Wednesday, 20 August 2008

The selective cynicism of "the Left"

This article follows several recent conversations with some of my left-leaning and harder left friends and work colleagues over the last few months.

The "left" are selectively cynical; as just one example, friends and colleagues who swallowed Tony Blair's promises and Gordon Brown's increasingly outlandish claims without demurring snorted with derision at the recent news that David Cameron had presented Barack Obama with a Smiths CD amongst other presents. "He wouldn't have liked the Smiths", "It's just a PR stunt" were two of the milder comments, "He pretended to like Eton Rifles, he went to f****ing Eton" was a harsher comment. I would have thought that David Cameron, now 41, would have been pretty much the right age to have "got into" the Smiths in 1984/85. Morrissey's often depressing lyrics would, I am sure, have appealed to a floppy haired Etonian studying for his A-levels, just as they did to many other similarly aged privately educated schoolboys (myself included).

Theresa May's remark in 2002 that the Conservative party was perceived as being "the nasty party" has been partly responsible for the situation where any insulting of a Conservative politician is seen as fair game, whereas any milder lampooning of a Labour politician is seen as "nasty". The personal attacks on Conservative politicians by the left are becoming increasingly personal and hateful. As an example see the appallingly insensitive discussions about the rights and wrongs of giving Lady Thatcher a state funeral. Meanwhile the "heroes" of the left such as Tony Benn and Michael Foot are treated with great respect, especially by the BBC, and any criticism of such figures is treated as a sign of "nastiness".

The assumption of the left that they are in the right is absolute, and the realisation that they are likely to lose power within the next few years hurts them hugely. "It's just not fair", "we are the good guys", "why would anyone vote Tory?" are just some of the comments that I have heard.

Whereas the Conservatives were meant to just accept that massive electoral defeat with good grace in 1997, every recent Labour set-back has been met with bad grace and that will not change with the coming general election defeat.

Those of us on the right feel able to like musicians, actors and other performers whose political opinions we might find repulsive, for example my love of the music of Gil Scott Heron is well known; we seem able to disassociate the music from the man. However any admittance of Conservative tendencies makes a musician or comedian beyond the pale so far as "the left" are concerned. I find the intolerance and cynicism of much of "the left" interesting, I wonder what a psychologist would make of it?

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