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The sneer’s progress against the bogeymen of the right.

THE GUARDIAN, THAT senescent, decaying nanny of the Britain’s progressive elite, has generously given Will Self a double-page spread in which to examine the rise of UKip and the dangers of the right-wing extremism it supposedly heralds, but in reality it’s just to give him room to sneer his way through some anti-British, anti-English, boilerplate late Marxist prose.

Any bosh by the establishment media about patriotism elides immediately from UKip to the BNP, and these days usually takes in the English Defence League (EDL) as well. The media can’t help it. They’re so predictable. The idea of patriotism as a benign, if somewhat sentimental, love of one’s country is deliberately conflated or confused with nationalism, which is fuelled by hatred of foreigners. This allows the speaker to avoid taking seriously any questions about national identity by directly equating patriotism with fascism. Once that elision has been made, the speaker has a clear run around the Stations of the Hammer and Sickle.

Self thus makes his utterly predictable progress through the cankers of British nationhood, eagerly ticking off our follies like a child collecting points for a gift at a theme park: racism (Steven Lawrence), submission to US hegemony (the “War on Terror”), false consciousness (having to explain the benefits of mass immigration to “Cockney costers” and other stupid proles), post-imperial decay (national “senescence”), Islamophobia (a “readymade” enemy within), resistance to the wondrousness of multiculturalism (a “demographic fact”, no less), Middle England (“mutant, cloned” and stuffed with people like Jeremy Clarkson), the fascist toffs of yesteryear (Mosley and the Mitfords – again) and The Daily Mail (self-explanatory), etc.

Just to make sure we get the message Self also ropes in Combat 18, the Front National in France, the Nazi Party of America, Hitler and Mussolini. Benny and Adolf are your bad uncles, while Uncle Joe is left chortling unscathed atop his bonepits, presumably because his kind of fascism is of the Marxy kind.

Whose 'wolfish penchant'?THERE’S NOTHING IN Self’s diatribe that is new. Nick Griffin and the BNP are conjured up as bogeymen despite the fact that the BNP is not, never has been and never will be a real political threat. The EDL is portrayed in standard paint-by-numbers terms, i.e. as angry working class yobs with a “wolfish penchant for street fighting”. Self might like to consider the possibility that most of the violence attending EDL demonstrations may come from their lefty opponents in the UAF. He may also consider that, unappetising as some of their demonstrators may be, the majority of their supporters are not uneducated or unemployed and many are in skilled or managerial jobs. He needn’t take my word for that – he can read it in the new report just released by Chatham House, an outfit not known to be sympathetic to the non-left.

Self doesn’t have to stick his nose outside the media bubble he inhabits, though, which is why he can go on to make the astonishing claim that the last Labour government implicitly played the race card and “triangulated” on immigration. The fact that Labour deliberately engineered mass immigration into the country with the intention of changing the culture seems to have eluded His Immense Braininess, as does Mr Brown’s description of one of his voters as a bigot for daring to question the policy.

What typifies Self’s predictable progress is that having touched some of the holy bases of leftism it ends right back where it started. That’s because intellectually it’s all been sorted out beforehand. It’s simple because it’s an either/or matter, with no ground in between: either you are a correctly-thinking member of the establishment – happy to surrender sovereignty to unelected supra-national bodies such as the EU, content to despise everything about your country, past and present, and eager to welcome in unlimited numbers of foreigners with no thought for the social and economic effects on those already living here – or you’re a xenophobic little fascist.

SELF DOESN’T HAVE to consider what UKip’s policies are, or why they might resonate with increasing numbers of people. Indeed, so sure is he of the righteousness of his own view he doesn’t even talk about the European Union. He doesn’t bother to consider that there may be real issues behind the worries of his patronised Cockney coster, or that the people he sees as Islamophobic are guilty of no crimes – they haven’t blown up innocent people on the London transport system, attempted to detonate bombs in public places or gone abroad to learn terrorist techniques for exercise on British soil – unlike the “readymade” reality of Islamic extremists. From his patrician heights he looks down on those less intellectually endowed folk to whom the “complex interplay of history and economics” needs to be explained.

It will never occur to him and his ilk that perhaps, just perhaps, the majority of people in Britain not only have a fondness for the country and its foibles but also that they resent having one bunch of know-it-alls after another telling them what to do and changing everything without asking their permission. Or that maybe they don’t actually hate foreigners and are willing to accept them, provided they assimilate. But expressing any doubts will get you labelled a xenophobe – trust me, now the dinner-party crowd have rediscovered the word, it’s going to get a lot of use.

If you want to know just how much contempt the professional left has for the electorate, all you have to do is read Self’s article. There’s not a whiff of sympathy or understanding in it. Self should reread his Orwell. Orwell, man of the left as he was, understood his compatriots better than Self ever will. Orwell wouldn’t have written this bilious drivel.

Michael Blackburn.


One Comment

  1. wrote:

    This is a razor-sharp piece of satire that manages to skewer more incoherent Nationalist clichés than I could count. Kudos. By the time I reached the non-sequitor Orwell lines at the end I was laughing aloud. Well done mate.

    Wednesday, 13 March 2013 at 14:53 | Permalink

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