Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tony Blair notes that the rise of Ukip is a threat in British politics; the EU is seeing right wing emerge through-out Europe, what was once core voters for the mainstream parties are drifting, that happens when you refuse to listen to the people who put you into power, Nigel Farage’s Ukip has momentum to change the status quo

Dear All

Tony Blair, the former Labour Prime Minister is looking a high profile job, in the mean time, he is like a PR guy for hire.

Some time ago, it was rumoured that Tony Blair was waiting about to be offered the job of permanent President of Europe.

The idea was that he was supposed to be a bridge between America and Europe.

People in Europe politically decided no thank you but thanks for hanging about looking hopeful. Tony Blair effectively burnt his bridges in Britain and Europe some time ago. In politics, sometime you have to go because you become so toxic. In the case of Blair, 'the crusades' in the Middle East put people's noses out of joint.

But Blair is still there, hanging about, gun for hire, doing the circuit.

Blair has decided to do a return because of the rise of Ukip, Nigel Farage has rather upset the apple cart as the European elections show, in Scotland and England, Ukip scored a major success. Ukip's appeal is not just the Conservative voter, no; they have spanned the bridge and are eating into the working class vote held by Labour.

Working class people are disenfranchised but they never really had a choice or a voice, both Labour and Conservatives ignored their concerns. Belated the Labour Party admitted that their social engineering experiment to change Britain under the guise of economic development was wrong. The Tory leadership became under pressure as their support drifted away from them, this to some of their MPs demanding a vote on EU membership. In truth, the Tories have been happy about Europe on their backbenches.

And another reason for the unhappiness was British people being told they were 'racists' if they speak out, then Ukip came along with a simple message, 'enough's enough'.

A message which speaks to working class people who have experienced unfairness, inequality and a lack of social justice, and to add insult to injury told to shut up and keep quiet while they get 'managed' for their own good.

So; in pops Blair to accuse Nigel Farage of 'stigmatising' foreigners in a bid to win over white working class Brits.

He says they are looking for someone to blame.

Blair urges people not to buy the UKIP leader's 'deception'; instead they should buy into the deception of the main parties who effectively don't represent them.

Ukip's pitch isn't that Britain would be better off if there were 'fewer Poles working in the UK'; their pitch is that Britain should be able to control its own immigration and laws. This has a lot of appeal, that being said, there are dangers to this type of thinking because it’s too much of a broad brush. The EU needs major reform, one of those reforms is a halt to expansion while an assessment is carried out into what type of organisation the EU has become and what direction of travel, forwards or backwards in policies it needs to take. By backwards, I mean returning powers back to member states.

The EU for all its faults can be a quite successful enterprise, it has a lot going for it, however; throughout Europe there has been a rise of right wing parties who don't support the project.

In a keynote speech to the CBI Blair says and accepts the rise of UKIP is a 'wake up call' for Europe.

Whether David Cameron panders to its views or not; something has been started which could dramatically effective the path that Europe has craved for itself in the near future!

At present, Blair has ruled himself out of the running to become the next European Commission President. Quite simply put, he doesn't have the support of Britain, in this case the Tories, and he doesn't have the support on the European mainland. If he tosses his hat into the ring, someone will toss it out again. So, Blair wants to be on the winning side of whoever gets in, he jumped into bed with David Cameron in his fight against the current front runner Jean Claude Junker.

We have Blair saying the EU needs a leader who could 'drive through a big agenda'.

What that agenda is from his perspective is open to question.

He argues:

'It is an important job... there should not be any pre-disposition towards or against any one person. We should look for the best person to do the job.'

Well, given the cronyism in this country which is unique, I think we can safely forget that we will get the best person to do the job. We will get the 'best' person suitable to the political class.

Do eurosceptics like UKIP offer 'a false banner of independence' as Blair says?

Well, the world is not the same as it was 50 years, globalisation has taken over, different types of business have emerged which has frozen out a majority of the public. We have seen bubbles and crashes on the stock market, we have seen less choice, less opportunities, more inequality, poverty and an unwillingness to do anything meaningful about it.

But we get a lot of talk which means nothing.

Blair also uses a standard line of the left when he claims it 'wasn't a coincidence' that anti-Europe parties were also 'also anti-immigrant'.

He said:
'They represent within the UK and elsewhere, a strain of politics. Its defining characteristic is a belief that a nation's identity consists in a sense of belonging to a group of similar look, culture, history and interests.'

In the Movie Amistad, Antony Hopkins delivers a speech at the end of the movie as John Quincy Adams, the former President, one of the lines:

"Who were are, is who we were"!

The Amistad case of 1843 is one of the most famous legal cases in American history, the defence of human rights.

But he said this view of the modern world was wrong.

Blair said:

"The world works today through connectivity. The more connected you are, the better you can cope".

Well that works at his level, for ordinary people is doesn't, hence the rise of Ukip.

Blair added:

"It is a deception to tell people that they're better off, shutting down in the face of it; or stigmatising those that are different in race, colour, nation or faith. The answer to the white, working class, unemployed youth in alienated communities in Britain, is not to tell them their problems would be solved if there were fewer Polish people working in the UK; it is to provide them with the education and the skills and the connectivity that gives then the ability to face the world's challenges and overcome them. Anything else is worse than a delusion; it actually holds them back by giving them a grievance, rather than a chance."

Education is a tool, possibly it could be a route out of poverty, learning skills is a tool, that too could be a route out of poverty, but all these things are useless in a corrupt system. And we do live in a corrupt system, its not what you know, but who you know.

Blair's point is nonsense.

It is not the reality of ordinary people, they are disconnected.

It isn't just in Britain that has seen the rise of the right, the National Front in France and the election of parties across the continent on explicitly "anti-the-status-quo in Europe" platforms signify something'.

He added:

"The election results matter. They are a wake-up call to Europe and to Britain. Our response in Europe, as in Britain, should be to lead, not follow."

I think British people have had enough of 'leaders' who want loyalty but aren't loyal in return.

He said voters should 'recognise the enormity of what is at stake'.

Europe needs to return to an earlier starting point, because somewhere along the line, they veered off course. One example was the Euro, in theory a good idea, in practice a disaster, especially for countries in the Southern part of Europe such as Greece. As part of the 'big agenda', that needs fixed, a temp solution is to spilt the currency into two, Euro North and Euro South, or have a mechanism that simply allows a member state to drop out without penalty.    

As to David Cameron's plans for a renegotiation and in-out referendum by 2017, that I suspect won't really happen, renegotiation isn't really a starter, it is doubtful that he could win anything which would be a game changer.

Apparently Cameron is supposed to be embroiled in a damaging stand-off over who should take over as the next president of the European Commission. In a chit chat with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he said Britain could leave the EU if federalist Jean-Claude Juncker is handed the job.

That's an idle threat.

According to Der Spiegel magazine, Mr Cameron told his counterpart:

"A figure from the 80s cannot resolve the problems of the next five years."

Downing Street has declined to comment on the contents of the 'private conversation', but Mr Cameron has already made clear his bitter opposition to Mr Juncker's appointment.

He will no doubt have to suck this one up if it goes through.

Down the road, there is just days to go until a crucial by-election in Newark.

Polls have suggested Nigel Farage's party is close to overhauling the Tories, 16,000 majority!

The seat was previously held by disgraced former MP Patrick Mercer won it in 2010. If that goes Ukip, it will be another political shock on a par with the Euro election result which Ukip won. So, it is all hands to the pump as Cameron has ordered his ministers to visit the constituency at least three times during the campaign.

16,000 is a huge majority, Ukip face a major task to overcome that number, however, this is a safe Tory seat. A lot of people will be upset by the conduct of Patrick Mercer but the Tories have managed to create for themselves some good news, plus Ukip hasn't managed to make the leap into Westminster. By-elections by their very nature are odd, extra resources are available in terms of people and money which under normal circumstances wouldn't be there.

A Ukip victory would be more than upsetting as the Tories have worked hard getting their Team Tory activist base set up.

In a sign of Conservative nerves over the growing threat from Ukip, Iain Duncan Smith has attacked the BBC for failing to big up Cameron's pledge to hold an in-out referendum by 2017.

Duncan Smith told the Sunday Telegraph he wanted to limit migration from the EU, arguing that Brussels should be stripped of control over who is entitled to state benefits in Britain.

This is a plaster on an open wound, it doesn't solve the problem, the problem is control of the borders. Chancellor George Osborne has blamed European rules for the Government's failure to control immigration. He was force admit or the first time that Cameron's target of bringing net migration levels below 100,000 by next May will not be met.

The EU needs as I have blogged in the past, an internal immigration policy. It is not enough to just change the terms of Britain's membership, that would just be a patch up job, they need an EU wide reform, the big picture and what Blair calls the 'big agenda', perhaps they should offer me the job of European President.

One think is certain, is that the Tories need a new vision as to Tony Blair; he is doing what he does, networking for self advancement. So far he is running into a brick wall, Europe for him will always be closed, he has done enough damage to rule himself out of any chance at European President.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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