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Why none of these charlatans gets my vote Politics has been relegated to pantomime fodder

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June 17, 2024   4 mins

“We won’t change anything, but we’ll be less corrupt, look after your money better and not rip you off so much — at least in our first term.”

This, essentially, is Labour’s message going into the election, and what passes as “idealism” within today’s modern polity. Politics in our broken democratic system, with its antiquated institutions, is relegated to pantomime fodder. The choice of leaders and parties is a rearranging-deckchairs-on-the-Titanic exercise, rather than a harbinger of the deep systemic change required to restore and extend a crumbling democracy. If one thing can be guaranteed in the coming general election, it’s that absolutely nobody will be inspired.

Granted, some visceral satisfaction will be gained through the supposedly inevitable toppling of the corrupt, silver-spooned charlatans who have systematically enriched themselves and their friends at the expense of the taxpaying public — at a time, ironically, when we most needed strong, engaged, selfless and compassionate leadership. Whatever these people are, they are certainly not public servants. But Britain, with its outdated class system, spearheaded by its elitist public schools, will always usher such scamming deadbeats into positions of power.

Fortunately, though I retain some nagging doubts about the outcome of the election being as conclusive as universally predicted, these disassemblers will be replaced — but by whom?

Keir Starmer has almost militantly made “business as usual” as his platform. But, then, we’ve long moved away from the political ecosystem in which Labour could at least pretend it was going to do something radical. Today, its behaviour is proscribed long before it gets there. Corbyn, in the way of white, middle-class socialists, was naïve in his associations with anyone deemed to be a member of an oppressed group. As soon as he was elevated to Labour leader, he paid a high price for that folly. The even-handed, mild-mannered, allotment-tending community activist of 40 years was ludicrously branded a Nazi.

Starmer replaced Corbyn, and his campaign is exactly as promised. We’ve had constant parroting about “change” — but what’s the substance of that change? “Vote for me; kick the Tories out,” seems to be the size of it. In the absence of any grand vision, all we’ve had is ruthless purging of anyone who seems to carry the awkward baggage of principle, while Tory rejects are welcomed with open arms. This is what centre-left politics looks like today.

And yet, the greatest devastation to British politics has not been the growing toxicity of the Right or Left, whatever such terms now mean in a world where an avaricious corporate-statist capitalism has destroyed both socialism and the free market. The fundamental sea-change has been neoliberalism’s radicalisation of the centre. Centrists used to be the cuddly toys of British politics, unshackled by deterministic doctrines, with their pragmatic social democracy and one-nation Toryism. But following the collapse of those pluralist reference points, they are now as ideologically blinkered as anyone on the polarities. And as easily duped.

“The real fundamental sea-change has been neoliberalism’s radicalisation of the centre.”

As a result, millions of voters will have to choose between parties to whom they are at best highly ambivalent, and at worst detest. Their only bet is business as usual, as they struggle through the cost-of-living crisis, made interminably worse by Brexit and lockdown, while idealistic youth watch their elected government and opposition support mass child-killing in the Middle East. This is the backdrop against which a public-school imposter, the serial failure Farage, can posture as a “man of the people” and “anti-establishment” in a windswept, down-at-heel Essex seaside town, and be seen as the best of a bad bunch.

Perhaps, if you buy into the zero prospects culture of Starmerism, and you boot the Tories out, you won’t be disappointed. Maybe — depressingly — Labour’s low-expectations merchants might even be the most honest politicians of our era. Perhaps they are simply holding their hands up and quietly declaring that they can do nothing against the machine.

Perhaps all we can realistically expect from our elected officials is for them to represent us to the best of their abilities in their constituencies, and not see the public purse as something to be divided up between themselves and their cohorts through bogus thieving scams. It’s possible that this really is now the extent of political idealism. What an unedifying spectacle this election is.

The Tories in government have been so disgracefully venal, causing so much damage through corruption, austerity, Brexit and their mismanagement of the pandemic, that people will doubtless vote them out in reasonable — but perhaps not exceptional — numbers. But over the next five years, it seems likely that the Conservatives will be revitalised, rebranded and move farther to the Right. That’s when, with our goldfish spans of attention, the Tories will win a landslide, with nothing in the centre or Left of a soft Labour Party worth getting out of bed to vote for. To see how that will play out, it might be an idea to watch America in November.

Until something changes, politics will continue to be just another distracting circus. We’ll watch those huckster entertainers, laughing and sneering at each other, as we do the same to them online. Probably all the way up to the point where we lose our work and our homes; we starve slowly to death or succumb to mental disorders, though perhaps only killing ourselves when they take away our smartphones.

If we wanted something to change, we could start with properly taxing billionaires. After all, a healthy society needs absolutely no billionaires. It needs many more millionaires and multi-millionaires, to genuinely incentivise it to excellence, and the money they take out of the economy has to be put back: to build a social and financial platform for all our citizens.

The Tories will never try to make this happen; they are either the rich beneficiaries of the system, or their suck-arse sycophants. Labour, meanwhile, is too frightened to even try. Their despondent fear, as we approach the election, is the pervading stink across Britain. It won’t go away afterwards.

What to do? Well, I obviously can’t support the Conservatives, and Labour is no mechanism for change. It’s about the only thing we can trust Starmer on. So I’ll be scouring my list for an independent man or woman of sound principle, who isn’t part of the lobby-fodder machine. Failing that, someone in a smaller party with a radical and independent spirit. They won’t get elected, but a big increase across the country for such candidates would signal that it might be the beginning of the end for the gravy train of power-hungry “professional” politicians.

If anyone tells me that’s a waste of a vote, I’d counter that voting Labour and expecting anything to be different is a bigger and ultimately more hurtful waste. The principled independent route seems like the least futile of a series of deeply inefficacious gestures. Listen to the new boss when he tells you he’ll be the same as the old one.


Irvine Welsh is a Scottish novelist and playwright. He is the author of Trainspotting and, most recently, The Long KnivesHis latest novel, Resolution, will be published in July.

IrvineWelsh

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Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 month ago

Damn, and I thought us Americans were feeling jaded these days.

J Bryant
J Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

As a fellow American, I know what you mean. But I think Welsh sums up both the UK and US situations pretty well. We can all sense that the current political and economic system in the West isn’t working anymore. A major change is needed and will arrive eventually. The only question is when will real change occur and how much pain will we have to go through before we reach a better place.

B. Timothy S.
B. Timothy S.
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

As an American, there’s nothing like an electoral campaign to see the value of the Monarchy.

Wishing Kate and Charles full recoveries and meeting whichever one of these bozos you elect.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
1 month ago

Banging on about Brexit being part of the problem is an utter betrayal; not only of your roots, but of yourself.

By all means lay it on the line about the state of politics in the UK – and there’s good intent in much of what you’ve written, even if it’s no more than what we read in Unherd Comments day in day out – but seriously, you’d rather we were still chained to the likes of Ursula Von Der Leyen and the whole corrupt bunch who put her in position?

Come on man, wake up and get back to base.

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

Ursula Von Der Leyen is extremely uninspiring, but she is a step up from Jean-Claude Juncker. He was truly repulsive.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin M

How can anybody downvote that!

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin M

A choice between cholera and the plague…

Norfolk Sceptic
Norfolk Sceptic
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin M

And she does have a nice hairdo.

Phil Mac
Phil Mac
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin M

Yeah, but at least he did it p*she’d so you could laugh at him.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

Could have easily stayed in the Single Market and Customs Union, acquiring consultation rights, if not a veto on rule changes, and avoided being part of the Brussels politics – i.e a softer Brexit. Instead went for a Hard version and now look stupid. And thing is a sizeable majority of the public recognise that too, but who likes to openly admit one was bit of a fool. Which means folks will be chilled about a move towards a much softer version and that is where we are heading.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

There was no soft option. May was stupid to pursue it. The EU was determined to punish anyone leaving their club.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

This all sounds nice and reasonable. Unfortunately it isn’t true. You can’t ‘stay in the Single Market and Customs Union’ without surrendering control of your borders – and therefore your public services and the democratic accountability of your government – to unelected and probably corrupt bureaucrats who do not have your best interests at heart.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

Let’s be honest here however and admit that the “consultation rights” would be utterly meaningless, as the Norwegians know. I’m not sure you are actually correct, you can’t just reverse history. Certainly the UK would be rejoining on much worse conditions than we had before, and this would become another major source of fractious discord in any new campaign to rejoin the Single Market or Customs Union.

Norfolk Sceptic
Norfolk Sceptic
1 month ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

“Banging on about Brexit” is a red flag, in more ways than one. 🙂

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
1 month ago

Two things I’d take issue with here. First of all, Nigel Farage may or may not be your cup of tea, but he’s been spectacularly successful in getting things done. You will by now have noticed the UK has left the EU.
Second, if the Tories shift to the right (giving the people of the UK who don’t want a bloated State an actual option), and they win in a landslide in five years time, it will be because Labour has somehow been even worse than the current conservatives, and more importantly because that’s what the people of the country want.
Oh, and if you ‘properly tax’ billionaires, they move to Monaco. So good luck with that.
I completely agree that what’s going on is a pantomime though. An absolute nadir in British political life.

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Absolutely correct on all points.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Farage is the pantomime. He’s not a serious politician and he leads a party full of ex BNP supporters and like-minded candidates. It’ll unravel as more sunlight directed.
As regards Brexit – if he’s such a success why did he say it’s been an ‘utter failure’? His words SD. His words.
Tories shift to the Right and they are doomed. The Golf Club bores rattle round an echo chamber convincing themselves otherwise whilst the Country moves on. The Red Wall does not want reheated Neo-Liberalism and that’s what a move Right entails.
Your defence of the v Rich exactly what those in the shadows bankrolling elements of the Far Right want you to do.

Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
1 month ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Farage is successful, if you think wrecking things is success.

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
1 month ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

Being successful is getting what you want done, done. And he’s objectively good at that. Personally I think that the half-arsed foot-dragging way the establishment has gone about Brexit has been more harmful than Brexit itself, but the point is that Farage wanted Brexit, a vast majority of politicians didn’t, and he got it. He achieved his goal, and that’s success.

Sam Brown
Sam Brown
1 month ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

How incredibly short-sighted. You live in London, I assume…….

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

I think the most important reason for our current troubles is the complete inability of our leftist establishment to understand that what’s gone wrong is not that a few people have become ridiculously wealthy but that millions of middle class property owners have become wealthy without doing anything useful to merit it.

We live in a financial system that taxes productive activity in order to reward the rent seeking behaviour of the metropolitan class.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Hurrah. Great Leninist Post – the Petit Bourgeoisie are worse than the Aristocracy.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 month ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

I have no idea how people can still push the “just tax the rich” line in this hyper-mobile world where masses of wealth are moved about (and out of reach of the taxman) at the push of a button. You just have to be rich enough to afford decent tax advice.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 month ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Yes that’s a problem and a shame. That’s why Paul Johnson in how ‘How much does Britain cost?’ effectively advocates taxing the rich enough to afford it, the poor enough not to move it.
What needs more scrutiny on here however is the ‘just stop the boats’ line which so many people on here have signed up to. Can you give an example of a country that has found prosperity just by lowering immigration? I can’t, though am genuinely wondering what the economic case for it is and examples abroad would be.

Buck Rodgers
Buck Rodgers
1 month ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

I’m not sure about improving the economy through reducing immigration, but the UK’s economy appears to have got much worse by raising it.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 month ago
Reply to  Buck Rodgers

Yes those trends are aligned, but how confident are you that one caused the other? Immigration started going massively up under Blair from 2004, and wages rose between then and 2008.
And are you sure it has nothing to do with the corruption of our government, its spending splurges on the rich at the cost of public services, the impotent powers of local authorities to buy land to build social housing (and deal with the housing crisis, the biggest single cause of poverty in the UK)?

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
1 month ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Australia. The US up to 1964. Singapore, Morocco, . These are examplrs of countries that people want to migrate to and which control their borders.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 month ago
Reply to  Anna Bramwell

Yes, but did ordinary people become better off once immigration was brought down? There are more examples of ordinary lives improving once governments start investing in ordinary, working people (Norway, South Korea, Britain after WWII and after Blair (and here I’m thinking of both healthcare and wages))…

RA Znayder
RA Znayder
1 month ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Well, technically Cameron’s failed power play got you Brexit.
As for the more serious points. Ever since Thatcher, people fell for “bloated state” sales pitch and not once was it delivered. That is precisely the problem with the centre, they care very little about what people want and much more about what their financiers want.
Also, it is not that hard to prevent capital to go to tax havens like Monaco. During the postwar consensus capital simply wasn’t able to move so freely. It is absolutely essential that the West shifts its economy back to something productive with a sound fiscal system. If it does not want to be the third world in 40 years. Much of what we do is speculation, money manipulation and rent seeking while all actual production has been offshored. It cannot be sustained.
Finally, taxing billionaires should be seen as repaying their debt. Many billionaires and big capital have essentially been on government handouts, especially since the 2008 and 2020 QE-rounds. This huge amount of public money floating around in the financial system (and not the real economy) amplifies the problems of passive rent seeking explained above.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 month ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

‘successful in getting things done. You will by now have noticed the UK has left the EU.’
Quitting/breaking things up is much easier than building them up. What’s the biggest success of Brexit so far?

Klive Roland
Klive Roland
1 month ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Unsurprisingly no one has been able to suggest an answer to that question.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 month ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

If they aren’t paying tax then so what? Frees up a house.

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
1 month ago

Billionaires pay most of our taxes. And even non doms paid 8 bn a year, tho now they are leaving the figure has gone down dramatically. In the 60s and 70s high tax people left England in droves, to the US, to Ireland, to France, to Malta. But keep trying.

Norfolk Sceptic
Norfolk Sceptic
1 month ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

And about the ‘billionaires moving to Monaco’, they don’t have to be billionaires: it could even be the entrepreneur wanting to be a billionaire, and creating wealth elsewhere.

Andy Redman
Andy Redman
1 month ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Let them go to Monaco and tax them on their UK businesses and interests

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago

“Mass child-killing in the middle east.”

Ah nice, so on top of being a champagne socialist, EU shill and a frothing Scot Nat, you indulge in a bit of blood libel on the side.

Congratulations. A full house on the bingo card of @rseh*le-ishness.

Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

That is where I stopped reading. Shythawk!

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Phillips

I gave up when he started fawning over Corbyn. Next!

Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
1 month ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Wimp! 😉

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 month ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Quick challenge for you:
1) Name me your 5 favourite Conservative policies you can point to which have helped make us a fairer, more prosperous and secure country.
2) Now name me 5 of Corbyn’s policies which would have had the opposite effect.
Genuinely interested to know. Feel free to set me a challenge as well and we can have an honest discussion about it.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 month ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Oh, I’d love to, but I’m just going to plump for saying that Corbyn was just too far left to ever have a shot at winning a majority in a GE and Welsh’s fawning over him now just shows a failure to acknowledge that very basic fact. All nostalgia for Corbyn should have been buried on day 1 after the last election and I do not need to read the 300th reheating of that failed and curdled mess.
People can go on about the uniparty and Labour and Conservatives basically being the same, but that does not erase the need to capture the middle ground in British elections if you want to actually get into power.

(Oh it’s the day of the disappearing comments again, yay!)

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 month ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Capture the middle ground. His policies were the middle ground – most of his big ones had a 60%+ approval rating among the British public, such as the ones below. But yes, got to capture the middle ground (aka the billionaire sociopaths running most of the media).
1) Increase health budget by 4.3% (good one for the over 55s, who are almost 40% of Unherd’s readership)
2) Raise minimum wage from £8.21 to £10
3) Stop state pension age rises
4) Create a national care service for the elderly
5) Nationalise key industries (if you disagree with this tell me how the (wholesale) privatisation of water, energy, mail, rail or (piecemeal) privatisation of health has been successful)
6) Build 100,000 council homes a year 

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Wow! Free stuff for everyone is popular! Who’da think it?

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 month ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Fully costed mate. Let’s see the same from Farage’s promises.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

The notion that a party of apparatchiks, none of whom have ever worked in industry, are going to pay for their policies by ‘growing the economy’ whilst at the same time de-carbonising the National Grid – ie: starving the economy of energy – is one of those ideas that George Orwell described as being so ludicrous that only an intellectual could believe it.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 month ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I take the point about strategy, but what an indictment of our system that the electoral middle ground is so far from the popular one.
Capture the middle ground. His policies were the middle ground – most of his big ones had a 60%+ approval rating among the British public, such as the ones below. But yes, got to capture the middle ground (aka the billionaire sociopaths running most of the media).
1) Increase health budget by 4.3% (good one for the over 55s, who are almost 40% of Unherd’s readership)
2) Raise minimum wage from £8.21 to £10
3) Stop state pension age rises
4) Create a national care service for the elderly
5) Nationalise key industries (if you disagree with this tell me how the (wholesale) privatisation of water, energy, mail, rail or (piecemeal) privatisation of health has been successful)
6) Build 100,000 council homes a year 

A D Kent
A D Kent
1 month ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Quite right Desmond, but he couldn’t say that he would give the order for our (by then almost certainly destroyed) single operational nuclear submarine to fire it’s disastrously-prone-to-malfunction missiles fruitlessly at the Russians in a hypothetical war that his policies would almost certainly have avoided in the first place, so that was that. This is sensible British politics were talking about here.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 month ago
Reply to  A D Kent

Yes indeed – came up again and again on the doorstep, and this was reflected in the YouGov survey I was referencing; think only 40% of the public were on board with his foreign policies, although as I said most were behind his domestic ones (80% for example wanted most of their electricity to come from low-carbon sources – not an impression you get of the country from reading Unherd’s comment section!).
But I doubt it would have made much difference what position he took here – he wanted to make the lives of ordinary people substantially better and that can never be tolerated in our system. Not much can be hoped for from electoral politics (unless Starmer does some serious u-turning). We need to become activists I think – against our landlords, against our bosses, against our gas companies etc and do what we can for the people around us and just hope that maybe in so doing fascism doesn’t return to Europe.

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Get a room and play your policy soggy
-biscuit together there; away from this forum.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
24 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

Sorry for invading your safe space.

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

We can all come up with a wish list of everything snuggly-wuggly and lovely. Where do you think the label Magic Grandpa actually came from?

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Phillips

Me too.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

“Mass child-killing in the middle east.”
15,000 children in Gaza have been killed (or did they just die?) all so Israel’s security can be undermined by a leader continuing his strong record on growing Hamas and ruining the Israel’s and the west’s moral credibility abroad, emboldening our enemies and so bringing war closer and closer to our door each day.
‘A champagne socialist.’
And why is being a rich socialist worse than being a poor one? If he was a poor socialist you’d just say he was suffering from ‘class envy.’

Dr E C
Dr E C
1 month ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

The Nazi label does indeed get tossed about too lightly. But if you support the PLO – whose founding member was a paid up Nazi – or Hamas or Muslim Brotherhood or simply parrot the idea that Israel is currently on a child killing spree and must be stopped or preferably disappeared off the map altogether, then I can’t think of a more accurate historical term to describe you.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 month ago
Reply to  Dr E C

Already suggesting I’m a Nazi – great start. But no, unlike Netanyahu, I have never supported Hamas, funnily enough.
So far all this war has done is cause a daily death count that exceeds those of all other major conflicts in the 21st century, imperilled the lives of the hostages for whose recovery it is supposedly being fought and undermined Israeli and western security, whilst growing the insurgency it is trying to fight against (like every war of this kind – Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq etc). Now you tell me – because I genuinely want to know – how this war makes Israel and the wider world a safer place.
PS Supporting Israeli foreign policy doesn’t automatically make you not an anti-semite. Lots of Nazis, like Reinhard Heydrich, who masterminded the Holocaust, wanted the Jewish people to have a promised land so that they would no longer be in Europe.
Something for you to think about next time you assume moral superiority over someone calling for peace because they think it’s in the interests of both sides (though I know it’s easier for you to see them all as Nazis).

Dr E C
Dr E C
1 month ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Just no. So far there’s been over 600,000 civilian deaths in Syria alone, which makes the daily death count double what the Gazan one is supposed to be. But more importantly, this death count is coming from Hamas. Seriously. Wake up.
If you are basing your support for the Arabs on Hamas’ propaganda, then you’re de facto supporting Hamas. If you are actively calling for Israel to stop fighting – Hamas rejects a ceasefire – then you’re de facto supporting Hamas. If you support the dissolution of the state of Israel, then you support Hamas, if you are not standing up for the one Jewish state in the entire world, surrounded by Muslim ones that want it gone and all the Jews dead and who are currently waging war on it to that end – then, sorry, but you support Hamas (& Iran, the Houthis, Muslim brotherhood etc), no matter how inadvertently.

Dr E C
Dr E C
1 month ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Finally, saying I’m not necessarily _not_ something shows desperation, but if you want to know why I don’t even believe in the ‘Palestinian’ side any more, and have finally (after years of believing in a two state solution) realised its aim isn’t land or peace or coexistence with Jews, Christians or anyone else, it’s because I’ve read some history.

Eg here are some photos of the founder of the Palestinian Liberation Movement, Al Husseini, visiting concentration camps BEFORE Israel’s creation: https://youtu.be/LP_6XBSBtiU?si=doL6XZRT2OpfSElh

And here’s what another PLO member said decades later: ‘The Palestinian people do not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians and Lebanese; we are all members of the same nation. Solely for political reasons are we careful to stress our identity as Palestinians. Since a separate State of Palestine would be an extra weapon in Arab hands to fight Zionism with. Yes, we do call for the creation of a Palestinian state for tactical reasons. Such a state would be a new means of continuing the battle against Zionism, and for Arab unity.’

– former head of the PLO bureau of military operations, Zuhair Mohsen in 1977

Just as today it is Hamas that rejects a ceasefire and Iran who repeats out loud that its mission is death to Israel.

For crying out loud, they are telling us what they want openly! Do we not believe them because they’re brown &/ or oppressed?

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 month ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Well put.

Dr E C
Dr E C
1 month ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

[Replica comment deleted]

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

lol. He didn’t even say genocide. Mass killings of children are clearly happening. The pro Zionist fetish of online British conservatives is extraordinary. Israel is a separate Middle Eastern country, ally to no country, loyal to its own interests and none other.

Luckily this isn’t reflected on the street, even the conservative street.

Dr E C
Dr E C
1 month ago

Doesn’t it bother you that the killing of Palestinian children IS the war aim of Hamas? That they bank on the faux outrage of the west to force Israel into always conceding, never winning an outright victory, which means it’s only a matter of time before the next atrocity followed by the next round of deaths of Palestinian children… ? From the horse’s mouth https://x.com/MosabHasanYOSEF/status/1800524803071221850

Norfolk Sceptic
Norfolk Sceptic
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I thought all schools aspired to excellence: apparently not so in Scottish state schools.

P Branagan
P Branagan
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

It’s absolutely extraordinary- but we have to be realistic – many UnHerd readers despise the truth. Their principle capacities are blind hatred and sickening hypocrisy.

Frankly they have the moral standing of a cancer cell.

David Morley
David Morley
1 month ago
Reply to  P Branagan

With some notable exceptions I’m afraid it’s true, and getting worse. Sometimes it’s like an “eat as much bile as you can” buffet.

David L
David L
1 month ago
Reply to  P Branagan

Projection: the act of imagining that someone else feels a particular emotion or wants something when in fact it is you who feels this way.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

“Mass child-killing in the middle east.” My first thought was the Nova festival.

jane baker
jane baker
1 month ago

It would not surprise me at all if the Tories get back in,how smug they will be. I think it’s highly possible. I expect Rishi does too. I expect the anti-Tory vote will get so thinly spread among the various contenders that even though the Tories in reality got less votes,they still win! But I still prefer that to the USA way of having to choose between dumb or dumber. In fact the non-voters will be significant tranche. I might be one of them as in this constituency we’ve only got the choice of Labour,Tory,Lib-Dem or Social Democrat whatever that is. No Green,no Reform,no Monster Raving Looney,no choice. And as this seat has been Red forever that one doesn’t need my one vote so I might not bother and that is adding to the problem too isn’t it.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 month ago
Reply to  jane baker

Take A look at the SDP manifesto. You may be surprised at how sensible it is.

Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Seconded. SDP are the answer to the question most Britons have been asking.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago

I don’t know how you can look at the gong show in the EU and still think Brexit was a bad idea.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Ask the Chamber of Commerce.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

But what if it means you can only spend ninety days in your villa just outside Nice? Then it’s obviously a terrible idea. After all, if you don’t use public services it really doesn’t matter if they disintegrate.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I don’t know how you can look at the economic results of Brexit and think it was a good one.

Buck Rodgers
Buck Rodgers
1 month ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Shutting down the economy & printing hundreds of billions of pounds didn’t help either.

Norfolk Sceptic
Norfolk Sceptic
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Fining Hungary for wanting to protect its identity is a sign that all is not well in that European Community, sorry, European Union, aka European Empire.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago

They joined the club and specific requirements regarding upholding the rule of law part of that. They don’t want to follow the rules they can leave. But they won’t will they because they know the benefits greater than the compromises.

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago

You had me up to “properly taxing billionaires”. That sort of thing makes good copy, but it doesn’t end up raising much tax for a variety of reasons.

Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin M

Similar ‘brain drain’ to the 60s onward.

Stuart Maister
Stuart Maister
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Phillips

Plus of course the millionaire author thinks we need to incentivise millionaires. But others are selfish.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin M

Close the loopholes perhaps?
Plenty of reasons why the V Rich want to stay in the UK. Stability, the language, schooling etc, and besides a good number agree that ridiculous they pay lower rate of tax than the average person. They’ll be no exodus.

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

You are aware that the PM’s wife is a Non Dom, aren’t you?

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

The exodus already started. You sound like Ralph Miliband, who explained that docters and teachers would keep working no matter how high their taxes and how low tbeir pay. because, well they were decent , committed people.

RA Znayder
RA Znayder
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin M

It’s not that simple. A good fiscal policy is necessary to keep an economy healthy. A big problem today is that we have bubbles in the asset economy everywhere that incentives passive behavior like rent seeking and speculation. It sucks the productivity out of our economy and causes the stagnation we see everywhere. A good example is the housing market bubble in much of the West, which looks good on paper (if you own real estate) but does nothing productive and, in fact, pushes a generation into poverty and homelessness.
So why does this happen? Contrary to what many people think governments (with central banks) do not really tax to spend but spend so they can tax. And this has gone totally out of hand after 2008 and 2020. Those owning capital got a huge amount of free liquidity and, for the most part, do little productive with it. That is why it is not only reasonable to tax ultra-wealth it is also essential. In fact, by all means lower the taxes on the middle class and the moderately wealthy (i.e. millionaires).

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  RA Znayder

You can spin that all you like, but the ultra-rich are mobile, and don’t hang around to get taxed. I am a tax lawyer (albeit in Australia), and I spend a bit of time advising high income earners how not to get taxed here (Singapore is a good place to reside). I am not actually in the “billionaire” end of the market, but the principles are the same. There are “deals to be done” everywhere (example 1 – Sunak’s wife’s Non Dom status).

RA Znayder
RA Znayder
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin M

You make it sounds as if we’re dealing with laws of nature. This is not true obviously. In fact, we had a period where capital wasn’t as mobile and there weren’t so many crony options to enrich yourself. On that note, I don’t care much about billionaires per se. The point is that many of them are technically swimming in public money which they didn’t earn, and worse, creates asset huge inflation undermining the entire system.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
1 month ago

Terrible writing- a grievous waste of 90 seconds of my life

Dr E C
Dr E C
1 month ago

The Nazi label does indeed get tossed about too lightly. But if you support the PLO – whose founding member was a paid up Nazi – or Hamas or Muslim Brotherhood or simply parrot the idea that Israel is currently on a child killing spree and must be stopped or preferably disappeared off the map altogether, then I can’t think of a more accurate historical term to describe you.
Link showing photos of Al Husseini visiting concentration camps BEFORE Israel’s creation: https://youtu.be/LP_6XBSBtiU?si=doL6XZRT2OpfSElh

j watson
j watson
1 month ago

Alot of naivety in this from Welsh. As well unfortunately as a rose tinted view still of Corbyn.
Of course he wants a world much like that I and many others want. He just thinks navigating the ship to that harbour easier than it is.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

What did he get wrong about Corbyn?

David Gardner
David Gardner
1 month ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

That he was a mild-mannered, naiive grandpa and not a terrorism-infatuated snake.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 month ago
Reply to  David Gardner

That made me smile. And tell me, having voted against him – of which achievement by this current Conservative government are you most proud?

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 month ago

“compassionate leadership”?
Give me a break. Outsourcing compassion to the government is part of how we got in such a mess.

Gabriel Ewing
Gabriel Ewing
1 month ago

I have to go take a shower after reading this. So much trash I feel unclean. I am surprised there wasn’t some gratuitous mention of Trump or the ‘marching of the right wing.’

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 month ago

The millionth Unherd article wailing incoherently about the impotence of our political parties without comprehending the stark truth of the EU/Blair Revolution of the nineties which totally neutered them, Parliament and the Nation State. They wail like exiled White Russians in 1923 – not grasping that the old order has long gone. We are trapped in a failed dysfunctional new model of governance which licences top down diktat by a now vast unelected and failing ruling legal & bureucratic Quangocracy (Supreme & European Courts/Idiot Bank of England/Water and Energy Regulators/an independent broken NHS/barking mad devolved Celts) who have trashed both the Executive and Parliament as part of the EU Empire mission to make Brussels supreme. The Tories bowed the knee to the hostile Progressive Blob, hence their High Taxation, war on enterprise, lockdown diktat and worship of death cult NHS. Starmer will extend this toxic coercive anti democratic regime further – adding more mad Quangos like GB Energy, using mass migration to create a new multiculturalism stoked with more poisonous equality and race legislation, ensuring a total collapse within 5 to 10 years. France is 5 years ahead. The problem is not the weedy ineffectual political parties. It is systemic. It is the EU legacy Progressive State.

Micael Gustavsson
Micael Gustavsson
1 month ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

You sound somewhat unhinged.

Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
1 month ago

While I wouldn’t agree with everything in this article, I’m reading it just after listening to Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth waffling about how they’re going to create all these jobs through ‘growth’. We’re sadly used to waffle but this was waffle on steroids. He talked about opportunities for building EVs & EV batteries.

Meanwhile, the rest of the western world is trying to figure out how to stop the Chinese flooding the market with cheap EVs.

The reality is, the UK chose to impose sanctions on itself with the form of Brexit chosen.
Both main parties don’t even want to talk about that.
The reality is unless a way is found to smooth the flow of trade with the EU, the much talked about growth is fantasy.

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  Hugh Marcus

Ah, yes. There are going to be heaps of “Green Jobs”….

Richard Calhoun
Richard Calhoun
1 month ago

Disrupt LibLabConGrn
Disrupt GE2014
Vote Reform

Saul D
Saul D
1 month ago

Lots of ‘something must be done’ but without any real sense of ‘what’. Taxing billionaires is just slogan waving. The reality, as shown in France and other places, is you lose money because the money leaves. If you want to play it at a sophisticated level then what you’re looking for is the optimum level of tax – that pays for what people want, while also growing the economic pot.
And nothing really gets to the deep problems. We’re spending too much, borrowing too much, with an economy that is not growing enough, with poor productivity, housing shortages and rentier incomes instead of incomes from innovation and improvement. We can’t build new railways, or nuclear power because we are swamped in self-inflicted over regulation and hamstrung by NGOs and report-writing consultants. The NHS is inefficient and overstretched and our children are forced to build up debts for degrees they don’t need. We’ve forgotten how to do things, with too many people writing instead of making.
What we need are a million small improvements, that don’t cost (or better still ‘save’) money. Perhaps we need a chain-saw to things too. If we can’t afford it, we can’t keep funding it. If one million people have to fill in a pointless form, that’s 100,000 days of wasted time.
The lack of vision, and fear of making suggestions, keeps leading to ‘more of the same’ so there is very little to choose between the thin gruels on offer

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 month ago

Welsh is a pure old fashioned socialist. You can understand the anger, but not the abysmal failure to recognise the utter failure of socialism as a political and economic system everywhere and time it has been attempted. You can be both poor – AND have no meaningful freedom either – certainly not to write books like “Trainspotting”!

According to Sky news, the UK has about 165 billionaires.

https://news.sky.com/story/sunday-times-rich-list-rishi-sunak-leapfrogs-king-charles-in-latest-rankings-13137037#:~:text=However%2C%20The%20Sunday%20Times%20claimed,2022%20to%20165%20this%20year.

It is simply not a serious proposition to claim that taxing them more will solve our many problems, including on the economic front, improving the UK’s disastrous productivity record. You might note the high taxes on income and consumption in Scandinavian countries. The UK is already living well beyond our means – and 5 million people of working age sitting at home on benefits because they are “mentally ill” is simply not sustainable. Life isn’t all about “being fair, kind of nice” to society’s (relatively, iPhone using) losers, as the Chinese certainly knows, as indeed so the Indians.

RA Znayder
RA Znayder
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

The postwar consensus fundamentally utilized a lot of socialist principles – or a capitalist-socialist synthesis as it was called. Most notably it included very progressive taxation. I’m not saying this system was perfect but the postwar era was superior to the neoliberal period according to pretty much every economic metric.
Fundamentally people misunderstand taxation as something the governments really needs to pay for something. That is not actually how it works in a FIAT-system. Governments simply create money. If not directly through deficits (also very misunderstood) then covertly using monetary manipulation like quantitative easing. Taxation should be used to keep an economy healthy, productive, e.g. prevent passive capital accumulation. We are doing the opposite, passive capital accumulation is facilitated (producing extreme asset inflation) and productivity is taxed.

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
1 month ago
Reply to  RA Znayder

Ambitious or high earners emigrated. The various beloved incomers on low incomes replaced them. What economic metrics? Rental sectors destroyed, tax rates up to 98%, nationalising all the failed industries as well as potentially successful onea( ports, airports, aircraft,steel, cars) , this after the stunning success of nationalisation in the 1940s, health, railways, coal.. Britain was a basket case.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 month ago
Reply to  Anna Bramwell

You deny that the UK made an incredible recovery after WWII? Wages were rising, public services improving, social housing enjoyed by a wide cross-section of society. You think Harold Macmillan said ‘you’ve never had it so good’ for no reason?
‘the stunning success of nationalisation’
Assuming you mean this sarcastically, please, tell me about the successes of privatisation. Rail? Mail? Gas? Water? Health? I’d honestly be heartened to hear of one way this loss of public control over essential services has helped the public.

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

We are right now losing 8 billion £ in revenue thru our non dom policy. Please Unherd, let’s have intelligent socialistic thinking . This guy is a disgrace to all the causes he seems to uphold

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  Anna Bramwell

“Intelligent socialistic thinking” is a contradiction in terms.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Yes the state is in many ways ballooning, but not in ways that can be called socialist, as some critics on the right like to say. The excess spending takes the form £16bn a year going on rent subsidies to line the pockets of landlords (compare that with the £317m spent on jobseekers allowance annually), to incompetent management consultants (see the £29bn on dysfunctional test and trace (Germany spent 46m euros on theirs)) and in grants to big business). This is state expansion done in the service of those who derive their money from wealth, not work. In a word – neoliberalism.
You can also complain about joblessness but where are the schemes to help get back into skilled, meaningful work? (not ferreting food around on zero hours contracts or working in warehouses with an electric bracelet tracking your every movement). Thatcher gave up on this country as an industrial nation and we’re still paying the consequences.
In a country with more than 4 million children in poverty and many families in working poverty, the asset class should not complain about pinches to their expendable income.
As you say, ‘you might note the high taxes on income and consumption in Scandinavian countries.’ Indeed. But in your case, you might note and learn.

David Morley
David Morley
1 month ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Thank you for some good and challenging posts. Well argued and evidenced.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 month ago
Reply to  David Morley

Thanks DM – always appreciate your thoughts as well.

Robert B Macdiarmid
Robert B Macdiarmid
1 month ago

We will give you Freeland.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 month ago

For the last hundred years or so (since the election of Ramsay McDonald, Labour) general elections have gradually taken on the nature of bread and circuses – who could promise the most benefit to their supporters in the most theatrical manner.
Almost all parties currently acknowledge that there is little money to be found, so we are left with theatrical posing to decide between them. Unfortunately there are so many acts which have become forbidden (wild animals, tamed animals, dangerous displays of skill) that all we are left with is clowns.

Clowns to the left of me

Jokers to the right

Here I am

Stuck in the middle with you

And there is a thirst to become unstuck…

Norfolk Sceptic
Norfolk Sceptic
1 month ago
Reply to  AC Harper

To many know Britain has lost its empire, but forget that it has consequences such as not having a guaranteed market for its goods. It means aspiring to do better, and others to do the same, even in schools.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 month ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Hence the meaningless culture war issues.

Point of Information
Point of Information
1 month ago

“a healthy society needs absolutely no billionaires. It needs many more millionaires and multi-millionaires”.

Depends on the value of the currency. If a loaf of bread costs [insert your currency here]1000, then your society needs quite a few billionaires to stay healthy.

The gap between the richest and poorest 1% is a better metric.

RA Znayder
RA Znayder
1 month ago

The underlying problem here is that nothing seems to really change anything. In the EU, out of the EU, centre-left or right government.. In the end you’re up against a global crony system of big capital interests who have secured their power in treaties, lobby networks and supra-national organisations. The power of DC, London, Brussels, Wall Street and The City are deeply interconnected. It’s an oligarchy fundamentally.
This world was, of course, created in the late 70s. The economic foundation was around for longer but considered utterly extremist and old fashioned before it became mainstream. It goes to show that there is something to the idea that the centre was radicalized. Friedman himself said that in a time of crisis people will look at the ideas laying around. In 2008 nobody really had anything so the problems only became worse.
So if one wants to change things, it’s probably a good idea to have an alternative plan on how the world should function beyond simplistic populist narratives as a start. Moreover voting in one small or mid-sized country will not do much either. In that sense it’s too bad it is so hard to reshape the EU. However, instead of top-down, bottom-up solutions are historically speaking also very powerful. Can there be some 21st century version of a union, perhaps online? Mass organization and solidarity have been proven concepts.

Norfolk Sceptic
Norfolk Sceptic
1 month ago
Reply to  RA Znayder

Cameron was the heir to Blair, and May was the continuation of the Remainer agenda. So why would anything change?

Truss had some good policy changes, like fraccing, but, with assuming that the fiscal rules hadn’t changed, poor policy implementation, and being ambushed by the BoE and Globalists, it was not to be. What is important here isn’t that Truss might have been successful, it is that she was a threat to the status quo. So, we have who what They always wanted, Rishi, but still we don’t know what was supposed to have happened since that crowning.

0 0
0 0
1 month ago

Very disappointing that an intelligent man does not have a more open mind.

O'Driscoll
O'Driscoll
1 month ago

By “mass child-killing in the middle east”, I assume he is referring to the slaughter, (together with rape and kidnapping) of innocent teenagers by Palestinians at the Nova Festival on October 7th? Or the children murdered by Palesinians at the Israeli Kibbutzim to the north of Gaza on the same day?

Klive Roland
Klive Roland
1 month ago
Reply to  O'Driscoll

Maybe. But don’t forget the 14 500 children slaughtered by the IDF since the beginning of the conflict.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
1 month ago
Reply to  Klive Roland

Yes, or the 199 Palestinians killed in the West Bank in 2003 by the IDF before the 7th of October.

Addie Shog
Addie Shog
17 days ago
Reply to  Klive Roland

Unverified numbers, of course.
If you send 3000 terrorists to kill mostly unarmed civilians and make no preparations to defend your own people then you can’t really bleat about the consequences.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
1 month ago

People who look to politics for inspiration and solutions to the human condition have always been and will always be disappointed.

andy young
andy young
1 month ago

Some points I can agree on, some are just plain stupid. And the peremptory dismissal of Farage is one of the more stupid; he is an animal of a completely different stripe to Sunak or Starmer.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 month ago

From the headline I thought this would be an intelligent thoughtful ponder on how how political society goes forward

But it’s Irvine Welsh drivelling and dribbling. I hope he was not paid for this loony tunes.

0 0
0 0
1 month ago

It’s disappointing that an intelligent man should not have a more open mind. How sad for a writer not to be able to look at the world from different perspectives and not to try to walk in other shoes now and then. Broader horizons, please Mr Welsh!

Charles Jenkin
Charles Jenkin
1 month ago

No new ideas from Mr Walsh either then.

kate Dunlop
kate Dunlop
1 month ago

I’ve never managed to finish reading any of Mr Welsh’s works- now I remember why.

El Uro
El Uro
1 month ago

The biggest problem with UnHerd is that they regularly publish articles written by progressives, including dinosaur commies like this one, but I don’t see any articles written by conservatives or, as they are now commonly called, the Far Right. I worry that the editors are more afraid of losing their sweet university friends who show up at BLM, Just Stop Oil, Free Palestine demonstrations than they are of losing us, the readers.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
1 month ago

Yes, the mainstream has been radicalized.
That’s just about the only insightful part of this essay. Over issues such as immigration, the centre-ground has begun to take extreme views and insist on them, at the level of an unprecedented social experiment.
And this is where someone like Farage gets his ‘anti-establishment’ cachet from (something not understood in the essay).
The rest is schoolboy-level Goodies v Baddies leftist-fashionista wittering – not serious analysis.

Stephanie Munden
Stephanie Munden
1 month ago

‘Mass child-Killing in the middle east.’ Blame it on the jews why don’t you. Nasty piece of work. Everything down to Brexit?? Deluded.

Michael Spedding
Michael Spedding
1 month ago

You should all read ‘politics on the edge’ by Rory Stewart which shows why nothing works. Then we can have a debate!

Ernesto Candelabra
Ernesto Candelabra
1 month ago

How they will quake! The great Irvine Welsh withholds his vote…

Steve King
Steve King
1 month ago

Oops, Brexit…..and mentioned before Covid. Show me the stats. There are plenty of stats for how our myopic handling of covid damaged the country. Brexit….It’s much more difficult to be so certain, no? Yet, you are so certain. This is where I disconnected but managed to stumble on a few more paragraphs only to be further disappointed. A rambling nonsense.

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
1 month ago

Starmer is planning some major rearranging. No HofL, loads of regional counciis, etc. More devolution ( paid for by England, if anyone is left in it). I didnt see the point of this pub rant,substituting spleen for brains.

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
1 month ago

I love the way Irvine is against billionaires, but millionaires get his support. I wonder how many millions he is worth? Then we’ll know the cut off point as to how much money is too much for anybody

Martin M
Martin M
1 month ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

I think he might employ a “the rich are people with more money than me” policy.

Andy Redman
Andy Redman
1 month ago

The knly valid answer is direct democracy – the liblabcon need controlling by the wishes of the people, not a five yearly beauty contest followed by uncontrolled policy

General Store
General Store
1 month ago

Tedious piece of virtue signalling. Get back into your champagne bath and exchange love tweets with that odious wife or George Clooney why don’t you

Graeme Laws
Graeme Laws
1 month ago

Ranting, splenetic, fact lite, fourth form drivel.

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
1 month ago

“mass child-killing in the Middle East”. Does he mean the burning of babies in ovens by Hamas?

Nick Toeman
Nick Toeman
1 month ago

“... they [the Tories] are either the rich beneficiaries of the system, or their suck-arse sycophants.”
What an utterly stupid comment. There may be some rich beneficiaries and sycophants who vote Tory but they don’t determine election results, however clever or subversive they might try to be. There are too many ‘working-class Tories’ who, if old enough, remember that Labour generally leave government with greater national debt. Not this time perhaps but there were some special circumstances leading to this and Labour would have doubled down on most of them if they had had the chance: lockdowns, fuel subsidies, HS2 (?), … Ah, Brexit: scarcely a ripple in comparison and Labour might have tried to reverse the people’s vote, or nullify it even more than the divided Conservatives have.
These lower-class, grown-up Conservative voters might also notice that unions underpinning the Labour Party do not strive for the common good but for their sectional interests: train strikes during public holidays, doctors strikes during elections, militantly unproductive public services, for example.
The common people who support Labour have their own reasons and beliefs. Nothing is as straightforward as the writer thinks.

Victoria Cooper
Victoria Cooper
1 month ago

If you want to unleash your chippy bile and irrational emotionality I suggest you hire an analyst.

Mark epperson
Mark epperson
1 month ago

How do you really feel? Unfortunately, the author is right on, and not just in the UK, this corrupt clown system is prevalent in every so-called democracy. They have all been bought and until the people break this cycle, we will circle the drain at an ever faster speed. At least the U.S. is offering a chance to start revamping the system. The Federal Government and most Blue states are not just a swamp but have become a sewer. The only way to rid the rats is flush the sewer. We will see.

2 plus 2 equals 4
2 plus 2 equals 4
1 month ago

If we wanted something to change, we could start with properly taxing billionaires. After all, a healthy society needs absolutely no billionaires.

You read this sort of comment a lot over at The Guardian but no-one has ever successfully explained to me how you go about it.
Just working out how much money billionaires have so you can tax it is a challenge which would defeat state tax authorities. Jeff Bezos has $200bn according to reports, but who really knows. Its not like we’ve all seen his Amazon payslip. And even if its true, that doesn’t solve the problem of finding it if its off-shore or held in tax-efficient ways. Nor does it stop them getting in their yachts and sailing off to the Cayman Islands if they so choose.

2 plus 2 equals 4
2 plus 2 equals 4
1 month ago

The even-handed, mild-mannered, allotment-tending community activist of 40 years [Corbyn] was ludicrously branded a Nazi.

If Corbyn was so “even-handed” then how come we never saw him chatting chummily to Zionists in the Middle East or Unionists in Northern Ireland?

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
1 month ago

I think we have had enough of lefty Jocks for now, thanks. Why do people like him think he has anything worth saying?

Malcolm Knott
Malcolm Knott
1 month ago

Unfortunately, voting for the party you least detest has been the system since the days of Robert Walpole.

Kevin Ludbrook
Kevin Ludbrook
1 month ago

Whilst there is some biased and maybe not well founded opinion written here if the gist is we want something different to the two (and a bit and maybe a half) main parties then it’s bang on. And it’s interesting that people of all political persuasions seem to feel the same. But it’s our fault and by our I mean the wider electorate. If we pressure MPs to say the right thing with sound bites and posts as we do they have to respond with a more acceptable story to get voted in – or so it seems. So many things seem to be leaked to test the water and the minister for transport comments on defence and such like, just so there is some deniability available. We’d like to see a leader and a cabinet with some sensible if not radical ideas, some charisma and someone you’d like to follow whatever your ideals. A team that could stand by their beliefs. But would you do that job? I certainly wouldn’t. And whilst I’m here I’d like subject matter experts being given roles in government. I’m sure PPE and International relations are fine subjects but they don’t cut it if you’re deciding what type of reactors to build etc etc.

David L
David L
1 month ago

“we could start with properly taxing billionaires”

A policy commonly advocated by lefty millionaires. Maybe we should properly tax them instead?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago

Warning warning Brexit derangement and Jew hater

Mark Duffett
Mark Duffett
1 month ago

One of the greatest failures of UK politics in the last 15 years has been its failure to adopt preferential voting, which would have rendered it impossible to have any such thing as a wasted vote.

Rohit Gupta
Rohit Gupta
1 month ago

“as they struggle through the cost-of-living crisis, made interminably worse by Brexit and lockdown, while idealistic youth watch their elected government and opposition support mass child-killing in the Middle East.”
Sigh – I expected better than the usual trope of having a dig at brexit. Default implying its all beautiful flowers and aromas in the EU. Seriously, is there no inflation , cost of living crisis in the EU ? Lockdown, driven by the media who bayed for it around the times. I remember reading from “medja experts” calling for a lockdown and forcing the hand .. As for “mass child killing” – Just almost gave up reading at that point. Sure, our varied parties are ALL insipid. Just have to hope and find the least insipid. At least with reform or Farage , there is more colour in politics than the insipidness of the main parties. Overall, certainly all are politicians and career politicians, are worms.

Jane Awdry
Jane Awdry
1 month ago

If only there were a party could confirm that they know what a woman is and could guarantee the abolition of the utterly absurd GRA I’d vote for them on that issue alone..

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago

Why can’t we swear on here? Surely this berk deserves nothing more than swear words?

Peter Drummond
Peter Drummond
29 days ago

Candidly, Irvine Welsh looks a bit old for a sixth form debating society from a bog-standard comprehensive but, sure as eggs are eggs, that’s where his puerile hypotheses and arguments belong.

Addie Shog
Addie Shog
17 days ago

I would like to thank the writer of this clear and lucid article for demonstrating so clearly why we should never let him or his ilk anywhere near the seat of power.