THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Am I alone in seeing in this a golden opportunity for Britain post-Brexit?
Local politics is a dirty business

Of luck, choice and deplorables

ImageYou can't help what family, race, sex, sexual orientation or religion you are born into and brought up in. So it is pretty damn ridiculous to judge you for it. That's as far as I go with the "identity politics" schtick. 

Hating a posh person for his parents' wealth or their choices for him as a child is as stupid as despising a poor, uncultured person. Telling me to "check my privilege" as a straight white male before expressing an opinion is every bit as stupid as telling a man his views matter less because he's black. I am not asking, as SJWs suggest every time someone like me makes this point, to be seen as a victim. I am just denying that anyone else is one because of their equally random characteristics.

Dr King was right. You need to know the content of his character before determining a man is inferior. You also need a comparator and it's your job to strive to be one.

I often think of a late friend of mine born with every social disadvantage and no particular gifts; educationally or in terms of talent. He was a "bad lad" in his youth but later worked hard to get past his limitations. He wanted a family and to do a better job of raising his children than his parents had done. If he voted, he probably voted Labour but he was not noticeably political.

His brother ended up as an SJW would say was inevitable, in crime and degradation. My friend however proved them wrong by choosing a different path. He had the same disadvantages as his brother, but achieved a different outcome by doing things his "socially doomed" brother could have as easily done. In consequence my friend left behind him when he died in an industrial accident children and grandchildren decently raised. Thanks to him they now have hopes for a better material life.

He wasn't proud, but was entitled to be. His was a life well lived. His only assets were humility, an open mind and a contempt for excuses. He took pride in being a better operator than the next digger driver. He once saved a life by delicately removing the contents of a collapsed trench from a trapped worker with the back actor of an excavator. He left his world a better place than he found it. 

When my Guardian reader friends speak with ignorant condescension of people whose failure in life is socially inevitable and who must be "saved" by a kindly state that just happens also to provide Guardian readers with jobs for life and pensions unrelated to economic reality, I take offence on his behalf.

Dividing humans against each other by class, race, sex, sexual orientation or religion does not help them. It just creates a series of imaginary problems to justify creation of taxpayer-funded non-jobs for rent-seekers and mischief makers. I am glad that "identity politics" seems at last to be in crisis. I am glad that people are defying political correctness and ignoring the SJWs calling them bad names. I am heartened by the reaction to Hillary Rodham Clinton dumping a quarter of Americans into her "basket of deplorables" However I am also nervous as to where this will take us now. In crying wolf on racism etc. the Left has potentially opened the door to real political nasties like Le Pen. In casually calling people "fascists" they may have triggered actual fascism.

If we want to emerge safely into an era of sane political discourse and rational government, we need to keep stories like that of my late friend in mind. Our message is simple in the end. Whether you are happy with the cards life dealt you or not, the best thing for you to do is play them as well as you can. 


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State ownership is a socialist policy. State control is a fascist one. It’s a fascist party, but then in that sense so are both of our main parties; the Labour Party overtly so. It would argue with the nomenclature no doubt but its policies and conduct suggest that “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state” is a reasonable summary of its ideology. Precisely what aspect of our lives would it accept as being outside the state’s area of interest and action? I can’t think of one. Our choice of football club to support, perhaps?

Not that the Conservatives are much better, but they do have a classical liberal tendency (represented by the likes of Daniel Hannan) which has been weak for generations because of the corrupting effect of the statist, bureaucratic provider of jobs for the boys and girls known as the EU. Once Brexit is behind us and the Conservatives unite the Hannanites may come back into prominence. Certainly the party’s ideological divisions will become more important because the Labour Party looks like being hors de combat for a generation at least.

Right wing vs Left wing is not a useful shorthand now, if it ever was. Statist vs Libertarian is a more useful axis to track. Not least in a more international world because Left and Right often have a country specific meaning. In Continental Europe most “right wing” parties are some variant of “Christian Democrat”. In Catholic countries, the Church has a big influence. In Poland, where I lived for 11 years, I would be a left-winger because “right wing” means Catholic Nationalist and social conservative. I have neither sympathy with nor interest in either of those tendencies. Not giving a damn about peoples’ personal choices in their private lives there is hugely radical and would make Polish “Conservatives” despise me. I was once half-jokingly asked to be spin doctor for the Presidential campaign of a Polish right winger and gave just one piece of advice - “Fire me”. When asked why I pointed out their voters would despise me as a foreign non-catholic and my appointment would damage the campaign. That was the end of my brief Polish political career - begun and ended during one course of a jovial lunch.

In America, most Republicans are also tied up in social conservatism. I don’t think who “marries” whom is any business of the local or federal state, for example. Nothing could be more private than a marriage contract and I would be perfectly happy for there to be no legal definition of marriage at all; leaving it entirely to individuals and any private organisations (such as churches) they chose to involve. Consider how despised Tom Paine (the original and best) was when he died, though arguably the most influential of the Founding Fathers. He died in ignominy and disgrace because he was merely suspected to be an atheist (he wasn’t, he was a Deist). I am openly an atheist and there will be many women Presidents, Presidents from every ethnic group and even a Muslim President before Americans will elect one of those!

Since Reagan (an historical outlier in many ways, just as Thatcher was in Britain) both mainstream parties in America have been in favour of a big state with a wide sphere of action - as politicians naturally are, given that it increases their job opportunities and earning potential. When you vote there, you are simply choosing on which kind of projects your money will be wasted. In the NASA golden years, I might well have chosen to vote Democrat and waste my tax money on space exploration as NOT wasting my money was not an option and I am a science fiction fan. 

Trump vs Clinton offers no choice for Americans who want respect for the best-written constitution in the world and/or who don’t want to police the planet. Both of them will spend more on the already bloated military and keep Oceana at war with Eastasia. Clinton would be more corrupt and stoke internal divisions with her cultural Marxism. She would probably make US cities more dangerous, while doing more to disarm the people she put in jeopardy. Trump however would potentially destabilise the world. What a choice. People vote on domestic issues primarily, so I will be betting on Trump but that bet will be my only interest in the outcome.

If I were an American, I would vote Gary Johnson without hope of his success. Who knows, most voters in mature democracies with two party systems vote to stop the more dangerous of the two. Since both Clinton and Trump are equally dangerous, there seems to be no plausible defensive strategy so one might as well vote ones conscience! Perhaps Johnson will surprise us.


If anything Tom, I would say the FN is a socialist party, you only have to look at its broadly socialist policies, primarily state control. I'm often mystified why the are labelled right-wing, when they are nothing of the sort.


All doubts about those who would rule are acceptable; having few, or indeed none would not!
Regrettably, the world has more than enough "true believers" in whatever is the fashion.


The respect is mutual and I hope you're right about Le Pen. Please forgive me my doubts, but allow them. 


With respect, I very much doubt that any of those three are/were merely posturing, any more than Thatcher was posturing.
All intended/intend to change their countries. Lenin and Thatcher assuredly did, Le Pen may, Trump probably already has.
Apart from Lenin, their hope was to change the country "back to the true country" which "we the people" will support.


Being loathed by the élites is necessary but not sufficient. Some loathees (Lenin, LePen and the jury is still out on Trump) are just posturing to become élite.


The French have always been big state and protectionist, the English the opposite. It is the difference between Civil Law and Common Law.
My point is that each party actually epitomises their respective countries, and the elite loathe them for it.


It is a very superficial comparison. UKIP is a democratic party with broadly small state, free market policies (with some eccentric exceptions). Front National was formed as a fascist, anti-Semitic party with consistent big state goals. The current leader has cleaned up its anti-Semitic image to take it mainstream but has had to expel her father, the founder, because he and his supporters in the party resisted even her modest makeover. It's still a fascist party in terms of seeking a big state directing the economy and has explicitly anti free market economic policies. UKIP was never that and has no such tendencies, despite the leftist media's attempt to tar it with that brush. Your bracketing of the two parties (as Le Pen herself has tried to do) is unkind to UKIP to say the least.


The comparison is straightforward. Le Pen has garnered support, like UKIP, by saying things which ordinary people were cowed by our masters into being too scared to say.
I do not know what her policies are other than leaving the EU, and being patriotically French...which seem fine to me.
I also know what the MSM say about her, as they did/do about UKIP...and I think it is probably pure propaganda. After all, they are pushing "Hillary has pneumonia" when it is clearly more serious than that.


Quite so. That's why Dr King was right to focus on the content of a man's character not the colour of his skin (or any other random attribute). He would certainly have rejected the "check your privilege" nonsense and, given his undoubted courage, have been puzzled by triggered snowflakes in search of "safe spaces"


I would not compare Front National with UKIP at all. I am surprised you wish to do so.


Why is Le Pen a political nasty? For the same reason UKIP is?
In other words, that she has a lot of support from people who are beyond the PC political Pale?
If she has the same impact UKIP has had, she will liberate France from the grip of the "political elite" who know better than we "normal people", who, of course, are too ignorant to know what is good for us....

Bill Sticker

Decency, I've found, can be discovered in some of the most surprising places and from some of the most unexpected people. It is no respecter of class, race or religion, and dwells in the heart of any man who cares to embrace the simple principle of self awareness.

James Higham

That designation - deplorables - I suspect will become a badge of honour, in much the same way as Rats of Tobruk.

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