THERE are two things I don’t understand. The first is linear algebra and the second is how some people believe that declaring their emotional state constitutes a persuasive argument.
Question Time returned to our television screens last week and it featured, amongst others, Melanie Phillips and some comedian whose name I can’t remember and can’t be bothered to look up.
After we waded through the quagmire of Brexit, a question on knife crime and knife murders in the capital came up and Melanie was the first to answer. She pointed out that the Macpherson report which slammed the police as institutionally racist, together with the scaling back of stop-and-search, probably contributed to the rise in knife crime as it had demoralised the police. Melanie was very clear that it was a complex issue with no simple solutions.
James Cleverly MP followed and pointed out that the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan had done very little to tackle knife crime.
This was all too much for Comedian, who said he was ‘so angry’ that Cleverly had dared to point out Sadiq Khan was useless. Comedian went on to tell us he was ‘furious’ (furious, no less) with Melanie Phillips for defending stop-and-search ‘which was a racist policy’. He continued: ‘As a Londoner I am absolutely incensed and disgusted by both of these responses.’ Clearly at this stage he was on the wrong programme and needed a safe space provided ASAP. The exchange begins at about 38 minutes in.
I would have just replied, simply ‘so what?’ Your emotional state is not important and is in fact completely irrelevant. This is not about you; it is about dead 14-year-olds on the streets of London. We want sensible policy decisions that will reduce knife crime in London, and no one gives a flying fig how you feel about it. Facts don’t care about your fury (to paraphrase the great Ben Shapiro: facts don’t care about your feelings).
But to the Left feelings are all that matter. And how they feel, and how a particular policy makes them feel, is what counts. This is why there are so many bad policies from the Left: the effectiveness of the policy is irrelevant, it is how the policy maker feels that counts. And if it makes them feel good then it must be a good policy. Sadly, the opposite is often the case because we all know the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
All was not lost, however, because Comedian had messed with the wrong woman in Melanie Phillips. Cool as a cucumber, Melanie pressed home her point and managed to expose him for what he was: an ignorant fool who had not even read the Macpherson report.
Once Comedian had finished calling Melanie a ‘bigot’ to her face, she simply said (paraphrasing here) that this is what the Left do: ignore the evidence and instead resort to insult. That’s disgusting.
While they were talking about who was most disgusted at what, Melanie pointed out that she was disgusted that black children were being killed as a result of the scaling back of stop-and-search and political correctness. That was Comedian put well and truly back in his box.
So, the next time you hear an argument that starts describing how somebody feels about a particular issue, chances are they are leading you down the garden path marked ‘self-righteous grandstanding.’ Let’s say it again: facts don’t care about your feelings.