People often say to me “Dave, in today’s fraught and polarised world, how can I tell if I’m turning into a bigot?”
And I say,
“Have you found yourself using any of the following four phrases in a negative way, in some rant about things that you didn’t have much interest in until you found yourself turning either reddish pink, or with an almost imperceptible alteration to your skin tone ( because I don’t want to be “racist against white people” or bloodpressure-ist)? Have you found yourself getting angry and ranting, whether your skin colour changed to something resembling a joint of ham or not? Whether you’re white, straight, a farmer, a Tory, a foxhunter, an immigrant-hater, a murderer…. Whatever your orientation… whether you loathe the NHS or want to see us all vaporised in mutually assured nuclear destruction… Whoever you are, gammon or any other kind of red faced man. Or magistrate-
-Have you found yourself using any of the following four phrases in some kind of rant about how the world isn’t concentrating on The Important Things… ?”
Now I’m not trying to stereotype people, because I know there are people who say “I’m on the left. I bought that Sting album once. I sing along to Billy Bragg at festivals. I hate the Tories. I want the working class to, well, not own the means of production- Let’s not go overboard- but maybe smell the means of production. Or at least have weekend visitation rights to the means of production, for a small fee. And that small fee will help pay for a theatre project, perhaps. I don’t know. The point is, Dave, I’m not a right wing reactionary…I actually want to renationalise the railways and…stuff…”
…some people who would say those exact words without hesitation, deviation, or repetition… Yes them… some of these people might accidentally use the four phrases. So you see, its not a straightforward thing, turning into a bigot. It can sneak up on the most liberal people… And those four phrases that, if you use them disparagingly, might give you a clue you are turning into a reactionary bigot, or the supposed concepts they represent, are, according to people who are turning into reactionary bigots, the reason we aren’t living in a Socialist utopia like Canada (where workers can view the means of production through a coin operated telescope).
This country could be a paradise, so they say, were it not for four things:
Political Correctness Gone Mad.
And, Gary Lineker.
And you might say in response,
“Well… Hold on. What you’ve done there is yourself conflate four things you dislike but are all different. Namely, genuine right wing reactionaries, misguided liberals, unsophisticated Marxists who fear any challenge or nuanced approach to a tentative 19th century historical framework, and Piers Morgan.”
Maybe so but to me they are all the same. These minor differences of identity are irrelevant, I say, and cannot be allowed to detract from the overarching narrative. That is, they are all shitstains.
They say these four concepts are the REASON FOR the rise of fascism, the literal cause of Donald Trump. A Tanzanian Lesbian Mothers’ Bookclub: That’s what’s causes Nazis! Don’t know about you but I had to start worshipping Hitler when I heard about Disabled Irish Men Against Hate. How dare they? Fucking up our radical post-neoliberal economics with their collective organisation and critique of failures to put in wheelchair accessible entrances in Cork. No wonder America embraced the right. You made Steve Bannon happen, feminism, with your demands for maternity leave and equal pay.
Then Piers Morgan or the dogmatic resident of the 19th Century says “No. It’s not those things. Obviously we are for those things. But the failure to put them in the proper socio-economic context allowed Thatcherism to take hold.” And I say, yeah, thats why the public rejected Keynesianism. Nothing to do with the oil crisis, unemployment, stagflation, or the undermining of the unions by various forces. It was black women in academia! It was Alan Turing having the thoughtlessness to get chemically castrated as a punishment for being gay despite not being remotely proletarian.
“But the GLC alienating the public by building multiculturalism when what the people needed is Volume 3 of Capital…”
Volume 3 of Karl Marx’s Capital, also known as ‘Raw Sex: The Hot Bits’.
“But all this about hedgehog flavour crisps insulting gays… It’s identity politics gone mad. It’s a Gary Lineker marketing ploy!”
It invariably turns out that it wasn’t like that at all. They got the wrong end of the stick.
“But what about all the books they are highlighting as racist? Why are they bringing attention to racist books? What harm have racist books ever done?”
“And the statues. General Lee… Wilfred Rhodes. Who next? Before you know it, they’ll be wanting to tear down the statue of Churchill. Or the one of Oliver Cromwell outside Parliament.”
I don’t discriminate. I don’t get bogged down in these insignificant differences of identity. So to all of those people:
Fuck off, Piers Morgan.