Is Andrew Neil a deliberate liar? Or an idiot? Both? Or neither? If the latter, then what is he playing at?
There is nothing I love more than being shot by both sides. I revel in provoking debate. And if that invites others from a variety of orthodoxies to take up the cudgels against me for thinking outside the box, then I feel I have done something worthwhile. I don’t always get it right. When others explain why I am wrong, I am genuinely grateful to them. What I do in such circumstances in pose problems that I can’t quite solve. I’m thinking out loud, and asking others to help me out. The more the merrier.
Andrew Neil is an important broadcaster. He is not your typical right-winger who pollutes the British Broadcasting Corporation. Many on the left hate him. I don’t. I don’t pull punches when I think he is wrong, and reactionary. But intelligent right-wingers who are not content with being mere mouthpieces for their own self-appointed leaders perform a very useful function for the left. Andrew Neil is one such right-winger, and we should value him for that.
A good example of how useful he is to us was his behavior during Scotland’s independence referendum. He was better than just about any broadcaster from any of the mainstream channels. While the guests on his three regular political programs tend to be useless from the point of view of genuine socialists, he tends to be unsparing in hammering away at the weaknesses of all his guests, or as good as he can be given his capitalist-blinkered spectacles.
Andrew Neil actually does the Tories good by exposing their weaknesses, being a sparring partner that challenges them, preparing them for the big match. Alas, he has been less good at helping the left. Ed Miliband’s team have had their weaknesses tested to destruction, and they’ve buried their heads in the sand. They are in a hole, and just keep digging. They’re like Keystone Cops on steroids, digging and digging, presumably in the search for more drugs. This is not a pretty sight. Not for the left.
However, Ed Miliband does not represent the left. His so-called, “Man on the left,” Alan Johnson is a nasty Blairite idiot. Andrew Neil thinks the left is ungrateful to corrupt war criminal Tony Blair. He has nothing to do with us. He didn’t win elections for us, but gave the BBC their excuse to lie about the nature of capitalist ‘democracy’. The left have been disenfranchised, and we are having to start from the ground up.
That brings me to Andrew Neil’s latest error that is not a mere error. Is Andrew Neil lying when he says the only debate that matters is the one between David Cameron and Ed Miliband and everything else is an irrelevant sideshow? I wouldn’t put it in those terms. Calling people liars is what you do when you have no interest in debating with them. You give them their excuse to withdraw from debate. So, I am not going to call Andrew Neil a liar.
What I am doing is putting it to Andrew Neil that his incessant misinformation vis-a-vis what the General Election is about is related to his British-Establishment tinted spectacles. How else can we explain his idea that voters get to vote for David Cameron or Ed Miliband as Prime Minister. Not even their own constituents get to do that. Only the 600 plus MPs elected in a game of media bias, a first-past-the-post that makes most of our wishes a pipe-dream, and a lottery that means we may all end up with MPs most of us hate… Only this rabble of unpopular idiots get to have any say on who the Prime Minister is.
Britain’s unwritten constitution isn’t worth the paper it’s not written on. Nevertheless, the party leader with most MPs is likely to get first shot at trying to form a government. But if, as seems likely, neither David Cameron nor Ed Miliband can form a government without doing deals, May is likely to usher in a period of considerable political instability with many Prime Minster from both Labour and Tories coming and going. There is no reason why either of these parties have to hold the office of Prime Minister. If opinion polls show that Alex Salmond, for instance, is the most popular choice, then there is no reason why Labour’s left, Greens, Plaid and others will reject that. There are many reasons why this could happen, and many more why Labour’s right and Tories won’t want an early second election as it is likely to see an intensified polarization of the electorate, with The SNP, Greens, Labour’s left, TUSC and others eating into Ed Miliband’s base from the left as Tories fragment, with UKIP cannibalizing David Cameron’s carcass, and Nick Clegg’s party being nothing more than a rapidly forgotten footnote.
Events in Greece, Spain, Italy and elsewhere are likely to further radicalize the electorate in Britain, and any attempt by the forces of conservatism to punish those resisting their oppressors as they fight for political and economic democracy simply making the electorate across Britain ever more radical.
The left has to get real when it comes to May’s election. We need to neutralize the Achilles Heel in the armor of those committed to finishing the Tories. Having an alternative to the Presidential bullshit of David Cameron and Ed Miliband is something we all need to unite around. Is Alex Salmond perfect from our point of view? Absolutely not. Nevertheless, we need to remind voters that we can reject the idea Ed is our candidate for Prime Minister by acting in a way that doesn’t play into David Cameron’s blood-stained, money-grubbing hands.
The left has to unite around everything that exposes David Cameron to make him at least as unelectable as Ed Miliband. Reminding voters that Andrew Neil is simply wrong about what voters are choosing in May could not be more important.
Natalie Bennett, Patrick Harvie, Leanne Wood, Nicola Sturgeon and (sooner or later, many Labour MPs too) uniting around Alex Salmond as an alternative Prime Minister for at least part of the next parliament is key to our strategy of utterly destroying David Cameron’s government of the millionaires, by the millionaires, for the millionaires. This is strategy that allows the left and every democrat worthy of the name creating the conditions for a constitutional convention that smashes this wretched first-past-the-post dystopia that can usher in a majority government (even one with a landslide victory in parliament) that is rejected by almost eighty percent of the electorate.
Andrew Neil and the right-wing are over the moon at his interview with Natalie Bennett on last week’s Sunday Politics. Preaching to the converted, mate. Blairites like Alan Johnson, Jim Murphy and Douglas Alexander are as happy with Andrew Neil as he is with himself,. However, his constant interruptions won him no new fans. When Natalie Bennett got her chance to speak for herself, without interruptions, as she did on Sky News yesterday morning, she blew away Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron. She’d have done it to Nigel Farage too if he hadn’t cowered away in Strasbourg.
Andrew Neil is particularly insistent in his opposition to Alex Salmond and every other representative of the Scottish National Party in the Prime Ministerial Debates. Despite The SNP likely to end up with twenty five times as many MPs as Nigel Farage’s UKIP, Andrew Neil does not think they deserve a place in the PM Debates. I wonder why that might be. Scared?
Andrew Neil says he can’t vote for the SNP, and neither can most of us in May. So what? The General Election is about electing 600 plus MPs. It is not about electing a President. Even if The SNP is geographically more compact than many others, they will still do a hell of a lot better in terms of votes, members and MPs than many of those who do stand across the UK. There is no reason why Alex Salmond could not be Prime Minister. And Andrew Neil knows that.
Even the technical issue of geographical narrowness can be put to bed. How? Does Natalie Bennett want to be Prime Minister? Nope. She doesn’t even want her party to participate as coalition partners to prop up a radical(ish) government. Okay. But does she rule out supporting as Prime Minister someone other than Ed Miliband, David Cameron or some other member of their respective parties? No, she does not.
Why should the left not accept that, when push comes to shove, Alex Salmond would be better than anyone on offer from Labour, and everyone on offer from the Tories? In reality, we know that most Labour MPs wish Alex Salmond was their leader rather than Ed Miliband. Then again, most Labour voters would prefer almost anyone as leader to who they’ve lumbered themselves with.
Leanne Wood of Plaid would also clearly support Alex Salmond if there was a vote in parliament. Many members of parties to the left of all the above would prefer Alex Salmond for a variety of reasons – not least of which is dumping an unelected second chamber and a first-past-the-post system that is universally held in contempt.
How likely is it that Alex Salmond end up as the first Prime Minister when the dust settles after May’s general election? The first choice to form a government? Next to none. Does that matter? Actually, no. What we are likely to see, as far as most credible commentators is concerned, is a highly unstable parliament. Most of us now assume there is likely to be either a second general election within months or a series here-today-gone-tomorrow broken Prime Ministers hobbling along from one crisis the the next, each becoming progressively less popular with voters, all fiddling while the streets of London burn.
Riots are an almost inevitable price all of us will pay unless and until something is done to defuse this pressure cooker society. And that will only happen if democrats can bring down this wretched broadcast mass media that is determined to bury the truth to keep a bankrupt and corrupt British Establishment in power.