BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN
In 1972 in Venezuela a meteorite killed a cow, but no one knew about it for years because the farmer ate the cow and then used the meteorite as a doorstop. It is curious how some people are drawn towards publicity and others, for whatever reason, shy away from it.
It can be the same within the ebb and flow of British politics. Those who are often the history makers – or close witnesses of history in the making – favour the side-lines and prefer watchmaking. Rather than suffering the flashing lights of the Westminster circus, replete with its high-wire egocentrics, short-lived careers and make-upped clowns, they opt to try to just get stuff done. Of course it could simply be the case that, for whatever reason, they prefer not to have the press searching through their knicker drawer.
Recent Hard Left chatter on WhatsApp groups and other private fora – on which this country’s Hard Left cadres now wholly depend – has reached a similar juncture of realisation. There is mounting questioning of the need for any political party at all. Why suffer the hassle? The Far Left of British politics has been able to survive and expand in the shadows of the universities and teacher colleges for many decades, so why not go back underground now?
Despondency about Labour under Starmer is ubiquitous in Hard Left ranks – a depression which has intensified during the recent exam crisis. The Left of the Conservative Party – the Tugendhats and Nokes – stepped up alongside the Daily Mail as the only effective opposition in town. Starmer brings out the worst in these Citizen Smiths. They see him as Thatcher (still in heels) with a quiff.
That is not to say that all Hard Left chatter is suicidal. With the identity politics of postmodernism rife and diversity officers even finding employment opportunities at city banks, the Hard Left still seem capable of optimism, albeit changing tack and singing to a quite different tune from a year back when they enjoyed the power and trappings of Opposition.
The Corbynites and Bennites have now realised they can achieve far more by refocusing all their efforts on pressure groups rather than by wasting energy on winning back Labour from the Blairites or by reinvigorating Momentum. Corbyn’s Labour always was a pressure group – now it has funds with which to play and placers to assist. We already knew the Hard Left’s game plan was to take to the streets should Corbyn fail horribly at the General Election and this seems to be the substance of much of their present chatter. Conservative Government and Labour Party policy was easily moulded by Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion so there is an appetite on the Hard Left for more social pressure groups and union campaigns through which Hard Left values can permeate and directly shape public opinion, forcing the hand of those in power. The teachers – 49% of whom supported Corbyn at the last election – are a case in point, as they dillydally in their return to work, despite the strivings of other public sector workers, like nurses and police officers, who have never had a chance to enjoy paid wallowing and have been slogging away throughout the Covid spike.
This is just Alinsky, some may argue. A return to community organising. And that is true. But Alinksy died before the fuel of the internet made his measly 50-cc engine seem like a V6. The leftists now know through experiences derived since 2015 that they can use virtual weapons effectively and generate influence far greater than their numbers. They have influencers online with huge followings, eloquent enough to win over pools of year zero students and tap into like-minded donors swayed by their online presence – fooled that such measurable virtual sway is somehow reflected in the real-world mainstream. They have virtual organisers and app-creators who are capable of building winning campaigns. Their youths include accomplished search engine optimisers, hackers, social media marketers and video editors.
Corbynism is dead of course. There is a joke doing the rounds of a Labour activist out campaigning with Corbynism last Christmas when Corbynism collapsed. Corbynism is not breathing and his eyes are glazed over. The activist pulls out his phone and calls 999. “I think my friend is dead!” he yells, “what can I do?” The operator replies, “Calm down. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.” There’s a silence, then a shot. Back on the phone, the activist says, “OK, now what?”
So, if Corbynism is dead, what about the ideologues who became Corbyn adherents?
Still in a state of shock from December’s shellacking, there are plenty of conspiracy theorists among these Marxists who for now – in private – have given up on the idea of seeing a hard-left British Prime Minister in Downing Street. These are the same crackpots who thought Corbyn was up against an impregnable deep state and a far-right BBC – the misfit Canaries, Novaras and Skwawkers of cult Jeremy. That they believe in anything actual is extraordinary. However, these wingnuts are not the ones to watch. They are mere bluffers. They are already over-paying for their irrelevance.
The key cadres to watch are the intelligent opportunists who rarely if ever seek limelight but are as focused as any hard leftists on implementation of policies that fit into the parameters of their Marxist philosophies. Politically – yes, they have run out of steam and, of course, momentum. However, in terms of generating influence they still see a myriad of pluses out there which they can still productively exploit:
The education system and growing state are ripe territories for grooming and recruiting, while social media alliances provide sufficient cohesion to morph into useful platforms, which businesses (cancel culture) and governments are still, painfully, reactive to. The low-hanging fruit – borne of political apathy – of malleable devolved assemblies can be just as easily exploited by animal rights antis as those seeking votes for sixteen-year olds. The refugee issue is a never-ending supply of fuel for tarnishing their white, middle-aged male enemies as racists and xenophobes. While Lewis Hamilton is taking the knee and Greta Thunberg glares at capitalists, Meghan Markle is destabilising the Royal family with postmodern wokeness. Trans and LGBT allies are causing chaos to the concept of the traditional family and to religion. The language of identity politics is all-pervasive – even Tories now speak in Derrida’s tongue. Extinction Rebellion was weaponised when children bunked school and marched on London, spurred on by leftist teachers. In their short-sighted eyes, the Covid crisis has shown that a basic universal income is viable. You can see how the Hard Left short-cuts its way into thinking how growing shoots of a leftist recovery through pressure groups might also be viable. They are also convinced they are winning the culture wars but that is a moot point.
How to counter these new, more covert tactics?
Their private pages are never a message away from mentioning Palestine and the Jews. Antisemitism is still rife in their ranks. Anti-capitalism is in their blood. The unnecessary rigmarole of minute-taking and committee creating are in their DNA. The young followers of Pied Piper Corbyn are not to be seen in such numbers. Bitter, old crusties dominate these groups and every now and again give away their haggardness with a snide antisemitic comment about Maureen Lipman, a post of support for Gerry Adams or an avoidable jab at the Queen.
Are these hard-left activists worth countering?
It is always a shame to see young people replete with bitterness when they should be optimistic about life in Britain. The connections between the Hard Left and the Islamists and the IRA are worth exposing. Rotten symbiosis is always worth stamping out.
So, keep on exposing the hell out of these Britain-haters. That should be the message, rather than piling all resources into toppling Sturgeon. Never give them any rest and keep them out of mainstream politics by exposing their covert ways and communications, so we know how they amass funds and what they are scheming towards. Bring in an economic empowerment act to democratise unions so flash strikes based on a sometimes ten percent turnout become a thing of the past. Revisit treason laws and dredge up the issue of foreign donations. Check back on postal vote fraud – Corbynite participants may well be ready to talk now. Unmask the Hard Left’s rampant antisemitism. Publish the political views of professors so students and parents of students can decide whether they are fit and proper educators of youths. Make public the devious processes and strategies which they increasingly now hide from view. Troll them by doing a massive trade deal with Trump and the Commonwealth. Drop corporation tax and scythe the big state they depend on. Sit on their fora and in their chatrooms. Attend their meetings. Persist until they are back to how they used to be – rats in a sack, incapable of coexistence; true to the nature of the blood-spattered politics they espouse.
The job’s not done just yet.
Dominic Wightman is Editor of Country Squire Magazine.