I’ve just been listening to Nick Cohen talking about Jeremy Corbyn. Cohen’s main objection to Corbyn appears to be that the latter is not ‘progressive’ enough. For Nick Cohen, ‘progressive’ means being pro-workers’ rights, women’s rights and gay rights.
I don’t understand why those things are ‘progressive’ but Jeremy Corbyn’s style of Leftism isn’t. Corbyn supports the Occupy movement, anti-Westernism, anti-capitalism, anti-Israel and making common cause with Islamists. He appears to be popular with the activist, university-educated young so what could be more progressive than that? I don’t know how Nick Cohen can insist that only his kind of politics is ‘progressive’. It’s as though he has seen the future and knows it belongs to his kind.
In the run-up to the election for a new Labour leader another candidate, Yvette Cooper, also claimed that Corbyn’s politics weren’t progressive. It was clear that ‘progressive’ and ‘good’ were synonyms for her. The idea that there might be something good about the past worth keeping didn’t seem to cross her mind.
I have seen two more examples of such thinking recently. One was during BBC’s Question Time. A member of the audience asked a panellist if some Conservative Members of Parliament weren’t out of touch with modern Britain by being against gay marriage. For the questioner, unless your opinion was the same as that of the majority then you must be out of touch. The fact that you might be aware of other people’s opinions but disagree with them didn’t occur to him. By the same logic, unless you love The Great British Bake Off then you are out of touch with modern British tastes in TV and should try to catch up.
Then there was the media’s coverage of David Cameron’s initial statement on the migrant crisis where he said that Britain taking in tens of thousands of migrants was not a solution to the problem. In several places journalists wrote that Cameron was ‘behind the curve’ on the issue, meaning that the BBC, the Guardian and Angela Merkel were all in favour of flooding Europe with migrants and Cameron wasn’t. They seemed to be saying, ‘Cameron hasn’t understood that it is we who create public opinion and his views are at odds with ours. He is therefore in danger of becoming isolated and we will do our best to make that happen’. How strange that it didn’t occur to these commentators that it might be the British Prime Minister’s job to do what is best for Britain rather than the simply following the BBC’s line.
I find it very telling that it is nearly always the Left that equates being ‘un-progressive’, ‘out of touch’ or ‘behind the curve’ with being wrong. These people are so sure they hold a monopoly on virtue that they can instantly dismiss other views. They surround themselves with people who have exactly the same views as they do and this leads them to believe that all good people in Britain, if not the world, think like them. They claim that our Prime Minister and a handful of silly old fogies are out of step with the sensibilities of modern Britain, yet the truth is that most British people don’t want any more migrants in their country.
These leftists claim to be open-minded to the opinions of ‘the other’ and are totally on board with diversity of all kinds. Yet they fetishize only the most uninteresting kinds of diversity – colour, sex and sexual orientation – and are intolerant of a diversity of views, especially when they are white conservative views. That kind of diversity and that kind of ‘other’ should be shouted down, mocked and vilified.