How Can The ‘Left’ Talk Of Equality When They Don’t Tolerate Diversity Of Opinion
One of the first things I learned at my Grandfather’s knee, as it were, was the importance of free speech and of exposure to different ides and shades of opinion. Grandad had been a member of the Labour party before World War One and had lived through the class wars in the early decades of the twentieth century. My Dad was a Labour man too, until as a newspaper reporter, he learned things about socialism that shocked him.
What Dad had discovered was that some time after the UK 1918 Representationn Of The People Act was passed by the national government under David Lloyd George, which extended voting rights to all men and to women over 30, thus paving the way for the working class vote to enable The Labour Party to compete with The Conservatives and eclipse The Liberals, certain elitists, aristocrats, wealthy business people and academics feared their elite social class would lose its grip on power. Led by The Fabian Society these new upper class leaders of the party that claimed it was a grass roots working class movement had only contempt for the working classes, whom they regarded as inferior beings.
George Orwell exposed this soon after it had happened, in the second half of his polemical book The Road To Wigan Pier. Orwell had been commissioned to write a study of the terrible working and living conditions endured by the working classes in British industrial towns. What the wealthy, elitist members of ‘The Left Book’ club, which commissioned the study, hoped Orwell would produce was an argument for paternalistic socialism, with a government of enlightened, socialist elitists presiding like the Patrician caste of ancient Rome over the ignorant, stupid, ineducable, almost bestial lower orders.
What Orwell did produce was indeed a study of working class life, but he found among the subjects of his research, intelligence, sensitivity and a rough edged kind of nobility in the way they endured the privations of life and yet mostly managed to remain optimistic. In the second part of the book however, Orwell wrote an exposé of the patronising, condescending, self righteous attitudes of these wealthy, virtue signalling socialists. And he was probably the first to identify one of the most despicable traits of these people, their inability to tolerate anybody disagreeing with their utopian vision or pointing out the very obvious flaws in their ideas for solving social problems.
This was no trivial matter, just as it was becoming clear that both Germany’s National Socialists and Russia’s Communists were monstrously tyrannical regimes under which the working classes were as badly off as they had been under the old monarchies, Orwell had revealed that the Fabian socialists rather liked both, particularly Hitler’s policy of eugenics. So long as those born to rule continued to rule and those born to toil were kept in their place, The Fabian’s idea of Utopia stood.
I became a member of The Liberal Party in the early 1960s, at the time The Liberals in parliament were a tiny remnant of the once great party, but at local level they were much stronger. Though the party had become more collectivist and less libertarian than the party of 1918, it was still possible as a liberal to hold and express an unorthodox opinion. The same was true of Labour, but free speech was a privilege extended only to older members. Among the younger ones hatred of anyone opposed to “the agenda” was starting to become de rigeur.
The left, traditionally the political position of individual freedom, personal development and self — determination has since then continued on its path to authoritarianism.
It is very revealing to observe how opinionated Labour supporters women who dare to stray from the party line are treated by ‘new’ Left in Britain today? Just fine, provided one stays on message. Dare to dissent and the mask of diversity and benevolence, over which the Left claims to have a monopoly, slips.
The latest name to be added to the list of people in the Labour Party who have fallen foul of Fabian authoritarian for expressing an unsanctioned view is German born M.P. Gisela Stuart, who, it was reported recently, was allegedly reminded that she “had another country to go to” by former press officer to Tony Blair, Alastair Campbell. Her crime: daring to campaign for Brexit (Mr Campbell called the story “truth mangling”).
First, can you imagine the furore had anyone said that to Jamaican born Diane Abbot with regard to her racist, black supremacist view of white people in Britain? Secondly, it has been established beyond doubt by the attitude of the EU bureaucracy to Brexit negotiations and by the performance of the UK economy since the Brexit vote that is was the Remain campaign, supported by Campbell and his crony Blair, that mangled the truth in their campaign. Thirdly, recent events in Europe have demonstrated that the intention of the E.U. was to create a bureaucratic dictatorship that would swallow all member states into a single European superstate.
What adds to the insult is the suspicion that if any Conservative or Liberal Democrat behaved towards dissenters like that, they would risk their career — but that the Left gets away with so much by invoking a philosophical “get out of jail free” card, they are the party of diversity and multiculturalism.
Incredibly, the now suspended Labour MP Jared O’Mara actually said as much a little while ago, when he refused to resign over his own derogatory comments but suggested that had such bile been uttered by a Tory MP, the situation would have been different because Conservatism doesn’t foster “equality and egalitarianism”. Eventually, and reluctantly it must be said, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was forced by public pressure to act.
What stupendous arrogance! What blatant hypocrisy! Where is the justification fot this benefit of the doubt the Left is prepared to allow itself but not its opponents? What gives socialists the right to demand that they be held to a lower standard than those to which it holds its opponents? What credibility can this veneer of egalitarianism and tolerance have if its prozelytizers consistently fail to practise what they preach, behave in an increasingly elitist manner and yet continue to take the support of their historic working class constituencies for granted?
The Left’s obsession with the quasi — religious dogma of diversity and equality of race and sex has reduced these important matters to a lazy box-ticking exercise, which a huge section of the population now holds in contempt, ultimately harming the cause of the very groups it claims to be supporting.
If the Left truly values diversity, it must celebrate dissent. People must have the right to oppose same sex marriage, affirmative action hiring policies, academic uplifts for minorities and the promotion of transgenderism in schools. When differing opinions can be shouted down and earn those who express them threats of violence, the echo chamber may well sound harmonious, but the while the voices bouncing the walls repeat the same ideas, a dangerous anger is simmering silently on the back burner.
This article was previously published on my occasional blog, “It’s bollocks my dears, all bollocks” and parts of it have been used on my other pages around the web — Ian Thorpe
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