Ad Fontes

Politics, Theology and Christian Humanism


17 Comments

Is UKIP the BNP for the middle class?

Last night there were hustings of parliamentary candidates for our two local constituencies. I wasn’t able to go, but a friend showed me the programme afterwards. Alongside candidates from the three major parties were two UKIP candidates. It seemed normal to everyone that there were UKIP candidates on the platform, not arousing the controversy that having BNP candidates there would have created.

It seems UKIP’s main electoral tool is elector ignorance, with a bit of media fearmongering to boot. When I ask people what UKIP stands for, everyone says they are against the EU, and when pressed add that they’re probably anti-immigration too. For those who would never dream of voting for the fascist BNP, UKIP seems to them an attractive alternative to the major parties, but I’m sure they are not aware of what UKIP stands for.

UKIP’s immigration policy is against the UN Convention on Refugees, and so both UKIP and the BNP state that they would withdraw the UK from it. They would also repeal the Human Rights Act in order to deliver the harsher forms of ‘justice’ they relish. Any lover of liberty should start to hear alarm bells when a political group advocates the rolling back of our human rights.

Continue reading

Advertisements


Leave a comment

British jobs because of migrant workers

British jobs for British workersLast year, the slogan British jobs for British workers became popular, even spoken by the Prime Minister. And what’s not to like about a catchy slogan like that? Keep unemployment down! New job creation! However, it seems that a lot of people were brandishing the slogan to say ‘kick the immigrants out’.

If one takes a very simplistic view of supply-and-demand economics, one might paint a picture like this: there are x British workers employed in British jobs, y immigrants come along and work for lower pay, knocking y British workers out of jobs. When you look behind the rhetoric of the anti-immigration campaigners, the maths is no more developed than that over-simplistic little picture.

The maths is wrong for a number of reasons, partly because employers don’t buy and sell employees like football mangers, but mainly because the total number of jobs at any one time is not constant. And all the evidence points to immigration increasing the number of jobs in this country. Yes, they come over here and they make more jobs (not take our jobs)!

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Chile’s woes

The Chilean government has so far confirmed that 795 people are confirmed dead following Saturday’s earthquake, and two million have been made homeless. More have been killed and made homeless by the following tsunami. However, our media coverage always gets round to talking about looting, just as it did in Haïti and New Orleans. Focusing on looting is demeaning to the people who are caught up in the crisis, many of whom have lost homes and livelihoods. If disaster should strike this leafy borough of West London, I would not expect orderly queues outside of Waitrose either.

Looting is theft whatever the situation, but entirely forgiveable given this situation. However, in the city of Concepción, population 500,000, the Chilean army has deployed 7000 soldiers to prevent looting and protect property. It strikes me as a peculiar prioritisation to use military resources for property protection rather than humanitarian assistance. To underline the perverse decision to prioritise stuff over people, the army shot and killed a citizen two nights ago. Socialists often describe the military as primarily mobilised in defence of property rather than human life, and this is an example of such an abuse of state force under the guise of ‘rule of law’. Read David Osler’s article for more on this.

Continue reading


100 Comments

On Englishness and English nationalism

Essay warning: this is a long article in three parts.

All Hallows

The flag of St George flying from my church's tower.

Recently, I wrote an article here on POWER2010 and the People’s Charter. In passing I mentioned how I didn’t support the proposed policy for POWER2010 of ‘English votes on English laws’, something I now realise is a bit of a mantra among English nationalists, with its own camel-case acronym EVoEL (deliver us from…?)!

There were a lot of important ideas in that post, but was surprised by the complete focus on English nationalism in the comments. I was even more surprised by the poor quality of their argument, much of which was ad hominem (‘you are trash’ said one, another found me a traitor, another suggested that I was being anti-English and thus racist!). Then there was the misquoting and misrepresentation of my thoughts. For instance, I had written ‘In general, the promotion of English nationalism by a few fringe groups is very dodgy’. I should have been clearer about what I meant: that English identity and the nationalism based on it, promoted by a few fringe groups, is a minefield of problems that should be treated with care rather than emotional flag waving. However, the nationalists tweeted this as my saying ‘the English are dodgy’ (hmm, nice misquote there)! Aside from this there was demonstrable lack of understanding of our political constitution (I had to direct a commenter to read the 1911 Parliament Act). However, overall, I was shocked by the need to depict the English as persecuted, restricted and disempowered within a UK in which we make up around 83% of the population. If nationalism is about national liberation, nationalists feel the obvious need to conjure up an imagined captivity from which to liberate us.

I am English and proud to be English. I own an English football shirt (somewhere), but I’m not the flag waving type. Many of my friends are not English, and I find their perspective on Englishness very useful. I believe that it’s important to approach the issue dispassionately and practically, against the surging romanticism that can leave one delusional.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

When Boris Met Dave

I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from More4’s When Boris Met Dave last Wednesday night, and well timed to air just before David Cameron’s speech to the Conservative Party Conference. As I work at Oxford University, I’ve seen a little of the silliness that the place induces in those who ‘come up’.

The Bullingdon Club, a silly little ongoing stag party for posh boys, still exists: everyone hates them, nobody likes them. They are mostly ignored until they get a mention in a student rag for destroying some restaurant or college quad. Their tailored coats and posh accents shouldn’t distract you from the fact that they are drunken vandals. Their more open ideological neighbour, the Oxford Conservative Association, was recently suspended from the students’ union for asking candidates to tell a racist joke at hustings (This article in the Cherwell says that the Conservative Party has quietly taken on the racist club as its official branch at the university). Then the rugby club went on the piss round town dressed as ‘comedy Jews‘. So, the Buller is just a part of the stupid hierarchy of trainee fascists at the university.

When Boris met Dave: the Bullingdon Club

When Boris met Dave: the Bullingdon Club

When Boris met Dave is a dramatised documentary of the meeting of the two most prominent British Tories, Boris Johnson and David Cameron, at the university in the 1980s. Back then, with Maggie Thatcher in power and Brideshead Revisited serialised on the telly, Oxford seemed to have an overabundance of young things hell-bent on demonstrating their superiority in all manner of fashion. The documentary includes a cringeworthy interview with James Delingpole, an Oxford undergrad contemporary of the pair, who speaks about his desire to emulate Sebastian Flyte and be noticed by the Buller boys. Continue reading