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On Discrimination Laws

So, Nigel Farage wants to scrap discrimination laws.

And I sort of see where he’s probably coming from. The left and right have very different views of what’s in the driving seat of society. The left, with echos of Marxist-Leninist ‘vanguard of the proletariat’ thinks the habits of the people can and should be changed by law, and law can and should be driven by the elite, leading the way for the people. Most classical Liberals on the other hand think laws against behaviours tend to happen when a majority broadly support them, and not before. It’s the argument in society leading up to the change in the law which changes behaviour, not the law itself. I doubt greatly whether anti-discrimination laws have affected the level of discrimination much, if at all. I suspect they probably reflect a point where there was a change in society’s opinion, which started long before 1965 race relations act, and continued through the 1980s.

Pre 1965 it was common, apparently, (I was born in ’77) to see “No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish” signs. Nowadays, anyone displaying that sign, wouldn’t get my business either. I am inclined to let people discriminate, but only if they do so openly, and see what it does for their businesses. Society’s distaste is more powerful at curbing behaviour than the law. But I am really not fussed about race discrimination laws, and certainly wouldn’t make repealing them a priority, partly because I don’t want to be misunderstood and thought to be racist, and partly because I might be wrong about society, and I cannot see what harm having these laws on the statute books does. If it ain’t broken, and I don’t think the architecture of Britain’s race relations are broken, don’t fix it.

But ‘KIPpers will not see this, because st. Nigel (PBUH) has spoken and their thick, ignorant activists will go around claiming now that race discrimination legislation allows for discrimination against whites and British, which of course they do not. If there is little racism in society as Farage claims, then race discrimination laws have little effect. And if there IS racism in society, then there is an argument that race discrimination laws are still necessary which is powerful.

This demonstrates UKIP’s amateurishness. If you’re a right-populist party, running on an anti-immigration ticket, constantly beset by accusations of racism, and with several high-profile activists being caught saying really ignorant, stupid things about race, then I cannot see why these laws should be a priority, unless you are openly gunning for the racist, ex-BNP vote in Labour’s northern fiefdoms.

Are you touting for racists’ votes, or are you, Nigel, a thicko with a tin-ear, who’s out of his depth?

Meet the UKIPpers

British politics is a pretty unpleasant sight. There’s an anti-politician mood stalking the country. Jack Straw and Malcolm Rifkind are being hauled over the coals for things that aren’t against the rules, nor even against British interests. Rifkind especially should feel aggrieved that for offering to arrange meetings between a foreign firm and British diplomats, he should be accused of Sleaze. In this mood comes the “tax-dodging” witch hunt, where people’s perfectly legal and normal (for those with the cash) Tax planning is being called “tax avoidance”, which is being equated, and used interchangeably with “tax evasion”, which is a crime. People who’ve taken perfectly reasonable tax-planning steps, are being excoriated for things that are neither against the law, nor against the spirit of the law. The crime, in the rather envious eyes of the British electorate, is to have wealth and be involved in politics. And politicians are being assumed to be corrupt and on the make, with journalists happy to fuel the mood.

And the only politician to speak any sense on the subject of tax is Nigel Farage: “Of course people avoid tax, but they do so mainly for their Children“, before going on to talk about the UKIP policy to abolish Inheritance tax. And the media left it there. UKIP having a popular policy that isn’t bat-shit insane isn’t news. But they aren’t called on its implications, like a major party would be, not yet. The Tories, for whom Inheritance tax has also been a popular cut, would be asked “what would you cut/taxes would you raise?” And the policy of abolishing inheritance tax would immediately become about where the £3bn or so it raises each year would come from. Would farage make cuts, raise taxes, or borrow more? We do not know.
No ‘KIPper would consider, having found a policy that works, the potential downsides of abolishing inheritance tax. The long-term accumulation of assets in families for example. Inheritance tax is the only tax where the money raised is not its principle function. Mega-inheritance is not conducive to social mobility, and nor is it always good for the economy. Why is it fair that someone is able to inherit vast sums, tax-free where others are taxed through the nose for money they earn? For me,  if it’s a choice between cutting £3bn off inheritance tax, or taking it off income tax, I’d rather the income tax cut (and the Tories agree with me there…). Whilst I think Inheritance is mostly an iniquitous tax on the unlucky, or those unwilling to confront their mortality, it’s not a priority to cut right now, not when we still need to balance the books. The Tories have taken most ordinary people out of the tax, while leaving it in place for the very wealthy. When you think a UKIP policy through, quite often what sounds right, as a black and white abstraction, is often rather stupid.
But it’s refreshing to see Farage refuse to dance to the media’s tune, even if the average UKIP policy isn’t thought through at all. When asked where the £3bn would come from, you get boilerplate blather about “fully costed policies being in the [as yet unwritten] manifesto“. And the problem with UKIP is that vague grey area between idea, aspiration and policy invites ‘KIPpers to fill in the gaps. And they do, with abandon, but without any learning or understanding.
British politics is as refined a dance as a regency débutantes’ ball. And like the refined movements of the dances, they are designed to exclude those who don’t know the steps, and so utterly baffling to outsiders. UKIP, whose main dancing experience, if we’re extending the metaphor to breaking point, is in the Mosh Pit of a metal club, aren’t invited to a Queen Charlotte’s ball, because they haven’t got the right clothes, don’t know anyone there, what they’re doing or why. UKIP gatecrashing a Season ball will ruin it for everyone, and they will look stupid. Because UKIP aren’t prepared to answer the “so what…?“, they aren’t taken seriously: they haven’t bothered to learn the steps to the dance. They’re not even aware that such dancing exists and so they’re confused when they see it. 
Which brings us to Meet the UKIPpers on BBC2, which showed UKIP members filling in the policy gaps, with all the creativity and skill of a slow-witted four year old at a colouring book. Of course the TV show was superficial. Of course it was selective. But it was revealing. The utterly incompetent election agent, the Twitter question about the “mosque” (Actually Westminster cathedral…), the Creepy, inadequate couple who collect clowns, and the hilariously bigoted old bag who couldn’t see that she wasn’t kicked out for saying “negro” but for saying “I have a problem with Negroes with their Shiny skin, fuzzy hair and big noses” and who then went on to talk about “Jewish noses with a curve to them“, as if that was some kind of defence. This isn’t a one-off bad-apple spoiling the barrel. This is the mood-music of the UKIP. Janice Atkinson, a UKIP MEP described an Asian constituent as “…a ting-tong from somewhere…” (I find for some reason the indefinite article especially damning), while Mark Reckless actually thought UKIP policy was the forced repatriation of immigrants and was prepared to say so out loud and in public. Both survived in post.
This isn’t pogrom-inciting, paki-bashing racism that smashes people’s windows. It’s the quiet bigotry of profoundly stupid people, of a sort that you probably do get at every family gathering involving multiple elderly relatives. There’s always one who will openly opine about how terrible the country’s got since we “let the wogs in“. But the problem is, those nice, racist nans instil ideas into kids, who’ll become angry young men, who will then go out and set fire to a mosque. Which is why such racist talk has been ridiculed and shunned since Warren Mitchell invented Alf Garnet. UKIP is a party for people who haven’t got the joke in ‘Til death us do Part.
The same cavalier attitude towards policy that allowed Roseanne Duncan to riff freestyle on why she has a problem with Negroes while the cameras were rolling, allows the more intelligent UKIPpers to imagine their freestyling on tax, or immigration policy is Party policy. The reason ‘KIPpers are so certain the party agrees with them, is they’re quite openly making it up as they go along. UKIP agrees, because there is no policy, only opinion. The only “policy” is what Nigel decrees, and he’ll let ‘KIPpers hide behind the defence of “free speech” for any idiocies the media turns up. Yet even this “free speech” defence is idiotic. Of course Roseanne Duncan is entitled to her views. But the ‘KIPper view is that it’s all OK, so long as the media don’t see it. Which is why the ‘KIPpers were kept away from the news during the Rotherham by-election. There are a lot of racists in the party, and the party knows it. And why the “Meet the UKIPpers” filming was shut down after Ms Duncan went off-piste. UKIP is a party for stupid, bigoted people. Yes, the political elite has become too distant, the political dance has become too complicated and superficial. But UKIP is not the answer.
‘KIPpers will blame a media conspiracy for misrepresenting them. They will rant about LibLabCon “not listening to the views of ordinary people“, insulting “ordinary people” by the suggestion they’re like Roseanne Duncan. UKIP is not the answer to the problems that ail the UK, and nor will the “media conspiracy” make UKIP “more popular” as ‘KIPpers often allege. All it will do is taint the few good ideas it has, by association with people like Ms Duncan and Janice Atkinson, while bringing back a kind of low-level bigotry we’d once thought abolished back into political discourse. UKIP is poisoning the well of debate. But on the bright side, the more the views of ranty, stupid people whom the party has seen fit to put in positions of responsibility see the light of day, the less attractive it will become. These people are freaks to be pitied and laughed at, which is why they’re stuck in depressing shitholes at the end of the line, and working with UKIP not a grown-up party. Anyone with talent or drive has left, and UKIP’s South Thanet constituency branch is left with a detritus of lost souls, confused by the modern world, whom another party would happily let deliver leaflets, but whom they would calmly not call when they needed anything more serious doing.
Is there a media conspiracy against UKIP? Only insofar as the Body Politic needs antibodies to expel a parasite. Expect more revelations of nonsense from ‘KIPpers in the run up to the election. Expect scrutiny of candidates and activists in places where they might win. Only a loony could think this unreasonable. UKIP has drawn the bigoted, Euro-obsessed puss from the Tory wound, and will roll up the bigots and opportunists from other parties before destroying itself. The only question is how much damage it does to the country while this process goes on. UKIP are poisonous. But it will be fun to watch them tear themselves apart.

On Rotherham Council’s Decision to Remove Children from UKIP Foster Parents

A couple, who by all reports were exemplary foster parents, had three children removed from their care because the council discovered after an anonymous tip-off that they were members of UKIP.

There is so much ‘sinister’ in that sentence, I don’t know where to start. What’s worse, rather than sacking the social worker in question, launching an immediate enquiry and issuing an immediate, grovelling apology, the Council’s head of child services, Joyce Thacker suggested UKIP’s desire to limit immigration and end multiculturalism meant that a placement of ethnic minority children with UKIP members was against their “long-term cultural needs”. She went on to say

“These children are not UK children and we were not aware of the foster parents having strong political views. There are some strong views in the UKIP party and we have to think of the future of the children.”

When in a hole, you should stop digging, but instead she went on to suggest that the Family would be able to foster white children in future. Urgh.

The Labour party nationally has distanced itself from the Labour-controlled Rotherham council. My prediction: Joyce Thacker will need to call a head-hunter on Monday morning.

The fact is, this demonstrates as if more proof were needed, of the left-wing ‘long march through the institutions’ is nearly complete. A Marxist cultural hegemony exists in some councils, and in much of state education, in which exists a contempt for the family, a loathing of anything like of traditional values, and a deep intolerance of political dissent . Anything outside the left-wing world view is deemed inappropriate. The Tories are suspect and UKIP beyond the pale. And the children are being indoctrinated.

The Joyce Thackers of the world hate you, and everything you stand for. They want to destroy the institution of the Family because they want to make everyone dependent on the state. Mass immigration is desirable BECAUSE it destabilises communities and offends the traditionalist white working class. Widespread welfare dependency is desirable, because dependence gives the state power over people. This is why the benefits system is so complicated and therefore so toxic to the maintenance of stable families. Never ascribe to malice that which can be put down to incompetence, but the ‘problems’ Iain Duncan-Smith’s benefits reforms aim to resolve – the disincentives to parental co-habitation, for example do seem to be in line with Gramscian doctrine. For in their view, there can be no loyalties but to the state. The cold war isn’t over, not while the Joyce Thackers of this world are in charge of children’s lives.

Occasionally the mask slips, when they do something so grotesque, so offending to natural justice that people take a look at what is being done in their name. They won’t like what they see. The people are not Marxist, you see, but no-doubt Joyce Thacker puts this down to false consciousness.

The Offence Game

Dianne Abbot suggested “white people” played divide and rule… Then David Cameron suggested Dealing with Ed Balls was like dealing with someone with Tourette’s syndrome.

Leave aside the vast gulf in the responsibilities of these two characters, the reaction to the “gaffes” is the same. The people who were faux-indignantly jumping all over Abbot’s tweet, were the next day defending Cameron’s “off the cuff” remark. Those who were staunchly defending Abbot’s anti-racism were opining that Cameron’s remark was “offensive” and demonstrating his “arrogance”.

Of course this is just a game, one I play from time to time. But this constant offence seeking is poisonous to discourse, by forcing politicians into a mode of speech wildly divorced from that used by you and me. If Abbot had said “the white establishment” rather than “white people”, she’d be expressing an uncontroversial and widely held view about the tactics of colonialism. The 140 character form therefore, where truncation is necessary (whether or not she had sufficient characters left to use the longer expression, brevity is the soul of Twitter) leads problems expressing thoughts accurately. Embarrassing, and fun to hoist a Labour politician on her Race-mongering petard, but no-one’s really offended.

Tourette’s syndrome is widely used casually as a descriptor of an aggressive and foul-mouthed person. The combative Ed Balls certainly fits. I doubt this is genuinely offensive to anyone with Tourette’s, outside the grievance industry. His remarks were no-doubt jumped on as enthusiastically as they were by the Twitter mob, in revenge for the Abbot storm a few days earlier.

Perhaps we’d have more respect for our political system, if we let our Politicians speak like the rest of us. Those who use twitter engage more intimately with members of the public than any politician in the pre-Internet age, and should be applauded. It’s fun squealing “offence” to discomfit our lords and masters, but perhaps we don’t want to scare them out of Twitter and off the Blogosphere.

Let’s let our politicians speak freely. Maybe then they’ll continue to let us…

Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics. And Asian Rapists.

Whilst I don’t always agree with Chris Dillow of ‘Stumbling & Mumbling’ he is excellent at challenging the cognitive biases which infest everyone’s political discourse, including mine. Just as Dubner & Levitt attempt to eke out the counter intuitive truth by the careful use of the data, it is important to challenge your own thinking, even if you don’t agree with where the logic takes you. You may think something is true, and a data point in the media confirms it. Money quote:

when we are discussing low-probability events – crime, risk, whatever – we are prone to all sorts of cognitive biases. The way to correct such biases is to use statistics. In not doing this, Mr Straw is inviting his audience to draw some inferences which might not be warranted.

Quite. If you got your information from the news, only pretty blond young women ever go missing & get murdered. So, you think Britons of Pakistani descent are rapists? That Islamic traditions lead them to be particularly prone to be abusive abusive of white girls? In Egypt maybe, but the statistics certainly don’t back that up in the UK. If a Tory had alleged what Jack Straw (albeit heavily caveatted) alleged this week, the left would have have been jumping up and down with hyperventilating accusations of racism. Jack Straw gets a by, perhaps because he’s not a racist, though that would not be a valid defence for a right-winger. But he does put people in groups first, and thinks of people as individuals second, if at all. You aren’t an individual, you’re a member of your collective. From there it’s a short intellectual step to shooting people in ditches for the good of the party. That’s why I loathe the collectivist left, but that’s a subject for another post. Much of the “libertarian” blogosphere is going to be collectivist this weekend.

I don’t like Islam, any more than I like any other religion, and I especially abhor the ‘Islamic’ attitude to women. I don’t like the idea of large, closed unintegrated communities in the UK. But the truth is Pakistanis are LESS criminal on average than ‘whites’. Practicing Muslims are amongst the LEAST criminal demographics, and the same is true of the devout of all faiths, and I know I’m going to see a lot of anti-Islamic stuff connected to the Derby case on blogs I normally agree with. Recent immigrants live in poor towns. When Pakistanis see “white British culture” they don’t see an am-dram production of ‘Pirates of Penzance’ at the local theatre or a cricket match on a village green, they see blood and vomit on the street every Friday night, the result of another aspect of British culture, whilst they’ve been at the Mosque. Under those circumstances, would YOU want to integrate?

So. There are bad apples in EVERY community. The two men convicted are vile racist rapists, who have received long gaol terms. The Pakistani “community” wasn’t on trial for these rapes, and nor should it be. Those two men were.