Tuesday, 29 August 2017

The left breaks away: the cult of isolationism

Laura Pidcock, the Labour MP says she could never be friends with a Tory: 'Whatever type they are, I have absolutely no intention of being friends with any of them.'

Never mind the fact that Parliament is supposed to work for the greater good of the country, irrespective of political affiliation. That’s not to say that all MPs are supposed to agree on issues – quite the opposite (and even if they do the opposition exist to call the government of the day into question and hold them to account) – but they do have an obligation to work together on certain issues. The most notable are when security is called into question with the outbreak of war or terrorism; and also on cross party measures and initiatives. Very often, you would find a socialist Labout MP chatting with a landowner Tory MP at the bar over a whiskey – evidently that is something the new generation are keen to avoid.

The thing I find ironic is that there are a great many on the left who condemn the divides we face in society in the wake of the Brexit vote and yet here is one of their MPs essentially calling for an even greater divide. In other words, if you represent the other lot we’re not talking to you – you’re the enemy. I’m sure the majority of Tory MPs are sufficiently thick-skinned not to let this upset them all that much, but how does this approach cascade down the ranks of society? Does Laura Pidcock only represent the people who voted for her? Will she regard all non-Pidcock voters in her constituency as the enemy, especially those who voted Tory? How then does she intend to win their vote if the dialogue is abandoned and the drawbridge pulled up? I am assuming, of course, that she actually wishes for a discourse, after all many socialists are against free speech and the art of debating. 

In Labour’s landslide victory in 1997, many people who had voted for Maggie Thatcher in the eighties, voted for Tony Blair. In order to obtain their vote, he had to reach out to them, to understand them, their aspirations, values, passions and suchlike. How on earth would he have achieved that if he had simply regarded them as the enemy? It is possible of course that if the Tory party were to continue its lamentable performance from this year’s election campaign over the coming 12 months then Corbyn’s Labour party could get voted in (god help us), but even then it would be a fairly narrow squeeze and in order to establish itself both in longevity and more importantly in order to force through legislation, it would still need to reach out to non-voters as a means to win more seats. Were this not possible, they would have to co-operate with other parties and this is where Pidcock’s puerile attitude really starts to come unstuck.

Perhaps what this demonstrates is that the fundamental difference between the left and the right you tend to see when perusing Twitter profiles is that by and large, those on the right tend to talk about the things they are passionate about and the beliefs they hold in a positive light. That’s a generalisation of course and there are many exceptions, but typically it will read, “Love Europe, Brexiteer, love my country, wine-drinker, free speech, sports fan” – something of that ilk. Typically someone of the left will have “Hates the Tories, anti-Brexit madness, stop the NHS from being privatised, hates privilege...etc...etc.” Where is the solution? The genuine positive intent? By that I don’t mean the destruction of something but some sort of creative objective or purpose? 

That’s right, it doesn’t exist.

What it really boils down to is that the likes of Pidcock just want to put their hands over their ears and scream until people they don’t like go away. Debate, reason and justification are now merely trivial matters that get in the way of evangelical beliefs. And that is why we have ended up with students protesting every time someone “upsets their feelings”, authorities are looking for the next statue to pull down, lest it offends someone and the police are more concerned with painting rainbows on their cars rather than arresting criminals. 

No comments:

Post a Comment