The relevance of PMQs and Twitter – either to each other or the future of our species – may not at first sight be obvious. In this extended post, The Slog argues that the real problem is divided opposition to the greatest global danger; and the evasive dishonesty of ideological defensiveness is a catalyst for the growth of that problem.
Whenever I watch Prime Minister’s Questions (which is very rarely these days) I find myself increasingly convinced that it’s a sort of diabolical cross between the Yes/No interlude and Twitter.
For those readers not over 65, I should explain that the Yes/No interlude was part of a 1950s game show, Take Your Pick, hosted by a ghastly man called Michael Miles. Each week the contestants would have to avoid saying either yes or no for 60 seconds, while being asked rapid-fire questions by Miles. Very few managed it.
Today, most people under 30 would fail by virtue of yesbutnobut, or the increasingly prevalent Yesno. Millions more would pass easily by saying Dunno. Most people in public life beyond show business, however, would be the perfect contestant in that they rarely if ever say either yes or no about anything.
On the whole, politicians never answer any questions at all, let alone with yes or no; and that tendency has now moved on to the increasing cesspit of mania and denial formerly known as Twitter. Let me illustrate by example.
At the start of today’s PMQs, Jeremy Corbyn asked David Cameron three separate questions about the recent floods, all requiring a simple answer to a simple question about previous investment cuts in flood defences and bridge repairs. Each of the PM’s replies could be sequentially categorised as follows:
patriotism – ignoring – evading – hiding – statistics – ignoring – insulting – joking – complicating – reverse questioning – answering another question – point-scoring – patriotism – strong economy – insulting – sitting down.
In short, failure to answer any single element of the questions directed at him in any way whatsoever.
Sometimes, under pressure – when the profile of the question is too high for the runaround deceit – a Minister will have a pre-agreed lie to hand. Once emitted, the lie is then defended with constant repetition – as, for example, about the Newscorp Boxing Day lunch, the misuse of power by Jeremy Hunt during the BSkyB bid, the number of hours being worked in the economy, the average household take-home pay since 2008, and the repayment of Britain’s national debt. So one can précis the process like this:
Ignore Evade joke stats insult lie repetition
The two things missing are a straight answer and logic. The element added is that of putting the questioner in the wrong on another topic. It’s a foolproof system if you’re a bigot either trying to defend the indefensible or hide the illogic of your argument – and it is now in almost universal use on Twitter. The difference – and this is really where the trouble starts with the Jack Dorsey Jitterbug – is when the followers of the person with whom one’s trying to have a debate decide to wade in; however, the MO of the process has the same three absences – Yes, No, and a straight answer – as per in the Take Your PM’s Questions fusion.
Second example. Yesterday I came across a Libyan Muslim lady who tweeted, I thought disingenuously, that she wished to express ‘sympathy for Sikhs attacked as a result of Islamophobia’.
The Sikhs were attacked thanks to American ignorance and racism, not Islamaphobia – a term of which I’m always wary, because it represents one of the standard weapons of the Islamic apologist. So I asked politely whether she could explain why she had used the word Islamaphobia.
The usual innocently obtuse and diversionary questions came back, and within two tweets I was being asked what my solution was to the fellow-travelling thing. So I said ‘not my place, I’m not a Muslim’ and I got
‘OK then, tweet me when you have an idea’
Now you see, I’ve been branded the ignoramous, so the blame bounces back to me. And so it continued….andonandonandon. Then a follower chipped in to say ‘well then, do you blame Christianity for this that and etc etc’ – to which I responded ‘Yes I do’….even though the premise of two wrongs making a right is an infantile level of reasoning. She didn’t seem to know what to do with that.
Finally, Miss Libya returned on high camel to tell me I was ‘so rude’, and that she had tried hard to answer all my questions but nothing satisfied me. At which juncture, a further disciple blundered in to call me ‘a querulous troll’, and this in turn got retweeted by two further kneejerks.
In this exchange, the outcome is very similar to the PMQs strategy –
Ignore Evade joke insult lie
- and had I not called a halt here we would’ve moved on to repetition.
There are various points I’m making about these two very different media forms, and I will try to summarise them now…before moving on to the macro ramifications.
- Neither PMQs nor Twitter are (at least 90% of the time) in any way real-life debates – they are propaganda output designed to frustrate the emergence of an objective truth and thus protect a controlling ideology.
- Objective Truth is of course a difficult cove to lasso, but the closer one gets to it, the more one gets stable consensus.
- By contrast, PMQs and Twitter are the contemporary equivalents of 1930s Soviet show trials, in which the aim is not to gather evidence, but to frustrate, anger and then divide those they see as The Enemy…but most definitely not allies in a mission to improve the human condition.
The four most dangerous controlling ideologies in the World today, I would argue, are Tiny Elite neoliberalism, Big State socialist correctionism, Islam and Superstate-funded Globalist colonialism. (The best reason I can give for wanting out of the EU is that it’s the only entity of any size that manages to squeeze in every one of those threats to personal liberty).
But as I’ve written on numerous occasions, the very act of attacking these four tribes instantly evokes quadraphonic bile, and excommunication from their temples. I don’t mind this personally – anyone who cannot discern the dangers to freedom in, respectively, fascism, political correctness, state-sponsored religion and monopolism needs help: the last thing I want is to be caught up in that. However – and this is by far my main concern here – I think it is primarily globalist colonialism that drives the other three….and, in two cases at least, also divides any opposition they may have to it.
Once you start to study closely where the power is – and I’ve been at that game now for six years online and on the ground – it is with globalist manufacturing and services – that is, multinational makers, banking movers, and media moguls. They buy the legislators, blackmail the political executives, sway mass opinion, bankroll the Parties, employ billions of citizens, break the law, pervert the police and put pressure on the judiciary.
Without this group, radical expansionist Islam would be but a tiny schism among worshippers of Allah. What brought them onto the world scene as a threat was the duplicitous and infinite obsession of US-dominated globalism with control of energy resources, and in some cases money given directly to nutcases in order to make them the enemies of America’s enemies. What makes Islamism an internally destructive entity is its religious schisms going back centuries, and largely unresolved…and the US has played on this, but ionically grown ‘the whole’.
In turn, what fanned the flames of an Israel-hatred and broader anti-Semitism was the unquestioning support of Washington for Tel Aviv’s situation. As it happens, I support it too – virulent anti-Semitism is a given throughout much of the Middle East, and I loathe the envious and obscene nature of most of it. But the fact is that while Israel needs protection from radical Islam, the help it gets from the US compounds the problem….being driven by as it is colonialist global business which is often Jewish-controlled. Although many take me to task for saying this, a lot of Islamism is ineluctably linked to Arab nationalism.
This traditional ‘IS’ wing of socialism in general, and liberal self-styled progressivism, wade in on the side of ‘the Arabs’ (itself a silly generalisation) because they see them as gallant opponents of US exploitation. In recent years this has reached Animal Farm proportions of fanciful bigotry, along the lines of ‘Arab good, Israel bad’. The fact that, in terms of democracy, stability, sheer hard work and scientific advance, Israel makes a mockery of this model makes no difference: once again, blind ideology is in play.
That blindness forces the socialist/progressive axis and its feminist wing to confront the reality of cultural antithesis between Islamic misogynists on the one hand and shrill misandry on the other. Their answer to this is to park the Elephant in the upstairs boxroom, and pretend it isn’t there…..excreting through the living-room ceiling.
Finally, the neoliberal social model is right behind the globalist free-market fantasy, but there are complications. First, the immediate social effect is pauperisation of the poor and the immigrant….this is demonstrable fuel for the radicalisation of Islamic youth, both in the French banlieu and the British sink Estate. And second, being largely so-called ‘Right-wingers’, those behind free markets also tend to be nationalist….which makes them anti-Superstate.
Viewed in the British context, the line-up now looks like this:
Conservatives – Friedmanite, anti-socialist, pro-globalist, split on Superstate membership
UKip – Nationalist, anti-socialist, virulently anti-SuperState membership
Labour – Split between mixed-economy socialists and harder-Left growing opposition to social effects of neoliberalism, largely pro-SuperState
Liberal Democrat – almost extinct, all over the place
Scottish National Party – anti-Westminster, pro-SuperState, pro-Socialist/social justice but anti Scottish Labour
This is the bottom line: all of these have internal contradictions, but all of them are tribes following an ideology. They literally repel each other most of the time. They are all fractured and controlled by globalist colonialism because it alone is genuinely united by one undivided ideology: domination through material greed.
To repeat a point I’ve made many times: the dominant ideology wins because everyone in it has the same interest – in every sense of the word. It isn’t an active conspiracy, and never was….rather, it is a homogenous psychographic of those with one goal – MORE. It has no real philosophy – it just borrows them to suit its goal – whether it be Ted Levitt or Milton Friedman is completely irrelevant.
All the other players – political Parties, religious sects, supranationalists and so on – squabble within themselves and between themselves about strategy, means, tactics and ends. That’s why – as long as they conform to (and wallow in) ridiculous rituals like Twitter and PMQs, they do not stand a snowball in Hell’s chance of stopping the dominant ideology.