In defence of angry people


British political culture is caught in a whirlwind; a tornado that has sucked up all our assumptions, all our conventions, everything we thought we knew about how politics works. They’re currently being spun around and thrown down and it is going to be quite some time before we see where and how everything has landed.

One of the many swirling gusts in the twister is a sprawling discourse around civility and hostility within political debate. This has been gathering steam for many years of course, most notably in the realms of gender politics; it was a prominent subtext to the Scottish independence referendum of 2014, but it really hit the foreground over the past six weeks or so with the Brexit referendum, the ructions within the Labour party and, most significantly, the horrifying murder of Jo Cox MP.

The Guardian’s ‘long read’ today allows Archie Bland to detail at length the supposed coarsening of political language while anchoring his points, both causally and consequentially, to the death of Jo Cox.

I have a couple of profound objections to Bland’s piece. The first is a crucial political point. From everything we know thus far about Cox’s death and her (alleged) killer, the murder appears to have had little to do with Twitter spats or malicious Facebook exchanges, and everything to do with a well-trodden path of Fascist extremism, with links to some of the planet’s nastiest white supremacists going back decades. Of course it is by no means unlikely that the febrile tone of the Brexit debate and the heightened levels of xenophobia and racism it fostered contributed to his decision to launch a murderous attack that particular day, but to conflate his bluntly overt and ideologically specific motivations with the general hubbub and crudity of everyone from Momentum activists to trashy tabloid headlines merely dissipates responsibility and lets Fascist ideology off the hook.

My other objection to Bland’s piece is more nuanced and difficult to express, but bear with me. At no point in his article does the author acknowledge that people have a right to be angry. In fact, I would go further – people have a duty to be angry.

At this point you can take as read a litany of the human costs of austerity, the misery heaped upon the poorest, the most disadvantaged, the disabled, the marginalised by Tory and coalition governments; the unfathomable scale of slaughter unleashed by decades of aggressive foreign policies, if you know my beliefs and know my politics then you know the script.

But left/right politics aside, I have always been deeply distrustful of people who can do politics without anger. There has always been a strain of the British establishment that has insisted that politics be played according to the rules of the Oxford Union or Eton College debating society with all the right honourable whatnots and jolly old chums at the member’s bar after the division bell. It is a tradition that has been passed down from the patrician Tories and Whigs of yore and has somehow survived the intrusion of universal suffrage and democracy. It strikes me as a badge of extreme luxury and privilege to be able to afford to call for mannered etiquette when arguing about issues that are, quite literally, life and death for many.

Anyone long enough in the tooth to recall politics in the 1980s or earlier will have smiled bitterly at the quote in Bland’s article from Labour advisor Ayesha Hazarika that “I’ve never known it as brutal as it is now.” We could tell you some stories, believe me. Even the Guardian itself sells [until this morning The Guardian sold] a T-shirt carrying Nye Bevan’s quote from 1948 that Tories are “lower than vermin.” Less well known is the speech from which it is drawn, delivered in Belle Vue, Manchester, the night before the official launch of the National Health Service. In his address, Bevan relayed tales of his early life of unemployment, how he had been told he would have to emigrate if he wanted to work, how his father had died in his arms from pneumoconiosis like so many other miners of his era. When criticised by the press for calling his opponents rude names, he retorted that “men of Celtic fire” were necessary to drive great reforms like the NHS. The anger which had driven his choice of words was the exact same anger which had driven his political career and it was that precise same anger which had inspired the creation of the NHS.

Another great hero of mine, Kurt Vonnegut, once wrote a brilliant essay about the nature of obscenity. In it, he mused on Queen Victoria’s infamous distaste for anything earthy or scatological.

“What would Queen Victoria really feel in the presence of what she had declared to be obscenities? That her power to intimidate was being attacked ever so slightly, far, far from its centre, was being attacked where it could not matter much as yet- was being attacked way out on the edge. She created arbitrary rules for that outermost edge to warn her of the approach of anyone so crude, so rash as to bring to her attention the suffering of the Irish or the cruelties of the factory system, or the privileges of the nobility, or the approach of a world war, and on and on? If she would not even acknowledge that human beings sometimes farted, how could she be expected to hear without swooning of these other things?”

I cannot help but suspect that something similar is going on here. If people are now longer allowed to use angry language, are they allowed to express their anger? If they are not allowed to express their anger, are they even allowed to be angry?

As I have written many a time before, I have zero sympathy or common cause with those who would abuse their presumed free speech to bully, harass, dogpile, intimidate and threaten others off shared platforms on the internet or anywhere else, typically using misogyny, racism, homophobia or whatever other weapons they can drag out of their arse(nal). I cannot stress enough that this is NOT what I am talking about or defending here. At the same time, I am not prepared to throw out the vituperative baby of justified anger with the filthiest bathwater of the internet.

The truth is that the internet has not created armies of angry people yelling insults, obscenities and abuse, but what it has done is make those outbursts audible to their targets (and others.) People used to hear politicians or pundits say things on the news and shout “SHUT UP YOU USELESS FUCKING CUNT, WHY DON’T YOU JUST DROP DEAD!” at the TV set. Now they shout the same thing on Twitter to rather different effect.  I see why this is a problem. I don’t see anyone offering a workable solution.

What we surely cannot allow is for the understandable urge to temper these consequences to become a broader call to excise anger from politics, which quickly transmutes into a call to excise angry people from politics. Again, this is not a left/right point, there is an evident disdain from the political establishment towards both UKIP-leaning right wingers and Momentum-leaning left wingers. Both are apparently considered beyond the pale, simply not how we do things in this country, old chap.

We have had 25 years or so in which mainstream political parties gravitated to a shiny-suited, indistinct, focus-group-approved consensus. It became a cliché that one could turn on BBC Question Time and it would be impossible to tell which interchangeable platitudinous suit nominally represented which party. The ultimate consequences of that have been Brexit, the Scottish Labour wipeout and the rise of Jeremy Corbyn. [see HetPat passim]

We still don’t know how the 2016 whirlwind will deposit what is left of British political culture, but it seems likely that when it does, righteous anger will once again be part of the mix. I am by no means sure this is a bad thing.

Comments

  1. Luther Blissett says

    New Labour forced me to work for 6 months for my social security.

    I was too poor to afford suits, shirts, ties, trousers. (I had two nice shirts, two ties, and one pair of trousers.)

    Being forced to go to work wearing my father’s clothes that did not fit me, the sniggers, snide comments about it, not being able to afford anything more than a home made sandwich on a good day, was demoralising.

    New Labour forced me to sit in a room for two weeks, being told what a piece of worthless scum I was for being unemployed.

    These were the (some) of the prices that New Labour thought worth paying in order to gain votes from the ‘center ground’.

    It was hard enough being unemployed, turned down constantly, being told that you needed experience, but no one willing to give you the experience.

    I finally got a civil service job, at the lowest rung possible. I was good at my job and well liked. I and my colleagues, (mostly working class women) were given paltry pay rises (if at all), because Gordon Brown said we would cause ‘inflation’. I went on a couple of strikes against changes to terms and conditions.

    Then I had the misfortune to get a chronic illness. Sacked from the civil service because they would not make reasonable adjustments.

    New Labour sent me into the hands of Atos. (Must make sure I’m not a shirker or malingerer.) Two more incurable chronic illnesses followed, but still I must be checked for malingering.

    Now I live on a small income, scared of every brown envelope that comes through the door, while the right of the Labour Party discusses whether to mention people like me at all, whether to show support, while worrying that it would not go over well with the tabloids. Polls and surveys show people are uninformed about people like me, but instead of trying to show the facts, the right of the Labour Party, doesn’t want to, because the same policies that hurt me are shown to be popular with the same people who are uninformed.

    I was born in the late 1970’s, and have never had an income above £10,500 (a guess, certainly not 11,000)

    I was punished under New Labour for being unemployed in an area with high unemployment. I was punished by New Labour for becoming ill.

    I, and people like me, are the people that the right of the party don’t and will never care about. I am an unperson to them.

    Some people think that people like me are real. That we are not just numbers. They are now called a cult, a mob, accused of crimes, and even called fascists.

    From what I have read from the people who think I am real, they care about people like me, and are angry. Sometimes they call powerful people rude names.

    They never forced me into an office for two weeks to be called worthless scum. They didn’t cause me to be unemployed. They do not hold the power to stop my income on one persons word.

    Unemployment is violence, being called worthless and undermining a persons sense of self is violence. Being used as forced labour is violence. Being called a scrounger, not worthy of life is violence.

    People like me, and people who care about me may call people names, and say they should be deselected. They are angry, and hurt. So am I.

    I prefer the people who treat me as a person, not a number, or someone to be sacrificed for a vote and power.

    I prefer people like Ally.

  2. Adiabat says

    I have zero sympathy or common cause with those who would abuse their presumed free speech to bully, harass, dogpile, intimidate and threaten others off shared platforms on the internet or anywhere else

    I often see little difference between those you’re describing here and angry progressive-left ‘activists’, except that people and groups often denounced on those terms simply have different political views fuelling what they are getting angry at. Most of the time the claims of “misogyny, racism, homophobia or whatever” are spurious and dependant on agreeing with an ideological definition and/or rather selective application of these terms that the majority of people simply don’t subscribe to.

    Conversely, once you reject the claims of misogyny, or whatever is fuelling their anger, all you’re left with when you see progressives “calling people out” is a group of people “bullying, harassing, dogpiling, intimidating and threatening others off shared platforms”.*

    This is why I think ‘justified anger’ is only valid to a point. Angry speech is always permissible free speech, but ultimately people disagree whether your angry truly is justified, and using that anger to silence others, deny them platforms, cost them their jobs, or have any real world effect is wrong unless you can support it with a calm and reasoned foundation .

    * Which of course pisses people off, who experience their own ‘righteous anger’. Which then pisses off the first group with the selective definitions, and we get an endless polarised loop of ‘righteous anger’. Then usually those with power and/or influence then decide which side is truly “righteous” (i.e. agrees with them or suits their aims) and which side need to be silenced and shut out of the discussion for being so ‘mean’.

    TLDR: Sure get angry, but any real world changes need to arise out of reasoned debate. Anger alone shouldn’t be used to justify change.

  3. Marduk says

    Well yes, “tone policing” innit.

    Bland’s piece has more to do with sucking up to his new boss than anything else. We in the period of Orthodox Leninist-Vinerism comrade and anyone who asks why Georgina Henry has been photoshopped out of the old photographs… well just don’t.

    FWIW, Bland’s whole argument is based on a conference paper published 6 years ago. The “violent metaphors” are substituting the word “fight” for the word “struggle”. Talk about clutching pearls.

    The support for violence is couched in items mooting action against oppressive governments which we may recall is kind of the foundation of the American Republic itself. If you are indeed an American, you SHOULD agree with the statement “Sometimes the only way to stop bad government is with physical force” or else you are pledging your allegiance to the wrong flag, the wrong system of government and the wrong constitution.

    Its just a common or garden priming effect rating two deerstalkers on the “no shit Sherlock” scale, and has nothing to do with “consequences” or “the link between violent words and actions” as claimed by Bland. This sort of knowingly dishonest bullshit is only a very small step up from Stephen Glass type behaviour IMHO.

    Well spotted on the t-shirt front. I see the Graun continues to rail against shaming people through sex tapes except when it prefers to shame people who are supporting action against the publishers of sex tapes. #thewebwewant
    https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/aug/01/nick-denton-personal-bankruptcy-gawker-media-founder

  4. Marduk says

    4.
    But I can see already how this argument founders because it will turn into an identity politics thing. White male anger silences women, it silences minorities etc. As we’ve repeatedly seen of late, because identity politics is about everything except the actual politics of power, there is nothing to stop senior politicians and media insiders from grabbing the cloak of victimhood for themselves.

    The Great Gay Satan isn’t wrong about this, its looking like white men are the only people who should be in positions of power in democratic systems because they are the only people it is now socially acceptable to criticise in anything but the mildest terms.

    The linked article is a nice example. Today Marie Antoinette would be defended from those misogynistic slut shaming accusations and left to cuddle perfumed sheep in Hameu de la Reine as an avatar of progressive social justice while half of the real farmers in France starved. I swear the majority of Guardinistas wouldn’t be able to see what was wrong with it either.

  5. Adiabat says

    Marduk (5): But the argument doesn’t founder because its opponents turn it into an identity politics thing: It’s still as strong as it was before. From the perspective of anyone who doesn’t subscribe to identity politics, most people, the argument has never been addressed.

    there is nothing to stop senior politicians and media insiders from grabbing the cloak of victimhood for themselves.

    And everyone sees through it. Even those who support these MP’s see through it; they are just using it as a political tool. We know this because of the double-standards they have when it’s a political opponent who receives the exact same behaviour, plus their silence when it’s pointed out that that supposed “twitter abuse” screenshot, the only screenshot every single one of their media outlets use as “proof”, is actually a heavily downvoted screengrab of an obscure, completely different website in the ass-end of the internet. They know it is. They don’t care about the truth.

  6. Carnation says

    @ Marduk, Adiabat

    Seriously guys, get over your pathetic obsession with “SJWs” and Milo. There’s so much more to life.

  7. Marduk says

    6.
    Yeah but the point is that there isn’t an acceptable way to express anger, indeed the thrust of Bland’s piece is that there probably isn’t an acceptable way to express yourself as being forcefully for or against anything full stop.

    Bland does the sneaky category hopping thing where he shroud-waves over Jo Cox and then starts talking about Twitter abuse which is a completely different, but its actually remarkably difficult to express opposition of any form in English without “violence rhetoric”. After all, if we remember the whining around the time of the Syria bombing vote, even talking about violence as being violent was deemed offensive and traumatic to policy makers who only wanted to discuss dismembering children in a polite manner.

    The rate at which new Mouthcrimes are being invented is quite remarkable. I remember when stuff like Bland’s thesis was the stuff of eye-rolling jokes told by PC lefties.”You don’t really think it would go that far do you? Haha”. Well now it has.

  8. Lucy says

    There is no relationship between emotion and rightness. You can feel as fired up as you like and still be completely wrong. So ideology has no place in governance, it’s how bad decisions get made. Why on earth should a country’s economic or transport or health policy be decided on the basis of how people FEEL about it?

    You need cool headed, intelligent analysts and architects making decisions on the basis of computer models and evidence of what works not hot headed wannabe celebs and prophets making decisions based on what makes them feel good.

  9. Lucy says

    Marduk

    “After all, if we remember the whining around the time of the Syria bombing vote, even talking about violence as being violent was deemed offensive and traumatic to policy makers who only wanted to discuss dismembering children in a polite manner.”

    No I don’t remember this.

    I suspect you mean the parliamentary debate was being rendered undemocratic by the loud-mouth, hyperbolic emotional incontinence of those with strong opinions.

  10. Lucy says

    Ally Fogg

    “It strikes me as a badge of extreme luxury and privilege to be able to afford to call for mannered etiquette when arguing about issues that are, quite literally, life and death for many.”

    Or the badge of people who take their duty to do their job seriously and don’t have the general public’s luxury of wasting time, energy and head space emoting all over it.

    I want my surgeon, and my MP, to concentrate on doing the job properly, day after day. They can cry about it when they retire and write their autobiography.

  11. Lucy says

    Marduk

    “The Great Gay Satan isn’t wrong about this, its looking like white men are the only people who should be in positions of power in democratic systems because they are the only people it is now socially acceptable to criticise in anything but the mildest terms.”

    Socially acceptable to whom?

    Seems perfectly socially acceptable to Internet misogynists to criticise women in inclement terms. And they do it All The Time.

  12. Lucy says

    Marduk

    “Today Marie Antoinette would be defended from those misogynistic slut shaming accusations and left to cuddle perfumed sheep in Hameu de la Reine as an avatar of progressive social justice while half of the real farmers in France starved.”

    Makes you wonder why that’s not happening then doesn’t it. What with the social landscape being so conducive to women doing this to men n’ all.

  13. Lucy says

    “White male anger silences women, it silences minorities etc.”

    On the identity politics hierarchy of victimhood scale, what have white men got to feel so angry about? Seriously.

    It must be an awful lot, it must be REALLY bad being a white male. It must be worse than being a Qatari building contractor or a Saudi woman or a black ghost buster or a starving real French farmer with no perfumed sheep to cuddle judging from how much they shit all over the Internet and everyone else about their hurt feelings. Either that or they’re the most over-emotional victim-status-milking identity group on the planet.

    Tell me it’s more than losing Top Gear to Amazon Prime.

  14. Lucy says

    Marduk

    “The rate at which new Mouthcrimes are being invented is quite remarkable. I remember when stuff like Bland’s thesis was the stuff of eye-rolling jokes told by PC lefties.”You don’t really think it would go that far do you? Haha”. Well now it has.”

    Back in the good old days before identity politics existed and when there were white-male-only shortlists for parliament, the theatre, publishing, the pulpit, the bench, academia, the arts, sheep farming.

    When heresy against the white male church, blasphemy against the white male God, treason against the white male King, rebellion against the white male master/husband were capital crimes and slander of the white male civil servant’s good name would land you in jail.

  15. That Guy says

    @ Lucy 9

    I understand your concern, but the reality is not that we desire that our current Data/Rainman analytical representatives are replaced with rabid animals who let their spinal columns make all the decisions.

    The problem is that we currently have representatives making bad decisions, ignoring the evidence for either ideological reasons or for personal gain, who are asking that criticism of their actions be wrapped in cotton wool and adhere to harsh standards of decorum.

    To use your analogy, our MP’s are less brain surgeons and more Harold Shipmans.

    The reality is that after years of being ignored, their livelihoods put in jeopardy, enduring loss and hardship, that the people, who are human, on the receiving end, are obviously going to get upset, or shout louder to make their voices heard. You are correct that being emotional does not make you right, but being emotional does not make you wrong either.

    The methods by which the people in power control the language of the debate immediately gives them the opportunity to shut down dissent as ‘hot headed’. It turns out when you let only people who are nice to you speak, most voices end up speaking in your favour.

    I thought that this would be something you would have a very easy handle on, considering the history of the word ‘hysterical’.

  16. 123454321 says

    “You can feel as fired up as you like and still be completely wrong.”

    …and completely right.

    “it’s how bad decisions get made.”

    …and right ones.

    “Why on earth should a country’s economic or transport or health policy be decided on the basis of how people FEEL about it?”

    Because the policies are designed to support a balance between what is right for the country and how the people feel about the policies such that the voting people will still support the Government in office overall.

    “You need cool headed, intelligent analysts and architects making decisions on the basis of computer models and evidence of what works ”

    But in a fast-evolving, ever-changing world, there sometimes isn’t the historical evidence to support a level-headed approach with respect to the situation in hand and it’s often those who stick their heads above the parapets and make some noise who get the job done and forge the future path with unique and creative ideas. If in my line of business only the level-headed people were listened to there would be no risk taking and certainly no creativity which very often can differentiate your business from all of the others. Women tend only to make noise (and they know how to do it well) when they themselves, or their children’s relative position in a social framework is compromised, whereas men are shit at making noise for themselves as a ‘male group’ in its own right – men (as men) tend only to make noise when the position they are looking at is NOT specifically related to only the male group. So we have a skewed position, which is why men are coming off so poorly when it comes to suicide, Father’s rights, MGM, health, education etc. What occurs to me is that having men in high positions of political power is actually good for women and these feminists wanting women to occupy top-end political jobs will find that their drive for true equality will come back and bite them on the bum cuz true equality won’t be good for women, well at least not in the west where women have more rights and protection than men.

    “Seems perfectly socially acceptable to Internet misogynists to criticise women in inclement terms. And they do it All The Time.”

    Pot?…. Kettle?…..misandrist!

    “It must be an awful lot, it must be REALLY bad being a white male.”

    Here’s the thing you see, Lucy; no matter how many times people provide you with evidence of just how many issues there are out there that specifically relate to the denigration of white males or the position they themselves face as an ignored group within our society, the further you stick your head up your own arse and choose to ignore it, which is a bit disappointing as I’m fairly sure that’s where you find most of your material!

  17. WineEM says

    Yeah, speaking of being angry, I do regret a bit that mega-rant on the previous thread. Am reminded of that famous aphorism from The Godfather: “Don’t hate your enemies. It affects your judgement”. 🙂

    Besides, I do think there’s something particularly febrile about the nature of the internet, where people can say things which are maybe really quite hostile or unfriendly, and yet there’s probably a myriad of reasons why they are behaving as they do, which they are not really in a position to elucidate or explain. There’s also the tribal thing of course, where showing any degree of public sympathy or support for people or ideas who are not part of your ideological clan can lead to instant exclusion or cold shouldering from that group. Just look at Owen Jones, for instance, where expressing the slightest doubt about Corbynite received wisdom lead to an avalanche of invective and abuse. Ironically, the whole concept of being ‘on message’ was a Blairite invention of the 1990’s, which Corbyn supporters always imply they’re trying to get away from, but now they’re recreating that same oppressive ethos themselves.

    Oh yes, speaking of the outlawing of ‘hate’, we have a glimpse here of what happens when the policies I was alluding to last thread are actually put into practise:

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/08/what-happened-when-i-was-charged-with-a-hate-crime/

    You can easily imagine all these progressive liberals slapping themselves on the forehead and saying: “Wow, I never expected that to happen!” Just as Chris Grayling could never have anticipated that rates of violence in prisons would soar sky-high when he introduced his new, ultra oppressive regime (naturally, it’s all the fault of legal highs, not a population of deeply messed up people trying to cope with intolerable circumstances!)
    Most worrying thing in the Spectator piece of course is the suggestion the transport police were actually incentivised to pursue this, in order to meet their ‘hate crime’ targets. If that’s true, we really have entered a new kind of dystopia.

  18. Carnation says

    “Most worrying thing in the Spectator piece of course is the suggestion the transport police were actually incentivised to pursue this, in order to meet their ‘hate crime’ targets. If that’s true, we really have entered a new kind of dystopia.”

    Typical deluded MRA mindset there, standard.

    let me explain How Things Work. State agency gets directives from On High that Something Must Be Done about Something Unacceptable. That gets kicked downstairs ’till the plebs on the ground are doing what they are told.

    Historical example, the cozzers knocking seven bells out of the miners. More recent example, cracking down on drink drivers.

    We most assuredly haven’t “entered a new kind of dystopia.” things are just the same as they always were, ‘cept it’s less acceptable to publicly hate on people. And the police being an imperfect organisation will get things wrong.

    And you, being a dullard, will assume things that bring to mind that ol’ saying about assumptions.

  19. Marduk says

    19.
    Oh well if its always been like that, how unreasonable to object now.

    Only it isn’t the same as drink driving is it, you have to test over the limit to be convicted of drink driving. They can certainly sample more offences by being out more and stop more people but that is hardly the same at all.

    But hate crimes and speech offences are completely different kettle of fish all to do with intent.

    How would you recommend we increase the mind reading powers of the police exactly? Is there a curriculum we can undertake, is there an organisational change that hones their precognitive abilities?

    This was always the problem with laws of this kind, its not like nobody warned against it either.

  20. Carnation says

    “How would you recommend we increase the mind reading powers of the police exactly?”

    Cool strawman buddy!

    Evidence.

    Anyway, as is plainly obvious, the point I was making is that this isn’t a politically correct “dystopia” that we are entering, it’s just way bureaucracies work. The weak-minded will seize upon every badly executed case in the name of confirmation bias, and see feminist conspiracies theories everywhere, but then, they would, wouldn’t they?

    Meanwhile, the poor get poorer, the angry get angrier and people get scapegoated.

  21. Adiabat says

    Marduk (20):

    But hate crimes and speech offences are completely different kettle of fish all to do with intent.

    It’s actually worse than that: the guidance to Police and CPS states that they don’t even need to show hatred and/or intent is a factor behind an offence for it to be logged and pursued as a hate crime. What mainly matters for the police and CPS is what the supposed “victim” perceives (or pretends to perceive).

    If the “victim” perceives that it was due to hate then that is what is True, even if that perception is not reasonable or justified (or just simply made up by a vindictive complainant using a biased system to their advantage). If the police or CPS question this then they risk causing ‘secondary victimisation’, a made up term to ensure that approved “victims” aren’t treated the same as other victims of crimes by having their stories questioned. Again, this is all in the police and CPS guidance, and the case WineEM linked happened exactly as laid out in those guidelines: it wasn’t a case of the system making a mistake. So it’s not exactly the fault of the police or prosecutors, but those in power who push for these policies, supported by all their useful idiots.

    The whole process is absolutely crazy and results in inequality in the justice system and the creation of legally privileged groups (a level of direct, institutional, privilege that surpasses every nebulous claim of ‘white male privilege’ ever made). The only thing keeping some modicum of sense is that the court itself has a slightly higher standard than the police and CPS, and doesn’t rely on ‘perception’ of the victim alone before it treats ‘hate’ as an aggravating factor in its sentencing; but even that is limited and still leads to prosecutions for crimes that otherwise wouldn’t have been pursued by the CPS.

    its not like nobody warned against it either

    The people who defend it either don’t care because it’s all about partisanship and gaining power to them (or supporting a belief system that simply doesn’t measure up to reality), or are simply too dumb to realise the rather obvious implications of what they support. For most I think it’s a selective form of learned stupidity:

    “The faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. In short….protective stupidity.”

  22. Carnation says

    Oh, Adiabat. there really is no low to which you won’t stoop; MRA-dom, Brexit, Reddit, sub-prime gym membership.

    What a bland, inward, paranoid existence you endure.

    Chin up, Prince xx

  23. Marduk says

    21.

    “…it’s just they way bureaucracies work…the weak-minded will seize upon every badly executed case…”

    Seriously, you’re quoting Adolph Eichmann?

  24. Marduk says

    25.

    You are defending bad policies and bad laws on the basis of “thats just how bureaucracies work”. Yes, we know, that is why we are against those laws and policies. Most dystopian visions are explicitly about bureaucracies and laws that can be used capriciously and almost impossible to defend yourself against from Kafka to Borges and from Orwell to Gilliam. You are the only person here who seems to think they have nothing but a coincidental relationship.

    As I say, the world stopped thinking your line of argument was even permitted in polite company let alone in public in 1961 (describing people as “weak-minded” is not cool either).

  25. Carnation says

    @ Marduk.

    1/ I’m not “defending” anything
    2/ Let’s face it, MRAs, Milo fan-boys and the like aren’t strong-minded, are they? They’re either weak, or lazy, or both
    3/ Given up on the Eichmann slur, then?

    You’ve gone full 123454321/Adiabat

    Well done

  26. 123454321 says

    “You’ve gone full 123454321/Adiabat”

    What, you mean there are people out there realigning themselves with the humanist path towards an all-inclusive, ‘true’ state of cultural equality, rather than following the ever-declining (and ever-embarasing) loser’s path towards an anti-male, female-superiority journey’s end to an establishment based around a gravy train of money where fellow dullard, chumpy-nitwits talk about how strong-minded they all were by collectively trying to alienate men from society using sewer tactics even the lowest form of Earth scum wouldn’t use on their worst enemy?

    Shock, horror at people switching sides and transgressing with anger at the way feminism has forgotten about half of the world’s population. Shock, horror!

    Loser!

  27. Carnation says

    @ 123454321

    Cool story bro’

    @ Ally

    Did you catch the Guardian’s clusterfuck of an article about that trash Tory MP’s speech at Mike Buchanan’s spectacularly unsuccessful conference?

    In the history of non-stories, it deserves a special place.

  28. Ally Fogg says

    @Carnation

    It is the middle of August. They will print literally anything that can conceivably be described as ‘news’.

  29. 123454321 says

    Well if you look carefully Jamie Grierson didn’t take the opportunity to diss Philip Davies directly but rather stuck his head above the parapet by using the media channel to draw attention to men’s issues (pretty much what we need I think). People can then follow the story, do a bit of research and make up their own mind. Here is the link if people are interested in making up their own mind – rather than listening to Carnation’s bitter and twisted cast-off assessment – because Carny would rather chew on a bucket-full of rotting toenails than post a link to an anti-feminism related article!

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/aug/12/tory-mp-philip-davies-claims-uk-legal-system-favours-women-at-mens-rights-event

    Oh, and by the way, Carny, presumably you have actually heard what Philip Davies had to say by either viewing the video of the event or reading the speech? Because doing that will put you in a very good position to tell us exactly which facts or parts of the speech you don’t agree with?

    Over to you, cool bro!

  30. Paul says

    We may well be in the middle of the silly season and Philip Davies and his ilk may well be guilty of being bellends.However i agree that some women do want the best of both worlds rather than equality with men.That some women-and men-still expect men to behave in a chivalrous manner towards women no matter how badly they behave.And that some feminists are guilty of twisting and distorting the truth in order to promote their own agendas and they need to be robustly challenged about that.

    Any discussion of gender in the media is usually dominated by feminists and they’ve been allowed to do so by the men who still largely control it..Male journalists almost never discuss it and when they do they invariably either bend over backwards not to offend feminists or discuss it in a jokey blokey way which suggests they don’t take it seriously when it’s from the perspective of men as victims .

    Taking the Guardian as an example it seems we’re more likely to get an article from them basically implying that all mra’s are misogynistic and inadequate dickheads rather than a serious article looking at certain issues from the perspective of men which in turn may challenge feminist dogma.And across the media as a whole it’s increasingly women journalists who’re the ones most likely to accept that men-and boys-can and do face discrimination on account of their sex.And that the feminist control of the narrative on issues like domestic violence and child abuse needs to be challenged.For i repeat most male journalists rarely touch the issue of gender if it puts them on a collision course with feminists.And the men who largely control the media have no interest in fundamentally changing the status quo and are happy for feminists to dominate the way gender and issues related to it are discussed .

  31. WineEM says

    @33. I mean, it really bothers me especially, because I actually saw Jeremy Corbyn on a government committee, where they were specifically talking about improving circumstances for women offenders (& only women offenders, naturally), and it was described how they were closing down women’s prisons, and turning them into prisons for men. (Also, Juliet Lyons has recently stated that the female population is down by 10% while the male continues to increase).

    Corbyn didn’t bat an eyelid, and simply asked how they might go even further. So he himself has been pushing for these things, and when somebody else draws the discriminatory aspect to public attention, he insists he should be punished for it. I mean, f*cking bleeding hell, how can anybody tolerate this sort of thing? Yeah, I’m talking to you, Jeremy Corbyn supporters, in particular.

  32. Marduk says

    £170 million losses, 250 job losses, “disappointing” Guardian membership sales.
    The Labour party in the toilet, the Brexit vote lost.

    Fortunately there is absolutely nothing to play for politically or culturally at the moment.

    If there were some people might need to start pulling themselves together or we’d have a right wing permanently deciding the political, economic and industrial future of this nation while the left contents itself with providing updates about what foodstuffs aren’t allowed because they are “cultural appropriation” and shanking/wanking each other on Twitter.

    In fact, how are we still eating potatoes? Its hard to think of a darker imperialist past for a type of food, never mind all that business in Ireland. #chipsareproblematic #killallcrisps

  33. Marduk says

    36.

    Holy shit. Baroness Corston is re-advertising the things got wrong in her report and “demanding evidence” in public.

    Handled properly this could be explosive. But unfortunately I have to suspect the parties involved will fuck it up, they should say nothing and do nothing in response to this and let the experts deal with it.

    We know why women are “treated more harshly” for first offences and it does nothing to support Corston’s argument.

  34. Marduk says

    36.

    Apparently this is the approved way to discuss men’s issues.
    You get Eve Wiseman to talk to another woman and critique another different woman’s critique.
    https://www.theguardian.com/global/2016/aug/14/why-be-a-man-is-a-dangerous-phrase

    I think the trick is to, as Eve does fairly reliably, conclude that the main reason for all this is for the benefit of women which is what makes it important. The general idea seems to be that male suicide only needs to be reduced as its related to domestic violence.

    It isn’t but perhaps this is the smart way to play it? I can’t say I’m very comfortable with the idea of demanding services and reforms on the basis of what amount to (false) threats but this maybe all thats really left.

  35. 123454321 says

    I’ve always said that when women realise how fucking pathetic feminists are making them look (spanning every subject from male objectification to judicial myths and lies) it will be women who use their collaborative power to save men because, collectively speaking, men are even weaker than the ‘dog ate my homework’ excuse! You’re being trampled over guys, pull your fucking socks up before Mommy and big Sis has to do it for you!

    Carny – I’m waiting for your detailed critique of the Davies speech.

  36. Adiabat says

    WineEM (33):

    Jesus, does anyone have any thoughts on this from Jeremy?

    Damn you. Here I was blissfully unaware of this latest stupidity from progressives and now I’m looking into it and alternating between lols, facepalming and despairing at how stupid these people are; many of them MPs.

    I don’t even know where to start… Firstly it’s clear that no-one had any interest in arguing against anything he said, and are reluctant to even repeat what he said (I scrolled down the twitter thread to find one mention of what I was supposed to be outraged about, but could see nothing despite numerous people asking), likely because they know on some level that people will disagree with them if they did and they’ll look silly.

    Then there’re the various ‘eat cake’ hashtags, which even as irony has to be one of the most stupid things I’ve seen these people do for a while. Have they never received an education? Notwithstanding the fact that they’ve mixed two different cake-related sayings, do they not understand the saying and its meaning, or the context in which it was (supposedly) coined by a privileged individual, and how this makes these progressives look to anyone who isn’t a moron? The only saving grace is that by any reasonable measure the hashtags are insignificant (yet got reported on anyway by a sycophantic press). But we’ve always known that these people and their ideology don’t have numbers on their side: just influence in places of power and the media.

    Finally, there’s the whole ‘unpersoning’ aspect in the tweet. These people still think they get to decide what is and isn’t acceptable for the general population. It’s getting comical how these people still do this yet are surprised and shocked whenever these topics are finally opened up to the general public to give their opinions and they see that not only do most people disagree with them, but also think they’re a bunch of twats.

  37. Carnation says

    @Adiabat, Marduk, 123454321

    You’re all proving a point that I’ve made repeatedly. The sheer lack of credibility possessed by Mike Buchanan et al, as a result of their misogynistic ramblings, mean that even when an (albeit fairly ridiculous) MP gets involved, it’s exceptionally simple, indeed sensible, to dismiss out-of-hand the points being raised.

    The only way that men’s issues will get a fair hearing is when the activists raising the points come from a position far, far away from the wingnuts and fantasists.

    You’re all part of the problem; by tacitly supporting the elements I’ve described, you’re keeping the issues out on the lunatic fringe.

  38. That Guy says

    I have to agree with Carnation on this, It’s impossible to politically separate what is being said from the person saying it, so in the unlikely event that Phillip Davies (whose only claim to fame is being laughed at by Jess Phillips…. oh, and plundering the NHS) did have something useful to say, his remarks, and now, also him are tainted by association.

    The kicker is that thanks to the nature of most ‘MRA’s there is now a high bar that any commentator on men’s issues now has to pass in order for their remarks to be taken seriously. Usually, these people are feminists, people interested in gender constructs and ‘far away’ enough from the unsavoury MRAs in order that their comments can be treated as ‘objective’.

    Now, it may be galling to have the only real coverage of men’s issues come from discussions between two women about boys and men, but this is thanks to the toxic atmosphere that “MRA”s have created.

  39. 123454321 says

    “the toxic atmosphere that “MRA”s have created.”

    Oh really? And what about the toxic atmosphere that feminists have created for men? You know, that society we live in now where all men are conveyed as perverts and rapists, where you can’t leave your child in the hands of a man for fear of abuse, where you can’t seat a child next to a man on a plane, where men are afraid to become primary school teachers for fear of what they might get accused of, where men daren’t look at a woman in the street, where men can’t touch a woman colleague even in the most harmless of ways or compliment her on her looks (despite the fact that as a woman you can get away with saying and doing pretty much whatever you like), a society where all boys, however innocent, are seen as potential rapists needing to be taught how not to rape girls, where men’s issues are persistently and blatantly ignored by the media, a society where feminists are praised for organising (or disrupting) demonstrations using violence and threatening tactics whilst men are criminalised for mere words and expressing an opinion, a culture that can openly objectify men in the media at literally any time of day in any public space or media channel but men and boys are heavily criticised and even prohibited from looking at women, a society that favours women when it comes to domestic violence and hardly recognises that dv affects men too, a society that chops a part of a baby boy’s cock off at 4 weeks old for no good reason yet the Government and media operating within the society can’t seem to bring itself to openly raise and discuss the topic as a potential issue but would rather spend its time incorrectly blaming the patriarchy for the mutilation of girls.
    Or perhaps you’re referring to the way men are portrayed as moronic, useless dickheads on TV who live like pigs and can’t even clean themselves properly so they stink to high heaven and thus need some saintly woman to spray air freshener next to the man and his smelly dog in order to relieve the room of the noxious toxicity of man-smell?

    Is that the sort of atmospheric toxicity you’re on about, dude?

  40. 123454321 says

    “The only way that men’s issues will get a fair hearing is when the activists raising the points come from a position far, far away from the wingnuts and fantasists.”

    Me thinks that the moment anyone, regardless of their historical, political and positional credibility, raises men’s issues (which you obviously hate with a passion) – even using whatever platform you would approve of – you would no doubt instantly label them as a wingnut fantasist who lives in cukoo land somewhere out on the lunatic fringe who has had a a train crash, clusterfuckedup career.

    I’m not wrong!

  41. 123454321 says

    Is this the equality that feminists want? Are they not embarrassed? Do they not feel entirely childish and hypocritical? Is this not cringeworthy? Is this not sexist double-standards? Is this not teaching our young generation that women can’t stick to a common theme with what they preach about respect for individuals and their bodies? How on earth can they expect to be taken seriously! Woman’s Hour should do a piece on this very clip alone as I’d love to hear the pathetic excuses.

  42. Marduk says

    42.

    I don’t think that has much to do with MRAs, a group of people virtually nobody has ever heard of or from in real life.
    It seems unlikely they have created a “toxic atmosphere” when they barely exist and don’t even have access to the media.

    The truth is just that nobody wants to hear this stuff at the moment which is understandable, they haven’t been interested in the course of recorded history. Eve Wiseman wrote an article about it and even her deep lack of interest is palpable.

  43. That Guy says

    @123454321

    Oh fuck off. It’s not a ‘toxic atmosphere’ to campaign against sexual assault, it’s common human decency.

    @46 Marduk

    This absolutely have everything to do with MRAs. They might not be widely known, but neither are the real ‘mens issues’, and the aborrhent behaviour of self-proclaimed MRAs eclipses any real talking points every time the topic is raised, Mike Buchanan’s conference being a case in point.

  44. Adiabat says

    Carnation, That Guy: On a political level then yes, a group with power will find it exceptionally simple to use anti-intellectual tactics like guilt by association and smear to prevent an argument from getting a fair hearing.

    But unlike you two I see that as a moral and intellectual failure of those using those tactics, not those who the tactics are being used against, and so I’ll point out that this is what they are doing.

    If enough people recognise that these groups are using those tactics to stifle the marketplace of ideas, then the effectiveness of those tactics decrease. You seem to see this as an attack on groups you support; I see it as holding groups with power to basic intellectual and moral standards.

  45. Carnation says

    @ Adiabat

    “But unlike you two I see that as a moral and intellectual failure of those using those tactics, not those who the tactics are being used against, and so I’ll point out that this is what they are doing.”

    It isn’t a tactic, it’s just common sense. Why waste time listening to what disciples of Paul Elam are saying? Why bother searching for the nuance or substance in the deluge of trolling and nonsense endemic in the man-o-sphere?

    The alt-right, to which MRAs are increasingly finding a spiritual home, has no interest in social justice for men, so seriously, why bother pretending otherwise?

    Anti-feminists don’t care about men, they just want to have attention paid to them, which is why trolls and anti-feminists are often indistinguishable and very often the same.

  46. Marduk says

    47.

    I think you’ve lost perspective here. Forget the internet, think about what we are actually talking about.
    Young men killing themselves in such high numbers its the leading cause of death.
    Society makes no significant efforts to prevent this, and services aren’t designed even to be accessed by men.
    https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-27/edition-6/engaging-emotional-lives-men

    And you are tapping away at your keyboard telling me this has to go on because of “MRAs” and that is why its like this and cannot change? Thats not just wrong, its obscene.

  47. Carnation says

    “And you are tapping away at your keyboard telling me this has to go on because of “MRAs” and that is why its like this and cannot change? Thats not just wrong, its obscene.”

    Another strawman? Seriously, are you stupid or lazy or trolling?

    Do you understand strategy?

  48. 123454321 says

    That Guy: “Oh fuck off. It’s not a ‘toxic atmosphere’ to campaign against sexual assault, it’s common human decency.”

    I didn’t mention anything to do with sexual assault. I talked about men and the extremely sad case of mass, widespread, automatic association due to the relentless pursuit exercised by feminists to persistently shine all men in a bad light based on the fact that they have a penis. I agree that actual sexual assault should be punished, including the undignified, demeaning sexual assault I just posted in that last video, you know, the one which makes women look like fucking childish hypocrites and smacks in the face of every fucking thing they preach and ram down our throats! I f you can’t see the level of toxicity men are now putting up with in today’s world you must be either walking around with your eyes closed or living on a different fucking planet.

    Carnation: “Anti-feminists don’t care about men, they just want to have attention paid to them,”

    What complete and utter steaming hot bullshit.

  49. That Guy says

    @ 50 Markduk

    Sounds to me like you’re rattled. So rattled that you didn’t actually read what I wrote.

    If you want to find someone to be upset at, be upset at the pickup artists, gamer gate trolls and hate speech peddlers who have turned men’s suicide and mental health issues into a laughing stock by association. These people are not your saviours.

    That doesn’t mean that things have to stay the same, just find better human beings to champion your cause.

    @ 52 123454321

    I didn’t mention anything to do with sexual assault.

    oh?

    …where men can’t touch a woman colleague even in the most harmless of ways or compliment her on her looks…

    If you genuinely think this is OK behaviour then I have nothing more to say to you.

  50. Cognitivism says

    53.
    Rattled? Yes, sorry for taking it seriously. You’re claims are ridiculous, this predates the internet and various groups almost nobody has ever heard of.

    51.
    “Do you understand strategy?”
    Suicide isn’t a game Carnation, perhaps you need to leave the 3rd sector, you’ve become an inhuman technocrat.

  51. 123454321 says

    That Guy: “If you genuinely think this is OK behaviour then I have nothing more to say to you.”

    Well yes actually, I do think that a male (or female) colleague touching the opposite (or same) sex in a nonsexual, friendly and harmless way such as on the arm, for example, should be deemed reasonable and fine unless the other person clearly shows discomfort in which case it is reasonable to expect the person doing the touching to stop and never do it again. I also think there’s nothing wrong (unless someone openly shows a dislike) with a completely harmless compliment aimed at someone in the workplace relating to how they look as long as it’s not lewd or sexual.

    The problem I have these days is the outright double-standards in operation. The fact that the average man now feels utterly scared shitless to say anything to a woman in terms of complimenting her (is that what all women want?), and even more scared to get closer than 6 feet for fear of potentially serious repercussions speaks volumes. Whereas women aren’t held to anywhere near the same standards and aren’t encouraged to follow the same code of ethics resulting in a dynamic power shift in accordance with completely the opposite of what feminists would have you believe. i.e. it is clearly men who are the ones being controlled now while women can pretty much behave exactly how they like in the workplace without fear of consequence (refer once again to linked video). So while men are referred to as dirty perverts for touching a woman on her shoulders, she will go unchallenged for virtually everything from making lewd comments to pawing at his chest. Equality at its finest!

    Carny – I’m still waiting for your detailed critique of the Davies speech. I suspect you are probably finding it a tad difficult to find fault with all those thoroughly unpleasant little facts he revealed to the public? Must be giving you a sore head, dude! I do sympathise 😉

  52. Carnation says

    @ 123454321

    You’ll be waiting a long time. I have zero interest in listening to what a rent-a-quote right-winger has been saying to a bunch of amateur misogynists masquerading as men’s advocates.

  53. Lucy says

    Paul
    “However i agree that some women do want the best of both worlds rather than equality with men.”

    Those women aren’t feminists though.

    What tends to happen is that men quote Non-Feminist A saying she likes having the door opened for her and other passive-aggressive gentlemanly behaviours, and then quote Lying Man On the Internet B who says he once opened a door for a Feminist C and she spat misandry at him and conclude that feminists want their cake and eat it and it’s all too confusing and why don’t women open doors for anyone, ever, hmm?

  54. Lucy says

    What all this “best of both worlds”/”have their cake and eat it” lark actually is most of the time is feminists wanting to change the status quo instead of simply try to fit neatly into its slipstream.

    For an awful lot of thick men, equality means women police officers wearing the same body armour as men rather than vice versa or horror of horrors something designed for women. It doesn’t dawn on a lot of them that the current system is neither gender-neutral or even handed, it’s been designed over a very very long time exclusively by men, exclusively for men.

  55. Lucy says

    123456

    “Do they not feel entirely childish and hypocritical?”

    Why hypocrites: Who says they’re feminists? Who says they are opposed to objectification of women?

    Childish: hopefully not

    Who says that men and women feel the same way about being touched by strangers of the opposite sex? They don’t on the whole.
    Who says that we have anything like an equal playing field when it comes to sexualising men and sexualising women and are comparing like for like? Other than deluded men with gigantic chips on their shoulder I mean.

  56. WineEM says

    @63. It’s like that test of patience psychologists give to 5 year old kids to test their ability to prioritise long-term achievement over short term game. In front of them is place a very healthy apple, or a tasty but very unhealthy jam doughnut. Even if the kids are promised a long-term reward that will be greater if they choose the apple, many still eat the doughnut. So, Guardian newspaper, what would will you select: to win people’s trust and confidence by backing a form of social justice that will enhance the lives of everyone, or the short-term thrill of a crappy form of half-baked identity politics, which will inevitably alienate everyone except a small group of hard-core believers?

    It’s tragic, since I suspect its columnists would actually like to influence people come the general election etc., and they can’t even see the connection as to why they can’t! 🙂 But the Guardian sits there, feeling sick, with jam and cream all over its face, sobbing ‘it’s not my fault, the evil forces of capitalist patriarchy made me eat it, I didn’t want to!” #LetThemEatCake

  57. Marduk says

    64.

    Many reasons:

    *Blairites* – The classless “post-class” society is still in operation for many.
    *Record losses* – Blogger SJWs will churn out provocative copy for peanuts. Simple as that.
    *Privilege scrubbing* – Harberdasher’s Aske’s/St Edmunds College or say Rutgers/Married to a New York media CEO in the Conde Naste Group might considered a “problematic” background for a left-wing activist. Identity politics is often about the parts of identity people wish to hide rather than the parts they emphasise. The obsession with parity in all things but what the privately educated 7% get up to (occupying anything between a half and 100% of senior jobs in politics, business, law, media, etc) is to be noted.
    *Americanism* – they can have fairly severe identity politics fights and then all vote Democrat in the end. The US left is based on coalition and the big tent. BLM will, the police union will, the ADL will, supporters of Sharia will, gay rights will. That isn’t how British politics works because the Labour party, unlike the Democratic party, actually believes in things (well, technically the Democrat party believes in slavery but they seem to have moved away from that lately). I think its fairly obvious the consequences a grinding obsession with identity has had on Labour’s viability.
    *Deliberate division* – this is the paranoid angle and one I don’t really have. However it was interesting that as soon as Corbyn got traction and threatened to promote a unified view of class politics, he was attacked primarily through identity politics means.

    Underlying all this, and with reference to the topic of this blog, the truth is that the establishment has no idea what is going on. I taunt them a bit about their hypocrisy over #thewebwewant mostly because its obvious what that was really about was trying to intellectualise their bafflement that their readers have largely turned against them and they can’t figure out why. Eventually they’ll realise their entire readership less 50k “Guardian members” aren’t career internet trolls.

  58. Marduk says

    I think Owen Jones must have had advanced sight of this:
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/21/death-of-neoliberalism-crisis-in-western-politics

    Even (correctly) ‘calls out’ this rather shameful event:
    “New Labour was over, as dead as Monty Python’s parrot. Few grasped the meaning of what had happened. A Guardian leader welcomed the surge in membership and then, lo and behold, urged support for Yvette Cooper, the very antithesis of the reason for the enthusiasm.”

    Although its about much more than that. Finally, a bit of sense.

    Insightful, very well written, best article they’ve published in the last year at least (present company etc etc).

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