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Who is Paul Nutall?

16308386333_bcbb6ef438_bWho’s that knight on a white charger? Why, it’s none other than Paul Nuttall, Eddie Hitler look-a-like and the latest leader of our purple friends in the United Kingdom Independence Party. His election by a landslide suggests a desire on the part of the party’s much-reduced membership (of which, 15,500 out of 33k cast a ballot) to put the recent period of fracas and farce behind it. But more significantly, and unlike the hapless Diane James, Tory-in-exile Suzanne Evans, and homosexual donkey anecdote man, Nuttall is the man with a plan. To put the UKIP jigsaw together again (his words), they’re going to go all out and concentrate on the northern working class Labour seats. It’s a “big open goal” as far as he’s concerned, and plenty of the media agree. Despite evidence of a declining brand, there are plenty only too happy to talk up this threat.

On paper, it seems like a winner. The Labour Party is stuffed full of metropolitan luvvies, and practically the entire media (and not a few Labour MPs) have gone out of its way to portray northerners as knuckle scraping racists hostile to such things. The election of Jeremy Corbyn is further grist to the UKIP mill, widening the chasm between the party and its core support. Or so the story goes. The problem for Nuttall’s turn to the class and his excitable soi disant critics in liberal opinion is this is nothing at all new. This has been UKIP strategy since 1999, and they doubled down on it after hitting the big time. It has brought them some modest success, and has seen them take a council seat here and there from Labour. But their main accomplishment is to have displaced the other parties as the choice of non-Labour voting sections of the working class in safe Labour areas. This Parliament’s Ogmore, Sheffield Brightside, and Oldham by-elections typify this trend. Labour hold on, if not handsomely increase its vote, and UKIP batter everyone else and come a distant second. The bulk of working class voters remain resistant to their garish colours and garish politics, as the ballot box demonstrates.

It follows on that if this was the case under Nigel Farage, why does anyone think Nuttall could do better? It took Farage almost 15 years of friendly press before he became a household name. Despite top billing on this evening’s news, Nuttall is far cry from the same recognition. As far as the public at large are concerned, including those who give UKIP a punt, he’s as well known to them as second rank shadow cabinet members. He’s right up there with Tim Farron and Angus Robertson. Nuttall, as noted previously, is mostly competent in front of the cameras. I say mostly, as he has let his affection for Putin show, but the man is also a charisma-free zone. Farage’s strength lay in his gaffer-like relatability for the UKIP target vote of middle aged men. What has Nuttall got? The patronising idiocy that he’d go down well with working class voters because he speaks with a Scouse accent is just that. Another thing worth noting, there are plenty of northern working folk for whom the accent grates too. Marry that to a personal image bound up with fascist bovver boys, and hey presto, UKIP have hit upon a formula no more attractive to working class people than the former Tory voters in the shires.

The further problem Nuttall faces is the resurgent Liberal Democrats. Not the biggest threat to UKIP, one would think. And yet they previously did well out of the collapsing LibDems. As previous owners of the none-of-the-above vote, that persistent brigade of anti-establishment politics voters switched their allegiance to the kippers while Clegg and friends made nice with the Tories. And now, well, by-elections up and down the country are finding that vote is dispersing back to the LibDems and, to a lesser extent, Labour. Politics is a funny old game, and Nuttall hasn’t even recognised his party’s bleed in this direction, let alone have a strategy for addressing it.

This is not a counsel for complacency, though. UKIP’s electoral potential is limited, but as we know their indulgence by the media and politicians in our party and over on the government benches has had calamitous consequences. The way to beat them is not to cleave to their specious arguments and BNP-style scapegoating, but to take them on, street-by-street, and door-by-door. Our job is not to enable the enemies of working people by surrendering political ground to them, otherwise what’s the bloody point?

53 Comments

  1. Richard MacKinnon says:

    Once again I am in total disagreement with Phil Burton Cartledge. Compared to the Islington set Paul Nuttall has credibility. Phil Burton Cartledge might have a problem with a Scouse accent, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, Sheffield, Glasgow, Essex doesn’t).
    Emily Thornberry, Dianne Abbott, Jeremy Corbyn are seen as a joke when they talk. John McDonnell is seen as a friend of the IRA. Does Phil Burton Cartledge not realise just how much the Islington accent grates with the majority, and I mean vast majority of regular people? Has he already forgotten about Emily’s white van picture, or Dianne’s blatant hypocrisy over her children’s education. I bet Mr. Nuttall has not.
    I like most people thought UKIP after Brexit had nowhere to go. I think I was wrong. Immediately I heard Paul Nuttall talk I realised UKIP may well have a future. Nuttall is as they say positioning his tanks on Labour’s northern lawns. He has plenty of time to pull the UKIP machine together and as long as the Islington set run Labour all he has to do is keep UKIP credible, they will do the rest.
    Remember where you heard it first Mr Burton Cartledge.

  2. John Penney says:

    We on the Left are extremely fortunate that Nuttall is a firmly neoliberal Tory at heart , as exemplified by his , now viral, repeated advocacy for the privatisation of the NHS, which will go down like a lead balloon with disenchanted Labour voters in UKIP’s target Labour seats.

    So we have probably dodged a bullet there, unless Nuttall grasps that the huge political space in key Labour rotten borough areas is for a pseudo “anti Big/globalised capitalism” radical populist party of the Right, a la the Front National. Such a party could recruit both the disenchanted working class Labour voters, the traditional working class Tory voters AND the “Poujadist” middle class ( whose ranks have been swollen in past decades by the huge new class of “white van men” outsourced from previously in house big business operations.

    Maybe NOT under Nuttall, but eventually, if Labour doesn’t shape up with a coherent radical radical Left policy offer, which accepts Brexit, AND the need for planning of labour supply/migration as part of comprehensive economic planning, a mass party of the radical (“neo Strasserite”) Far Right is going to explode onto the UK political scene, with disastrous consequences.

    1. Richard MacKinnon says:

      John,
      “Maybe NOT under Nuttall, but eventually, if Labour doesn’t shape up with a coherent radical Left policy offer” ‘coherent radical Left policy offer’ what might that be? I’ve heard plenty talk about this rare animal but nobody has ever seen one. And why not under Paul Nuttall? He looks and sounds real to me. Remember who he is going to be up against on Question Time. The BBC will expect the opposition leaders leader to be on the same panel. Soon. I’m looking forward to that one.

      1. John Penney says:

        It wont be Nuttall (unless he massively changes his political spots from what we have seen so far) to make the breakthrough for UKIP, because, despite his Scouse accent to give a bit of proletarian credibility, so far his actual politics are the same “saloon bar Tory” stuff that has trapped UKIP electorally in the voter cohort of the rabid , xenophobe, grammar school loving, Tory middle classes ,and “lumpen” traditional petty nationalist working class Tories.

        That salon bar Tory political “offer” is not going to break UKIP , big time, into Labour’s mass working class voter base. Crude racism alone , potent as it is, just wont do it. Which is why , at a time of deep social and ideological crisis, with “capitalism” as a system increasingly discredited, the capitalist class needs fascism or at the very least radical Right populism, to offer an illusory route out of the crisis – away from socialist options.

        1. Richard MacKinnon says:

          That is not how I see it. I don’t see any crisis with capitalism. Unless you refer to UK national debt? I don’t even understand the term. ‘crisis with capitalism’ Please don’t tell me you still think there is an alternative.
          I think your way off the mark with your categorisations. I don’t think name calling helps. “the capitalist class needs fascism or at the very least radical Right populism, to offer an illusory route out of the crisis – away from socialist options” I ask myself when I read this, do we live in the same country, because I just do not recognise this description.
          I don’t know what Tory political “offer” you are talking about (1st sentence second para).
          John, I am not meaning to insult you, may be its me, but your writing style makes it difficult to follow what you want to say.
          My point is only this, I think Nuttall may present a problem to Corbyn. I think he will be seen as far more credible in Labour constituencies north of Watford when compared to JC, Emily, Dianne and John. I think Labour have a problem of their own making, that problem has just got a whole lot bigger with Nuttall’s election.
          And I think you complacency is ill judged.

          1. Karl Stewart says:

            Richard, do you actually know anyone, or have you actually met anyone who genuinely previously voted Labour and who now votes UKIP?

          2. John Penney says:

            I’m afraid the problem in understanding lies within you, and your social isolation, Richard. You need to get out more and visit some pubs in areas like Barnsley and Doncaster , or Birmingham, Richard, and actually TALK to the various sub-sets of the working class.

            Then you will meet , variously the “traditional Working Class Tory” and the ex and existing and disenchanted traditional Labour voting Working Class, and you will get a feel for the differing “trigger issues” that will, or will not, attract them to vote for UKIP.

            So far, and under Nuttall, the “offer” is still really only crude racism and petty nationalism. This may attract the traditional working class Tory voter (with its “saloon bar Tory” set of prejudices), but the still Tory, neoliberal , hostility of Nuttall to the NHS and public services generally, will block UKIP from a major breakthrough with working class voters who vote, or voted ,Labour.

            It is your own evident isolation from contact with ordinary working class people that makes it difficult for you to grasp the perfectly commonly understood points I have been making about UKIP’s continued failure to adopt a more radical “faux anti capitalist” stance , and hence escape the limits of their currently very “Tory” policy offer.

          3. John Penney says:

            You don’t see “any crisis with capitalism” or “even understand the term”, Richard ? and don’t, apparently “see any alternative”?

            Very strange comments on a “Left Futures” discussion forum, in the midst of a continuing global and European crisis of economic growth stagnation, continued severe banking crisis, wage stagnation, the Austerity Offensive, and the continuing political “blowback ” from this post 2008 Global Financial Crash, which has given us Donald Trump, and may yet give us Marine Le Pen as President of France. They are all features of the “capitalist crisis”, Richard.

    2. John P Reid says:

      We’re not fortunate if the public, would prefer a Neo liberal, rather than us, because all the other stuff makes us unelectable,

  3. Karl Stewart says:

    Great article Phil, particularly this bit:

    “But their main accomplishment is to have displaced the other parties as the choice of non-Labour voting sections of the working class in safe Labour areas.”

    This needs to be said more and more until it eventually sinks in with all those who claim Labour is losing voters to UKIP. THEY’RE NOT!!!!

    Just because UKIP’s vote goes up in a Labour-held seat doesn’t mean Labour voters are switching to UKIP – it means OTHER PARTIES’ VOTERS ARE SWITCHING TO UKIP!!!!

    Labour voters are not attracted to UKIP. But they may stay home or not come out in sufficient numbers if Labour’s programme does not inspire.

    Yes, there are a minority of working-class people around who will say they’re voting UKIP “because Labour doesn’t speak for the working man anymore” or “because Labour’s all into political correctness” – but these people never voted Labour in the first place.

    They give this as a reason because they’re ashamed to admit the truth, which is: “The Tories aren’t racist enough and the BNP don’t stand for election much anymore.”

    We won’t win this group of people to Labour. They’ve never voted Labour and they never will.

    They’re the same types as the few individuals who will never join the union and always make up all kinds of excuses for it – but the real reason they won’t join is because they’re scabs.

    What we need to do is get Labour people out to vote and win new voters to Labour and then we can outnumber the racists and win.

    As for Paul Nuttalls of the UKIPs – his only claim to fame is being the subject of a Stewart Lee comedy sketch.

    1. Richard MacKinnon says:

      Karl,
      Maybe your right, maybe UKIP voters are not ex Labour voters and UKIP votes are coming from else where. But the change that Nuttall brings has yet to be tested. He is from Liverpool. He is young and articulate. Corbyn will now be measured on two counts, his ability as leader of the opposition to hold Theresa May to account and by his ability to keep Paul Nuttall in his place. I fancy the latter will prove to be a lot more difficult than you think.

      1. Karl Stewart says:

        Paul Nuttalls of the UKIPs:

        1. John P Reid says:

          Stewart Lee, isn’t exactly in touch with normal people

    2. John P Reid says:

      Maybe those people who vote UKIP, BUT VOTED Tory BNP or even Libdem(the protest vote,maybe they thought lsbour couldn’t win, but disliked the Tories so voted labour as a protest, such as in the 1989 EU elections,,once voted labour, but are now voting Ukip, so at one stage they were labour voters

    3. Peter Rowlands says:

      Sorry Karl, but what you say is just not true. While UKIP draws more support from ex Tory voters, ex Labour voters are a significant element in its support. That is the consensus amongst pollsters, see Owen Jones in today’s Guardian.

      1. Karl Stewart says:

        Owen Jones???? Seriously????

        You’re citing Owen Jones as a political authority???

        1. Peter Rowlands says:

          He cites evidence from a pollster. What do you base your assertions on?

  4. i rushworth says:

    have been of age to vote since late 7os , always voted labour but no more , doubt i’l vote ukip , but where else is there to go, green maybe but to pc, my local mp is labour but he’s a muslim whys that

  5. Bazza says:

    Perhaps as the Tories offer Austerity until 2021 and the IFS says wages will also be generally static until then Labour should keep it simple and say Labour will:
    * FIGHT TO END TORY AUSTERITY!
    * FIGHT TO GROW THE ECONOMY OUT OF RECESSION WITH STATE-LED PUBLIC INVESTMENT (WHICH WILL ALSO FEED THE PRIVATE SECTOR SUPPLY CHAIN)!
    * WILL FIGHT TO BUILD THE HOMES THAT ARE DESPERATELY NEEDED!
    * WILL FIGHT POVERTY AND POVERTY PAY!
    * WILL FIGHT FOR THE NHS!
    By the way whilst helping give out leaflets on the NHS on Saturday as part of Labour’s NHS Day of Action outside a supermarket when I gave one to a white working class woman and explained what we were doing she said: “About bloody time!”

  6. Richard MacKinnon says:

    Karl,
    I have to start a new thread. No I have never met a Labour voter that now votes UKIP. I live in Glasgow and nobody votes Labour or UKIP.

    1. Karl Stewart says:

      No-one down here has ever met anyone who’s genuinely gone from voting Labour to votine UKIP either Richard.

      But apparently, Peter Rowlands’s political guru Owen Jones has written in the Guardian that the “consensus among pollsters” is that we’re all wrong.

      1. Peter Rowlands says:

        Karl, you are talking nonsense.You cannot possibly have talked to a statistically valid sample of Labour voters.I know you think that Owen Jones and all pollsters are agents of capitalism, but I think they are mainly trying to tell the truth, although their findings get twisted by most of our press, who ARE mainly lying agents of capitalism. However, let us do a little exercise. Please go to Islwyn (Assembly Constituency), Wikipedia, and compare the election results for 2011 and 2016. Where do you think the UKIP vote in 2016 came from?

        1. Karl Stewart says:

          On reflection, my describing Owen Jones as your ‘political guru’ was a bit of an exaggeration, but I’m genuinely surprised that anyone on the left still gives that Polly Toynbee wannabe any credibility at all.

          I don’t think he’s an ‘agent of capitalism’ just an attention-seeking self-publicist.

          I don’t think all pollsters are ‘agents of capitalism’ either, but I do find them increasingly pointless – they just get all their predictions wrong.

          What actually happens is that parties that have, or appear to have, political coherence, energy, confidence and self-belief tend to win support, while parties who wallow in self-doubt and uncertainty tend not to.

          Labour need to put forward a robust and confident programme of socialist construction, forget the EU and EEA, let’s develop a real, positive programme that can actually win wide and enthusiastic popular support – not keep on continually whining about an ‘existential crisis’ as idiot Jones keeps on doing.

          We’ll win strong working-class support again when we deserve to win working-class support again. Rebuild our manufacturing, recreate the industrial economy, provide again those millions of skilled manufacturing jobs – we can do it if we decide to do it.

          Then we’ll deserve working-class support and we’ll get it.

        2. Karl Stewart says:

          PeterR, regarding Ilwyn, the UKIP vote in 2016 came from the Tory and BNP vote from the previous election, plus some new voters.

          1. Peter Rowlands says:

            Karl, I think Qwen Jones’s positions are sometimes confused, but I wasn’t actually supporting him, just referring to something he mentioned about polling.Yes, we must have confidence and self belief, but that will not necessarily bring success unless we are self critical at the same time.
            Thanks for responding to my question. Yes, it is possible that the UKIP vote in Islwyn came completely from previous non Labour voters, but the arithmetic makes that highly unlikely, and the consensus in South Wales, where I live, is that there was some switch from Labour to UKIP, particularly in old coal areas like Islwyn, and I came across several such switchers when canvassing here in the run up to the Assembly election earlier this year.

          2. Karl Stewart says:

            Response to PeteR at 5.18pm:

            I think Labour are way, way too self-critical and self-effacing and it’s a major problem – exemplified by professional wimps like Jones.

            It’s an attitude and a state of mind that doesn’t do us any favours at all with the electorate, it just comes over as weakness.

            Look at the slating McDonnell got after his speech when he simply said we need to recognise we’re heading out of the EU and make the best of it – all the Blairite whiners were furious – ‘No! We’ve got to keep whining, that’s the best way forward.” Pathetic!

            As for the experience of Islwyn, OK, so you’ve met a few people who told you they were switching from Labour to UKIP. I’ve met a few who’ve said that to me too – not in Islwyn, but in south London – the ones I met and spoke were obviously, after just a few minutes’ conversation, not former Labour voters. Not a single one of them.

            They’re like RichardMac on this thread, who begins his contributions pretending to be an anti-Corbyn Labour supporter, but he’s now revealed himself as a Tory.

            Not worth wasting our time over. And certainly not worth moving to the political right of pursuit of.

            Labour needs to confidently set out a robust economic programme and win support for it.

  7. Richard MacKinnon says:

    John,
    “Very strange comments on a “Left Futures” discussion forum,” Why? do you think every one thinks like you.
    Also, “in the midst of a continuing global…….. economic growth stagnation” not in India or China,
    “continued severe banking crisis”, Where? RBS? small beer.
    “wage stagnation” and , “the Austerity Offensive”, these are indicators of a healthy economy, not an crisis of capitalism.
    “and the continuing political “blowback ” from this post 2008 Global Financial Crash”. John, on this we agree, Gordon Brown should have let the failed banks go to the wall.
    “which has given us Donald Trump, and may yet give us Marine Le Pen as President of France” . That’s democracy for you. If you give “the various sub-sets of the working class” as you put it John, the vote sometimes you will be surprised at the result..
    “They are all features of the “capitalist crisis”, No they are not, they are indicators of capitalism at work John.

    1. John Penney says:

      Utter drivel. Have you suddenly swapped your political allegiance to the fantasy world of the Adam Smith Institute, Richard ?

      The Chinese economy is in profound crisis, with the Chinese government unable to “taper” its bubble increasing economic stimulus packages to an increasingly unstable banking system, especially the huge “shadow” banking sector. The Chinese are in a currency war with the rest for the world market , regularly devaluing the Yuan to enable it to secure ever greater global market share in a shrinking global market. The world’s cargo carrying shipping is now utterly uneconomic , because of excess capacity in this stagnant world market. The rapid fall in China’s consumption of raw materials has produced the economic crisis in Brazil , Argentina and Australia – major raw material producers.

      The Italian banking sector is teetering on the verge of collapse, and Deutcher Bank in Germany is actually insolvent , with all the junk assets on its balance sheet.

      In the UK, productivity, that vital measure of our global competitiveness, is the lowest of all the main global economies, and the UK banks have still not recovered from the 2008 Cash – nor the overall economy, which is afloat on a bubble of “QE”, which has produced yet another property and debt bubble . The IMF and World Bank, and many other international institutions are quite frank that all the “repair mechanisms” have been used up in bailing out the 2008 Crash – and they fully expect another financial crisis in the near future.

      Capitalism is a system that is always crisis-ridden , but , compared to the ” Golden Era long Boom” of 1945 to 1970, and the 1980’s to 2008 “neoliberal stabilisation” which improved profit rates by stripping out a huge percentage of the working classes’ share of National Income relative to profit/dividends and upper end incomes across the “First World” economies, and shifted production to low cost economies, global capitalism is currently in a crisis of market stagnation and falling profit rates for which there are no obvious escape routes – other than authoritarian governments and war.

      Deny all this as you will, Richard, but it is all very well documented stuff. Are you having a personal political crisis ? Better pull that comfort blanket well over your head then — its going to get a lot stormier yet !

      1. Richard MacKinnon says:

        see below 0938

  8. Eleanor Firman says:

    I agree with PBC in one respect: GOTV will be crucial in future. I can see a lot of people staying home to avoid all the argy bargy above…

  9. Eleanor Firman says:

    David Dimbleby closed Question Time now tonight by announcing Farage was on the panel for the next week (in Maidenhead) using the specific words – join us from Maidenhead next week “when Nigel Farage will be back on form”.. How can the Beeb get away with such promotion of Farage/ UKIP?
    Watching the Daily Politics (midnight repeat) Andrew Neil made the point correctly, that only a 2% swing away from Labour to UKIP is enough to let the Tories through in many constituencies, and it occurs to me the left should be discussing 1. internal as well as external migration; 2. the (uniquely) colossal size of London in relation to other UK cities (e.g. more radical finance policies) and 3.promoting a half decent rail system for the North region (and also devolved nations) as important nationally, as housing and jobs. Why not invite Andy MacDonald MP to write something here, as a start?

  10. Richard MacKinnon says:

    John,
    Its funny how two people can look at the same object and see two completely different things. But, I think the differences between us are not so far apart and if you could manage to tone down the exaggerated language you would see that your ‘crisis of capitalism’ is my ‘rebalancing of the books’.
    You will get no argument from me that after the disasters that were the Labour governments handling of the UK economy in the late 70s and the noughties a lot of rebalancing has had to be done. Thatcher had north sea oil revenue to fall back on and it made the task a lot easier. Cameron and Osborne were not so lucky.. They/we had to contend with a global downturn at the same time as they tackled the massive amount of immoral debt run up by Gordon.
    The rebalancing is still on going, and it is hard to believe that in the six years of a Tory government all that has been achieved is a cut in the deficit from 150b per annum to, I think about half that. And so the debt keeps rising. That is why I find it laughable when you talk about Tory austerity as an indication of ‘capitalism in crisis’. The austerity could have been a whole lot worse, some would argue should have been, and with justification.
    I have a feeling nothing is going to change your mind John, I think its best we leave it there, you with your Marxist goggles on ( and I bet, a hammer and sickle lapel badge) and the rest of us, that take our politics served with a large dollop of pragmatism, and are prepared to admit past mistakes and learn from them.

    1. John Penney says:

      I think any independent observer would struggle to match your complacent, distinctly right wing, Thatcherite, views, with the current state of the UK and world economy.

      What on earth are you doing on a “Left Futures” discussion site, with these nonsensical, at best Right wing pro austerity Labour, views, Richard ? You appear to have a world-view drawn entirely from the twisted logic and “blame Labour welfare spending”, lies of the Economist or Daily Mail.

      I suggest you actually do some serious economic reading before you embarrass yourself further with your posts.

      1. Richard MacKinnon says:

        I think an independent observer would look at who you are advocating support for and who I criticise and agree with my condemnation. I dont need to read anything, and I am am not embarassed about anything, the opposite is the case.
        You come here to praise Corbyn and McDonnell I come to bury them. The madness that these men spout will live after them. They deserve all the ridicule they get. They would be a grave danger to this country should they ever get in a position of power. Thank god the UK voters are not as stupid as you are and will never let it happen.
        It is you that should be embarassed in your defence of these crack pot economics.

        1. C MacMackin says:

          Not that John Penny needs me to defend him, but you will find that he has repeatedly expressed frustration with the lack of concrete economic policy coming from the Labour leadership. I would not say that he comes here to praise Corbyn or McDonnell, but any stretch.

          1. Richard MacKinnon says:

            Lack of concrete economic policy? When did McDonnell anounce that the first thing he would do as chancellor is borrow another 500b, was it last week?
            This is not an economic argument any longer. It is about morality. It is wrong to live off money you do not earn. It is wrong to borrow money you know you will never have to pay back. Worse; that you knowingly leave to other generations to pay back.
            John Penny is an arrogant and perpetual defender of these Labour policies. Show me one commnet he has made in condemnation of this lunacy? I pick just one from the many of John Penney’s remarks, in his comments above, to show this arrogance “Deny all this as you will, Richard, but it is all very well documented stuff. Are you having a personal political crisis ? Better pull that comfort blanket well over your head then — its going to get a lot stormier yet !”
            Let me assure you Mr Mackin and John Penney I will not go away. I am here to stay, I consider it my duty. For as long as it takes the Labour Party to to come to its senses and realise they have elected dangerous ideological conmen and woman to lead the party, I will be here on Left Futures to point out the farce that is the present day Labour Party.

          2. C MacMackin says:

            I would not consider that to be terribly concrete, no. There is virtually no indication given on what exactly it would be spent on. If it were spent on something with a sufficient return on investment (and it is meant to be spent on investment, not on operating expenditures) then it could, in principle, be paid back. For example, if council housing is built then the cost of servicing the debt could be part of the rent. Similar arguments hold for things like broadband. We can not evaluate whether there would be sufficient return on investment, however, until there is more idea of what it would be used to build. John Penny and others (including myself, although I may not have vocalised it explicitly on this forum) have been very critical of the fact that there is no apparent plan on what such investment would be used for, how different projects would be integrated together, how to ensure development is balanced regionally, etc. There has also been criticism on here of (from myself and Peter Rowlands) how Corbyn and McDonnell make promises which would involve increased operating expenses, without seeming to consider tax requirements. While most of the articles on this forum are pretty uncritical of the leadership, you will find that many of the left-wing commenters are not.

            The quote of John Penny’s which you chose is not particularly relevant to his position on Labour’s current economic policy. It is about the worldwide economic conditions. I will say that I am not a huge fan of how he tends to phrase things when dealing with those who disagree with him. However, I must say that I am baffled by the fact that you won’t admit capitalism is still in crisis. It is true that it is an inherently crisis-ridden system (one of the reasons why people like John Penny and myself want to do away with it), but there are periods such as this one (as well as the 70s and the 30s) when these crises become particularly severe and cause much slower growth than at other times. We still don’t see proper growth rates or market confidence yet and there is no sign of this picking up any time soon. You aren’t wrong to say that such crises are capitalism “rebalancing the books” (although this about much more than government debt–at least as important are things like mortgage debt). That does not make them any less unpleasant or difficult to resolve and nor does it mean that we shouldn’t try to hasten their end.

  11. Karl Stewart says:

    RichardMac, some of that is just utter nonsense. There isn’t a single politician of any party who would entertain your notion that all debt is ‘immoral’ – utter nonsense.

    I get that you politically disagree with the current Labour leadership, but none of Labour’s past leaders would agree with that notion – not Miliband, not Brown, not Blair – none of them.

    All governments make use of debt and borrowing. It’s how state budgets – all state budgets – operate.

    The question is, in whose interests and for what purpose those strategic budget decisions are made?

    Should we run up huge and long-lasting public debts to private companies – as in the idiotic PFI programmes of the last Labour government for example?

    Or should we make use of the fiscal power and strength of the state to invest directly in publicly owned infrastructure projects?

    Should we make use of the levers of economic power to subsidise the spiv economy? As Blair and Brown did?

    Or should we launch a comprehensive re-industrialisation programme to get the UK back to work?

    There is no question as whether debt should exist – it does exist. It is a fact of life. The question is in whose interests should the economy be run.

    1. Richard MacKinnon says:

      “All governments make use of debt and borrowing. It’s how state budgets – all state budgets – operate”.
      That statement is just not true. Do your homework before you accuse others of talking nonsense. There are countries all over the globe with no debt. There are a few in credit.. Where do you think the indebted countries get their loans from?

      The next set of figures I quote are not precise but are +/- 10% accurate.
      UK debt = 1.5trillion = 80 billion interest per annum.
      The present Tory government came into power in 2010 with the deficit (annual borrowing) at 150billion. Borrowing now roughly equals the annual interest repayment. Now that is the economics of the mad house but it is at least under control, almost.
      Think about this, it has taken a Tory government six years to get to this point. You can understand my bemusement therefore when I read Labour supporters on this site demading an end to austerity.
      And I know a cliched platitude when I read one, “…should we launch a comprehensive re-industrialisation programme to get the UK back to work?” Karl, the UK is getting back to work or have you not noticed.
      You exemplify all that is wrong with Labour. Your preference for over used, worn out empty phrases that mean absolutely nothing is the reason Labour are in the tail spin they find themselves. Start thinking before you write.

      1. Karl Stewart says:

        …and the planet earth is round…sometimes it rains..
        it’s difficult to debate with someone with whom it’s impossible to recognise any common logical datum

        1. Richard MacKinnon says:

          Karl,
          Are you the type of guy that dodges buying a drink? Do you owe money to your mates?
          I dont think so.
          Why should we, the United Kingdom be in debt to anyone?

          1. Karl Stewart says:

            No, I’m the type who doesn’t waste time on Tory trolls

    2. John Penney says:

      As you correctly state, Karl, Richard MacKinnon has very clearly outed himself as a Tory Troll poster, after masquerading as someone ion the “Left” for some time. Nothing in itself to complain about there, after all we have to put up with John P Reid’s constant Labour Right Trolling. It’s just that MacKinnon’s understanding of today’s world seems to be limited to the simplistic narratives of the Daily Mail, rather than the more realistic understanding of the capitalist class’ more minority audience publications when not pumping misinformation out to the gullible Tory-voting middle classes.

      On that point, Good article in The Times’s Business section by their Economics Editor . Philip Aldrick, on Saturday (p. 55) on the ongoing UK and global, bubble-based Banking instability crisis, which by Richard’s analytical method would have the Times denounced as a publication looking at the world “through Marxist spectacles” !

      Amusing as his naïve Tory propaganda statements are, lets hope we see less of MacKinnon in future on “LEFT Futures.

    1. Karl Stewart says:

      Your first point is perfectly valid – there’s nothing to stop anyone making the case for ‘free movment’ nothing at all. Make that case, have that argument. The UK had ‘free movement’ outside of the EU for many, many decades. It’s something the UK can have if it chooses to.

      Your second point is neo-liberal, Blairite, LibDem shite. We’ve had a vote, and we’re leaving the EU – end of.

  12. Peter Rowlands says:

    For Karl Stewart
    came to the conclusion some time ago that MacKinnon was a Tory, I don’t know why you , Penney and others bother with him, although Penney’s replies have been good – he should write an article on the economic crisis and the policy Labour needs, which needs elaborating, to say the least.
    You still won’t accept that anyone switches from Labour to UKIP. You are wrong, but let’s not pursue the point.

    1. Karl Stewart says:

      You sussed him before we did…(to be honest, I get him confused with the other guy with a similar name, who seems quite a decent sort).

      I honestly have never met anyone who’s genuinely switched from Labour to UKIP, maybe such creatures exist..who knows?

      But the important point for me is let’s not allow UKIP to set our political agenda. It’s wrong and it won’t gain us one single extra vote from anyone – (even from the elusive “Labour to UKIP defector” if one is ever found).

      UKIP will always be better than us at “political-correctness-gawn-mad” whining. As hard as pathetic losers like Stephen Kinnock might try, it just comes over as fake.

      We just can’t out-“political-correctness-gawn-mad” the UKIPs. They’re the experts.

      We’re the left, so let’s focus on what we’re good at – fighting for workers’ rights, for jobs, for high-quality services etc.

      Fight for the rebuilding of manufacturing. Let’s call for laws preventing compulsory redundancies for example. Let’s demand that everyone has a secure job, union membership, access to affordable and quality housing, etc – (rocket science it ‘aint…just serious socialist principles.)

      And let’s also fight unashamedly, out in the open, and confidently FOR “political correctness”. Let’s say “Fuck the UKIPs”, we’re not going back to the days when blatant racism was mainstream comedy, when gay men and women had to hide and run in fear from violent bigots, when Asians got beaten up in the street with impunity, when women had to smile and put up with being sexually assaulted at work, in public etc.

      It was shit and it’s great that “political correctness” marginalised, sharply reduced all that and made it largely unaccepatable.

      That was the reality of life before “political correctness” so let’s stand up and fight for “political correctness” – and fuck the UKIPs.

    2. Richard MacKinnon says:

      I have never voted Tory in my life, but I’ve got you thinking. Try again, and I bet the next time yourself Peter, John Penney, Karl Strewart and the rest of the ‘know it all’ pseudo intellectual lefties on Left Futures trot out the usual guff about ‘spending to invest’ or
      ‘re-industrialisation programmes to get the UK back to work?’ you will all think twice now about where the money will come from. As I say, borrowing money that you know will require to be paid back by other generations is wrong. Plain and simple. Its a simple concept. It is not an economic argument, it has nothing to do with left or right wing politics, it is about morality. Do not dismiss this as Tory dogma just because it does not fit in with your long held preconceived prejudices and you have no answers. Think about it and if you want challenge it.

      1. C MacMackin says:

        It’s perfectly moral if it was speant building infrastructure which future generations will use. They take advantage of the fruits of the borrowing so it’s not unreasonable to ask them to help pay for it, especially since the economy should be larger in the future (thanks to investment) and the relative burden thus smaller. And it isn’t just future generations who pay for it–loans are serviced every year, so the current generation of people using the infrastructure will also be contributing to pay it back. This was all evident in my earlier example of council housing, whereby the tenants would be the ones contributing to pay off the debt required to build it.

        1. Richard MacKinnon says:

          Mr. MacMackin,
          You say, “so it’s not unreasonable to ask them to help pay for it, ” How do you ask future generations whether they want to pay for our borrowing? Tell me. That I would like to know.
          “especially since the economy should be larger in the future (thanks to investment) and the relative burden thus smaller” ‘should be larger?’ How do you know the economy will be larger in the future? What if a future generation has to defend itself from an aggressor whilst carrying the burden of our debt?
          As I say, this is not an economic argument it is a question of right and wrong.

          1. John Penney says:

            Nope, you bizarre comments do not “make us think ” in the way you fondly imagine, Richard. Your bizarre obsession with the supposed “moral sin – beyond politics” , simply has us scratching our heads in bemusement. Particularly as to why you waste our time wit your trolling . You really, really need to read up on some very basic (capitalist) economics, and economic history, Richard.

            Your equating of some sort of fundamental “immorality” arising from the universal practice of all states (and that includes even pre capitalist ones) to borrow today to carry out longer term programmes which will have long term future benefits ,ranging from the needs of national defence , or indeed aggression, to major productive infrastructure programmes) , reveals that you may indeed NOT be some sort of modern day Tory – but more likely an economically illiterate crank.

    3. John Penney says:

      I indeed did submit ask to submit an article to Left Futures a few days ago , Peter ,entitled :

      The Labour Party needs to re-discover the vital role of the interventionist state , armed with a comprehensive Radical Left Transformative National Economic Development Plan.”

      using the online form on this site. The article may simply be too long, but I have had no feedback at all.

  13. Karl Stewart says:

    To editor/moderator – I see that last comment went “into moderation”. I guess it’s because of the two ‘F’s – apols for that. Take them out if it helps?

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