The past decade has provided us with a steady and constant stream of political surprises. The election of Barack Obama was a beacon of hope and symbol of Americas post-racial identity. In Britain the first coalition government since World War 2 led to a new era of consensus politics. The Scottish Independence referendum saw the people of Scotland choose unity over division. Then in 2015, an unexpected Conservative majority government held a referendum, which allowed the majority of the British people to demonstrate that they wanted to leave the EU after 43 years. And now, we can add to this list the 2017 general election. An election that saw the most left-wing Labour leader since the 1970s (possibly since Clement Attlee) gain 40% of the popular vote and narrowly miss out on becoming Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
I’m being slightly facetious in the above paragraph. It also saw the ‘hard’ left-wing (hence forth the ‘left’ wing in this article) in the UK have an epic and on-going meltdown and showed many of them to be filled to the brim with the hysterical, shrill intolerance that many of them profess to be fighting.
Of course, it used to be that after losing an election, people would go home and live their lives for another four years until next time. I live in Scotland and have had an SNP government at Holyrood since 2007. I didn’t vote for it, but I haven’t thrown my toys out of the pram in an almighty apoplectic fit either. The majority did vote for the SNP and I have to live with that.
With hindsight, the continuing situation in Scotland, with left-wing nationalists refusing to be put back in the box, should have served as a bellwether for the rest of the UK and as a dark harbinger of divisive elections to come. Nearly three years on, the terms ‘quisling’ ‘traitor’ and ‘nawbag’ are still bandied about to people who had the outright temerity and audacity to make a different political decision to ‘Yes’ in Scotland in 2014.
Without the basic concept of accepting that you lost an election, democracy itself starts to seem superfluous. Don’t like the result? Just go out and protest against it, even though the majority of the country voted for it. Just overthrow the government if you don’t like it and didn’t vote for it.
Many on the left now seem to be on a ‘constant campaign’ at all times, ever vigilant for those with differing (abhorrent in their opinion) opinions to their world view. A noisy guardian, an intolerant protector, a white knight. The default reaction now seems to be to go out and protest against the democratic will of the British people. No doubt better men than me will succinctly analyse how we ended up in a situation where people now protest the will of the majority in a democracy – I would be eager to hear their findings and suggestions.
The problem with the ‘constant campaign’ is that it gives people a heightened sense of political awareness. There is no time for reflection, only battle. There is no time to consider the other side as human beings. They are just ‘toffs’, ‘millionaire Tories’ etc. No time for measured response, only protest. Every disagreement is a personal slight rather than a political divergence. Most damaging of all, with no time to think, it leads to a simplified, binary world view. Them vs us, with the ‘them’ being the right-wing heartless monsters that must be slain with the silver sword of leftist indignation.
This ‘constant campaign’ is most prevalent on social media and it’s here that we find the ‘heart of darkness’ of left-wing politics and some of their most epic, hysterical, knee-jerk reactions. Behold:
This is the reaction that I got from saying that I was voting Conservative in the 2017 general election and promoting one of my blog articles on Facebook. Many on the left can’t seem to understand that people might have different experiences in life that lead them to different conclusions. This is neither good or bad, it just is. Perhaps they might vote Conservative because the local MP has a big presence in the local community. Perhaps they might vote for a totally different party next time, or even vote for different parties at different levels of government. Who knows. It’s their choice and they should be free to make it, without those on the left throwing their dummies at them. Most incomprehensibly of all they might consider themselves to be right-of-centre!
The phenomenon of the angry, intolerant left isn’t entirely confined to us mere mortals either. The ‘celebratocracy’ also like to have a go at democratic values and their fellow citizens. The Times columnist and writer Caitlin Moran called anyone who was voting Conservative a ‘c#$t’. The Guardian columnist and prolific Twitter user Owen Jones has been trying to encourage protests since the Conservatives won the election. Like many from the left, seemingly unable to comprehend that almost thirteen and a half million people voted for a Conservative government which is further bolstered by the Democratic Unionist Party which gained nearly 300,000 votes.
I happen not to agree with the DUP on its social issues, but I believe in their right to hold these views without being insulted, heckled or ‘no platformed’ by the illiberal left.
However, the irate left is not only confined to the intolerant eyrie of their echo-chamber like groups on social media. The recent tragic events at the Grenfell Tower Block in Kensington, London have been heavily politicised by the left only days after the fire. The anger is understandable, but it seems that the events have been taken over by the left if the number of people wearing red ‘momentum’ shirts is any indication. Why protesters took place outside the BBC is a mystery as well. Perhaps cuts and ‘austerity’ were to blame. I don’t know. And that’s the issue at the moment; no one actually does. The difference is that the left pretends to know the answers, even while the tower block is still smouldering and victims still unaccounted for.
However, the total lack of factual information and data hasn’t stopped the left-wing ‘Movement For Justice’ organising a ‘DAY OF RAGE’ on the 21st of June, with the express aim to ‘Shut Down London – Bring Down the Government’. The word ‘Grenfell’ is only mentioned twice in the main body of the event description. ‘Immigrant’ is mentioned four times and ‘rage’ three times. This belies the real motivation behind the event.
The UK left-wing borrows tactics and best practice from the social justice moment in the U.S; appeals to emotion, buzzwords and a vague sense of a being in a self-righteous cult all contribute to their success. They seem to conflate numbers on the ground and social media presence with having persuasive power and better arguments. This obviously is not the case.
It can be rather easy to command an army of believers in a cause. It’s much harder to debate the facts, wait until the dust settles, understand that other people have different opinions and that this does not mean that they are all ‘fascist, millionaire, Tory posh boys’ either.