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Nick Booth: Look at Me is the new battle cry of the Left


Are left-wing people less tolerant? Surely not, because that would be a massive contradiction. We all know how committed they are to diversity. In fact, if a man walks into a pub and he looks like he’s not into diversity, he’s likely to get his head kicked in. Well, either that or someone will open a can of hashtag and start a petition to get him sacked.

A piece in The Times posed this question, based on the findings of a YouGov poll that said supporters of both major political parties are becoming increasingly partisan. The pollsters suggested that Labour supporters are the more bigoted, although the story may have changed depending which newspaper they were addressing.

To exemplify the point The Times interviewed Labour MP Steven Pound. He’s so keen to give sound bites he’s probably known to hacks as ‘the Pound in your pocket’. He gave one of those “I’m no bigot but…” type of quotes that invariably make the quotee look small minded. “I am the least sectarian of people,” said Pound, “but if my daughter came home with a Tory I’d disown her.”

By contrast Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg was much more open minded. If his daughter were to grow up and marry a socialist he’d be absolutely fine with it. “You might convert them and there is more joy in heaven over the one sinner who repents than the 99 that do not,” said Rees-Mogg.

Having once shared a house with Militant Tendency – you let one in and before you know it half the revolution is making itself at home and sneering at your bourgeois tastes – I can verify that left wing people are less tolerant. They’re not bigots though; they’re ‘zero tolerant’ and don’t offer platforms to racist and fascists. And fascists and racists, ironically enough, are a very broad church.

Dictionary specialist Merriam-Webster claims ‘ism’ was the word for 2015. This is because Dudgeon is now the drug of choice for those who struggle to make sense of the modern world. If they can find someone guilty of an ISM crime – such as racism, fascism or sexism – they get an enormous high on Dudgeon.

As if Dudgeon (AKA dudge, Hacked, Off, Charlie Brooker) wasn’t a dangerous enough drug, it’s now being combined with another element to produce a deadly cocktail of conceit, self importance and a desperate need for approval. You can see the evidence of the outbreak of Approval Junkies when you read Twitter or watch BBC Question Time and witness all the Look at Me statements and initiatives. When actor Rufus Hound drummed up publicity for himself, I suspect it was less about Save The NHS and more about Look At Me! When Charlotte Church or Yvette Cooper hold up a cardboard sign in public, I suspect it’s less about austerity, tax or making refugees welcome than it is about… Look At Me!

If you cook the approval junky’s penchant for Look At Me (LAM) statements with the source material for Dudgoen (ISM) and you have a very dangerous combination: ISM-LAM. It’s a lethal cocktail that is devastating the young and undeveloped minds of left wing politics: ISM-LAM is the first outbreak of mass delusion based on social media and psychosis.

The roots of ISM-Lam go back to the 1970s and like many religious movements the original intention was benevolent. I’m sure Carol Hanish meant well, but when she came up with the idea that the personal is political she was unwittingly starting a quasi-religious movement. It’s been slowly simmering for decades but has been brought to the boil by the Internet.

It’s only logical that the selfie generation would be radicalised by the idea that their personal thoughts have massive political significance. Meanwhile, twin forces have conspired to create the critical energy to catalyse a new wave of religious fervour.

The great thing about social media is it provides an instant, mass market platform for moral exhibitionism. Any vacuous actor or politician can instantly open a can of hashtag. No investment or commitment needed. All you need is a cardboard sign and a photo opportunity.

With perfect timing Bryan Gould re-branded the Labour Party, just as millions of people were looking for a quick, convenient way of feeling good about themselves without ever having to do any boring community work, be tolerant or open minded or any of the other pre-conditions for being a proper socialist.

Small wonder that ISM-LAM, a hybrid of instant judgement and personal brand marketing, swept the nation.

Now, let’s be clear here, ISM-LAM doesn’t represent the true spirit of the Labour Party. You won’t read any of socialism’s sacred texts advocating the type of behaviour exhibited by social justice warriors. There are no passages in The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists exhorting followers to start an online petition to put a man out of work, forever, because he made a sexism. Connie St Louis must have been radicalised elsewhere.

On the other hand, some ISM-LAM fundamentalists will interpret their ‘bibles’ in their own way. “You show me where in Das Kapital it says I gotta tolerate Anne Widdecombe” some of the red neck comedy panelists might argue.

It’s become a religion for social creationists, who shun evolution because they think they were born good. Still, at least Russell Brand’s stopped making those martyrdom videos. That’s a start.


(Image: j0e_m, Flickr)

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Nick Booth
Nick Booth
Nick Booth is a freelance writer.

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