The Problem with BULS

Now i really do not mean to offend and i do really dislike punch and judy partian politcs but BULS have jsut riled me of late.
My assessment of them from what i have read, and the tone of their comments is that they are a pretty left of the labour party sort of bunch. which would make them, out of touch??

they talk alot about how they campaign for social justice on their blog, but i see very few ideas about how things should change in their blogs.

however my main qualm with them is that they challenge anything i say as if i was part of the thatcher era. well i am sorry to say i was only just born when thatcher was elected for the first time. they seem to assume i am an ultra right of centre politician with an inate hatred of poor people. well let it be news to them that i come from a very working class heritage and if they bothered to read mu last 10 blogs for example they would discover a keen interest in how politcs can help those in most need in our society.

in fact most of my blogs relate to improving social policy and i take offence at their unfounded criticisms.

they can’t seem to get it into their minds that we have changed and are changing and that if they want to out argue us they are going ot have ot be abit more sophisticated than mud throwiing and dragging up politcs from nearly 30 years ago.

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21 thoughts on “The Problem with BULS

  1. Ryan,

    Indeed, I wasn’t even born when Thatcher came to power. What I think you need to understand, however, is the level of solidarity you have with your fellow BUCF members. This is the reason I have urged you to join the Labour Party in the past, or at least get out of the Tories. If you are genuinely quite happy to say “we have changed and are changing” and can tally that with the views that are expressed in a sustained manner by some of your fellow party members, then I think you are doing both your centrist credentials and yourself a disservice.

    BULS aren’t a left-wing bunch (or an any-wing bunch for that matter). Sure, we probably have a few people who believe Michael Foot should be made Honorary President of the UK, just as many of your lot believe the same of Thatcher. I think what your blog quite clearly illustrates is just how ignorant to the centrist political ground your members are. Politics are relative – one policy is regarded as sitting to the right or left of another. Does it not demonstrate something fairly glaringly obvious to you that the majority of your membership regard centrist policies as “left wing?” Could it be, shock of all shocks, that perhaps you are still sitting just a little bit too far to the right to see any centrist policy as anything other than left-wing?

    As I am one of those who take a perverse pleasure from coming on this blog and criticising Thatcher, et al, to your more socially-challenged clientelle, I can assume that perhaps an element of your post is directed at me. I’m happy to say I’m left of centre, and happy to challenge you to have a good rake through my years worth of BULS blogs and challenge me on something that niggles your idea of what is good left-of-centre (or even centre-of-centre) policy.

    I’m very happy to be on the Labour Party’s Parliamentary Panel, and it may surprise you that worshippers of Michael Foot are rather few and far between amongst its ranks these days. Perhaps a good measure of when your party has moved on from “dragging up politics from nearly 30 years ago” will be when you can say the same about the proportion of your active members who don’t worship your Party’s very own “Michael Foot”

    Incidentally, your last comment sums my view up perfectly: although I’ll always prefer a good debate based on substance than a petty bit of mud throwing, as you put it – I simply cannot get it into my mind that the Tories have changed a bit. The real test will be whether the public can be fooled by your new superficial centrism…

    I very much doubt it.

  2. It is clear from many BULS’ comments that they are far more stuck in the eighties than our CF branch. Politically, I think the Conservative party as a whole is lightyears ahead of Labour. Labour are still in anti-Thatcher, anti-tory mode, whereas in fact, the public are moving on. Old arguments, increasingly less and less relevant, are the hallmark of a political party in terminal decline. We went through it, and now it’s Labour’s turn. Enjoy it Tories!

  3. … And it’s fascinatng John that you should say, “I simply cannot get it into my mnd that the Tories have changed”.

    I would say to you that your inability to grasp the change, is the very reason why Labour is in decline. The Conservatives in the 1990s, also could not grasp that Labour had changed, that Labour had moved towards the centre. But Labour had changed, leaving the Conservatives out on a limb and destined for opposition. Enjoy it John!

  4. Ryan, I know it’s not nice to be associated with the Thatcher years- some truely horrible policies were enacted through that time and it’s not something any pleasent person from a working class background like yourself could wish to be associated with. The Conservatives may well be changing and moving away from them in some respects, Labour too went through a period of change some years back- there is nothing wrong with change.

    However, I fail to see how the core message has changed. As I pointed out to you with my comments to the blog about strikes, you were clearly trumpeting the “on yer bike” message of the eighties! On the issue of gay rights, while the party is more accepting now it still believes straight couples make better parents than gay couples; and on the issue of marriage, they still believe married parents are more fit to raise children than single parents. While the precise policy in these areas has modernised, the core messages haven’t changed, and it is these areas of stagnation we refer to when we talk of the Thatcher years- I don’t see anything wrong in us doing this when we can back it up.

    Of course you can list plenty where your party has moved on- having voted against every single piece of environmental legislation to come before parliament, the Cameron era has at last seen sense and taken the issue seriously. This is good change.

    It’s nice that we’re debating this sensibly rather than “slinging mud”, but I can’t help but find your comments on our “out of touch”ness rather amusing. Our party is a very broad church. We all agree on the underlying principles but differ on how they should be enacted. There’s nothing wrong with this- I find it creepy when people just chirp along to the party line and I have no intention of doing so when I disagree. There’s nothing wrong with debate. And I have to ageree with John when he says that politics are relative- for from where I’m looking, I’m afraid the centre ground is rather devoid of Tories.

  5. If the working classes didn’t want to be associated with Thatcher, why did so many working class voters support her Brigid?

  6. …Also, few actual members need to be in the centre-ground for a party to look like it’s in the centre-ground and win an election. Your party should know this more than any other.

  7. “Ryan, I know it’s not nice to be associated with the Thatcher years- some truely horrible policies were enacted through that time and it’s not something any pleasent person from a working class background like yourself could wish to be associated with” EXCCCCCCCCUUUUUSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEEEE ME??????!!!!!!! Thatcher EMPOWERED the working man…. well every man in every sense of the word. We are a property owning democracy because of her whereas most of Europe RENT! Admittedly there were teething problems… things went haywire for a time… but they were soon back on track and the economy has never been more stable… that isnt the legacy of Labour… that is the enduring legacy of Thatcherite economics which to be fair Labour have continued.

    I am quite disheartened by engaging in this type of banter but my main issue with BULS is this…. so we talk about Thatcher…. so we talk about the Queen… so we like tradition… WHO CARES?! The majority of British people are traditionalists and to a degree nostalgic. BULS need to realise that whether they intend to or not… they come across as incredibly left wing and unjustifiably hostile not just to the conservative party… but CONSERVATIVES… Ie Individual members, which is pathetic!

    Also just a little thought… should the Conservatives win the next election, my personal bet is hung parliament, then does that make the British public who elected them nostalgic, out of touch arch Thatcherites? or does it indicate that Labour is out of touch. I believe it to be the latter. Labour have a hard lesson to learn. We under-estimated Labour in 1997, we threw similar mud at them (although it was harder as they “stole our clothes”) and we were out of power for a long time. But we have changed whether some small minded and forgive me, self righteous members of BULS recognise it or not. I personally will not apologise for recognising the achievements of our greatest Prime Minister (when youve been out of power for so long YOU DO GET NOSTALGIC!:p) I am sure Labour will hark back to Blair for years to come… the difference is we wont criticse them for it.

  8. Bridget there is obviously within the Conservative party huge differences in opinion, like labour, like any institution. however my personal experience of many younger conservatives is that they also agree with the new liberal centre-right focus of Cameron. the bulk of our committee are of this mindset.

    things have and are developing.

    My views regarding thatcher are that economically she took some tough decisions that have beared fruit, however socially i think her government was lacking. we failed to recognise that but labour did, that’s why yu came ot power with such a vast maj.

    i feel that as a CF branch we are at the forefront of change in our party, i do not get the same sense from you guys. i admitt though we still have a long way before we have persuaded the public.

    the other issues like marriage etc i would have ot debate in person about, as my views are quite specififc.

  9. Pingback: The problem with BUCF « Birmingham University Labour Students

  10. The first thing was I was planning on organising a joint BULS/BUCF event… :-)

    I love the fact that John Ritchie, Gary Hughes, Tom Guise and Brigid Jones, all prominant members of the labour club, are now referred to as ‘BULS this’ and ‘BULS that.’ It’s like in Guild politics when we often talk of factions but instead should just name the people we have a problem with.

    This is essentially an argument about whether BUCF or BULS are more extremist. Guise has accused you lot of being rightwing while on the other hand you refer to us as socialists.

    I hate to break the news but this is all fundamentally subjective. When I take the time to read your blog I notice that you each have your own opinions, your own thoughts and you all came to your own conclusions, however unconventional. The best example was the period when Dan Cowdrill looked like he was going to defect. Dan OD on the other hand is something of a staunch loyalist. And the other posters – Jimmy and Ryan – are somewhere in the middle. I do find this blog palatable – Dan OD’s stuff I find a bit too rightwing for my liking (personally) but I recognise that you dont have the same opinions on everything and I certainly would never refer to a ‘BUCF position’.

    On the BULS political spectrum: Gary fluctuates a little bit but at the end of the day is a republican. John is, by my standards, pretty centrist though he often pretends to be leftwing – its abit of an image thing. Brig is probably the most left wing, big on feminism. And I attribute the quote “the labout party never really was socialist” to Tom Guise, certainly not a socialist.

    So all I would ask is we respect the fact that people have opinions and it is probably wrong to characterise people too broadly.

    Tom Marley
    Chair of BULS

  11. Pingback: Let us learn… « The Cowfield

  12. I couldn’t agree with you more Tom, I also think if people take the trouble to read The Cowfield’s point of views they are also a good summary!!

  13. i take the criticism, the blog wan only intended to express some of my more general thoughts about members that i had spoken to and their reponses. of course each member has their own opinions. my stand by my main point however that i feel in disscussion with some members i feel llike i am debating with someone who has an outdated vision of our party.

  14. Tom… well observed… I am a staunch loyalist and I make no apology for it. My issue is not with people with different opinions… quite the contrary I like having a banter and debate… but some of your members… no names mentioned… engage in very petty and very personal banter which i would prefer not to engage in. They have to accept that the country not just an individual party is very split with the left… the right… the middle… and the extremes of each wing. Regardless we have to respect the others right to choose their own political path and we should not try to cram our opinion down others throats. BUCF is very divided politically as I am sure BULS is… but I can speak for myself when I say I repect the other members viewpoints however much I may disagree with them. I understand that my views may be seen as a bit out of touch and a bit traditonalist but so what? There are many millions of britons from all walks of life who would support them.

  15. Last thing I will say on this…

    Ryan, you say you feel you are debating with people who have an outdated version of your party. I recognise what your saying and no-one will deny that the Conservative Party is different in some ways to what it was 20 years ago.

    But that is only your opinion. And people will disagree. And they will use Tory policies to illustrate how the Tories still, in my opinion, favour the few.

    People on your blog refer to us as the reds or the socialists. It was once claimed I was leading a ‘merry band of socialists.’ And then I get told we’re all hard leftwingers. That’s your opinion, I respect that. I’ll engage with it in debate, but I can’t moan about the fact the people have opinions.

    Ironically when John Cruddas was asked if he would like to visit BULS his response was “Aren’t they a bunch of crazy rightwingers.” It’s quite funny really.

  16. Pingback: View from the floor « Birmingham University Labour Students

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