Message to Simon Danczuk MP: Being wrong is not the same as being racist

Labour MP Simon Danczuk, the MP who recently clashed with Owen Jones on the Daily Politics over the Spending Review, has a piece in today's Telegraph in which he writes that the politics of the Labour left "should be viewed in the same way as we view the views of the BNP".

Labour MP Simon Danczuk, the MP who recently clashed with Owen Jones on the Daily Politics over the Spending Review, has a piece in today’s Telegraph in which he writes that the  politics of the Labour left “should be viewed in the same way as we view the views of the BNP”.

This is a shame, and it appears frustration has got the better of Danczuk, because putting aside this absurd comparison he makes some good points in the piece.

But no, the Labour left should not “be viewed in the same way as the BNP”. The BNP are a racist party who, amongst other things, would like to forcibly repatriate non-white Britons. If Danczuk had been comparing communists to the BNP then there might have been an academic argument to be had (Stalinists killed more people than fascists, after all), but he only refers to the “Labour left”.

In other words, Danczuk is comparing people who use their time and energy to try to improve the lives of working people – usually for nothing in return – to racist thugs and holocaust deniers who firebomb “P*ki shops”.

As well as being extraordinarily lazy, this is a disgraceful slur on many fine activists.

Sure, some of the Labour left’s ideas about nationalisation may be a little naive; but this does not make them comparable to a party that promotes sinister racial theories and hates people based on nothing more than the pigmentation of their skin.

Danczuk is right to highlight the economic illiteracy of those unreconstructed Bennites who have failed to learn from the failures of the post-war settlement. He is also right to criticise those in the Labour Party who view “Blairites” as the main enemy, rather than the Conservative Party. But comparing the Labour left to the BNP is not the way to make that point.

Being wrong is not the same as being racist, and it’s remarkable that anyone (least of all an MP) should need to be told that.

27 Responses to “Message to Simon Danczuk MP: Being wrong is not the same as being racist”

  1. Dopermine

    You may as well compare Blairites to Nazis – they invaded Iraq, oversaw the slaughter of 700,000 all in the name of imperialist glorification.

    Naive? Is thinking that Quantitative Easing and Austerity (both originally New Labour policies) are anything other than the unfolding of class power under an updated guise (pour £375bn into pockets of finance capitalists while spanking people in wheelchairs).

    The failure of the post-war settlement occurred 40 years ago. Now we are dealing with the failure of the Neo-Liberal settlement that replaced it, one which Blair heartily endorsed.

  2. NT86

    What is so naive about renationalisation of *certain* things? Granted I think most industries can remain private, and there are areas I don’t always agree with the Labour left about. But how has privatisation benefited the railways or utilities all these decades? Like health, those are natural monopolies which are used by virtually everyone. Costs have been escalating for years and only serve shareholders. For example, the last Labour government renationalised the East Coast franchise. It was profitable for the taxpayer and received overwhelmingly positive feedback from commuters. So what does this government plan to do with it? Reverse that all.

    Those are the two areas that wouldn’t actually hurt gradually being taken back into public ownership.

    It’s pretty depressing that Simon Danczuk represents a town that gave us the Rochdale Pioneers, and the birth of modern co-operatives.

    Owen Jones can be a bit “right-on” for my liking at times. But what on earth is so militant about someone who shows compassion for the weakest in society, most of whom are in their situation for no fault of their own? The way unemployed and disabled people are being portrayed is vile and hypocritical, given that politicians are subsidised by the taxpayer and were famously caught up in the biggest scandal of benefit fraud in 2009. Owen is certainly not wrong to question the policies of Iain Duncan Smith.

  3. PeterG

    What an incredibly offensive & bizare thing for a Labour MP to say about Labour Party members. I wish he had the same antipathy towards the coalition government. He should apologise.

    We are absolutely certain he isn’t in the process of defecting to the Tories aren’t we?

  4. ciccio

    Hmmm…Stalinism, in the same manner, cannot be considered as Communism which is the inference above.

  5. Ron Porter

    The BNP hates anybody from a different racial or national background, while Labour hates those from an indigenous background, certainly if they’re English. Neither is tolerant or tolerable. They’re two sides of the same coin, and the currency is bigotry.

  6. Ed

    The only problem with that argument is that it’s a big steaming pile of s**t. How, pray tell, has this ‘hatred’ of ‘those from an indigenous background, especially if they’re English’ manifested itself? Would it be the endless pandering to anti-immigrant racism which punctuated the Blair/Brown years, and which has continued under Miliband—the incessant speeches about how we need the ‘courage’ to talk about the ‘problem’ of immigration, as if it required any bravery to take a cheap shot at the most vulnerable people in Britain. Nonsensical claims that people who oppose racism are ‘anti-white’ or ‘anti-English’ are the stock in trade of the BNP and the EDL, so we can take your feigned hostility to the racists with a pinch of salt.

  7. Stephen Henderson

    I am a Labour member and consider myself a centrist. I am totally opposed to making people who lose their jobs wait another 3 days (on top of the ~ 3 weeks before they then get support). I can think of no rationale for this other than vindictiveness and appealing to those who hate poor people.
    I listened to Simon Danczuk “debate” Owen Jones on telly and he could think of no good reason either. He just insulted those who object as hard-left or unrealistic. But in reality the sums involved in the bedroom tax, the welfare cap, or the increased waiting time are relatively very small – but create maximum misery to those least able to cope.
    Simon Danczuk is either not very bright and doesn’t know this – or he has simply surrendered in the face of Daily Mail propaganda.
    Since he is writing in the Telegraph today I will be charitable and guess he is not very bright. After all why would a Labour MP be given a platform in The Telegraph if it was for any benefit to the Labour party.
    The Labour party should have room for a broad base of left, social democrats and centrists. It shouldn’t have utter morons like Simon Danczuk as MPs. Can someone tell me how on earth he got selected?

  8. Ed

    “He is also right to criticise those in the Labour Party who view
    “Blairites” as the main enemy, rather than the Conservative Party. But
    comparing the Labour left to the BNP is not the way to make that point.”

    So this guy compares democratic socialists in the Labour Party—those who want to introduce a more progressive tax system, reverse the creeping privatisation of the NHS, take the railways back into public ownership (instead of forking out huge subsidies to Richard Branson for running them) and reverse the balance between welfare and warfare—to a racist, fascist party whose platform is based solely on stirring up hatred of ethnic minorities, and whose members have been involved in violence against those minorities. And you wonder why democratic socialists see Blairites—no need for scare quotes—as the enemy?

    The Labour left doesn’t see the Blairites as ‘the main enemy, rather than the Conservative Party’—that is entirely the wrong way of putting the question. It correctly sees the Blairites and the Tories as two sides of the same coin, partners in crime who are equally determined to make the poor and the working class pay for a crisis caused by their big business cronies. There is nothing to choose between them, they work hand in hand to crush any challenge to the right-wing economic agenda (as in this case, where a ‘Labour’ MP accepts a platform in a Tory newspaper to attack and undermine his own party). It would be far more accurate to say that the Blairites see the Labour left as the main enemy, not the Tories—if you asked them what was more important, beating the unions or beating the Tories, there would be only one honest answer.

  9. Shane

    Labour needed to reassess its position in light of the 2010 General Election defeat, only now are the results of that period of reflection being made public. Unfortunatley MPs like Simon Danczuk have failed to learn any lessons. New Labour was rejected out of hand by the British public, the working class felt betrayed by Labour and still does. Why can’t these politicians realise that if Labour is to progress and be the One Nation party that it aspires to be then it has to embrace its working class roots.

    Toeing the Osborne line on welfare might get a favourable response from Andrew Neil and the Daily Mail but it alienates the party’s core support. Peter Mandelson reasoned that the left-leaning working class vote could be taken for granted because they had nowhere else to go. Well he was wrong. They don’t engage in politics at all, they sit at home on polling day. An entire generation of potential Labour supporters have fallen by the wayside.

    Modern politics has become the mouthpiece for an unrepresentative, privileged section of society. Normal people feel disconnected from the entire process. We need a Labour leader who voices the concerns of those at the bottom of society. It is the only way the Labour party can regain power. If we compete with the Tories for affluent middle-class voters then we will lose for Tories feel no shame in giving to the rich at the expense of the poor.

    There is a huge split in the party and I fear the worst if it isn’t resolved soon. Simon Danczuk does not share the same views and values as me. He thinks he is being clever writing articles in the right-wing press criticising the left-wing of the Labour party. He is merely bringing about his own downfall. If 2010 taught us anything at all it was this: the politics that Danczuk espouses is dead.

  10. OldLb

    But the left is racist.

    The standard claim is that migrants are better workers than British.

    That’s racist.

    If I said I was only employing British people because migrants were lazy, you would be outraged.

    Yet plenty on the left make statements like that with British and Migrant swapped, to justify migration.

  11. Cole

    You can’t state that the ‘left’ says migrants are better workers than locals, and then argue they’re racist. It’s just silly. What’s the evidence?

    In fact, most of the people I have heard saying this are businessmen who generally vote Tory. After all, they’re usually the ones hiring Poles etc.

  12. Matthew Blott

    Despite putting me in the uncomfortable position of defending a far-right party it nevertheless does need pointing out that the BNP abandoned forced repatriation as a policy quite some time ago. And many on the far left may not be racist but they don’t mind indulging in a bit of anti-semitsm and misogyny. Do you think the headbangers of Respect are really any better than Nick Griffin’s bunch?

  13. OldLb

    You’ve not been reading this blog.

    I’ve pointed out that lots of migrants aren’t beneficial to the UK. Namely, they are not pay more in tax than the costs to the state of having them here.

    e.g Starbucks workers who pay 1,900 a year in taxes, compared to the NHS that costs over 2,000 a year. Then you have the common goods such as defence, police, on top. If they bring in dependents, multiply accordingly. On top you have the pensions they are accruing. Clearly not an economic benefit.

    The standard reply is that they are better than Brits because less claim welfare. [As if welfare determines worth]. Or that they work harder.

    It’s pure racism.

    e.g.

    Foreigners aren’t as good as brits because they are welfare scroungers in comparison

    Racist or not?

  14. OldLb

    http://www.leftfootforward.org/2011/01/daily-mails-inconvenient-truth/

    Here’s a good example.

    Brits are benefit scroungers but migrants are better.

    Exchange Brit for migrant, and it’s racist. Swap them back, its still racist.

  15. blarg1987

    So by his logic would that make him a fascist?

  16. Cole

    My point is that this is something lots of people say, especially businessmen. It’s not a leftie thing.

  17. Ian Young

    So Red Len and Owen Jones are putting fear into the hearts of the kulaks
    and will have us all making tractors for the five year plan. Why is this Labour MP indulging in 30 year old media caricatures of people that could at best be described as left wing social democrats.

    A period of silence from Mr Danczuk would be welcomed.

  18. Ian Young

    You are way off the mark. What the left wants is an end to this unilateral Bolkenstein culture which has encouraged employers to turn the UK Labour market into a Dutch auction on wages and conditions. But according to Mr Danczuk this a hard left agenda.

  19. OldLb

    I never said it was.

    I said it was racist. It is racist.

  20. OldLb

    The left created it. It allowed in 5 million migrants most of whom are working in low skilled jobs. End result is that supply/demand kick in. Unlimited supply, versus stagnant demand, and prices go down. That’s the cause of the poor on low wages.

    You also have to add in taxes on jobs, and taxes on the low waged.

    Hence why I keep pushing the low skilled migrant issue, because that’s the biggest problem for the poor. It also means they make a rational decision not to work.

    At the top end, its different. Migration doesn’t drive the middle class out of jobs, in my opinion it it brings in work. If you want a Guatemalan lawyer in London, you can probably get one. So it means the work that needs a Guatamalan lawyer and a lawyer with Singaporean knowledge comes to London.

    So I would introduce a threshold. You have to pay more tax if you want to migrate to the UK, than the average government spend. ie. Earn more than 40K to pay 12K in tax. That means you aren’t on welfare. You aren’t in social housing. You aren’t competing against those on welfare. The jobs that are available go to the low skilled. And, finally, its a non-racist test. It’s purely financial, not about creed or country or colour of skin.

  21. Matthew Blott

    Simon Danczuk is fed up with middle class bien pensant lefties with an overly romantic view of an industrial working class that barely exists anymore and who make a lot of noise but do not live in the real world. We do have a dreadful vindictive government but anyone who has experienced living on a council estate knows there are piss takers and arguing “the bankers” doesn’t cut it when most people only see one end of the scale. Sure, there are plenty of greedy bastards doing the same at the top end but two wrongs don’t make a right (believe me, that’s the response I get from people when I point out the excesses of the wealthy).

  22. RogerMcC

    Yes – and I am second to none in my loathing of Respect and other pseudo-leftists.

    Because there is stupid and wrong and then there is mad and evil – the pseudo-left is stupid and wrong, the BNP and far right are mad and evil.

    Sure if George Galloway somehow became dictator he and his minions would create a hell on earth but that will never happen and so all he and they can be are annoying windbags.

    The far right however are violent racist psychopaths who beat and bomb and kill because that is what real fascists and racists do.

  23. RogerMcC

    Troll.

  24. Stephen Henderson

    “middle class bien pensant lefties”.. is that supposed to be me? Does that make me worse than the BNP or ….what? I’m lost now.

    Anyway.. the challenge stands. Explain without recourse to calling me a stalinist or a nazi or an asparagus chomping liberal :

    What is the point of making people wait another 3 days on top of the ~3weeks before they receive jobseekers allowance? Why is this a good idea? What does it achieve?

  25. Matthew Blott

    My Disqus account informed me you’d responded to my comments and I noticed you’d asked a couple of questions so I shall respond in kind …

    My reference to “middle class bien pensant lefties” was not specifically aimed at you but was directed towards those in the public sphere such as Owen Jones, Laurie Penny et al who think a return to 1980s style identity politics is a fruitful strategy for achieving power (actually I’m not sure they even believe it will achieve power, they just think it should be done regardless). I do not know you so could not comment as to whether you are a member of this tribe or not (are you?).

    I am not in the habit of calling people Nazis and Stalinists (unless it is true as would be the case, for example, with the Guardian’s resident Stalinist Seumas Milne who complains that Stalin gets a bad press and doesn’t get enough credit for his achievements). That is usually the tactic of the lefties I am criticising here. I admit however that I may call you an asparagus chomping liberal if I could verifiably prove you eat asparagus. And if I could prove you eat asparagus, no, I do not think that would make you worse than the BNP (I was not even calling you a dickhead myself – I suggested, since you were making disparaging remarks about Simon Danczuk, he might not have too big an opinion of yourself).

    Your last question, what’s the point of making Jobseeker’s wait another three days? I don’t know, I didn’t realise we were debating a specific policy. It may well be a stupid policy – this government isn’t averse to stupidity – I was framing my argument in broader terms as I believe Simon Danczuk wanted to: i.e. looking at the welfare dependency culture and ways to reform it. I actually think benefits in this country are pitifully low but need to be better targeted. Owen Jones, I believe, just thinks we should funnel government money towards the benefit bill come what may. Any more questions?

  26. therealguyfaux

    Any fair-minded person would need to recognise and admit there isn’t a fag paper able to be slipped between a BNP’er of 2013 and a Labourite of 1913. Where each faction has gone since– the BNP is a Mosleyite sort of Labour from the early 1930’s not knowing what century they live in, mainstream Labour being a more internationalist Social Democracy party (in theory) which also has failed to turn the page– only makes it look as if they are diametric opposites. Comparing so-called far-Left and far-Right and saying there is some sort of qualitative and quantitative difference in intolerance level, towards that which they have no tolerance for, is the same as saying there’s a difference between Liverpool hooligans and Chelsea hooligans because one wears blue and comes from London, while the other wears red and comes from Merseyside, which as we all know makes all the difference in the world.

  27. Giles Humphry

    Mad and evil seems a good description of those who have covered up for industrial scale gang rape by race hate gangs in Rotherham Birmingham, Manchester etc, in the name of community cohesion. In fighting for the victims Danczuk has been a lone voice of reason in the cesspit of moral insanity created by “left” identity politics.

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