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June 13, 2008

Comments

munsteraner

I would tend to agree with your comments re David Davis and I was interested in the part about the GLC by-elections. At least if the Labour party doesn't put up a candidate (and I believe it shouldn't) it has a precident.

As Mr Lindsay's party is on the verge of a breakthrough, should it not have a candidate stand in the forthcoming Haltemprice and Howden by-election, and in Henley for that matter.

Peter

Well, learning that the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church may support a political party that believes in the desirability of military coups comes as no surprise, given the Vatican's past support for the regimes of Franco in Spain, Salazar in Portugal, Pinochet in Chile, and the Duvaliers in Haiti. When will apologies for that support ever be forthcoming, I wonder.

Oliver Kamm

Peter, I am (as here) no admirer of the role of the Roman Catholic Church in world affairs. But I don't believe that David Lindsay is a reliable expositor of the Vatican's attitude to the one-member British People's Alliance.

a very public sociologist

As a long-time socialist I'm glad I don't live in Mr Davis' constituency. Here's a golden opportunity to put the boot into someone who, 42 days aside, has pretty appalling politics. But with Kelvin MacKenzie, a more odious and despicable opponent couldn't be found! What a toughie ...

Michael

I suspect the Monster Raving Loony Party will poll its best figures since Bootle in May 1990, when they beat the SDP candidate and triggered the winding-up of the party.

David Lindsay

We cannot have registered as a political party (and the forms are in, all duly signed) with only one member. That would be against the law.

We have always said that we would not be contesting anything until next year's European Elections.

Rather interestingly, an anonymous comment on my blog insists that you Jacksonite-Eustonite types are also going to be putting up under your own steam at those elections, which is certainly news to me.

But, after all, someone IS now contesting an election specifically under your anti-liberty, pro-war, Murdoch-funded banner. (Just how many of you are on Murdoch's payroll? At next year's elections, you should call yourselves the Murdoch Payroll Party.)

So we do have a candidate in H&H. David Davis.

Since so have you. Kelvin MacKenzie.

You must be very proud.

As to where we are on religion, before the Electoral Commission is of course our Constitution, which includes the following Aim:

"2.9 To realise as the basis of the State and of all public policy the doctrinal and moral principles (including the cultural patrimony) of classical, historic, mainstream Christianity as mediated by, in, through and as Magisterial Catholicism, Canonical Orthodoxy, Confessional Evangelicalism (both Lutheran and Reformed), Pietism and the Holiness traditions, Pentecostalism and the Charismatic Renewal, and the High Church movements (Anglican, Lutheran, Wesleyan, Reformed), including the duty of assistance and protection towards all those throughout the world who profess those principles, and including by giving a political voice to the churches and agencies that so profess;"

Fairly ecumenical, I hope that even you would agree. More to Methodism than to Marx, and all that.

And as I wrote in reply to a comment on the post to which you link:

"On the Salazar point, while it is true that we are addressed to people who couldn't care less what my anti-life, anti-family, anti-worker, pro-war, and therefore (among so much else) Eurofederalist critics might say, I would still be interested to know how they could find a way of attacking me or us on this one, as they would undoubtedly want to do.

The only good bit in Oliver Kamm's otherwise horrendous book on neoconservatism takes the "even Franco was preferable to the alternative" line (although not, of course, in those words) on the Spanish Civil War. So how could he or his say that they would have preferred a Portuguese Civil War which either the Communists or the Fascists would have had to have won? Only Salazar prevented that from happening."

To which I would only add that Salazar was of course an ally of Attlee's.

What say you?

Michael

So if the BPA is a genuine party, why does its public face still consist of a single individual's blog, nearly a year after it was first founded? And why have none of the other party members voluntarily identified themselves?

For someone who seems so convinced that he's going to fight every seat and retain all his deposits in an election that's less than a year away, it does seem to be a remarkably ramshackle operation so far, regardless of its formal standing with the Electoral Commission.

Fantasy can be a very healthy mental safety-valve, but I fear for your sanity if you let it spill over too much into the real world and end up colliding with inescapable truths. (I also fear for your physical well-being, depending on your funding sources and the guarantees you offer them, but that's another issue.)

Oliver Kamm

Well, seeing as you ask, Mr Lindsay, I'm interested too in why your party has no declared members apart from you. Your announcement that Neil Clark is the party's PPC for Wantage appears to have been premature, possibly because Mr Clark fears that the BPA is not as serious a political actor as he is. Meanwhile the ubiquitous BPA supporter Martin Miller, who wrote to the editor of "Comment is Free" urging that you be given a regular column there, turned out to be you writing under a false name, and has been silent these many months since.

I wonder whether it's worth pointing this out, but your account of the argument of my book nicely indicates that you have either not read it or have misunderstood it. Your description of Salazar as an ally of Attlee is, I assume, likewise merely a picturesque misunderstanding of Portugal's being one of the original members of Nato, established while Attlee was in office. Portugal escaped the ostracism suffered by Spain after WWII, owing to her having kept greater distance from the Axis powers and to a traditional Portuguese alliance with Britain. Neither of these had anything to do with Attlee. I cordially advise that whatever antediluvian clerical material you have been reading on this is probably not trustworthy.

David Lindsay

Well, I will ignore the Miller stuff, since everybody else except you and your fan club does.

Remember that the likes of you and Harry's Place can purportedly produce all the "evidence" you like for something like that and it will never sway the sort of people to whom the BPA hopes to make any kind of appeal (except perhaps in the opposite direction, towards us), simply because it has come from the likes of you and Harry's Place, the people who lied this country into war, who claim to be left-wing while applauding the flogging off of the schools and the hospitals, who want to banish Christianity from public life, and so forth.

You have of course now found your moral, intellectual and social level as, since opponents of David Davis, supporters of that great statesman, Kelvin "420 days detention" MacKenzie in his quest for a seat in the Mother of Parliaments.

As for Salazar, no wonder you don't like him. His Catholic Encyclicist bulwark against both Marxism and Fascism was overthrown by the Maoist insurrection that went on to prouduce rabid "free"-marketeers and Bush supporters such as the present President of the European Commission. You can see yourself in that sordid tale, and rightly so.

For, in comparable if less bloody manner, utterly unrepentant old Communists, Trotskyists and fellow-travellers (that means you and yours) overthrew the Christian-based movement that had prevented a Communist Revolution in this, one of the two countries that Marx himself believed most likely to have one, and replaced that movement (now restored as the BPA) with something rabidly "free"-marketeering, warmongering, and thus pro-Bush.

Just as their slavish imitators are now overthrowing Toryism and replacing it with something that, unburdened by serious Christianity, defines itself in the pseudo-conservative terms of totally unrestricted markets and endless foreign wars.

And just as the godfathers of it all, the disciples of Max Shachtman and the erstwhile Trotskyist alcovists at City College of New York, infiltrated and, for a time, overthrew the American Republican Party, turning it into a direct enemy of the American 'res publica'.

But their days are mercifully coming to an end. As we bid oh so fond a farewell to George Waterboarding Bush, let us also bid oh so fond a farewell to the New Labour Continuity Council around David Cameron, to the Henry Jackson Society, to the Euston Manifesto Group, to the Murdoch Payroll Party.

The most obvious way to do that is to return David Davis with a thumping great majority.

KMcC

David Lindsay - you are insane, aren't you?

Michael

Remember that the likes of you and Harry's Place can purportedly produce all the "evidence" you like for something like that and it will never sway the sort of people to whom the BPA hopes to make any kind of appeal

So you're appealing to gullible simpletons? I mean, that's been obvious for some time, but it's nice to have clinching confirmation.

As for whether David is actually insane, I think the jury is still out - it looks more to me like a case of galloping narcissism allied with the complete absence of a sense of humour or, more crucially, any self-awareness. That's not especially unusual in the blogosphere, though David has achieved a more perfect balance of these elements than many. Which is why so many of his posts are so irresistibly entertaining, for reasons he'll probably never understand.

But I wouldn't rule out his being driven insane once his political project bites the dust. I mean, if you sincerely believe that the Vatican is blessing your activities and that you're not going to lose a single deposit in a major national election despite the party's entire PR strategy seemingly being run from an unpleasantly ranty blog stuffed to the gills with mad conspiracy theories and conveniently anonymous commenters writing in exactly the same style as the blog's author, you're probably heading for a fall somewhere along the line.

But I'd love to see Camp David (as I feel compelled to call him after listening to his performance on Wolverhampton radio) getting the full Paxman treatment before it happens. Because if he's mastered one tactic used by the politicians he hopes to supplant, it's the art of evading, ignoring or (in his case) actively censoring the question.

Oliver Kamm

Mr Lindsay, while your comments are undeniably lengthy, they appear nonetheless to be perplexingly narrowly focused. At least, they don't extend as far as answering my question. That question was why your party has no declared members apart from yourself.

It is entirely possible that your targeted constituency will be indifferent to the moral compromises involved in your having invented the most prolific supporter of the British People's Alliance, one Martin Miller. (As you will recall, you wrote to the editor of "Comment is Free" under this false name to urge her to give you a regular column. You tried the same thing on the editors of The Spectator, by posting a comment under the assumed name of Martin Miller that urged the magazine to give you a regular spot on its web site.) What is relevant to this discussion, however, is that Mr Miller cannot be counted a genuine supporter of the BPA, because he is a made-up person who posts from the same computer as you.

The pro-Milosevic blogger Neil Clark does exist, unlike Mr Miller. But your "press release" - which does not appear to have been published anywhere but your blog - announcing Mr Clark's candidature for Wantage has not, as far as I know, been confirmed by Mr Clark himself. As Mr Clark is unlikely to have any conscientious objection to the practice of sock puppetry - or at least so I infer from independent evidence - I assume that his reticence reflects an uneasiness at being associated with a cause that so far does not appear to exist outside your imagination.

I confirm your inference that I am hostile to the right-wing dictator Salazar, though I should point out that the revolution that replaced his successor in 1974 was driven not by Maoism but by the armed forces under General Antonio de Spinola, who had correctly observed that Portugal was fated to lose the colonies of Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique. There was an attempt by the Communist Party and the far Left to mount a coup in November 1975, and I assume that this is the historical incident you are groping for. The coup was, however, thwarted by an agreement between the newly elected President, General da Costa Gomes and the Socialist leader Mario Soares.

The moderate Left certainly shifted its economic policies in the succeeding decades, as did parties of the Left elsewhere in Europe. But Portugal's economic policy when the Socialists returned to office in 1995 was no more free-market than that of, say, the French Socialists under Lionel Jospin. In any event, Portugal is a stable and well-governed constitutional democracy, which is a system of government that you rightly identify as more to my taste than autocracy.

simon

It is exciting news that the British People's Alliance is now in the process of being formally registered with the Electoral Commission. But why has it taken so long? Back in September 2007, David told us: 'I finally sent off for the registration form from the Electoral Commission. It should arrive tomorrow.' Now it is June 2008, and he tells us: 'The forms are now in, and the cheque might even have been cashed.'

David has been loud in his denunciations of what he calls the 'Creepy Electoral Commission' (or what Martin Miller describes as 'a totalitarian device called the Electoral Commission') which, he has claimed, would never register the British People's Alliance because it would present too much of a threat to the one-party junta that runs this country. It now appears that the main hindrance to the BPA's electoral hopes has come from David himself, who has inexplicably taken nine months to fill in the registration form and post it back.

Michael

It does seem to have taken David an inordinately long time to get from point A to... well, not even point B, more like point A.1. Fully half the time, in fact, between his original announcement of the BPA's existence and the first national election that he intends to contest.

I know David believes the World Wide Web is essentially a waste of time (as he has made several blog posts and comments telling us this in some detail), but the fact that the BPA doesn't have a separate website many months after he registered the address britishpeoplesalliance.org.uk suggests that he sincerely believes that his blog (and his cutting and pasting of its various entries into the comments boxes of other people's blogs) is all that it takes to spread the word.

I've yet to pick up even the merest hint that David understands the minimal requirements of a coherent communications strategy, and although he seems to have a truly staggering amount of free time on his hands, I'm not convinced he has quite enough left to pick up the basics. Especially not given the equally formidable fundraising task that he has ahead of him, if he's not to come a cropper when people gleefully remind him this time next year of his perhaps overly rash assurance that not a single deposit would be lost.

Incidentally, to my list of David's virtues - his self-regard, lack of a sense of humour and spectacular lack of self awareness - do feel free to add "and extreme gullibility". Aside from Simon's revelation above, I have very fond memories of Patrick Michael Dawn, a pretty obvious spoof (since the only alternative explanation was that he was severely mentally ill) which David fell for hook, line and sinker.

wardytron

As the author of Patrick Michael Dawn's blog, I would like to clarify that I'm not severely mentally ill. Also that Patrick was invited to stand for Parliament, received a list of constituencies the BPA was particularly keen on contesting, and was quite tempted to run against Stephen Hammond in Wimbledon. I decided against it in the end though; running as a joke candidate under a false name would damage the BPA's reputation and that's the last thing I want to do.

David Lindsay

Here we go again with the overeducated posh thickies, whose arrogance and stupidity are quantifiable in dead bodies in Afghanistan and Iraq, and who, as much as anything else, never seem to grasp that hostility from them only adds to our appeal to the people about whom we care.

It really is not my fault if the Electoral Commission is also staffed by overeducated posh thickies. We shall see by Monday of next week whether or not it is.

Bring back grammar schools, and rid of thepublic nuissance that is your kind.

Oliver Kamm

Mr Lindsay, I'm glad you've returned to the discussion to invoke the people to whom your party appeals, as they are directly relevant to the question I've asked twice in this thread. Here it is again. Why are there no publicly identified supporters of the British People's Alliance apart from you?

As you are aware, the blogger Neil Clark still declines to confirm that he is the party's PPC in Wantage, many months after your initial announcement. Moreover the prolific BPA supporter Martin Miller turned not to be a real person; he was instead you, writing under a false name in effusive praise of yourself. I trust you will be able to see the difficulty my readers and I have in coming to an accurate assessment of your party's state and prospects.

Michael

It really is not my fault if the Electoral Commission is also staffed by overeducated posh thickies. We shall see by Monday of next week whether or not it is.

Are we going to get a similar blow-by-blow account of all the BPA's administrative activities in the run-up to the European elections next year? I do hope so.

simon

I like 'overeducated posh thickies'. The other day it was 'dribbling, inbred, drunken coke-heads' - and David threatened that if they didn't behave, he'd repeat it .. to their faces! 'You have been warned. You won't be warned again.'

But David should be careful with his insults. There was an entertaining exchange on the Guardian website a few months ago, when one reader finally lost patience with David's endless promotion of his blog:

No David Lindsay I do not want to see your blog why do you keep asking. Haven't you got the message yet? YAWN.

This provoked the usual David rant about public-school thickos:

What a fascinating insight donge is into the restriction of university access to even the stupidest product of the upper middle class. He was the cleverest boy at his minor public school, so he really does think that he is the cleverest man in the world.

Back came the response:

No David Lindsey I didn't go to a Public school wish I did. I was born in a slum tenement went up the road to a slum school, later in life I educated myself in the Public library and the WEA, Ruskin Oxford, Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Whoops! David went rather quiet after that.

Michael

He really does seem to be obsessed with public schools and Oxbridge, doesn't he? One might almost suggest that he had a wee chip on his shoulder.

As it happens, my own degree was a vocational one from a former poly - which is why I laugh so heartily whenever David tries the "public school and Oxbridge" line with me.

simon

Yes, I like David's sneer about 'minor public schools'. (Yah, boo, sucks, your pater sent you to a minor public school!) Sometimes it's difficult to tell David's ironic reverse-snobbery apart from the other, non-ironic kind.

But to more serious matters.

I can't pretend to understand David's quarrel with the Electoral Commission. (I hope David will forgive my ignorance .. after all, I haven't had his educational advantages.) It seems odd that, having waited nine months to return the registration form, David should now be expecting an answer by return of post. If he has filled in the form correctly, then there should, one hopes, be no reason why the BPA should not be formally registered as Britain's newest political party. On the other hand, the Electoral Commission might reasonably want to see some evidence that the BPA actually exists, and isn't just a one-man vanity project (like one of those schismatic churches whose 'pro-cathedral' turns out to be a bungalow in Penge). As David notes in his comment above: 'We cannot have registered as a political party .. with only one member'. I can quite see that this might present some difficulty.

Meanwhile, I note a subtle change in the party line. Until now, David has been promising that the BPA will put up a candidate in every constituency at the next election. He is now promising that the BPA will have 'endorsed candidates in every seat' at the next election. Just as the bread and wine at Holy Communion may appear to unbelievers to be nothing more than ordinary bread and wine, but are visible to the eye of faith as the body and blood of Jesus - so, it seems, there will be Labour or Conservative candidates at the next election who appear to the general public to be nothing more than Labour or Conservative candidates, but are visible to the eye of faith as members of the British People's Alliance. It's a holy miracle! Sceptics, of course, will mock - but it raises the interesting possibility that the BPA could have a virtual presence in the next Parliament, even a virtual majority, thus making David our virtual Prime Minister.

In further exciting news, David has released details of another BPA candidate:

One of our candidates went to school with me, went to Oxford, and, like Chesterton, never graduated.

This brings the number of BPA candidates (non-virtual ones, at any rate) to four: (1) David himself, (2) Neil Clark, (3) A.N. Other from Bradford, and (4) David's anonymous old school chum. Of course, it's possible that (3) and (4) could be the same person, but until David publishes the full list of names, we have no way of knowing.

Will the BPA be registered with the Electoral Commission? Will David ever publish the full list of BPA candidates? Tune in next week for another exciting instalment!

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