Sunday, 20 June 2010
I: It’s been so long.
I’ve been really busy recently, which is why I’ve not been posting so much. But whenever I've thought of returning to political blogging, I've found obstacles. When summing up my political views I described myself as ‘an economic old leftist’. I guess it would have been easier to call myself ‘an old leftist’ of the Clement Atlee school: supporting universal health care and nationalised industries, but not caring about identity politics, and coming from a supposedly ‘less-enlightened’ time when unborn children were given legal protection and presiding over a time when a Brit socialist was weaving a far out fantasy of a Britain covered in CCTV. Also, whilst I don’t think immigrants should really have to earn respect, I do think that the commonwealth immigrants in the 40s-50s did so by showing a strong desire to conform to British values despite often receiving shameful discrimination. I suspect this was partially because the old left, entirely correctly, welcomed people of all colours, but asked them to respect the country.
Changed days now. One of the reasons that I was deterred from writing about politics was that I was utterly poleaxed by this article from one of Britain’s supposedly nice supposedly leftist supposedly intelligent journalists: Sunny ‘brown people should vote Tory’ Hundal.
Sunny didn’t let his previous words of support for the Tory party stop him from setting down his very own litmus test for what a leftist is: thinking people should be rewarded for breaking laws designed at helping prevent capitalist exploitation. In other words, no need to respect our laws aimed at helping the poorest citizens: in fact if you help to destroy these laws and subsequently help the middle classes find cheap labour, then welcome on board. If Brown disagrees he 'is not fit to lead the country (neither is Cameron of course, but I was always going to say that'. Course you were Sunny.
Whilst I am very much a part of a largely immigrant community, and spent the best part of a week recently helping elderly ladies who don’t speak English, I really hope I’m not alone in thinking that Hundal is speaking typical atomised middle class self-righteous drivel (I know nothing about Mr Hundal but I can’t help noticing that most our media class as well as being predominantly posh white also contains ethnic minorities who generally have no more to do with poor immigrants than their Eton WASP buddies). As far as I’m concerned the number one issue for British leftists is in restructuring the economy to help the millions who live under the poverty line, the large numbers of long-term unemployed and the millions living in unsanitary accommodation. Otherwise, incidentally, things will get even worse not just for the indigenous poor Brits of all colours (who the ‘progressives’ don’t care about) but for the immigrants who move into the bad accommodation and work conditions that our corrupt politicians have allowed to exist.
However, coming back and reading this really made me want to go away and leave the ‘left’ blogosphere for even longer. According to Hari the gay community were all for Cameron when he was talking about getting tough on the poor. But when it came to allying himself with social conservatives in East Europe (about which more later) they suddenly found their social conscience.
Hari (who previously attacked the ‘disastrous’ nationalised industries that disastrously provided employment for the urban working classes) also tries to lever the Lib Dems towards seeing things his way. The reason? The majority of Lib dem voters are ‘left wing’.
Again, is this what the left is really about? Thinking that a bloke should be allowed to become another bloke’s husband? I’m all for gay rights in oppressive regimes, and have signed Avaaz petitions to that effect, but really: living in a G8 country where tens of thousands of children are malnourished I don’t quite find it the most pressing issue of the day.
Furthermore, he speaks about the famous incident of Chris Grayling voicing his support for the B & B owners who turned away a gay couple: equating it with racism. Whilst I don’t think such discrimination is nice, I don’t think that lifestyle is the same as race (and incidentally, whilst I would find it extremely distasteful if a B & B owner did want to reject a black couple, I would indeed support their legal right to do so).
The third thing that deterred me was reading this and watching this. Yep, I find Alf Garnett more entertaining than Tanya Gold. Is that a sign I’m not left wing?
I'd say not. I think the Alf and Arthur sketch is so funny because it plays on male insecurity (and yes, I think 'Marigold' could have been a bit less camp) and it is funny how after roaring about 'pooftahs' they go all sotto voce when speaking about Lesbians. However, for today's PC squad who love to condemn because it makes them feel good about basically doing nothing, it could only be seen as a hate speech. So in the end everything challenging has to be edited out, and we are left with Tanya's 'hilarious' article about being a fat chick in a plastic costume. In the 'left wing' Graunland, where 'we' take three foreign holidays a year. And where people who 'never had it so good' would be 'under the poverty line now'. Some dafties make out that's because of inflation, but for Graun lefties the poor are just whingers.
II: The PC Dialectic
When I was younger I used to love watching wildlife programmes. One thing that still remains with me was the way that the lions would gracefully bound after a wildebeest, chase it, kill it, and then after a short-lived triumph they'd very often skulk away as a pack of scabby hyenas would scare them off and guzzle the prey.
That really reminds me of the story of modern Brit politics. The cultural left get very self-righteous, they try to destroy traditional values in the name of 'equality', they attack the language, the sense-of-humour, the faith the institutions of a country: then generally makes themselves so unpopular that the rightwingers come along and take advantage of the atomised miserable society the cultural Marxists have created where everyone hates each other and sees each other as devoid of value.
After that it's just a matter of making a few supermarkets with different prices and carrier bags: then watch friendless inadequates whose chief achievement is buying tomatoes in Waitrose go off on a Leni Reifenstahl about how much superior they are to us poor sods who go to Lidls.
Now there is nothing to choose between any of the three parties in anything but mild economic differences. All are anti-poor, anti-industrial, pro-abortion, pro-battery farming, anti-gun ownership, pro CCTV and in favour of saying whatever it is fashionable to say.
What is to be Done
In the words of Neil Clark:
'By organising a mass pan-European movement to oppose privatisation and cutbacks in state provision of health, welfare and education, we can defeat today's anti-democratic, money-grabbing, pinstripe-suited tyrants.'
Yes, by organising this we can. But can we?
I'd make a few points:
-The 'mainstream' political left will probably continue to fluff up any efforts to attract the large East European voting block in Britain that could be expected to be sympathetic to 'Old Labour' values.
Firstly because barely any Labour MPs are. Secondly, even those socially conservative leftists on the outskirts of the political system: such as Neil Clark and David Lindsey tend towards Euroscepticism, especially regarding immigration.
Whilst I realise that there is a lot wrong both with the EU and with Britain's immigration policy, I think we have to seize the opportunity of using the influx of foreign workers to revitalise the Old Left.
As my friend Bogdan says:
'Those who have turned the UK into a huge social engineering laboratory meant to create the new (politically correct) human being won’t stop'
This is very true and is reflected in our weird society, where many blokes think (or pretend to think) Sex and the City is a work of genius: rather than a stupid piece of materialistic consumerist crap aimed at the dumbest members of the fair sex.
I think few socially libertarian leftists really understand just how totalitarian the PC movement is: especially in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Whilst I have no desire to own porno, it was astounding how middle class radical feminists were quick to feel that THEY were the true victims of impoverished girls being exploited and team up with the right to take statist censorship policies in the USA.
For this reason, I really do think the most liberal prodigal sons of the left movement would be best returning to the fold (and incidentally, I don't oppose civil unions or generous immigration: I just think the focus of the left should be the urban poor).
I also think that there should be a left-wing web campaign designed at mocking the most self-righteous leftists.
Lastly, I think some leftists more intelligent and cultured than me should revitalise Atlee's vision of Brit TV as providing quality culture. Being honest I'm not above watching some pretty dubious stuff, but the Big Brother/ Stars in their Eyes mush is a powerful tool in the capitalist arsenal.