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The Reform Party and the UK’s lurch towards fascism

I posted an earlier version of this a while back - inspired to do update following THAT discussion about all things ULEZ. 

The “manifesto”, in terms of transport, only mentions stopping HS2, but there’s plenty on the usual right-wing obsessions: Brexit, immigration, veterans and climate change.  I had another look because I worry about the ongoing decline of the two main political parties. 

If the Cons stay wedded to Brexit, then we will go into the next GE with all the widespread impoverishment Brexit has ushered in - not helped by Covid, Putin, etc. People generally vote according to their pockets.  I don’t get Labour’s current position on Europe either, but let’s see how that evolves, and even the Cons may also evolve, or even pivot, but time is already running out for them.

Several roads now lead to the horrors of a further lurch to the right in this country.  Let’s hope Labour get the GE landslide the polls are predicting - but we’re still at least a year out from the real campaigning beginning. 

A cycling angle? With the Reform Party and its ilk, Facebook Steve and Nextdoor Dave attain real political influence. It’s not spelt out in the manifesto, but you can see where this is probably heading and what it is likely to mean for cycling.  You can bet that this lot are very much "on the side of hard working drivers" etc. 

As you all know, Dave’s going to “sort the traffic” and no doubt show them lazy planners how it’s done: Steve thinks the Council are corrupt, the police blinkered and is, if he can fit it in to his busy schedule he’s going to “teach them Lycra’s a thing or two.” It won’t concern him that his Mondeo is 3 months out of MoT or that Mrs Steve sometimes drives the kids in it uninsured. 

As vulnerable road users, vulnerable people, we rely a great deal on the rule of law for protection. The rule of law means that we understand what the laws are, they are in general fair, and how they are applied and to whom is even-handed and consistent. 

The fascist position is broadly the opposite - it’s all off-the-cuff to support today’s particular agenda - that’s why the Iain Duncan-Smith “happy to see ULEZ infra vandalised” comment is, as an example, so very worrying.  In the Conservatives, here is a party happy to send signals to enable the mob to attack RNLI stations, beat up immigrants, shout at teachers, doctors etc. 

This right-wing stuff works by allowing/enabling significant privileged groups to to think of themselves as the downtrodden underdog and here is a way to fight back.  The pro Brexit campaign played on people’s ignorance, fears and prejudices exactly as this does. 

It’s all about freedom, innit, less regulation, less tax burden, and damn the climate.  There’s more polar bears now, so it’s fine.  Let’s have open-cast coal mining, lithium mining and fracking. The section on climate change stumbles around like a Friday night drunk, trying to explain he wasn't being racist to the barman - a denier position emerges, unsurprisingly.

In places, the mask really slips: “We must keep divisive woke ideologies such as Critical Race Theory (CRT) and gender ideology out of the classroom.” - to be honest, I don’t even know what those two are.

The standard enemies are put up - the civil service, the BBC.  Amid all the thrust and parry, there’s nothing  about making a better, more inclusive and cohesive world to live in; arts, sports and culture don’t feature in this barstool view of the world: a dullard’s grim vision.

Don’t be a member of the wrong sort of minority would be my advice, should any of this come to pass. 
 

https://www.reformparty.uk/reformisessential

If you're new please join in and if you have questions pop them below and the forum regulars will answer as best we can.

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364 comments

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chrisonabike replied to Rich_cb | 2 weeks ago
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Rich_cb wrote:

The problem arises when policies are enacted that weren't even mentioned in the manifestos.

I understand that, but because "events" (or just the shifts of perceived public opinion) that happens all the time. "Stop the boats" would be one, from nothing to a major policy focus (and perhaps would have already been a done deal without the upper chamber saying "what you've got here is legally wild"). Wars and military operations another.

Rich_cb wrote:

Labour's manifesto was notoriously light on detail this time round so nobody really knows what Starmer has in store. ...

Some truth there, although one could argue that the more parties have set specific numbers for things in the past the more fudge they've have to deploy later to justify they'd somehow "succeeded" (migration numbers are a good way to do that...)

I note they didn't bring back Blair's pledge card!

There are some specific commitments; however it's far too light on the transport side for me.

At some point some government will have to deal with the NHS model hot potato but not yet! Addressing how that ties in with social care is a first step but this is like an even bigger version of the "cars" issue. It's a "problem of success" and it's very hard to see people essentially voting for less, or to pay more...

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mark1a replied to chrisonabike | 2 weeks ago
1 like

chrisonabike wrote:

I note they didn't bring back Blair's pledge card!

They kinda did... different pledges (they called them commitments), and there were six not five (one louder).

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/article/2024/may/16/labour-six-pled...

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chrisonabike replied to mark1a | 2 weeks ago
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mark1a wrote:

chrisonabike wrote:

I note they didn't bring back Blair's pledge card!

They kinda did... different pledges (they called them commitments), and there were six not five (one louder).

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/article/2024/may/16/labour-six-pled...

Nobody sent me one!

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chrisonabike replied to chrisonabike | 2 weeks ago
5 likes

Hmm... perhaps the Evil Cycling Lobby should have issued its own:

I pledge to:
- be "all over the road" including "in the middle of the road"
- appear out of nowhere
- be garishly clad in hi-vis and lycra, while being invisible
- go far too fast
- slow everybody down
- demand "space for cycling" in an entitled manner while simultaneously using the roads - which are for motor traffic
- abolish road tax for cyclists

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hawkinspeter replied to chrisonabike | 2 weeks ago
4 likes

chrisonabike wrote:

Hmm... perhaps the Evil Cycling Lobby should have issued its own: I pledge to: - be "all over the road" including "in the middle of the road" - appear out of nowhere - be garishly clad in hi-vis and lycra, while being invisible - go far too fast - slow everybody down - demand "space for cycling" in an entitled manner while simultaneously using the roads - which are for motor traffic - abolish road tax for cyclists

I think we should get all drivers to curtsey whenever a cyclist goes past them.

Also, cake should feature somewhere

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Hirsute replied to Rich_cb | 2 weeks ago
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Just like thatcher then.

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don simon fbpe replied to Rich_cb | 2 weeks ago
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Funny how right whingers now want electoral reform.

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hawkinspeter replied to don simon fbpe | 2 weeks ago
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don simon fbpe wrote:

Funny how right whingers now want electoral reform.

In his defence, he has mentioned it before

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Rich_cb replied to don simon fbpe | 2 weeks ago
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I've always wanted electoral reform.

Voted for AV in the referendum.

I'm guessing you're happy with a super majority being delivered by 1/3rd of the votes?

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don simon fbpe replied to Rich_cb | 2 weeks ago
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Keep guessing. I am happy that Cymru is a tory free zone, just need to get rid of the unionists now. Then we can act like a normal country. 

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Rich_cb replied to don simon fbpe | 2 weeks ago
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Wait for the Welsh Government elections.

The same vote share there would deliver very different results.

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don simon fbpe replied to Rich_cb | 2 weeks ago
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Indeed.

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Hirsute replied to Rich_cb | 2 weeks ago
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No such thing as a super majority in UK parliament.
Thatcher got 144 seat majority in 83 with 42.4 % with a turn out of 72.7 %.
Once you get a certain number of seats you can pretty much push through anything.

I'm more concerned about the turnout this week - only 60%. No one can claim a mandate on that level. It would be interesting to see some demographics in the voting.

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Rich_cb replied to Hirsute | 2 weeks ago
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It's a turn of phrase in the UK not a technical definition as it is elsewhere.

Thatcher's majority, whilst still unrepresentative compared to PR, was a lot closer to being representative than the recent result. BBC have said it's the widest margin in seats-votes in over a century.

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Hirsute replied to Rich_cb | 1 week ago
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A turn of phrase deliberately chosen in the campaign to mislead.
As before once you get to a certain number of seats you can push your agenda through.

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Rich_cb replied to Hirsute | 1 week ago
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The bigger the majority, the easier it is for the leadership to get their agenda through.

I can't think of a single post war government which didn't struggle to govern with a small majority.

Super majority isn't a technical term in UK politics and therefore is very unlikely to be misleading as the vast majority (super?) of the British public will be unaware of any potential technical implication.

A three figure majority is, on paper, no more potent than a single figure majority.

In reality they are very different beasts.

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chrisonabike replied to Rich_cb | 1 week ago
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Rich_cb wrote:

Super majority isn't a technical term in UK politics and therefore is very unlikely to be misleading as the vast majority (super?) of the British public will be unaware of any potential technical implication.

That's right - the term "scarymajority" (cf "Labslide" / "Starmergeddon") was about to be coined when someone pointed out that could sound like it was just something made up to worry people, hence the use of the technical-sounding but meaningless term...

TBH apart from a couple of changes (privatise most of the railways rather than just the odd one when the operator fails, give up the "send (a tiny number of) 'em back where they came from - er, to Rwanda") they are claiming to do much of what was being done before. If you liked the last lot... (Don't know if you did care for the Westminster folk mind...)

In fact what was notable for me was just how similar most of the manifestos seemed - but perhaps not surprising as we're massively in debt, have a backlog of "issues" and recently seen mostly to have been reacting to events.

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David9694 replied to chrisonabike | 1 week ago
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Having a slim minority usually means party discipline has to be tight, but a large majority, while a good problem to have, is a lot of people to keep onside over time and keep from getting into/making mischief.

 

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chrisonabike replied to David9694 | 1 week ago
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David9694 wrote:

Having a slim minority usually means party discipline has to be tight, but a large majority, while a good problem to have, is a lot of people to keep onside over time and keep from getting into/making mischief.

Short - they won't have the same headaches as eg. those under Theresa May, but the whips won't be out of business...

(It certainly is possible to get stuff done without a "warning!Socialists!majority" *, see Scotland / lots of other places.  Would that translate directly to Westminster?  Perhaps; it's complicated?  Starmer clearly though it was not just the "right thing" but also to his party's advantage to back many of the last government's policies while in opposition, or at least not oppose them all.)

* Not particularly socialist, unless you're looking from eg. the States: then all the parties here probably appear so!

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exilegareth replied to mdavidford | 1 week ago
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mdavidford wrote:

If you want to make an argument about enthusiasm, focusing on vote share is probably missing the wood for the trees. Look at raw votes - the number of people voting for Labour was down on what it was at the last election, so at the least we can say that enthusiasm for them is less now than it was then.

(Same goes for the Lib Dems, btw)

Of course, by that reckoning there was less than half as much enthusiasm for Reform as there was for Labour, though.

There's no such thing as raw votes; all the numbers are a function of party activity. Labour chose to prioritize getting their vote out in target seats, not all seats. On polling day I was coming down the road from Prospect Hill (National Hill Climb course 2017 - cycling link) into a leafy suburb in a safe Tory seat. I encountered Labour GOTV doorknockers who've never previously been seen there for any election - mainly because they were a mix of party staff and activists bussed in from Newcastle, where Labour was confident of victory. There is no such thing as raw data, and activity by parties changes all the numbers.

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mdavidford replied to exilegareth | 1 week ago
3 likes

exilegareth wrote:

There's no such thing as raw votes

I'm pretty sure I remember making a mark on a piece of paper and dropping it in a box. My understanding is those bits of paper then get counted to decide who won.

exhilarated wrote:

all the numbers are a function of party activity. Labour chose to prioritize getting their vote out in target seats, not all seats. [...] activity by parties changes all the numbers.

Enthusiasm is a function of that activity; votes are an indication of that enthusiasm.

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ktache replied to exilegareth | 1 week ago
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The lib dems are very good at targeting, helped as Rich points out, with tactical voting. 

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Rendel Harris replied to Rich_cb | 2 weeks ago
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Mr Sunak rose considerably in my estimation yesterday with the dignified and gracious way he accepted his defeat and wished the new government well. A shame that attitude appears not to have trickled down to some of his supporters.

If you want to quibble about figures, maybe you should look at the differential in vote share between the leading two parties: from 2010 the advantage has been, consecutively, 7.1%, 6.3%, 2.3%, 11.5% and in this latest election it's 10.1%, so Labour second only by a whisker to Johnson's 2019 landslide on that metric. I'm sure you were complaining vociferously in 2017 when Mrs May was only 2.3% ahead on votes and yet 6.5% ahead in seats?

This, for better or worse, is how the system works and the Tories didn't seem to mind when it delivered them four elections on the bounce. What's that phrase we have been hearing ad nauseam from Brexiteers since 2016? Something about you lost, get over it?

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Rich_cb replied to Rendel Harris | 2 weeks ago
3 likes

I've long argued against FPTP.

I've said multiple times on this forum that I voted for AV in the previous referendum and that I continue to support a change to our voting system.

Had you forgotten?

This latest election is simply the most egregious example of the failures of FPTP. My position on FPTP has remained entirely consistent.

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Rendel Harris replied to Rich_cb | 2 weeks ago
3 likes

Rich_cb wrote:

I've long argued against FPTP. I've said multiple times on this forum that I voted for AV in the previous referendum and that I continue to support a change to our voting system. Had you forgotten? This latest election is simply the most egregious example of the failures of FPTP. My position on FPTP has remained entirely consistent.

I do remember that, as it happens, and it's one of the rare things on which we agree. However, whilst you have voiced your support for a change to the electoral system at various points I think I'm correct in saying, unless I've missed it, that in none of the previous three general elections won by the Tories did you come here directly after the results and complain what a travesty it was that they should be in government having such a much higher percentage of the available seats than they did of the popular vote. Obviously something different has happened this time that has inspired your disgruntlement, whatever could it be…

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Rich_cb replied to Rendel Harris | 2 weeks ago
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Given that, on this occasion, I was responding to another poster I'm not really sure your desperate little line of attack really works.

I have consistently been opposed to FPTP, that hasn't changed with previous Conservatives majorities.

The latest election result is a particularly bad example of how FPTP can lead to unrepresentative results, hopefully it will be the final straw for meaningful electoral reform.

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Rendel Harris replied to Rich_cb | 2 weeks ago
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Rich_cb wrote:

I have consistently been opposed to FPTP, that hasn't changed with previous Conservatives majorities.

I'll take your word for that, but the fact remains that you didn't whine that the majorities achieved by the Tories in 2015, 2017 or 2019 were unfair, indeed you rather celebrated and crowed about them, but all of a sudden Labour wins under the same rules and the system's sooo wrong. Enjoy the next five years chap x

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Rich_cb replied to Rendel Harris | 2 weeks ago
1 like

I have repeatedly said that FPTP is unfair during Conservative governments.

I voted to change FPTP during a Conservative led government.

I'm now stating that FPTP is unfair during a Labour government and you're accusing me of bias?

I don't really think you've got a point here Rendel, you're just having a go for the sake of it.

The most amusing thing is that the Labour government that's just been elected is probably closer to me politically than it is to you.

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Sriracha replied to Rich_cb | 2 weeks ago
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Rich_cb wrote:

I have repeatedly said that FPTP is unfair during Conservative governments.

Unfair to who, the smaller parties? The system does not owe any duty of fairness to the employment prospects of MPs nor to their parties. Once the ideas espoused by smaller parties gain currency they will be taken up by larger parties. If that means the ideas succeed whilst their original political proponents don't, so what?

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Rich_cb replied to Sriracha | 2 weeks ago
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Unfair to the supporters of smaller parties. How many Green votes did it take to elect each MP?

All votes should be equal in an ideal democracy.

FPTP makes a mockery of that aspiration.

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