I don’t know what to call them anymore. Progressives? Obviously not. Liberals? I sense no liberalism in their approach to dissent. Regressive left? Control left?
However you refer to them, the response of some parts of the left wing to yesterday’s horrific events in Berlin and Ankara was remarkable.
Try Labour MP Jess Phillips’ Twitter timeline. You’ll find that quite some effort has gone into attacking not Islamism, but instead Nigel Farage, due to his spat with Brendan Cox, the husband of murdered MP Jo Cox. There are tweets like this:
There are running battles with Farage supporters, and something about not being “a monster”. That’s what she calls the former Ukip leader, while implying that he has never felt sadness or loss, or at least not on the same level as hers.
On the subject of the atrocity in Germany? Well, there’s this:
And not much else. Anything on the actual substance of what lies behind the horrific attack? On how we reconcile mass migration with the reality that extremists are in among the innocents? No, of course not. After all, she’s just an MP, why would she comment on things like that?
As so often with those commenting from left-of-centre, she asserts a monopoly on compassion, while offering nothing on how to address the problem which is causing the suffering.
Owen Jones–who else?–bashed out a quick piece for–who else?–the Guardian. The main thrust of his article was that if there’s one thing we must take from the atrocities in Berlin and Ankara, it’s to absolutely not become right wing. Not at all. Not even a little bit.
He explicitly intertwines right wing politics and Islamism:
“Islamist terror fanatics and the west’s ascendant populist righ are now working in tandem. They are feeding off each other. They are interdependent. Their fortunes rise with each other.”
Nigel Farage had earlier allocated blame for the Berlin attacks to Angela Merkel’s immigration policy, so Jones then asks, about Farage,
“What kind of contemptible individual mixes horror with vindication?”
But look back at that first quote. Could we not instead ask, what kind of contemptible individual mixes an understandable shift to the political right with acts of terrorism perpetrated by religious fanatics?
And if there is a link between mass immigration and security issues, is it not a politician’s job to address it, no matter whether or not it makes Guardian columnists feel uncomfortable?
“From Donald Trump to France’s Marine Le Pen to the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders, the populist right will now be carefully plotting how they will extract political dividends from the horror.”
It seems we needn’t worry about the terrorism then. After all, we’ve seen that before. A far greater nightmare, haunting all Europe no less, is the very frightening prospect of people offering political approaches which differ from those of Owen Jones.
If Jones and his followers don’t like what right wing politicians have to say on the subject of Islamism, then here’s an idea: offer an alternative. Because right now, what exactly is the left saying? Hope for the best? As you were? Put a German flag on your Facebook profile?
Apparently, when your political compass leans too far to the right, a klaxon sounds and “the terrorists are winning”. If right wing politics—let’s not use the now derogatory ‘populism’—is ascendant, then we’re told it’s all because of terrorists, and is unrelated to the left bringing absolutely nothing of substance to the table, or being unable to shift an inch from their unpopular, open borders immigration policies.
In this alternative reality, ISIS’ main agenda has nothing to do with caliphates, Sharia rule, and all that Koran-based guff, what they actually want is a majority Tory government in the United Kingdom.
Let’s return to Farage. What exactly did he say that caused so many commentators to spit out their dummies?
First, as mentioned, he assigned blame for the attacks on Angela Merkel’s open door immigration policy:
To which Brendan Cox, the husband of murdered MP Jo Cox, replied:
Then, defending his comments on LBC, Farage said, among other remarks on matters such as the Schengen Area, that Hope Not Hate, and organisation Brendan Cox is linked to, are “extremists” who “pursue violent and very undemocratic means.” Hope Not Hate then threatened to sue.
Farage has previously accused the organisation of disrupting his rallies, and they were recently shown to have exaggerated figures on online hate speech in order to further their own causes. They have also received criticism for their targeting of reformist Muslims.
But this steers away from the point: that even if Farage’s comments were wrong, how is it that among some people they generated more rage and vitriol than acts of murder and terrorism? It’s as if bashing Farage has become a worthier cause than confronting Islamism. This is justified by implying that ‘populism’–which has become a vague, coded slur for anything that opposes the liberal agenda–is an existential threat on a par with acts of terror.
Could it be that on the left, some things just don’t matter in the same way that they do to everyone else? Islamism and ISIS don’t matter. Immigration and integration don’t matter. The opinions of ordinary people don’t matter.
Apparently, all that matters to the left, is the left itself.
Whenever an Islamist atrocity occurs, so-called liberal progressives ignore the facts, ignore the causes, and neglect to talk about security or prevention.Instead they do the only thing they know how–they line up to beat us relentlessly with the same hollow, self-serving orders: don’t listen to anyone else. Don’t question the narrative. And at all costs: keep to the left.
This post was first published on 21 December at Country Squire Magazine