Madchester Tories – Standing Up and Fighting

The commentary about what we have just witnessed in Manchester ranges from disgust to astonishment via a dulled sense of bemusement. We have been ground-down to expect nothing less from these staged events, a sort of Pantomime Politics where the most terrible people gather to talk shit to each other, and now just make stuff up about totally Imagined Threats, grievances and enemies. Party conferences are entirely performative acts – but they do have the substance of scene-setting and creating a narrative that the media will dutifully follow and we will be forced to imbibe.

What we are going to be forced to imbibe is the Trumpification of British politics combined with the tactics of his former advisor, Steve Bannon. Some people object to references to Trump, arguing that it is too simplistic, but the strategies are very specific. The first is to unapologetically abandon any attempt at fact-checking or commitment to rational discourse. Facts are entirely irrelevant, the entire discourse is around feelings and stories. This is post-fact politics. The second is to ‘flood the zone’ with shit. This is Bannon’s playbook. It stems from the first tactic but allows political operators to confuse the media and to bamboozle the rolling news cycle by just putting out a torrent of nonsense. In Manchester this included: horrific speeches about immigration, trans people in hospitals, mocking Nicola Sturgeon going to jail, and the new threat of ‘Net Zero’, the war on motorists and on and on. Next week new demons will be conjured, new threats will be invented, no-one knows what they will be because they have no basis in reality, nor any grounding in political ideology, other than retaining power for powers sake.

Rafael Behr writes that: “The spectacle that has unfolded in Manchester this week is not just the endgame of a tired government. It is the late stages of moral and intellectual putrefaction. It is a once great party, hollowed out by a parasitical protest movement, collapsing into a parody of itself.”

Apart from the ‘once great party’ thing he is right. We should avoid nostalgia for the former Tory party of Norman Tebbit, Michael Portillo, Margaret Thatcher or Michael Forsyth, all who were awful in their own way. But Behr’s comment points to the other way in which the Conservatives have veered into Trumpian political tactics, the way in which they both position themselves as outsiders and victims, and draw on a marginal and often imaginary external ‘protest movement’. They are clearly a world away from One nation Toryism, now teetering into a hybrid of Faragism and revived Powellism relishing racist tropes and unencumbered by any sense of shame.

The apogee of all of this was Penny Mordaunt’s bizarre content-less speech about ‘fighting’. The tired and rancid politics of Suella Braverman was to be expected but Mordaunt’s performance took us into new territories. It was the strangest of speeches in a conference littered with them.

“Stand up and fight for the freedoms we have won,” she began …

“Against socialism, whether it is made of velvet or iron, have courage, and conviction – because when you do, you move our countrymen, our communities and capital of all kinds to our cause.”

She rumbled on merging party and country …

″And when our party stands up and fights, the nation stands up and fights.”

“And when our nation stands up and fights, other nations stand up and fight.”

There was certainly some confusion growing at this point as to why nations fighting each other was such a good thing but on she thundered …

″And they stand up and fight for the things for which the entire progress of humanity depends!”

Pausing briefly for air, she went on: “Freedom. That is what Conservatives do.”

“That is what this nation does.”

Now reaching a crescendo of sorts, Mordaunt concluded: “Have courage. Bring hope. Stand up and fight.”

Finally she shouted into the abyss: “Stand up and fight!”

British party politics is no stranger to weird oratory. John Major was a bromide, Theresa May could barely string a sentence together, Sunak has had a charisma bypass, and Tony Blair – often praised as a great communicator had a weird strangled delivery. But Mordaunt’s speech was something else. It was dramatic and highly polished – even if in such a strange way. It was performed rather than delivered. But what did it all mean? What could it possibly mean?

It was deliberately void of meaning from a party at ‘the late stages of moral and intellectual putrefaction’, but if it meant anything at all it had echoes of Trump’s rhetoric as MAGA troops stormed the US Capitol on January 6 2021. The speech, while wildly mocked and ridiculed was actually perfect for the new hybrid party. If facts are redundant so is sense and rational discourse. Politicians don’t need policies or even coherent ideas they just need to spew out feelings and rough inchoate groupings of words. The audience – baffled but aroused – lapped it up, as they so often do with Mordaunt’s performances.

Fighting. Freedom. Capital. Hope. Standing Up.

These are the words, this is the message.

The framing is simple, you, the ubiquitous ‘you’ are under attack. The enemy is unknown and everywhere. It’s probably the Wokerati, it’s definitely that dangerous radical Sir Keir Starmer, it’s probably your council imposing recycling on you, or taking away your car, or your boiler, it may be the Jocks or the foreigners or the immigrants, or the EU or the Remainers or the experts or the Elite, or the globalists … on and on it can spiral. Threats are everywhere and the only possible response is to fight.

It’s not so much a speech as a call to be vigilant. This is the New Conservatives desperately evoking imagined threats and a condition of perpetual arousal, evoking deep paranoia and a state of constant fear. As Rishi Sunak’s government slides down the opinion polls and Starmer’s government appears an inevitability on the horizon, the desperation of the party to cling to power intensifies. Manchester was less about speaking to the party than fighting among themselves. The dark irony for Suella Braverman or Kemi Badenoch is the Conservative Party is far too racist to elect them, (and no Rishi Sunak isn’t an example that refutes this point.)

Despite the ridicule Penny Mordaunt will be the next leader of the Conservatives, babbling incoherent fear and mouthing meta messages of threats everywhere. This is the new politics. Mordaunt and Sunak have both tried to describe themselves as inheritors and mimics of Thatcher. But for Thatcher the threats were very real and very clear. They were the Enemy Within, the Miner’s and other trade unionists, the hidden communists and the threat of the left. For all Mordaunt’s weird talk of ‘velvet’ or ‘iron’ socialism her task was to evoke fear in the most general sense. After thirteen years of Tory government, and decades before that, the terrible monsters of socialism have long been slain, and what we are left with is strange people clinging to power and swinging their swords of oratory around their heads in the hope of landing a blow.

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  1. Meg Macleod says:

    Oh yes..the switch off button .
    instructions on how to use it should be in everyones mail box
    Let them shout into an empty space..eventually…after a very long time the universe will intervene…and ordinary sensible mortals will be allowed to speak once more..perhaps not in my lifetime.the breakdown of ”civilizations’takes time

  2. James Mills says:

    Penny Mordaunt looked like a poor amateur actor auditioning for a weird of Broadway production of 1984 , with her performing a rather wooden interpretation of her vision of Big Brother .

  3. Paul Martin says:

    She absolutely will be next Tory leader and therefore quite likely UK PM by #GE29. Runners and riders here with the bookies:

  4. Don Fowler says:

    Typical Tory poundshop version of the great dictator, imagine Chaplin’s costume parody of Hitler, and your there.

  5. SteveH says:

    The problem we have is that all the mainstream parties: Tories, Labour, SNP, Libs, greens etc. are all the same. They have their own agenda, with little or no regard to what the majority want or need.

    Its time for a big change. A new party who listens to ALL citizens, and works tirelessly to make their lives better.

    A party that doesn’t export our democratic to Supranational bodies and International conglomerates and Californian Tech companies. A party that values Scottish and British national identity, and rejects Neo-Marxist based critical theory based ideologies.

    1. John says:

      Stop with the Steve Bannon nonsense Steve H. They may be pretty ineffective but the political parties are all definitely not the same and right wingers spew this nonsense out to stop people voting for alternative.
      From reading your posts you have a large chip on your shoulder (possibly both) and have read some stuff (probably online)which you have swallowed hook, line and sinker. This stuff about neo Marxism being everywhere reinforces and justifies your feelings (prejudices) and makes you think you can share these thoughts with others as if they are of great importance.
      You are free to share your views with others and in some way I am glad that Mike allows you to post your views because you will then expose yourself to criticism from outside your own little bubble of groupthink conspiracy theorists.

    2. 230905 says:

      You’re right there, Steve; political parties are communities of interest, whose raison d’être is to capture power and then use that power to further their own particular ideological interest rather than enact the general will of society.

      What we need to manage our postmodern multicultural societies and their plurality of interests is, at the very least, a parliamentary system that ensures that no particular party can ever capture power, making public decision-making dependent on dialogue and negotiation between the several interests of the various different communities that constitute our society rather than on the tyranny of any majority. The Scottish parliament was supposed to do this, but it failed.

      I also agree that our supranational unions, like the EU and the UK, should be similarly constituted.

      But I don’t think this change could be achieved by a new party, which would just be another community of interest in the pursuit of power. The change needs to filter upwards from the grassroots, where much of our local public decision-making in community fora are already dependent on multilateral dialogue and negotiation rather than the supremacy of any one interest or set of interests over others.

      BTW, civic nationalists also value national identity, only they conceive this identity in civic rather than ethnic terms. Thus, one is ‘Scottish’ insofar as one participates in the civic life of that imagined community, irrespective of one’s nativity or cultural heritage, and ‘British’ insofar as one participates in the civic life of that still larger imagined community. Examples of civic participation include voting, volunteering, contributing to the common wealth of the nation by paying your taxes, undertaking public service, etc. Basically, for republicans like myself, national identity depends purely on citizenship rather than where or into what culture a citizen has been born.

  6. Mutteringnutter says:

    Where’s the rest of ths article?

    1. What do you mean Mutteringnutter?

  7. Jacob Bonnari says:

    I think that all political parties in the UK have become performative and have completely lost their internal philosophy and the intellectual underpinning for it. They are hollow brands pushing comforting lies or distracting us from what needs to be done because that would interrupt their pursuit of power. Labour, Tory, Lib Dem or SNP are all the same.

    I blame Bill Clinton, but really blame New Labour of Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson and Alistair Campbell. Gordon Brown went along with it rather than took part in it.

    Once they became brands rather than intellectual projects then all the tricks of the advertising trade come into play. It’s not the quality of your ideas and intellectual position that gets you into a high place in a parry it is whether you won’t rock the current leader’s boat and whether the branding people can build a ‘story’ around you.

    I suspect that deep down most people realise by now that the UK is fucked economically, socially and politically. The world seems fucked too as the bad guys everywhere seem to be winning.

    But although the masses know that it is all fucked they feel powerless to do anything about it and are just trying to distract themselves by consuming it all before it gets burst and enjoy the show that Penny and her team put on.

    1. 230905 says:

      I’m not sure political parties ever had a political philosophy; they’ve all only ever been coalitions of various philosophies that, at best, bear some vague family resemblance to one another.

      Something that marks party politics throughout its history is that these coalitions periodically break down amid internal power struggles and, when this happens, the party in question experiences crisis. Part of the so-called polycrisis of capitalism/modernity is that these break-downs are occurring within increasing frequency and simultaneously among all the parties.

      I’m also not sure that the ‘Third Way’ politics (which was widespread, all over the world, from the 1990s onward and wasn’t just the ‘fault’ of Clinton and Blair) didn’t have a coherent philosophy at its heart. It has its roots in the Ordoliberalism of the so-called Freiburg School of economists of the 1950s, the reform economics of the 1968 Prague Spring, the pluralist socialism of the Italian Communist Party in the 1970s and ‘80s, and Swedish social democracy in the 1980s.

      It Britain, it has its intellectual roots in Anthony Crosland’s revisionist work within the Labour Party in the 1950s, which were taken up and built upon by Anthony Giddens in his sustained critique of modernity, globalisation and politics in the 1990s. Giddens’ 1998 book, The Third Way, remains the most comprehensive theoretical statement of the political philosophy to date. It’s still well worth a read.

      1. SteveH says:

        You have raised some very good points, and point to some interesting reading Thank you.

        With all complex political theories I see, I’m reminded of something by my time in the military. That battle plans rarely survive first contact with the enemy. That is, reality and the ideas of others are inclined to spoil your very elegant and well thought through plans!

        1. 230905 says:

          Yep, that’s why critical theory has no positive ideology that reality can overtake. Critical theory is an approach to the humanities (a praxis, if you will, rather than a set of beliefs in its own right) that seeks to reveal, critique, and challenge the established power structures of a society rather than advance any positive ideology of its own, on the assumption that social problems stem more from these structures rather than from the wilful actions of malign individuals. In that respect, it’s diametrically opposed to conspiracy theory. Critical theorists also treat ideology, as a cultural expression of those power structures, as one of the principal obstacles to human liberation.

          Of course, though, you’ve swallowed hook, line, and sinker the far-right antisemitic conspiracy theory that misrepresents critical theory as being responsible for modern progressive movements, identity politics, and political correctness. The conspiracy theory posits that there’s an ongoing and intentional academic and intellectual effort on the part of World Jewry (the first generation of critical theorists were German Jewish ‘graduates’) to subvert Western society via a planned culture war that undermines the Christian values of traditionalist conservatism and seeks to replace them with culturally liberal values.

          The conspiracy theory originated in the United States during the 1990s, began to enter our mainstream political discourse in the 2010s, and is now found globally, even though it has no basis in fact. It’s a foundational element of the alt-right worldview that you’ve been espousing here.

          As you yourself so eloquently put it: you’ve been sussed.

  8. Wul says:

    This drivel shouldn’t be making it onto TV screens.

    Broadcasters should refuse to televise anything that isn’t (coherent) policy announcement. This stuff is group-wank and it feels unpleasant to have witnessed it. Take away their megaphone.

  9. 230905 says:

    No one’s forcing anyone to imbibe anything, Mike; we’re all capable of shifting through the media content that’s available to us and separating the wheat from the chaff. We’re not stupid.

    1. I mean, wealthy people don’t invest in media organisations for no reason at all – and politicians don’t court media barons for no reason at all, do they?

      1. 230905 says:

        No, indeed. Wealthy people invest in media to get even wealthier, and political parties court media owners to attract donations and to access the marketing opportunities their channels offer. For our part, we watch the content that’s delivered to us through the media and decide whether we buy it or not.

        The theory that there’s some conspiracy, programming our behaviour like we might programme a computer or train a rat, is just that: a conspiracy theory. And conspiracy theories, being neither verifiable nor falsifiable, are ‘bogus’ theories (they have no explanatory power), which, as such, can be discarded out of hand as useless.

        This isn’t to say that, in politics as in any other line of business, advertising can’t persuade us; it’s only to say that it can’t force us to imbibe the narratives it spins.

  10. SleepingDog says:

    We are all laboratory animals. These methods have been developed to hack human psychology (push the panic button to elicit the fight-or-flight response, while imposing a false dichotomy between two evils); all to retain power and prevent us thinking clearly about how to escape the maze (or the cave of shadows with its poetic projections) and keep us fighting each other over a bit of cheese.

  11. 230905 says:

    Penny’s content-less speech wasn’t bizarre; it was a standard, run-of-the-mill flag-waver. Its sole purpose was to signal or make conspicuous her own intense patriotism, in contrast to Labour’s treachery, and to arouse the same sentiment among her audience; a rallying call to the troops before they charge off into the valley of death of the next election. Expect to see the same kind of empty flag-waving rhetoric from all the other parties at their final conferences as they prepare to go over the top.

    1. BSA says:

      I don’t think your sweeping adolescent cynicism really tells us much about the state of the parties.

      1. SteveH says:

        I’ve watched for over 40 years how our mainstream parties have failed to do what they are supposed to do. Protect and promote the safety and prosperity of the Scottish and British people.

        Need I say anything about the Tories? Nah their actions speak for themselves.

        Look at Labour. They abandoned the working classes during Blair’s time. Corbyn was only interested in minorities, including those who hate us. Palestinians got more of his attention than his own compatriots.

        Then there’s the Lib Dems. I have no idea what they are about. I know that their leader like Keir couldn’t define what a woman is.

        Then there’s the Greens. In Brighton they pushed through the most divisive critical race theory based DEI training programme in the city’s education system. They are utterly disconnected from the reality of the world we live in.

        Then there’s the SNP. A one trick-pony that again can’t say what a woman is. More serious is their sheer lack of ability to manage the economy or even to get a few ferries built. They like the idea of compelled speech for the Scottish people when it comes to challenging Trans self ID ideology.

        Then there’s Yousaf who in a rant spat out the word “white” when listing the colour of the people holding high office in Scotland. Strange when you consider that Scotland is 95.4% white. The speech was vile and demeaning.

        Imagine a white person ranting “brown” in the same way in Pakistan. They would be called a racist then lynched. What should we call the first minister?

        Then there’s his reluctance to condemn the violent Hamas invasion and the murder and kidnapping of innocent civilians.

        There is a madness and selfish arrogance in the graduate elites who inhabit our mainstream political parties. Time for a clear out of thus use class of people.

        1. SleepingDog says:

          @SteveH, what did you think when you saw the George Floyd murder video?

          1. 230905 says:

            Black Lives Matter wasn’t founded by anyone. It’s a loose confederation of groups and individuals that coalesced round a hashtag and remains a decentralised, grassroots social movement that emphasises the importance of local organising over national leadership. It’s exactly the sort of structural antidote to the political establishment or system that currently distorts our democracy. Its ‘organisation’ is one of democratic checks and balances to ensure that no one can capture power within its structure. As such, it provides us with a communitarian model of governance that we can set against the current political establishment.

            Nor does it have anything to do with race. Its mission is to eradicate White supremacy and build local capacity to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by vigilantes and the state. It includes in the category of ‘Black’ any class of people that’s considered morally impure and discriminated against and disempowered on the basis of their perceived inferiority. This includes LGBTQIA+ people, disabled people, migrant people, people with criminal records, women, poor people, etc., irrespective of their putative ‘race’ or ‘ethnicity’.

            By combating and countering local acts of violence against Black communities by White supremacists acting both extra-legally and through the state, creating space for Black imagination and innovation, and displacing Black shame with Black joy, Black communities all over the world can independently win immediate improvements in their lives. And as well as building resilience among those communities, it also builds their capacity to take charge of their own lives and gradually replace the current state with cooperative networks of autonomous communities.

            I’m proud to be part of this global movement to liberate ourselves from White supremacy and grow a more just and democratic republic.

          2. SteveH says:

            So the people who started BLM Collors et all and took in all the $80m+ cash was a figment of my imagination.

            Your Neo-Marxist ideas failed when it was promoted by that bunch of criminals in the BLA in the US.

            Look at Ibrim X Kendi’s Antiracism institute. It has failed Spent $42m. Produce two useless papers and is being investigated

            The whole “white supremacist” nonsense has been sussed.

            Try getting on with your life, and not blaming your unhappiness in life on historical injustices. Take responsibility for your future happiness

            Tell me what do you expect to achieve with your ideology. How will you know you have suceeded?

          3. SleepingDog says:

            @Editor, surely Lord Parakeet the Cacophonist’s assertion about Black Lives Matter “Nor does it have anything to do with race” is not only misinformation but in context racist (and colonialist-paternalistic gaslighting) and therefore also contravenes the site’s policy?

            Wikipedia (not an authoritative but a referenced source maintained by another collective) says:
            “Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a decentralized political and social movement that seeks to highlight racism, discrimination, and racial inequality experienced by black people, and promote anti-racism. Its primary concerns are incidents of police brutality and racially motivated violence against black people.”
            with five references from various sources.

          4. 230905 says:

            You need to update your information. The civil lawsuit, which Black Lives Matter Grassroots organisers brought against the foundation, to which the movement had entrusted the stewardship of the Black Lives Matter movement’s charitable endowment, and of which foundation Patrisse Cullors and Shalomyah Bowers were directors, was dismissed by the Los Angeles County Superior Court in June of this year. The court found that the allegations of fraud, made against the foundation by BLM activists, were unproven.

            Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research, which has nothing to do with the BLM movement, was launched in 2020 to provide legal and statistical analysis on various forms of discrimination. It scaled back its activities last month, laying off half of its staff, and the University is currently investigating allegations of mismanagement by Boston University. No doubt the outcomes of this investigation will be published in due course; but, at present, although there’s been much speculation and conspiracy theorising, the causes of its failure remain to be established.

            I don’t have an ideology; I have a praxis. That praxis is scepticism or systemic disbelief, which involves a practical distrust of all ideology and a commitment to resist, through critical thinking and subversive practice, the claims that any ideology makes on my belief. What I expect to ultimately achieve by my praxis is ataraxia, and I expect to achieve that inner contentment through areté or ‘doing and living [my praxis] well’.

            More prosaically, by supporting the BLM movement, I’m looking to help subvert white supremacy or privilege, its colonisation of our civic life, and its consequent distortion of our public decision-making.

          5. SteveH says:

            In a Western democracy you are free to believe and say almost anything you like. So long as you don’t encroach on the rights of others. Thats why its so strong.

            It has been weakened a bit by the white left wing liberals who use critical theory and non-whites as a weapon against their conservative opponents. Remember Malcolm X warned black people against trusting such people.

            White people like Delgado, Marcuse, Judith Butler, Peggy MacIntosh, DiAngelo have had a good run, but these white saviours have set you and other CRT believers up for a fall.

            You clearly have forgotten the wise advice of Martin Luther King Jnr, who knew that judging people by the colour of their skin had no future.

            Organisations like Don’t Divide Us and the Equano project are leading the way to a more sustainable future where people of all ethnicities should look at what united them, not what divides them.

            CRT and BLM divides us, they do not unite us.

            To try to condemn the sons for the sins of the father, it a strategy bound to fail.

            I would respect you more if you put your energy into tackling modern slavery in today’s Africa where black people are enslaved by other black people, as they did long before white people came along.

            I’ve worked throughout Africa and seen the poverty, the racism, the bigotry and corruption at first hand. Maybe your evangelism should start there.

            Hating white people for just being white is the road to insanity and disaster.

            Someone clever once said: “if you seek revenge you should dig two graves, one for yourself”.

            CRT praxis will not bring you peace. Looking at the world through the lens of race will limit your ability to see the good things in life. Bitterness awaits you.

            Good luck on your journey. You’ll need it.

          6. 230905 says:

            @ SD

            You obviously missed my remarks about the deracialisation of ‘white’/’black’ dichotomy. Try to keep up!

          7. SteveH says:

            Sorry, after reading books by Kendi, DiAngelo, Delgado et al I find wading through language like theirs and yours to be a bit tedious.

            In the service we called it the 3 B’s: “bullsh*t baffles brains”. The more convoluted the language you hear, the more your interlocutor to is trying to obfuscate.

            Did you hear about 3 academics who created hoax sociological papers and sent them to journals for publishing. One was called: “The conceptual penis: a social construct.” It was published and even cited.

            For my work I read technical papers, but as they are STEM and engineering subjects, where clarity and proofs are everything, I find language like yours a bit tedious.

            So you’ll forgive my bowing out at this stage.

          8. 230905 says:

            Nae bother, Steve; if you can’t stand the heat, it’s always wise to step out of the kitchen.

            But at least we’ve established that it’s just students of the interpretative and critical arts (‘hermeneutics’) that you don’t like rather than those of the more quantitative and analytical STEM disciplines. That’s a common enough prejudice.

          9. SteveH says:

            No. That’s an oversimplification.

            As the university population has grown there has also been a cultural shift. In University terms its been a move from traditional liberal social justice to critical social justice.

            Take race. CRT starts from the premise that all disparity is due to systemic racism as a fact and that whiteness is the cause. Its simply a case of highlighting the specific injustice.

            Also that being white makes you inherently the oppressor. That you must feel guilty and throw anything about your culture and heritage on the bonfire. You may celebrate all other cultures except your own.

            Humanities seem to have s problem with objective truth, whereas most STEM tends to apply critical thinking and the scientific approach. These rational principles are now bring trashed by humanities activists as being simply a display of white supremacy.

            We hear about the need for decolonising history, science, mathematics, music, literature…everything. This not only complete nonsense, it is dangerous to society.

            This is nothing more than an attempt to social engineer society to follow a ridiculous Neo-Marxist vision of their utopia.

            Naturally, not all grads are progressives like this, but there is a tendency to believe in much of these divisive social justice values. There is also cancel culture.

            The trouble is that this groupthink has marched through our institutions.

            In the words of Matt Goodwin:

            “Through its dominance of the institutions and the public realm, the new elite has been able to impose its values, tastes, and priorities on everybody else.

            Its passionate support for mass immigration. Its resistance to strengthening Britain’s borders. Its enthusiasm for soft penalties for criminals. Its belief in radical gender identity and critical race theories. Its tendency to look to the EU for solutions. And its unequivocal support for net zero environmental policies.”

            This isn’t Just a case of my not liking the humanities, it a case of not accepting the madness that the humanities seems have pushed on the graduate population and the wider population in general.

            I and many others don’t share those progressive ideas and values, and we object to the sneering at, and the denigration of our national values, identity, heritage and culture.

            These progressive ideas have been described as “luxury beliefs”, by where the holders of them never seem to be inconvenienced by or adversely affected by these destructive ideas.

            The kitchen is going to get much hotter as more of the majority push back on the graduate elites.

            Activism isn’t only the preserve of the progressives. The revolution had not been won. There us a rebellion happening.

          10. 230905 says:

            You’re wrong there, Steve. Critical race theory starts from the premise that race is a social construct (rather than a natural phenomenon) and that racism is thus not a moral issue (pertaining to individual bias or prejudice) but a structural one (pertaining to the institutions through which our social interactions are mediated). Likewise with critical feminist theory and critical disability theory and critical gender theory. Thus, to fix the problem of injustice against people who are deemed ‘black’ or ‘morally impure’ classes of people, like those with African or Asian or South European or Middle Eastern heritage, women, disabled people, people who don’t identify as heterosexual or with the sex they were assigned at birth, etc., etc., we need to decolonise those institutions of ‘white’ supremacy rather than just morally reprove individual expressions of bias or prejudice.

            Thus, also, critical race theory doesn’t require anyone to feel guilty or to throw their culture and heritage on the bonfire. This is just an alt-right caricature. It only requires that we reform our public institutions to remove the privilege that ‘white’ culture and heritage enjoys over those that are deemed ‘black’ without at the same time creating a new ‘white privilege’. It’s about establishing an equality among the various ‘voices’ in a pluralist multicultural society rather than a tyranny of any majority culture within that plurality. If any new elite impose its values, tastes, and priorities on everybody else through its dominance of the institutions and the public realm, that ‘white supremacy’ is equally to be resisted. Matt Goodwin himself consistently says as much throughout his critique of populism and the radical right.

            The humanities do have a problem with objective truth; they always have. That’s because they humanities are ‘hermeneutic’ disciplines (which have to do with interpreting texts) rather than ‘scientific’ disciplines (which have to do with knowing stuff). Thus, in the humanities, there is and can be no objective truth but only interpretations. (My own specialised area of research in the 1980s, when I served my apprenticeship as a critical theorist, was in the question of whether the true interpretation of any text is decidable; the conclusion of my thesis was that it isn’t.) But, again, you’re wrong when you say that the humanities ‘trash’ the rational principles by which the sciences conduct their business; what some critical theorists like myself insist is only that the true interpretation of any scientific theory or knowledge-claim, when considered as a text, is undecidable.

            I get it that you don’t like the decline and denigration of white privilege in our public institutions; like I say, your ressentiment is glaring in the tone and content of your posts. Our national values, identity, heritage, and culture are changing (as they continually and inevitable do) as the demographics of our society changes. That’s how we evolve historically; that’s the revolution you perceive is happening around you. You can no more hold back the tide of history than you can hold back the sea.

          11. SteveH says:

            In an age where equality and opportunity has never been better in Western countries, the Neo-Marxist Critical Theories have become more strident and has taken on a religious- like fervour and zeal.

            It is also characterised by its abuse of language, and the circular arguments used by its strongest supporters.

            For example, any denial by a white person that he is racist, is taken as proof of his white fragility or unconscious bias. CRT proponents have clearly the special mind-reading power.

            CRT supporters say it’s not possible for black people to be racist against white people. Clearly a nonsense. It conveniently uses its own definition of “racism” to say its one way only.

            I have read widely about CRT, and the poison from people like Bell, Delgado, Crenshaw and Marcuse.

            The whole critical theory concept is a scam.

            For years it was claimed that CRT was simply an academic tool restricted to universities, yet its tenets are routinely taught in schools.

            The universities have allowed a monster virus to grow within it, and it has infected the wider public institutions. An infection that stifles free speech and open discussion with fear of cancelation, and de-friending.

            My own work in universities would be cancelled if my true identity was known.

            Look how the rhetoric from Labour has changed recently. They know their values are different from those of the majority, but be sure not to upset the majority of voters.

            More people are wising up. The rebellion has begun.

          12. SleepingDog says:

            @SteveH and is this ‘rebellion’ of yours going to restore Charles III to the throne? Put Anglican bishops back in the Lords? Reclaim the Malvinas? Give the BBC back its royal charter? Reopen Sandhurst and Eton? Repair British diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Israel? Pass legislation to make it illegal for the British Museum to give back its looted items? It’s hard to keep track of your alternate reality.

          13. 230905 says:

            You’ve forsaken argument again for empty rhetoric, Steve. You need to up your game.

          14. SteveH says:

            Good point. As a working man I simply do not have the time to engage in deep philosophical arguments any longer. No wonder Twitter limits number of the characters.

            Let me refer you to the book “Cynical Theories” by Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay. These academics speak your language better.

            You can also refer to “The New Puritans” by Andrew Doyle.

            In terms of graduate elites, Matt Goodwin’s “Values, Voice & Virtue” has it covered.

          15. 230905 says:

            I read (and reviewed) Pluckrose and Lindsay’s Cynical Theories when it came out during the pandemic.

            I agree that the specific form of ‘reified postmodernism’ you can find in the humanities has very little to do with, say, Derrida’s interest in the aporias of language. But Helen and James’ cursory attempt to ‘prove’ that rights-based liberalism is somehow more ‘objectively true’ than other political theories fails to understand that most social and political ‘truths’ aren’t established by proof or equation in the same way that scientific truths are. They’re narratives, and it is impossible to understand why some narratives get accepted while others don’t without thinking in Foucauldian terms about systems of power and hierarchies.

            I sympathise with Helen and James’ frustration at how the alt-left uses a bastardised version of postmodernism to justify its petty intellectual tyrannies, in the same way that the alt-right equally frustratingly uses atavistic white supremacism to justify its petty tyrannies. But it’s simply a mistake to dismiss the postmodernists for deviating from the true faith of evidence-based liberalism when the whole raison d’être of postmodernism is to deviate from the true faith of quasi-scientific liberalism.

          16. 230905 says:

            I also have a lot of sympathy for Andrew Doyle and his critique of the alt-left.

            Both the alt-right and the alt-left treat debate as warfare. As activists, they view our differences in the harsh light of moral absolutes, and they often resort to circular reasoning and ad hominem accusations of bigotry to shut down dialogue within the plurality of opinion. For both, what the Other believes isn’t just wrong, it’s evil.

            Both the alt-right and the alt-left live in a bifurcated world, which is divided into saints and sinners. Using simplistic generalisations, they both assume the cursed conceit of being ‘right’, uncritically accepting their claims as a priori knowledge (stuff that’s known to be true independently from any evidence). As Andrew says, these activists now practice what amounts to a religion. Both share the same authoritarian mindset that seeks to engineer society in accordance with their own particular values and beliefs.

            It’s this authoritarian mindset that, according to critical theorists like myself, needs to be deconstructed if we’re going to survive the postmodern pluralist society that history is hoisting upon us. According to critical theorists like myself, following Freire, we need to cultivate through our pedagogy a more democratic mindset and more democratic civic institutions that enact the virtues of legitimate diversity, restrained dissonance, acquiescence in difference, and respect for the autonomy of others, as I’ve discussed ad nauseam elsewhere. In other words, we need to ‘decolonise’ our own minds and our civic institutions of the ‘authoritarian personality’ identified by the theoreticians of the Frankfurt School.

          17. SteveH says:

            I’m not sure I understood anything of what you wrote, although the tone seemed non-confrontational. It’s probably my fault as I come from an engineering background, and other than specific technical terms, our language connecting and explaining concepts tends to be simple, and diagrams, data sets and mathematical proofs tend to convey most of the information.

            I am convinced that a lot of the critical theory and postmodernists ideas belong only in an academic setting. Like military battle plans never survive first contact with the enemy, fancy sociological and political theories rarely survive first contact with the real world outside of academia.

            I have made a stab at learning and practicing critical thinking, and try to see things from different perspectives.

            However, my problem is that there does seem to be a determined effort by the so-called educated to attack and undermine our national identity, heritage, history and culture. Where we are encouraged to celebrate everyone else’s culture except our own. The fact is I’m not content to see our culture as only about diversity and multiculturalism. You can be sure that virtually all other peoples value and defend their traditions and culture regardless of historical or even current injustices.

            This is never more noticeable when the race industry gets going. For example, The Runnymede Trust. As I see it, if someone who doesn’t respect my ethnicity and culture, then I see no reason to respect theirs. If someone doesn’t respect my forefathers and heritage, then why should I respect theirs. If somebody doesn’t respect me or that I’m entitled to my own views then why should I respect them or their views. They can wrap their ideas up in whatever fancy language they want, but if it smells like bull, then it’s highly probable that it is bull.

            I’m quite happy for such people to have their own opinions, but when said people think they have some privilege or right by virtue of their education or social status to reengineer society to fit their ideology or views, then they will find that I (and many others) will challenge and oppose them.

            To use unprovable and disparaging labels and names to negate people like me and my views, is only going to bring retaliation.

            If you want my respect, then show me respect. If you want me to listen, then be prepared to listen to me.

          18. SleepingDog says:

            @SteveH, from my reading, and militaristic acquaintances, nobody bangs on about the (imagined) past quite like the British armed forces.

            In The Changing of the Guard: The British Army since 9/11 (2021), author Simon Akam writes in Chapter 7: Amalgamation on the ruckus in the Scottish units, as the Black Watch play hit at National Theatre of Scotland from 2006 Festival premiere, in the Royal Regiment of Scotland, real Black Watch appears to lead spats about spats: p150 “The Scottish regiments are very publicly arguing about buttons at a time when the rest of the infantry are focused on operations.”

            I may only have studied a couple of years of Psychology, but I am familiar with Projection, in which you liberally apply (to real and phantom enemies) your own (or in-group’s) most heinous flaws, failings and vices, as you perceive them, dressed in appropriate language or imagery.

            Surely the British armed forces regularly apply “unprovable and disparaging labels and names to negate people”, are top-full of bullshit (an approved artform), use veteran status (as Joe Glenton says, “One day of service makes you a veteran in the British military.”) as a shortcut to privilege, and is historically hellbent on undermining the “national identity, heritage, history and culture” of other people. And I have heard the results, personally and frequently (Japs and Germans, oh dear).

            One might think all your fancy language is merely a cover for self-hatred, when it boils down to it.

          19. SteveH says:

            Your typical humanities-department sneering speaks volumes about you. You do a bit of study in psychology and you think yourself an expert on who and what you think I am.

            Its the same old arrogant graduate elite lack of awareness of how the wider world actually works.

            People like you were floored when Brexit happened. Instead of asking why and how, your class merely trotted out sneers about the working class being thicko’s or racists? You also attributed it to social media, alt-right press barons, and a big red bus. I laughed when I read such articles on Brexit.

            Your class’s lack of critical thinking skills showed your weren’t as smart as you think you are.

            Many of the commentators who write about woke activism identify woke narcissism. I now see what they mean when I read what people like you write.

            Your reference to the military is especially pathetic. When sh*t happens who do people like you turn to.?

            You can read the Guardian and the Independent all you like. What they write may be comforting, but the reality is that people with your graduate luxury beliefs have been sussed. A serious pushback is underway.

            Its happening across Europe too. Think about it. Even if the remainers manage to get Britain to rejoin will the right wing swing we see in Germany, Italy, Sweden, Poland etc., make rejoining worth it?

          20. SleepingDog says:

            @SteveH, are you denying that the British military (Scots units in particular) are especially fond of their regimental histories, uniform codes, paintings of past glories, battle lore stretching centuries into the dusty and bloody past, and so forth? Aren’t you a typical traditionalist? And feel threatened and anxious when a more realistic approach to history challenges your rather rosy form of ancestor-worship?

            Simon Akam notes the military’s need for mythmaking, charts the careful commissioning, production and worship of mess-hall paintings. Of course, rebranding these days involves a measure of whitewashing the endemic racism.

            Historian Keith Lowe’ book on WW2 memorials in worldwide places, Prisoners of History, also covers this mythmaking. The very modern memorial to RAF Bomber Command in London is one of the largest and newest in the country, though it venerates a group who intentionally committed mass murder (and ecocide and culturecide) on a mass scale, including many civilians in friendly countries. Lowe’s interesting observation is that the jingoistic right-wing press who helped raise the private funds for this memorial presents these ‘heroes’ as victims (of ‘political correctness’ etc).

            In the actual event of invasion, the small British professional/mercenary armed forces will be largely irrelevant, like the BEF was in WW1 and WW2, wars which were only won by mass mobilisation of civilians. The wars fought (and often lost, recently) by British colonial, special and neocolonial professional/mercenary forces are far better at stirring up shit and raping locals than actually solving problems. I guess we’ll see what the latest round of inquiries uncovers.

            I don’t know why so many people voted for Brexit, or why slightly fewer voted for Remain, but I do have a suspicion (hypothesis) that there was a great deal of political frustration in the UK about never being able to influence British foreign policy through the ballot at general elections. The main parties generally offered somewhat different domestic programmes, but foreign policy (that bit under the royal prerogative) is generally off-limits to public influence. So in retrospect I am not surprised so many jumped at the opportunity to change British foreign policy when given the extremely rare chance in a referendum.

            I notice you seem very reluctant to even mention the royals, or British established religion, or its traditional, centuries hold over politics in the UK. I wonder why.

          21. SteveH says:

            Why is it only Anglosphere countries where the intelligentsia hate their own history, heritage and culture. It’s narcissism of the highest order.

            You typify the graduate elites who judge the past by their own ideology of today, then only of your own nation? Its a crock of shit! Had you served in the British armed forces in WWII as a young middle class person. You would not of done anything different.

            Your is definitely a self-loathing mindset.

            With every sneer you demonstrate your sad view of your own people. You are utterly blind to the injustices of other countries and peoples of the past and today.

            Your are determined to undermine your own country’s ability to defend itself. In wartime today you’d worse than useless.

            The world is a dangerous place. People like you think your social justice credentials are all you need.

            Peace is only pauses between wars.

            When droughts and famine hit parts of the world, only the strong and resilient will survive. People like you are determined to weaken our UK nations. History will judge people like you as weak.

          22. SleepingDog says:

            @SteveH, you are not making a case or arguing points, you are name-calling and creating straw men. Your curiously cartoonish quasi-Marxist views of class-essentialism is only adding to the embarrassment. Of course, the typical approach to winning arguments in the Army (which I imagine involves more bulging veins and bodily fluids) may not transfer well to online comment interaction. Or maybe you’re read so many crap theories they’re rotted your brain.

            Clearly, you are presenting yourself as the moral coward and weakling for being too frightened to take a non-partisan look at your history, your organisation and yourself. Your desperate need to think well of all these is rather painful to behold. Incidentally, the British military’s tendency to self-mythologise is termed ‘Walting’ by Joe Glenton (after Walter Mitty; this also applies to non-military people who invent a military persona). Cheerleaders for the British military are called ‘Blazers’. Incidentally, even the number one British military cheerleader, the British Legion, says:
            “It may be particularly useful to try to explore why Regular veterans have a higher imprisonment rate for sexual offences than the general public.”
            They also look at comparable research on USAmerican veterans:
            “The research found that when veterans reported they had committed a violent crime it was more likely to be against females only, at 60%, compared to 40% for non-veteran violent offenders. Veteran violent offenders were also more likely to have known their victim and for victims to be aged 17 or less.”
            Hardly paints a picture of the strong protecting the weak.

            So, in the planned British military coup in which you will take a significant leadership role (if only in your imagination), who is to be the figurehead for what, if true to form, will be another unimaginative hierarchy? Presumably you’ve all already sworn an oath to at least one royal, although I expect one is as good (or bad) as another. Maybe you’ll get backing from one recently shoved (however slightly) into the sidelines?

          23. SteveH says:

            You are such a woke, its cringeworthy to read your stuff.

            Listen. The wider world does not revolve around you and your woke mates. What don’t you understand about those non-Western nations who hate us is that its only fear of us that keeps them at bay.

            They love the woke like you because you weaken us

            If you knew your history you’d see the danger that your anti British/Scottish attitude represents.

            Most non-Western countries don’t give a toss about social justice and think we’re nuts indulging your woke beliefs.

            I bet you celebrated the Hamas violence against the innocent Israelis. You probably know nothing about the history of the region. The IDF is probably the most restrained security forces in the world. The Israelis don’t f*ck each other over when it comes to their defence..

            Yet, none of the woke like you would understand any of that, such is your ignorance.

            I’ve lost a good mate , murdered by a terrorist. It brings it home what a dangerous world we live in. He died so people like you could indulge your freedom to be a knob.

            I’ve worked in many totalitarian countries, and they are puzzled at our indulgence of woke people like you. Its only our historical military prowess and toughness that keeps them at bay.

            It is only an idiot who would throw that defensive capability away.

          24. SleepingDog says:

            @SteveH, yeah, the next time I’m attacked by a sleeping Afghan child from thousands of miles away, it will be despite the best efforts of our brave British forces to eliminate that threat to me.

            Of course, the British Empire has much responsibility to bear on the bloody settler colonialism in today’s Israel–Palestine. In The Blood Never Dried: A People’s History of the British Empire, 2nd Edition (2013), John Newsinger devotes a chapter to The Palestine Revolt, where he writes:
            p130 “Britain’s interest in Palestine was primarily strategic.”
            If Britain sponsored Zionists to form a loyalist Jewish Ulster it would see off French; but it didn’t work out that way.
            The Palestinian Revolt of 1936-39 was concurrent with Spanish Civil War but largely ignored by our history books. Grievances flared into violence and general strike led by youth, reprisals by British.
            p142 “The British responded to what was becoming a guerrilla war with mass arrests, shootings, torture and the blowing up of houses.”

            The British were quite fond of torture, maybe still are, especially if they can get others to provide the means and sites. Ian Cobain wrote a book on the subject: Cruel Britannia: A Secret History of Torture.

          25. 231011 says:

            The thing that bothers me about Matt Goodwin’s latest book, Values, Voice & Virtue: The New British Politics, is that it begins with the strange suggestion that British politics used to be stable, boring, moderate, and consensual. Does he forget the Troubles in Northern Ireland? In their worst year, 1972, 479 people were killed. Does he forget Suez, the Falklands War, the Iraq War, the Miners’ Strikes, the divisions which rent the Labour Party in 1981, the crash of 2008, Black Wednesday in 1992?

            He also makes the extraordinary claim that the New British Politics of the last ten years or so is far more volatile, chaotic, divisive, and unpredictable. Really? Is the political hysteria provoked by Boris Johnson does not seem any greater than the hysteria provoked, in their different ways, by Enoch Powell, Edward Heath, Harold Wilson, or Margaret Thatcher?

            In fact, Matt would have us believe that things have become so much more volatile, chaotic, divisive, and unpredictable that ‘British politics is coming apart’.

            Matt wrecks his case from the get-go by overstating it.

            That said, his analysis of the fall of the traditional Left over the past 50 years and the rise of what we might call the ‘alt-left’ (what, back in the 1980s, we proletarians used to call the ‘Kickers and Stripey Jumper Brigade’) is thought-provoking. Back in the 1970s, the trade unions had succeeded in making the country more or less ungovernable; capitalism was on its knees. Both Wilson and Heath tried and failed to pacify them; they brought Callaghan low during the 1979 Winter of Discontent. The country took fright and elected Thatcher, who smashed the unions and ‘privatised’ the working-class, making it more selfishly aspirational and less socially conscious..

            One consequence of the Thatcher Revolution was the collapse of working-class representation in Parliament. When Neil Kinnock led Labour into battle, it had 64 MPs who had previously been in traditional ‘unskilled’ jobs. When Tony Blair won his second landslide in 2001, the number had fallen to 49. When Ed Miliband was defeated by David Cameron in 2015, it was down to 20. When Jeremy Corbyn took over, promising to restore the voice of the working class, there were only 12. Now there are only seven. Over the past 50 years, Labour has become totally middle class.

            The key to this were the trade unions, who founded the Labour Party and for generations provided education for working-class organisers and negotiators who went on to become MPs, and, in Callaghan’s case Prime Minister.

            Unionism brought not only working-class representation to the legislative assembly, it also brought it to the executive. Perhaps the best example of this was Ernest Bevin, who started life in rural poverty, left school at the age of 11, created the Transport and General Workers’ Union, became an indispensable member of the War Cabinet, and, as Foreign Secretary, helped create NATO and the German Bundesrepublik.

            The vacuum left by the collapse of the trade unions has been filled, as Goodwin says, by the same bourgeois elite of career politicians that populate all our political parties, who seldom talk to anyone outside their own class, and with the insufferable self-righteousness of the coloniser who tries to impose their opinions on the rest of us.

            According to Matt, this new elite of both the right and left of the traditional political divide has taken full control of our political institutions, our think tanks, our civil service, our public bodies, our universities, our ‘creative industries’ or cultural institutions, and much of the mainstream media, with the result that these civic spaces have become battlegrounds in a series of cultures wars between conservatives and radicals, liberals and authoritarians, nationalists and unionists, etc., etc., instead of fora for public dialogue and decision-making. That our civic spaces were ever such Habermasian ‘ideal speech situations’ seems like a pieve pure, unadulterated ‘Golden Age’ thinking on Matt’s part; our civic spaces have always been battlegrounds for bourgeois ideological conflicts.

            Matt does better when he highlights the ironies of our contemporary politics, such as Boris Johnson, an Old Etonian, who studied Classics, ancient literature and philosophy at Oxford University, and Nigel Farage, a commodities trader, and Suella Braverman, a barrister, becoming figureheads of the populist (anti-elitist) movement in Britain.

            Matt’s central message in this book is also beyond reproach: many people in the country are indeed searching around for a radical alternative that will allow them to launch a revolt against the growing power of the new elite on both the right and left of British politics. The only question that remains is what form this radical alternative will take and when it will arrive.

          26. 230905 says:

            Whether I have your respect or not is neither here nor there, Steve; whether or not what you’re saying is worthy of my belief is all that matters. Critical thinking equips me to determine that.

            You’d have me believe that mass migration is a bad thing and that it’s part of a conspiracy to undermine ‘white’ supremacy, understood as the privileging of the ‘morally pure’ like yourself and their identity, heritage, history and culture over the ‘morally impure’ and their various ‘black’ identities, histories, inheritances, and cultures. But you’ve offered e no evidence or argument that would prove the worthiness of your case, only denunciation and allusions to some academic authorities whom you deem ‘morally pure’, none of which is nearly good enough.

            I remain to be convinced of the worthiness of what you’d have me believe.

          27. 211013 says:

            @ Steve

            You keep referring to ‘our’ culture as if it were a single thing. But it isn’t and never has been; it’s always been a plurality, You’re not seriously suggesting, are you, that Glasgow culture is the same as Dundee culture, or the culture of Gaelic speakers is the same as that of Welsh speakers, or the culture of Roman Catholics is the same as that of Wee Frees, or that the culture of a white van driver is the same as that of a farmer?

            Who’s culture in our long history of endemic multiculturalism should we privilege as ‘white’? And why should we privilege any one of our many cultures over any other?

            Those are the questions you keep dodging.

          28. SteveH says:

            Culture change is always work in progress. But when you allow in millions of migrants in a short space of time, the difference in cultures can have a significant.

            Since Blair’s the net population has grown by 10million. We are running at 600,000 legal migrants a year. There are communities where English is rarely spoken. Increasingly integration isn’t happening and cultural chasms are growing.

            Scotland is currently 95.4% white, i.e. mostly Scottish culture. Most Scots haven’t experienced this jolt in their small towns or even in the big cities.

            Small migrant communities take care not to antagonise the locals. When they become the majority, their attitudes change. Its human nature.

            My stepson went into Brixton in London to pick something up for me. He was intimidated going in and coming out of the area. Scotland has yet to experience that to any significant degree.

            Another point is that there seems to be a determined effort by the national mainstream media to celebrate anyone else’s culture but our own. In London, EID seems to celebrated more than traditional British festivals.

            Its all to easy now to suddenly become a stranger in your own town. If Humsa has his way to automatically give anyone living in Scotland at time if independence Scotland will see a huge spike in migrants, that will impact services, housing and social cohesion. Its happening in England, Wales and Eire at the moment.

            The anti-Israeli protesters now British streets are mostly migrants. They act as though they were back in their familial countries of origin. Most Scots are naive about this.

            You may think I exaggerate. That’s your right to think so.

            Do you think if this country was facing war any of these will step up. A few maybe. Thing is, not that many of them fought for their own homelands or to improve their homeland’s democracy.

          29. SleepingDog says:

            @SteveH, you keep quoting a figure for Scottish whiteness but don’t reference your source, or its date. The 2022 Census is yet to publish its findings.
            “In summer 2024, a series of topic data reports will provide new and unique insights into the characteristics of Scotland’s people, including information on ethnicity, religion, the labour market, education and housing. For the first time, it will also include data on armed forces veterans, sexual orientation and trans status or history.”

            You equate whiteness with culture, which is absurd, given the general-purpose nature and plasticity of the human brain, and the vast flux of cultural products and influence between the UK and its colonies, USA, Japan, the rest of Europe, the rest of the world, all mixed and remixed, borrowed and appropriated. William Shakespeare, writing around 1600 in England, drew on stories, ideas, characters and locations from round the known and ancient worlds. The Aladdin story may have originated in China, been repackaged in Persia, translated into English before being given a USAmerican spin by Robin Williams and Disney. If you only ate ‘traditional British foods’, whatever that means, what a vast range of cuisine eaten in Britain would you have to forsake? No potatoes or tomatoes, no turkey or carrots. Few spices.

            You claim to have worked for long periods in ‘totalitarian’ countries, where strangely you also claim they look after their own people (odd, considering the history of uprisings and unrest in such countries, such as Iran and the Gulf states). How does this make you any kind of authority on British culture?

            I wasn’t surprised by the British Legion findings on sexual offences and domestic violence in the military of the ‘Anglosphere’. No doubt you view the British Legion as country-haters who have been infiltrated by new-cultural-Marxist types. It fits with a study we were told about where researchers were trying to find patterns in teenage runaways ending up in London. It took them a while, apparently, because they weren’t looking for it, but eventually they found the most significant factor was a parent/guardian with a military background. They theorised that their home life was over-regimented, authoritarian, irrational, perhaps violent. I think we have to assume a degree of sexual abuse, from the British Legion research too. That is the pattern when investigations uncover the behaviour of British troops overseas (I don’t know what effect the recent ban on British military using sex workers will be, either).

            If you are confusing the authoritarian, class-ridden, alcohol-fuelled, rapist, bullying, corrupt, racist, misogynist, violent, self-mythologising-to-the-point-of-grandiose-delusions culture of the British armed forces for British culture at large (which I guess you never really experienced much of), then some of your ideas, at least, come into focus. What is sadly the case, given your expressed antipathy to various forms of socialism, is that British military recruits are some of the biggest recipients of socialism in Britain; I mean, you all get your clothes from the same depot. British military life is effectively assisted living for recruits from often-deprived demographics and sometimes-chaotic domestic lives. It is hardly a place where thinking for oneself is encouraged. The officer class, who you don’t mention, are often among the most backward people in society, with many peculiarities and whose record of fighting recent wars suggests they are fondly imagining the British colonial invasions of the 19th century. As previously noted, NATO might be the most evil organisation that has ever lived, but it also deeply stupid and immensely arrogant, and not all of that comes from the USA.

          30. SteveH says:

            Thank you for this. Your opinion is noted.

        2. 230905 says:

          Well, Steve; more fool you for supposing that political parties exist to protect and promote the safety and prosperity of the Scottish and British people. They’re communities of interest that exist to capture the power they need to realise their values and pursue their ambitions in government.

          And more fool you for supposing that this state of affairs is due to the moral qualities of the players involved, whom you variously demonise, rather than the structural qualities of the establishment itself, the whole matrix of social relationships through which power is exercised in our society. What we need is not to clear out the current crew and replace it with a ‘white’ (morally pure) one; we need rather to reset the system to ensure that it frustrates rather than facilitates the pursuit of power by individual communities of interest.

          In a democratic society, decision-making should be an expression of the general will rather than any particular party’s ideological interests. In a democratic society, no voice or community should be privileged over any other.

        3. John says:

          Why didn’t you just write Drain the Swamp
          Your hatred of graduates is worrisome- you do realise that many people that work in NHS and other essential industries are graduates.
          You do realise one of the first thing autocrats do when they take power after abandoning democracy is sidelining and often murdering the educated (graduate) people.
          You may want to ponder why this is and how your hatred of educated people makes you appear?

          1. SteveH says:

            Today’s graduate elites share values and aspirations that are far removed from those of the majority of citizens.

            They tend to believe in critical social justice bull, and look down on the majority who don’t.

            They sneer at British national identity preferring to celebrate the cultures of non-British origin

            They have been running the country politically, economically, and culturally for decades and have progressively trashed this country’s safety, security and future. Multiculturism and technocracies don’t work unless you value every one.

            You mentioned LGBTQ+. Its a scam. Most LGB are distancing themselves from the Trans activist extremists and Queer Theory mob. Time will show how you confused gay and autistic children have been used in a great post modernist experiment.

            You can no longer stifle other opinions by simply labelling them with ridiculous descriptions. None of you actually know what far-right is.

            You them associate me with Trump. Since when have I even mentioned him in a positive light.

            You’re angry because you know what I right makes sense.

            I can debate the lot of you, but you cannot hold a coherent argument long enough to prove anything.

            Jog on…

          2. SleepingDog says:

            @SteveH, yet the British Establishment seems largely immune to change, if you look at Royalty (still head of the Armed Forces and dissent largely crushed, even to the extent of maintaining the Treason Felony Act of 1848 on the books), gentrified rural culture (the fox hunting lobbies etc.), landownership, the established church (Anglican Bishops in the House of Lords), the House of Lords itself, private school systems maintaining privileges, the Armed Forces schools and colleges where much indoctrination occurs, the Church schools and colleges where more indoctrination occurs, the composition of high court judges and magistrates, the dynastic trends which lead to greater inequality, the old institutions who cling to their racist and murderous and slave-owning/trading idols, and the right-wing media which largely worships these hierarchies.

            You have said a lot, but I’ve not noted anything about Royalty (whom you presumably swore an oath to defend with your life) or Christianity (the real fundamentalist ideology along with the worship of Mammon behind USAmerican politics). Surely it is these right-wing Christian groups, with vast riches and a proselytising mission, that are most promoting an unrealistic ideology, dangerous to women’s rights (anti-abortion is on the rise in the USA, still illegal in UK), anti-science Creationism and in the USA unconstitutional backing for suppressing boycotts of Israel on Armageddonist grounds? Sure, gender identity theory is another unrealistic soullist ideology, but hardly in the same league as established Christianity.

            Of course, the idea that the British Empire embodied Christian values is up for debate. It could be said that Christian missionaries were the shock troops of European Empires’ culturecide programme, but apparently Baptist missionaries also worked with resistance movements within enslaved people in the British Caribbean. The Crusades were part of the grand traditions of religious pretexts for colonisation, and of European military adventurism spreading disease around the planet (with disastrous effect to the Americas, and back to Europe in waves of plagues). It seems only last year that the British Armed forces banned their personnel from sexual exploitation of locals.
            The laws against male homosexuality in the British Empire and Commonwealth you noted are direct effects of British colonisation, not indigenously-derived legislation. This of course does not mean that the British Imperial establishment is not gay, far from it, but like prostitution the elite often exploit those it legislates against, stripping them of legal protections and controlling them with social shame.

          3. 230905 says:

            But you’re not debating anyone, Steve; you’re just trotting out your demons. Rather than just repeating the same old mantras again and again, try justifying your claims with some argument instead. As Derrida used to ask of his students: what’s the thinking behind your thinking?

            Tell us, for example:

            What are these aspirations and values that you claim today’s graduate elites share? What evidence do you have that those elites in fact share those aspirations and values?

            What are the aspirations and values that you claim the majority of citizens share? What evidence do you have that the majority of citizens in fact share those aspirations and values? In what respects do these differ from the aspirations and values you claim that today’s graduate elites share?

            What is the critical social justice in which you claim today’s graduate elites tend to believe? What evidence do you have that today’s graduate elites tend to believe it? Why is it ‘bull’?

            Give us some reason to buy what you’re telling us. Show us the quality of what it is that you’re selling, why we should buy it, and why we should buy it from you in particular. Otherwise, you’re not debating, Stevie, boy; you’re just p*ss*ng in the wind.

          4. SteveH says:

            If you’re quoting the likes of Derrida then you’re already lost in a post modernist asylum.

            None if the philosophies of the likes of Derrida, Foucault et al ever had practical application in the real world. Anymore than Marxism did. It’s praxis only leads to disaster and chaos.

          5. John says:

            Reply to Steve H
            Mate anyone that finishes a comment with jog on while claiming they have won the argument without addressing issues I have raised about the value of graduates in society, your visceral hatred of groups of people and how your carte Blanche demonising of all political parties as being against people is exactly the tactics that Donald. Trump uses.
            You seem a very angry individual, no doubt exacerbated by the conspiracies that you promulgate. Anger and bitterness primarily damages you. I would recommend taking a break from internet and taking some chill pills and this may help you emerge from the rabbit hole you appear to have gone down.

          6. John says:

            Reply to Steve H 1.59pm 9/10
            Last comment Steve mate.
            You accused me of going on about LGBTQ+ – check my posts I have never mentioned this group.
            I am back from walking my dog and I was thinking about your post(s) and your apparent obsession with trans people.
            I am a 60+ heterosexual male who is comfortable in his gender so to me the trans debate is an irrelevance. I have come across a transgender person at my work and apart from thinking they looked a bit odd my only thought was so what if that what rocks your boat. I really struggle to see why other males get worked up about this issue as it will not affect you personally. I understand and respect that this can be an issue for women and that they may have a vested interest in this issue and am happy to listen to their thoughts in debate rather than plough in myself.
            I like the majority of people think that the NHS, cost of living and housing are the issues of most immediate importance to me, my family and community. I am concerned about climate change as this will affect my family and future generations. Immigration is not an immediate issue in my area although my wife and I have housed a Ukrainian family for last 18 months.
            I can only conclude therefore that your obsession with transgender people is because you wish to stir up culture war issues as the government is cynically doing to deflect attention from its poor performance.
            You or your family may have had some personal interaction with a transgender person which has left you bitter and antagonistic.
            Lastly I remember in the 70’s & 80’s some of the most homophobic people were cruelly trying to cover up their own homosexual tendencies so you may actually have some transgender tendancies that you are struggling to come to terms with?

          7. 230905 says:

            Still no debate, Steve?

      2. 230905 says:

        It wasn’t meant to tell you anything about the state of the parties, about which I couldn’t give a toss; it was intended to put a contrary view to the notion that Penny’s conference speech as ‘bizarre’. It was rather a run-of-the-mill flag-waver of the sort you hear at all party conferences.

  12. John says:

    Reply to 230905 2.07pm comments.
    I agree with your comments about Alt Right philosophy.
    Many proponents are simply grifters knowing there are plenty people in positions of real power – government, media owners who are willing to pay them to amplify these half baked ideas knowing they are bullshit but they also know that bullshit baffles brains! I am sure some promoters believe this stuff but others promote to deflect attention from people questioning those with real power and wealth.
    I often think reading the alt right propaganda that it is justified by pseudo intellectual grudges which remind me of Kenneth Williams famous line in Carry On Cleo – ‘Infamy, infamy they’ve all got it infamy!’

    1. 230905 says:

      I don’t think the alt-right is about currying favour with the rich and powerful ‘elite’, whom it consistently attacks. It’s about recruiting mobs from among the Lumpenproletariat by appealing to its sense of grudge and grievance against various ‘others’ (migrants, gays, queers, Jews, graduates, liberals, the English, or whoever), whom its members hold to be morally inferior to themselves (the ‘black’ to their ‘white’) and to be responsible for the general sh*tt*ness of their lives, which they can then grow into an electoral force in the service of their own will to power. That’s the essence of its populism.

      1. John says:

        Alt right are useful to some in power because they deflect people’s attention onto blaming others (usually minorities or conspiracy elites) for their problems rather than holding those with real financial and political power to account.
        This is a dangerous tactic to follow as 20th century history has shown us.

      2. SteveH says:

        I love the Marxist term “Lumpenproletariat” to describe compatriots.

        Its an progressive elite’s sneer because they wouldn’t swallow Marx’s fairytale.

        Look at Africa in the 70’s snd 80’s. Its flirt with Marxism cost millions of lives. They still haven’t recovered from those days even now.

        The irony is Marx was a blatant racist!

        1. John says:

          You are completely obsessed by Karl Marx (even more so than transgender people). Is it a prerequisite with alt-right propaganda to insert Marx into every comment.
          I personally don’t care much for Karl Marx- more a Groucho man myself.

          1. SteveH says:

            Marx is the basis of the current progressive madness in Western Society.

            Ironic isn’t is? Left wingers often accuse everyone who doesn’t agree with them as “far-right” or “alt-right.”

          2. “Marx is the basis of the current progressive madness in Western Society.”

            Really? Sounds great, if highly improbable. Where in ‘the West’ are such things going on? Would love to get involved.

          3. John says:

            Reply to Stevie H comment at 4.22
            Reading your posts Stevie you have reminded me of someone but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
            It came to me when I was out walking ma dug – you remind me of Reggie Perrin’s brother in law Jimmy who riled against anyone with liberal tendencies who didn’t conform to his rather rigid idea of how you should think and lead your life which accounted for most of society. If I recall Jimmy, who was played sympathetically by Geoffrey Palmer, was also ex army.
            If you don’t like the term alt-right then I think the term Reggie used for Jimmy is also appropriate- Reggie called Jimmy’s opinions bonkers.

          4. 230905 says:

            @ Mike

            I think Steve’s right insofar as Marx (and subsequent readings thereof) has exercised a profound influence on our discourse in the West. But, of course, he’s wrong to ascribe that influence to some deliberate conspiracy on the part of some malign agency. The idea that anyone is secretly pulling the strings of history is absurd superstition.

            (BTW Why have I been blocked from replying to Niemand on the ‘Branding Others’ thread?)

        2. 230905 says:

          Aye, Marx did coin the term to delineate as a class all those who had been lost to social production; this included the finance aristocracy as well as those who led ‘bohemian’ lifestyles (‘degenerate and adventurous scions of the bourgeoisie’), career criminals, soldiers, police officers, bureaucrats, and the chronically unemployable.

          This essentially redundant and parasitical class is largely the remains of older, obsolete stages of social development that can neither play a productive role in capitalist society nor, because it lacks the clear class-consciousness or solidarity of both that bourgeoisie and the proletariat proper, serve as a driver of revolution (for Marx, it was the bourgeoisie that drove the revolutions of late 18th and 19th century Europe). Instead, the Lumpenproletariat ‘exploits society for its own ends and is in turn exploited by political opportunists as a tool of destruction and reaction. Because it acts only out of socially ignorant self-interest, the Lumpenproletariat is easily bribed by reactionary forces and can be used to combat the proletariat in its efforts to overcome/go beyond/surpass capitalism and its ideological expression in modernity’ (Marx: The Class Struggles in France 1848-1850).

          Curiously enough, it was conservatives in the US, not Marx, who first identified the Lumpenproletariat with ‘a self-perpetuating culture of poverty’, peopled by those who are ‘without work and without hope, existing at the margins of society, [who] could bring down the great cities, sap resources and strength from the entire society and, lacking the usual means to survive, prey upon those who possess them.’ In their notorious book, The Bell Curve, much of the research for which was funded by the white supremacist organisation, the Pioneer Fund and which purported to find connections between race and intelligence and went on to suggest policy implications based on these purported connections, humanities scholars Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray largely created the alt-right narrative that Western civilisation (i.e. the United States) is being ‘split between an isolated caste of ruling meritocrats on one hand and a vast, powerless Lumpenproletariat on the other. Society… will have little use for this underclass in a world dominated by sophisticated machines and the bright human beings [educated elites?] who tend them.’

          The Lumpenproletariat as we know it is as much a creation of the American alt-right as of Marx.

        3. John says:

          Stevie H
          Having read all your posts and how you keep bringing up your army background.
          My father fought in Second World War against an enemy whose core philosophy was based on racial superiority, hatred of minorities, educated class and other supposed elites. A philosophy not a million miles away from the content of your posts.
          Fortunately when it comes to Scotland, this is a Scottish forum, the far right have never managed a foothold in political life. In short you are pissing into a strong wind and long may it continue.

          1. SteveH says:

            So, because your father was a full-on bigot? you extrapolate that all white people are. As it happens my father protested and fought in the streets against Mosely’s black shirts.

            It reminds me of DiAngelo and her “White Fragility” book. She maintains that just because she is a racist every white is. Its absurd!

            But the the Woke/Critical Social Justice ideology is completely absurd.

            I bet you believe that there are more than two sexes and that you can change sex. That is, despite the irrefutable scientific evidence.

            As for banging on about the right wing.

            Right is anyone not agreeing with your obvious left beliefs.

            Its getting boring now.

          2. John says:

            Reply to Steve H
            You have never met my father and he was certainly not a bigot.
            You can call me anything you like but do not insult someone you never knew or interacted with. He answered the call in WW2 when his country needed him and I and many like me are grateful to him and his generation for helping defeat fascism.
            I did not agree with him on everything but I can safely say that he would have utterly rejected the AngloBritish supremacist philosophy you espouse here based primarily on an enormous chip on your shoulder which seems to mainly consist of a visceral hatred of other people that are not or do not think like you.
            I am not surprised your tired it must be exhausting being angry, hateful and shouty.

          3. SteveH says:

            I’m getting a bit tired of reading your naive words.

            I learned to fight my corner the hard way.

            This site is such an echo chamber. Don’t posts like mine give you something to actually think about and get your blood up?

            Your beliefs are not much use unless they are challenged and tested. True, I didn’t do a proper philosophical debate. Woke language is designed to be confusing rather than a serious proposition. So, there’s not a lot of point in reasoning with it.

            I don’t know how old your are, but I bet you’re much much younger than me.

            What did Roy Batty say in “Blade Runner” about “seeing things you people wouldn’t believe?” There is no real substitute for experiential learning.

            If you want to really learn about the world get out there and take some risks. Join an organization that fights against the slavery that is rife in Africa now.

            Protest outside the Chinese Embassy against their human rights violations against Hong Kong citizens and the Uyghurs.

            You could, for example, protest outside the S.African Consulate about the large scale murder of white farmers and the murder and racism against Nigerian and other African migrants.

            To whinge about your own country which is the least racist and gives the most freedoms is pretty sad, and so pathetically easy.

            If you want to be a real noble activist then don’t do the performative nonsense on easy stuff in this country. No, do risky stuff in dangerous countries where real injustices are the norm.

          4. John says:

            Further reply to Steve H:
            As regards Your obsession about transgender people please see my previous reply and my suspicions about why you are so obsessed.
            Please also look up the definition of sex and gender so you can at least communicate accurately on a subject I explained I have no interest in as it is of no relevance to my life.
            As opposed to my calling out your comments as supporting right wing it was in reply to you calling me left wing (although in my younger days I virtually always played on right side in midfield or upfront.)
            I am happy to leave it to others to judge what terms to use to describe your ideology and mine.

          5. SteveH says:

            I thought that would provoke you.

            Trans-gender is a good indicator of woke madness.

            Generally, the woke who support trans-activism can be relied upon to do the critical race theory madness too.

            As with race, I’ve also done my research on gender activism issues.

            There is nothing in the Trans gender ideology or literature that changes my mind on sex and gender.

            Dimorphism has been around for some 250m years. Sex is determined early in the conception process, and is realized in the creation of one of two types gametes possible. Even intersex people can be ultimately identified as one sex or another.

            The idea of “Gender” is the social construct influenced mostly by social , emotional, and even political factors.

            Thing is, there’s no way you can change sex. Not even with all the cross-sex hormones and surgery can you change your sex.

            Of course, historically trans people in society were just allowed to get on with it with little fuss. The whole thing has now been hijacked politically, snd trans people will ultimately bear the brunt, whist the activists fade away.

            The (mostly heterosexual) Trans Activist mob has created a madness that will see many vulnerable people hurt by what is only an ideology.

            LGBTQA+ is not a community. Its a political label that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. The TQA+ hijacked PRIDE and are now mostly in conflict with the majority of gay and lesbian people who just want to get on with their lives. Then there is the gender critical feminists.

            Despite the huge amount of money poured into this strange movement, it is doomed. The majority of people are growing tired of this dangerous belief system., which adversely affects women and children. In time, I think “compelled speech” and the hate-crime scam will put paid to it.

            The writing is on the wall.

          6. 211013 says:

            A wee correction, Steve. Fundamentally, transexualism has nothing to do with changing one’s sex; fundamentally, it’s to do with not identifying with the sex you were assigned at birth. The whole transexual debate is about whether or not we, as a society, should allow transexuals the right not to socially identify with the sex they were assigned at birth (and all the traditional gender role implications that assignment entails).

            You clearly think that we shouldn’t allow transexuals that right. Why do you think this?

          7. SteveH says:

            I have no issue with transsexuals, gay, lesbian, or non-binary people. Although, I don’t know what the latter actually is.

            But I do have real issue with trans-activists.

            I have taken the trouble to research these topics, and feel I have a good idea of its key points. The main problem we have is that transsexuality has become politicised. For the activists, I think that it’s not the transsexuals needs that’s important but their use as a political weapon.

            I know there have always been men (mostly) who see themselves as being happier as a woman, and will do whatever necessary to achieve that. Society hasn’t generally been that perturbed about it. Quite right.

            However, there is today a movement that promotes ideas about sex and gender that I simply do not believe, and can see no evidence for their assertions.

            I am opposed to the negative aspects of their beliefs and their activism.

            Gender dysphoria is very real, but was for decades mostly present in a tiny number of cases (with respect to the general population). The children affected were until recent years predominantly boys. It’s been noted that many of these eventually discovered that they were gay, with the passage of puberty which takes them forward, and allows them to be more comfortable with being gay. Others appeared to have other psychological issues, including autism, and seeking some kind of relief; desperate for a solution to their discomfort.

            In the past 15 years, especially in the US, a powerful political movement has emerged which promotes post-modernist ideas about sex, sexuality, and gender, with a bit of feminism thrown in. It now operates now largely under the label of LBGTQA+ etc. It seems to have sprung out of the gay and Lesbian Pride movement. However, just as being gay or Lesbian was not longer a rights issue, and organisations like Stonewall no longer had a purpose to exist, it become the vehicle for something quite different.

            As with the race industry, this movement has been building its base especially in Academia, and the teaching profession.
            Today we find ourselves with a pandemic of Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD) with girls now outnumbering boys.
            Social media and the internet seem to have been the enabler of the explosion of interest in this issue. Under the lobbying and manipulation by organisations like Stonewall UK and Mermaids we have seen this promotion of gender ID affirmation aimed at children and young people.

            Pre-pubescent and adolescent girls as we now know are especially prone to group hysteria, and this gender ideology has hit them particularly hard. Puberty has always been hard on girls, with the scary realisation that they will be mothers and have to put up with biological challenges that men can’t even imagine. For some girls, this fear of the changes to their body and the maternal prospects have made them vulnerable to manipulation by the dedicated transgender activists.

            We are now see puberty blockers being demanded or promoted by activists. However, the Cass investigation and a recent family court case revealed a disturbing level of such medication without rigours safeguards and investigation of the personal issues behind their psychological and emotional issues.

            Children and young people are unable to decide about what sex they think they should be, and whether to be put on the path to medicalisation. Most European countries are now coming to this conclusion. The US is on a trajectory of its own, with a cynical medical and pharma industrial complex prompting it for all its worth.

            Overall there has been a huge increase in numbers of young people going on to have cross-sex hormone treatment and/or surgery. There is also a growing group of detransitioners emerging telling an horrific story of disastrous treatment that has left them sterile, in pain, unable to enjoy sex, pseudo-vaginas that behaves like a wound and tries to close up. These young people are doomed to needing medical treatment for this for life, for what was not a medical condition in the first place. There will be decades of lawsuits to come. History will judge that some parts of society must have been mentally ill to support this. This is truly the madness of crowds!

            In another, but equal dark side of this horror story we now see a determined effort to diminish the rights and identity of women. There is a level of misogyny that has emerged that beggar’s belief. The Transactivists want to blur the reality of biological sex and the differences between men and women. Notably the scrapping of women’s safe spaces such as toilets and changing rooms and the crazy demand to allow trans women to compete against biological women. Further, there are the abusive men who, by declaring themselves to be women, are then put into the woman’s prison estate, where they can cause havoc. They are able to intimidate staff and inmates by the invocation of “hate crimes” for not accepting their claims to be a “woman”. The safety and wellbeing of girls and women is jeopardised by the demand to allow gender self-ID.

            Then there is the issue of compelled speech. By demanding that everyone must use the personal pronouns of the said transsexual or face legal sanction or at least shaming or accusations of transphobia represents one of the biggest threats to free speech we have seen for decades. My beliefs do not allow me to be coerced into validating the personal beliefs of others that I cannot accept. Sure I wish them no harm, but know that they would wish me harm. Look at JKR, she has never attacked transsexuals in any form or media, yet persistent lies are told about her. Threats by Trans-activists to rape and murder her suggests to me that perhaps social justice isn’t actually what they have in mind.

            Then there is the question of what is the LBGTQA+ community? To begin with it is not a single community that can speak for all those who identify themselves in one of the letters. Indeed the growing ambivalence between gays & lesbians and the trans activists is showing what a con it is. The recent legal action by Mermaids against the LGB Alliance revealed that Mermaids couldn’t even defend their own beliefs on gender. Their action to eradicate the LGBA showed a cynical and vile side of that organisation that should ring alarm bells even in the heads of the most determined critical social justice warrior. Founders of Stonewall in the UK are now speaking out against the very organisation that, in its day, helped give them their rights.

            Finally, my fear is that the true transsexuals will be harmed by the actions of the trans-activists, but when this madness becomes apparent to all, the damage will have been done.

          8. John says:

            Reply to Stevie H posts of 1310
            Here we go the usual woke (whatever that means) accusations- I suppose it was only a matter of time.
            I will tell my son & daughter I was called woke – that will give them a good laugh.
            I am very aware of injustices worldwide but this does not make me blind to injustice, tolerance and hatred in this country regardless of wherever it comes from. Hint Stevie it’s coming from you.
            I have never been a member of a political party or on a protest march so posting comments on this site is only political’ thing I do.
            As I have said on numerous occasions I am rather baffled by and disconnected from whole transgender issue but have personally have developed a live and let live attitude to all things relating to sex and sexuality as frankly it is none of my business. If women feel uneasy or threatened I respect that. You on the other hand appear to be utterly and unhealthily obsessed by the subject for which I am pretty sure there must be a psychological reason.
            Lastly I am still waiting for you to apologise for calling my father, a man who served his country during it’s time of greatest need, and tried to help others during his life a bigot. You can judge people by their ability to apologise.
            Until I receive an apology for your unsubstantiated slur against someone you do not know and never met I will not communicate with you further. You have made it personal not political mate!

          9. SteveH says:

            OK. I will apologise for calling your father a bigot. It’s just that you implied all their generations and before were. I thought I’d bring home the absurdity of criticising the people of the past, or even those of today mere by their group identity. Eg in the military.

            Fun over with. Here is my case:

            1. There is a dangerous, technocratic, non-democratic groupthink amongst those who rule and lead all our institutions in the Western World.

            2. They are almost totally graduates, with their leaders coming from the top universities, and privileged families.

            3. They have completely different values and ideas than the majority non-graduate populations.

            4. They have more in common with like-minded graduate elites in other countries than they have with their own non-graduate compatriots.

            5. They no longer value the nation-state, preferring to be part of supranational bodies, where their anywhere ambitions give them the best opportunities.

            6. The values they share are, generally speaking, illiberal progressive ideas.

            7. The origins of their ideas come from Neo-Marxist Critical Theory based concepts developed in the likes of the Frankfurt school and adopted whole heartedly by the US academy from 1965 onwards. The Academy doubled in size between 1965 and 1975. The UK academy more than doubled between the late 1990’s and 2010’s.

            8. Graduates from these colleges went on to take their place in privileged places in government, institutions and corporates.

            9. They applied critical theory ideas to everything in society, despite the glaring defect of critical theory is that it is not a proven tool, but simply an unproven hypotheses.

            10. Instead of the classical class-based model of the rich/powerful as the oppressor, and the poor/powerless as the oppressed. It switched to minorities, especially race. It then used intersectionality to add other grievance minorities in a “hierarchy of oppression”. In this case the oppressor became Western Civilisation and it main ethnic population- white heterosexuals, with the worse culprits being men.

            11. Critical race theory (CRT) begins with the “certainty” that all black and brown people are victims of “whiteness” and systemic racism. The latter being “designed” to keep white people on top. This model is then applied to the other grievances. Its proponents, usually train in race and/or gender studies then set out to uncover instances of this systemic injustice, and only trained people can spot it. Denial of systemic xxxxx is proof of such bigotry or at least unconscious bias. All this is totally unproven, but it is a great stick to beat white heteronormative people with.

            12. With students “armed” with this “knowledge” it has marched through the institutions and corporates. Laws and policies have been changed with this political philosophy embedded into the structures that govern everyone’s lives.

            13. Mainstream media are infested with like-minded graduates propagate. The Tech companies (now minus Twitter/X of course) promote these belief systems and ideologies.

            14. The non-graduate populations have become aware that what they saw as extreme political correctness is now mainstream embedded laws and policies. They have also noted that their views and concerns no longer matter to the graduate elites, who generally speaking, account for at most – about 20% of the population (In Britain). It’s a Pareto relation, where 20% of the population have at least 80% of the power.

            15. One unfortunate consequence is that the narrative is aimed at destroying white history, heritage and culture, and promoting non-British or ethnically non-white narratives and culture. Lies, twisted language, half-truths and unbalanced presentations are designed to “decolonise” Western countries.

            16. The obsession with judging British (and Western) history on todays extreme critical social justice (CSJ) religious beliefs makes no sense, nor is it conducive to a cohesive society. It is merely a stick to beat white people with.

            17. The CSJ warrior’s mistake was thinking that the entire population was to swallow this hog wash and be grateful for it.

            18. Those who speak out against it are subject to career limiting sanctions by the CSJ zealots whenever possible. However, there are those who are too rich and powerful to pull down. There are also increasing numbers of graduates who are brave enough to challenge this iniquity. Non-grads are aware and pushing back. Brexit was a milestone in that pushback.

            19. But, I hear the CSJ say: “What about the disparities. That’s proof of everything we say”? No, it isn’t. The CRED report clearly illustrated that there many other factors involved. Even with the NHS Race and Health Observatory’s report led with claiming that systemic racism was to blame for disparities, yet offered no evidence. It also quietly sneaked in a comment that more research was needed to find evidence of racism. Of course, the BBC, Guardian etc., adopted the “Racism” assertions, without clearly speaking out about the lack of real data as evidence.

            20. Expensive, disruptive and divisive Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) training has proven to be completely ineffective. It has been shown to be worse than not having it. Yet, it’s a big employer of graduates of race and gender studies course. What a scam.

            21. The importance of so-called “lived experience” is such that in the assertions of the CSJ it trumps empirical data. Some will even say that the reliance on empirical data is a sign of “white supremacy”. Ask yourself this: why should anyone take serious anything the race industry, gender self-ID activists and progressives say?

            22. The CSJ rely heavily on the importance of group identities yet, denigrates the Scottish/British national identities at every turn.

            23. Interestingly, there is virtually no criticism of the brutal slave trading elites of West Africa who sold their fellow Africans with gusto. A trade that we know predates the British in Africa, and which has flourished again after the British left. Rank hypocrisy.

            24. There is no criticism of the totalitarian states that blatantly show racism, bigotry, injustice and corruption of staggering proportions. The failings of today’s non-Western states are ignored, or simply blamed on Western democracies and white people.

            25. So, what’s in it for the CSJ graduate elites? It’s an opportunity for performative activism; to demonstrate their membership and commitment to the CSJ/grad elite club.

            26. For the true Neo-Marxists it’s an effective way to bring down Western civilisation and capitalism. Yet, what happens when they achieve that goal? What next? How do you build the Marxist utopia that they have longed for?

            27. Of course, Western society breakdown would bring with it war, famine, pandemics. The result is more likely to be a takeover by foreign totalitarian cultures, or home-grown dictator(s).

            So, you see. Nothing of what you say makes any sense, and as a philosophy is so destructive that it needs to be opposed at every opportunity.

            The CSJ belief system is more racist and fascist than the ordinary people who are it’s target.

            Even the mainstream political parties (except the greens, SNP and Welsh Labour) are beginning to distance themselves from the CSJ madness. Sure, many individuals will try to sneak it back in. But this poison is now out in the open.

            You could keep changing the language as the CSJ always do, but a t*rd by any name is still a t*rd.

            What next for you? I hope you won’t join the losers running around Scotland’s streets with Palestinian flags shouting anti Jewish/Israeli slogan.

          10. John says:

            Last reply to Stevie H on 13th.
            Thank you for apology if grudging- as you have asked about my age I am 65 so no spring chicken and I have lived and worked in 4 different countries.
            I am not reading anymore of your posts because as you have correctly said bullshit baffles brains and I cannot take anymore of your bullshit.
            I am ignoring you from now on to help retain my sanity.
            I am off to enjoy my life today which will be made much easier by ignoring the hatred and bile you and your fellow Poundland shitstirrers pollute the airwaves with.
            I strongly suggest you switch off and go outside and enjoy nature and other human beings company. It will be beneficial for your mental health.
            Good luck!

          11. 211013 says:

            Acouple of comments:

            ‘There is a dangerous, technocratic, non-democratic groupthink amongst those who rule and lead all our institutions in the Western World.’

            But the nub of our dispute is that there’s no evidence of this; it’s pure conspiracy theory.

            ‘They [the conspirators] applied critical theory ideas to everything in society, despite the glaring defect of critical theory is that it is not a proven tool, but simply an unproven hypotheses.’

            You keep ignoring the fact that critical theory isn’t a hypothesis (proven or otherwise) like the Einstein’s theory of relativity or Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection or Marx’s theory of history; it’s rather a methodological tool (though, as such, it does make methodological assumptions that are themselves subject to critique). As I’ve said on numerous occasions now, the purpose of this tool is not to ‘explain’ anything; it’s to reveal, critique, and challenge the established power structures in any given society.

            Likewise, you keep ignoring the fact that critical race theory is an application of this methodological tool to the analysis of how laws, social and political movements, and media shape and are shaped by social conceptions of race and ethnicity; that is, revealing, critiquing, and challenging racism as a structural rather than a merely moral problem.

            ‘The narrative [of critical race theory] is aimed at destroying white history, heritage and culture, and promoting non-British or ethnically non-white narratives and culture. Lies, twisted language, half-truths and unbalanced presentations are designed to “decolonise” Western countries.’

            The purpose (rather than the narrative) of critical race theory, and of critical theory in general, is certainly to reveal, critique, and challenge the power structures in our society that privilege ‘white’ culture (in the deracialialised sense of ‘morally pure’) over ‘black’ cultures, which is the work of ‘decolonisation’. What’s wrong with that? It’s you who keeps racialising (and genderising, and sexualising) ‘white’ privilege and supremacism; as far as critical theorists as concerned, the class war is all about the realing, critiquing, and changing the power and privilege that an ‘oppressor’ group exercises over other ‘oppressed’ or ‘disadvantaged’ groups in any given society. Again, what’s wrong with that?

            ‘Critical race theory (CRT) begins with the “certainty” that all black and brown people are victims of “whiteness” and systemic racism. The latter being “designed” to keep white people on top.’

            No, it doesn’t. Critical race theory, and critical theory in general, sets out from the premise that social injustice or bias is a systemic rather than a moral problem and that, accordingly, the problem requires structural changes to the institutions through which our social relations are mediated, rather than just moral changes on the part of the individuals who operate within those institutions, to solve it. Basically, that solution is to restructure those institutions in ways that abolishes the power and privilege that any group or set of groups enjoys over any other group or set of groups. Again, this is the work of ‘decolonisation’ or ‘democratisation’. Again, what’s wrong with that?

            ‘The importance of so-called “lived experience” is such that in the assertions of the CSJ it trumps empirical data.’

            No, it doesn’t; ‘lived experience’ is empirical data. That’s what ‘empirical’ means. The liberation pedagogy of the critical theorist, Paulo Freire, which has (at least indirectly) been informing the Scottish education system since 2010, is premised on the recognition that the ‘lived experience’ of disadvantaged classes in society has for centuries been ignored or excluded from our learning institutions in favour of the dominant ideology and ‘lived experience’ of a ruling class, from the hegemony of which the cultivation of the student’s own critical thinking skills frees them. I’d refer you to what I’ve written about Freire’s pedagogy and Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence in relation to critical theory elsewhere on Bella.

            ‘The CSJ rely heavily on the importance of group identities yet, denigrates the Scottish/British national identities at every turn.’

            As I’ve pointed out for years on Bella, the national identities of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales are plural rather than singular; they are made up of myriad communities of people of different nativity and cultural heritages, none of which should be privileged over the other in a democratic society. Our supranational identities as ‘British’ and ‘European’, and our subnational identities as Aberdonians or Gallovidians are even more multicultural and multiethnic. Only white supremacists, who believe that our national identities should coincide with their ‘pure’ culture and that anyone who deviates from that norm is an ‘outsider’, have a problem with this.

            ‘For the true Neo-Marxists it’s an effective way to bring down Western civilisation and capitalism. Yet, what happens when they achieve that goal? What next? How do you build the Marxist utopia that they have longed for?’

            This is true; the whole purpose of critical theory as a tool is to reveal, critique, and challenge the established power structures in any given society. What comes after is for society itself, thus liberated, to decide democratically, through dialogue that’s undistorted by power and privilege. In relation to this, I’d refer you to what I’ve written about Habermas’s deliberative democracy elsewhere on Bella.

          12. SteveH says:

            Yes, you’re right.

            Critical theory is an academic tool, but it’s one which should not have left academia. It’s proponents use it to justify their war on Western civilisation, and particular their fight with conservatives. It’s clear from the likes of Gramsci and Marcuse that their objective was not social justice, but promoting their political ambitions and the destruction of liberal democracy and capitalism to replace it with some form of pure Marxism or socialism. CRT is part of that armoury.

            Even Malcolm X recognised how black people were being used by the white “liberal” for their own purposes, and saying black people should not trust them. He was right.

            The interesting this is that despite Britain one of the most free and equal societies it has more activists banging on about race, gender etc., yet the same activists go completely silent when it comes to totalitarian countries where racism, bigotry, corruption and injustice are the norm. I see no protests against such countries.

            The liberal social justice world the I grew up with has simply been hijacked by the critical social justice or woke movement, and is just causing trouble, without achieving anything useful.

            As for the comments about conspiracy. Really, that’s plainly dishonest on your part. Groupthink is the word I used. There is a global elite who largely share the same ideas. We see it in the EU commission, in the UN agencies, the IMF – you name it. That’s the problem. If there was a single recognisable cabal or entity it could be challenged and neutralised more easily.

            But this ideology, philosophy – whatever you want to call it, is seductive to a class of people who think that being an activist is what you do to prove your worthiness to your social group. The Russell group university grads in particular leap up the promotion ladder quicker than most.

            Look at the behaviour of the climate activists. The vast of majority of them are middle class privileged people who have bought into this performative activism, and not content to lobby, they have to do spectaculars, although not so risky as to truly inconvenience themselves.

            With social justice movements of the past, small groups have achieved great things. But have you noticed how the general public have increasingly become frustrated and annoyed with these activists? They are hardening hearts not softening them. Yet, they are oblivious to this sentiment. Such is the depth of their narcissism. That is the key failing of the graduate elite. They have failed to listen to the majority and bring them along with their hairbrained schemes.

            Since the BLM protest hit our streets, a YouGov poll indicated that an increasing number of the general public believe that race relations have deteriorated, that is, after a prolonged period of constant improvement. The goal clear isn’t to improve the lot for black people but in provoke racial tensions or induce a guilt complex in all white people. It may work with graduate elites, but the rest of us just get annoyed at this white privilege nonsense.

            All this clever sociological and academic stuff doesn’t appear to have any real benefit to society. We have been living together better than ever before, yet this race industry politicking and activism is now creating more stresses and reversing this cohesion.

            Its results that count. If the goal is social discord and societal breakdown then its understandable. If the goal is to make life better for all, its failing spectacularly.

            I’ve read cynical theories by Pluckrose & Lindsay, and CRT: An Introduction by Delgado & Stefancic. If I remember correctly the early edition of the latter was blatant about its intentions.

            Neo-Marxism abuses language, twisting and shaping it to deflect and to suit its ultimate divisive purpose. Even students are becoming less impressed with it. Its day has come and it will in time be gone!

          13. 211013 says:

            BTW I’m 79, Steve; an auld class-warrior. You’re not going to go all ageist on us as well, are you?

          14. SteveH says:

            Love it. If you’re overweight you could add “fattist” too.

          15. 211013 says:

            (I’m bringing this down from above; it might be a good idea to consolidate all the fragments into which this discussion has split.)

            You really don’t like ‘blacks’ (in the deracialised sense), do you, Steve.

            Why should those non-anglophone communities speak English? Why shouldn’t they speak their own languages?

            Eid is now a traditional British festival. What shouldn’t we celebrate it?

            Of course, increased population puts more pressure on public services? Why shouldn’t the increased surplus value that population generates through its labour be used to expand those public services? Why should it be siphoned off as private profit?

            I’ve no idea what the nativity of those Scottish and British citizens who are protesting against the Israeli response to the Hamas action in Israel (and I suspect you don’t either). But why shouldn’t they be allowed to protest?

            You complain that all the myriad communities of people of different nativity and cultural heritages that make up our modern national identity haven’t integrated, but what you mean is that those people who proceed differently from you in cognitive, evaluative, and practical matters haven’t assimilated to your values and customs. My eldest son lives in Govanhill, which is one of the most culturally diverse communities in Scotland, and I reckon that diverse community has integrated rather well; generally speaking, everyone rubs along together. Why should they all assimilate to your ‘white’ culture?

            Critical theorists are just as active in revealing, critiquing, and challenging the established power structures in totalitarian regimes, where ‘white’ supremacy is even more entrenched than it is in our more pluralist regimes, however blind to that activity you might be, and ‘white’ supremacists frown upon dissidence and deviation even more severely than you do. Some have even been taken out and shot.

            As you say, we’ve been living together better than ever before; why do you want to disrupt that by trotting out your ‘white’ supremacist conspiracy theories that seek to link multiculturalism with the malign intentions of some global elite?

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