Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hating up a storm

Hating up a storm

I don’t know where this flurry of blogging has come from, but I’m going to surf it while it’s there (does one surf flurries?).  Hugo Rifkind in the Spectator rather puts his finger on a point that I’ve noticed about a bit.

I could never be comfortable on the left — there’s just too much hate there

He notes three examples in particular, all ones that I’ve touched on here.

Firstly the bizarre, frothing rage that Dan Hannan attracted after his comments on the NHS:

A few months ago, I interviewed Dan Hannan, the blogging MEP. This was shortly after he’d described the NHS as ‘a 50-year mistake’ and, in return, been described as ‘a boggle-eyed, slap-headed, unpleasant, revolting, heartless, shit-brained, attention-grabbing, foetid excuse for a prick’ by the Guardian’s Charlie Brooker. ‘It’s what the left does,’ said Hannan, who is slap-headed, certainly, but seemed none of the rest. ‘They don’t think, “he’s wrong”. They think, “he’s plainly a wanker”.’

Secondly the barking mad denunciations of Boris Johnson shortly before his election as Mayor of London (and how is that hunger strike going Arabella?  Less porky now?).

It was one of the clumsiest, crassest, most cringe-making things I’ve ever seen in a newspaper.

But the primary focus is given to this blog’s favourite lefty columnist Johann Hari.  It was a column from a while ago, given due prominence here.

To be clear, it’s not just that Hari doesn’t think Cameron is right in all he wants to do. He doesn’t even think he’s honestly wrong. He thinks he’s an evil cynic, whose primary purpose in standing for election is to ‘take money from the hard-working majority of Brits, and hand it to his friends and relatives on landed estates and in tax havens’. This is mad. Proper mad. Tinfoil hat mad. Protocols of the Elders of Zion mad, as though there were a secret society of poshos at the heart of the Cameron project, passing the port in a bunker under Notting Hill, and sniggering ‘Rah, rah, rah, we’re going to smash the oiks.’ Clever people can only think like this when the hate comes first.

Rifkind is kinder to Hari than he deserves though.  That article included about the nastiest, most offensive line on Cameron that it’s possible to imagine.

As one political journalist recently said sardonically that if Cameron announced the slaying of the first born, he would be applauded for having a great policy for second children.

Ignore, for a second, the general nastiness of this.  And now remember that, two months before this piece was written, David Cameron’s first-born child had just died.  I’m sure that Hari didn’t intend this to be as offensive as it looks, but, as Rifkind says, It’s the hate. It’s a handicap. It makes you nuts.


Blogger Recusant said...

But Hari is nuts.

He would have to be to think that we would believe his invented statistics; his imaginary trips to Iraq and other dramatic locations; his heavy reliance on anecdata.

And, of course, his belief in his own brilliance.

10:05 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What you said about hate and the left got me thinking. I'm left-wing, from a working class background and it occurred to me that I do get pretty angry about tory policy in a way that my tory friends never seem to be about left-wing ideas (I attended a public school for 6th form on a government grant as a music scholar so I know many wealthy, right-wing people). I wondered how this could be, since the left generally seems so much more concerned with the moral high-ground than the right. What I realised is this: with things like the NHS, to use an example that you used, if someone says "I think there should be free health-care for all, ensuring that noone's health is dependant on their own or their parent's wealth". That is a statement that one cannot get angry about, if you did you'd look kind of mean. But if someone says "The NHS is a mistake" they are effectively saying that health-care should not be free, thus they are implying that if you are poor and you or your child needs an expensive treatment you're on your own. This is inflammatory, especially to people from families that could never afford to pay for their healthcare. It is like saying that only the rich deserve life-saving treatments and everyone else should just know when their number's up. I think that is the source of left-wing hate- the inflammatory opinions of certain conservatives. One of the things that inspired hate in me for a while was my friend's attitude to state schools. They were of the opinion that people who attended state schools deserved a sub-standard education because they aren't "willing" to pay for better. When I pointed it out that it is not really a choice because these people cannot afford private education and, in areas such as Salford where I live there are no grammar schools so even passing an 11+ is useless, they said that it was the parents fault for not working harder to get money to pay for it. But my parents are both graduates who have worked hard all their lives doing jobs that are needed by society(pharmacy & policing) and which they chose because they wanted to contribute to society and because they enjoyed them. I find it extremely insulting that my parents should be accused of not pulling their weight when they work tirelessly to provide for their family, they have never hired an accountant to help them slip through tax loop-holes and the only people who I ever seem to find myself hearing that statement from are conservative voters. When I meet a conservative who isn't completely blind to the way in which everyone except the rich live their lives, maybe I'll find the hate dissipates, but til then I intend to stand by honest, hardworking people like my parents who never had anything handed to them, have worked hard for everything they own and who give back to society out of duty and defend thm against the blinkered, ill-informed views of the right-wing.

8:14 pm  

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