Monday, 13 May 2013

Living in interesting times England seems to be shifting from being a rather right-wing country to a frighteningly right-wing country. JRF research published the other day shows not just that ‘the public has become increasingly likely to say that individual characteristics rather than societal issues cause poverty;’ but also that this is largely accounted for by a shift in attitudes among voters on the left. In 1986 the proportion of Labour voters who cited social injustice as the main cause of poverty was 41 per cent: in 2011 it was just 27 per cent. Never mind, let’s see what’s in the news to cheer us up. How about this? A brand new UK Independence Party councillor, Eric Kitson, has made racist ‘jokes’ and shared ‘a cartoon of Muslim people being burnt at the stake with copies of the Koran fuelling the flames’, on his Facebook page. The following sentence seems to be his explanation for why Ukip have not suspended him: ‘I'm not a politician - I'm a bit of a fool really.’ Meanwhile, Colin Brewer, the previously mentioned independent councillor in Cornwall who said that disabled children should be put down, apparently was re-elected in the same round of elections: according to the Indy, ‘with 335 votes – a winning margin of four votes.’ Brewer compared disabled children with deformed lambs that are dealt with at birth by ‘smashing them against a wall.’ His presence on the candidate list would certainly get me out to the polling station. In both cases, I’m perversely curious about whether some voters put their cross against these names without at least some understanding of what they stood for. The logic of democracy means that you have to believe that a majority of those who voted for these people knew what they were doing. Something is very rotten in the state of England.

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