Thursday, 1 November 2007

Why socialists are stupid Pt. 4

The Daily Mail – read it now before Dacre is completely nobbled by the Bottler – splashes today with a report from the Institute of Public Policy Research, which modestly describes itself as 'the UK's leading progressive think-tank'. It is simultaneously one of the most hilarious and sinister such reports I have seen.

The report has not been officially released. So we only have the Mail's word for it. But it nonetheless apparently contains a series of proposals only the most insanely stupid could have dreamt up. More particularly, it proclaims a bizarre loathing for Britain and the British.

Self-hatred has been a regular feature of socialism since at least the 30s. It has been taken to a new extreme here.

This gives a flavour of the pungent aroma of self-satisfied self-abasement it exudes:

Immigrants should be required to learn English and make some effort to integrate:

"if - but only if - the settled population is willing to open up national institutions and practices to newcomers and give a more inclusive cast to national narratives and symbols".

Take a few well-known 'national narratives'. How about the Glorious Revolution? How can this be given 'a more inclusive cast'? By suggesting that it was crucially dependent on, say, African influences in much the same way that Trevor Philips recently asserted that the Ottoman Turks had played a key but unacknowledged role in defeating the Spanish Armada? How about the Reform Act of 1832? Any outside influences, preferably Black, that can be more fully acknowledged here? Well, not that I am aware of. OK, Shakespeare. It would be hard to argue that he is not part of our 'national narrative'. Perhaps the IPPR would like to suggest that the author of Othello, among other quite well-known works, was actually a Moor himself?

Classically, what the IPPR would like to do, exactly as Trevor Philips did, is to rewrite the past to make it accord with their own view of the present. It is staggeringly stupid.

You get a sense of the underlying bitterness permeating the report when it claims that 'the Second World War is inexorably slipping from memory.' Talk to practically any publisher and they will tell you that almost no subject is hotter now than the Second World War. But then it's clear that what the authors of the report really mean is that the Second World War happened a long time ago and that we can no longer be allowed to congratulate ourselves for having helped win it let alone take pride in our role in overthrowing a regime as profoundly evil as Hitler's. Ergo, it should be written out of our collective memory.

But what about 'national symbols'? How can they be made more 'inclusive'? What is the most obvious symbol of Britain? The Houses of Parliament? I suspect that even the IPPR would be hard pressed to come up with a means of making it more 'inclusive' as a 'symbol' short of sticking a minaret on Big Ben. Rather, I suspect their target is the Union Jack and that what they would really like is a complete ban on flying it. Ditto the flag of St George. (The flags of those oppressed minorities, the Scots, Welsh, and Irish, would naturally be exempt from any such ban.)

Yet they reserve even more ludicrous demands for Christmas and the countryside. They write:

If we are going to continue as a nation to mark Christmas - and it would be very hard to expunge it from our national life even if we wanted to - then public organisations should mark other religious festivals too.

The use of the word 'expunge' is revealing, suggesting a Mekon-like desire to eradicate and exterminate. But the qualifying 'even if we wanted to' is more revealing still, a clear code for 'and we do, utterly, totally and completely because it is a nasty Christian holiday hoisted by white capitalists and assorted semi-fascist Christians on exploited blacks and other down-trodden innocents.'

And the countryside? It is, apparently, 'a largely white place.' Well, you could knock me down with the proverbial feather. You mean that a country, inhabited almost exclusively for several thousand years by white people, is still ... white? Well, I never! You would have thought they might at least have had the decency to get the Kiwi boot polish out and start blacking up! I mean, honestly!

On the other hand, does it matter that Kenya, to pick an example at random, is still 'a largely black place?' Or Japan 'a largely yellow place'. Or India 'a largely brown place'. In the absence of the full report, I cannot say whether these are questions the IPPR addresses. But I think they would be worth asking at least.

And finally, there is a proposal that the registration of a child's birth should become an opportunity for parents and the state to combine in a 'public rite'. The idea is that 'Parents, their friends and family and the state [would] agree to work in partnership to support and bring up their child.'

Note those two lovely words 'the state'. You have a child and, cheerfully, happily, you and that nice man from the government agree how you will work to turn it into a model citizen.

Shades of the GDR.

This is more than sinister. There is something almost evil at work here.

There is only one rational response to these demented proposals. It has a very happy Anglo-Saxon resonance:


It is worth adding that the report was commissioned by the IPPR's then director, a man by the name of Nick Pearce. This same Pearce is now head of public policy in Downing Street. For all that, the IPPR boasts on its website that it is not, 'driven ... by any party or interest group'.


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