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« Missionary zeal | Main | Iran's nuclear deceptions »

May 26, 2008

Comments

Michael

The interviewer's scepticism is glorious to behold - there was an "Mmmm" that was positively Paxmanesque.

I also loved Lindsay's dodging of every direct question about funding with bland generalisations like "We expect our candidates to be able to make a lot of noise locally" - which is about as meaningless as John Redwood's "greater efficiency" response to a question as to how he proposed to slash public spending by £6 billion.

And from a presentational standpoint, Lindsay's going to have to work on his decidedly camp approach to vowel enunciation and tendency to squeal at random intervals if he's really going to appeal to the white working-class voters that he claims is essential to his project. Though quite how he's going to develop enough self-awareness to realise this potential drawback is another question altogether.

simon

Oliver, thank you for this great discovery. It is very exciting to hear the voice of our future Prime Minister for the first time.

I particularly like the moment when David announces his intention to put up candidates in every constituency:

Interviewer (disbelievingly): Every seat in the country?
DL (voice rising to a squeak): Yes! Well, I mean, you know, why not?
Interviewer: Mm .. okay.

And the splendid exchange at the end, which deserves to be transcribed in full:

Interviewer: David, bearing in mind that this show goes out to one of the most densely populated cities in the country ..
DL: Oooh! I've a lot to say about that as well!
Interviewer: .. tell us what you would do for Wolverhampton, if elected?
DL (suspiciously): What would you say were the main problems in Wolverhampton?
Interviewer: Unemployment?
DL: Unemployment? Oh yes, we are committed to, er, full employment as an absolute priority on the old, er, postwar Keynes-Beveridge model.
Interviewer: Mm, okay, how would you achieve that, though?
DL: Well, for example, one of the things we have in mind is that we believe there should be, er, there has been a, um .. (begins talking very fast) .. way back in the mists of time there was a Tory windfall tax on the banks, there was then a Labour windfall tax on the privatized utilities, so these two sources of income have been identified, we believe that with the proper regulatory framework to prevent it being passed on to consumers and to workers and to the environment, there should be a permanently higher rate of corporation tax both on the banks and on the privatized utilities and that money should be used to reimburse to employers their National Insurance contributions for workers aged 25 and under, for workers aged 55 and over, and for people who have been unemployed for more than 18 months in much the way that the New Deal presently functions.
Interviewer: David, I'm sorry to have to cut you off, but we're coming to the end of the programme ..
DL: Oooh, but this is very interesting!
Interviewer: .. so, can you tell people how they can find out more about the, er, British People's Alliance?
DL: For now, until we get the website up and running, it is .. (pause) .. my blog.

Anon

As someone who knew him as a student, I can only say that he hasn't changed at all.

He doesn't appear to be terribly familiar with the technology, given that he spells out his blog's address right down to the "http", and tells his listeners that it is important to note that it does not contain "www" - when, in fact, like all Blogger blogs, it can be reached whether you use "www" or not.

Anon

David has excelled himself with this post, in which he claims personally to have coined a word which has now passed into general use:

Browsing the news media and the blogosphere, I see that there is now much use of the term "the overclass". Unless I am very much mistaken, that term first occurred in the mainstream media here, and was first ever used here.

I fear that he is, indeed, very much mistaken.

The Wikipedia entry for the term "overclass" (an entry which was itself created in 2005, two years before David used the term) reveals that it was first included in the OED in 2004, but has been in use since at least 1996, since when it has appeared in a number of mainstream media publications.

David could have spared himself embarrassment by the simple expedient of googling the word "overclass" - which is what I have just done; I claim no other expertise on the matter. Fortunately, however, this will not cause David any embarrassment, because nothing ever does.

Anon

As a follow-up, I would like to record the fact that I posted a comment on David's post very similar to the one above, just before I posted it here. It never appeared - but four other comments, under various different names, did quickly appear in rapid succession, all defending David. One of them ("chris") claims, utterly and demonstrably falsely, that the Wikipedia entry has been altered in order to make David look wrong.

Interestingly, the fact that my post was never published means that "chris" is the first person on the thread to mention the existence of a Wikipedia entry on the subject. All of the comments defend David against apparently non-existent accusations. It is almost as if they are responding to my comment. But, of course, "chris" has never seen my post, because only David Lindsay himself can have seen it. It is all most odd, and I must say I find it quite impossible to explain.

Anon

Another quick follow-up, if you will indulge me - posted here as well as on David's blog because I am sure David will not publish it. The recent British media use of the term "overclass", to which David refers, appears to have been prompted by Melanie Phillips, in this piece which has been picked up elsewhere. I have no idea where Melanie Phillips got the term from - but compelling evidence that she did not pick it up from David Lindsay in 2007 is provided by the fact that she contributed a chapter entitled "What about the overclass?" to a Civitas pamphlet published in 2001.

Michael

But, of course, "chris" has never seen my post, because only David Lindsay himself can have seen it. It is all most odd, and I must say I find it quite impossible to explain.

If you recall, there was a very similar incident in which a commenter named 'Jack' popped up on Lindsay's blog to congratulate him for his "devastating riposte" and then complaining that Oliver deleted it.

In actual fact, the comment was and is clearly visible on this comments thread (it's the one on May 9th at 1.02am), but at the time it was still active it went over to a second page, something of which Jack was clearly unaware.

But how did Jack see the "devastating riposte" in the first place? Well, the obvious answer is that he's a good friend of Lindsay (so close a friend, in fact, that they share the same rhetorical style) and that Britain's future prime minister gave him a sneak preview of said riposte prior to uploading it.

Any other explanation is clearly mischievous in intent, and almost certainly tantamount to criminal harassment, so please don't even think about suggesting one.

simon

I am delighted to be able to report some important news from the British People's Alliance. As regular readers will know, I have been pressing David for clarification on whether Neil Clark will indeed be standing as the BPA candidate for Wantage. David has been strangely reluctant to reply to my questions, but he has now confirmed that as far as he knows, Neil Clark will indeed be standing on the BPA ticket:

Well, he hasn't told me that he's changed his mind. He was very keen to do Wantage, volunteered in fact. I assume that he's looking after things locally, quietly getting on with it.

'Quietly' would appear to be the mot juste, as Mr Clark has, until now, been curiously reticent about his connection with the British People's Alliance. But in the light of this latest announcement from his party leader, I'm sure he will be only too happy to confirm his intention to stand.

David has also announced that the BPA has 'an excellent candidate based in Bradford', though as yet he has not revealed this person's name. This brings the number of confirmed BPA candidates to three (David himself, Neil Clark and A.N.Other from Bradford), which means that the BPA only needs to find another 643 candidates in order to fulfil its declared intention of contesting every UK constituency at the next General Election.

Anyone else thinking of putting themselves forward as a BPA candidate should bear in mind David's warning, in his Wolverhampton interview, that 'they'll have to do quite a bit of their own fund-raising'.

Michael

"Quietly getting on with it" seems to be Lindsay's new meme - in response to yet another question about whether he can prove that the BPA has more than one member, he replied:

We are also building up a coalition of support based on common concerns: trade unionists, farmers, fishermen, Gibrlatarians (who have vote in European elections), Catholics, Evangelicals, Afro-Caribbeans, Greek Cypriots (one in six of whom lives in Britain), Chinese, Dalits, Christian Arabs, ultra-Orthodox Jews...

It's early days, but we're getting there, quietly (as one should), and especially in certain parts of the country.

I suspect Oliver will be able to confirm from practical experience that a policy of being quiet when running for elected office (especially if one is completely new to the public arena) is unlikely to pay dividends.

This is quite aside from the conundrum that if all the other BPA activists observe this omertà and Lindsay doesn't, this exacerbates the already near-universal impression that it's a one-man vanity project, since his is the only voice bigging it up.

Stephen

interestingly on the comments of the blog above Lindsay makes what could be interpreted as a threat against Oliver and could indeed be construed as "criminal harrassment".

simon

I'm intrigued by a small mystery on David Lindsay's blog, which perhaps another reader, wiser than myself, will be able to elucidate for me?

It concerns the dialogue between two of David's commenters, 'bill' and 'Anonymous', which you can see in this thread:

bill said ..
There have been Marxist parties for ever. Nobody wants to know. What people need is a proper Labour Party, such as you set out.
31 May 2008 12:50

Anonymous said ..
What Bill says is spot on. There have always been Trots and the like. Who cares? What NHS did they ever create? What student grants? What slum clearance? We want a proper Labour Party, like you are proposing.
31 May 2008 12:53

'Bill' and 'Anonymous' felt so strongly about this that they posted an almost identical pair of comments in another thread:

bill said ..
Face it, Anonymous, there have been Marxist parties for ever. Nobody wants to know. What people need is a proper Labour Party, such as David sets out.
31 May 2008 12:51

Anonymous said ..
What Bill says is spot on. There have always been Trots and the like. Who cares? What NHS did they ever create? What student grants? What slum clearance? We want a proper Labour Party, like David is proposing.
31 May 2008 12:53

What puzzles me are the time-stamps on these comments. In each case 'Anonymous' must have been watching the thread so closely that he/she was able to reply to 'bill' within two or three minutes - a feat made all the more remarkable by David's policy of comment moderation, which means that 'Anonymous' could not have seen bill's comments until David himself had approved them.

It is all very odd. One might almost suppose that 'bill' and 'Anonymous' were typing their comments on the same computer, or even that they were one and the same person. But that's impossible .. isn't it? Surely there must be some other explanation?

Michael

It is all very odd. One might almost suppose that 'bill' and 'Anonymous' were typing their comments on the same computer, or even that they were one and the same person. But that's impossible .. isn't it?

Absolutely impossible. David has already been subjected to accusations of sockpuppetry, and the idea that he might take that risk at a time when he needs to present a serious, statesmanlike front to the world is clearly preposterous.

I think what must have happened, given that Blogger doesn't append dates to comments, is that the replies were actually posted 24 hours and 3 minutes later by entirely different people. And I suspect if you were to analyse the text closely, you'll find that one was a Greek Cypriot and the other a Christian Arab. Or possibly a Gibraltarian and a Dalit.

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