Sunday, 22 November 2015

Memes, Thoughts, Livingstone & Corbyn

It seems obvious to say it but a meme is not the same as a thought but I'm saying just that over at TW&TW.

Sunday. Not much to say but I'm typing straight to the blog again. No editing. No polishing to make this flow or funny or even remotely entertaining. This is raw data from my brain to yours, should you exist.

Today I'm writing and later I might well be drawing. Not sure what I'll be writing or drawing but currently intrigued by the notion of being a 'bigot'. A bigot is 'a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own.' I saw a video on the LBC website of the Labour party MP John Mann accuse Ken Livingstone of being a bigot. He kept repeating the word throughout the exchange and, by the end, I wasn't quite sure what he meant. I'm not sure that Mann knew what he meant. If being a bigot is somebody who intolerant of other people's opinions, then I'd guess that most people are bigots. It's the basic human condition and I'm thankful that it is. I would hope I'll always be a bigot, intolerant of the opinions of fools.

I'm writing this quickly, with no research, but I assume that bigot has started to be applied more widely. Mann was using is as though accusing Livingstone of holding some outmoded notion of mental health. Ken had said in a recent interview that shadow defence minister Kevan Jones 'might need psychiatric help'.

I have no real thought out position on the 'pschiatric help' comment except to ask if it would have been treated any differently if he's said the guy was 'bonkers' or had 'obviously been hit over the head'? We could quite easily pull language apart and find all manner of affront buried in there. Is a parent telling their kids that it's 'bedlam in here', demeaning the old hospital of the same name? Livingstone's comment was more direct than that, of course, but it's this kind of petty political correctness that is the greatest danger to anybody wanting more civilized debates. If we can't use the vocabulary of 'madness', then we can't really say anything at all except to push it into the shadows and pretend that it's not a very normal aspect of the human condition. Again, I'm writing this quickly and might well be wrong.

The main reason I note this spat is that it's precisely the kind of thing that I assumed would happen as soon as Corbyn got elected. I've said it before and I'll repeat it here again: it's not the big issues that will bring Corbyn down. It will be the squabbles about the correct etiquette around opening a door when both men and women want to get through it. It will be deciding who sits where at the table and ensuring that the lunch isn't offensive to anybody in the room. Corbyn will be defeated by undergraduate politics. And that is a shame because, in some respects, he does bring a welcome maturity to politics. I've enjoyed seeing him make Cameron squirm at PMQs. I also like politicians that don't given glib answers to questions that were deliberately set up to produce a glib answer. I like that Corbyn is breaking the usual rhythms of political reporting. Yet, I also know, he's a disaster for democracy. We have no viable opposotion in the UK and that is dangerous, unhealthy, and plain foolish. In Labour heartlands people will love him but for the voters who float and decide matters, he is not and never will be the answer.

Lastly: hugely impressed by Liverpool's victory last night. Not just the result but the performance gives me hope for the future.


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