Judging from the last forty-eight hours, neither of the Establishment losers have learned anything from Friday’s referendum. But if nothing else, Camerlot has at least accepted the result with good grace. While this may be a case of “be sincere even if you don’t mean it”, the British liberal-Left axis has shown yet again that it dislikes being rebuffed. Not too far below the surface, the Establishment detests the citizenry. But Labour, as usual, wears its superiority complex on its sleeve. The Slog examines whether socialist ideology has any place any more in a society struggling to win back its democratic rights.
Towards the end of June 1969, I turned over my Degree finals Political Theory exam paper, and saw the first question:
‘Democratic Socialism is a contradiction in terms: discuss’
If you answered questions as open as that – way back then, when original thought was valued as opposed to vilified – then it was vital to say something fresh and well informed. If one simply drivelled on for 30 minutes in Leninspart syntax, chances were the examiners would give you a low 2:2 at best.
Being only 21 at the time, I was about as well-informed as as kid playing in Pompeii on August 24th 79 AD. But I had visited Eastern Europe (none of the Trots on my course had) and I was already forming the idea in my head that there wasn’t a whole lot of difference between the Church of Rome during the Inquisition, and the Kremlin during Stalin’s purges.
My exam answer – a classic fudge – was to draw a distinction between Communists and Social Democrats, pointing out how post war social justice had not jettisoned democracy. I also slipped in the classic Nye Bevan quote, “The purpose of power is to give it back”.
Today – especially after the last ten years of bile-spitting Labour in general and the UK referendum on the EU in particular – I suspect I’d give a much more direct and succinct answer to that exam question. It would probably be along the lines of ‘Given socialists only ever say “the answer is socialism, now what’s the question?”, there is very little to discuss: democratic socialism is an oxymoron’.
Like radical Islam, the British Left today is typified by an inability to engage: it knows best
Like radical Islam, the British Left today is a collection of aggressive placards: ‘Smash capitalism now’ and ‘Behead all Infidels’
Like radical Islam, the British Left today attaches a generalised smear to every contrarian: for ‘depraved Western values of US Satan’, substitute ‘Brexiteers are scumfascist racebigots’
When faced with defeat in 2010, then again in 2015, and now yet again in 2016, the Labour Party analysis doesn’t start with “What did we do wrong?”, but rather from “The electorate is wrong, it must be reeducated”.
They did the same with opposition to Thatcher in the 1980s. Only when it had been defeated three times in a row did Labour lurch the other way, and buy into the content-free spin of Blair, Campbell and Mandelson. As long as that combo was winning, the vast majority of Labour supporters went along with sucking up to bankers, the Iraq war, and perverting the Rule of Law to help UK arms sales to the Saudis. Two seconds after they lost in 2010, however, Blair was a war criminal and the Liberal Democrats were despicable toadies.
The truth is that, had the bombastic Ed Balls not behaved like a blithering infantile idiot during the negotiations with the LibDems in 2010, Cameron would never have made it to Downing Street. Why are we in the econo-fiscal mess we are now? Because the contemporary Labour Party is about as ecumenical as Daesh.
But the Labour Party blames us, the electorate.
For all its hand-wringing about the trials now faced by the New Poor in Britain, since 2010 Labour has done precious little to campaign effectively on their behalf.
In a general sense, 2015 Metro Labour embraced trendy causes of little or no interest to the mass of its natural voters. They lost because Miliband wittered and tweeted endlessly about LGBT, as if the salons of Highgate and Muswell Hill might reflect the urgent needs of the neglected of Scotland. The Scots’ reaction was to wipe Labour off the map.
The present Camerlot administration has stolen six years of pension monies from 1950s born women. Former Minister for Women Harriet Harman has done nothing – not so much as a single tweet – to support the cause of the innocent victims of that heinous crime. Instead, Harman was to be seen in recent days at the side of David Cameron, campaigning vigorously for Britain to stay in a European Union that shows roughly the same level of genuine sympathy for its increasingly pauperised citizens.
But why should Hattie bother to help a bunch of scumracist bigotfascists who are often off-message when it comes to her warped view of social anthropology? Why indeed: as a privileged member of an upper-middle class family replete with fluffy do-gooders, she finds it perfectly natural to look down on the poor dears who know no better than to vote for her Party.
And therein lies the terrible Truth: the bourgeois intellectual dimension of British socialism is at one with the British neoliberal superiority complex. That is to say, they both secretly revile real people.
I wonder if, like me, you noticed how much more comfortable the Remaindeer herd were with each other compared to the infinitely more eclectic Leave elements? The reason isn’t that difficult to divine: the Remain campers had one key belief in common: that the State and all its systemic works are far more important than the individual uniqueness of every human being. That’s why they share a common love of the unelected European Union élite.
By contrast, Kate Hoey had to bite her tongue as Farage released a poster about immigrants that aimed at a lowest common denominator…when it could so easily have appealed to a higher common factor. Other Labour Out elements quite rightly found it hard to swallow risble rationalisations from Iain Duncan-Smith about the reasons for his resignation as DWP Secretary of State. Equally, a broad spectrum of Leavers (especially me) found it impossible to allow the motives of Boris Johnson to remain above suspicion.
Hoey nailed it when she said that Brexit was, at its core, a rejection of the Establishment by the People. She did an astonishingly skilful job of binding difficult and disparate elements together. Cameron’s task, by contrast, was a doddle: he had only to say “Stay in” to LibDems and Labour, and everything else was a breeze. It represented the difference between managing Stepford Wives and Libertarians.
The Left usually – without giving it a second thought – claims George Orwell as one of their own. But the simple truth is that, by 1945, he had broken with the Left because of the very tendencies I’m describing here.
1984 (which he wrote in 1948) was a study in devious syntax and totalitarian intolerance; but it was about Stalin, not Hitler. Increasingly in the 21st century, the British Left seems to regard it more as as a template than a warning. Tony Blair certainly did – and the same goes for his braindead ‘constitutional adviser’ John Birt.
For Labour and the liberal tendency generally to be happy with the term ‘political correctness’, for instance, is beyond belief. Not only is a lot of pc glorified appeasement wrapped in Animal Farm (‘all pigs are equal, but some are more equal than others’) the very term sounds like satire: by definition, no politics are ‘correct’: they’re merely a collection of viewpoints. If the pov proves to be wrong, then the other lot are given a chance.
But the Left doesn’t see it that way. And neither did Camerlot: why else would these vandals come up with the term ‘non-violent extremist’? It’s an idea cooked up in Room 101.
Again, the same point applies: Camerlot and Labour seem to believe that the ends justify the means, that Bertolt Brecht was right…..there are good lies (ours) and filthy disgusting scumnazi racistbigot lies (theirs). We are good, you are evil.
So for the Remaindeers, it felt natural to threaten, to lie, to smear, to frighten and to spit venom. You’re all murderers and Little Englanders, I’ll put your taxes up, you’ll go to the back of the queue, we’re doomed if we leave. “Say that again, and I’ll bang you up as an NVE.”
As usual, this kind of hate-speak backfired. Both Camerlot and Labour lost. The Leave side won. The Remain folks lost. But it was all far more divisive than it needed to be.
We remain, after this referendum, as a country Britain remains split by ideologies that were past their Sell By date long before Best By dates were introduced. On the Right we have Adam Smith laissez-faire from the days of clipper sailing ships, and Reaganite Thatcherism still alive long after Milt Friedman’s potty ideas were discredited. On the Left we endure infantile Marxist dialectics alongside Big State command economy nonsense. In the so-called mainstream we listen to the the ideas of multiculturalism, a concept with a social track record worse than Genghis Khan’s reputation for peaceful negotiation.
If Britain is to thrive after Brexit, it must first reject decrepit, fanciful ideology in favour of the open-minded philosophy of stability through widespread social fulfilment. It must embrace new ideas and look for new markets – not retreat under the duvet in the face of bigger challenges. It must learn to accept that the empirically derived premises of social anthropology are more likely to achieve societal wellbeing than the class divisiveness of socialism and neoliberalism.
Unfortunately, I see absolutely no sign of that happening. Despite the abject failures and wrong-headedness of both Establishment ideologies since 1959, both Parties bear the same daft, irrelevant names, both cling fiercely to an eighteenth century voting system, and both have been given the chance to effect a radical Benthamite utilitarian approach…and frittered it away.
In 1979, Thatcher set out to democratise the trade union movement, and then lost her mind: but not until working class communities had been destroyed, a war undertaken, bankers given free rein, and every wriggling Thing in existence had been freed from its prison under a clammy stone.
In 1997, Blair set out to bury the Party’s loyalty to the vulnerable underdog. He shunned association with the reformed TUC, he went to war, he lied to Parliament, he silenced Whitehall naysayers, and surrounded himself with the depraved advice of Alistair Campbell and Peter Mandelson. At the last Labour conference before his mysterious resignation, hecklers at meetings were being brutally bundled out of fringe meetings by yobs whose forebears were no doubt smashing Jewish shop windows in Berlin eighty years ago.
But it is the woeful Labour performance since 2010 that makes me shun more and more of the robotic drivel spouted by those on the British Left. Where has it got them? In permanent mathematical opposition in England, and nowhere in Scotland. Across the country, a tired electorate sick of mantra and mangled language has become more apathetic about politics than at any time in my life. In most national elections now, almost half the adult population doesn’t vote.
But that changes when the chance arrives to kick the privileged élites up the backside. The turnout in Friday’s referendum was almost 75%….with by far the highest turnout among those who’ve been putting up with this incompetent, rigid dross for more than sixty years. For sure, they voted against an EEC that has turned into an EU monster; but they also voted against stolen State pensions, feather-bedded Whiteminster, corrupt MPS and endless streams of bollocks about everything from austerity to immigration.
For those of us beyond ideology and keen to stop the juggernaut, the aim was also to give hope to the relative small-fry who’ve been bullied by Brussels-am-Berlin – Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Hungary and Poland. I’ve not yet come across a single Left wing chum in person or online who sees the hope Britain has given to those who countries. Throughout the Greek rapeathon, the Labour Party sat on its hands. The evil manipulation of Dijesslebloem, Draghi, Venizelos, Schäuble, Merkel and co became an Unevent: for the deeds were being perpetrated by their heroes, the European Commission. The ends, you see, justified the means. Like so many good Wimmin of Szechuan, the Left dutifully declined to comment. Somewhere in Hell, Brecht is pissing himself.