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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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180 comments

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ErnieC | 3 days ago
0 likes

And the will of the majority will prevail, democracy in action whether you like the result or not. 

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Rendel Harris replied to ErnieC | 2 days ago
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ErnieC wrote:

And the will of the majority will prevail, democracy in action whether you like the result or not. 

The will of the majority virtually never prevails: the last time more than 50% of voters chose one party in the UK was 1935 (you could say that the LibCon coalition of 2010, with over 50% of the vote between them, was "the will of the people" but that would make the erroneous supposition that all LD voters were happy with the decision to enter coalition with the Tories). Under our ridiculous and outdated parliamentary system, the will of the largest minority will prevail and the majority of the votes cast will essentially count for nothing. Not really democracy in action.

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Steve K replied to Rendel Harris | 1 day ago
1 like

Rendel Harris wrote:

The will of the majority virtually never prevails: the last time more than 50% of voters chose one party in the UK was 1935 (you could say that the LibCon coalition of 2010, with over 50% of the vote between them, was "the will of the people" but that would make the erroneous supposition that all LD voters were happy with the decision to enter coalition with the Tories). Under our ridiculous and outdated parliamentary system, the will of the largest minority will prevail and the majority of the votes cast will essentially count for nothing. Not really democracy in action.

A slight inconsistency to say that the coalition government wasn't the will of the people because not all LD voters would have wanted it, and then call first past the post "ridiculous" given the alternatives would pretty much always mean coalition deals being done without a direct say for voters.

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Rendel Harris replied to Steve K | 1 day ago
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Steve K wrote:

A slight inconsistency to say that the coalition government wasn't the will of the people because not all LD voters would have wanted it, and then call first past the post "ridiculous" given the alternatives would pretty much always mean coalition deals being done without a direct say for voters.

Not really, because in systems where coalitions are commonplace - Germany, for instance – parties will say as part of their manifestoes and/or campaigning with whom they would be prepared to go into coalition and with whom they would definitely not countenance going into coalition, so voters have a good idea of what they're getting. I very much doubt there were many LibDem voters in 2010 who suspected they were voting for a party who would end up collaborating with the Conservatives, and I suspect a substantial number would not have given the LibDems their vote had Clegg indicated during the election campaign that he would be prepared to form a government with the Tories.

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the little onion replied to ErnieC | 2 days ago
3 likes

democracy is not dictatorship by majority. It's not limited to just a vote.

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peted76 | 3 days ago
3 likes

I don't have much to contribute to this rather indepth scare thread other than to remind people that our party political system is not fit for purpose and that whichever one of the parties you vote for we'll just have yet another bunch of career politicians trying to save their own arses when people start asking why they've not done what they said they would, or fixed this or that.. or getting called out for dodgy expense claims or giving large contracts to mates... I can see why people are going to vote reform.. of nothing else it's a 'new' name on the ballot card and people are just fed up to the back teeth with both the useless cons and the inept labs.. 

I did hear a voice on the radio the other day, some professor from some uni saying that there were ways to engage with the electorate more and ask them the questions that needed asking when making bigger decisions while within government (not waiting for a four year ballot to choose policies to vote for)..  this did seem like a refreshing change of narrative that in my years on this earth I hadn't heard communicated within the media before.. I wonder if that denotes a step change in how our useless leaders might actually engate politics in the future sometime.. ? 

It's a shame that, us the people, are corralled and cajoled into making decisions based on highly emotive subjects and we're simply not presented with a bunch of facts and figures and options, I mean why can't we vote on strategies and not  for parties. The idelogical standpoints of cons/labs/libs/greens are simply not there any more..  Why are we forced into voting for one party when we should be voting for the best and brightest strategies and ideas to move gov.uk forward. Why don't the government engage with us like adults instead of children? Why do we allow them to engage with us like this? (answer because for most of us, there isn't a lever to change it)

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john_smith replied to peted76 | 3 days ago
2 likes

Agreed. Starmer has been an absolutely terrible PM. He's obviously only in it for the money and has no interest whatsoever in serving the country. I'll certainly be voting Reform at the GE. At least they have real solutions to the problems we face.

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chrisonabike replied to john_smith | 3 days ago
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They have solutions which are beyond arithmetic!

I think along with wresting power from the unelected European Courts* and deposing the tyrant Starmer we should also throw Count Binface out of power.  We're paying too much for aliens in this country...

* Is this still right?  Cereals are still sold in grams in the supermarkets and I read there's still a Holland in this country - can't we cut ourselves lose?

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SimoninSpalding replied to john_smith | 1 day ago
1 like

Trying to work out if this is irony

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Bungle_52 replied to peted76 | 2 days ago
2 likes

peted76 wrote:

It's a shame that, us the people, are corralled and cajoled into making decisions based on highly emotive subjects and we're simply not presented with a bunch of facts and figures and options, I mean why can't we vote on strategies and not  for parties. The idelogical standpoints of cons/labs/libs/greens are simply not there any more..  Why are we forced into voting for one party when we should be voting for the best and brightest strategies and ideas to move gov.uk forward. Why don't the government engage with us like adults instead of children? Why do we allow them to engage with us like this? (answer because for most of us, there isn't a lever to change it)

Just to say that in theory we do not vote for parties, we vote for a single mp who is supposed to represent the views of the constituents in parliament. This means that the mp should canvas opinions before every vote to ascertain what the views of the constituents are. This never happens and is a huge problem with the current system. Instead the mp votes on the basis of their own views or, most of the time, the views of the lobbyists who grease their party's palms the most.

As for the rest of your comments, it seems to me the idea of voting on strategies rather than parties is a good one. I believe this is what happens to some extent  in Switzerland with referenda on important issues. Another possible solution is to accept the party system but change to PR to elect them.

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wycombewheeler replied to Bungle_52 | 2 days ago
1 like

Bungle_52 wrote:

This means that the mp should canvas opinions before every vote to ascertain what the views of the constituents are.

Yes, there were a lot of MPs denounced for voting against brexit, but much silence on those that voted for, against the wishes of their constituents.

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mdavidford replied to Bungle_52 | 2 days ago
2 likes

Bungle_52 wrote:

Just to say that in theory we do not vote for parties, we vote for a single mp who is supposed to represent the views of the constituents in parliament. This means that the mp should canvas opinions before every vote to ascertain what the views of the constituents are.

That's not quite how it's supposed to work. We're supposed to vote for the person who we think would make the best decisions on our behalf, which is a subtle but important difference. It doesn't entail that they should vote in accordance with the way a majority of constituents would, since the majority can make bad decisions, whether through a lack of information/understanding of the issue, or because, in some contexts and on some issues, we're all quite bad at making decisions.

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chrisonabike replied to mdavidford | 2 days ago
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Indeed. Their main role is to *represent* a given constituency in Westminster.

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Rich_cb replied to peted76 | 1 day ago
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Voting on strategies.

Sounds like a referendum to me.

Careful with those, occasionally people don't vote the way you want them to.

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ROOTminus1 replied to Rich_cb | 1 day ago
2 likes
Rich_cb wrote:

Voting on strategies.

Sounds like a referendum to me.

Careful with those, occasionally people don't vote the way you want them to.

I fully accept that some people will not vote the same as me, I just have unrealistic expectations that the subject of referenda should be at least vaguely defined BEFORE the vote.

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chrisonabike replied to ROOTminus1 | 1 day ago
2 likes

ROOTminus1 wrote:
Rich_cb wrote:

Voting on strategies. Sounds like a referendum to me. Careful with those, occasionally people don't vote the way you want them to.

I fully accept that some people will not vote the same as me, I just have unrealistic expectations that the subject of referenda should be at least vaguely defined BEFORE the vote.

We did ...  but like the answer to life, the universe and everything* we only realised** after we had the answer that perhaps - for the medium term at least - the details would be at least as important as the principle.

* 42

** Lots of people did - particularly those campaigning for "leave".  Only for some it turned out that "leave" didn't mean "leave as much as I wanted" and many thought that when they read "yes - you will be better off" that applied to everyone, not just e.g. those moving their domicile to Monaco and/or part of their business abroad.

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hawkinspeter | 3 days ago
3 likes

I keep finding these things, so I'll leave this one here too:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/articles/cw880334dgyo

Grant StClair-Armstrong wrote:

I could weep now, every time I pick up a British newspaper and read the latest about the state of the UK. No doubt, Enoch Powell would be doing the same if he was alive. My solution … vote BNP!

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David9694 replied to hawkinspeter | 3 days ago
4 likes

The good news on this is that most of their candidates are pretty dysfunctional individuals - not sure which came first : that or the weirdo opinions. 

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brooksby replied to David9694 | 3 days ago
1 like

We laugh at them now, but what happens if these people actually start winning elections and getting into Parliament?

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hawkinspeter replied to brooksby | 3 days ago
4 likes

brooksby wrote:

We laugh at them now, but what happens if these people actually start winning elections and getting into Parliament?

They'll first start by destroying democracy and ensuring that only older people will vote by introducing voter IDs on the premise that it'll prevent voter fraud (which isn't actually an issue).

Then they'll probably pick an out-group to blame everything on and will try to send them packing on planes to Rwanda or something.

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wycombewheeler replied to hawkinspeter | 2 days ago
3 likes

hawkinspeter wrote:

Then they'll probably pick an out-group to blame everything on and will try to send them packing on planes to Rwanda or something.

If we're all being sent to rwanda, I need to know are the roads any good, or do I need a gravel bike?

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mdavidford replied to wycombewheeler | 2 days ago
1 like

wycombewheeler wrote:

hawkinspeter wrote:

Then they'll probably pick an out-group to blame everything on and will try to send them packing on planes to Rwanda or something.

If we're all being sent to rwanda, I need to know are the roads any good, or do I need a gravel bike?

Looks like a gravel bike might be advisable for maximum enjoyment, although they are driving the growth of African professional road cycling.

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ktache replied to mdavidford | 1 day ago
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Very much liking the toady avatar.

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chrisonabike replied to wycombewheeler | 2 days ago
1 like

wycombewheeler wrote:

hawkinspeter wrote:

Then they'll probably pick an out-group to blame everything on and will try to send them packing on planes to Rwanda or something.

If we're all being sent to rwanda, I need to know are the roads any good, or do I need a gravel bike?

A buffalo bike might be a good transport choice - rugged, simple, suitable for local maintenance.  Plus a good technology transfer example as uses pretty widely available standard parts and a detailed manual is freely available etc.

You might spot some Elephant bikes out there although I think they went to Malawi.

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David9694 replied to brooksby | 3 days ago
3 likes

Welcome to

The Reform Party and the UK’s lurch towards fascism

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hawkinspeter | 1 week ago
6 likes

I'll just leave this here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/articles/cjmmrwexv4ko

Quote:

A Reform UK candidate claimed the country would be "far better" if it had "taken Hitler up on his offer of neutrality" instead of fighting the Nazis in World War Two.

Ian Gribbin, the party's candidate in Bexhill and Battle, also wrote online that women were the "sponging gender" and should be "deprived of health care".

In posts from 2022 on the Unherd magazine website, seen by the BBC, he said Winston Churchill was "abysmal" and praised Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A Reform spokesman said the comments were not "endorsements" but "written with an eye to inconvenient perspectives and truths", while his remarks about women were "tongue in cheek".

Mr Gribbin declined to comment.

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chrisonabike replied to hawkinspeter | 1 week ago
5 likes

Just bantz.  It was all taken out of context anyway (the Daily Stormer).

Gribbin - that's close to "Griffin"? - anyway, any excuse for this old chestnut.

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wtjs replied to hawkinspeter | 1 week ago
8 likes

A Reform spokesman said the comments were not "endorsements" but "written with an eye to inconvenient perspectives and truths", while his remarks about women were "tongue in cheek"

That's what people like the haggard Telegraph fashion journo always say, after they have declared that they would like to kill all cyclists. Hilarious wit, isn't it?

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Hirsute | 1 week ago
5 likes

Looking into someone's published online comments and material is now

“Offence archaeology”

"or as it’s more commonly known, a background check."

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Wingguy replied to Hirsute | 1 week ago
7 likes

Hirsute wrote:

Looking into someone's published online comments and material is now

“Offence archaeology”

Well look - they did go back a whole (checks notes) two years. That's three Prime Ministers ago! I wouldn't expect a young whippersnapper like you to understand the sea change in British cultural attitudes in the couple of seasons since BoJo last quaffed a bit of wine in the Downing Street gardens but it's hard to overstate how common it was to suggest being on the side of the holocaust back in those olden days.

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