The New Statesman Is Preaching Hatred And Fear Of Conservatives

Jo Cox Tolerance

Be tolerant and respect the sincerely held political views of other people. Unless those people happen to be Tory Scum…

Apparently, as we seek to move on from the EU referendum in the post Jo Cox era, we are all supposed to be more civil to one another and focus on what unites us rather than what divides us.

We know this, because the New Statesman high-mindedly told us so:

I believe the horrific killing of Jo Cox is a moment for this New Generation of us to speak more openly about what has gone wrong and how we must, collectively, tackle it. Fundamentally, I believe we must see this as a moment in our history to re-covenant our respect as a society for politics done well. Democracy can ultimately only be as good as the society it represents. We must all learn once again to value free speech and civilised debate, led by open, accessible and accountable Parliamentarians. We must pledge ourselves to continuing the fight for freedom, for tolerance and for understanding between individuals, nations and peoples. We must ensure that love, hope and understanding will always triumph over hate, fear and despair.

We must reject the politics of alarmist language, personal attacks and fear.

A noble sentiment which surely we can all take to heart – it should certainly be possible for all of us to watch our rhetoric in the heat of debate, as none of us benefit from the current toxic political climate.

So why, then, is the New Statesman now actively trying to whip its readership into a quivering fear at the prospect of Andrea Leadsom winning the Conservative Party leadership contest and becoming prime minister?

Having apparently forgotten their own edict to respect people with different political views, the New Statesman instead lists nine reasons why its readers should be terrified – yes, terrified, that emotion which would be more appropriate if masked intruders had just smashed down their front doors – by this relatively unknown politician.

From “9 reasons you should be truly terrified of Andrea Leadsom becoming prime minister“:

With polls suggesting Andrea Leadsom will be one of the two Tory leadership candidates put to a vote of the members, it’s only natural to be curious about what this potential prime minister believes.

Luckily, she’s been busily keeping a blog for the last decade.

It turns out she has strong views on babies’ brains, and thinks she may have discovered the secret to preventing a repeat of the riots which plagued London in 2011.

So far they seem to be trying harder to make Leadsom seem ridiculous than terrifying.

There then follows a list of generally banal and uninteresting statements which Leadsom has made, or policy positions which she has taken, including:

1. Gay couples to the back of the adoption queue

Back in 2009, Leadsom used an adoption case – in which the two children of a heroin addict were given to a GAY couple (!?!?) – to question just when enough is enough when it comes to gay rights. “And if that weren’t enough, the two strangers are a gay couple, who have been selected ahead of several heterosexual couples.”

and

2. Watch out for those single parents

In 2006, she wrote that “the child of a single parent family is 70 per cent more likely (than the child of a two-parent family) to have problems at school, and even to become a drug addict or a criminal.”

and

3. And that anti-marriage media

“The self indulgence and carelessness of non-committed adult relationships is proving fatal to the next generation,” she wrote in 2008.

and

5. Those baby-brained rioters

“I explained how secure attachment or parental love literally hard wires the baby’s brain,” Leadsom wrote in 2012.

and

6. No money for wind farms

“I completely welcome the announcement from the European Commission made recently regarding the possibility of ending all subsidies for winds farms,” she wrote in 2014.

and, particularly ludicrously

8. Those US presidents getting invites before us

“How can France be hosting the 65th anniversary of the Normandy landings with Sarkozy and Obama (neither of them a twinkle in their father’s eye in 1945) in attendance, and yet the Queen of Britain, Canada, and Australia (who was not only alive, but who also served in the war) was not invited until two weeks ago?”

Now, one can disagree vehemently with one or many of these points. This blog certainly does not share Andrea Leadsom’s reflexive opposition to gay couples adopting children, for example. But sincere political disagreements on social, cultural and economic issues – the full range cited throughout the New Statesman’s tawdry hit piece – should be possible without us becoming physically afraid of one another.

Yet the New Statesman presents these rather pedestrian conservative positions and then exhorts its readers to be “truly terrified” by what they see. The magazine does not encourage them to challenge the validity of Leadsom’s views, much less offer its own point-by-point rebuttal. The fact that Leadsom is wrong is taken for granted, which is bad enough, but worse still is the fact that the New Statesman seeks to provoke an emotional rather than an intellectual reaction.

This is exactly what so many commentators (including that magazine) were telling us we should not be doing in the wake of the murder of Jo Cox MP. Less than a month ago we were being told to respect one another’s opinions and engage in calm, rational dialogue. Yet when it comes to confronting conservatives, many opinion leaders on the Left are more than happy to provoke angry, confrontational responses – whether they take the form of hateful mobs outside the home of Boris Johnson on the morning after the EU referendum or articles instructing people to actively fear conservatives.

This is an exclusively left-wing phenomenon. While there are plenty of nasty, stupid reactionaries on the conservative side, rarely do they treat left-wingers as a physical or emotional threat. The murderer of Jo Cox, to the extent that he was motivated by politics rather than madness, is the great exception to this rule. The Left, by contrast – particularly that part of the Left which has been captured by the Cult of Social Justice and Identity Politics – are starting to treat anybody who does not agree with and actively validate their ideas as enemies, literal enemies who mean them harm. If this atmosphere persists, how long will it be until some mentally unstable left-winger, taught by the commentariat to believe that political disagreement is akin to an act of harm, lashes out at an opponent with potentially tragic consequences?

One way or another, we are all going to have to coexist on this island – at least, those of us who are not bizarrely reacting to the Brexit vote by flouncing off to independent countries without an NHS will still have to deal with each other. Treating half of the country as actively dangerous people of whom we should be terrified is about the least conducive thing to bringing about that spirit of tolerance, and the New Statesman should be ashamed for its part in feeding this atmosphere of hysteria.

And look at some of the things which the New Statesman wants its readers to be terrified about. Andrea Leadsom celebrated the potential end of subsidies for wind farms – how scary! Leadsom wants to invest in “psychotherapeutic support for families struggling with the earliest relationship with their baby” – why, she’s just like Genghis Khan! She didn’t take kindly to President Barack Obama interfering in our internal EU referendum debate, and dared to say so – what an awful, America-hating isolationist!

The disbelieving hysteria which greeted Ed Miliband’s 2015 general election loss and now the 2016 EU referendum result shows that much of the modern Left is already utterly incapable of empathising with those holding other viewpoints – and in some cases simply cannot conceive of their existence. Time and time again we hear tearful sob stories from disappointed lefties that they don’t understand how they lost, because everyone they know voted the “right” way.

But with tawdry articles such as this, the New Statesman seeks to turn that gulf of incomprehension into a gnawing, corrosive and dangerous fear of conservatives, and of any ideas outside of the insular leftist orthodoxy. And this could potentially be disastrous for our country, not to mention for individual conservatives currently being demonised as terrifying, two-dimensional cartoon bogeymen rather than thinking, decent people who just happen to have a different outlook on life.

So how should we respond to opposing political views in the post Jo Cox era? Here’s a tip for the New Statesman and everyone else in the media:

If your article encourages people to learn more about those opposing views, or presents an intellectually grounded rebuttal of them, then you’re doing it right.

If your article is a smug, self-satisfied and fundamentally uncurious exercise in confirmation bias, designed to delegitimise and vilify the sincerely held political views of others, then you haven’t learned a damn thing.

 

Trigger Warning

Top Image: Herald Scotland

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If The Conservative Government Is Truly Evil, Where’s The Left Wing Revolution?

Jeremy Corbyn - Hipster - Middle Class Left Wing

Virtue-signalling, vacuous middle class leftists are all talk and no action

According to many a Corbyn-cheering, well-heeled leftist, modern Britain resembles an unjust, “neoliberal” dystopia in which the Evil Tories and their Evil Banker friends leech off the real producers and heroes in our society (usually people who are net recipients of government spending, curiously recast as the being most virtuous of all).

To this mindset, George Osborne is not simply wrong on the economics, he is engaging in a deliberate war of attrition against the poor, and Iain Duncan Smith’s abortive efforts to reform the welfare state were part of a Nazi-inspired eugenics programme to kill off the sick and disabled.

All of which begs the question – if David Cameron’s centrist, soul-sappingly unimaginative Conservative government really is evil incarnate, why do its many opponents content themselves with mere polite protest and ineffectual rants on social media?

If I believed for a moment that the state was engaged in a deliberate extermination of its weakest and most vulnerable citizens, I hope to think that I would have the moral clarity and fortitude to either take up arms against the government or to work for its downfall using every skill and talent at my disposal. And yet those who actually do believe that the Tories are “evil” can usually be found clad in skinny jeans and non-prescription hipster glasses, waging “resistance” via their (capitalism-produced) smartphones while sipping a hand-crafted flat white.

My Conservatives for Liberty colleague Martin Bailey sums up this moral hypocrisy perfectly in a piece entitled “The impotence of the middle-class Left”.

Bailey writes:

If I thought that the world was controlled by a secret ‘Neo-Liberal’ elite that oversaw government and mass media across the globe, I would do something about it. Take up arms, man a barricade, refuse to comply. If I genuinely believed that democracy was a sham and we were all willing drones to corporate bosses, I wouldn’t stand for it.

So what do they do? They sit in comfort and plenty streaming idle profanities across Twitter and Starbucks. They can’t even find an independent coffee shop in which to plan the revolution. Anonymous abuse of anyone on social media who dares to question their orthodoxy is about as rebellious as a wet fart in an empty train carriage. Che would be turning in his grave.

The EU referendum is a perfect example of stupefying left wing impotence, with thousands of social justice warriors happy to forget the glaring absence of democracy and willing to accept the biggest corporatist cartel in history, all for the fear that someone they know may or may not lose their job. I guess the revolution will have to wait, eh Comrade?

Read the whole piece, it is a highly entertaining takedown of the Left’s hypocrisy and wilful misunderstanding of capitalism.

And to my mind, there are only two explanations for the gulf between the Virtue Signalling Left’s angry talk and their lack of action commensurate with the inhuman Evil Tory threat that they constantly decry.

Option 1 – The left-wing outrage at the present Conservative (often in name only) government is completely fake, in which case the failure of its opponents to take concrete action makes perfect sense – after all, they are only invoking the memory of the Holocaust as a cynical political ploy to demonise their opponents and paint them as heartless and deliberately cruel.

Option 2 – Their outrage is genuine and they honestly believe that conservatives have blood on their hands, but they are also too cowardly to risk their own relatively privileged and comfortable lives by coming to the aid of the supposedly oppressed. In other words, the middle class Left are happy to parade their hatred of the Evil Tory Scum on social media and to friends, but would continue to let society’s most vulnerable people suffer and die before than risking their coveted London homes, worldly possessions and personal liberty by backing up their fighting words with real action.

Manipulative cynics or moral cowards. The only question remaining is which reflects worse on the virtue-signalling middle class Left?

 

Postscript: I happen to believe that most middle class leftists fall into Option 1. It’s trendy to moan about how beastly the Evil Tories are being, and posting a few IDS-as-Hitler memes on the internet is a good way to quickly signal to other bovine minded people that you are one of the “good guys”.

But that’s not to say that there are not also a number of credulous cowards out there – that is, people who genuinely believe the anti-Tory effluence which pours from their mouths and keyboards, but are too darn selfish to risk anything of theirs by physically attempting to stop the genocide that they believe is underway.

 

More Left Wing Hate Watch here.

 

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Only The Brave Now Dare Admit To Being Conservative Or Eurosceptic

Tory Scum - Graffiti Car

When ordinary people with perfectly mainstream opinions are hesitant to express themselves for fear of being accused of racism, prejudice, stupidity or worse, our democracy is in real trouble

If you voted Conservative or UKIP at the 2015 general election, you could be forgiven for wondering where the other fifteen million people who made the same choice are currently hiding themselves. David Cameron’s leadership may be uninspiring and his government’s achievements few, but these are hardly the paranoid, dying days of the Brown government – ordinarily there should still be a level of authentic, spontaneous support to be found out and about the country.

Equally, you may wonder how on earth it was possible for Ed Miliband and Labour to have lost that election, given the fact that social media and popular culture roar their hatred of the Evil Tories louder than ever, that it is almost impossible to find kindred spirits willing to admit to voting Conservative or UKIP, and the fact that conservative policies and beliefs are routinely derided as ignorant and selfish at best, and violent and vengeful at worst.

The current political environment can be quite lonely for anybody with conservative leanings – and it makes one wonder why the people who delivered David Cameron his House of Commons majority and propelled UKIP into a remarkably strong third place are so desperate to avoid drawing attention to themselves.

There have been a couple of worrying pieces in the media this week which highlight the fact that furious open hostility toward anything vaguely conservative or eurosceptic – often emanating from a small but determined band of opposing activists – is having a chilling effect on the political discourse and preventing small-c conservatives from openly articulating their opinions.

First, the Independent carries a letter from former Labour MP Tom Harris, who only felt able to “come out” as a eurosceptic after having left elected office. Sounding as though a weight had been lifted off his shoulders, Harris writes:

I was never a fully paid-up member of the Euro team. Early signs of unsoundness manifested themselves in my outright opposition to British membership of the euro when it was first launched. The whips’ office had its eye on me after I added my signature to a letter, back in 2002, warning the then Chancellor, Gordon Brown, to resist committing to abolishing the pound. And once you’ve decided to oppose that central mechanism for the creation of a European superstate, it’s a fairly short step to being painted as “anti-EU”.

But my instinct to vote Leave (probably running at 53 to 55 per cent right now) is not something that can be confessed in polite middle-class company. Such an admission might too easily be interpreted as a dislike of foreigners or, worse, a tolerance of Nigel Farage.

[..] The question is precisely the same one we were asked in 1975: should we stay or should we go? In the meantime, if asked over dinner how I intend to vote, I’ll do the sensible thing and change the subject to the range of breads in the Marks & Spencer food hall. Or The Archers.

And follows up in the Telegraph:

As for me, I will continue to pursue this enigma known as “the normal life” by having, expressing, then rejecting various opinions. No doubt they will be variously correct, wrong, misplaced, insightful and dangerous. I may believe in all of them, some of them, or none of them.

What’s it to you?

But among Labour circles and much of the wider Left, it is simply no longer “permissible” to hold eurosceptic views, or to believe that Britain’s democracy and vital national interests would be better served by leaving an explicitly political and ever-more closely integrating union which we never realised we were joining in the first place. The Tories are perceived to be eurosceptic (even though many of them are not), and so the prevailing dogma has it that one must be pro-EU to be anti-Tory.

Aside from the few brave (and mostly decidedly retro) souls who form Labour Leave, the question of Britain’s ongoing EU membership simply is not up for discussion. And to express any doubt whatsoever about Britain playing an enthusiastic part in this European political union is seen as treachery, automatic disqualification from membership of the movement.

Look at Jeremy Corbyn’s reversal on the issue. Love or hate Corbyn, he has been willing to stand up to a mostly hostile Parliamentary Labour Party on issue after issue, from military action in Syria to the Paris attacks to the question of Trident renewal. On all of these issues, the Labour leader has proven himself willing to enrage many of his MPs by holding firm to his deeply held convictions.

But what of his eurosceptic convictions? Jeremy Corbyn has been a lifelong eurosceptic, and voted for Britain to leave the European Community in the 1975 referendum. Corbyn holds this view about as strongly as any other, and yet it was on this issue alone where he instantly capitulated to the establishment and became a pro-EU advocate. What should rightly be a non-partisan issue pertaining to sovereignty and self-determination is instead imbued with nearly the same cultural weight and quasi-religious fervour as one finds in the American culture wars. Such is the power of the Left’s infatuation with the EU.

Jeremy Corbyn - EU Referendum - 1975 - Eurosceptic

The second article of concern is this worrying testimonial from a conservative-leaning history supply teacher who found himself drummed out of the school where he taught because colleagues complained when he failed to join in their frequent denunciations of the Tory government and all things conservative.

Joe Baron writes in The Spectator:

After keeping schtum for two months, I finally challenged a colleague’s view of the Tories. ‘Why are Tory voters thick?’ I asked. ‘Is it just because they happen to disagree with you?’

‘No,’ he replied. ‘Because they voted for cuts’.

‘Perhaps they saw the cuts as necessary,’ I said. ‘Surely it’s better to make savings now, rather than keep spending money we don’t have, go bankrupt and, like the Labour government of 1976, be forced to make even deeper cuts after going cap in hand to the IMF.’

‘That’s rubbish!’ said another colleague. And so it continued, though no one actually raised their voices, until they brushed off my argument with a blasé ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’ before gesturing towards the office door as if dismissing a recalcitrant child.

If Joe Baron had been loudly and forthrightly expressing his views in favour of Ed Miliband and the Labour Party, he would have been met with a chorus of approval and the respect of his colleagues. But in choosing to defend conservative ideas like government fiscal responsibility and personal self-sufficiency, Baron chose another path. A darker path:

I was called into the head’s office and told that, after a complaint from colleagues in my department, the school would no longer require my services. So I was effectively being dismissed for holding the wrong views, though of course the head dressed it up in a different garb: it was my manner rather than my opinions. Apparently I was ‘too assertive’.

As I remember it, my interlocutors were both red-faced and angry, and more than willing to use inflammatory language. I was told, at one point, that I was unfit to teach.

Interestingly, the head of department who refused to work with me — effectively calling for my dismissal — had several weeks previously decried the cruelty of zero-hours contracts. Where was her left-wing compassion when it came to sacking me, a married man with two children to support?

I suppose I’ve only got myself to blame. For a brief moment, I deluded myself into believing that schools actually encouraged tolerance and the questioning of orthodoxies through intellectual exploration, freedom of thought and speech. How silly of me.

Both cases – Tom Harris the former MP and Joe Baron the supply teacher – are examples of the visceral, real-world retribution which is threatened (and sometimes carried out) by those on the Left against people who have committed the thought crime of being a conservative. And this climate of anti-Tory hate-mongering not only distorts our political discourse, but undermines the health of our democracy, whose proper functioning relies on people with political differences being able to speak their consciences in good faith.

My own personal experience of this phenomenon has thrown up more depressing anecdotes than I can relate here. Friends who have sat next to me on the couch shouting at the television when one smug-faced Question Time panellist (or audience member) after another have deliberately misinterpreted and sanctimoniously condemned Nigel Farage or David Cameron, but who fall fearfully silent when the inevitable anti-Tory hate mobs form around the water cooler or on social media.

Or the senior PR executive I was chatting with at a recent event for the launch of Dan Hodges’ excellent chronicle of the 2015 general election, “One Minute To Ten”, who furtively looked around and dropped her voice to a hushed whisper before confiding to me that she actually voted Conservative, picking David Cameron over Ed Miliband.

Or the look on the faces of people I speak with in my hometown of Harlow, Essex, at the precise moment when a voice in the back of their head tells them to self-censor their speech and hold back their real opinions, for fear of ridicule or attack. They may have re-elected an excellent local Conservative MP in Robert Halfon, but few are willing to proudly and publicly stand by their decision months later, away from the privacy of the polling booth.

You just don’t see this same reticence on the other side. For a political movement which makes a great performance of supposedly being the voice of the voiceless and most marginalised people in the country, left-wingers have a near monopoly in many areas of the public discourse, particularly in the arts and entertainment sectors. And there are far fewer occasions or settings where it is necessary to pause and “read the room” before confessing one’s left-wingery than there are situations where conservatives have brutally learned the wisdom of self-censorship.

The problem is that it is not just the unhinged crazies sharing misspelled memes on the internet and typing in ALL CAPS below the line on news website articles. People like that exist on all points on the political spectrum from left to right, and the misogynistic ranting of one barking CyberKipper no more represents UKIP than the conspiratorial, anti-Semitic sermons of a self-declared Corbyn supporter reflect on Labour.

No, the real problem is the softer bigotry of bien-pensant public opinion – the arrogant assumptions of the dinner party set, well-heeled professional people in the office or having dinner at Carluccio’s – the middle class clerisy, Brendan O’Neill called them. Their willingness to lazily believe and repeat hysterical left-wing smears about conservatism and to virtue-signal in front of their friends by flaunting their vague and incoherent opposition to the Evil Tory government are the problem.

And it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more that left-wingers openly flaunt their views while attacking or shunning anybody who thinks differently, the more likely they are to only ever hear ideas and opinions which chime with their own worldviews, and falsely assume that they are universal.

But it’s not true. The 2015 general election proved that there is no silent left-wing majority in Britain, and there will be no “rainbow coalition” of left-wing political parties coming together to kick the Evil Tories out of office any time soon.

In fact, the only question is how much longer the Left can continue to punch above their rhetorical weight before the British people finally tire of the sanctimonious yapping of a bunch of ideologically incoherent, virtue-signalling, anti-aspirational opportunists and the temper tantrum they are throwing in the face of a very mild and utterly unremarkable centrist government.

How much longer will the silent majority-makers of this country be willing to silence themselves, censor their speech and edit their public opinions solely to avoid the screeching disapproval of these losers?

Right now, it may be hard for some to “come out” as conservatives. But the Left are loudly and brazenly overplaying a very weak hand, and the sooner that more of us start calling them out on it, the easier it will be for more people to stand up and take pride in not being just another centre-left drone.

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Bilbo Baggins Dials Back The Anti-Conservative ‘Tory Scum’ Rhetoric

Martin Freeman – the artist best known as Bilbo Baggins / Dr. Watson – now says that it is wrong to call conservatives ‘evil’. But that’s not what he was hinting before the general election…

Now that he is no longer shilling for Ed Miliband and the Labour Party, actor Martin Freeman has come over all thoughtful and introspective.

Well, everything’s relative. But in a new interview given to the pretentious Rake magazine, Freeman pontificates that it is wrong and unfair to call Tories and those with conservative political opinions “evil”.

The Spectator notes:

In an interview with The Rake, Martin Freeman — who starred in Labour’s election broadcast when Ed Miliband was leader — says it’s unfair to call all Tories ‘evil’, as the left has been responsible for more deaths in recent years.

While Rake quotes Freeman as saying:

My team — the left, generally — has been responsible for more deaths in the last century than the other team if you count Stalin, Mao, the Khmer Rouge, the Shining Path… that’s not a good team.

The left is quite at home with evil bastards, actually. Religion doesn’t have a downpayment on genocide: there are atheists, materialists and socialists who have gone on quite happily with rape and murder.

How magnanimous of Martin Freeman, placing us all (conservatives, left-wingers and genocidal maniacs alike) on the same end of the sliding scale of evil – as though there were no difference between government making an honest and sometimes flawed effort to help and work for citizens on the one hand, and deliberately terrorising and oppressing them on the other.

But Bilbo Baggins was not always so well disposed to people on the political Right. Only a few short months ago, Martin Freeman’s face was barking at us from our television screens with his Labour-supporting party political broadcast, part hagiography of Milibandism and part bully pulpit from which to bash the Evil Tories.

Just for fun, let’s remind ourselves of what Martin Freeman was saying about anybody who failed to appreciate the wonders of Ed Miliband before the general election. I’ll interject with some observations of my own every now and then.

It’s a choice between two completely different sets of values. A choice about what kind of country we want to live in.

Well, if by “completely different” you mean New Labour with a red rosette and New Labour with a blue rosette, then yes. The colours under which the two main parties are fighting the campaign, blue and red, are indeed very different.

Now I don’t know about you, but my values are about community, compassion, decency, that’s how I was brought up.

Won’t somebody give that saint a halo already? The man cares about decency and compassion, didn’t you hear him? And as we all know, the basic human tenets of compassion and decency can now only be found in those who espouse left-wing politics.

So yeah, I could tell you the Tories would take us on a rollercoaster of cuts while Labour will make sure the economy works for all of us, not just the privileged few – like me. But it’s not just about that.

He could tell you that the Evil Tories are the barbarians at the gate, chomping at the bit to sink their fangs into our Precious Public Services and rip them to shreds. Martin Freeman could tell you that. He could wax eloquent on the subject for days. But he’s just a humble guy like you and me; he isn’t the kind of person to sully himself with party politics. So he’ll just let you know what he would say, were he inclined to mention the Tories.

I could tell you it seems like the Tories don’t believe in the NHS, while Labour is passionate about protecting it.

Martin Freeman could tell us that the Tories hate Our Blessed NHS, but since it would be based on absolutely no evidence whatsoever – neither the declared intentions of the Conservative Party or a reasonable inference from observing their behaviour in government over the past five years – instead he will just leave the vague accusation hanging ominously in the air. Because that’s what humble, regular guys like Martin Freeman do all the time. It certainly isn’t a long-practised political smear.

I could tell you that the Tories have got sod all to offer the young, whereas Labour will invest in the next generation’s education and guarantee – that word again – apprenticeships for them.

If Martin Freeman were so uncouth as to talk politics with us, he could mention how the Evil Tories absolutely loathe the young, and yearn for a future where a failed generation of ill educated and uninspired young people sit around getting pregnant, committing crimes and claiming endless benefits. As we all know, the Tories simply love it when people fail to reach their potential as human beings and live stunted lives of despair, deprivation and grinding poverty. What can I say – it gives us a warm glow inside. And Martin Freeman could tell us all about that, if only his speech were some kind of political message.

I could tell you that Labour will put the minimum wage up to £8, and ban those ‘orrible zero hours contracts, while the Tories would presumably do more of their tax cutting for millionaires.

Bilbo could tell us this, but he doesn’t know for sure. As the inclusion of the word “presumably” indicates, Martin Freeman didn’t actually bother to do any research before standing in front of the camera to pitch for Ed Miliband. Maybe the Tories would undo some more of Gordon Brown’s spiteful and counterproductive tax hikes on the rich (tax cuts for millionaires!), or maybe they might – oh, I don’t know – introduce a national living wage of £9 per hour, even higher than Labour propose. But since he couldn’t say for certain before the election, it was probably right to assume that those Nasty Tories will keep turning the screws on the poor.

But real though all that stuff is, and important though it is if you’re young in this country or broke in this country or if you’re unwell in this country – and let’s face it, we all need the NHS at some point – or if you are just plain working hard and finding life tough, there is a choice of two paths. The bottom line is what values are we choosing. Because in the end this choice we make really does matter.

Labour: they start from the right place. Community, compassion, fairness – I think all the best things about this country. I love this country so much and I love the people in it, and I think you do too. But really, for me, there’s only one choice. And I choose Labour.

Martin Freeman loves this country and everyone in it. Everyone, that is, apart from those people who disagree with him and think that a Labour government and a prime minister Ed Miliband would have been an unmitigated disaster and an utter failure of national aspiration. Those people, Bilbo Baggins somehow isn’t quite so keen on.

So to paraphrase Martin Freeman’s sanctimonious, moralising, self-aggrandising attitude toward the nearly 50% of his fellow British citizens who voted for a more right-leaning party in 2015: “I’m not saying that all Tories are Evil Nazi Scum. They may hate the sick and yearn to destroy Our NHS. They may have no compassion, unlike we Virtuous People of the Left. They may not care about the future of our children. But they’re not evil. Heavens, no. I certainly never intended to give that impression. The Tories aren’t scum, they’re just ethically challenged.”

Conservatives should rejoice, to thus receive the benediction of Martin Freeman. They aren’t evil after all. They just hold evil values. Not proper, wholesome Labour values.

What pious, self-regarding, moralising nonsense Bilbo Baggins talks. In fact, Martin Freeman represents everything that is wrong with left-wing politics today – captivated by its own supposed virtue, yet utterly bereft of ideas for improving or transforming the country besides the same old, tired schemes to bash the rich, punish success and reward mediocrity.

And now here comes Martin Freeman once again – a diminished and discredited figure after his beloved Ed Miliband barely persuaded his own friends and family to vote Labour at the general election – attempting to worm his way back into the good graces of the public by smugly pontificating against those who took him at his word back in May, and who now hysterically accuse conservatives of being “evil”. Suddenly, calling conservatives “evil” is a terribly gauche and inappropriate thing to do.

But that’s not what you were saying back in April and May 2015, is it, Mr. Freeman? When the general election campaign was raging, you lent your voice, image and public profile to a party political broadcast designed to benefit the Labour Party and in which you made highly speculative and slanderous statements about the priorities and the very character of conservative-minded voters.

Well, Martin Freeman can keep his values, and he can stick them. The hobbit’s newfound realisation that it is wrong to demonise half the population as being greedy, avaricious and soulless monsters is tired, belated and hypocritical in the extreme – especially considering the fact that Bilbo Baggins was leading the charge against the Evil Tory Scum on national television only a few months ago.

Martin Freeman: your half-hearted, obscure non-apology is most sincerely not accepted.

 

Martin Freeman - Labour Party - Tory Scum - Left Wing Hate Watch

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Left Wing Hate Watch, RMT Edition

In Assistant General Secretary Steve Hedley, the RMT union have found a worthy successor to Bob Crow

With the entire country focus transfixed on Europe and David Cameron’s spectacularly poor negotiating skills, there has not been much emphasis on the Evil Tories in the media of late. Some nervous Tories, coming out of hiding for the first time since the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, may have even considered themselves safe.

They were wrong. Steve Hedley of the RMT union is actively gunning for them using the most violent rhetoric imaginable, as he demonstrated in an interview on LBC today.

LBC reports:

RMT leader Steve Hedley has claimed the Tory government are “murdering” people, then called for them to be “taken out and shot” in an extraordinary LBC interview.

[..] “I think all the Tories are an absolute disgrace, they should be taken out and shot to be quite frank with you,” said Hedley, Assistant General Secretary of the RMT union.

“Oh Steve!” responded [presenter] Shelagh. “I’m not going to let you say that, so don’t repeat it…if your job is to represent your workers, and I was one of your workers, I would want you to represent me without resorting to things like that.”

Hedley then claimed that the government was “killing three disabled people a week by their cuts.”

Everything changes, and everything stays the same. The Labour Party have a new leader, and Jeremy Corbyn’s admittedly haphazard opposition has thus far been mostly principled and courteous. Politically, Corbyn may be quite far from David Cameron (though not as far as he would be from a real conservative), but in his speeches he is more likely to forget that the Tories exist than indulge in an angry tirade against them. But same cannot be said for the people under him in the Labour Party and in the wider left-wing movement.

As we have repeatedly seen, many of these people are ready and willing to engage in the most overheated, provocative rhetoric against their political opponents on the right, continually implying that those who disagree with them are not just intellectually wrong but morally evil. And it is no longer just grassroots activists at fault – MPs and union leaders are increasingly getting involved too.

Whenever I write about the latest high-profile instance of left-wing anti-Tory bigotry and intolerance, I usually receive a number of comments chiding me for taking the intemperate war memorial-defacing actions of a few angry lunatics and claiming that they represent the Left as a whole.

That’s not what I am trying to do, though the way that some on the Left are so quick to take such criticisms personally suggests that in some cases, I may be striking a little too close to home. After all, since nobody suggested that all left-wingers are angry, screaming, spitting hate mobs, the fact that the likes of Owen Jones take the time to pen articles refuting this non-accusation can be taken as a sign that the criticism is hitting uncomfortably close to home, and that there may be a deep-seated, half-subconscious approval for these distasteful acts of protest.

But the purpose is not to hold up instances where left-wing activists go too far just to act outraged. It is to point out (rather wearily at this point) that there is a poison within the Left which encourages adherents to believe themselves to be the sole possessors of compassion and virtue in a world where anybody different is immediately labelled “Tory Scum”. And until this poison can be sucked out of the Labour Party – or an adequate antidote found – the Left will continue losing elections by spending more time shouting angrily at the country for our supposed moral shortcomings than they spend presenting an attractive, cohesive alternate vision for government.

Steve Hedley is not your average left-wing grassroots activist, sharing Corbyn memes on Twitter and raging against the Tories on Facebook. He is the assistant General Secretary of the RMT, one of the most powerful (and high profile) trade unions in the country. He is the voice of organised Labour, which in turn increasingly claims to be the voice of the Labour Party. And when he angrily parrots the same drivel about the Evil Tories wanting to kill disabled people as the most zealous online activist, then it is no longer possible to say that this is an isolated problem of passionate ordinary folk getting a bit too carried away.

If the political Right has a problem in Britain (and it does; small-c conservatives are utterly underwhelmed and uninspired by the rootless premiership of David Cameron, no major conservative legislation has been enacted in the precious months following the 2015 general election victory, and the only motivated people online seem to be the ones churning out bigoted memes about migrants) then the Left should realise that they have a problem, too.

It may have started innocently enough, with Ed Miliband and his MPs turning a blind eye toward (and thus tacitly encouraging) overheated anti-Tory rhetoric as the coalition government found its feet back in 2010. And there may have been every good reason in the world to let demoralised Labour activists blow off steam by promoting the notion that this utterly unremarkable, centrist government is actually on an ideologically charged “more Thatcher than Thatcher” mission to roll back the state (if only it were true).

But the time has come to admit that the experiment has gotten out of control, and that the swivel-eyed anti-Tory hysteria has metastasised and started to re-infect the very left-wing political elites who first let it loose back in 2010. We see it in the ferocity with which some Jeremy Corbyn supporters attack their (far from blameless) centrist colleagues, calling them Red Tories. And now we see it in the shape and form of a senior trade union leader calling for Conservative supporters to be rounded up and shot.

I don’t spend much of my time worrying about what is best for the Labour Party or the British left-wing movement in general, but in this case I am writing out of genuine concern over what is happening to one side of the political debate in this country – the side which now finds itself represented by spokespeople like the RMT’s Steve Hedley.

Calling for all Tories to be “taken out and shot” is a juvenile piece of rhetoric from a half-baked political mind. It’s not a serious threat – let’s not go down the censorious road of calling the police on anybody who ever utters a mean word about us – but neither is it evidence of a person or political philosophy capable of showing respect, understanding nuance and thinking in colour, the kind of behaviour required of a movement which aspires to lead.

The closer Steve Hedley is to mainstream left-wing thought, the further the Left will be from tasting power again. Which is why any Labour politician with an ounce of sense must now furiously disassociate themselves from Hedley’s inflammatory remarks.

 

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