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  1. Politics
16 May 2008updated 05 Oct 2023 8:33am

Toffs and Foreigners

By-election tactics are backfiring and Marxists are having their names cleared, this week on the blo

By Paul Evans


The by-election in Crewe and Nantwich was causing a stir this week, whilst candidates were being slotted into place for the contest in the Henley-on-Thames seat vacated by Boris Johnson. Labour desperately need to hold Gwyneth Dunwoody’s former constituency, but some activists vented their anger at the tone and content of the party’s literature. Writing on Labour Home, For the Union was enraged by both the class warfare and policy attacks of recent literature, and wrote:

“Regardless of the fact that I oppose ID cards in anyway, shape or form (the mere idea is distinctly alien to Britain) – “making”, “foreign nationals” is the language of the [far] right. What has our party come to? Do we not know who we sound like with such inflammatory, nationalist statement. Unless of course – the plan is to TRY and appeal to the BNP – in which case, I may leave the party now.”

Supporters of other parties quickly pounced upon this disquiet. Harrow West Tory candidate Rachel Joyce accused Labour of “racist, classist, hate-filled behaviour,” while Lib Dem Alex Wilcox despaired:

“No doubt they’re terrified they’re going to lose and want BNP-inclined voters on side – but in what morally hopeless universe is that an excuse?”

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Having scoured the Labour supporting blogosphere, it has proved nigh on impossible to find any defence of the “toffs and foreigners” campaign, but readers are welcome to leave one in the comments.

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Agent Brown

Brown this week tried to reinvigorate his administration with a series of legislative proposals for the coming year. As Red Box blog noted “On agency workers, action is again promised as early as next week, but nothing announced today”. This pleased Sandwell Councillor Bob Piper, though he feared that opponents may not be so welcoming. He wrote:

“Of course, I very much doubt it will be welcomed by the CBI, the Institute of Directors, nor their stooges in the Conservative Party, and they will all hop up and down twittering that giving people employment rights is a ‘burden on business’ and that it will create millions of unemployed.”

The TUC welcomed the move too, though recruitment blog Jobshout was less impressed, complaining that:

“Gordon thinks that it will endear him to the public. Like me you may disagree and think that it will just be another bureaucratic restriction imposed on business and free movement of labour.”

What have we learned this week

This week, Crooked Timber, explored Oliver Kamm‘s allegations that Thoroughly Modern Miliband‘s dad, Ralph “thoroughly Marxist” Miliband, was a keen supporter of Cambodian genocidal dictator Pol Pot. He undertakes a robust deconstruction of the alleged slur. Kamm’s views on Miliband the elder can be read in full here and here.

Across the Pond

Barack Obama’s campaign for the White House received a boost this week when he secured the endorsement of John Edwards. But as the New York TimesThe Caucus blog notes, the Edwards household is not united in its support for the Illinois Senator:

“Publicly, Mrs. Edwards has said that she favors Mrs. Clinton’s health care plan. Privately, she has told several associates she is unsure if Mr. Obama is the party’s best candidate.”

Video of the Week

For those who like their political pop a bit more nuanced, I heartily recommend the intelligent stylings of The Indelicates. Check out the video for their recent single, America.

Quote of the Week

“I do think there is a danger that the media community are often not old enough to have lived through a real red-blooded recession, and therefore there does generally seem to be a tad of hysteria surrounding our current position, combined with a lack of wide realisation about the comparative strengths of our economy.”

Paul Walter, optimist.