Time to pass around the tip jar…
As I write this, the Labour Party cheerleading blogs Left Foot Forward and LabourList are launching fundraising drives in an attempt to capitalise on what they see as Jeremy Corbyn’s “triumph” in the general election and the regaining of the political momentum.
The left wing hubris in the week since the general election has been off the charts, with more fatuous articles claiming that Britain now has a permanent “progressive majority” than one could possibly read without going mad from sheer incredulity. Worryingly, the demonisation of conservative ideas and Tory voters also seems to be picking up pace, with Labour MPs like Jon Trickett actively accusing everyday, garden variety conservatives of practising “hate”, an accusation we once reserved for real extremists on the far left and right.
Worse still, many of the more spineless and uninspired elements within the Conservative Party seem to have swallowed this narrative unquestioningly, and are agitating for even the most tentative efforts at fiscal responsibility to be abandoned and core conservative principles thrown overboard in favour of competing with Jeremy Corbyn to promise the British people endless free goodies with no responsibilities and no consequences – needless to say, a competition we can never win.
The British Left has gone insane, claiming victory in an election which parliamentary arithmetic clearly shows they lost. The Conservative Party under Theresa May is proving itself a useless keeper of the flame of conservatism and liberty, cranking up the size of the state, eroding civil liberties and taking their Brexit policy direct from the mouth of Nigel Farage. Worse still, the Right seems to have completely forgotten how to engage young people, ceding the youth vote almost entirely to the parties of the Left without even putting up a fight.
In short, there’s a lot going on and a lot to be fought over in the coming months and years. There are people to be held to account and ideas to be kept alive, particularly when the political party which should be the natural keeper of those ideas seems more inclined to accept Jeremy Corbyn’s hard-left framing of the political and economic debate.
I haven’t done a pledge drive on this blog thus far in 2017, mostly because my blogging output was significantly reduced in the early months of the year, and it didn’t seem fair to ask for donations while cranking out less of the product. However, you’ll notice that the pace of blogging has now picked up once again.
And so, the time has come… to ask regular readers who get value from this blog and from my writing to drop any spare change you may have into my virtual PayPal tip jar.
As always, I want to make absolutely clear that my regular contributors and generous occasional benefactors are specifically exempt from this request – you guys are already tapped out, and I would not dream of asking any more from you.
However, if you have recently discovered and enjoyed this blog, or perhaps been a long-time reader but didn’t realise that this blog is supported by generous reader donations, your support would be greatly appreciated.
You may have noticed some changes on the blog lately. On election day, June 8, we launched a new blog theme. Partially at Pete North’s suggestion, I made the change because the old theme was beginning to show its age and the grey text was difficult to read. Hopefully everyone will find the new theme more modern, streamlined and easy to navigate. However, if you have any issues then please do let me know.
I wrote last year about my hope that 2017 would be the year of the independent political blog. It is happening – slower than I would like, but unmistakably happening nonetheless. Many of the intelligent think pieces and best bits of commentary are now published on Medium, or on WordPress or Blogspot blogs, by people who would struggle to gain the attention of the BBC or the prestige media. And the ideas about Brexit pioneered by independent researchers like Dr. Richard North at eureferendum.com and championed by Pete North are now finally forcing their way into the mainstream conversation, albeit often in plagiarised and unattributed form.
The point is that we can influence the national conversation when we want to, particularly when independent writers and campaigners work together in a concerted effort. This is something that both the hard and soft Left have known for years – they have read their Saul Alinsky. We on the right, or elsewhere on the political spectrum, are still scurrying to catch up.
As Pete North rightly says in a recent piece, there is a political revolution underway in this country. While Brexit may not deliver any clear economic benefits in the short and medium term, the disruption that leaving the EU is causing to our political elite and frameworks for governance is ultimately a necessary thing. They are no longer fit for purpose. This had to happen eventually.
But with only a few honourable exceptions, most mainstream commentators and much of the media have not yet broken out of the old paradigm. Overwhelmingly pro-EU, overwhelmingly metro-leftist and secretly (or sometimes openly) incredulous and baffled by people who think differently, their deep-seated biases and preconceptions warp their reporting and colour their coverage all the time, in hundreds of small ways which add up to one enormous cumulative effect.
As I recently wrote, the fake news actually worth worrying about is not the obviously false and hysterical stories about Hillary Clinton being a demon or other such nonsense, but rather the soft bias of the mainstream media, because of the way that prestige news reflects and moulds the worldview of key decision-makers in this country. One weepy Guardian article about Brexit meaning the end of cooperation with Europe, sincerely believed by people with proximity to power, does more real-world damage than a thousand angry Facebook memes about the EUSSR precisely because the Guardian article is credulously swallowed by people who then make consequential decisions based on their prejudice.
Even if you still find value in the mainstream media (and I certainly do – for all the low grade nonsense there are still some diamonds in the rough, and somebody has to hire reporters to go out and be primary newsgatherers) I hope it is now clear that the BBC, the national newspapers, their online personas and internet giants like HuffPost and Buzzfeed are not enough on their own. We also need independent media to keep politicians and the media honest, or at least hold them to account for their failures and evasions.
Long story short: you need independent political writers, and we need you. Now more than ever.
Any donation you can make to this blog – large or small, one-off or recurring – will be most gratefully received, and will aid in the fight.
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One of these days – when I get a salary again – I will send at least a cup of coffee your way. London prices 😉
It’s good to have blogs like this to keep me on my toes.
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Aw thanks – I’m just happy that you read my humble blog and engage so thoughtfully with my various rants. It does me a lot of good to hear your perspective too – my bubble doesn’t include enough Green Party voices, and I must admit that I probably don’t do enough to seek them out. Being able to talk and sometimes disagree respectfully seems to be becoming a rare trait at the national level, but I’m glad that we are able to do so 🙂
It’s starting to feel as though there aren’t many Green Party voices – perhaps I should start blogging politically as well as / instead of personally. But yes, the ability to disagree respectfully is a rare and important trait, and it’s one of the reasons I feel lucky to still be in touch with you 🙂
‘Labour MPs like Jon Trickett actively accusing everyday, garden variety conservatives of practising “hate”,
Sam, will be passing on a payment next week. It’s an old cliché but I actually did get notification from HMRC today of a fairly gratifying refund. No reason you shouldn’t take a breeze of the windfall on this occasion.
If you have some communications access to Mr. Trickett, you might seek to give him a poser.
‘At which major UK Political Party Autumn Conference in 2016 were bright red ‘Still Hate Thatcher’ T-Shirts on open sale’?
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Thank you very much Douglas, your contributions to this blog are consistently informative and have frequently expanded my own understanding of an issue. Your readership and support are greatly appreciated.
And yes, I might pose that question to Jon Trickett. He pointedly ignored my earlier tweets about his inappropriate fundraising email for LabourList, but there’s no harm in trying again!