1st January 2020
Photo by elCarito Unsplash.com
Look happy. We won, didn’t we?
Michael Caine’s character Charlie Croker in The Italian Job
Let us imagine a post-game TV interview with the manager of a British football team – or coach of a Limey soccer team, if you are of the north American persuasion – whose side have just thrashed the opposition 9-1. The consolation goal for the humiliated opponents came from a hotly disputed penalty in the last minute of the game.
One would imagine the boss would be delighted with his team’s performance, with perhaps a gentlemanly word for the routed opposition. Instead, he spends the entire interview with a face like a wet weekend in Barnsley and won’t stop complaining about the injustice of the penalty.
Now you have a perfect image of the British political Left.
The recent General Election in the UK has produced a political optical illusion. The Leftist media – aka the media – have gone predictably insane, claiming that Britain is now under a Tory dictatorship. In fact, Britain’s administrative infrastructure is not under Conservative rule.
The Left run Britain. They control the media, academia, and the administrative public sector, all three areas in which I have worked. They also control the judiciary, the police and armed forces. (I have worked in none of those areas, but our paths have, shall we say, crossed from time to time).
Public discourse in the UK, which nowadays takes place almost exclusively in the idiot’s agora of social media, is circumscribed and policed by lockstep Leftists, and the criteria of what is acceptable to write, say, or laugh at are set entirely by Socialist ideologues. The cultural war is over in Albion. The Left won by a country mile.
So, what’s with the long face? To listen to the mouthpieces of the British Left – the apparently pre-pubescent Owen Jones is an excellent example, along with sourpuss journalists Ash Sarkar and the risible Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, and more or less anyone else affiliated with the BBC or Channel 4 – you would think that the country was cowering under tyrannical, port-swilling Tory rule, with children chained in factories 16 hours a day, voteless women, and a law allowing landowners to whip their black slaves even harder than usual on the second Sunday after Whitsun.
And yet the Left dominates British culture. It holds the field, every redoubt, as noted. Junketing and jollity, surely. But no. They still have faces like a bulldog licking cat-sick off a porcupine. They cannot be happy, it could even be genetic. It is now axiomatic that the British Left are the new Puritans and, like their predecessors and to paraphrase H L Mencken, they are worried that someone, somewhere might be enjoying life. You have never seen such sore winners as the British Left. How came they so?
Eric Blair (the English Blair it’s okay to like) went on to become a national treasure whose face should be on a bank-note and, under his pen-name of George Orwell, famously wrote concerning England in 1941, in the long essay The Lion and the Unicorn. One trenchant phrase is engraved in some English memories as is the first line of Blake’s poetical fragment Jerusalem from the poem Milton. England, Orwell wrote, is ‘a family with the wrong members in control’. But context is required. The full sentence states that England is;
...a family in which the young are generally thwarted and most of the power is in the hands of irresponsible uncles and bed-ridden aunts. Still, it is a family… a family with the wrong members in control.
Orwell is rightly seen as one of the great social prophets, but even the great man got it wrong occasionally. An example. Julia, Winston Smith’s object of desire in 1984 – worth reading again as a love story, by the way – works for the Anti-Sex League. Thus, Orwell failed to call the super-saturated sexualisation of the modern West we now see every day and everywhere. So too, in the famous section on England quoted above, Orwell got it wrong about the young members of the family being ‘generally thwarted’.
The Left-wing English establishment, as dysfunctional a family as you could wish even from the rummiest of Dickens’s novels, is run not by stern and Conservative patriarchs and matriarchs, but by the nasally-pierced, purple-haired daughter of the house, with her ripped jeans and her Palestinian scarf and her boyfriend in Antifa. She’s the one who has a voice like fingernails dragging across a blackboard, although this is not a teaching device she will ever have seen in any classroom she may have attended due to its racist connotations.
Britain is run not just by the Left, but by a sort of proxy youth wing of the Left. The cult of youth, which has grown up in my lifetime since the 1960s after being seeded in the 1950s with the Angry Young Men (Tynan et al), the Establishment Club, and rock ‘n’ roll, is no longer a cult but a ruling class. This is very much a case of poacher turned gamekeeper. The Left now represent everything they were against when they were younger. The resultant cognitive dissonance will do the damage it always does.
And, of course, should Labour ever again come to power, their old allegiance to the men of honest toil will vanish like mist. As the old refrain runs (to the tune of The Red Flag);
The working class
Can kiss my arse.
I’ve got the foreman’s job at last.
Again, the Left’s betrayal of the working class will not go away, it will just go underground, into the lockstep subconscious, to return and haunt at a later date...
The next initiation stage in the British cult of the child is reverse mimicry. Children are supposed to learn from adults, as Plato makes abundantly clear in Laws. Instead, an awful change in polarity has occurred. The emulation by adults in responsible positions of power of adolescents, fresh with the verve and zeal of commitment, is thereby irresistible for the modern British politician. This is why Greta Thunberg - who hosts, as I do, Asperger’s Syndrome - is such a godsend for them. Discourse is so much easier to control when young people, with their non-education, are spouting it. It also justifies the ruling class in treating the populace as though they were children. It is well known that the UK has the lion’s share of the world’s CCTV cameras, like child alarms linking baby’s crib to the parental room of the state.
This emulation of youth befits an empire in decline, a sign of the decadence which acts on empires like rust on a girder. To return to Plato, which the West ought really to do more often, in a satirical aside in The Republic he has this to say about the relations between adults and children;
[A] father accustoms himself to behave like a child and fear his sons, while a son behaves like a father, feeling neither shame nor fear in front of his parents, in order to be free. A resident alien or a foreign visitor is made equal to a citizen… A teacher in such a community is afraid of his students and flatters them, while the students despise their teachers... [T]he young imitate their elders and compete with them in word and deed, while the old stoop to the level of the young and are full of play and pleasantry, imitating the young for fear of appearing disagreeable and authoritarian. [562/3, Stephanus numbers]
Bertrand Russells’s Sancho Panza, Alfred North Whitehead, called all Western philosophy simply footnotes to Plato. When you read the above, you begin to understand.
So, then. To return to our plight. The British Left are essentially children who already have what they wanted, but now they want their brother’s toy as well, and it makes them jolly cross that they can’t have it. But there is another reason why the Left are sad. The Tories.
If you need a good English belly laugh, observe the Conservative Party. Despite a paltry attempt at producing a Pepper’s Ghost of political division, and despite their recent triumph, there is as much difference between the two main parties in Britain as there is between a six and two threes. That the rudderless Conservative Party has the brass neck to call itself ‘conservative’ shows all it is necessary to show about the state of the nation. It is profoundly to be wished that Johnson will remove his mask to reveal a genuine Conservative.
In truth, there are no true Conservatives in the mother of all parliaments. The Conservative party is like a dummy soldier poked up above a World War I trench to attract enemy fire. You’d have to go to a rural farm, or a gentleman’s club off Piccadilly to find a Conservative now in England. Or a mosque, curiously, although possibly that is not representative of classical British Conservatism. Conservatives yearn for the 1950s, Muslims for the 750s.
Whither the Tories? Boris Johnson, a chancer it is difficult not to admire, albeit ruefully, is trying to fool all of the people all of the time by coming across as a rogueish buffoon who speaks Ancient Greek and, although Jacob Rees-Moog passes as a Conservative, much of his aura derives from his sartorial penchant for dressing like a high-ranked Dickensian notary public.
But to return to England’s greatest essayist. Orwell had another phrase he used in private correspondence; the Pansy Left. It is one of the many reasons the Left have deserted Orwell as would Manhattanite cocktail-drinkers flee from a victim of Ebola.
At the turn of this century, the Pansy Left were figures of fun. Leftist millennials were just a gaggle of pinch-faced Steerpikes who wanted to tell you what you could and could not say on social media. They are a lot more powerful now. To lose your job, you used to have to not turn up for a week, without notice, then turn up pissed on your official day off. Now, question immigration on social media? To quote Billy Childish, you’re out the band, sunshine.
The current Conservative stunt-doubles believe in high tax-and-spend, adore big government, yearn for mass immigration, are fawningly deferential towards Islam, and are attached to authoritarian methods and hyper-surveillance to an almost erotic degree. What are they looking for? Unpolished brogue shoes? The British chapter of the Klan? Someone failing to salute a rainbow LGBTQ flag? You don’t have a lot of cameras if you are not looking for something. The Tory Party is the Labour Party in slightly better suits, just as Great Britain – a misnomer, like ‘United Kingdom’ - is becoming the USSR with Harrods and marginally better dental work.
So, then. Like the child who will make a reason to cry out of airy nothing if that reason does not exist, the Left have plenty to bemoan. Let us, and the Conservative government, if we can spare the time and effort involved and they can focus on improving the lot of the British, attempt to give them something to be upset about.
Mark Gullick is a philosophy PhD from London, England, who went on holiday to Costa Rica four years ago and forgot to go home. He now works there as a musician. He blogs at https://postcardsfromtraumaville.blogspot.com/