WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

According to what passes for ‘the Left’ today, cancel culture is merely a figment of the right-wing imagination, a collective conspiracy theory with no grounding in reality. The guardians of the new cultural order – keeping the peace on campus, in the workplace and online – are kind, compassionate, tolerant sorts, preaching love and understanding whilst denouncing hate, whether written down, spoken or simply thought of. And that’s evident in the way they respond to anyone they perceive to be questioning their Utopia. They spread their message through cyberspace like a benign virus that smells of fresh flowers and newborn babies. This makes the wrong see the error of their ways via gentle, sympathetic persuasion; and if the wrong continue to be resistant, they convince the wrong it’s more effective in the long run if they step forward and admit they’re wrong before conversion to the right side of history can begin. After all, the first step to admitting one is an alcoholic is to stand up at an AA meeting and say it out loud.

Mumford & Sons – perhaps the dullest band since sliced Dire Straits – have effectively dispensed with the services of their banjo player Winston Marshall this week, though it helped that he conveniently fell on his sword after some of that gentle online persuasion. His crime was to publicly state how much he admired a recent critical exposé of that cuddly anarchist collective Antifa in a book by journalist Andy Ngo. ‘Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy’ is evidently not deemed to be suitable reading material – I mean, was ‘White Fragility’ out on loan at Marshall’s local library or something? Anyhow, sounding suspiciously like he might harbour the wrong opinions, Marshall did his best to appease the outraged masses (i.e. a few pink-heads on Twitter) by issuing the kind of grovelling public apology that used to be written on a board slung around the neck during the Cultural Revolution. He announced he was taking a break from the band to ‘examine his blind-spots’. I hear the CCP has a decent re-education camp in Xinjiang if you’re interested in some intellectual cleansing, Winston.

Hot on the heels of such a shocking revelation that the outlaw spirit of rock ‘n’ roll remains alive and kicking, another dramatic act of voluntary cancellation also took place this week. Piers Morgan, the sweaty tomato of breakfast television, stormed off-set during a live broadcast of ‘Good Morning Britain’ and will not be returning. No great loss to yours truly, as I’ve never seen the programme in question beyond snippets that routinely appear on social media; but a man who has turned hypocritical double standards into an art-form by spouting some of the worst lecturing and hectoring pro-lockdown fanaticism whilst simultaneously jetting off to Antigua for a pre-Christmas break is not one it’s easy to warm to. Even his hissy fit had all the appearance of a classic self-important prima donna gesture when replayed endlessly across Twitter in the hours after it happened.

Moron was seemingly incensed by a supine defence of the Duchess of Woke’s latest sob story from one of those endless slimy ‘royal experts’ who pepper television that airs when most people are either at work or still in bed. The co-host of the show wouldn’t back down on his own personal (and less favourable) opinion of Harry’s missus when before the cameras; and, as it turns out, he wouldn’t back down off-camera either – especially when ITV bosses told him to publicly refute everything he’d previously said about the new queen of our hearts. Apparently, in the wake of that exiled actress having played the mental health as well as the race card, one is not allowed to call out her bullshit and one must praise her stunning bravery. Morgan refused to budge, and according to reports, he walked rather than take the Winston Marshall route of apologising when you’ve nothing to apologise for. Lest we forget, an opinion is subjective; it’s both right and wrong, depending where you stand. Airing an opinion is not a crime; neither is refusing to fawn at the feet of a privileged professional victim – yet.

I guess it is quite amusing that a sanctimonious American millionairess has become the current darling of the Guardianistas, perhaps telling you everything you need to know about where the priorities of the so-called Left are situated in 2021. Most of the Grauniad’s journos were probably at school with Prince Harry, anyway. Up the workers and all that. Mind you, it’s no great surprise that the kind of frivolous fodder that excites the chattering classes means jack shit to the wider population; after all, the wider population has more pressing concerns right now. A year of being subjected to the kind of repressive restrictions on civil liberties that would’ve left Erich Honecker thinking ‘Bloody hell, that’s a bit much’ means the majority of the British people are hardly going to be sympathetic to luxury whingeing from the resident of a Californian mansion. But, of course, every Identitarian utterance of Her Royal Wokeness is politicised. Everything from Mr Potato Head to Dr Seuss is politicised now – as is a tragic event that anyone seeking to politicise should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for doing so; but, naturally a) they do and b) they’re not.

When MP Jo Cox was murdered on the eve of the 2016 EU Referendum, the ramifications of the horrible killing continued to ricochet through parliamentary discourse in the worst possible way for several years afterwards, and it was often a way that was hardly respectful to the murdered woman’s memory. Labour MP and long-time opportunistic offender Jess Phillips invoked Jo Cox’s name and the fate that befell her during one of the heated debates leading up the Great Prorogue of 2019, implying that Boris Johnson’s clumsy attempts to shut up the opposition benches in order that he might speak without being drowned out by screams of ‘Tory Scum’ somehow equated with the ‘silencing’ of Jo Cox. And now that her felicitous flirtation with running for her party’s leadership seems extremely distant, Phillips has finally resurfaced to air her much-needed words and wisdom on another murder that has only just resulted in the discovery of a body.

But Phillips is not alone. Baroness Jones, the…er…world famous Green Party Peer has suggested the introduction of a 6pm curfew for men in the light of human remains – apparently those of 33-year-old Sarah Everard, missing for over a week – being found in woodland in Kent. The fact a serving Met officer has been arrested on suspicion of murder has presented some with a gruesome gift; we all know the organisation is institutionally racist, so I guess the appalling (alleged) actions of one employee must mean it’s institutionally sexist as well. What about institutionally f***ing useless? I guess putting police on the streets at night might help generate a greater sense of safety, but it’s surely more important to invest in daytime patrols looking out for pensioners on park benches that need a damn good fining.

Social media has been full of the usual suspects rushing to hijack the murder of someone none of them knew and claiming it for their cause; Sarah Everard is now representative of all violence towards women, something that is as inherent in the male of the species as racism is in anyone with white skin. All those exploiting this tragedy to fit an existing agenda are beneath contempt. Are any of them considering the feelings of Sarah Everard’s loved ones in all this, those who might actually want to grieve in private as the shock sinks in – something that would be greatly helped without her name being used in a game of political pass-the-parcel by despicable parasites who should (but rarely do) know better? Clearly not. Yeah, it’s kind of hard to draw any positives from this one.

© The Editor

A WOODEN SPOONFUL

Emily Thornberry looks like somebody drew a face on a thumb. Okay, got the childish insult based on physical appearance out of the way first – just in case it might appear my objection to Lady Nugee was solely down to not liking the look of her. Mind you, the look of a politician does make a difference, whether we like it or not; how they carry themselves in public and come across on TV can undoubtedly have an impact on the electorate. With or without bacon sandwich, Ed Miliband just never convinced as a potential PM – and neither did Jeremy Corbyn. Nevertheless, the former was clearly desperate to move into No.10 – hell, yeah! – whereas the latter has always given the impression he was fairly ambivalent on the subject. And now a fresh crop of contenders are vying to step into shoes sorely in need of a trip to the cobblers.

The most honest post-Election obituaries to have emanated from the Labour camp have been aired by those who either lost their seats or are long past leadership ambitions. A small handful of hopefuls intending to inherit the poisoned chalice have tentatively issued gentle criticisms of the Corbyn regime, but they’re too mindful of the grip Momentum has on the party to fully let rip; they realise any overt critique of Corbynism and actually saying out loud what a catastrophic effect it had at the ballot box could curtail a leadership campaign. No, anyone hoping to become Labour leader cannot publicly declare what everyone outside of the party knows to be fact. This means, of course, that all bar one or two expected to throw their hats into the ring are already doomed to lead the party to a fifth successive General Election defeat in 2024. Labour’s problem right now is that any ‘period of reflection’ is in denial from the off and thus further detaches it from the electorate that comprehensively rejected it a couple of weeks ago.

At the time of writing, only Thornberry and Clive Lewis have officially announced their intention to run, with Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy (and possibly Jess Phillips) expected to follow shortly. Thornberry embodies the London-centric mafia that have dominated the Shadow Cabinet during Jezza’s tenure – sneering, snooty Champagne Socialism of the worst order, contemptuously dismissing the traditional provincial Labour plebs in favour of chasing the middle-class, big city university graduates. But her enthusiastic embrace of the Second Referendum agenda should hopefully prevent her from being installed as the next Prime Minister-that-never-was; this arrogant misjudgement of the public mood typifies the insular narcissism of Lady Nugee and her clique, making her the last person capable of winning back hardcore Labour voters who switched to the Tories.

The loathsome Keir Starmer would be another disaster, though he has been sly and clever in a Mandelson manner to keep his seat on the Opposition frontbench throughout a period in which the wide divide between Corbynistas and the rest has dispatched so many into exile. Starmer’s chameleon-like ability to quietly blend into the Shadow Cabinet almost unnoticed is a by-product of his unnerving absence of personality as well as a blatant pointer to his leadership ambitions. As was noted in relation to Tom Watson – whose name would have been top of the contenders’ list had he not bailed out as soon as the General Election was called – the fact that Starmer can be regarded as a moderate voice of reason when he was so eager to thwart a democratic mandate delivered by such a large percentage of Labour voters speaks volumes as to the state of the party. And, lest we forget, this is a man responsible for overturning one of the foundation stones of British Law during his toxic stint at the CPS helm; for that alone, the man shouldn’t have been let anywhere near public office ever again.

Clive Lewis is perhaps the most anonymous of the names put forward – best known for being caught on camera using the word ‘bitch’ in a toe-curling, ironic ‘Gangsta’ fashion during a fringe event at the 2017 Labour Party Conference before being forced into the standard apology when it went viral. He is a close Corbyn ally and Remainer, both of which instantly alienate him from those Labour needs to win back to even stand a chance of being the largest party in a Hung Parliament – which, with such a severely depleted seat tally, is the best Labour can hope for next time round. But in a party so driven by Identity Politics, the colour of his skin may be the one thing he has going for him. If the new leader can’t be a woman, surely a black man would be the right box-ticking move?

Jezza’s anointed heir is Rebecca Long-Bailey, the double-barrelled northerner whose accent is about the only aspect that distinguishes her from the inner-M25 crowd she’s embedded in. She reminds me of an imagined Caroline Aherne character from ‘The Fast Show’ – if there’d been a ‘crap politician’ one. With Corbynism such a tainted brand in the mind of the electorate, changing the leader whilst sticking with the brand makes changing the leader a pointless exercise; and that’s precisely what will happen if Long-Bailey is elected as the chosen one of Corbyn, McDonnell, Momentum and McCluskey. Angela Rayner was initially touted as a prospective contender, being seen as ‘soft left’ and not as closely allied to the Corbyn master-plan as Long-Bailey; Rayner also has a back-story that serves as a refreshing alternative to the usual private school/Oxbridge/SPAD conveyor belt. However, it now appears she and Long-Bailey may engage in a pseudo-Blair/Brown pact, offering voters Continuity Corbyn and Corbyn-Lite in a bid to claim that record-breaking fifth-in-a-row defeat.

Lisa Nandy is mainly known through her appearances as one of a rotating group of Labour MPs sharing a sofa with Michael Portillo on ‘This Week’. Her Brexit stance, which was opposed to the People’s Vote smokescreen, may make her a more attractive prospect to Labour deserters; ditto representing one of the old industrial towns (Wigan) that the Corbyn crowd so casually disregarded; and the fact that she left the Shadow Cabinet in 2016, receiving abuse for supporting Owen Smith’s leadership challenge, makes her the only realistic candidate genuinely distanced from Corbynism. She’d also be more likely to attract Labour centrist voters than Second Referendum cheerleader and New Labour leftover Yvette Cooper. Whether or not Nandy is a strong enough personality in terms of taking on Boris Johnson at the dispatch-box is another matter, however.

Strong personality is one thing Jess Phillips certainly couldn’t be accused of lacking. In some respects, the MP for Birmingham Yardley is the nearest thing Labour has to the PM in terms of energetic bluster and putting her foot in it. A gobby long-time critic of Corbyn, Phillips often falls back on playing the ‘working-class woman’ card in the same way outside bet David Lammy constantly resorts to the race card; and she would need to up her game considerably to be regarded as a serious candidate. She’d also have to overcome the dominance of the pro-Corbyn membership to get anywhere near the leadership. If the party wasn’t so determined to carry on along the suicidal path that has made it unelectable, it might well decide to push Phillips forward as Labour’s Boris, just as the Tories pushed Cameron forward as their Blair. If that’s what it takes to get back into government, they could try it; but I suspect they won’t. Nobody in a position to alter the direction of the Labour Party appears capable of tearing up a bad script and giving this country what it so desperately needs – a strong, viable and believable opposition that can take the Tories to the cleaners.

© The Editor

PS Sincere apologies for the unintentionally altered appearance of the text. Afraid the ‘justify’ option for the preferred text allignment has inexplicably disappeared from the editing process (one of those unasked-for ‘upgrades’ that always contradict the old ‘if it ain’t broke’ maxim); unfortunately, from now on every post will look nowhere near as nice ‘n’ neat as it used to do. Nothing I can do about it, alas. The march of progress, eh?