I’m sure I must have railled about this before.
I watch Question Time, although somewhat less closely than I used to. A couple of weeks ago there was a guy on who I found very boorish. I don’t think this was a politician, but he seemed to be espousing left-wing politics, to the point where he was talking over other people and therefore inhibiting the debate. My personal feeling is that you let your opponent speak, and people will quite easily judge for themselves whether they make sense or not. Anyway, with this guy, I couldn’t help feeling that his views were probably not particularly consistent, and that it would be interesting to ask this chap about equality, for example, since he certainly was not prepared to give other people an equal chance to air their views.
A week or so before that, I happened to get myself into an argument on the internet. It was on the page of a left-wing group (something called DIEM25) that I happened to follow. The reason I followed them is because I am quite sympathetic to their views. Anyway, they happened to be talking about one or other of their internal elections, and how they would apply positive discrimination to ensure an equal split between men and women. I don’t believe in positive discrimination so I posted along the lines, “Gee, I’d hate to be one of the people who lost out because of this rule.” The next thing, my race and gender had both been brought into the discussion – rather than discredit my argument, this politico had decided they would try to discredit me. Now I do think there are reasonable arguments for positive discrimination, but this guy chose not to go near them. So I highlighted what he was doing, and left the group. Whilst I had an amount of sympathy for them before, I certainly had less for them now.
Similarly, some time ago I used to follow a left-wing singer called Billy Bragg. He was pro-European, and posted quite vocally to this effect. I pointed out that regardless of his view on this particular issue, there were many honourable left-wing politicians such as Tony Benn who’d been quite anti-EU, so even if you disagreed with them, it would be wrong just to class them as neanderthals and to dismiss them. Michael Foot was another example. I seem to remember that I was called all sorts of idiot for pointing this out – an inconvenient truth. (Not by the guy himself – I very much doubt he pays any attention to his comments – but by people who followed him.
And so I do very much understand people’s concerns about groups such as Momentum. I can listen to someone like Jeremy Corbyn, and his views come across as extremely well-structured, he himself is very well-spoken and articulate, but the shadowy groups in his wings are somewhat more sinister. I’m not sure these people actually understand what their views mean or where they come from, let along appreciate that other people may not share their overall view or are at all clear on where agreement/disagreement lies.