I raise this slogan in explicit contrast to the Hope Not Hate slogan of “Don’t vote UKIP!” Why do I consider that slogan a terrible strategic mistake for socialists? Let me explain this in as much detail as I can. Am I calling for a vote for UKIP? What do you think? By removing Labour from my list, do I call for a Labour vote? No, I’m not doing that either.
Slogans say more than is contained in the words. They have a context. Don’t vote UKIP! has a context: this week’s EU and local elections which is being challenged by other parties. By raising the slogan Don’t vote UKIP, the hidden message is voting for Tories and Lib Dems is a good thing, at least comparatively. No, comrades, it is not. You are making a set of disastrous mistakes in implying this. You need to cut it out. Go home and think again.
It is not enough to argue for a line without explaining it. This is going to take some time. Many on the left have gotten out of the habit of reading or even listening to criticism. Knee-jerk reaction, shouting down those who do not instantly agree with the line you agreed amongst yourselves in smoke-filled room, or smoke-free ones in these politically correct times. If you won’t listen to me, I despair. My guess is some comrades will listen, and agree with at least some of what I say. Agree sufficiently to raise these issues inside their branch meetings. I hope other activists who don’t belong to any organization will echo some of my arguments, and they will exert pressure on ex-comrades until everyone sees the light. Here goes.
My “What do you think?” response above was a rhetorical question. However, I am hounded by enough trolls to force me to make explicit I shouldn’t have to. These trolls who I simply cannot shake in cyberspace, particularly on Facebook can’t be put back in their box with a derisory sneer. I simply cannot leave room for doubt as some of them have not been exposed for what they are, and others listen to what they say, refusing to scrutinize their lies. So let me be perfectly clear: this is an idiotic a question. It should go without saying that I am not suggesting anyone should vote UKIP. That is the daftest of daft questions that I could be asked.
Socialists should not insult their friends and associates by implying they are so stupid that they’d dream of voting UKIP. No one who gives a damn what I think politically would vote UKIP in a million years. Does that mean I dismiss the possibility that I could come across others who don’t particularly respect my political views, because they have no idea what they are, people who I may discover do intend to vote UKIP? No, that is entirely possible – in theory at least. But how do I respond? That would depend entirely on what they are arguing. If they are voting UKIP because they are Thatcherites and libertarians who like flat taxes, what would be the point of my telling them not to vote UKIP because UKIP supports flat taxes? If they are voting UKIP because they want to restrict immigration, what would be the point of my telling them that UKIP wants to curb immigration? Some of these UKIP voters are voting for UKIP because they know what they stand for and like it. What is the point my wasting any of my time arguing with such people? That would be as pointless as trying to convince Tories not to vote Tory. They are who they are. They don’t give a damn what I think and I am not wasting my time with such people whether they are Tory or UKIP.
Are UKIP worse than other parties in a way that means the left have to join a non-aggression pact with David Cameron and Nick Clegg and Rupert Murdoch and Tony Blair? This is the key question for Hope Not Hate and Unite Against Fascism. This is not a simple question to answer. I am going to explore the meaning of that question from every angle, and this is going to take some time.
Firstly, individuals within UKIP have been accused of being racists, homophobes, fascists, certifiably insane, and all of the above. Do these individuals belong to UKIP? Beyond a shadow of a doubt they do. However, all of them have joined the other parties. Individuals in UKIP have to be held accountable for what they have said and done, and to the extent Nigel Farage proves incapable of expelling them, he is in serious trouble, but when will Ed Miliband expel corrupt war criminal Tony Blair for making £100,000,000 from his using MI5 to drag the British people into an illegal war that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children?
Additionally, it is beyond a joke to taint an entire organization because of some of its members. Would Weyman Bennett dismiss the entire Socialist Workers Party because of some of what some of their members have done over the years? What about the members of the British National Party that managed to get themselves elected to attend the SWP annual conference a few years ago? Does this prove that the entire SWP identify with Nick Griffin’s racist and fascist policies? I don’t think so.
Theresa May is Home secretary. She is responsible for the security services who infiltrate organizations. She has recently apologized for the use of Special Branch undercover cops who infiltrated Doreen Lawrence’s household, to try to frame Stephen Lawrence’s eyewitness and friend, and to destroy the marriage or his parents. She knows that evidence of perjury, agent provocateur activity, state rape of women victims of Special Branch infiltration has been deliberately destroyed by the Metropolitan Police. The same cops who took bribes from David Cameron’s friends at Rupert Murdoch’s News International.
Theresa May is the head of an organization that has deployed Special Branch officers inside Loyaltist Death Squads who went on to murder Catholic Civil Rights lawyers. They have destroyed the lives of Irish Republicans by means of illegal entrapment and are clearly up to their old tricks today, lied about by Chris Patten, Chair of the BBC’s ludicrously named ‘Trust’. Has he officially absolved himself of all responsibility for the Tory broadcasters who are paid to ‘forget’ about his role at the Foreign Office at the time of Margaret Thatcher’s shoot-to-kill policy? Doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that no one should dismiss the likelihood that Theresa May has asked for plausible deniability as MI5, Special Branch and others are paid, by our taxes, to take up fake UKIP membership in order to disrupt it. Why would they do that? Theresa May needs to clear UKIP away due to the immanence of the British general election held under first-past-the-post. Wasting OUR taxes on infiltration of UKIP in order to foment discontent, have young Asian women suddenly realize they’d joined a racist party days after denouncing that idea, just in time to lower their vote enough to help the Tories… If you don’t smell a rat her, your bullshit detector is dodgy: get it fixed; pronto.
What about the issue of racism? Racists will vote UKIP. But these racists will vote for the Tories, Lib Dems and Labour also. All of these parties defend a version of xenophobia that has blurred lines with racism. The difference between UKIP and Labour is merely one of degree. In particular the division is over membership of the EU. Labour’s opposition to even allowing voters a vote on membership of the EU will destroy their vote. They will be held in contempt by potential Labour voters who will now vote for any other the other parties or, at best, simply abstain as they can’t bring themselves to vote Lib Dem or Tory. That in turn will increase the relative vote of UKIP. In other words, Labour is helping boost UKIP’s vote.
Lib Dems and Tories are rightly hated by voters. That is they are hated by the right people. They are not hated by broadcasters at the BBC, SKY News, Channel4 News, ITV or C5. But I hate them. The majority of voters hate them. The majority of feel the need to protest against these bastards, entirely legitimately. But Labour’s front bench is trying to help Tories and Lib Dems by uniting with both them in Scotland over our independence referendum. Now they are trying the same trick vis-à-vis UKIP. All this does is identify Ed Miliband’s entire front bench – on both sides of the border – as just one more pillar of the Tory establishment. Ed Miliband is digging his own grave and burying the rest of his Labour Party colleagues with him. Talk about being out of touch.
Labour has paid the price for their unity with David Cameron by a collapse in the polls. The Toxic Tories have damaged Labour as anyone with two brain cells to rub together could have predicted. Any part of the left outside Labour who wants to join Ed Miliband’s coalition alongside Nick Clegg and David Cameron will suffer the exact same fate as Ed Miliband. We will lose the ear of voters who are so angry they will seize any opportunity to protest against the establishment, without worrying too much about who that happens to be. BBC, SKY News, Channel Four News, ITV and C5 are pulling their hair out as whatever they throw at UKIP proves they are Teflon. In reality, the voters no longer trust these people. The left trying to help them when we know why they are trying to destroy UKIP merely forces the alienated into the camp of UKIP. This is a totally counterproductive policy. All this can do is help Nigel Farage immunize their potential voters from us, place them in quarantine to stop them listening to anything we say because we are in the same camp as David Cameron. Nothing helps UKIP more than this policy.
How do the left destroy UKIP? In the first place, we can only destroy UKIP as part of the process of destroying the system defended by the Tories, Lib Dems and the front bench of the Labour Party.
We have to expose the hypocrisy of Tories, Lib Dems and Labour front benchers when they expose UKIP on racism and homophobia. There is more than enough material. Use it.
We have to give voters a positive alternative. Implying that Tories and Lib Dems are a positive alternative leads to howls of laughter. While Labour is slightly different in that they have people like Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Owen Jones, their front bench defend the indefensible. What are the political consequences of this? Socialists want the smallest vote possible for the Tories and Lib Dems this week. The fewer votes they get relative to the total electorate the better for the left. This will increase the relative victory of UKIP, and that will be portrayed as a vote for racism. But this is not why UKIP have won these votes. Their victory is a sad indictment of the left. The left allowed sectarianism to stop us exposing Labour’s left flank in the electoral arena. That in turn gave the Labour leadership the excuse they wanted to scurry ever further to the right. This is a tragedy. So we have one more chance to reverse this tragedy. And what are some of the left doing to clean up the mess of their previous sectarianism? They’re telling us, by implication, to vote Tory or Lib Dem. No, comrades. That helpsUKIP.
UKIP has be taken on electorally. There is a chance in a few days to expose how SKY News, BBC, Channel4 News propaganda is not working. Despite their support for this government, voters hate them. We want rid of them. Reducing their vote increases the prospects of getting rid of first-past-the-post once and for all. Then the left can, hopefully, use it the way it is used elsewhere. The way we used it in Scotland in the heyday of the Scottish Socialist Party. That, by the way, that succeeded in uniting the left in Scotland. And that is why the likes of Theresa May and Douglas Alexander are keen on hiding the reality of Bob Lambert undercover cops to send destroy parties that get in their way.
What socialists have to do is take advantage of the deep and wide reservoir of alienation of voters – north and south of the border – to David Cameron’s disgusting Tory government. In large part the task of socialists today is to expose just how broken and corrupted Britain’s ‘democratic’ system is corrupted by the CBI glove-puppets at the BBC, by SKY News and by Channel Four News. Their broadcasters may be NUJ members, but their editors see to it that very little gets into the public arena that is not undigested bullshit flung onto the airwaves by cheerleaders for NATO and NSA criminals, on behalf of an unelected head of state, and union-busting asset strippers whose ‘economic recovery’ is nothing but a bubble fueled by unsustainable debt as anyone who watched RT’s Keiser Report knows full well.
Who deserves our vote in a few days time? Beyond a shadow of a doubt, TUSC deserves our vote. Where TUSC is standing, don’t just vote for them, campaign for them to help them make as big an impact as possible. Where TUSC is not standing, we have a problem. What do we do? Vote Tory? Don’t be daft.
Socialists need to lay out as best we can a set of rules for individual socialists on how they must make up their own minds, based on who the candidates are, preferably in consultation with others in their constituency. We are not all going to agree, but I’m cool with that. Partly the lack of clarity amongst socialists is because not one of us is in a position to offer perfect advice. We simply do not know individual candidates, their record, what they are arguing today, how crucial some local issue happens to be.
Even if leftists in a group could centrally decide what we think how each individual should cast their vote (and it is simply not possible), there is no time to persuade everyone why our individual assessments make sense to those on the ground. Individual voters will protest against the David Cameron’s government by, in some cases, voting Labour: some of their candidates aresupportable.
In other places, people will vote Green. They will do that without examining the record of every specific Green candidate, which could very well turn out to be a mistake. These voters will take their lead from recent media interventions by Caroline Lucas, Natalie Bennett, Patrick Harvie and others on Question Time, Any Questions, Daily Politics, Sunday Politics, This Week, RT’s Going Underground.
Others will turn up to the polling station to register their disgust with the Hobson’s choice by spoiling their ballot paper. That is a perfectly respectable means of protesting. Will it stop the odd (in both senses of the word) UKIP candidate getting elected? No, it will not. But it will help get rid of the outrageously anti-democratic system we have in Britain today.
Anyone who wants to take issue with anything I have written here is free to leave a comment. I have long stopped pre-moderating comments, and would welcome constructive feedback. Trolls will, of course, be shown the door.