Britain tipping towards the Tories?

I wouldn’t put too much store on the Conservative performance in the locals in Britain, but Cameron unlike his predecessors hardly broke sweat to make 40% of the vote in this latest electoral test. And he remains focused on where his party is still underperforming – ie the north o England. But is Labour intent on ripping up it’s own chances of retaining the keys to Number 10.

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  • Crataegus

    For Labour to win the next election Blair has to be kicked out fast. Until that happens you can’t have a radical reshuffle and give new people time to bed in before the run up to the election and thus you can’t give the government a new feel and look.

    I can see no circumstances that would improve public perception of Blair. They don’t trust him and more importantly many Labour activists and supporters don’t trust him.

    Blair is the nub of the problem. Some would say he is the one that has dubious standards, who is evasive, two faced and deeply insincere.

  • Snuff Box

    Blair knows that things are’nt likely to get much better electorally while he is still in charge.He isnt stupid after all. Thoughts that he might stay for another term in spite of what he said are probably wide of the mark also. I think he wants to hold offf as long as possible to get more of his ‘reform agenda’ through.

    After all with with David Cameron fooling around on bicycles and glaciers I dont think it would take Gordon Brown more than a few months to develop a healthy lead in the polls. The Cameron style is generating good publicity but it is not likely to enthuse party activists and has not as yet led to any clearly identifiable policies.

    Who would you vote for? A chancellor who has presided over a healthy economy for 10 years or a cheap albeit younger version of Tony Blair.

    I think TB should go now simply because people are sick of him both within the party and in the public. The sooner he goes the better for everyone. However I believe he could leave 6 months before a general election and Labour would still win. That is unless something goes drastically wrong with the economy.

  • Busty Brenda

    I think the biggest surprise of all is the BNP, especially in the London area. Labour is not listening on the door steps. I believe it is the lack of a good immigration policy, and a much needed overhaul of the asylum policies that brought labour to where it is today. For any party to succeed we have reached a stage now they will only succeed when they tackle these twin issues.

    Labours fall is not simply a personality issue with Mr Blair.

  • Brian Boru

    This is an anti-Blair vote not an anti-Labour one.

  • Mick Fealty

    BB,

    What makes you say that? The worrying thing for Labour is that it saw some radical switching directly from Labour to Tory. Whatever the cause, the effect is not good for Labour, where ever you sit on the internal spectrum.

  • If it were simply an anti-Blair protest vote, surely the Lib Dems would have done better? I can see them getting squeezed if there’s a real doubt about who will form the next Government. Having said that they could lose seats and still end up with more influence if there is a hung parliament.

    Labour needs a leader who will fight the next election. Its deeply worrying that both the US and the UK are going in to the Iran situation with leaders who will not face the people again.

    It’s been suggested that Straw’s demotion was due to his opposition to an attack on Iran.

  • mickhall

    Busty,
    Immigration and asylum policies play a part in the electorates disillusionment with Blair, but they are not the main reason. The rise of the BNP along the Thames rim [Barking and Dagenham etc] is about far more than race. These areas have been swamped with newcomers in recent years [black and white, plus people of all races] The reason for this is twofold, firstly Londoners unable to afford the price of a house/home within inner London have fled to the Thames rim, both north and south of the river where houses cost a lot less. These new arrivals have been accompanied by asylum seekers, who wish to remain as close to the centre of London as possible for a host of reasons not least work on the lump.

    This influx of newcomers has happened just as the de-industrialization of much of this area has also occurred. Ford motors at Dagenham closed, a plant which at one time employed 55 thousand workers. Plus the London docks have gone along with much of the manufacturing industry from Stepney in the west right out to Basildon in Essex.

    This has resulted in much of the established community, in for example Barking where the BNP gained 12 seats, crashing down into the underclass almost over night. Where previously they and their sons were well paid manual workers, with a good chance of having the same job for life, they now have to compete for low paid day work with no certainty of employment tomorrow.

    This being the case they are in competition for both resources and jobs with the newcomers, something which was unheard of in the past as any newcomers were simply taking up the slack work wise. Not only do these people blame Blair, imo they are correct to do so. Thus out of anger and despair they vote for the BNP.

    when Blair goes many will return to Labour. it is much the same with the middle classes to whom Blair sold himself as a man of high principle. no one believes this today what with Iraq and the bungs for peerages etc. The man seems determined to ruin Labour, it seems he would rather see a cameron government than a labour administration not led by his highness. May the war criminal rot in hell.

    regards to all sluggerites.

  • Bob Wilson

    ‘A chancellor who has presided over a healthy economy for 10’
    Snuff – you obviously dont know your stuff. Public expenditure is out of control (there have been no real improvements in public services because of this) and the economy is slidding down the competitiveness league. Far from healthy.
    We need Change in GB and we need Change in NI

  • slug

    Cange to Win, eh Bob.

    Bob-any chances of an NI Tory revival; of the Tories getting some councillors in NI again? Now is surely the time.

  • Well, I said this on Inside Poiltics, so I’ll say it here too: Tony Blair was elected on a pledge to serve a full term just a year ago. It’s time a few people in the Labour Party calmed down. Does anyone think Gordon Brown or anyone else could have kept John Prescott from having an affair?

    Don’t mistake a moment for a mandate – yes Cameron has been cleverer than Hague, Duncan-Smith and Howard, but we’re a long way from seeing if he’s any better at winning elections. What happened on Thursday showed that Labour has a problem in the South and London (Ken Livingstone take note – there are limits to how far you can put up council tax). But the idea that the correct response to that is to shudder off to the left is nonsense and certainly anyone who thinks Gordon Brown believes that needs to lie down in a darkened room.

  • Intelligence Insider

    On Dimbleby’s election special they also pointed out that in a poll ran 2 weeks ago, before the 9 awful days for Labour, a poll showed the Tories on 34% and Labour on 32%. However when translated into a parliament this still gave Labour a majority of 28.

  • yerman

    Adrian,
    Whist the Tory gains were most pronounced in the South and London there were gains for them further north too.

    However, given the fact that the electoral map of the UK is weighted heavily towards the South given the population there then surely that fact alone should be worrying Labour. After all, Blair didnt win 3 elections by taking places like inner-city Manchester or Liverpool, he done it by wooing the suburbs of London and the middle-classes – the very people that Cameron is winning back.

    On the North issue – the Tories did take places like Chorley (which last time I checked is North of Watford) and there are a number of areas where gains by the Tories weren’t enough to take control of the Council but were enough to knock Labour out of control. Areas like Bury and Newcastle Under Lyme are cases in point.

    Blair may have been elected on a pledge to serve a full term – but whether he likes it or not, the perception of most people is that he has promised to go long before that. The longer he stays the worse that will get.

    So much for Tony’s pledges then. Maybe he should have used a bill-board…. or maybe not…

  • Rory

    Since none of the three main parties have any real ideological differences and all are commited to run the country according to the demands of international capital, as the strategists of that force demand, what is all the fuss about?

    It rather seems like a bunch of women (and increasingly, men) arguing animatedly about the advantages in quality and price of the latest anti- ageing wrinkle cream.

    I do not see why people who pretend to intelligence should keep up the pretence while the mass of people have long ago stopped walking the midway to view or participate in this carnival of hocus-pocus.

    Certainly today when I see a man who argues fiercly for democracy the first thing I think is “Snake pedlar”, then I reach for my shotgun.

  • slug

    The Chancellor is talking about a PROCESS of renewal.

    Hmmm.

  • mickhall

    It really is nonsense to say there has been no real improvement in public service; and public expenditure is far from out of control. I say this as someone who is a political opponent of NL, but within the public services there have been real improvements and much more is on line. I feel the way Blair has financed these improvements has been a grave error but to deny we have had progress is daft.

    The same is true as far as old aged pensioners are concerned, they have had a real improvement in their standard of living and not beofe time, but more still needs to be done. The same is true with education, much more needs to be done but real improvements have been made.

    However, it is simply not good enough for Adrian to say Blair said he would serve the full term, as at the time he was hinting to LP members that this would not be the case, where do you think those words ‘manage the transition’ came from?

    Blair has been exposed as the deceitful slippery politician he is, most of us are not surprised as one does not get to the top of the UK greasy pole without being such a being. However Iraq has done for him. It may not be the no 1 issue on people minds, but it has exposed him as being either a charlatan or fool. Without Iraq he could have ridden out the foolishness and mishaps of members of his cabinets, but after Iraq what can Blair say, trust me? [again]

    If he does not set a date he will be laughed and ridiculed out of office and in the process sink the Labour Party as the UK’s natural party of government. Which is his main achievement and nothing to be sniffed at, considering for much of the 20th century this position was held by the Conservative Party.

    The main problem with Blair, the more so since Mr Campbell left, is unlike Gordan Brown, he is surrounded by brown nosers. Thus he has no one to tell him the truth about how people in the country feel about him. If he did I am sure he would go and go soon.

  • Busty Brenda

    Mick,

    I say it because of what the labour MP said, and was proved correct. She hit the nail on the head.

    Sometimes an anti leader vote can become an anti party vote re Thatcher, and the Tories are still trying to recover from it.

    the Labour policies are failing. They have failed at the home office, they have failed on their asylum policies and they have failed crime. Prescott is next in line for the press, the trimmings of office with no office!!

    Come on Mick the whole shower that is the Labour party have failed, it is time for change, and the changes that have emerged in London is not nice. But the interviews of people on the ground supported what the labour MP said – I feel it is too late for an over haul. The rot set in when Blair followed Bush into Iraq and has gone all the way thru Labours’ policies.

    They will go at the next election.
    Care to place a bet? a fiver says the next gov in Westminister is a co-alition.

    Mick Hall, yes I agree with your analysis, I have some family in London and they bear out what you are saying. They said it’s like a foreign country, some people interviewed on tv said the same. This is not race, it’s a failed asylum policy that is letting too many in. I do not believe racism is the fuel for this, but economic and educ and social survival. But I could be wrong, it may be race as you say.

  • Busty Brenda

    Mick Hall,

    you say improvements in education. They are about to slash the budget for special educational needs here. they are going to decimate it. They are on the verge of closing down around ten more schools. Increasingly as I see it old age pensioners are becoming more and more dependent on charities etc. The social services budget is a joke, I know of people with handicapped children and adults waiting for more than a year to get on the list in order to get respite. Places in handicapped day centres are like hens teeth, huge waiting lists in our hospitals, huge waiting lists for homes, packed doctors surgeries, and LOL cheaper to travel south to have a dentist look at you something that was unheard off. But there have been improvements.

    sure there have. Blair has given us a N Ireland assembly that is being funded at an obscene rate, funding Irish language schools, (very necessary indeed),etc. Sure Labour has done its self proud in NI. And with the influx of immigrants, wait for it it’s going to be a race to the bottom folks.

  • GAK

    The result of the BNP was by far the most startling.Fielding 13 and having 11 elected was remarkable.The future will show just to what extent the people think about the influx of people from abroad.This will be exasperated by the refusal of the other EEC countries to admit any people for another 3 years.Ireland and the UK will be the destination for them.It would make very interesting reading the number of people that are expected to come here in the next 3 years.No chance of both geverments providing these numbers as they must in a funk about how the natives are going to react.

  • Snuff Box

    Bob Wilson

    If the economy is in such a poor position then why aren’t the Tories crying the house down instead of pursuing a green agenda. You cant simply identify public expenditure and competitiveness as the two fundamental indicators of the economy and disregard all else.
    How about low unemployment, low inflation and low interest rates?

    A property crash could conceivably bring trouble and divorce the bond between new labour and the southern middle classes which they have courted since 97′. However that as yet does not appear to be happening…yet

  • Busty Brenda

    According to Albert Reynolds the ROI will need at least 70,000 for the next few years. Yet on the streets of Dublin Irish Ferries have demonstrated against jobs going due to the influx of cheap eastern European Labour.

    I know of one young English family who were renting out a home in SE England and when the landlord was selling up they went to the local council to get housed, they have two children. NOPE not a chance they had to keep a certain amount of homes for incoming asylum seekers. They’ve ended up coming to N. Ireland. Thankfully this lovely family is Englands loss and our gain. But how many times has this been repeated? Blair needs to deport failed asylum seekers.

    Its interesting to note that the man who shot the PC in England was from Somalia. They let him out, released from Police custody, and they considered deportation but it was thought to dangerous to deport him back to somalia. When he got out on bail and they went to get him, guess what. He fled. Guess where to. Thats right. Somalia.

    Somebody needs to tighten up controls, forwhat its worth tho I believe Charles Clarke could have put the Home office right, better than that scots guy any day.

  • Crataegus

    Without immigrants many of our services would collapse. Imagine the health service without immigrant Doctors and Nurses. These people are assets and not liabilities.

    The problem in East London is a combination of the collapse of the industrial sector and its manual employment and a dire shortage of affordable housing. In fact housing is a serious problem across much of southern England.

    New jobs are in the Services sector which can be either highly qualified professions in design, insurance, R & D and finance or crap jobs in fast food outlets. In this world the poorly qualified have no prospect of a good wage and therefore they cannot afford a house with an inflated price tag.

    In these circumstances people look around and pick a target. The coloured bloke down the road seems to be working and is living in a house therefore for the intellectuality challenged the easy equation is that’s potentially my job and my house. But of course you could say the same for anyone with a job or a house but no you pick a discernable target, someone slightly different. I call that racism.

    Of course a more positive approach would be to say why has he a house and job and I don’t? The positive approach would be to take responsibility for your own destiny and get off your butt and get whatever training is necessary, but no easier to moan about someone who is different be it by religion or race. Much better to allow envy to consume you!

    However, I qualify the above paragraph, I do hold successive governments responsible. Lack of housing policy, lack of regional policy, lack of appreciation of just how important the industrial sector actually is are the driving causes. The poor unqualified don’t count in the land of New Labour so they are switching their allegiance.

    We have an economy where the growth is overly reliant on services, utter folly. We allow business to close but really have no plan to encourage new business to locate in that area. That’s why places like Consett become ghost towns and the south suffers from overdevelopment. There is houses in Britain, thousands of them, in places where there are no jobs.

    Thursday saw the Blair effect fade, Labour lost its hold on middle England and that is why the Conservatives made gains in the South and not the North. But Blair is the problem, he isn’t trusted and his decisions have more to do with self interest and little to do with National interest. Prescott is unbelievable and I really don’t know why Jack Straw was removed. Not brilliant but what exactly has he done that was so wrong?

    The Lib Dems aren’t having much luck many of their targets are Conservative seats so future growth may stall.

    Also worrying is the idea that you can move ministers around like some board game. Has no one considered just how long it takes to get to grips with some of these Ministries?

    With regards London I look forward to the next European and Assembly elections. Could see further serious losses for labour.

    Busty

    Quite a few PCs have beem attacked by people from England, and some by people from Ireland! The problem is reducing crime generally though I agree it is a right mess.

  • Valenciano

    Brenda: “I think the biggest surprise of all is the BNP, especially in the London area.”

    Think you need to get that into perspective a little bit. The BNP won 13 seats out of nearly 2000 available in London – that’s less than 1% of the total. Overall they have 40 councillors out of 22000 so represent a very small base, no?

    Brenda: “Labour is not listening on the door steps. I believe it is the lack of a good immigration policy, and a much needed overhaul of the asylum policies that brought labour to where it is today.”

    But the problem here is that it is not just Labour that is suffering losses to the BNP. Indeed if you compare the situation before the election in Barking for example with the situation after you have

    2002: Lab 42, Chadwell Heath Residents Association 4, L Dem 3, C 2.
    2006: Lab 38, BNP 12, C 1.

    So the BNP gains appear to have come from across the board, rather than being simply an anti-Labour protest vote. Most notably in this case they wiped out the residents group (who had won seats at every elections since the boroughs creation in 1964) this follows a pattern also seen in Burnley and Stoke where gains have often come at the expense of Independent councillors rather than just Labour as some commentators erroneously assert. The conclusion would be that they are tapping into a vote that has previously been disdainful of all three main parties.

    I’ve no doubt that they will gain further ground but ultimately their progress will be hampered by a few things not least the fact that the party has continually, whether by accident or design, more than its fair quota of nutters with skeletons in the closet. Indeed its leading light in Barking, Richard Barnbrook was on course for a good second place at last years general election until it was revealed that he had written, co-produced and appeared in a gay Marxist soft porn movie in his student days.

    Asylum is actually declining, not growing, as an issue of concern with voters according to the British Social Attitudes Survey and if you look at the Tories attempts to capitalise on it in the past, it wasn’t really a vote grabber. Bluntly while people may very well be concerned about asylum seekers, when it boils down to it, most of them will balk at BNP policies like an all white Britain or a return to economic protectionism with the consequent negative economic effects.

    GAK: “The result of the BNP was by far the most startling.Fielding 13 and having 11 elected was remarkable.The future will show just to what extent the people think about the influx of people from abroad.This will be exasperated by the refusal of the other EEC countries to admit any people for another 3 years.”

    Not really remarkable when it has long been one of their main target areas. The other EU countries are gradually lifting restrictions on East European immigrants – indeed Finland, Spain and Greece did so just last week and others like the low countries may follow suit later this year. Also I suspect that people are rather less bothered about Pavel from Poland working legally and paying taxes towards their pensions than they are about Osama from Pakistan.

  • Busty Brenda

    Crat, I think you are confused as to the difference in race, ie picking on the black bloke down the street because One has a job and you do not. Yes I agree that is racism. BUT as Mickhall has stated, quote ‘these areas have been swamped in recent years by newcomers, black white and people of all races’. We are not discussing race here, and I am certainly not putting the blame on race, but there is an argument that too many people are coming in, and taking the jobs which you claim are for the intellectually challenged.

    However, the example I gave of the family with the two children, these people were in work, in the nursing sector, which Britain is crying out for. They were refused a home from the council, not because they were intentionally homeless, but because the local council were keeping homes to one side for expected asylum seekers. In Birmingham alone I have been told that 90,000 people are on housing waiting list for a bigger home. I am in doubt as to whether this also includes people who are actually homeless and waiting to be housed.

    Quote, of course it may be more positive to say why do they have a job/house and I don’t’. With those figures quoted, which include all races in Birmingham, considering the white community is in a minority there, don’t you agree it is hard enough to get a job/house with out more people coming in and flooding an already over subscribed waiting list.

    It is intellectually arrogant of someone to say that all people waiting for a home/job and who blames policies of the Labour government for having too generous an immigration policy, attracting all sorts of undeserables to our shores. Many of these people have not even had a back ground check, hence over 1,000 foreign criminals many of whom are sex offenders are loose on the streets of Britain.

    ‘There are houses in Britain thousands of them in places where there are no jobs’

    That was the case and they are now still not filled. Can you tell us why the asylum seekers won’t even take them, precisely because they are in areas which have a lot of anti social behaviour, high crime, and NO work. It says a lot when those supposedly fleeing persecution won’t take a home in such areas does it not? Perhaps it’s only the locals who are intellectually challenged?

    I am wondering are you saying Crat that all those who voted for the BNP were intellectually challenged LOL. a bit like all those who vote for SF because they just had to be supporters of the IRA/murderers right?

    Whether or not people who do not have jobs and homes are intellectually challenged and vote BNP is irrelevant, they have votes and the BNP rise is significant because the DOUBLED their representation like it or not.

    In order to stop that rise the main stream parties are going to have to look at immigration and asylum policies and tighten up the controls. Until they do that the ‘intellectually challenged’will be joined by a lot more people who are going to vote for the BNP.

  • Crataegus

    Busty
    London has always had high levels of immigration going back centuries and there has always been people who blamed them for their woes. It wasn’t that long ago that it was no blacks or Irish. That was open racism and now there’s a new bogey man with sallow complexion.

    I am slightly confused are we discussing;

    1 Asylum seekers
    2 Legal immigrants.
    3 Illegal immigrants.
    4 British Citizens relocating form other parts of the United Kingdom.
    5 Criminals.

    Does 5 occur in a greater percentage in any of the sectors from 1-4 than it does for the overall population?

    ‘these areas have been swamped in recent years by newcomers, black white and people of all races’

    Swamped! A tad emotive. There are a lot of people living in London, with a right to vote whose ancestors are from abroad. It is worth considering the support for Respect.

    “but there is an argument that too many people are coming in, and taking the jobs”

    Coming in from where exactly, Poland, Pakistan, Moracco or is it Scotland or the North West of England or perhaps from other parts of London?

    With regards housing I was trying to make two points;

    1 Need a regional policy to encourage growth more evenly across the country and a strategy to utilise existing under developed areas more extensively.

    2 We need to build a massive number of new and affordable homes, but thanks to the immigrant plumbers and bricklayers from Eastern Europe we will have a larger work force to do it when the government gets its act in order.

    don’t you agree it is hard enough to get a job/house with out more people coming in and flooding an already over subscribed waiting list.

    Firstly the housing shortage is because successive governments have failed to build enough and thus high prices and inadequate supply. Secondly many of the immigrants are legally here because we need their skills. If a Polish electrician stays at home it dosen’t mean that an unqualified and unemployed docker is going to take his place. So there is a question of skills base and retraining.

    With regards foreign sex offenders where was Gary Glitter last seen? I would imagine that foreigners are as likely to be criminals as locals. Are we suggestion that there is some sort of genetic disposition to crime?

    I am wondering are you saying Crat that all those who voted for the BNP were intellectually challenged LOL. a bit like all those who vote for SF because they just had to be supporters of the IRA/murderers right?

    I would be of the opinion that anyone who thought that voting for the BNP would solve their unemployment or housing shortage had not given the matter adequate consideration. I am hoping that it was simply a protest rather than a belief in their political poison, but I am cynical enough to accept that a number of people are racisist. Similarity 30 years of bombing and murder is unlikely to foster good relations and a peaceful and united Ireland.

    Need to address the issues that are at the core of this problem and it is not merely a matter of reducing the number of immigrants. I agree with Valenciano on the relative strength of the BNP but it is a shame that anyone should vote for this sort of organisation.

  • Labourman

    Talking of Labour, check out the Politics show today.

  • Busty Brenda

    ‘swamped a tad emotive’

    Crat that quote came from Mick Hall, and as far as I know he lives there, so perhaps it was emotive for him to say so, but doesn’t he have that right.

    As far as immigration is concerned, I do not believe Micks or my opinion is against immigration, what my beef is and that of many others is not for a white supremacist Britain, just an overhaul of the immigration/asylum policies that are clearly not limiting or checking who comes in.

    My point re the PC who was killed and the man who fled to Somalia. My point was not about the actual attack par se. He was here fleeing persecution from his native homeland in Somalia, when he was released on police bail it was thought too dangerous to deport him back to his own country ie somalia. When he fled prosecution in this case where did he go to he went to Somalia. So where was the danger if he fled back. Quite obviously the asylum seeker policies are being abused by many illegals and it needs to be rectified. More stringent controls at the point of entry would have averted the danger of foreigners coming here and commiting crimes again. But to let them out and loose them. Thats a disgrace. Did the Thai authorities loose Glitter? His money may have helped him buy justice, but they at least know he is there and are watching him, more than can be said for the thousand odd foreigners released from British jails recently, is it not.

    I agree with you I too hope it is a protest vote, but reject the argument that to sit on laurels is the best way to deal with it. It is only when the three main stream parties deal with immigration and asylum that the support for the BNP will fall. Until they do that, and I respect the argument that it is not a vote catcher, but until they do it, the BNP will rise I am afraid.

  • mickhall

    crat,

    I used the word swamped because that is how many people feel, it is no good hiding this fact as it is important we listen to people not ignore how they feel, but as busty pointed out, I added they feel swamped by people who are black and white and of all races. What you must understand about areas along the east of the River Thames such as Dagenham, Thurrock and Basildon, is prior to the 20th century, bar the odd village which got its living through fishing, smuggling or agriculture there was nothing there as it was to unhealthy a place to live due to the marshes being malarial.

    From the beginning of the 20th Century, London gradually spread eastward to such an extent today few people in the aforementioned communities can trace their families back to the area more than four or five generations. First came my lot from eastern and Central Europe, next came the Irish to dig the London and Tilbury docks. Following WW2 their was another influx of people from throughout the UK and Ireland, in the 1950-60s people came from the Indian sub continent and the West Indies, the 70s east Africa,, these were followed by Bosnians, East Europeans and recently more from Africa, with a sprinkling from the four corners of the world in-between.

    To date all of these people where gradually assimilated becoming part of the local communities. Up until now there has been few race relations problem in these areas unlike elsewhere in the UK. However three things are different today from the past, first the area like much of the country has seen a massive de-industrialization. Secondly the government has decided via the Thames Gateway Scheme to make this area the centre of its renewal program for the south-east of England. Thus a massive building program is in place which will result in tens of thousands of new homes being built, there is also to be a new port and small city to be built out on the Essex marshes. Something similar is taking place on the Kent side of the river.

    Naturally this program has resulted in a rush of newcomers to the area looking for both work and a home. To give you some idea of the scale of this, by the year 2050 greater London to the east will stretch as far as Southend on sea which is thirty plus miles from central London.

    Finally into this mix of enormous change we have the poisonous BNP, with their lies and silly rumors [for example Black people given 50K by the government to live in the area, etc, etc] The failure of Labour to both combat the BNP and be honest with the established community has also played a part in current discontent, although thankfully at a local level this is beginning to change as the penny has dropped.

    Myself I do not fear change but welcome it, as every generation of newcomers to the area have brought real improvements with them. I might add without newcomers from India in the decades following WW2 we would not have had a functioning NHS. As British born doctors and nurses refused to work in the area due to its bleak industrial landscape. Those who came from east Africa in the 70s reinvigorated the towns by keeping the shops open etc long before all day Sunday trading. Much the same is happening today with the Africans and east Europeans who have taken over most of the empty shops, opening barbers, hairdressers, nail shops, tailors, internet cafes, etc.

    To close I am certain it will all work out in the end, the most important thing is not to panic. To show what a melting pot most families have become due to the process I have described I need only look at my own family. We came to the UK in the the 19th century as Jewish refugees, along the way my grand-daughter has picked up Irish, [north and south] and English blood, my wider family spreads from the Indian sub continent though the middle east and africa, europe to the USA.

    The world is becoming a smaller place by the day, instead of trying to turn the clock back, which is an impossibility, we must make the best of it and rejoice in our human differences, not forever wine on about them like fearful bunny rabbits. As I said “take a pinch of —-

    Mick

  • Brian Boru

    “BB,

    What makes you say that? The worrying thing for Labour is that it saw some radical switching directly from Labour to Tory. Whatever the cause, the effect is not good for Labour, where ever you sit on the internal spectrum.

    It’s important to remember though that not all the local authorities were up for election so it’s open to debate exactly how representative it was but I do think that the loss of Labour votes is down to an exasperation that Tony Blair won’t go. His image has been ruined by the Iraq war more than anything else. It’s a protest vote albeit on a large enough scale.

    The BNP vote reflects a Europe-wide trend of gains for the Far Right. It would be easy to dismiss is as simply a “racist” vote. The reality is that the social infrastructure of a country can only cope with so many people without serious bottlenecks developing – and consequent tensions. Then there are fears of an erosion of identity, ghettoisation and French-style problems. Of course the UK has occasionally had French-style problems in the past e.g. Brixton riots. It is a good thing that in the UK media and politics there is a more open debate on immigration. I don’t think most BNP voters actually want a BNP govt. What they are doing is trying to put the frighteners into a political-class they feel are not sufficiently interested in their concerns in this regard. I wonder how long it will be before something similar happens in the Republic? Of course we don’t really have a BNP-style party yet but time will tell.

    The lacklustre Lib Dem performance I would put down to the removal of a popular leader to be replaced with an old man at a time with image is everything electorally. This is the age of presentation and I think they made a mistake in not choosing someone younger who could better appeal to the female and gay vote.

  • mickhall

    Brian,

    I agree with most of what you write although when you mention peoples fears I would add people fear change, the unknown. Indeed I wrote a piece for a local paper in the area we are discussing in which I pointed out as the newcomers with time become part of the established community, they also end up fearing newcomers. It is all part of the process of life, time is a great leveler and what you do not need when this type of thing periodically occurs is to have an irritant like the BNP present to stir racial tensions. Thus is is important to oppose them and expose their lies at every turn.

    As you say much the same is likely to happen in Ireland and sadly I am sure scum will come to the surface to stir the pot, such is life.

    All the best.

  • Crataegus

    Busty and Mickhall

    I agree that immigration policy is a mess and in particular the procedures to deal with asylum seekers. It is not to the advantage of genuine asylum seekers or Britain that the problems remain unaddressed.

    With regards the European Union I think our policy towards the new states was the right one, we are either Europeans or we are not. With regards the rest of the world I have severe problems with our reliance on Doctors and Nurses from the third World when we could easily train more of our own. Yes we accept your most able and best trained, we will also accept your dictators and their wealth but not your young and fit who are unemployed. A bit unethical.

    The big problem is the illegal immigration and how you stop it. I have spend a fair period of my formative years in places of dire poverty and I have seen people who simply gave up on life. Once seen never forgotten. It is appalling that this should happen in our world of wealth. On another thread I mentioned a journey I made some years ago down North Western Africa, in places I did this as part of a convoy of cars. People are taking that same route, on the off chance of getting into Europe. There are mine fields, border disputes and armed insurrections. No one would contemplate such a journey with minimal preparation unless they were truly desperate. I would not advise anyone to make the journey even if prepared! Leave Morocco and you really enter hell.

    No matter what we do here we will not stop this flow. We can fly them home, shove them onto boats but still they will come. Some of the countries they come from are simply hell holes and the reward of employment here so great because of the difference in currency values. Until we sort out the problems in some of these countries they will keep coming. These people cannot change their lot where they were born, there is no hope in much of sub Saharan Africa. I would be first to recognise that Europe cannot absorb the numbers currently on the move, but equally until we develop a better co-ordinated foreign policy I don’t see us starting to solve the problem and it may well get worse. Its not just Africa but large parts of the old Soviet Union, China, Moldova, Eastern Europe, the Balkans etc etc etc.

  • mickhall

    Crataegus

    Good post I agree with you, in fact the determination displayed by newcomers from abroad that you mention is one of the reason the majority of them are such an asset to the nations they make their new home in. In my experience people rarely travel across the world to sit around on the dole.

    Best regards.

  • Sean Fear

    “So the BNP gains appear to have come from across the board, rather than being simply an anti-Labour protest vote. Most notably in this case they wiped out the residents group (who had won seats at every elections since the boroughs creation in 1964) this follows a pattern also seen in Burnley and Stoke where gains have often come at the expense of Independent councillors rather than just Labour as some commentators erroneously assert.”

    No, all the BNP gains came from Labour. Labour made gains from the Conservatives, Lib Dems and Residents’ Association.

    B & D was well-trailed, and may just be a flash in the pan. More interesting are those places where the BNP gave been gaining pretty relentlessly like Sandwell, Burnley, Stoke and Epping Forest. One should also note that there are loads of places where the BNP achieved close second places, which tends to be overlooked in a first past the post election. Overall, the 356 BNP candidates won an average vote share of 18%.

    For years, left wing politicians have pursued multicultural policies which encourage ethnic minorities to see themselves primarily as part of an ethnic group, in competition with other ethnic groups, who trade their votes in return for jobs and grants to their “community leaders.”

    The BNP have latched onto the fact that white people can be encouraged to think in communal terms too, and a rich electoral reward will follow for any party that can persuade them to do so.

  • Valencianop

    Sean Fear, first appearances are often deceptive, so I guess youre probably right about the situation in Barking/Dagenham. 🙂

    Doesn’t change my overall point though, that the BNP represent a very small base, 0.5% of councillors in London and even less than that overall. To again put this in perspective the BNP have about 40 odd council seats while the Green Party have 91 so why do we hear such hysteria about the BNP, which does little more than raise their profile while the Greens get a lot less focus? I think you need to ask yourself why certain newspapaers and media outlets have an agenda to demonise the most disadvantaged in society while ignoring similar small parties which represent equally valid alternative viewpoints.

    You say: “The BNP have latched onto the fact that white people can be encouraged to think in communal terms too, and a rich electoral reward will follow for any party that can persuade them to do so.”

    but again I beg to difer. There is a limited base for such identity politics in Britain, which explains the fact that the BNP and their Islamic counterparts Respect remain fringe parties. Overall we should not forget that when the tories tried to make immigration an election issue in 2001 they had a net gain of 1 seat, while the LibDems advanced more. Further, I’d contend that parties like the BNP are doomed to stay that way.

    The BNP and Respect (who have more in common than divides them) will be eternally hampered by the presence of numerous nutters. You only have to have a quick look at the manifesto section of the BNPs website to see the problem. Many British people may well be pissed off by the type and number of immigrants going into certain parts of Britain but I think that if the BNP ever grow to any substantial degree many voters will be instantly turned off by policies like the following BNP gems (from the BNP website)

    – Restoring national service
    – Turning britain into a US style gun culture by forcing all ex-national servicemen to keep a gun at home
    – Removing speed cameras and raising speed limits
    – Withdrawing from Iraq but increasing defence spending
    – Making it illegal for soap operas to show real life (as opposed to sanitised life)
    – Abolishing the freedom of the press
    – Making mixed race relationships illegal
    – Moving the British Isles parliament to the Isle of Man (it would thereafter alternate between London, Cardiff, Dublin – yes Dublin – and Edinburgh)
    – “abolishing all laws against racial discrimination in employment”
    – quote “making entire families financially responsible for the cost of crimes committed by one of their members.”
    – Making american military bases hostages against USA foreign policy quote “American bases would be essentially hostages to America’s good behaviour”
    – restrict foreign imports (resulting in more expensive food and clothing for the poorest in society)

    The BNP might have got sensible in some areas but overall they’d need to wise up on some policies as well as have a huge purge of members and candidates before they can grow to anywhere near the levels that their “next government but one” BNP members think that they’re going to achieve.

    So for me the biggest danger of the BNP is not that they will gain power but that people will panic so much that they carry out a BNP manifesto by proxy – demonising immigrants and halting immigration while at the same time hypocritically patting themselves on the back that they’ve “seen off the BNP threat”

  • Crataegus

    Valencianop

    Good post, I am also somewhat concerned at the role of sections of the press, and the possibility of a major political party lurching to the right. The BNP coverage seems out of proportion to me and it isn’t as if there was not other political news to cover.

    Why give the BNP the oxygen of publicity?

    I watched much of the election coverage and it was interesting to compare that given to the BNP and the Greens. One was a threat to the very fabric of society and the other was scarcely mentioned and when it was it was in condensing terms, yet it is a larger party. What was it that Dimbleby said, “now for the Green gains don’t know if we should call them gains,” or something to that effect. OK they are a bit peripheral, but a totally unnecessary comment. However they were there, at the count, waiting for the BNP result and you would think we were about to have marches of black shirts down Cable Street.

    I have great faith in the fundamental decency and common sense of middle England. Mosley didn’t do well in the 30s and the BNP won’t now.

  • Sean Fear

    Fascism is a good deal more newsworthy than recycling. Hence the respective coverage of the BNP and Greens.

    The BNP did make a bigger net gain than the Greens though, and achieved a higher vote per candidate.