The following is a response to this well-written piece that appears here. Much appreciated, Gregg.
There's little to argue with apart from the bit about 'anti-politicians' that I'm going to pick up shortly.
I was wrong about Political Correctness, I know that much, thinking at one point is was little more than a well-intended muddle created by people intent on getting us to be 'a bit nicer' to each other, especially those minorities who to varying degrees got a rough time of it historically. Actually researching it and realising that its origins were Communist East Germany set an alarm bell running right away, and should probably be a source of panic for most of us. Communism? Naziism? Fascism? I'll claim partial credit for arguing with a schoolteacher at an early age that these had far more in common with each other than they did with free and liberal alternatives. Of course I was told I was wrong, that Communism was 'misplaced idealism', a utopian dream gone bad, whereas Naziism is simply evil.
No, both are evil. I'm not going to start 'counting dead people' as it's distasteful, but once you get into the millions you're in 'as bad as each other' country, surely?
This isn't a 'left or right' argument, since such terms simplify the argument and mislead people, but one of more freedom or less. A bigger state with a wishlist or a smaller one which does what it needs to and then leaves individuals well alone.
Islamic states? Organised babarism, and their persecution of minorities is an order of magnitude worse than ANYTHING that has EVER happened in this country, regardless of our own less than unblemished past. The hypocrisy of highly illiberal self-styled 'liberals' would be breathtaking were there not so many sheep around unable to work it out for themselves. These people aren't 'liberal' by any stretch of the imagination and the mutation of that word by half-wits makes the blood of this genuine liberal reach boiling point.
Gay marriage? I can take it or leave it - I just know it was one of the worst public debates I have ever seen. The militant gay mob's childishness knows no limits and actually does a great disservice to those who just want to get on with life and happen to prefer the same sex to the opposite one. Of course, opposing gay marriage does not autmatically make anyone a bigot, but some of the idiots wheeled out to argue against it clearly had a wider problem with same-sex relationships and they were cringeworthy. Perhaps that was a cynical tactic by the mainstream media to turn people in favour? Don't laugh, it happens.
So - much to agree on. I imagine some of my replies bore him sometimes. Sorry.
Anyway, I'll lay out again what Gregg specifically has to say about anti-politics.
But when apportioning blame the 'anti-politicians' must carry a huge
burden of guilt. I mean those people who sit on their bums slagging off
anybody involved in politics, be they a volunteer leafleter or an MP,
just for the fact that they are involved in politics. The advent of the
internet has made this problem even worse with the appearance of the
keyboard warrior, who has all the answers, usually idiotically
simplistic answers, but still sits on his fat arse doing nothing
constructive but slagging off those who actually stick their heads
above the parapet and try to change things. The 'anti-politicians' do
more than anybody else to drive people away from politics thus leaving
political parties in the hands of an ever dwindling band of misfits.
Gregg, you talk a lot of sense but on this occasion you really are spewing an awful load of shite. I'll explain why you're SO wrong about this.
Ok - what's an anti-politician?
An anti-politician (as I understand it) is someone who holds a deep level of cynicism both about politicians in general and the poltiical process.They refuse to participate in politics, vote in elections and tend to encourage others not to do so. Usually, this is driven by a feeling that mainstream politicians and their parties are 'all the same' and that therefore a vote for anyone with a realistic chance of winning is, by definition, utterly wasted. Is this a misplaced view? It's hard to argue with any force of conviction that it is. As Gregg himself acknowledges, the three main parties are all committed to the same basic blueprint, Big government, nanny state, surveillance culture, madly in love with the EU (which is not the same as Europe by the way), state-imposed PC. That analysis is spot on.
So why would any sane rational and genuinely well-meaning person want to join or 'get involved' with any of them?
I was having this argument with someone only on Friday. A nominally democratic closed shop is an inherantly corrupt game that will onlt truly appeal to the misfits that Gregg refers to. He's been trying to buck the trend for three decades of his life and deserves respect for that. I also know that a parliament full of people like him (much as we disagree on certain things) would be a vast improvement on what we have. But then the mainstream parties run themselves in precisely such a way as to stop the likes of Gregg from becoming one of their representatives. They want good, obedient little foot soldiers who can be controlled, often by identifying a personal failing such as greed, a rampant sex drive or penchant for some other vice, and then using it to gather 'dirt' on them.
A half-wit who's still smart enough to know this is the best number they will ever on will fall into line. Look at the expenses scandal, the whole catalogue of corruption for personal gain from politicians of all three major parties when in office. The culture of safe seats, where obedience is rewarded with a 25-year career you know is realistically safe from the consequence of non-performance. Just keep voting with your paymasters, collect the nice pension at the end and off you go.
Gregg, you can't in one breath say "I've finally realised I'm wasting my time" and then castigate others for recognising it perhaps quicker than you did.
Then there are the situations around John Mann, Simon Danczuk and Geoffrey Dickens, which reveal something darker.
Danczuk's brave work exposed the paedophilia of Cyril Smith, who used to 'discipline' what he saw as 'misbehaving' boys in a home for the 'young and troubled' in his constituency. But Cyril is dead, so we can let that one slide. Dickens wasn't so lucky. After threatening to expose a series of politicians on both sides of the House as child abusers, the ex-boxer was subjected to death threats and intimidation against both himself and his family until he was finally cowed into silence. His story became hard currency again a couple of years back amid the whole Jimmy Savile thing, but of course, he's dead now. So we move on. Mann has just recently claimed to have a dossier in which up to 22 MPs are implicated in sexual offences against children, including the North Wales care home scandal which was the subject of a shameful cover-up and then the 'accusation' of Lord McAlpine on national TV.
Will Mann's evidence see the light of day? Don't count on it.
It would not surprise me in the slightest to hear of him 'disappearing' or having a 'heart attack' in the very near future, He's onto something massive, something that will blow public life in this country wide open and pose another series of awkward questions.
There's far too much of this shit for there to be nothing in it - let's be clear. Savile, who let us not forget was officially a DJ from Leeds, gets the run on Stoke Mandeville hospital. He has the right to walk around a care home for vulnerable kids in Jersey as well as Broadmoor, like he owns the place, and is never vetted. He has friends galore in pop music (ok, you could explain that with him being a DJ), showbiz and public life. Savile spends more than one Christmas at Margaret Thatcher's house and, when he dies, he's given a massive fanfare and a near-State funeral. What the fuck is going on here?
Is it the case that a fondness for kids, like a thirst for money, desire for fame, or an inability to keep one's trousers zipped on a more general level, is one of the ways in which political candidates are identified, nurtured and protected? Do political parties (aided by the intelligence services) actively court people with these 'failings' so they can be controlled? Was Savile obtaining and procuring vulnerable people to be devoured by his friends? Who was he looking after? And, most importantly, who was looking after him?
Of course, we also now know that senior Labour politicians were supporters of, and indeed secured funds for, the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) as recently as the 1980s. Who would want to join the Labour Party knowing that? And who'd want to join the corpse-in-all-but-name that is the Tories, full stop?
We don't have honest politicians because honest people (like Gregg) don't get a look-in.
Anti-poltics is a consequence of rotten politics, not the cause of it as Gregg suggests.
You might ask - what of minor parties? All I can say about them is that the electoral system, propped up by the media, is weighted so heavily in favour of the big two that some sort of breakthrough, even when those main players remain deeply unpopular, borders on impossible. UKIP stand to gain around 15% of the vote in May unless something goes horribly wrong, but could win fewer than ten seats with it. Tribalism has led to a situation in which the overwhelming majority of seats never change hands and the 'marginals' decide which of the two runners in the race get in. No wonder people feel there's no point taking part, especially when running as an Independent is almost always a futile gesture, costing money most of us simply do not have.
For what it's worth, I'm pretty sure UKIP will be remembered as, at best, a disappointment and indeed, it would not stun me if in fifty years time it came out that they were 'controlled' MI5 opposition. They tick an awful lot of the boxes - shoddy leadership, the removal of peoople (such as Kilroy and Richard North) capable of turning it into an electoral machine with new ideas, the promotion of dopey, obedient idiots to senior positions (too many to name), rampant greed and duplicity, a half-arsed approach to actually winning elections, despite people turning to them by default on account of being so pissed off.
I mean, where have they been for the last two months while the mood music has started? Have they got any policies yet? I don't mean 'vaguely stated aims' but actual boring and mechanical explanations of how they'll achieve them? As a mate of mine pointed out recently, "Fartage doesn't actually want to win, he just quite likes being Nigel Fartage". Touche.
And even if I'm wrong about this, a new party can only truly emerge in one of two circumstances - a) a change in the voting system to proportional representation or b) the death of one or both of the established parties. The first won't be allowed to happen, so this only leaves one choice.
People may vote according to a genuine belief that a party represents them, and there's precious little you can do about that. But if you continue to vote, or god forbid, work as an activist for either the Labour or Tory Party because "you always have", because "Mum and/or Dad always voted that way" or because "I want to keep the other lot out" then STOP DOING IT. For Christ's sake, WAKE UP. Anti-politics is PRECISELY how we solve this problem and create the space for something else to rise into the space left when these two rotten edifices finally pass, never to darken our door again. There is no significant difference between them. None whatsoever.
Gregg, what you're saying here is not just wrong but dangerous, feeding a sense that these organisaitons can be changed. They can't, as they're organised in such a way as to stop anyone who wants to change them for the better from getting close to doing so. You should know that as well as anyone. ONLY by withdrawing votes, support and (perhaps most importantly) money can we kill them off. STOP voting for these people. STOP running around in the rain for someone who you'll never meet and could not give a stuff about you or what you might think. STOP giving them your hard-earned money. THEN they will die and THEN something else (over which you might have more control) can move into the vacuum that emerges. ONLY anti-poltics on a massive scale can bring this about and to see it as part of the problem, not the solution, is just totally misguided.
As far as 'sad keyboard warriors' go, I've leafleted twice, once for a candidate on behalf of one of the major parties who happened to be a mate. He won, but became disenchanted with the whole thing after a year and packed it in, realising it wasn't what he thought it would be. Then there was LPUKE, where although I helped a really good candidate in Stuart Heal, the end result of less than one percent of the vote was of course somewhat galling. In that context, I totally get why the internet appeals to people who want their thoughts to be taken with roughly equal consideration to that of the next guy. It's just about the only place where your view is just as important as that of someone an awful lot smarter than you, even if perhaps it shouldn't be. It's always struck me how the topics of discussion online vary wildly from those driven by the political mainstream.
Anyway, that might be one for another night. Thanks again Gregg and take care.