Posts Tagged ‘Professionals’

Vox Political: Turkey, More Scaremongering by the Express and the Leave Campaign

May 23, 2016

Mike on Saturday also put up another piece about the latest scaremongering story run by the Express. This had, apparently, conducted a poll of 2,600 people in Turkey, across 27 provinces, which concluded that 17 million Turks would like to come to Britain. The country has a population of 80 million, and those, who wanted to come were mostly the unemployed and students. The Express is profoundly xenophobic, and it’s probably no surprise that its proprietor, the pornographer Richard Desmond, is a supporter of UKIP. Mike in his article observes that this looks like another Kipper/Brexit move to make us all afraid of Europe because immigrants from the Middle East were going to flood the country through its open borders policy. Just like they told us that over a million people from Romania were due to arrive, and that didn’t happen.

Mike asks if anyone, even the people, who write this rubbish, actually believe it?

See:http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/05/21/they-said-it-about-romania-and-it-didnt-happen-now-theyre-saying-12m-turks-want-to-move-to-the-uk/

Unfortunately, I know people, who have read it and believed it. This is after all the line UKIP has been running for over a year, and the Eurosceptic movement in general for nearly a decade or more before that. Quite apart from the general debate over immigration that has been going on ever since the Windrush and the encouragement of Black and Asian workers and professionals to settle in Britain to solve the labour shortage after the Second World War.

In fact, as I can remember Yes, Minister, pointing out, you can get the answer you want out from people using an opinion poll depending on how you phrase the questions. It’s why the reputable polling companies like Gallop and Pew are very careful about how their questionnaires are phrased. You also have to be careful to make sure the demographics polled are genuinely representative. For example, if you conduct a poll only in an area where White supremacy is strong, you could conclude that the British people are all racists. A quite different answer would be received in a Black, Asian, or more racially mixed area. And some of the interpretations of poll results by some groups and newspapers can be much different from what the figures actually say. For example, a poll which shows that more people are worried now about crime could be interpreted by a newspaper to show that crime has gone up, or that people fear that the government takes a too soft policy on it. But a closer examination of the figures could also show that in fact the incidence of crime hasn’t gone up, nor is the government actually more soft on crime, only that the fear of crime has increased. And I was taught while studying ethnology for a religious studies course at College that in fact the maximum percentage of questionnaires mailed out to people to gauge their attitudes, which are returned is 15%. There is a real question of how representative those forms are, when such a low number return them.

In short, this looks the Express once more bending the stats to make us all afraid of foreigners and want to leave Europe. It’s rubbish, and should be ignored. Like Desmond’s mighty organ that published it.

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19th Century Liberals Not Democrats

April 13, 2014

Libertarians claim that they returning to the real Liberalism of the 19th century, while also claiming that they stand for true, individual freedom against the encroachments of the state. Yet historians have pointed out that in the 19th century, while Liberals fought for individual freedoms against aristocratic privilege and feudal oppression, they were not Democrats and feared the working classes. Peter Jones in the book The 1848 Revolutions (Harlow: Longman 1981) states

Liberalism in the nineteenth century was the belief that government should be carried on by means involving consent among the various sections of society or the nation. Liberalism’s intellectual justification was derived from eighteenth-century rationalism, which had attacked all forms of arbitrary power, particularly the power of kings. Liberals believed that the power of traditional institutions, such as the Church and the monarchy, should be restrained by institutions presenting the interests of society more generally and the aristocracy and the more wealthy sections of the middle class in particular. The liberal programme – government by parliament or representative assembly, freedom of the press and individual freedom – was most popular among the emerging classes of manufacturers, merchants and professionals, who saw the privileges of the Church and the most wealthy sections of the aristocracy as obstacles to their own economic and social betterment. Liberals, as distinct from those who preached democracy, believed in the sovereignty of parliament rather than the sovereignty of the people. Middle-class liberals regarded democracy with suspicion, since it was associated in their minds with the excesses of the First French Republic . Consequently middle-class liberals in both Britain and France advocated broadening the property franchise: ‘Vox populi, vox dei, which gives to the majority the infallibility of God … is the most dangerous and most despotic absurdity that has ever emerged from the human brain. If you want to ruin a state give it universal suffrage’, so claimed Odilon Barot, leader of the Dynastic Opposition in the 1840s.

This concern for the interests of the middle classes and the fear of democracy and the working class explains why von Hayek and Mises, the founders of modern Libertarian, were prepared to serve and give their approval to extreme Right-wing regimes – Dollfuss’ Austrofascist dictatorship in Austria, and General Pinochet in Chile. It also explains why sections of the Italian Liberal party actively co-operated with Mussolini and appointed him as a coalition partner. In this milieu, Pareto’s elitism, which stemmed from his belief in free trade, was merely part of a general distrust of the masses taken to its logical conclusion. And Fascism did gain support from the Italian middle classes for its support of liberismo – sound money, a balanced budget, free trade and private enterprise against the threat of Socialism and organised Labour. The same authoritarian mindset also explains why the Tory Democrats have supported highly authoritarian and illiberal initiatives by the Tories, like secret courts and the Gagging Law.

This fundamental authoritarianism is disguised, but nevertheless extremely strong in other areas of Right-wing ideology. The Neo-Conservatives of Bush’s administration considered themselves to be ‘Democratic revolutionaries’. Nevertheless, they believed strongly in limited the power of the state in favour of extreme laissez-faire economic policies. One Neo-Con politician interviewed on Adam Curtis’ series How We Lost Our Dreams Of Freedom, stated that the democracy they wanted to introduced was ordered to exclude state economic intervention. The NeoCons have even written their policies into the Iraqi constitution to make them unalterable. This policy no doubt influenced David Cameron in his statements that he would try to force subsequent governments to follow his policies even if the Tories lost next year’s elections.

For all their claims to represent individual freedom, Libertarians, as the self-professed heirs of 19th century Liberalism, share the same distrust of democracy and fear and despise the working class and organised labour. The freedom they espouse are those only for a very restricted class of the wealthy and privileged.