Monday, 3 July 2017
The Cult of Chauncey
There was a hashtag trending at the weekend, probably put there by a couple of thousand of true believers. #ShamelessJeremyCorbyn it said after which the collective of cretins tweeted their terribly amusing nostrums along the lines that Chauncey is shameless because he gives us all hope and wants a peaceful world. Blah blah blah. It is the smug and sanctimonious left in nutshell. Then on Saturday about 10 thousand people - a better turnout than their rage march of last week but still well short of the million - marched on Parliament. Just to remind them we had an election only 3 weeks ago. Labour lost.
At that march various placards accused Tories of being murderers over Grenfell, an accusation which is nonsensical and yet was first uttered by a Labour front bencher. Then the minions took it on, except these minions are unpleasant zealots rather than cuddly comedy figures. They are despicable though. One charming marcher carried a placard with a picture of the Prime Minister's head impaled on a spike. Kinder, gentler politics I assume.
Have you ever wondered why I call him Chauncey? It's because he speaks in platitudes, meaningless slogans worthy of Tony Blair and New Labour. Yes, how that must hurt. Chauncey has no solutions for the country, no great prescriptions for our alleged ills that would justify the supposed hopes of all of those people chanting his name like mindless automatons. Instead he is bland accusations that his minions turn into vile slanders. He has slogans that few would disagree with about wanting to make the world fairer, more peaceful and prosperous and yet he and his followers seem to have little difficulty in believing that Tories do not share these aims. Supposedly intelligent people who claim that Tories are somehow mean spirited or worse. This is now transplanting itself into the cult of Chauncey in which people who do not automatically sign up to the idiocy are complicit in an act of treachery and evil. This is dangerous territory. But it is being led by the man himself who is showing the first signs of megalomania and a belief in the very infallibility his minions are claiming for him.
At the weekend Chauncey laid into Conservative ministers who heap praise on the emergency services and then voted against removing the pay cap. This is hypocrisy according to Chauncey. No, it is praising people for doing their jobs, doing their jobs very well and often heroically, but still doing their jobs. Would an extra couple of percent on their wages make them do their jobs better? Yet this is the intolerant language of the mob. It's not much of a mob but the few thousand who turned up and marched on London is already being revised upwards. Believe the fake news purveyors of the Labour Party and they will have reached their million mark by next weekend.
The Tories, said Chauncey, are in retreat. Unfortunately, for the time being at least, this is true. Austerity, he said, is in retreat, the economic arguments of austerity are in retreat. Except they're not really are they. Certainly the Tories confidence is shot right now and so they are beating the retreat on austerity. But this is a problem of language rather than economics. Because the economic arguments are a simple matter of fact over fiction. We must not allow them to rewrite the language of austerity into something that it is not. We must not lose our confidence in our own arguments. Because we are right and they are wrong. The facts are on our side if we just have the courage to deploy them and the confidence to argue them robustly.
Or take this little gem from his rant of a speech at the weekend. 'It's those of social justice, of unity, of people coming together to oppose racism and all those that would divide us, that are the ones moving forward.'
Hang on, what? What exactly does he mean here? Social justice? Well we've got accustomed to that meaningless phrase. Social justice can mean whatever you want it to mean, but for my part I don't see social justice as being appropriating other people's property just because of the failings of one small council in London. Unity? Hard to see how the antics of the hard left lead to unity. People coming together to oppose racism? Where? What is he alleging? Racism is something we are all against. So what racism is he talking about here? And is this different to the anti-Semitism he had his party brush under the carpet last year? Is that the kind of moving forward he is talking about, of making broad brush innuendoes about racism whilst ignoring those of his own party?
This, said Chauncey, is the age of imagination, this is the age in which we will achieve that decency and social justice that we all crave. And people who just hear those platitudes will nod and think no more of it. But I suggest you do. Because this is the danger of this kind of demagoguery, of this cult of personality. Chauncey's history is of being divisive and of urging class war of claiming that people who are politically opposed to him must be opposed to the things he says he wants like an end to racism, an end to something as nebulous as social injustice. But ask him what he means by these concepts and he doesn't sound quite like the agreeable avuncular chap you imagined him to be. He sounds like a dangerous and profoundly intolerant political radical whose politics are nasty, reactionary and the opposite of peace loving. After all his shadow chancellor has a history of exhorting people to achieve political change by means other than the ballot box. Chauncey's politics are much the same.
Prior to his asking his six questions on Wednesday at PMQs, Tory MP Sheryll Murray asked the PM whether it was acceptable that she has been on the receiving end of hate as a consequence of her being simply a Tory - someone who wants much the same thing as most people who go into politics, but who thinks that this can be achieved in a different way to those of the likes of Chauncey. The question of course was not really for Theresa May but for Chauncey himself. Characteristically he ignored it. But those who march to his banner and imagine him to be a great hope should not ignore it. It ought to concentrate their minds.
All those praising Chauncey and admiring him should be asked this simple question: why is it do we think, if the solution to all of our ills is so simple and easy, that it hasn't been tried before? Seriously, ask them the question and see what they say. Because surely, if socialism is the answer, they would have tried it by now in some large European nations. Hell they might even have tried a convenient experiment in a country divided through the middle between the capitalists on one side and the socialists on the other. Or perhaps a superpower could have tried it for a few decades to see whether it proved to be a great driver of equality, justice and prosperity. I must have a look through the history books to see if I can find such an experiment. But surely such a utopia could not have escaped our attention could it.
Or, if you want a less extreme experiment maybe there are examples in history of countries going on wild spending sprees. How have those turned out? Social justice? Or economic catastrophe leading to a worsening of the economy leading to worse outcomes for the poor and an increase in poverty and unemployment.
We in an era of virtue signalling and so those claiming to support Labour and Chauncey claim that they are doing so because of social justice and because he will somehow end poverty, make the world fairer and end up making the whole world sign up to his peace proposals despite his having disbanded our armed forces unilaterally. Gosh look, they will say, that small and insignificant little island in northern Europe that has left the EU and taxed all of its businesses out of the country and its rich people to foreign shores has given up armaments too. Let's all follow its example. Bound to happen. Just because Chauncey is such a lovely soft spoke chap who dresses in brown and has a beard.
In reality of course, while there are many who genuinely, if absurdly, believe that this is a politician who will be able to do all that he says he will do, has the answer to life, the universe and everything and who will bring world peace into the bargain, the rest just liked his promise that he would give them lots of free stuff.
Which brings me on to the Tories and how they respond to all of this. Here's a hint: they should not make similar promises of their own. But that's the subject of tomorrow's post.