Thinking Your Way Through a Labyrinth of Contemporary Issues

Without peace and respect the Left will get nowhere


Anger at a particular issue is usually understandable. The need for passion and anger in all walks of life is necessary and politics exemplifies a need for that ‘positive anger’. Yet recently particular forms of anger and passion have become an increasingly unhelpful contribution where the Left are concerned particularly in a media frenzied world. There are tiresome arguments about the way the media portrays a particular incident and thus the public make up their mind based on what they see.

The graffiti on the war memorial in London after the Conservative party victory has now given the Right Wing media a field day in Left Wing bashing. ‘F**k Tory scum’ written on a war memorial is rather unhelpful, the predisposition may be welcomed in the mind but the mind only. It is true that numerous people with distributive intentions regularly intervene in protests and this does tar people with the same brush. The problem however cannot be confined to such an argument.

When Margaret Thatcher died there were countless posts on social media and celebrations in the street of her death. While this is legally permissible (and so it should be for the right to freedom of speech) this did nothing to help the Left Wing cause. Not only did it reinforce the positions of the Right Wing (socialist scum was often reverted to in the media and elsewhere) but even myself being Left Wing was disturbed with the over dramatic displays of gladness from Margaret Thatchers death.

Regardless of what you make of the argument above it cannot be ignored that violent and thuggish behavior helps nobody. Equally being unwilling to even listen to another viewpoint is extremely unhelpful. Two examples both exemplify this point. The first being the video where a women is shouting at Nigel Farage in the audience on Question Time. This persons behavior is disgraceful and  unhelpful in allowing debate to flow.

The second as mentioned is the unwillingness of the Left (as well as Right at times)  to even listen to another viewpoint. The infamous video of Nick Griffin on Question Time exemplifies this point. Whilst there is rightfully little room for the BNP and other extreme vile groups in society we must hear their points of view nonetheless for the benefit of a healthy Democratic society. On Question Time Nick Griffin was given very little opportunity to explain his viewpoint  and causing controversy for viewing purposes became the aim of the host – David Dimbleby. There is as mentioned very little room for these extreme points of view whether Right or Left Wing but being welcomed to speak on a panel is something that should be granted for any person and peaceful protesting is very different from a torrent of abuse, though to some peaceful protesting gets mixed up with abuse.

David Petraeus who took up a job working at City University of New York has also has been on the receiving end of abuse for the Iraq war he was involved in via an apparently ‘peaceful protest’ seen in this video. The shouting and abuse from students in the video demonstrates the point once again that the aggressive verbal nature disguised behind protest does not do any justice for a protesters cause. In fact on occasions sympathy may begin to lie with the very cause or person that people are protesting about in the first place. Any reasonable person would protest in a way that has no association with aggressive behavior. When Tony Blair asked to shake hands with the Father of a soldier killed in the Iraq war, the Father Peter Brierley refused stating ‘You have blood on your hands’. This was a more than reasonable response from someone who had one of the greatest reasons to show an aggressive attitude. Yet he did not and for that he must be condoned.

The Left Wing media also have a responsibility to ensure that they are not giving ammunition to the Right Wing viewpoint. Bryony Gordon said in the Telegraph:

“Laurie Penny, a darling of the Left, tweeted that she didn’t have a problem with the vandalism – she argued that the real vandals were sitting in Downing Street, breaking up the welfare state.”

The thoughtless tweet by Laurie Penny is perhaps doing more to shape arguments of the Right Wing media and give ammunition to those trying to maintain the Right Wing world-view. Undermining the cause of the Left is increasingly becoming something that is being helped by the very people who are in fact Left Wing.

The EDL and the Anti Fascists in Britain have regularly clashed in the past, yet to even the most open minded person alive, all that appears are two groups demonstrating thuggish behavior. The media can certainly overplay and discredit peaceful demonstrations but behavior like that mentioned and through this article can undermine the greatest of causes. Minimizing the media’s attempts to whitewash a protest or point of view must be the goal the Left Wing as it attempts to get it’s point of view across. Returning to civil disobedience models and moving towards a more peaceful approach must be the goal of those on the Left wishing to change the establishment.

(Oliver Wilson, 2015)

4 comments on “Without peace and respect the Left will get nowhere

  1. conartistocracy
    July 9, 2015

    Anger over Thatcher could have been better expressed by widespread shunning of the event. The inappropriate displays just reflected badly on the protesters. The righteous anger/passion of the Left is one of its strengths and virtues, but loses credibility when they attempt to censor different viewpoints, most notably by shouting down their opponents.


    • consensus44
      July 10, 2015

      I completely agree. The fact that the Left stand up for what they believe is is excellent, historically speaking we are in a much better place because of people willing to protest and in some extreme cases sacrifice themselves. The problem is it often appears that the Left and Right wing viewpoints are often targeting each other for the sake of it.

      In respect to forms of media The Guardian and The Daily Mail are not helping themselves by constantly attacking one another.

      As I come from an old mining village I understand part of the resentment to her however the mining industry was closed down along time ago around this area. I think it is time to move on regardless of the problems of the past.

      You also have the Middle class people from different University’s who take it upon themselves to be abusive about someone that has probably not affected them in anyway. The willingness of the Left to accept new ideas is a fantastic way of making progress as a society. Their unwillingness to accept that shouting abuse and not being willing to listen to the Right viewpoint (on occasions) is their downfall.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. conartistocracy
    July 10, 2015

    You raised another good point about the abusive attitudes from some middle class university educated people. Since social mobility ground to a halt class has become caste with the higher middle classes completely insulated from the classes below them who can hardly access university education at all now – and where you have social apartheid you get strengthening of bad social stereotypes.
    I take your point about Thatcher and the miners but that appalling episode needs to be remembered as the same sly methods continue to be used against working class people ( the recent blacklisting revelations and dirty police tactics) but it also fits into a wider context of establishment sabotage of working class interests and communities. I understand why the Welsh detest the government. The economic effects of Beechings trashing of the railway network on Wales is impossible to measure physically isolating much of the country. Destroying the mines without replacing them with equivalent work gutted entire communities. It seems that everytime a working class person or community manages to step out of the gutter the government makes a move to keep them there ( removing education, jobs and transport links) .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. consensus44
    July 10, 2015

    Yes I agree the social cohesion completely disappears with the removal of a particular field. It just sometimes feels like we are stuck in the past with it and we need a way to move forward.

    I was not aware to the full extent of the police tactics, I’ve heard of the media framing it to look like the miners were attacking the police when in fact it was the other way around.

    This Government is a disgrace. They have no interest in helping the poor, they feel anyone on job seekers deserves to be there. I won’t blame Wales if they go down Scotland’s road and get a vote independence, though probably it won’t happen.

    It’s the same old story for many of the areas even in Yorkshire. We have Harrogate, Ripon, York who you can understand voting Conservative in many cases. The forgotten places such as south elmsall, upton, hemsworth, Doncaster etc. understandably vote Labour but the media on the Right genuinely believe it is the ‘wasters’ who have no interest in work, therefore they vote Labour. A student from down South who studies at either Sheffield or Leeds will never probably see these areas so they have no understanding of the problems still facing these areas.

    I don’t blame the resentment in many cases. I think we can’t frame arguments as the Guardian do where all poor people have it terrible. We need to look after the poor but we must distinguish between relative poverty and absolute poverty. The latter obviously being the more serious.

    The Daily Mails mistake is that they believe we live in a meritocracy and we simply don’t in many cases. The readers of the DM believe hard work will be the one way forward and that’s it.

    We have the two polar views in society and we need to find a way to find similarities for the Left and Right not just the differences.


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