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Don't just be right, be right on - My Thoughts Today
An ill-used association of words and pictures
feyeleanor
feyeleanor
Don't just be right, be right on
goth_twiglet brought home the excellent How to be Right: The Essential Guide to Making Lefty Liberals History by James Delingpole, a dictionary of political correctness in language any Tory will find side-splitting and that even lefty liberals with their "we one (sic) the culture wars" smugness will find themselves smirking at. Oh wait a second, I was mistaking lefty liberals for people with a sense of humour...

Anyway, in spite herself my own socialist aparatchik has found herself amused by this caustic tour de force of New Labour Newspeak and general political correctness insanity.

My only compaint is that the editor watered down the excellent entry on Ted Heath from Cunt to C***. Why ruin a perfectly adequate description? Of course I speak here as someone with the misfortune to have attended the same grammar school as the Right Honourable Member for Pro-European Integration, so it's possible I bare something of a grudge for the hideous stain he left on the character of an excellent school which I would much rather see remembered by posterity for humourist Frank Muir or musical revolutionary Nik Turner. Still, that's a rant for another day ;p

Anyway, if I have one complaint about How to be Right, it's that the volume isn't long enough. Well it is if your main goal is to sit on public transport reading this at anyone who looks even vaguely up their own lefty-liberal arse, but the current format leaves so much trendy politicoid (or volitical, depending on how you prefer to combine political and void) nonsense undissected that this really needs to be a series with snappy titles like How to be Even More Right: Interventions for the Victims of Left Liberal Brainwashing and Nothing Left: Essential Sociology from a Tax-Payer's Perspective.

And now for a restful afternoon of drinking tea, eating scones and laying plans for world domination (again).

today I am mostly: amused
the music in my head: If I Let You Live-Headrillaz-Coldharbour Rocks

4 opinions or participate
Comments
friend_of_tofu From: friend_of_tofu Date: May 18th, 2008 03:33 pm (UTC) (permanent link)
I read some bits of 'How To Be Right' in my library and felt it'd missed its audience. A lot of its targets were, as you observe, real New Labour Newspeak howlers. Most 'lefty liberals' would be in complete agreement about how crap they are. It's not as if Labour have much support amongst most socialist I know, these days, since their policies appear to be anything but left wing.
feyeleanor From: feyeleanor Date: May 18th, 2008 11:05 pm (UTC) (permanent link)
Well they're not right-wing either, despite what many socialists seem to think. It's easy to spot the right wing in British politics as we: don't want to spend tax-payer's money; believe the state is too big; would happily return to a fog in Channel, Europe cut off style foreign policy; oh yes, and believe that what an English(wo)man does in their own home is nobody else's business. Obviously there are subtleties beyond that ;)

What this book is so good at getting across is the irritation that people on the right of British politics feel in the face of the unholy alliance of technocrats and media that has made any kind of meaningful political debate impossible on issues ranging from abolishing our nation (i.e. ever-closer European Union) to the culture of welfare dependency that is now so entrenched in many British towns and cities.

I suspect something very similar could - and probably should - be written from an Old Labour perspective as the real focus of Delinpole's ire is the utter vapidity and alienness of the dogmas which the Liberal Left champion with such gusto. Mark Steel springs instantly to mind as a candidate...
savantfoxt From: savantfoxt Date: May 23rd, 2008 10:20 am (UTC) (permanent link)
Political correctness seems to have been created to obfuscate and distort the reality and inequalities of society.
It communicates a distancing between the problem and it's supposed solver, the subtext being that if they pretend an issue doesn't exist then maybe other people will forget that it does.

'disadvantaged' = homeless
'comfortable' = filthy rich
'collateral damage' = killing unarmed people
'traffic calming measures' = keeping garages in business
'recession' = an economic crisis, formally known as a 'depression', before that a 'panic'.
etc.

I think that as people we want those in power to run the country, not to lie to us or interfere in our personal lives and this goes for any party or ideological approach which would otherwise work in a broader sense.
feyeleanor From: feyeleanor Date: May 23rd, 2008 11:41 am (UTC) (permanent link)
Very true. I think the end for John Major's government had less to do with Black Wednesday than with the Criminal Justice Bill, which overnight criminalised anyone who fancied spending a weekend in a field full of happy drugs listening to repetitive beat music.

At the time that was about half-a-million people, all in the key swing-voter demographic, who took Tony Blair for a more liberal politician and voted accordingly. Part of New Labour's success was mobilising that youth vote in key marginals. That view could be justified even if it was ultimately just posturing for power (after all, he was breaking Labour away from Clause 4 and Union control, making him at least economically liberal, but his motives were more to do with electoral success than ideology).

However hindsight suggests that all post-war governments err on the side of state control once they've been in power for a while. Labour are slightly worse for this than the Tories because of their belief in central planning and crisis management, but pragmatically none of them should ever get more than one term: beyond that too many of their MPs will be young career politicians who tow the party line for any reasonable quality control to happen. And too many of their grandees will be motivated by the need to appear in control of changing (and often uncontrollable) circumstances.

Still, if the people who govern us can indulge in all this political correctness crap, I guess it justifies our doing the same. Orwell's New Speak made thinking incorrect thoughts impossible (a typically utopian response to any new technology, to consider that it's infallible) but as Gibson so succinctly put it, "The Street finds its own uses for things - uses the manufacturers never imagined."

Is it any wonder that the era of political correctness has coincided with that of post-modern irony? Language is in a sense the most fundamental human technology and those who think they can own it forget that at their peril...
4 opinions or participate