Sunday, 31 August 2014

Easy Come, Easy Go

UKIP is not going to make Douglas Carswell its Leader, so he is not going to stay long in it. File under Robert Kilroy-Silk.

If Carswell's published views are UKIP policy, than it has almost nothing in common with, say, Peter Hitchens.

The whole of the Hard and Far Left, for example, also wants to withdraw from the EU.

In fact, the SLP, the Morning Star and others also uncomplicatedly want to renationalise the railways and the utilities, and to rebuild council housing, just as Hitchens does.

A long, long, long way from The Plan. How many UKIP members or voters have read that? They should. They would get quite a surprise. Roger Lord ought to be making capital out of this. The Conservative candidate at Clacton doubtless will.

(By the way, in the poll giving Carswell a 44-point lead over no Conservative candidate, 10 per cent of the sample "remembered" having voted UKIP at the last General Election. There was no UKIP candidate at Clacton at the last General Election.)

The Conservative Party, a deliberately broad affair, found it difficult enough to accommodate Douglas Carswell. UKIP, which people only join or support in the interests of their own ideological purity, stands no chance.

A Stern Reminder

He was wearing an IDF shirt.

A uniformed operative of another state has attempted to murder a Member of Parliament on the soil of the United Kingdom.

Somehow, though, there is other news.

Think The Thinkable, Say The Sayable, Do The Doable

Much mirth at Melanie Phillips's denunciation of the Board of Deputies of British Jews for its apparent deviation from the script.

Call it a very guilty pleasure, but I have a soft spot for Melanie Phillips. She is catastrophically wrong about a very great many things, of course. But she is right about some others, notably drugs.

She decries the evisceration of civil society by Thatcherism as surely as Rod Liddle and Peter Hitchens do, and that aspect of her work, like that aspect of each of theirs, is completely ignored. As are her acceptance of the existence of the Palestinians as a distinct people with national rights, and her criticisms of West Bank settlement activity.

The overused charges of misogyny and anti-Semitism seem genuinely applicable to much of the abuse that Phillips receives. That is not explained by the fact that she used to be on the Left. A lot of her generation used to be on the Left, and she was never as far Left, indeed Far Left, as many of them were until only about 20 years ago. 

(Watch out for the new trend of people who are starting out as libertarians at home and possibly as neoconservatives abroad, but who will grow into a broadly Disraelian position as mediated through post-War British social democracy and its general restoration under Ed Miliband as Prime Minister.

That process will be greatly assisted by their One Nation Labour voting habits all along, since it would simply never occur to almost anyone below a certain age to vote any other way if they were going to vote at all, no matter what their political opinions might happen to be.)

It may surprise you to lean this, but I have for some time wondered at Melanie Phillips's lack of ambition.

Her e-publishing venture has produced nothing in well over a year, and all of the ebooks before then, including her own autobiography, would have had no difficulty in finding mainstream publication in both print and electronic formats.

There was always something ridiculous about the claim to have been excluded by the gatekeepers of public discourse on the part of a then Daily Mail columnist who remains a panellist on The Moral Maze and a fairly regular panellist on the mighty Question Time.

As at a push she might still be able to do from The Times, she could from the Daily Mail have created a qualification in social policy, advertisements for positions requiring which that newspaper would have carried for free.

Even lists of endorsed parliamentary candidates would not have been out of the question. Or an alternative A-list (the M-List?) of aspirants to Conservative nominations, effectively endorsed by the Mail.

Phillips was and is the only person in Britain who could have set up a Weekly Standard here, and a monthly review called Commentary. The latter's original was founded, and was published until 2007, by the American Jewish Committee.

Bringing us back to Phillips's pronounced disillusion with the Board of Deputies. She is the only person who could set up an alternative British Jewish Committee, simply inviting each of the synagogues and agencies represented on the Board to send someone, and individual members to do so where those bodies, as such, declined or did not reply.

What is stopping her?

Not The Same Beast

John Clarke writes:

It was only when I arrived in the UK that I became politically active.

The first step was handing out anti-BNP leaflets for Unite Against Fascism outside Brixton tube station. It was the 2008 London Assembly elections and it was part of the campaign to stop the BNP from winning an assembly seat.

I’d never been involved in political activity before that and like a lot of people wanted to stay away from anything involving politicians.

But I felt this had to be done. Racist and fascist parties need to be kept out of our public life.

The fact that the BNP is now a spent force has much to do with the great work that has been carried out by organisations like Unite Against Fascism, Searchlight and Hope Not Hate over the years.

Their campaigns have highlighted the real nature of the BNP to a British electorate that is overwhelmingly not racist and strongly anti-fascist.

This work needs to continue as recent action against the South East Alliance demonstrates.

To the minds of some on the left the BNP has now been replaced by UKIP and needs to be combated as such. To do this we need to put together an ‘anti-UKIP’ coalition, even in the Clacton by-election.

There are plenty of racists and fascists in UKIP ranks who need to be exposed. But to think we can fight against UKIP in the same way we have fought against the BNP is a big mistake.

UKIP as a party has gone out of its way to distance itself from the BNP and its policy platform.

Despite having significant policy overlap with BNP policy in the past UKIP is now in the process of developing a platform that is non-racist but in favour of stronger immigration controls.

Despite containing some nasty stuff this is a platform that will eat into Labour’s vote in many constituencies that we have often thought of as ‘safe Labour seats’.

Campaign strategies that countered the BNP will not work against UKIP because they are not the same beast.

The difficulty in some on the left realising this is the unfortunate tendency of some to think that anyone who wants to change immigration policy is probably a racist.

They aren’t and most people don’t see UKIP as this.

With nearly three quarters of the electorate wanting immigration reform this sort of approach insults the intelligence of voters and forces Ed Miliband to start every speech about immigration with a phrase along the lines of, ‘It’s not prejudiced to be concerned about immigration but…’

Britain is a very tolerant country. There are racists out there but not in the numbers that are considering voting UKIP.

The most worrying aspect of this is that Labour appears to be in the process of a messy divorce from its traditional heartlands.

Faffing around in Clacton-on -Sea and misrepresenting the UKIP threat isn’t going to help anyone, not least the people of this country who need a Labour victory in 2015.

There are other ways to respond to the concerns UKIP are taking advantage of.

Take for instance the GMB’s recent call for Labour to advocate for Fair Movement of people in Europe. 

This is a position that has developed in response to its members concerns about the impact free movement of labour in Europe is having on wages and conditions. [If anyone ever reported trade unions or anything even vaguely left-wing, then, as with TTIP or the People's March for the NHS, everyone would already know about this.]

As the GMB’s Kathleen Walker Shaw puts it, ‘When are politicians going to acknowledge that migrant workers aren’t stealing our jobs – they are being actively recruited by employers who want to exploit cheap labour, and, as things stand, they are allowed to get away with it.’

Labour needs to stem the flow of voters leaving the party for UKIP.

Crucial to this is understanding the concerns people have, and addressing them, and ensuring that we have the right candidates in place to get the message across.

The GMB has actively listened to what is concerning its membership and is looking for real solutions.

Labour’s policy review, led by Jon Cruddas, is doing this more widely at the moment.

This is how we deal with UKIP, not be pretending they are something they aren’t.

Dirty Politics Down Under

The International Patron of the One Nation Society, Bryan Gould, writes:

Judith Collins’ resignation has, it is suggested in some quarters, allowed a line to be drawn under the whole dirty politics saga.

We can, it seems, get on with the “real issues” of the general election (due on 20 September). Such optimism, however, seems entirely misplaced.

First, there can surely be no more important issue that the fitness to govern of some of these pretending to office.

What could be more serious than the abuse of power – its use, not to serve the interests of the country, but to discredit and destroy, in an unfair, vicious and underhand way, those whom the government sees as its opponents?

In other countries and at other times, such abuses have led to those responsible being dismissed from office in disgrace – Richard M. Nixon is one obvious example.

Are we really to say that, whereas the Americans thought such behaviour worthy of impeachment, we will set it aside as no longer among the “real issues” of our general election campaign in New Zealand?

And could there be a clearer example of that abuse of power than the apparent secret complicity by a minister with a notorious muckraker and practitioner of the dubious art of destroying reputations with the intention of “gunning for” the chief executive of an important agency for which she had ministerial responsibility?

National Party prime minister, John Key, tells us that he retains an open mind about the truth of these serious allegations.

What is beyond doubt, however, is the close relationship between Judith Collins and Cameron Slater (a NZ equivalent of Guido Fawkes – Ed) – the one treated by the other as his confidante and mentor – and her willingness to use his services in order to further her political goals.

The inquiry announced by John Key into the whole rotten business may well be designed to serve the usual purpose of such inquiries – the deferment of any conclusion about guilt or innocence until after the crucial date – in this case, election day – by which time memories are less clear and it will in any case be too late.

And what the inquiry will presumably not do is take a wider view of the involvement of the National Party, at every level, including the very top, with such disreputable people and practices.

Yet it is the very integrity of the government as a whole that is the “real issue”.

It beggars belief that, in a government and a party so much dominated by its leader as to warrant the sobriquet “TeamKey”, John Key did not know and did not therefore, tacitly at least, approve the use of the special skills of the likes of Cameron Slater.

He virtually admits as much.

His principal defence against the charge that he is personally involved is that “this is the nature of modern politics” and “everybody does it”.

It is only the nature of modern politics because people like John Key allow it and like Cameron Slater make it so.

In the excitement of the moment, as well, let us remind ourselves of the bizarre nature of John Key’s announcement of Judith Collins’ resignation and the holding of an inquiry.

It is only a week or so ago that another inquiry was announced into yet another aspect of the dirty politics saga.

That inquiry was, in effect, into John Key’s own conduct.

The inquiry will attempt to answer the question – did John Key know that the Security Intelligence Services, for which he is the responsible minister, would release a secret report, denied to all other media, but released with unusual alacrity to – that name again – Cameron Slater?

That released report involved, of course, the then Leader of the Opposition and was used by Cameron Slater to denigrate him as a general election campaign got under way.

John Key attempted to deflect attention about his involvement in this episode to the quite separate and much less important question as to whether he had been told in person by the Director of the SIS that the release had been made, after the deed had been done.

We must hope and expect that Inspector-General, in her inquiry, will focus on the real question – did John Key know (and almost certainly approve) that the release should be made when Cameron Slater was tipped off that he should seek it?

Given the National Party’s close reliance on Slater for such purposes, does it not again defy belief that, on such a sensitive matter, John Key was not kept in the loop?

Are the allegations against John Key any less serious than those against Judith Collins?

Is the willingness to use the country’s secret services for the partisan (and distasteful) purposes of the responsible minister not the most serious breach of proper practice that could be imagined?

So why is the case against Judith Collins enough to warrant her resignation, while John Key, subject to no less serious allegations, sails serenely on?

Is there not a dreadful irony in seeing one of those subject to serious allegations of dirty politics (John Key) accepting the resignation of the other (Judith Collins).

As no doubt intended, the inquiries may not report till after the election.

But the election does provide the opportunity for an earlier day of reckoning.

Complicity With Terrorism

Owen Jones writes:

The so-called war on terror is nearly 13 years old, but which rational human being will be cheering its success?

We’ve had crackdowns on civil liberties across the world, tabloid-fanned generalisations about Muslims and, of course, military interventions whose consequences have ranged from the disastrous to the catastrophic. 

And where have we ended up?

Wars that Britons believe have made them less safe; jihadists too extreme even for al-Qaida’s tastes running amok in Iraq and Syria; and nations like Libya succumbing to Islamist militias.

There are failures, and then there are calamities.

But as the British government ramps up the terror alert to “severe” and yet more anti-terror legislation is proposed, some reflection after 13 years of disaster is surely needed.

One element has been missing, and that is the west’s relationship with Middle Eastern dictatorships that have played a pernicious role in the rise of Islamist fundamentalist terrorism.

And no wonder: the west is militarily, economically and diplomatically allied with these often brutal regimes, and our media all too often reflects the foreign policy objectives of our governments.

Take Qatar.

There is evidence that, as the US magazine The Atlantic puts it, “Qatar’s military and economic largesse has made its way to Jabhat al-Nusra”, an al-Qaida group operating in Syria.

Less than two weeks ago, Germany’s development minister, Gerd Mueller, was slapped down after pointing the finger at Qatar for funding Islamic State (Isis).

While there is no evidence to suggest Qatar’s regime is directly funding Isis, powerful private individuals within the state certainly are, and arms intended for other jihadi groups are likely to have fallen into their hands.

According to a secret memo signed by Hillary Clinton, released by Wikileaks, Qatar has the worst record of counter-terrorism cooperation with the US.

And yet, where are the western demands for Qatar to stop funding international terrorism or being complicit in the rise of jihadi groups?

Instead, Britain arms Qatar’s dictatorship, selling it millions of pounds worth of weaponry including “crowd-control ammunition” and missile parts.

There are other reasons for Britain to keep stumm, too.

Qatar owns lucrative chunks of Britain such as the Shard, a big portion of Sainsbury’s and a slice of the London Stock Exchange.

Then there’s Kuwait, slammed by Amnesty International for curtailing freedom of expression, beating and torturing demonstrators and discriminating against women.

Hundreds of millions have been channelled by wealthy Kuwaitis to Syria, again ending up with groups like Jabhat al-Nusra.

Kuwait has refused to ban the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society, a supposed charity designated by the US Treasury as an al-Qaida bankroller.

David Cohen, the US Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, has even described Kuwait as the “epicentre of fundraising for terrorist groups in Syria”.

As Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, an associate fellow at Chatham House, told me: “High profile Kuwaiti clerics were quite openly supporting groups like al-Nusra, using TV programmes in Kuwait to grandstand on it.”

All of this is helped by lax laws on financing and money laundering, he says.

But don’t expect any concerted action from the British government. Kuwait is “an important British ally in the region”, as the British government officially puts it.

Tony Blair has become the must-have accessory of every self-respecting dictator, ranging from Kazakhstan to Egypt; Kuwait was Tony Blair Associates’ first client in a deal worth £27m.

Britain has approved hundreds of arms licences to Kuwait since 2003, recently including military software and anti-riot shields.

And then, of course, there is the dictatorship in Saudi Arabia.

Much of the world was rightly repulsed when Isis beheaded the courageous journalist James Foley.

Note, then, that Saudi Arabia has beheaded 22 people since 4 August. Among the “crimes” that are punished with beheading are sorcery and drug trafficking.

Around 2,000 people have been killed since 1985, their decapitated corpses often left in public squares as a warning.

According to Amnesty International, the death penalty “is so far removed from any kind of legal parameters that it is almost hard to believe”, with the use of torture to extract confessions commonplace.

Shia Muslims are discriminated against and women are deprived of basic rights, having to seek permission from a man before they can even travel or take up paid work.

Even talking about atheism has been made a terrorist offence and in 2012, 25-year-old Hamza Kashgari was jailed for 20 months for tweeting about the prophet Muhammad.

Here are the fruits of the pact between an opulent monarchy and a fanatical clergy.

This human rights abusing regime is deeply complicit in the rise of Islamist extremism too.

Following the Soviet invasion, the export of the fundamentalist Saudi interpretation of Islam – Wahhabism – fused with Afghan Pashtun tribal code and helped to form the Taliban.

The Saudi monarchy would end up suffering from blowback as al-Qaida eventually turned against the kingdom.

Chatham House professor Paul Stevens says:

“For a long time, there was an unwritten agreement … whereby al-Qaida’s presence was tolerated in Saudi Arabia, but don’t piss inside the tent, piss outside.”

Coates Ulrichsen warns that Saudi policy on Syria could be “Afghanistan on steroids”, as elements of the regime have turned a blind eye to where funding for anti-Assad rebels ends up.

Although Saudi Arabia has given $100m (£60m) to the UN anti-terror programme and the country’s grand mufti has denounced Isis as “enemy number one”, radical Salafists across the Middle East receive ideological and material backing from within the kingdom.

According to Clinton’s leaked memo, Saudi donors constituted “the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide”.

But again, don’t expect Britain to act.

Our alliance with the regime dates back to 1915, and Saudi Arabia is the British arms industry’s biggest market, receiving £1.6bn of military exports.

There are now more than 200 joint ventures between UK and Saudi companies worth $17.5bn.

So much rhetoric about terrorism; so many calls to act.

Yet Britain’s foreign policy demonstrates how empty such words are.

Our allies are up to their necks in complicity with terrorism, but as long as there is money to be made and weapons to sell, our rulers’ lips will remain stubbornly sealed.

Taken For A Ride

In the newspaper that I own, Neil Clark writes:

It’s good to see that more and more media commentators and pundits are boarding the “Renationalise The Railways Express” to join those of us who’ve been calling for such a move for many years. 

Calling for the railways to be renationalised 10 years ago had one marked down as a hard-core Marxist or political extremist.

Now it’s perfectly mainstream — as even the supporters of privatisation find it hard to make any kind of case for keeping the status quo. 

However, when it comes to renationalising bus transport, it’s rather a different story. 

More people travel on buses than on trains, and bus passengers have been ripped off by privatisation just as much as train passengers have, yet despite this there’s been a dearth of articles to highlight the disastrous way that bus travel has been affected since deregulation and privatisation of the industry in the mid-1980s. 

The high cost of bus travel and the reduction of services across the country has had an adverse affect on the lives of millions, yet the issue gets nowhere near the coverage that it should. 

This week, a new report Greasing the Wheels, from the Institute for Public Policy Research by Mark Rowney and Will Straw, gives us an answer as to why that is. 

The report found low-paid workers make more than three times as many bus trips per year than the rich — which explains why you don’t see too many tweets or columns about bus fares and poor services from elite establishment journalists and wealthy politicians.

Buses? — they’re those red things the plebs travel on, aren’t they? 

The IPPR report also showed us once again the  enormous price ordinary people are paying for the privatisation of public transport. 

Non-London bus fares in England rose by a whopping 35 per cent above inflation  between 1995 and 2013 and by 34 per cent in Wales and 20 per cent in Scotland. 

Unsurprisingly, given the spiralling prices and deteriorating services,  bus patronage outside London — where there has been greater regulation — has fallen by 32.5 per cent since privatisation came into effect in 1986.

In some areas, for instance Yorkshire and Humberside, it has more than halved.

“The bus is therefore not fulfilling its potential in terms of relieving congestion, increasing access to jobs and public services, and reducing the carbon emissions of transport,” the report says. 

Its authors  want to make it easier for local authorities to take on “regulatory powers known as quality contract schemes.”

It calls for the creation of “regional transport bodies” and for the DfT to “put together a national transport strategy.” 

All very worthy no doubt, but the trouble with the IPPR report is that it overlooks the obvious solution to the problems it has identified.

Its findings reveal that things were much better before deregulation and privatisation, but it doesn’t draw the logical conclusion.

One very important recommendation is missing from the report: “renationalisation.” 

The fact is that bus passengers and taxpayers were by any objective assessment better served when we had a state-owned monopoly provider of bus services, namely the National Bus Company, whose various regional subsidiaries operated services across the country.

Supporters of privatisation said that it would usher in a new “golden era” of bus travel, but the golden era was actually in the years just prior to privatisation, when a record number of people were travelling by bus. 

In 1984, the last year before Thatcher’s Transport Act was passed, the number of passenger journeys by bus was 5,65 billion.

In 1989-90 the number had declined to 5,074bn — by 1992-3 to 4,483bn. Bus journeys accounted for 9 per cent of all journeys in 1984, but just 6 per cent in 1990.  

Ironically, in the week of Thatcher’s death last year, ITV3 was re-showing the classic 1970s comedy On the Buses.

Thanks to her government’s reforms it really has been a case of “Off the Buses” — or rather “Priced Off the Buses.”  

Yet when Maggie died, I don’t recall a single “establishment” commentator mentioning the negative impact of the 1985 Transport Act.

As with the railways, we’ve been hit three times by bus privatisation.

The first hit is having to pay much higher bus fares. The second is the reduction in services. The third is the vast amount of taxpayer subsidies that go to the privately owned bus companies — a total of £2.19bn went to bus companies in England in 2012/3 according to the IPPR. 

Last year, it was revealed that subsidies account for an enormous 45 per cent of all bus companies’ revenues.

Imagine running a business where almost half of your revenue came from government subsidies. And all after what was hailed as a “free market reform” to “roll back the frontiers of the state.”

It’s not just direct subsidies and funding for concessionary fares that the companies receive: under the Bus Service Operators’ Grant, they get a very generous 70-80 per cent fuel duty rebate — which is paid to them regardless of how many passengers they carry — worth bearing in mind when  you next hear a bus company spokesperson claim that the reason fares are being hiked above inflation (yet again) in your area is because of “fuel duties.”

Unsurprisingly given the huge handouts they’ve been getting, and the year-in-year-out above inflation price hikes, the profits of  bus companies who operate services in Britain continue to rise. 

In June it was announced that the operating profit of Stagecoach’s UK regional bus division had risen from £143.2m to £147.4m. Go-Ahead, London’s largest bus operator, saw their half-year bus operating profits rise by 14 per cent to £40.6m. 

It’s not just privately owned companies who have been raking it in.

While having a state-owned British bus operator is a “no-no” for neoliberals, bus companies owned by the governments of other European countries can operate services and receive generous taxpayer subsidies too.

Last year it was revealed that Arriva — owned by the German state-owned railway company Deutsche Bahn — received £330m from Transport for London to run bus services in the capital, but despite its two subsidiaries making an operating profit of £31.6m it paid no corporation tax. 

The more one examines the figures, the more one is struck about what an almighty rip-off bus privatisation has been.

But it’s not just about figures, it’s also about the disastrous impact the so-called “free market” reforms  enacted in the 1980s have had on our communities. 

Having cheap and reliable public transport is not only good for the environment as it gets us out of our cars, it’s also good for our mental health as it helps us get out and about and connect with other human beings. 

But as services are cut and prices hiked people without cars face growing social isolation.  

The IPPR report cited a study from the University of Leeds which found that 19 per cent of workers had turned down a job because of poor quality bus services.  

Pensioners have been hard hit too.

“Older people in rural areas face the double challenge of having many services and amenities centralised in towns and cities that they now can’t access because they simply can’t get to them. It undermines the whole idea of providing free bus travel when there’s no bus to travel on,” says Gillian Merron of Bus Users UK.

The answer to the problem of falling bus usage is not ploughing taxpayers money into the coffers of private bus companies in order for them to keep services going, but to end the neoliberal madness once and for all and bring bus transport back into full public ownership. 

We can do that by simply ending all subsidies to private bus operators and using the money to re-establish the National Bus Company and its regional subsidiaries. 

We had a perfectly good system of public transport in the years before ideologically blinkered Thatcherite “reformers” wrecked it and there’s no reason why we can’t have the same again. 

The benefits to our communities, to our economy and to the public finances would be considerable, so what on Earth are we waiting for?  

See also Neil's splendid new RT op-ed on the trouble with David Cameron.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

The End of the Party

It is rumoured that some Conservative MPs are going to refuse to campaign against Douglas Carswell. If theirs were a properly run party, then it would kick out anyone who said things like that.

Thatcher certainly would have done. The friends of Christopher Brocklebank-Fowler, say.

Major would have kicked out anyone who had said that they were not going to campaign against Emma Nicholson, Peter Temple-Morris, Alan Howarth or Hugh Dykes. Or against George Gardiner, come to that.

Anyone promising not to campaign against Shaun Woodward or Bob Spink would also have received short shrift.

Likewise, if UKIP were a properly run party, then the Roger Lord situation would never have arisen.

Nor would Lord be on the brink of being the Conservative candidate if either party were anything other than a complete and utter shambles.

Gorgeous, But Not Grateful

A terrorist attack on a Member of Parliament, and that in the interests of a foreign state, demands to be investigated as a matter of the utmost seriousness.

At Bradford West, George Galloway put up as exactly what he was, and he not only won, but he topped the poll in every ward, including the ones that were over 90 per cent white. Bradford West had been a Conservative target seat in 2010.

It would be interesting to see any of the Henry Jackson Society lot, or the Conservative Friends of Israel that include David Cameron and 80 per cent of his party's nominal MPs, put up openly for Likud and be elected anywhere in Britain.

Never mind top the poll in every ward, including those which were over 90 per cent Pakistani or Bangladeshi (or non-white of any kind, come to that), of what had been a Labour target seat at the preceding General Election.

All of that said, I find that, in what must have been a very recent move, I have been blocked on Twitter by George Galloway. If certain things turn out in the next few weeks, then all that I shall be able to say will be, "There's gratitude for you."

As soon as she had resigned, I tweeted George, to his great approval, to suggest that he invite Baroness Warsi to join his parliamentary inquiry into the BBC's coverage of Gaza. The details of that inquiry ought to be announced in the near future. Look out for Lady Warsi.

Also for those whom I emailed him to suggest: "Sir Nicholas Soames MP, an Old Right commentator (Peter Oborne, Andrew Alexander, Geoffrey Wheatcroft, Stephen Glover, Christopher Booker, Peter McKay), a rabbi, and an Evangelical minister and theologian (Dr Stephen Sizer -, or ask him to suggest someone else)."

I had two exchanges of emails with my associates in New York, one in search of a Liberal or Reform rabbi, and the other in search of an Haredi, but most certainly not Neturei Karta, rabbi.

As with the above, look out for Rabbi Dr David J Goldberg OBE of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in St John's Wood, or for anyone whom he might have suggested in his stead, and look out for anyone linked to True Torah Jews, who even offered through me to fly over someone suitably experienced if they could not find such a person in Britain.

I did not have to do any of this, you know, George. And no one is indispensable, or bigger than the Movement. Not even someone who was once seconded in a debate by my erstwhile housemate, Dr Tom Hamilton, who is now the Head of Research for the Labour Party but who in those days was most certainly not a member of it, and whom you congratulated on having made "the speech of the night".

Get well soon.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Stemming The Tide

Welcome To The British Labour Market

Exactly What We Need

While the Eurosceptics leave the Conservative Party (at the highest estimate, there were only about half a dozen of them in it, anyway), Matthew Ward gives New Statesman readers this long-overdue article. I suspect that he is quite young. The plates are shifting. Good stuff:

Friends of the political establishment should be disturbed by Douglas Carswell’s defection to UKIP this morning.

It was a surprise to all; unaccompanied by the familiar rumours and cryptic-burblings in the media that normally precede major political "moments".

The announcement was bold and resolute, made in considered and perspicuous language, and formulated to persuade rather than deceive.

In short, it was the antithesis of the type of politics it was designed to subvert.

It is nothing new to say that Cameron’s brand of Toryism is vapid; without serious intellectual heritage or direction.

Radically undermining the family unit through cruel and sadistic benefit and tax changes, whilst simultaneously increasing the public debt, Cameron’s administration has been a clumsy experiment in neoliberal political management, utterly devoid of ideological guidance, relying on specious sound-bites to spasmodically jitter from crisis-to-crisis.

We all know this and Carswell critiques it more brilliantly than I ever could so I refer you to him.

What I am more concerned about are the consequences of Carswell’s arguments for the Labour Party, where my allegiances lie.

I fear that in the long run Carswell’s announcement will reveal less about the internal struggles of the Tory Party than it does about the intellectual inadequacies and impoverishments of the Left.

In his announcement this morning Carswell took a decidedly un-conservative position.

He rejected the assumption that consensuses are the product of collective reason and experience – they are simply constructions that serve a sectional interest.

Invoking Paine more than Burke, Carswell noted how his party sustains itself on this myth. 

We might be told that certain constraints are non-negotiable, and certain assumptions must be held, but this is just a rhetorical guise to conceal their partial and transient character.

On Carswell’s account the cross-party deference towards the financial services, or to the EU, says less about the philosophical or economic merits of such a position than it does about the insular world of modern British politics.

Put simply, there is an alternative to the status quo.

A familiar trope of the Left, you might say. But then why has it been left to an irritable right-winger to state it?

How confused have our politics become when Labour are arguing that our relationship with Europe should roughly remain the same?

That, while the EU may be a Hayekian fantasy of unaccountable bureaucracy and anti-inflationary consensus, we should stick with it for the sake of economic stability.

And that we should be grateful for the occasional token directive enforcing gender equality or upholding workers conditions – as if these social rights were the invention of a benevolent Belgian bureaucrat, rather than the product of a long and bloody struggle in this country which often meant rejecting our European neighbours for a genuinely internationalist outlook.

If we had a referendum on the EU we would be seen as eccentric and esoteric, the argument runs, unable to deal with "modernity".

We should be big enough to take that criticism.

Like Carswell I remain optimistic. Consent for the consensus, even the passive variety, is waning.

As ever, Labour is one step behind the electorate; the glib New Labour promises of consistency and competence are insufficiently rousing to achieve major electoral success.

It might just be that an irritable right-winger is exactly what we need to shake up the Left.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Carry On Up The Carswell

What a complete and utter shambles.

Douglas Carswell voted for war in Syria. His views on the Middle East require some examination, actually. In fact, his whole record and his many stated opinions now require a great deal of examination if he is the "perfect fit" for UKIP that Nigel Farage called him today. 

The existing UKIP candidate at Clacton is refusing to stand down, instead offering to write Carswell a job reference. How about an open primary?

All eyes are now on Daniel Hannan. His book with Carswell, The Plan, may now be read as the de facto UKIP manifesto. It is very true indeed to Hannan's description of himself as a Radical Whig.

Like Carswell, Hannan tellingly did not grow up in Britain. Indeed, unlike Carswell, he seems to have very little connection to this country beyond having attended a public school and an Oxbridge college. A sign of the "British" Right's future, perhaps? Or of its present, come to that?

You will never see a Labour MP's defection to UKIP, and that says it all about UKIP's allegedly broad appeal. So much for that, and so much for being anti-Establishment. The candidate in place has been sacked over the airwaves because the "LibLabCon" incumbent wanted it instead.

It looks as if this is all going to be decided by the voters, when UKIP is going to split the UKIP vote. Roger Lord has offered to stand for the Conservatives (I'd keep my eye on Mark Clarke there), proving, as if proof were needed, that his former, but possibly future, party and his current one are interchangeable, with UKIP wholly parasitic on the immemorial Tory subculture.

I am still available, Grant Shapps. You know where I am.

What a complete and utter shambles.

It's Time To Stand Up For Our NHS

Rob Flello writes:

We are now less than nine months from the General Election and political parties will be spending much of the time ahead setting out their manifestos.

Many of you may feel this is unimportant. People tell me the parties are too similar or that promises will be forgotten once the election is over.

The current Tory-led Government has made this worse. Before the 2010 General Election it promised no cuts to front-line services, an end to bankers’ bonuses, no abolition of Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), improvements to Sure Start, and no rise in VAT.

What it delivered was cuts to vital services, a Chancellor desperate to protect his friends in the banks and their bonuses, EMA cut within a year of the poll, more than 500 Sure Start centres closed and VAT hiked to 20 per cent.

Perhaps most galling of all, however, was the pledge there would be “no more top-down re-organisations” of the NHS.

Instead, the biggest top-down overhaul in the NHS’s history, at a cost of £5 billion, has imperilled its future.

In recent weeks the problems the NHS faces have made national headlines. From this you might conclude the NHS is failing to cope with demand and is no longer fit for purpose.

The NHS doesn’t run perfectly and it is probably unrealistic to expect an organisation of its size possibly could.

But this ignores the fact that as well as re-organising the NHS, the Government has criminally underfunded healthcare.

Its NHS record is clear: almost 50 per cent more cancelled operations; average waiting times up by almost a week; and a drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment within 62 days.

People now face a postcode lottery whereby it is not their need that governs whether they get treatment, but where they live.

Perhaps most worryingly, while in 2009-10 four out of five people said they could see a GP within 48 hours, the figure now just two in five.

The Government’s solution, as with most things, is to flog the NHS to the highest bidder while shirking responsibility for the problems it faces.

Let me put it another way. If your car starts developing faults but you haven’t taken it to be serviced for four years, then you can’t blame the car?

All of this has led to ‘Transforming Cancer and End of Life Care’, a project which will see £1.2billion of cancer care services transferred to the private sector. This is deeply worrying.

Those who support it ignore the sheer recklessness of making yet another massive structural change at a time when the health economy in Staffordshire, like much of the UK, is plagued by debts and struggling to cope with the fallout from the Stafford Hospital scandal.

If this were not sufficient cause for concern, consider also the following questions.

Who gave the Tories a mandate to sell parts of the NHS to their private sector friends?  Who seriously thinks our healthcare will be improved by handing it to companies whose first concern is profit?

I don’t know about you, but I want my doctor to consider what’s best for me, not the company he works for.

If changes need to be made, they should be made to the existing system, one which has served us well for almost 70 years.

To use the car analogy once more; if your vehicle develops a fault with part of its engine, you don’t give away the car but fix the broken part.

The evidence shows the NHS consistently out-performs market-based healthcare systems in other parts of the world. I cannot think of anything worse than moving towards the American model, which forces families to spend thousands of pounds on treatment and base life and death decisions on financial considerations.

That is why I’m delighted my parliamentary colleagues from the area have joined me in opposing these proposals, particularly those from the Conservative benches who have bravely defied their party line.

The NHS has always been about prioritising people over profit.

I hope in years to come we will not look back on this period as the one in which this vital principle was thrown away.

Steppe Back

We are not going to war over Ukraine.

Of course.

And when this is all over, the heavily Russian parts of the south and east will be in Russia, rather than inside whatever purely administrative internal borders the Soviet Union had at the time of its collapse.

Of course.

By then, though, we might have been forced to confront the reality of the side that we backed. You know, as we have had to do in Syria. Where we were warned. By Vladimir Putin.

Of course.

Of A Sort, Perhaps

I am active in Progress, Movement for Change, Unite the Union, the Co-operative Party, the Fabian Society, Christians on the Left, Compass, the Labour Representation Committee, the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, the People’s Press Printing Society, Blue Labour, and elsewhere, especially as Director of the One Nation Society, which is supported formally and informally by several MPs.

But due to an electorally poisonous local official whom I knew at school but who joined Labour long after I did, I am not a Labour Party member. I find that useful. I am the kind of person whom Labour needs to reach and retain in order to regain and retain office.

Apparently, that means that I cannot be a candidate for the Progress Strategy Board. It would be interesting to ponder if that would have been the line before the recent elections to the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party. But here we are.

Now, for whom to vote? Thom Brooks gets a God’s Own University pass, especially for being the only candidate from this part of the country and the only one who follows me on Twitter. But how to cast the other three? Which, if any, of them could say this?:

I stand on the centre ground.

The contribution-based Welfare State, with contribution defined to include, for example, caring for children or elderly relatives. Workers’ rights, with trade unionism. Community organising. Profit-sharing. The co-operative movement and wider mutualism.

Consumer protection. Strong communities. Fair taxation. Full employment, with low inflation. Pragmatic public ownership, including of the railways, utilities and postal service.

Local government. The Union. The Commonwealth. The national and parliamentary sovereignty of the United Kingdom in the face of all challenges. Economic patriotism, including energy independence and balanced migration.

Conservation and the countryside, especially the political representation of the rural working class. Superb and inexpensive public transport. Academic excellence, with technical proficiency.

Civil liberties, with law and order, including visible and effective policing. Fiscal responsibility. A strong financial services sector, with a strong food production and manufacturing base, and with the strong democratic accountability of both.

A total rejection of class war, insisting instead upon “a platform broad enough for all to stand upon”. A large and thriving private sector, a large and thriving middle class, and a large and thriving working class.

Very high levels of productivity, with the robust protection of workers, consumers, communities and the environment, including powerful workers’ representation at every level of corporate governance. A base of real property for every household.

A realist foreign policy, including strong national defence. A leading role on the world stage. A vital commitment to peace. And a complete absence of weapons of mass destruction.

This is the centre ground.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The Real Taboo

Not mentioning race.

Mentioning class.

The 11 or 12-year-old daughter, indeed the daughter several years older than that, of a Councillor, a social worker or a Police Officer would not be allowed by such figures to stay out all night with older men.

But the attitude of those white stalwarts to these white girls was, "You came from the gutter, anyway."

This was, and throughout the country tonight it still is, an internal white thing.

And that thing is class.

Read This To The Last Line

Under The Crown

I have been sent the following:

The warning by republicans that a ‘yes for independence’ vote in Scotland would seriously undermine our own constitution is, I’m afraid, wishful thinking by followers of a movement that was rejected by the Australian people at referendum and is continuously being rejected in the polls.

The fact that our States agreed to unite: “under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland” or that our sovereignty shall extend to Queen Victoria’s “heirs and successors in the sovereignty of the United Kingdom” does not mean that our constitution is voided should the composition of the United Kingdom change.

Even if Scotland votes ‘yes’, which seems to be highly unlikely, and leaves the Union, the United Kingdom will still remain. The departure of Ireland or Eire from the United Kingdom in the last century did not affect our constitution at the time. In fact the matter was debated following the ratification in 1922 of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, but it was decided that the change would not impede or affect in any way the validity of our Constitution.

An independent Scotland would join the existing sixteen Realms, of which Australia is one. However, I doubt whether people both in Scotland and in England have yet realised that Scotland would thereafter be treated as a foreign power. It would lose the pound sterling and would need to establish its own currency. Furthermore, Scottish citizens may find themselves unable to enter England without facing strict border, passport and immigration controls.

Philip Benwell
National Chair
Australian Monarchist League
0419 417 097

Nixon In Dixie

The most memorable rally of 1966 was held at the Wade Hampton Hotel in Columbia, South Carolina, an all-male event with everyone crowded together, standing near the stage in a smoke-filled room.

The speakers were Nixon, Strom Thurmond, and Albert Watson, who won in a special election in June 1965 to become the first Republican in the 20th century to represent South Carolina in the House of Representatives.

It was boisterous and raucous and the response to all three speakers was thunderous. Nixon outdid himself. Strom outdid Nixon. Watson outdid both.

With a deep, powerful voice he was shouting at the close, “Freedom is not free!” It was unlike any rally I had witnessed. When it was over I was waiting outside in the hall.

Nixon came out sweating and smiling. That it had been a tremendous show was written all over him. “This is where the energy is!” said Nixon. “This is where the future of the party is!”

The story of 1966, he told a larger gathering at the hotel, will be the “resurgence of the Republican Party in the United States … and the headline on that story will tell of the coming of age of the GOP in the South.”

Among the malevolent myths about Nixon is that he set out to build the Republican Party in Dixie on a foundation of racism. That is not the man I knew and it is the antithesis of what I saw.

While Nixon approved of my writings on law and order, he expressed an emotional empathy with black Americans. It was in his DNA. His Quaker mother’s family had been active in the Underground Railroad in Indiana.

On coming to Congress he agreed to Adam Clayton Powell’s request to be part of a five-man team that would take the floor to answer the racist rants of Mississippi’s John Rankin.

His record as vice president, working behind the scenes for the Civil Rights Act of 1957, for which Dr. King sent him a personal letter of gratitude, marked him as a progressive.

I recall him storming out of his office in a rage one morning over a story he had read about an Alabama town that had refused to bury a black soldier killed in Vietnam in its whites-only cemetery. Have a statement ready for me when I get back from lunch, he ordered.

Let me make some calls first, I replied. The story did not ring true. Southern respect for martial valor would not abide this.

I called the mayor. He told me his town had been slandered. There was no room in the white cemetery to bury anyone. The town had offered to pay the full funeral costs of their soldier son.

Researching the Web half a century later, I found the story of Jimmy Williams of Wetumpka, Alabama, a black soldier and Green Beret who, it was said, was to be buried in a pauper’s grave in June 1966 but would be laid to rest one hundred miles away in the military cemetery at Andersonville, Georgia, site of the Confederate prisoner-of-war camp.

Where the truth of this story, now half a century old, lies, I do not know. But this I do know: Nixon’s visceral recoil at what he thought was a moral outrage was genuine and unforgettable.

One of the first of the monthly columns I wrote with Nixon, which was carried nationally and in the Washington Post on May 8, 1966, described the Republican opportunity in the South as “a golden one; but Republicans must not go prospecting for the fool’s gold of racist votes. Southern Republicans must not climb aboard the sinking ship of racial injustice. They should let Southern Democrats sink with it as they have sailed with it.”

The Democratic Party in the South has ridden to power for a century on an annual tide of racist oratory. The Democratic Party is the party that rides with the hounds in the North and the hares in the South. The Republicans, as the South’s party of the future, should reject this hypocritical policy of the past.

Nixon quoted Democratic Senator Lister Hill of Alabama, who said that “if it hadn’t been for Republicans, we would still be talking [in the Senate]. If the Republican members had voted with the South, none of that [civil rights] legislation would have been passed.”

“Senator Hill is correct,” Nixon wrote. Republicans were decisive in passing the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act.

And Republicans “should adhere to the principles of the party of Lincoln … and leave it to the George Wallaces and Lister Hills to squeeze the last ounces of political juice from the rotting fruit of racial injustice.”

On a June tour of the South, columnist Charles Bartlett, a friend of JFK, wrote that Nixon’s line in Jackson, Mississippi, that Southern Republicans must not “climb aboard the sinking ship of racial injustice,” had “served to make the moderates bolder.”

In 1966 Nixon went south for Congressman Howard “Bo” Callaway, running for governor of Georgia against Lester Maddox, and Congressman Jim Martin, running against Lurleen Wallace, wife of George, for governor of Alabama.

David Broder caught up with Nixon in Bakersfield, California, October 20, where we were campaigning for congressional candidate Bob Matthias, the two-time decathlon gold medalist and star of the ’48 Olympics where he first achieved national glory at age 17.

Broder had a front-page Washington Post story the next morning, headlined “Administration Challenged by Nixon to Repudiate Racists Seeking Office.” Broder’s story began:

Former Vice President Richard M. Nixon stumped through California today, challenging the Johnson Administration to repudiate racist Democratic candidates. …

“I have yet to find a Republican candidate anywhere who is campaigning on the white backlash,” Nixon said. “It is time for the national Democratic leadership and the Johnson administration to make it clear whether it is going into the South as the party of Maddox, Mahoney and Wallace.”

At this time Nixon was being pushed to make Maddox, Mahoney, and Wallace a central issue of the campaign by issuing a statement demanding that President Johnson “purge the demagogues” from the Democratic Party.

Nixon asked me to think it over and work something up. I memoed back that I had “reservations” and thought that throwing the gauntlet down to the president could backfire.

All these guys you name are running on anti-LBJ campaigns. With the possible exception of Mahoney, they are gutting Johnson every day. They are thus unconscious allies in one respect, and if we slam them they will simply turn around and start slamming us as well. This statement would be warmly received in Manhattan, but I really wonder how the South will view it.
To date they [Wallace and Maddox] haven’t said anything for us or against us at all. That’s fine with me. It seems that today there is really hardly anybody down [South] who dislikes RN. There will be a good number of solid Nixon-haters after this statement.
McWhorter agreed. There was a danger that any such demand upon the President would backfire. Should LBJ accede to Nixon’s demand, and declare Lester Maddox and Lurleen Wallace extra ecclesiam, Lester and Lurleen would win in landslides. Nixon would be blamed for killing two viable GOP candidates in Georgia and Alabama. This was tricky business, and as I wrote Nixon there was another consideration—1968:
Wallace is the symbol of Southern resistance to Washington in the South, just as we would like to be the symbol of resistance to Washington and its policies in the nation. We will want, I would think, the people who are supporting Wallace now to be in our corner perhaps later.

Besides, George Wallace is one hell of a popular man in the South right now. As the Governor of Arkansas said two weeks ago, “If George Wallace ran for President right now, we wouldn’t have to count the votes, we could just weigh them.”

We did not make Wallace and Maddox a central issue, but neither did we ignore them. In yet another attack on the Democratic Party, on October 30, in a column for the North American Newspaper Alliance, Nixon wrote, “Below the Mason-Dixon line, the party of Jefferson, Jackson and Wilson has become the party of Maddox, Mahoney and Wallace.”
Mahoney was George P. Mahoney, no true Dixiecrat, but a blue-collar Irish Catholic and perennial candidate now running for governor of Maryland on the anti-open housing slogan “Your home is your castle!”

His opponent was Baltimore County Supervisor Spiro T. (Ted) Agnew. Taking on the national Democrats for their silent complicity in race-based campaigns being run by their Dixiecrat colleagues, Nixon wrote:
Lyndon Johnson, Bobby Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey have not lifted a finger or invested an ounce of their political prestige to prevent this seizure of their party in the South by the lineal descendants of “Pitchfork Ben” Tillman and Theodore Bilbo. They have allowed it to become a party in which Bull Connor is completely at home.
Boosting Win Rockefeller for governor of Arkansas, Nixon added, “[T]he Democratic Party has dredged through the early novels of William Faulkner to come up with its Snopesian candidate, Jim Johnson, whose racial views make incumbent Governor Orval Faubus, by contrast, a flaming liberal.”

The new Republican Party in the South should rest, said Nixon, “on four pillars: human rights, states’ rights, private enterprise and a foreign policy of peace without appeasement.”

To those who call “states’ rights” code for “segregation,” he added, “Republicans have rejected the old concept of states’ rights as instruments of reaction and accepted a new concept: States’ rights as instruments of progress.”

This means states assuming their responsibilities “in the fields of health, transportation, education and welfare.”

Summarizing his views, Nixon repeated lines we had used in May: about leaving it to “Maddox and Wallace to squeeze the last ounces of political juice from the rotting fruit of racial injustice.”

This column, released on October 30, was carried in dozens of newspapers across the country, from the Philadelphia Bulletin to the Los Angeles TimesMcWhorter, a passionate champion of civil rights, came around to say he was impressed.

Some biographers, seeking to portray Nixon as “playing the race card,” have ignored both of these nationally syndicated columns.

Just days after the May column appeared, Nixon received a letter of congratulations from Al Abrahams, executive director of Republicans for Progress, which had just produced, with another liberal group, Republican Advance at Yale, a Southern Project Report.

These liberal Republicans did not like the way the party was evolving in the South, and had 10 hard recommendations, some of them demands, to be made on state parties by the Republican National Committee.

Roscoe Drummond, a columnist Nixon admired, hailed the report. David Broder, then of the New York Times, led his story on the report by writing, “Two liberal Republican groups urged the Republican National Committee today to help register Southern Negroes and to discipline ‘lily-white’ GOP organizations in the South.”

The report, he went on, “produced a cautious reaction from National Committee officials and immediate condemnation from some Southern state G.O.P. chairmen, presaging a major intraparty debate.”

I wrote Nixon a cover memo and stapled it to the report. There is “much good material” here, I said, but the “recommendations don’t seem very practical.”

It is a matter of simple fact that the vast majority of Southerners (white) believe in segregation of the races if not by law, certainly by personal choice.

These recommendations are going to bring no one racing to the Republican banners, but if carried out they would succeed in antagonizing and angering a lot of Southerners. For what?

I think your position is correct. Tell the Southerners what your principles are on human rights, fight for those principles in party councils, but take no part in any effort to purge the party of all who oppose integration.

I told him that, looking first at the report, then at our column, “I think the column looks quite good.” Nixon wrote back on my memo, “I agree.” File the report, he wrote.

That was half a century ago. Our approach was right.

Wallace would sweep the Deep South in 1968. But we would carry Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Tennessee.

Nixon in 1972, Reagan in 1984, George H. W. Bush in 1988, and George W. Bush in 2004 would sweep all 11 states of the old Confederacy.

Wilson and FDR had carried the same 11 states all six times they ran—but had done so in open collusion with some of the most rabid segregationists in American history.

Even Adlai, who had carried the five states of the Deep South plus North Carolina and Arkansas in 1952, did so by putting on his ticket Senator John Sparkman of Alabama, a future signer of the Southern Manifesto.

What was the Southern Manifesto?

This declaration was written in 1956 by Senators Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and Richard Russell of Georgia and signed by all but three of the 22 senators from the 11 states of the old Confederacy. Nonsigners were Al Gore, Sr., and Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, and Lyndon Johnson of Texas.

The congressional delegations from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Virginia all signed unanimously. Only two Republican House members were among the 99 congressional signatories.

What did it say?

The Southern Manifesto charged the Supreme Court with a “clear abuse of judicial power” in the Brown decision desegregating the public schools in 1954.

The court, declared these “Dixiecrat” senators and congressmen, had substituted “naked power for established law.”

This unwarranted exercise of power by the Court, contrary to the Constitution, is creating chaos and confusion in the States principally affected. It is destroying the amicable relations between the white and Negro races that have been created through 90 years of patient effort by the good people of both races. It has planted hatred and suspicion where there has been heretofore friendship and understanding.

The manifesto pledged the use of “all lawful means to bring about a reversal of this [Brown] decision which is contrary to the Constitution and to prevent the use of force in its implementation.”

In solidarity with this stand, Senator Harry Byrd of Virginia declared a state policy of “massive resistance” to desegregation in 1956. Governor Orval Faubus would block the entry of black teenagers to Little Rock Central High in 1957. Governors Ross Barnett and George Wallace would resist the integration of their state universities in 1962 and 1963.

All were Democrats.

Liberal hypocrisy in decrying Nixon’s “Southern Strategy,” after a century of liberal collusion with Dixiecrats denying Southern Negroes their civil rights, does not cease to amaze.

What the Left never understood, or would never accept, is that Nixon brought the South into the Republican column not because he shared their views on segregation or civil rights. He did not.

What we shared was the South’s contempt for a liberal press and hypocritical Democratic Party that had coexisted happily with Dixiecrats for a century but got religion when conservative Republicans began to steal the South away from them.

The Goldwater-Nixon party in which I enlisted was not a segregationist party but a conservative party.

Virtually every segregationist in the eleven states of the old Confederacy, and every Klansman from 1865 to 1965, belonged to the party of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Harry Truman.