This option could be a bit awkward if you’ve lived where you are for a while and haven’t spoken to the neighbours, but it’s potentially so important. Organise events or groups for those who live near you. This could be a street party, or even a little band. What this does is build a community that can rely on each other and use the help from each other. If you build strong relationships with those around you, you can know there is a friend just around the corner, and the more you get to know them, the more potential there is for you to help each other. From lending an egg at breakfast, to fitting a TV, even to a small monetary loan. Having these people so close to you, but being so isolated is such a waste. It may take a long time to fully change your attitude and the attitudes of those around you, but it could be so worth the awkwardness.

Thank you for reaching the end and taking in a load of my opinion, I hope you’ve enjoyed it. I realise this can be so hard, but it has the potential to be so productive, and help so many people. Around Christmas I can’t help but think I take everything around me for granted and need to give more for those around me. So my New Year’s Resolution will be to give my time serving people in my local area, and I really hope I stick to it.

Thanks for reading,

Simon

Twitter: @simontgriff

Not Enough Information in the Referendum Campaign?

After hearing commentators and the general public talk about the EU campaign it paints a terrible picture. Lies, half-truths and patronising politicians seem to be dominating the stage, and apparently all people want is clear explanation of each side of the argument.
But if that’s what people want, and if that would be the most effective strategy to win the campaign, why are Vote Leave and Britain Stronger in Europe not utilising this?

Because that isn’t the best strategy, and it’s not really what people want. The British public like to think of themselves as more intellectual than they are treated by the ‘establishment’, but we’re not. If one side of the debate started using more complex facts and figures, sticking only to full truths, ignoring any forecasts, the other side would win. These people are professionals, they know how to run a campaign. They know how lazy we all are, despite what we like to think.

I feel this line of thinking is summed up well in this article by

If only there was some way of her finding the facts. If only we had some sort of giant network where people could post their thoughts on the referendum, where people can check the facts used by both campaigns. But sadly this ‘internet’ does not exist in her world. We have to take in the lines of the two main campaigns and have no ability to research things for ourselves. There is more to life than David Cameron and Boris Johnson. If you want to know more about the EU, find out for yourself, we cannot expect everything to be spoonfed to us.

This is not just restricted to Guardian journalists, and my annoyance vented at Moore is far from directed solely at her. Whenever I hear people talking about the EU debate (both journalists and the public) there is always a complaint about how little we know and how we cannot tell what the real facts are. And I do respect many of those who are saying this, Laura Kuenssberg wrote an article on it as an introduction to her new documentary. But what’s good is that she is not just complaining like many others, she is doing something to solve the problem, in creating her interesting and informative programme.


I realise that I sound hypocritical in writing this. I talk about people complaining and not getting off their backsides to do something about it, and what am I doing? Complaining.
I understand that we are lazy, and I understand that people find it difficult to get interested in politics. So I’ve put together a list of places to go for good information, although it is far from an exhaustive list. Some of it is balanced, some of it is one-sided. Some of it is easy to read/watch, some of it is long-winded and potentially boring. But this is here to make it easier for all of us to research what the EU is all about and whether we stay or not.
I would like to draw your attention particularly to the fact checkers, who dispel any myths put out by campaigns, and are very useful for wading through the muck thrown out by both sides. Some even take requests of facts to check.
Also, Brexit:The Movie is engaging and educational, putting out ideas that aren’t explained in short news segments or press statements. However with this and other biased sources, you must think about who is saying it. This documentary comes from a variety of eurosceptic contributors, but is worth anyone watching. I enjoyed it, despite personally wanting us to stay in the EU.

I hope this can help you make up your mind, whichever way you end up choosing to vote.

Fact Checkers

Documentaries/TV Programmes

Explanations of the Institutions

Various BBC Articles

Debates

 

Corbyn Victory: Disaster? Blessing? Meaningless?

As was expected in the final weeks of the campaign, former underdog, Jeremy Corbyn has now been crowned Leader of the Labour Party. He has been controversial before and after the election, but will he be the saviour of the working class, or will he consign the country to unlimited Tory rule with an ineffective opposition?

Credit to RevolutionBahrainMC
Credit to RevolutionBahrainMC

One issue Corbyn already has is his lack of support in the Parliamentary Party. He was only just nominated, with the support of some who preferred other candidates and merely wanted to ensure the “widest debate possible” (some of those now regretting that decision greatly).
He was elected with an amazing majority of first preferences, but the members are not in the same place (ideologically) as their Members of Parliament. This means uncertainty. That means danger.
Will he change to suit his MPs, alienating the party membership? He’s already backtracked on NATO and renounced his euroscepticism.
Or will he stick to his guns and face mass rebellion on the opposition benches? He’s already had multiple prominent figures refuse to serve in his shadow cabinet (Rachel Reeves and Tristram Hunt to name just a couple), he clearly is not enjoying much of a honeymoon period.
Whichever he chooses, the Labour Party will be in a mess.

This mess could well mean electoral disaster for Labour. If he upsets the backbenches, we could see the party split. They may end up joining existing parties, or we might find we have another SDP. There are some who say certain Labour MPs have got quite friendly with George Osborne, Tim Farron (the Lib Dem leader) has said he’s had opposition MPs on the phone and Vince Cable says he could see a new centre-left party forming (although he’s since said it’s very unlikely).
Even if the party stays together, it won’t be ‘together’, and they could see a lot of their support leave because of their new leader. Polls suggest the Conservatives are much more fit to govern, and even that the Conservatives better understand the problems facing Britain.

But there is a possibility (however slight) that everyone is wrong about this. Jeremy Corbyn might actually be electable. We’ve had a year of surprises; we got a majority government after we all expected a hung Parliament, Corbyn won the leadership election after barely scraping enough nominations, it’s possible that this trend could continue for the next five years.
If you look at the facts, it really could happen, Corbyn has managed to mobilise the support of the Labour grassroots. If he has that effect on Labour, maybe he can do the same to the 34% of registered voters who decided not to cast their ballot in May, not forgetting those who didn’t bother to register. Furthermore, it would not take a big step for him to take many votes off fringe groups like the Greens, even TUSC and other very minor Socialist parties. If he persuades all of these people and keeps everyone who votes Labour because their family always has, maybe the possible could become possible.
How does he do it? His ‘far-left’ views attract some, others just like the fact that he is against the establishment, my main worry is the fact that he does have some policies that people like. Recently he has promised to renationalise the railways, and do it by waiting for contracts to end. The railways prove to be an interesting debate.  Until this moment, no major parties (unless you include the Greens) have supported nationalising the train lines again, despite its support. According to YouGov, 60% of the population support this policy. However misguided they are, this is an idea that could bring more and more support to the party if they are seen as able to carry it out.
Another popular ‘policy’ Corbyn has championed has been a new, ‘modern’ Prime Minister’s Questions. This involves straight answers to straight questions. This in itself is clearly not a bad thing, although I’m sure I’ll be weighing up the pros & cons of this new version in a different post in the future. He also asked questions that were given to him by the public. That is a bit pointless because he can still pick the questions he wants to ask, it just gives him some anecdotes to back up his points. Not a bad thing, but nothing amazing and revolutionary. However people do like to think that they prefer a ‘sensible’ version of PMQs.
This is what he’s done in just his first few days, we don’t know what other policies he has under his sleeves. If he can hit upon more policies that have wide support amongst the people, but not the politicians, he might have something going for him. For example, if the Labour Party become the party of electoral reform, of PR, I will be worried.

However, despite this valid reasoning, the odds are very much against him. He is supposedly tipped to be toppled within 475 days since he started. Ladbrokes have even been offering 5/1 that he is replaced this year.
But what will happen if he is kicked out?
Will Labour be any more electable, or will he have tarnished their reputation for years?
If Corbyn does not last for a long time, his period on the throne will prove to be helpful for the Labour Party in the long term. Because Miliband resigned so quickly after the election, the party was thrust into campaigning mode. There was no time for any real assessment of why they lost the election, or where the party should be headed. The time under Corbyn will give them a chance to see what they (and the electorate) don’t want and decide how much change they need. It may transpire that they do not make this decision quickly enough and cannot seriously challenge the Tories in 2020, but after that it’ll be fair game. Anyone who says Corbyn will permanently damage the electability of Labour is most probably wrong.

I don’t like Jeremy Corbyn. Yes, he seems like an alright guy, he has strong morals, and I’m sure he thinks what he’s doing is the right thing. It’s just that I disagree.
I think renationalising the railways would be a costly endeavour which could well end up improving nothing, I’m not the biggest fan of his new PMQs, and I’d definitely be worried if we had a PM who previously supported leaving NATO.
From the IRA-sympathising John McDonnell to the blatantly racist Diane Abbott, I also don’t like his choice of shadow cabinet. He’s just shoved as many women as he can into the less important jobs for the sake of ‘equality’ (so he can claim he has a majority-female shadow cabinet), whilst excluding any women from the (Shadow) Great Offices of State.
However, what interests me more than Labour’s position for the next election is the Conservative position. If they consider the election won before it has even started, they may decide to shift more rightwards, as they can do so without risk of electoral failure. But what they might choose to do is move to the centreground, using this election as an opportunity never to leave government again. We can hope they choose the latter, obviously it won’t keep them in number 10 forever, but it will give us a nicer party for which to vote.
The Lib Dems could also be greatly affected by the new Labour Leader. As you read earlier, Tim Farron once claimed that Labour MPs are ready to defect, and even if they don’t (they really won’t), the party could change. The Lib Dems may choose to develop their policies leftwards, and become the main centre-left force in Westminster. It’s unlikely that they will replace Labour as one of the top two parties, but their success may return at the next election. If enough centre-left voters switch to the Lib Dems, we may find 3 party politics has come back quicker than we expected.

I can see Corbyn lasting until the next election, given his amazing mandate from party members. Can he win the next election against Javid, Osborne or whoever is leading the Tories in 2020?
No.
When you’re the first Labour leader with a negative debut poll rating, you know the years ahead cannot be easy. Corbyn is too extreme for this country, so he will not be elected. He won’t cause any lasting damage to the Labour Party or the country, but he will be forgotten before too long.

How to React to a Tory Government

some people are tory
Credit to Mahyar Tousi

This is a mixture of my reaction to this great article by Lewis Barber and my previous thoughts on people’s attitudes towards ‘unpopular’ views, especially after Farage’s HIV-carrying, NHS tourist comment.

Many people are claiming that the cause of this surprise election result is because of ‘shy Tories’, people who want to vote for the Conservative Party but are too afraid to admit that because of backlash they may receive. After the election it is clear to see that they were right to be ‘shy’, as the online hatred of anybody who did vote blue came in appalling volume. From trolls, to celebrities to (seemingly) normal people, people were labelling Tory voters as ‘bad people’, ‘cunts’, ‘selfish’ and an infinite amount more. This is a seemingly recent phenomenon for centre-right politics but has been apparent for a while for people considered further on the right-wing.

stupidNigel Farage has long been seen as a politician who says what ‘ordinary people’ think without thinking about what the response will be like, even from the supposed left-wing BBC. He feels happy to be ‘politically incorrect’ and criticise those breastfeeding in public and bringing up stats about NHS tourists because it galvanises the support he wants. The people who hear his comments and are stunned, shocked and appalled will never vote for him whatever he says, but the older population who feel that maybe he has a point like that he says those things and don’t like the response he gets.
This is where the first issue I have lies.
If someone has ideas that are slightly positioned to the politically incorrect, how do you win them over? Is it by calling any controversial opinions ‘disgusting’? Or by saying people who hold those views should be ‘ashamed’ of themselves?
No.
The way to win people over is to have a debate about the issue, show to those people why they are wrong and what the better view is. When Farage spoke about immigrants bringing their HIV to our NHS it could have sparked a reasonable debate. There are plenty of arguments on both sides of the mass immigration dispute but the other party leaders decided against thoughtful discussion and instead chose to jump on the UKIP leader. When they could have used evidence to let people come to a considered conclusion, they used buzzwords to appeal to their main, UKIP-hating support.

What, then, happens to those who agree with Nigel, or maybe just think he has a point? Those people see the options available and pick the one that doesn’t abuse their thoughts and beliefs. UKIP have had a lot of success (granted not seat-wise) in gaining the support of those who feel like society is too self-righteous and politically correct for them. If all of the parties bar one say that a certain group of people is despicable, that group of people only have one party to turn to, the UK Independence Party.

So this is an appeal to party representatives. If a disputable topic comes up, don’t shy away from debate, embrace it. When you have the chance to fight your corner, fight it with facts and statistics, not with insults and buzzwords.

The more recent abuse of the right-wing came directly after the outcome of the election and resulted in riots across London and the now-infamous picture of graffiti (pictured above). Some people were protesting against an undemocratic system, but most people were demonstrating their hatred for the party that got the most votes in the country, the party that was elected democratically. These people seem to be taking the approach of saying ‘Grrrr I don’t like you’ and then doing nothing to achieve what they do like. The main message I have seen is ‘Get these democratically elected Tories out!’ which seems to me, and others, as childish and ineffective.

I’m not saying you have to like the new government, but there are much better ways of going about getting change or stopping those horrible Tories. Talk to your local MP, volunteer at charities, do some research and find out what bills you like and dislike that are going through Parliament. Maybe even vent some anger, but with some actual arguments and not purely abuse. You may think we have no morals but Conservative voters are people too, and we do take offence (occasionally), we can even be hurt by words.
The way to achieve change is not to isolate all of the politicians of the most represented party in the House of Commons and everyone who voted for them (look at Robert Halfon as just one example why they’re not all ‘scum’).
Progress cannot be achieved without debate and without inclusion. We have to ask the viewpoints of all areas of society, whether you think they are right or wrong, when it comes to the future of this country there is no time for self-righteousness.

I shall end this with a bipartisan call for an end to three things:

  1. Useless buzzwords with no real argument. No progress is achieved by giving ridiculously partisan viewpoints and no evidence to back it up
  2. Excluding those we disagree with from debate and decisions for our country. If they are really that wrong they will be outvoted, if not I’m afraid that’s democracy
  3. Calling Tories scum for how they voted and if you’re a Tory acting like a victim, we need to be the bigger people. (Yes I realise I’m a big hypocrite, I just wrote an article complaining)