Wednesday, 30 June 2010
I: There's a whole Lots of Times I wish I Could Say I'm not Middle Class
But after reading this, I think I'll have to. Mrs Elliot writes an article 'Why I use the term Middle Class as an Insult'. Her answer appears to be that it is because Te Graun pays middle class feminists to spout all sorts of illogical socially liberal gobbledegook that self-flagellating metropolitan leftists lap up.
But Elliot describes why she isn't middle class:
'It's also because I probably am a bit of a Marxist in that I don't believe material things define class so much as power does, along with some ownership of the means of production, and I know we don't possess either of those...
This is the key when it comes to talking about class. It's about knowing, when push comes to shove, which group or class of people has your interests at heart. And it's this that I'm referring to when I use "middle class" as an insult.
People who have never known anything but privilege and wealth, who went to private school, then Oxbridge, and who, thanks to mummy and daddy's connections, has had doors opened to them all their life, cannot possibly know what it is to be poor.'
See! Unless you've been to Oxbridge and have high-level connections, you're working class, and entitled to feel a victim.
Given the government cuts that are coming up there's a good chance that I'll soon be joining the proletarian class in employment terms (and of course by Elliot's definition I can't be middle class anyway). Not that I would regard being fired as meaning anything but moving to a different type of workplace (or possibly the rock and roll if I'm unlucky): I'm hardly living a middle class existence now, either socially (by choice) or economically and I myself have criticised the 'middle class' as an institution. This was because I was diagnosed as 'ill' for not being too good at sums and for not being able to tell when someone is speaking bullshit. But given how Michael Gove has climbed the social ladder and doesn't seem to be regarded as too deviant, I can't say I'm complaining that I was deemed unsuitable for work in a professional office environment.
Still, I would define myself as middle class purely because I don't want to make out that I can really claim to share in the suffering of those who are truly impoverished.
And that is what gets to me about people like Elliot, who provoked the charming (and evidently very popular) rebuke captured above.
II: Opposites Attract
The irony is that Herremott actually has more in common with Elliot than either of them would think. Whilst I don't know if Herremott has enlightened anyone with his opinion on the subject I'd be very surprised if he didn't share Elliot's attitude towards abortion. The weird thing is though that the feminist left that patronises the working class does seem to be moving towards union with the very neo-liberal right that is full of hatred for the working classes. Elliot fully supports a pro-abortion advert, even though it is obviously aimed at getting rid of people that the powers-that-be want rid of (who they think are too stupid to know that a missed period is a sign of pregnancy). However, she is smug because her opponents are the 'religious right', or at least she defines them as such for their opposition to sexual equality legislation. whilst I am myself very squeamish about the way in which many Christian groups focus on homosexuality, especially whilst bankers, weapons-traders and war-mongers are ignored, I do think equal rights legislation can often increase the role of statism, censorship and litigation in our society.
But even then, I think Elliot has little right to be smug about the company she keeps. Just look at Ian Dunt's neo-Malthusian attitude towards the liberal eugenicist argument for abortion:
'The excellent and challenging book 'Freakonomics', by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner documents a fascinating case study showing a sudden decrease in serious crime in American inner-cities. The authors posit, with a commendable indifference to the controversy they would detonate, that this began the first year that Roe Vs Wade, which effectively legalised abortion in the US, began to have an effect on society. Suddenly, the up and coming criminals, born of families which could not care, love for or afford them, were simply not being born. They were being aborted. Crime plummeted.'
Did crime really 'plummet'? And if so what type of crime? Is it better for someone never to have been born than to be born and steal a handbag? And how many others would would it be worth depriving of the right to life so that someone wouldn't be born to steal a handbag? Also note the creepy way that Dunt implies that those who disagree with his subjective comments is mentally ill or a religious fundamentalist. And this isn't even taking into account that Roe V Wade came shortly after Johnson's Great Society movement (though it was introduced during Nixon's presidency). And look at the strange neo-Puritanical idea of people being destined by economic class to be criminals. No idea of spiritual development: people are pre-destined by their income bracket to be eligible for being killed with a vacuum cleaner. It is for this reason that whilst I am generally sceptical about Christian involvement in politics (and find the ID/creationist movements very embarrassing) I'll always be 'Orthodox' philosophically.
I would be the last to say that abortion is an uncomplicated issue and I realise that social democrats who oppose it have a long struggle ahead. However, I do wish that others would look at how it is marketed. Nick Clegg's jumping into bed with the Tories could be a more sinister sign than many appreciate and a demonstration of how the social leftists and economic rightists who destroyed the British working classes in the 1980s are still in tandem and won't miss a few unborn 'council estate scum'. The Malthusian idea of Britain and the world being overpopulated is actually quite popular in upper class circles what with it being an interest of Prince Charles. Though to be fair the Prince only has one sprog himself. Did I just say that? Sorry, I forgot about his younger ginger-haired 'son'. Anyway, Boris Johnson is also worried about population growth, but evidently doesn't think a surplus of Johnsons is a problem if his brood is anything to go by.
In my humble opinion a plague will come upon the earth and create vast depopulation, but even if that did happen, our betters would still be concerned that the underlings are having too many children.
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.
Thursday, 17 June 2010
This is me bringing the old blog out of hibernation. I'll probably ultimately ditch this and switch horses, but thinking about what's what first. Or in other words why I ultimately felt pretty unsatisfied with this blog.
Those who followed my blog will pretty much know my politics: I'm economically 'old left', socially ambivalent (pro-life, against the right to sue for discrimination except in very compelling circumstances, no views on civil partnerships, in favour of legalising handguns, most drugs as well as prostitution), internationally isolationist, anti-war, in favour of multi-ethnic patriotism though against politicised multiculturalism and ghettoisation, and in favour of intelligent pan-Europeanism though fairly ambivalent about the EU, in favour of high immigration, but immigration in tandem with a sensible housing strategy (an area where the self-righteous left and atavistic right are equally bad). I'm generally libertarian in terms of civil liberties/ surveillance but think it worth noting that many social-democratic countries have better records in this regard than capitalist ones.
Whilst this is a wide list of my political views, not all of them hold the same weight. I don't even take caffeine after early afternoon, but can't see what we gain by giving the drugs trade to criminals. Likewise, I'd have no interest in visiting prostitutes (or indeed in becoming one) but can't see what society gains by putting vulnerable people from poor backgrounds under the 'protection' of savage pimps rather than the police. However, I think the priority should be in creating an egalitarian and happy society that prevents these things rather than in using statist approaches to the outcomes and for that reason would support dirigisme social conservatives.
My cultural tastes (which I hope to focus on more) might be less well-known: lots of (generally pretty naff) music from the 60s-80s, Brit films of the 60s-70s, books with lots of drama from Aeschylus to HP Lovecraft. I think I'll bring more cultural reviews in partially because I relate to Britain more through its popular culture than to the country Britain has become.
Anyway, I think my bitterness towards modern Britain came out too much. There is a lot that's very badly wrong with modern Britain, but I think it is possible to unintentionally multiply the historicist solecisms of the very people who are ruining our country. For instance, we keep hearing about what a rotten country that Russia is because of its history. In fact Russia was a deeply enlightened country during late Tsarism. But if you want to attack a modern country based on its history, just read accounts of people being hanged, drawn and quartered in front of massive, baying crowds in England.
But even then, on a more personal level I do love Britain or Scotland at least: though spiritually, linguistically, demographically and historically I see Scotland as largely Northumbrian (and whilst I have some sympathy for the Gaelic movement West of Kingussie, I find it positively creepy how they're inveigling their way eastwards). There is an open-mindedness and a sense of humour that doesn't exist in many countries. Yes, there are uniquely odious creatures spawned on the humid flatlands of the South and, being honest, reading George Orwell's views on Britain (i.e. a small patch of South East) leave me cold. But overall I think many Brits are really amongst the most open-minded and friendly people on the planet and the British language has a great flexibility and beauty.
I'm hoping that I might be able to make a contribution to debates on British politics which might be coming up whilst possibly also focusing on what I think the left should do. But as we don't know what our masters are scheming at present, it is difficult to know what to say.
Thanks to all the people who contributed comments to my blog; it is always encouraging to get feedback whether positive or negative.
(If this reads like a very badly thought-out-ramble it's cause I've been feeling really, really rough: summer cold/ hayfever combo).