There have been no posts on here, or the 9/11 Cultwatch blog for a while. The combination of teaching at three Universities, security work, childcare responsibilities and trying to complete my PhD has rather restricted my travel into the world of blogging. Laurie Penny once said the Internet was a real place where she does her work - I have to contend that it because I am doing work in the real world that I am now so rarely on the Internet.
Over on the Notes From the Borderland site my friend and colleague Larry O'Hara has written a considerable article on 'anti-fascist' organisation Hope Not Hate and their 'public consultation' on whether to campaign against the UK Independence Party. It says much about the nature of HnH's approach to politics that although a majority (67%) of respondents voted for a campaign against UKIP, leader Nick Lowles has decided to instead 'monitor' UKIP. This decision was taken even though as far back as 1996 Lowles was writing to the European Movement offering to run a Searchlight campaign against UKIP!
UKIP have called some of the big issues of the past decade correctly. They are correct on the European Union, and have been proved correct on the Euro. I think UKIP are wrong on the issue gay marriage, but that is hardly an issue that effects the price of fish. More importantly Nigel Farage correctly identifies what for me is the core issue of British politics today - its dominance by what is in effect a political class, with its own interests and terminology, and little or no contact or empathy with the mass of the population.
It is not enough to simply identify Bullingdon Club Tories as the biggest section of this - think of Ed Miliband attending the same junior school as Boris Johnson in North London, or the endless succession of policy wonks and think tank theorists dominating Labour, Tory, Lib Dem and Green. On one level the House of Commons has never been more diverse - more women, younger MPs, more black and Asian MPs than ever before, but scrath below the surface and this 'diversity' is a sham. The two Labour candidates in Norwich North and Norwich South in the next election are classic examples of this - one young and mixed race, the other young and female. Their CVs though are a checklist of the elements that comprise our political class - a journalist and former Vice President of the useless National Union of Students, and a policy wonk for the Fabian Society who is a Councillor in Islington - it is all so predictable. So samey, so fake and so elitist. The days of a candidate emerging such as Ian Gibson, a scientist orginally from the West of Scotland, are long gone.
For the Conservatives to win the next election, they will need to sink UKIP well below the 10-13% they are currently polling. Equally UKIP are likely to chip into Labour's vote in the north and midlands. Traditionally however in general elections the media focus on the big two (or three) parties sinks the candidates from smaller parties. Will that happen again in 2015? Hope Not Hate, led by significant figures in the Progress faction of the Labour Party and part funded by the Coalition's Department for Communities and Local Government, will no doubt attempt to play a role in ensuring that happens. What HnH does will not be decided by those who contribute to on-line polls or discussion forums - such decisions will instead be taken behind closed doors. By Nick Lowles, Ruth Smeeth and Anthony Painter. For vested interests.
Which is really where we came in. With the political class.