Sunday, April 14, 2013
Labour at war: Tony Blair launches strident attack on Ed Miliband's retreat to being a 1980s-style party of protest
Ed Miliband was embroiled in a damaging row with Tony Blair yesterday over his kneejerk resistance to austerity and welfare cuts.
The former Prime Minister warned Mr Miliband he risked reducing Labour to a party of protest, out of touch with mainstream opinion.
Mr Blair insisted the Labour leader’s belief that the centre ground of British politics has shifted to the left in the wake of the financial crisis was a fantasy.
In his most significant intervention in domestic politics since leaving No 10, he said Labour must get out of ‘the comfort zone’, and that people wanted a party that offered answers to problems rather than merely being a mouthpiece for anger.
He also suggested Mr Miliband needed to be more realistic on issues such as the spiralling housing benefit bill, spending cuts and education reforms.
He was backed by former Home Secretary David Blunkett and former Business Minister Pat McFadden.
Mr Miliband, however, suggested he regarded the former Prime Minister, who won three general elections, as yesterday’s man, insisting he was not interested in ‘old solutions’.
Mr Blair’s intervention comes as Mr Miliband faces growing unrest from a section of his party over his refusal to back any of the Government’s attempts to rein in the bloated welfare budget.
He has previously been circumspect about criticising Mr Miliband, but hit out in an article for the Left-leaning New Statesman magazine.
Mr Blair insisted that ‘the financial crisis has not brought a decisive shift to the Left’ and warned that politics was returning to that of the 1980s – with the Tories offering fiscal responsibility and Labour simply opposing austerity measures.
Labour must not become simply a ‘repository for people’s anger’, the former Prime Minister wrote. ‘Parts of the political landscape that had been cast in shadow for some years, at least under New Labour and the first years of coalition government, are illuminated in sharp relief.
‘The Conservative Party is back clothing itself in the mantle of fiscal responsibility, buttressed by moves against “benefit scroungers”, immigrants squeezing out British workers and – of course – Labour profligacy.
Mr Blair said the scenario was more ‘menacing’ for his party than for the Tories. ‘They are now going to inspire loathing on the Left. But they’re used to that,’ he said.
‘They’re back on the old territory of harsh reality, tough decisions, piercing the supposed veil of idealistic fantasy that prevents the Left from governing sensibly...
‘For Labour, the opposite is true. This scenario is more menacing than it seems.’
In an apparent swipe at Mr Miliband’s policy vacuum, Mr Blair warned the public wanted to ‘know where we’re coming from because that is a clue as to where we would go, if elected’.
Mr Miliband insisted: ‘I always take Tony Blair very, very seriously, but... I am leading in my own way. Political parties have to move forwards not backwards, not going back to old solutions.’
However, Mr Blunkett said: ‘He [Mr Blair] is right to remind us that the pendulum did not swing leftwards and there is much to do.’
Mr McFadden said: ‘Advice from a three-times election-winning Prime Minister should always be taken seriously.’
Tory chairman Grant Shapps said: ‘Tony Blair is right to warn that Labour aren’t a credible party of government under Ed Miliband.
'The only plan Labour have is more of what got us into this mess in the first place – more spending, more borrowing and more debt.’
The nasty side of Labour that proves it's unfit to govern
Tony Blair’s broadside in the New Statesman magazine against Ed Miliband for being out of touch with mainstream opinion could not be more timely, given the distasteful, ungenerous and unChristian attacks on Lady Thatcher by so many on the Left.
In his article, the former Prime Minister identified one key reason for the Labour Party’s current failings: its bovine adherence to the out-of-date and dangerous policies that were destroying Britain before Mrs Thatcher became Premier.
Blair understands how her brave and imaginative ideas rescued the country by destroying the power of the unions, encouraging aspiration — and helping to liberate millions of people from state control.
He appreciates that Lady Thatcher understood the values of the British nation — a people inherently conservative and who abhor the undemocratic, anti-aspirational aspects of socialism.
He can see, too, that Miliband is reverting to old Labour ways — and panders to the Left who so hated Lady Thatcher for destroying their power base and keeping their party in opposition for 18 years.
The Labour leader’s incessant whingeing about ‘the cuts’ is intended to please the old Left and the union barons who elected him. But because he does not offer any solutions to the problem of the debt engulfing Britain, he is reducing Labour to being merely a party of protest as opposed to a responsible alternative government.
What’s more, the vulgar rage of the past few days has exposed the deeply ugly side of this old-style socialism that Blair is warning about — a shameful lack of humanity.
I’m not talking about those ignorant teenagers (who weren’t even born when Mrs Thatcher rebuilt this country) who are buying the song Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead. No, it is a rump of Labour MPs and peers who are insulting her memory.
These men and women must never be allowed to forget that they were defeated by Lady Thatcher in three general elections, through the democratic process.
Equally galling for them is that they realise Labour won in 1997 only because the Labour Party chose as its leader a virtual conservative — Mr Blair. He recognised the genius of Mrs Thatcher’s transformation of Britain and accepted her new anti-socialist consensus.
Thus he ditched the socialist nonsense of Clause Four with its commitment to public ownership. He also rejected his party’s support for penal levels of taxation. In this way he made Labour electable again.
But when the Labour government under Gordon Brown returned to its old, discredited policies after 2007, it paid the price — as it did in 1979 — for running Britain into the ground.
Mr Miliband and his shadow ministers still fail to understand the values and aspirations of Britain’s hard-working families. This failing is combined with a meanness of spirit.
You have only to examine the behaviour of John Prescott, who cheered Glenda Jackson for her bilious attack on Lady Thatcher, or Lord Kinnock (a man whose absurdity was exposed by his acceptance of a peerage after a lifetime of demanding that the House of Lords be abolished) who has grandstanded his refusal to attend her funeral.
Of course, there are those on the Left who have behaved decently following the death of a political rival. But their obnoxious colleagues have shown yet again which is the real nasty party.
Christian airport worker vows to take Muslim bullying case to Luxembourg after being granted right to appeal against sacking
A Christian worker who claims she was sacked from her job at Heathrow following a 'race hate' campaign by 'Muslim extremists' today vowed to take her unfair dismissal case 'all the way to Luxembourg' to the European Court of Justice.
Nohad Halawi allegedly weathered cruel rumours that she was 'anti-Islamist,' on top of a systematic catalogue of intimidation that included telling the 48-year-old that she would go to Hell if she did not convert to Islam.
Halawi, previously a beauty consultant for luxury cosmetics brand Shiseido, was then booted out of her 13-year-long job in Heathrow Airport's World Duty Free shop, after going to her seniors with concerns about the verbal tirades she was subjected to.
She also claims 'extremist' colleagues brought the Koran to work to try and convert people to Islam and even handed out leaflets promoting terrorism, as well as declaring that it was 'a shame' the failed July 21 London bombings did not go off.
Having taken her tribunal case to the courts in 2011, Halawi lost after it was ruled that as a part time and commissioned-based freelance she was not a staff employee.
Today, however, she won the right to appeal.
Speaking outside court, the mum-of-two from Weybridge, Surrey, told how the abuse started after she stuck up for a Christian colleague who was left in tears after Muslim staff made fun of her for wearing a cross necklace.
She said: 'At first, because I am from Lebanon, they assumed I was Muslim but when they found out I wasn't they started bullying me.'
Halawi, who came to Britain from Lebanon in 1977, continued: 'They used to say about 9/11 that it serves the American's right and that it was a shame the failed London bombings did not go off. When I asked them why they did not go back and live in their own country if they didn't like the UK, they said 'we came to the West to try and convert as many people to Islam as we can.'
She also revealed insider knowledge on life within Heathrow: 'They keep coming to the airport and many of them work in security. It is terrible there. If they see that you are a Muslim they wave you through. One time they thought my husband was Muslim and said 'don't worry he is one of us' and let him through without checking him. And you're telling me this is safe security.'
Mrs Halawi said she once found extremist leaflets in one of her Muslim colleague's drawers but the airport turned a blind eye. She said: "Management told him to throw them away. I later found out he had been sacked from other terminals for handing them out and inciting religious hatred, but duty free covered it up as they are scared of labelled Islamophobic."
She was fired in July 2011 after five Muslim colleagues complained she was anti-Islamic followed a heated conversation in the store.
After her sacking 28 colleagues, some of them Muslims, signed a petition calling for her reinstatement claiming she was dismissed on the basis of "malicious lies", but it was unsuccessful.
Having lost her first unfair dismissal campaign, Halawi received help from the Christian Legal Centre to further her case and has subsequently won a right to appeal.
She added: 'I am not and have never been racist or anti religion. I have many Muslim friends. I am doing this because I want to show that people It's not fair to use the religion card. They've ruined my life. They've ruined my family's lives. I can't get work and am relying on friends and family to get by'
A spokesperson for World Duty Free refused to comment because of the 'ongoing legal proceedings.'
Australia: Leftist do-gooders condone violence and impose apartheid on blacks
Leftists are always trying to gloss over the fact that Australian Aboriginal communities are extraordinarily dysfunctional by civilized standards. Leftists don't care about the suffering of Aboriginal women and children -- JR
At what point does autonomy slide into apartheid? Do the rights of a culture outweigh those of its people? Why can't we talk about this?
The Aboriginal war memorial in Canberra is a small bronze plaque pinned to a rock in scrubby bush, 10 minutes - a universe - from official Australia's pompous mausoleum and inscribed with words you have to squat to read.
It's almost like deliberate symbolism: "We tolerate you blacks but, basically, what goes down in the bush, stays in the bush."
We are people of conscience. Every week we're shocked by another Indian rape, sharia stoning or fresh evidence that the German people "must have known".
As Anzacs we stand (and fall) for decency and truth. A fortnight hence we will honour the fair go, the level ground, the open heart, the unforked tongue and the clear eye. So we like to think.
Yet there is a snake writhing in our midst that we cannot bring ourselves to see or even name.
To the pack rapes, genital mutilation, arranged marriages, wife beatings and routine child sex at the heart of our continent we turn a blind, terrified and - truly - conscience-stricken eye. A recent Sydney Institute talk by academics Stephanie Jarrett and Gary Johns laid it bare. Indigenous violence, they argued, is not "our" fault. Although alcohol-exacerbated, it is endemic to pre-contact indigenous culture.
They are not the first. Many distinguished writers including Peter Sutton, Louis Nowra and Nicolas Rothwell have documented these horrifying stories, supporting observation that goes back to the First Fleet's Watkin Tench. These writers had nothing to gain. They must have known they'd be reviled by their own demographic, so it's hard to impute motives other than frankness.
In Another Country (2007) Rothwell wrote that "a pathology of violence, pornography, promiscuity and sexual abuse has taken hold", in remote indigenous communities. The book shone with a love of Aboriginal people and culture, yet Rothwell was accused of being an assimilationist-sympathiser.
The same year, English teacher Jenness Warin and UNSW mathematician James Franklin wrote a paper entitled Aboriginal Communities: Why the Trade in Girls and Other Human Rights Abuses Remain Hidden. Warin was accused of trying to empty Aboriginal lands.
Also in 2007, Nowra wrote Bad Dreaming, his unflinching omnibus of misogynist violence and routine child rape in central Australia. Reviewers, although shocked, continued to blame European impact and insist that Nowra's white-male view was inherently skewed.
What, does rape look different if you're brown? Does it feel different? Matter less? Is that what we're saying?
Reviewer Jan Richardson voiced the standard view. Rather than seek the root of violence, she argued, we should try to improve indigenous men's grasp of capitalism, hoping that "social inclusion and … positions that bring men the kind of esteem and authority they earned when their cultural milieu was unhindered by a foreign philosophy might promote fulfilment and reduce anger". Our fault, our responsibility.
But Nowra's question - whether indigenous male violence was intrinsic to pre-contact tribal culture - is core, and should shape our entire policy approach to indigenous development.
If violence is endemic, self-determination emerges as an error of tragic proportions.
White liberalism habitually sees all criticism of indigenous culture as right-wing racism. This effects a self-censorship that is profoundly racist - talk about anything, just not this - and, argue Jarrett and Johns, breathtakingly cruel.
We've had the stories. With a care and acuity one can only wish was more typical of academia, Jarrett and Johns array the evidence. Sadly, it is compelling.
Alice Springs politician Bess Nungarrayi Price, who writes the foreword in Jarrett's Liberating Aboriginal People from Violence (Connor Court Publishing 2013), was raised in traditional culture and has the scars to prove it. "Men had the power of life and death over their wives," she recalls. "Young girls were forced into marriage with older men."
Jarrett documents many current instances of the "customary rape of young women (often as part of a group deflowering ceremony) and sexual abuse of children".
Official statistics show black-on-black violence to be three times higher in remote communities than urban, and four times higher against women than men. Hospitalisation for family-related violence is 30 times more likely for an indigenous person than a non-indigenous.
There's also paleopathology showing that cranial injury from attack was almost four times higher, pre-contact, in women than in men.
It's not just booze. Indigenous alcohol consumption is falling, but the violence rises. Men who are peaceable in the city revert to routine violence in remote cultures. Women who are young and successful in the city return to tribal culture, becoming trapped in violence and coercion.
Therefore, argues Johns in Aboriginal Self-Determination, the Whiteman's Dream (Connor Court Publishing 2011) current "self-determination" policies are not only massively wasteful - throwing billions of dollars into a black hole of impossible service provision in remote areas - but condemn women and children to lives of unconscionable brutality.
They could be wrong. This could be a massive conspiracy. There could be other explanations of the damaged skulls, the violence, the abuse.
If so, these counter-arguments should be put. Instead, we have emotion, ridicule and snide personal attack.
The Monthly's John van Tiggelen wrote a snarky, gossipy review dissing Jarrett ("tremulous", "slightly posh"), her PhD ("human rights before cultural rights"), Johns ("a Howard man"), their publisher ("a bush operation") and their audience ("white-haired white men"), as though ipso facto outing their secret belief that, in his words, "once a savage, always a savage".
But to talk truthfully of violence is not to undermine Aborigines. Two centuries ago white Australia was also violent and abusive. It is the rule of law that dragged us out, protecting weak from strong.
And that's the crux. Endemic or not, this violence is illegal. Condoning as "customary law" what we would never countenance for ourselves is not autonomy. It's apartheid.
As Price notes, "the best thing about acknowledging … our own traditional forms of violence is that … we can fix ourselves. We don't need to be told what to do by the white man."
So let's have the discussion without the ridicule, since if it can't be discussed, it can't be fixed.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.