June 8th, 2009
|07:13 pm - What needs to be done|
Good article by Sunny Hundal in the Guardian on the election of two BNP ( that's our fascist racist party) MEPs.
It may stop Labour ignoring its traditional working-class origins, now so comprehensively stomped over that they're migrating to other parties in droves. This is not an indictment of high immigration and multiculturalism, as no doubt some will call it, but of a centralised party ignoring local concerns. As Sarah Ditum points out, our media tell people every day that their crumbling infrastructure is the fault of those dastardly asylum seekers (rather than lack of investment, which might mean higher taxes). Immigration wouldn't be such a big issue if local councils presented information more quickly about population movements, so resources could be poured in or taken out in response, ensuring local public services didn't suffer. This is also a result of the lack of investment in social housing.
I agree with him that ultimately human social values will render fascism impotent:
Most people have enough contact with someone of an ethnic minority to know how stupid racism is. That personal knowledge will always override whatever the BNP says.
I also agree with Dan here that
Renewal is therefore the order of the day, and already last night the left was out in force – Nick Brown talking down the privatisation of Royal Mail, Michael Meacher talking up social housing, and, er, Polly Toynbee being Polly Toynbee... whatever the details of policy, going back to core values, back to the party’s roots in an electorate which has abandoned them (and yet who have not sided with the Tories in doing so), is what needs to happen.
And here's my instinct about yesterday. It feels to me like when your partner has made you very angry, and you eventually say something so hurtful and spiteful that you shock yourself, and you see how much it has hurt him/her, and then now that you have done the worst you can, you can begin a process of reconciliation. They needed to suffer really badly. But will that be enough now?
It takes someone called Sunny to spin fascists getting elected into good news...
I think that's more the fault of whatever Guardian subeditor put up that dumb headline. I don't think he's saying it's good news. But he is saying we can recover from this, and that healthy tendencies in our society can drive out the sickness. Surely that is true. We can't emotionally succumb to them.
There's another aspect to this, which ties back to your earlier discussion about centralised government. A lot of the real pressures on services that arise from immigration occur because central government funding is based on population levels from the most recent census. Waves of immigration can make those numbers out of date pretty quickly, but this centralised approach is not responsive enough. If local authorities raised a greater proportion of their finances locally, then the available resources would track the population levels a lot more closely and a lot more quickly, enabling local services to keep up with fluctuations on population levels. (Greater powers, particularly over housing, would also help, but that's a slightly different argument.) This applies to economic immigrants: asylum seekers are a different matter.
Though I feel that well deployed centralised information services of various kinds are required to support distributed flexible solutions - in a complex society like ours in any case.
|Date:||June 9th, 2009 07:33 am (UTC)|| |
I'd been thinking last week that the public bloodlust would probably be satisfied if Brown was kicked out, as brutally as possible. Then if they got someone new and untainted in, they'd probably go on to win next year. I don't think a gentle handover, now or later, will do it.
In my conspiracy theory moment, I thought maybe Brown (or Mandelson) had figured this out and was engineering towards that outcome. Well, I was wrong there then.
I think Mandelson is easily clever enough to make that happen, and Brown is probably prepared to do it if it's necessary, but I think they may feel the catharsis has been achieved without the death of the king.
Brown is probably prepared to do it if it's necessary
We'll see, but I doubt it. He's no Ming Campbell.
It occurred to me yesterday that, if it were me, I'd be likelier to do it when people weren't screaming at me to go (cf the stories that Alastair Campbell wanted to leave a lot earlier, but was waiting for a moment when it wouldn't look as if he was being forced out by the crisis of the week).
But he's probably not kalypso_v
Do you think there is likely to be a time between now and next May when people aren't screaming for him to go?
There may be weeks when it's less shrill.