The journey to the center of the mind

I’ve always been fascinated by the ties that bind the right. So I was curious how American conservatives would react to the EU elections, where the far-right National Front and and UKIP did extremely well. And when I say “curious”, I don’t mean “ready to mock them”, I mean genuinely curious.

Don Surber used to hang around here and at least at the time, he seemed more reasonable than a lot on the right. So I don’t think this is nut-picking.

On the other hand, one of my wingnut coworkers seems quite upset about it. Granted, he’s largely a Likudnik and the far right parties in Europe tend towards anti-Semitism. But I expected at least a little Obama-blaming and concern-trolling of the European left rather than outright fear and anger towards the European far right.

It will be interesting to see what Serious Conservatives like Douthat and Brooks make of these elections (if they’re not too busy dealing with our own national crisis, CommencementGhazi).

99 replies
  1. 1
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    The gutting thing about the current round of elections is that the voters who show up now seem bedded into letting their freak flag fly, in the assumption that it doesn’t matter as much as national elections, except the people they elect will be paid $131k plus expenses each year for five years, and if they’re part of the radical anti-EU right, they’ll spend those five years doing exactly nothing.

    So, y’know, moochers.

  2. 2
    sharl says:

    Hahah, I’d forgotten about Don Surber, Cole’s fellow Mountaineer – drooling wingnut constituency. They used to love him over at Sadly, No! in their usual special way.

  3. 3
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Don Surber is apparently a fascist dipshit. We learned how to properly deal with them some 70 years ago in Europe.

    Also, too, snarky Amboy Dukes reference, oh mighty master of trolling.

  4. 4
    dubo says:

    WHO WOULD HAVE THUNK that when pressed “we’re fine with LEGAL immigration, we just don’t like the illegals, because nation of laws, hurf durf” would slide right into “we’re fine with LEGAL immigration only if they don’t mock the host country (by remaining steadfastly brown)” at the speed of light

  5. 5
    ulee says:

    I work with a Republican family. They are kind and giving and would do anything for anyone at anytime. They are also from the south. They vote against their own interests. If Obama found a cure for cancer they would still hate his guts. It’s not a rational thing.

  6. 6
    Ash Can says:

    Douthat’s going to be too busy explaining why Elliot Rodger is the real victim, and Brooks will be too busy finding fault with Obama’s Memorial Day remarks (which he will not actually have heard or read).

  7. 7
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @ulee: On the other hand, if the previous occupant of the White House sodomized a three year old boy during the Easter Egg Roll, they’d dismiss it as a “youthful indiscretion.”

  8. 8
    patrick II says:

    The European right wing has this in common with the U.S. right — when bankers steal all of the money and put the country into a recession, blame immigrants.

  9. 9
    srv says:

    Good to see Don is doing great!

    I FOR ONE WELCOME A NEW ALLIANCE BETWEEN WINGNUTS AND CHEESE EATING SURRENDER MONKEYS!

    Also, too, whatever happened to Hugh Hewitt?

  10. 10
    ulee says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: yes, you’re right. They would find a way to explain it.

  11. 11
    Ash Can says:

    @pseudonymous in nc: They won’t do nothing; they’ll work very hard at offending each other and fucking up anything associated with the EU that’s actually working. (Also, I’m giving the new RW members a week before they start tweeting racist shit about Obama. And I figure that’s a pretty conservative estimate.)

  12. 12
    M. Bouffant says:

    “Don’t mock the host nation” = You dirty furriners get no First Amendment rights, & when I type “host nation” I mean you are all parasites.

    Cretinous jerk.

  13. 13
    srv says:

    @M. Bouffant: Wouldn’t AQ be fanatically pro 2nd Ammendment?

    There might be something there, there.

  14. 14
    Southern Goth says:

    The crazification factor might be slightly lower in France than the US:

    In France, according to official figures announced early Monday, the National Front, the country’s largest far-right party, won 26 percent of the vote to defeat both the governing Socialists and the Union for a Popular Movement, a center-right party.

    Pretty darn close though.

  15. 15
    Petorado says:

    I find it curious that rightward shifts always seem to occur when economic winds turn against any semblance of a middle class and some fraction of the population is then made the scapegoat of a problem for which violence is always a preferred solution. Conservative revolutions don’t have a habit of ending well and wind-up being a period that is a blot on the history of the affected nation.

  16. 16
    Steeplejack says:

    @Southern Goth:

    Well, they’re on the metric system, so I think it converts to about the same as our 27%.

  17. 17
    ulee says:

    There seemed to be a pretty easy answer when I was 14. Soak the rich, they’ve got gobs of money. Now that I’m 48 I know that the answer. Soak the rich. They’ve got gobs of money.

  18. 18
    David Koch says:

    Former executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party, says UCSB’s dead students were “bitches”

  19. 19
    ulee says:

    @David Koch: Yea, I read that. I guess that people who get their throats cut or are gunned down on the street are bitches. Nobody packing a pistol could have avoided this. He’s a moron.

  20. 20
    KG says:

    @Southern Goth: @Steeplejack: margin of error

  21. 21
    Roger Moore says:

    @David Koch:
    It’s as if they’re having a contest to see who can be most despicable.

  22. 22
    David Koch says:

    Fixxed News blames teh Ghey for mass shootings

  23. 23
    RandomMonster says:

    Haven’t you heard? All fascists are leftists, because some dillweed at the National Review pointed out that the word “socialist” appeared in NSDAP, ignoring the whole “nationalist” “deutsche” xenophobia hallmarks of the rightwing.

  24. 24
    mdblanche says:

    And the knives are out for Nick Clegg.

  25. 25
    Roger Moore says:

    @RandomMonster:

    All fascists are leftists,

    Therefore all leftists are fascists because logic. Take that, libtards!

  26. 26
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @RandomMonster: Also, “socialist” was a marketing term of art for Hitler…it was to convince the workers to vote for someone called a “socialist” on the assumption the party was pro-worker. Sort of like the “Democratic” in the “German Democratic Republic”.

  27. 27
    RandomMonster says:

    Off topic, but this right-wing comment on Santa Barbara shootings makes me livid and want to vomit:

  28. 28
    Jane2 says:

    I’m sure not a one of them, and precious few on the other side of the aisle, will bother to see the European elections in any context other than internal US politics.

  29. 29
    Roger Moore says:

    @mdblanche:

    And the knives are out for Nick Clegg.

    Why did it take them so long? Clegg should have gotten the ax the moment it became clear how bad a deal he cut with the Tories.

  30. 30
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @David Koch: If I woke up one morning in bed with that woman (who is a true two bagger, I might add), I’d swear off heterosexuality forever, after I’d gnawed off my own arm to avoid waking her to escape.

  31. 31
    RandomMonster says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Sort of like the “Democratic” in the “German Democratic Republic”.

    I’ve made this exact same analogy to fucktards before, to no avail.

  32. 32
    Roger Moore says:

    @RandomMonster:

    I’ve made this exact same analogy to fucktards before, to no avail.

    That’s because it depends on logic and tells them something they don’t want to hear. If you tried to use the same logic to talk about the Democratic Party, they’d be all ears.

  33. 33
    Goblue72 says:

    @Roger Moore: should have gotten the ax the moment he cut a deal with the Tories period – regardless of how good or bad it was

  34. 34
    mdblanche says:

    @RandomMonster: “Yeah, well Democrat = Commie, so German Democrat Republic is just another way of saying German Commie Republic.”/

  35. 35
  36. 36
    srv says:

    We need more great music with meteors in them.

  37. 37
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @David Koch:

    Fixxed News blames teh Ghey for mass shootings

    Well of course they do. The fact that it takes more paperwork, 100% more insurance, 100% more safety equipment, and periodic retesting to own a fucking motor scooter than it does to own a gun has nothing to do with it.

  38. 38
    snarkyspice says:

    To be clear, UKIP is pretty much in line with current US Republicans. Our British Tories are more like Democrats and our Labour party doesn’t really exist in America (although it’s moving closer to the Tories by the day).

    You could say UKIP is a moderate version of the tea party – only they don’t care all that much about abortion, gay marriage etc. and haven’t a religious bone in their sorry bodies – but the tea party pretty much is the modern Republican party now.

    The BNP is our version of the National Front and they are nowhere electorally.

  39. 39
    Ripley says:

    @srv: Here’s one: Wire – Comet

  40. 40
    Monty says:

    I read a lot about philosophical inquiries into the nature of mind, and basically the upshot is that while anyone is capable of anything, the right wing (conservative/libertarian) generally tends to rationalize morality by evoking a set of abstracted organic values dependent on some concept of self, lefties tend towards a more pragmatic, reasoned group approach.

    Shorter: current right wing arguments depend on an appealing to emotional response and (usually dishonest) deductive logic, whereas lefty arguments are weighted on case logic (and to a lesser extent, an emotional appeal to Marxism).

    That’s imprecise because of course both sides champion materialism.

  41. 41

    French Earthquake needed here. Everyone is fine with legal immigration provided the newcomers don’t mooch and mock the host nation

    He needs to define everyone and newcomer. To some on the right, anyone who did not come on the Mayflower is a newcomer and all immigration is a net minus.

  42. 42

    Well you root for commies who killed 250 million in Russia and China, so there

    Don writes pretty well for a third-grader.

  43. 43
    Baud says:

    Hate to say it, but the amount of right wing success we’re seeing around the world makes me feel better about our own domestic situation.

  44. 44
    Baud says:

    Well you root for commies who killed 250 million in Russia and China, so there

    I see a new DougJ nym in our future.

  45. 45
    Skippy-san says:

    @Mustang Bobby: Especially when you consider that he did not even address the question that was asked.

  46. 46
    Sloane Ranger says:

    To be fair it’s not all right wing parties. The left wing did well in Greece and some other countries. What they all have in common, however, is Eurosceptism. I have just heard Nigel Farage being interviewed and he said he would not work with the French National Front under any circumstances and the others have similar rivalries/disagreements so it’s unlikely they’ll form a voting block.

    As far as the UK is concerned UKIP is unlikely to do as well in a national election. Exit polling showed that about half of the people who voted for them this time will vote for someone else in the National. They could be a spoiler,however, preventing any party getting an overall majority.

    The other interesting factor is that UKIP may get an MEP in Scotland and what that may mean for the Independance referendum.

  47. 47
    Chris says:

    It will be interesting to see what Serious Conservatives like Douthat and Brooks make of these elections (if they’re not too busy dealing with our own national crisis, CommencementGhazi).

    The official party line, I believe, is “it’s a shame that the only people standing up against the dangers of immigration and multiculturalism and Islamofascism and Eurabia are people like the British National Party, those parties are crazy, of course, but when are mainstream parties going to start saying the same thing taking these things seriously?”

    But in fact, they’ve never had ever the slightest qualms about cooperating with European fascists. See also the Gates of Vienna conference that finally pushed Charles Johnson of LGF over the edge and out of wingnuttia (http://littlegreenfootballs.co....._The_Right).

    Reading William F. Buckley’s love letters to General Franco in the 1950s National Review, color me completely unsurprised.

  48. 48
    catclub says:

    The national parties in Europe that want to cut off ties to the rest of Europe would be most similar to US parties that want to go the isolationist route. So, they are different from the tea party, which assumes that the US does (and must) run the rest of the world.

  49. 49
    Chris says:

    @Petorado:

    I find it curious that rightward shifts always seem to occur when economic winds turn against any semblance of a middle class and some fraction of the population is then made the scapegoat of a problem for which violence is always a preferred solution.

    Do they, though? The drift into Nixon/Reagan conservatism in this country started in the sixties, when the economy was doing as well as it ever had. And of course, the New Deal was the opposite, bad economic situation leading to a massive leftward shift.

  50. 50
    Chris says:

    @RandomMonster:

    Haven’t you heard? All fascists are leftists, because some dillweed at the National Review pointed out that the word “socialist” appeared in NSDAP, ignoring the whole “nationalist” “deutsche” xenophobia hallmarks of the rightwing.

    This is also important to remember WRT American conservatives’ take on Europe – because they tend to essentialize the entire continent under a few vague words like “socialist,” they really have no idea what the fuck is going on. Neoliberal elites pushing austerity are evil socialists. Far right insurgents pissed off at the austerity are evil socialists. Center leftists wanting a return to 20th century economics are evil socialists. And so on and so forth.

  51. 51
    Chris says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Somebody on LGM pointed out yesterday that it’s pretty much common practice for reactionaries to borrow the language of the left in order to defend entrenched privilege (e.g. all the “men’s rights advocates,” “white people advancement societies,” etc…)

    “National Socialism” seems to be where that started.

  52. 52
    GregB says:

    26% is French for 27%.

  53. 53
    Joel says:

    So much for going to France in the immediate future.

  54. 54
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Chris: Corey Robin made pretty much the same point about Burke himself…that the reaction to change is to adopt the tactics of those seeking change to maintain the status quo, without the change that goes with it. Thus the problem with the French Revolution was not The Terror, it was The Terror in the service of upsetting the social applecart and executing the Aristocracy. Executions are for the little people, you know.

  55. 55
    Death Panel Truck says:

    Kooks gotta kook. Nothing to see here.

  56. 56
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @David Koch: At first I thought you meant “the grays”, Fox getting into space aliens would follow in the fine tradition of The History Channel.

  57. 57
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: There was plenty of execution for the little people in Georgian England for Burk. So much it backfired and was turning crime into political protest so the English elite had to lighten up. Or was Burk one of those assholes who claim that it didn’t work because they didn’t hang enough people.

  58. 58
    greenergood says:

    @Sloane Ranger: Yes, it’s horrible – one of our Scottish MEPs is now UKIP. Ironically, UKIP polled highest in Moray (13%) and the Highlands (12%), places that have benefited MOST from Scotland/the UK being in the EU, in terms of infrastructure and business development grants, and also have the LEAST number of immigrants. As someone who supports independence, the only consolation is that far more people will vote in the Scottish referendum in September; EU polls always have a low turn-out. The non-independence parties are gloating that a racist Kipper has ‘triumphed’ in Scotland; i.e. it proves that we’re just like the rest of the UK, but Scotland’s average UKIP vote was @ 10%, as compared to the rest of the UK, which was 30%. Farage is glib, supposedly ‘telling it like it it’, but is an ex-banker, and is the only sharp knife in the UKIP drawer. Almost everyone else is a mouth-breather; one gentleman got kicked out of UKIP last week for denying the people died in gas chambers during the Holocaust; he’s since set up his own anti-independence group in Scotland. UKIP’s only known policies are out of Europe and privatise the National Health Service. When questioned on the BBC’s flagship morning news about UKIP’s lack of policies, Farage said they would ‘work those out’ after the election, and the BBC just let him get away with that. In the run-up to this election, the BBC in Scotland gave four times as much air time to the marginal UKIP than they gave to the Scottish National Party, which is currently the party of government in the Scottish Parliament. We expect something pretty awful to happen here in the run-up to the referendum, so that Scots will vote No, ‘clinging to mother’s skirts, for fear of something worse’.

  59. 59
    Sloane Ranger says:

    @greenergood: I am a supporter of the Union but as an English person living in England I won’t have a vote.

    I think part of the problem is that we don’t advertise what the EU does for us. When you go abroad you see plenty of boards announcing that this or that project is supported by the EU. I’ve only ever seen one in the UK so it’s possible the voters in Moray etc. weren’t aware of what they’ve got from the EU.

    I think the fact that Labour has moved so far to the right it sounds like Tory light is,at least,part of the problem nationally. If you can’t get a credit card between the policies of the two main parties you have to look elsewhere. As UKIP don’t have a manifesto people can project whatever policies they like onto it.

  60. 60
    Morzer says:

    I can’t speak to French politics, but UKIP’s “earthquake” is the product of several factors:

    1) The collapse of the traditional protest party in the UK i.e. the Lib Dems, who are now seen as part of the corrupt Tory-lite establishment

    2) Disillusionment with both the Tories and (not quite so New) Labour

    3) The fact that the European elections are basically protest elections on steroids

    4) The media bigging up a storyline against Labour, partly, I think to punish Labour because the media still feels suckered by Tony Blair

    Overall, if you look at the result of the council elections in the UK, plus the opinion polls, UKIP remains relatively insignificant as a national party and it will be very surprising if it does well enough to get more than 1 or 2 MPs at the general election next year. I suspect they won’t quite manage that much – and over time the air will go out of the UKIP balloon. They’ve been able to get away with no policies and bad-mouthing Europe largely because there was no general election to force them to put actual policies on the table. To the extent that they have ever talked about policy, it’s been warmed-over Thatcherism plus a gloss of “libertarianism” which looks remarkably like the same thing plus squeaks of “freedom” – flat tax etc etc. This is not likely to appeal to the group of voters disillusioned with Labour who weren’t ever going to switch to the Tories and I expect a chunk of those voters to come home, grumbling and whining, to Labour. Some of Farage’s angry Tories will come home to Cameron. At the same time, the Lib Dems who left Clegg Inc seem to be sticking with Labour. No chance that they go over to UKIP or the Tories and Clegg’s party is now starting to talk about removing him.

    My bet, if I had to make one, is still on a Labour majority at the next general election. Not a huge majority – probably 20-30 seats, but a workable one. The Lib Dems will cling on to roughly 30 of their seats largely because they are well organized on the ground in those seats, but will not be credible as a national party and have probably lost their chance to become one for a generation. UKIP gets 1-2 seats at most, but probably gets 0. The media will most likely switch stories to Cameron’s failure to modernize the Tories and the resulting civil war once he is forced out. The Tories remain the major party that is most obviously split on Europe and that isn’t likely to change any time soon. The biggest irony of the lot will be that the Lib Dems will be deeply grateful, secretly, that they didn’t get electoral reform and proportional representation – which would have reduced them to a party of perhaps 7-8 MPs. This won’t save Clegg, whose party activists are starting to call him toxic.

  61. 61
    gorram says:

    @Chris: I do think you’re right that it’s a messy correlation if there is one, but the backlash to the 60s didn’t really start cooking with gas until the late 70s when the economy started having some hiccups.

  62. 62
    Sloegin says:

    Who woulda thunk that a prolonged economic crisis might mean fascists getting voted in? Well, besides anyone who has any familiarity at all with Weimar Germany…

  63. 63
    Sloane Ranger says:

    @Morzer: Agree with your analysis in general but UKIP knows that it’s picking up disillusioned Labourvoters. This might affect their manifesto if they want to keep them.

  64. 64
    Morzer says:

    @Sloane Ranger:

    That’s where UKIP’s basic hard-right Tory DNA is going to be a problem for them. If Farage tries to move left, those voters and party functionaries will start to give Cameron a second look, or maybe just give up and assume that Farage is just like all the others. The other problem is that there’s no guarantee that Labour voters would believe a newly left-leaning Farage if they didn’t believe him before. UKIP’s success has come from disillusionment with the other parties, Farage being supposedly more authentic (hah!) than other politicians, and the timeless appeal of a simple solution to complex problems that cannot, in fact, be easily dealt with. Basically you’ve got an adept salesman of wank words and fantasy politics, without any content that can be picked apart by the media, other parties or, for that matter, informed voters. My view is that UKIP has already peaked in terms of the voters it can get for the general (they actually lost some vote share in the council elections) and that the media is over-reacting to a dramatic, but essentially meaningless protest party success in the European elections. The Greens got 15% of the European electoral vote one year – and 0.5% of the general election vote the year after. To me, the signs point to UKIP following a similar trajectory. Find me anyone who believes that UKIP will replicate their European vote share in the general election and you and I will sell him numerous mansions on the Nebraska seashore and retire as billionaires.

    Farage is talking about put forth policies in September in Doncaster (sunny Doncaster!), but I doubt they will amount to anything like a convincing offer to anyone who wasn’t already on board the Magical Mystery Tour of the Kipperati.

  65. 65
    dr. luba says:

    And meanwhile the fascists in Ukraine, in an election held on the very same day, picked up a whopping 1% of the vote. But I’m sure BiP can explain that for us.

  66. 66
    Chris says:

    @Morzer:

    Since I, in turn, don’t know British politics as well; why is it that the UKIP and not the BNP (if I understand correctly, the more “classical” far right party, more similar to the FN and its ilk on the continent) was the big beneficiary of all the things you mentioned?

    @gorram:

    True. I suppose economic crises don’t create these kinds of rightward movements, but they help mainstream them. (That’s what happened in Germany too, IIRC).

  67. 67
    Morzer says:

    @dr. luba:

    Well, you know that Obama controls everything, so obviously he and the CIA undead Nazi hordes instructed the fascists to throw the election so that Hunter Biden could seize control of the means of production and ohmigod, is that a jackalope behind you?

  68. 68
    Morzer says:

    @Chris:

    The BNP are a disorganized, unpleasant, nakedly racist and neo-Nazi rabble of angry white men who have screwed up their lives in miserable post-industrial towns, mostly in the northerly section of the Midlands, led by a bankrupt, obese chicken farmer with zero personal charm (this is a relatively neutral assessment, by the way!). UKIP is better organized, less overtly unpleasant, less overtly racist (although they have been defenestrating “isolated incidents” of embarrassing party members at a remarkable rate) and are led by a much more effective snake-oil salesman with the bullshitter’s gift of lying with a smile, while playing the victim when caught out. Basically UKIP lucked into the UK’s version of Reagan, but without the right-wing coalition in place to let him do serious damage. They got even luckier in that the usual “protest party” had just wrecked its own credibility, that the main opposition party was recovering from the damage done by the former Dear Leaders, that the party from which they sprang was split on their pet issue – and the media in the UK loves to sell stories about a cheeky chappy taking on the corrupt establishment (which was still recovering from the expenses scandal).

    UKIP seems to have largely absorbed the BNP membership at large into its ranks, leaving the BNP leader Nick Griffin to complain that people voted for UKIP’s racism, but not for the BNP’s, which rather sums up the situation and his failure as a party leader. Interestingly, the youngest, most-multicultural area of the UK, London, rejected the Kippers overwhelmingly.

  69. 69
    beltane says:

    @Morzer:

    led by a bankrupt, obese chicken farmer with zero personal charm

    Perhaps Nick Griffin should consider entering the GOP presidential race. With qualifications like that he’s bound to go far.

  70. 70
    Jay C says:

    @David Koch:

    Geez, that was painful to read: Elliot Rodger goes on a bloody killing/shooting rampage, and leaves behind not one, but several videos, and a 140-page printed rant – in which he admits, outright, that his murderous rages are to be directed against women, and are fueled by his inability to attract them – and Fox “News” highlights some “reality television psychologist”, who breezily asserts that Rodger’s main problem was that he was gay and couldn’t deal.!

    I’m going to ignore this for the rest of the day: both my forehead and my desk will be better off….

  71. 71
    Morzer says:

    @beltane:

    I suspect he would find South Carolina, or perhaps Mississippi, rather more suited to his talents and personality. Britain does have some racial issues lingering among resentful older white men of a “conservative” disposition, but it simply will not accept anything like the degree of dog-whistling and overt racism that you find among sections of the US population. There are two great blessings that Britain has that stops it from exploring some of the crazier right-wing stuff: very strong gun control and an effective consensus that abortion is legal and a woman’s decision. This may, or may not, be linked to a relative lack of right-wing evangelical “Christians”, or perhaps it’s just the Great British Tradition of minding your own business/tolerance/not really caring about what other people are up to so long as they don’t mess with your stuff.

  72. 72
    Morzer says:

    @Jay C:

    You really expected Fox not to blame some part of the Evil Librul Homosexualist Conspiracy?

  73. 73
    Sloane Ranger says:

    @Morzer: I hope you’re right but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did well in Newark and possibly even took the seat. Bye-elections are also good for protest votes.

    After that we’ll have to wait and see what UKIP’s manifesto says. As you say then people will be able to see where they stand on the NHS, taxation, job security etc. On the doorsteps Labour voters were concerned about losing out to immigrants on affordable housing and jobs. Labour needs credible policies in these areas and to get voters to see we can get more homes and better, more secure jobs without being anti-immigrant.

  74. 74
    Morzer says:

    @Sloane Ranger:

    Newark might get them a seat through the protest effect, although I tend to think they’ll fall short. When the general comes around, the Norfolk coast might be the place to watch along with, of all places, Grimsby.

    In a way, it might even be good if UKIP wins in Newark, because then the public will get to see something of what UKIP have behind the curtain – and it might lance the angry protest boil. Might. Possibly. Maybe.

    IIRC, UKIP had a huge manifesto at the last general election, although no-one seems to have read it, including Farage. If they try putting out some “new” policies, it might be worth some enterprising journalist’s while to note the difference and ask Farage to explain them and what UKIP really believes. But that might well be too much work.

  75. 75
    Chris says:

    @Morzer:

    Okay, then.

    Translated into French, it sounds like the FN under the original Le Pen, versus the semi-mainstreamed modern FN under his daughter.

    Translated into American, it sounds kind of like Dixiecrats vs “social conservative” Republicans like Reagan and such… but as you say, without the whole coalition that made these people mainstream again.

  76. 76
    catclub says:

    @Sloegin:

    Who woulda thunk that a prolonged economic crisis might mean fascists getting voted in? Well, besides anyone who has any familiarity at all with Weimar Germany

    This is my pet peeve. The hyperinflation (1923, they mostly got over it) is the bogeyman that must be avoided. Rather than 25% unemployment. Note that hyperinflation most damages those who have paper financial assets.

  77. 77
    Morzer says:

    By the way, this is an interesting site for the more data-driven people who are curious about what UKIP might achieve next year:

    http://www.electoralcalculus.c....._UKIP.html

    In sum, unless UKIP gets to 20% in the polls (very unlikely) they’ll get 0-1 MPs. You can now see exactly why the Lib Dems must be going down on their knees and thanking God that they didn’t get proportional representation! Such a beautiful thing is principle.

  78. 78
    Sloane Ranger says:

    @Morzer: I’d like to see them take Newark as well. That way their guy will provide plenty of ammo for Party Political Broadcasts. It might also scare the Labour hierarchy into running a better campaign.

  79. 79
    Morzer says:

    @Chris:

    I think your American comparison is pretty accurate, in that the BNP and UKIP have different original DNA (openly fascist versus hard right Tory Eurosceptics). UKIP isn’t essentially a reformed BNP, even though it has (quietly) courted and absorbed a chunk, maybe a majority, of former BNP voters.

  80. 80
    Morzer says:

    @Sloane Ranger:

    If UKIP takes Newark, you’ll hear a scream of panic from the Conservative party that will make Ed Miliband’s problems look small. Last time around, the Tories got ~54% of the vote, and UKIP got ~4%. Even when you factor in the Mercer scandal, losing that safe a seat to a rank “outsider” would be absolutely devastating to Cameron. Newark, by the way, has been pretty consistently a fairly safe Tory seat since 1974, with the exception of 1997 when Fiona Jones squeaked in by ~3,000 votes.

  81. 81
    Sloane Ranger says:

    @Morzer: True and that would be fun. It would likely lead to the Tories lurching right. That’s unlikely to lead to much of significance before the election (unless they ditch Dave, which I don’t think they’ll do with only 11 months to go). If Labour don’t see a significant increase in their vote, though, it will be worrying for them as well.

  82. 82
    Brian R. says:

    That’s quite a Twitter profile pic of Don Surber there.

    Would have been cheaper for him just to buy some boner pills.

  83. 83
    Brian R. says:

    @David Koch:

    In a follow up Tweet, the dude cites someone calling his comment hateful and then says that’s why conservatives insist on having so many guns.

    Dude, we get it. You have no dick.

  84. 84
    greenergood says:

    @Sloane Ranger: Sloane and Morzer, what I don’t understand is how UKIP got such a soft ride in this election cycle. Farage was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 Today on election day, and when questioned about his lack of policies, answered ‘well, if we get elected then we’ll figure out what our policies are’ (not an exact quote, but pretty close), but couldn’t believe how the interviewer let him get away with this. That, plus the enormous amount of coverage UKIP has recieved in the past few weeks. There’s no way UKIP would’ve gained the margin they got without coverage from the BBC – and I don’t mean just in Scotland. Even though I live in Scotland, my main radio is BBC Radio 4, and I was astonished to hear Farage as the 8.10 am main interview on Today on election day. I am convinced that a lot of Farage’s ‘success’ has to do with the BBC’s publicity, and I want to know why the BBC has done this.

  85. 85
    Morzer says:

    @greenergood:

    The BBC has basically been scared witless by Tory threats to take away its funding, amid the usual right wing yapping about left wing/liberal/biased media. What the Guardian’s excuse is, heaven only knows. I suspect they both thought that denouncing UKIP as racist would do the job better than actually going through what UKIP claims to stand for. This, I think, was a serious mistake – UKIP is xenophobic, dishonest and, frankly, corrupt – but it’s quite hard to make a case that it is pitching racism as the term is generally understood. Yes, it does have a large number of followers who espouse racist views and you can argue somewhat plausibly that they saw UKIP’s xenophobic scaremongering as compatible with their own ideas – but, that said, Farage himself is generally careful to steer clear of racism.

  86. 86
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Morzer:

    4) The media bigging up a storyline against Labour, partly, I think to punish Labour because the media still feels suckered by Tony Blair

    I think it’s more that the London political press, in a contrast from DC’s Very Serious Centrism, puts on a posture of eye-rolling disillusionment towards establishment parties and gets over-excited by anything novel.

    The BBC loves having Farage on because he Gives Good Television and can be guaranteed to show up at a pub and ask for a pint glass with a handle, even though anyone who sees him for the first time knows instinctively that he’s just a fucking spiv.

    UKIP has become a cipher for general disillusionment, and that works for elections that the voters treat as a comedy vote because of how they punctuate the general election cycle, but there’s really no there there other than the racist reactionary gobshites in the candidate ranks.

  87. 87
    El Cid says:

    You don’t really hate Communism unless the number of people killed by Communists goes up significantly each year.

    I condemn the Communists for murdering 850 trillion people in the USSR and China.

  88. 88
    Morzer says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:

    You are right about the pose of disillusionment – but I believe that the specific disillusionment with Labour and its cutting edge among the chattering classes dates from Blair and specifically his Iraq war follies. That really tipped a lot of people over into contempt and cynicism, as opposed to a habitual, relatively accepting caution about taking politicians at face value. The Guardian tried to make up for falling for Blair by promptly falling for the “untainted” Clegg and the Lib Dems, only to see them go into coalition with the Tories, break some very serious promises and prove that they could sell out their core constituency with the best of them. After that, the Guardian was so determined not to be fooled (and to “prove” that they were never fooled in the first place) that they’ve retreated to a casually cynical half-baked blend of libertarianism, populism and deficit hawkery (because, they are, like, real, tough-minded, impartial finkers). Half the time, their political opinion pieces are incoherent exercises in squaring circles and pretending that they never quite said what they once clearly did say. at the same time, they are so desperate not to look naive by asking real questions that they are now chasing after the popular narrative on UKIP, even though its obviously overblown and Farage isn’t remotely close to real power even at the council level! It’s a shame that what the wider world now sees is the Guardian at considerably less than its best.

  89. 89
    Sloane Ranger says:

    I agree that Farage gives good entertainment and he’s always willing to appear on TV, on anything from Question Time to Have I Got News For You. Until recently he’s always been treated as a novelty act but what changed in my opinion is that Nick Clegg debated him one on one on national TV and, according to opinion polls – lost. In retrospect this was a mistake as it lead the media to think that if the Deputy PM took him seriously so should they, especially given the outcome.

  90. 90
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @snarkyspice: I used to describe US political parties by describing the Democrats as a Labour-Tory coalition and the Republicans as the American BNP.

  91. 91
    Morzer says:

    @Sloane Ranger:

    The biggest mistake was in thinking that Clegg, by now the most discredited politician in Britain, could prevail by citing facts in a snotty tone against a master of slithering evasion and pub bore eloquence who was playing the easiest game of all – blaming someone else for the British people’s largely self-inflicted misfortunes.

  92. 92
    greenergood says:

    @Morzer: Morzer, I agree with your evaluation of what’s happened in this election cycle; I respect your statement that you are an English person who wants to retain the Union, but I don’t see where a vote for Scotttish independence should mean that people from the rUK should have a vote too. Where I live (down the road from the UK’s ‘independent’ nuclear deterrent) I have friends and acquaintances who go ‘hah! (hands in the air) ‘referendum? Let’s just get this silly procedure over with!’ because they work for the Royal Navy, and think this whole referendum thing is a joke, which is somewhat insulting. And I’ve replied to them, ‘it doesn’t matter if YOU consider this a minor issue; it is a major issue here in Scotland, and please give it the respect it deserves, whether independence is gained or not’, followed by ‘let’s not have an argument about it’, because living in a small village which happens to have the most important NATO nuclear-arrned base in the North Atlantic 2 miles down the road, well, this is going to be a difficult few months, and either a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ victory is going to raise a lot of hackles…

  93. 93
    BrooklynMichael says:

    Don Surber…seemed more reasonable than a lot on the right. So I don’t think this is nut-picking.

    Uhhh….I know Sadly, No! isn’t what it used to be, but back in the day, Surber was one of their richest, most consistent sources of weapons-grade DERP. I don’t know how you could read anything by him and not consider it nut-picking. He’s like Jim Hoft without the suave.

  94. 94
    Morzer says:

    @greenergood:

    What statement about retaining the Union did I make? I remember talking about UKIP on this thread.

  95. 95
    jonas says:

    @RandomMonster: And all conservatives are white supremacists because Conservative Citizens Councils in the old south were all a bunch of unreconstructed segregationists. What’s good for the goose….

  96. 96
    jonas says:

    I only know Don Surber via the rich shelackings he’d regularly receive from our good friends at Sadly No!, but he seemed less a reasonable conservative dissenter and more a wanna-be Erik Erikson for the room-temperature IQ crowd. (Given that Erik Son-of-Erik is for the slightly above-room-temperature crowd)

  97. 97
    greenergood says:

    @Morzer: Sorry Morzer! My Bad – I meant Sloane Ranger – way back in the thread.

  98. 98
    Sloane Ranger says:

    @greenergood: This thread is probably dead but Ifelt I had to respond. My comment about about not having a vote in the refedendum was intended as a statement of fact and not as a criticism of the arrangements. As a believer in democracy I respect your right to your opinion and will acccept the outcome of the referendum whatever that is. I do, however reserve the right to feel unhappy if the outcome is not the one I wish for.

  99. 99
    EthylEster says:

    @Brian R.: I had forgotten about Don Surber. But now I am recalling the pic he used to have long before twitter and avatars. Sadly, No displayed it frequently….and it’s still on the tubes. Google old Don and then switch to the Images tab. It’s the first one!

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