Might that shift to the right include momentum from the left?

Shahid Malik, the first British-born Muslim to become an MP and the first to become a government minister, stood down (the first government minister forced to do so, over the expenses controversy) today after claims that he had broken the ministerial code with his expenses claim.

As an article in today’s Guardian continues;

“The move comes after the Telegraph revealed that Malik designated his London flat as his second home, which allowed him to claim more than £60,000 on the property over three years.”

It comes one day after the sacking of Elliot Morely as Gordon Brown’s climate change envoy.

The above article adds;

“Malik’s case is likely to go before the Labour national executive committee on Tuesday, along with that of Elliot Morley.

Gordon Brown yesterday suspended the party whip from Morley, a former environment minister, for claiming £16,800 in mortgage interest payments for a mortgage that had already been paid off.

Morley yesterday met the chief whip, Nick Brown, to say he would stand down from the party and put his case in front of the parliamentary commissioner for standards.”

It was controversies like the ones aforementioned, that Gordon Brown blamed on a rise in distrust of politicians from the voting public.

He, at the launch of the Labour party’s local and European election campaigns in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, asserted that such distrust may well express itself with a “swing to the right” in the coming European elections.

David Miliband briefly contributed to the discussion by mentioning “the politics of hate”. An acknowledgement of the rise in support of right and far-right parties like Ukip and the BNP.

Another article in the Guardian noticed from the recent YouGov poll that Ukip are more likely to benefit from the apprehension of the big three than the BNP. Though, as is pointed out, polls based on voting intentions are only partly useful when it comes to the BNP because of people’s reluctance to admit voting for them (see also Peter Kellner’s interpretation).

But, on the basis of this poll, which even give or take 2%, shows the BNP short of the 6 or 7 seats predicted them by their leader, Nick Griffin.

One more thing, again even being liberal with the figures, the poll shows that voters opposed to the Lisbon Treaty flock to Ukip, even if the party’s other policies run contrary to the voters’ own. The swing to the right in the European elections might have something to do with the lack of well publicised progressive sceptics of the current EU ideology.

And though Ukip doesn’t style itself on a cross-issue, anti-EU agenda (it most certainly is not a single-issue party, there are all sorts of unpalatable measures they plan to take, and do take, in the European parliament), it does style itself on being the only real option to euroscepticism, representing the UK, in the European parliament.

Step forward NO2EU. While I have had election campaign material from Ukip, BNP, and the greens sent through my post-box, I have had nothing from NO2EU. Their organisation is not on the tips of tongues of most voters, even those who, from a leftist perspective, have little faith in the EU.

The diminishing trust voters have in Brown, the Tories and the liberals might contribute to the rightwards shift. Brown implies this has something to do with the expenses controversies. But this election will pan out very similar to the last European elections held in 2004. This sentiment of distrust in being represented by the big three in Europe has not only recently emerged.

And with little in the way of progressive EU opposition (even inside the Labour party, formerly composed of members pouring scorn upon big business ideologies like the Lisbon Treaty), the shift to the right that Brown speaks of may be helped along by progressives with few options to distance themselves from the pro-EU centre.

One of two things need to be addressed thus; that NO2EU maintain their campaign after the European elections – unlike a large chunk of leftist European parties, such as the near-forgotten Left List – in order to gain publicity and support from those who feel sympathy for their cause. Or Labour make an overall return to a sentiment of big business scepticism like that of Tony Benn in order to recapture the progressive EU sceptic.

With both above being equally unlikely any time soon, Ukip enjoy the pick of the sceptics of the Lisbon Treaty, and those otherwise floating voters, disaffected by the enterprise playing-field of the EU, are trapped by a party hell-bent on anti-immigration, homophobia, BNP flirtation, and protectionism.

In short, the shift to the right is not limited to voting trends, it is prevalent in the Labour Party with its current leadership. A shift to the left should not wait until an embarrassing defeat in the planned 2010 general elections. As Polly Toynbee said, Labour should gage the results of June 4th, and act accordingly.

The shift to the left will not only provide winnable opposition to Cameron’s conservatives, but provide disaffected voters with a reason to believe in politics again, and not waste their time with gimmicky protest parties like Ukip.


Peter Oborne goes LibDem

The usually arch-Tory boy Peter Oborne has just posted a piece praising Lib Dem Treasury spokesman Vince Cable.

In it he says;

“So what should we do? One part of the answer is to cherish those politicians who really are honest and decent. It is important that this number includes David Cameron.

Top of the list, however, is the wonderful Lib Dem Treasury spokesman Vince Cable, who claimed next to nothing in allowances, bought no flats, stole no taxpayers’ money and made the daily Tube journey from his home in Twickenham to Westminster. (And, of course, he got it dead right on the economy.) How we need him as our prime minister!”

Has the expenses controversy really taken so much dye out of the wool? How much were we all expecting of these guys?

A flirtation with NO2EU

I went off on one on a Liberal Conspiracy post, about the European elections and the left. I explained a slight flirtation I have with a concept used by the left wing eurosceptic party NO2EU, that of social dumping. I admitted that;

“even as a Labour supporter myself, I, too, feel a political allegiance to some of NO2EU’s policies. Not least there engagement with this underused concept of social dumping – the utilisation of cheap immigrant work, a notion kept alive by anti-racists on the back foot involved in a horrid conversation with a racist. Such a conversation might appear something like this;

racist : but, you know, these immos come in, don’t they, and take our jobs

anti-racist caught on the back foot and looking for ways of communicating with this twat without using words like ‘gross domestic product’ or ‘its the capitalists!!’ : what!! Oh come on mate, don’t be harsh, most immigrants do the jobs natives don’t want to do

This is the reality, and I don’t support it, on the basis that it extends the BIG LIE to nationals of poorer nations, that UK is a country of middle earners and you could do it too. The Lisbon Treaty is the megaphone for this BIG LIE, and promotes social dumping. Its the logic of the pro-big business EU that cheap labour is exported and utilised in post-industrial nations. And NO2EU have been bold enough to try and tackle it. The big three don’t tackle it nor the progressive case against the EU, and fringe parties to the contrary of Lisbon Treaty supporters tend to be on the far-right. Opposing the Lisbon Treaty should definitely not be limited to protectionist economics. And anyone who claim NO2EU are UKIP with beards and sandals or nationalist, are denying the EU fair criticism from those who are, in my opinion, the only ones qualified to do so: the left.

I bid you goodnight.”

I figured it was as long as one of my normal blog posts, and all that effort, it should live on my blog too. Fair’s fair!!

There are no UFO’s in Prison

Call me mean, but I have some reservations about the petition to protect Pentagon Hacker Gary McKinnon. I’ve seen the list of musicians and famous figures that have come out against his extradition on the website for the technology tabloid magazine The Inquirer, which includes, but is not limited to “Terry Waite, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Pink Floyd Guitarist David Gilmour, artist and Scots national treasure Peter Howson, London Mayor Boris Johnson, elder statesman Tony Benn, and swinging sixties star Julie Christie.”

My reservation is not against this lot, who seem to be more concerned about the extradition and the sour prospect that McKinnon will spend 70 years in prison in he states. The crime was committed in the UK, his family all live here and I understand that most who petitioned, which includes 80 MP’s, did so on the matter that he should be on trial with his family.

These seem decent enough to me, but the comments made by Jane Asher, president for the National Autistic Society, made me a little concerned;

“Asher said she was “horrified” at the way Gary was being treated by the criminal justice system. People with Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism, might appear normal but are often “extremely vulnerable,” she said.

Experts have warned that if Gary were extradited to face a long sentence in a US penitentiary his mental condition could be so aggravated that he might take his own life. People with Asperger Syndrome suffer from something like social claustrophobia.”

Where everyone else petitioning seems to quietly accept that, whatever his condition, McKinnon is a criminal, of a high calibre since his crime is of very sensitive national security, Asher seems to disapprove of prison for McKinnon on the grounds that he suffers from a condition that makes him prone to disliking prison.

What makes me mean, and I’ll accept softly softly criticism, is that my immediate thoughts were ‘I think I must have this aggrevation’. My sympathy for McKinnon’s suffering due to the extradition does not extend to Asher’s lengths, and surely she’d agree that autism didn’t make him break the law in such a dangerous way.