Tag Archives: twat

Is it time to scrap the old political dividing lines? (British Social Attitudes Survey Part III)

I don’t meet many people who fit nicely into a right-wing or left-wing bracket. Such caricatures of political ideology tend to find their niche either in the fringes, in parliament or in newspaper columns. In my experience, most people are nuanced, indecisive and will find themselves agreeing with varying ideas from across the political spectrum.

Overwhelmingly, the British Social Attitudes Survey (BSAS) survey paints a picture of Britons as predominantly compassionate and fair-minded, not self-interested, single-minded crusaders brainwashed by the right-wing (or left-wing) media. In other words, not the type of people you generally get writing comments on websites, phoning the Jeremy Vine show or sitting in the Question Time audience.

The left and right labels were an invention of the French Revolution. Even in 1789 I’m sure they proved to be clumsily imprecise. Most political theorists now accept a liberal-authoritarian political spectrum on top of the left-right economic spectrum. This makes everything even messier, but still not clear enough. When you consider that few political parties fit nicely into their supposed political alignment, you can see the lazy classification is pretty much broken.

I love this Confucius quote:

“If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.”

The danger with woolly categorisations in politics is that it limits the debate and causes friction when none is necessary. This seems to be particularly true in America, where the left-right divide is far more polarised and politicians are dismissed as RINOs or DINOs (Republicans/Democrats in Name Only). This “with us or against us” mentality (aka Extremism) can be seen by the way the Left turned on those they once called comrades who supported the Iraq war.

Groupthink replaces people deciding for themselves and dissent is ignored. Issues are ‘owned’ by one side or the other and loyalists dutifully spout the appropriate talking points. If you self-identify yourself with one political side or another, you’re basically damned to argue things you don’t really believe or agree with for the rest of your life (unless you’re especially good at self-deceit).

What an affront to free-thinking. I’ve always wondered why seemingly unconnected beliefs are all shared by completely different individuals, who just happen to sit on the same wing of the political spectrum. To be a right-wing commentator you must hate big government, believe Israel does no wrong, deny climate change, support the Iraq war, oppose abortion and decry multiculturalism while being pro-American and anti-European. To be a left-wing commentator you have to be anti-American, pro-European, pro-Immigration, pro-choice while hating Israel, crusading against the Iraq war, believing in global warming, supporting the students, criticising the police and thinking Assange is the new Obama.

You could argue there’s a degree of logical consistency. I suppose Christian dogma may underpin the Right and liberalism the Left. But when those commentators are neither Christians or liberals, you have to wonder what’s driving their beliefs. And there are enough exceptions to show this phenomenon is far more illogical. For example, right-wing champions of a free market being against open immigration and the European Union (arguably the greatest free market exercise in history). Another example: right-wing liberals complaining about an authoritarian socialist ‘nanny state’, while demanding stricter rules on abortion, drugs and alcohol. An example from the left: arguing the ‘climategate’ emails were illegally obtained and a ‘damp squib’, but not applying the same thinking to the wikileak cables.

The few people who escape the mould are seen as mysterious and untrustworthy; nobody really knows where their allegiances lie and they are reviled by fanatics on both sides.

I suppose there’s some sort of instinctive, monkey-brained social behaviour underlying this, but I’m certain our unsophisticated political classification exacerbates the problem. It may even be the case that people who would otherwise be keen to get involved in politics are frightened away by the insularity.

Ironically, this is not much of a problem within political parties, but is positively endemic on the internet and in the media. It’s about time we scrap the old nomenclature and adopted something with a broader scope to reflect the scattergram of political opinion real people represent.

Sure, this won’t stop twats being twats, but at least we’ll know where they stand.

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From Saviour to Smug Git: The Decline of Nick Clegg (Part 2)

Tearing himself away from such important duties as helping his boss put up furniture, Supreme Architect of Change Clegg found the time to pop into the Lib Dem conference and catch up with some old friends. “Don’t panic,” he told the assembled throng of confused councillors and muddled members, unsure about their party’s political alignment, “this is the Right, government for Right, now”. [I think I punctuated that correctly...]

So, as the smugliest swanker in Westminster accused the IFS of partisanship after they pointed out evidential flaws in his flagship tax programme AND patronised his gathered Liberal flock following their apparently ignorant rejection of the coalition’s Free Schools idea, you would expect the People’s Deputy PM to carefully avoid making too easy a target of himself. Avid followers of Clegg’s dizzying (in the strictest sense of the word) career, however, will not be disappointed to learn that he didn’t (maybe he should’ve got Dave to do a sanity check when he showed it to him?).

Which is why FactCheck’s Cathy Newman was able to easily parry many of his hardest-hitting claims. I suppose with a wife as lovely and wholesome as the delightful Miriam, it’s no surprise Clegg’s on-the-side relationship with the truth is fleeting – and kinda rapey.

As commenter Cuse says:

Clegg claimed in his speech today:
“We have protected the funding for the NHS, the biggest public service of all.”

Interesting.

Wasn’t it the Lib Dems who had in their manifesto the promise not to ring-fence NHS spending?

So…he has claimed credit for policies that haven’t happened yet (closing Yarl’s Wood); claimed sole responsibility for policies that his Tory Masters also had (pupil premium); and now claimed responsibility for policies that he vigorously campaigned against in the election (ring-fenced NHS spending).

The man’s arrogance is breathtaking.

Unfortunately, Cuse does not seem to understand the nature of this New Politics. He still seems to think there are four lights. He must learn there’s simply no future for the Liberal Democrats if they continue to do what their stupid voters voted for. Making vague promises about improbable changes to Our Country is the new Lib Dem strategy for distinctiveness.

This New Politics is coalescent. It’s a mingling of blue and yellow. It’s a mongrel dog. It’s a red-hot interracial sex scene. The only constant is Nick Clegg’s unshakeable belief in… well, whatever he believes in at the time.

We, the people, can either learn to keep up, ‘get wit’ da nu programme’, or be left behind, wallowing in the politics of the noughties, ignorant of all the brave and brilliant things Clegg has done for us (at great emotional cost to himself, no doubt).

By the time of the next election, I’m sure there’ll be numerous examples of Clegg’s “brilliance” for us to look back on. Ah, here’s one now… Oh, and another. Keep ‘em coming, Mr. Clegg!

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From saviour to smug git: the decline of Nick Clegg (part 1)

There’s a saying: “love is blind, marriage is an eye-opener”. While I’m sure ‘love’ isn’t the right word to describe the public’s sentiment towards Messrs Cameron and Clegg pre-election (although Cleggmania certainly came close – remember that!?), comparing the coalition with a marriage has been adopted ad nauseum by the media, so I think the adage is perfectly pertinent.

As with any new squeeze, there was much that at first seemed attractive about the “New Politics”. And, again as usual, the affair quickly lost its sparkle after the shotgun wedding and short-lived honeymoon. What I find most interesting though are the particular quirks, at first coming across as so “cute” and “unique”, which very quickly turn from being the focus of our affection, to the very cause of our irritation. I’m thinking of such once-adorable peculiarities as Michael Gove, ministerial independence, “the end of spin”, the Lib Dems (in general), straight talking, political parties working together in coalition, and Nick Clegg’s personality.

Each of these deserve an explanation as to why I think they belong in this list – with the obvious exception of Michael Gove. The one that is particularly topical this week, however, is Nick Clegg’s personality. Specifically, his dismissive manner when dealing with questions. This was illustrated recently by his reaction to a question from a voter:

Voter: “How long is this marriage going to last? Only you know. But what I would like to ask is, is this marriage going to end amicably, or is it going to be like Cheryl Cole, you will be screaming that ‘I’ve been betrayed, betrayed, betrayed’.”

Clegg: “Much as your [question] was elegant and humorous, please do not just glibly pick up whatever a headline says…”

Yes. This was a barbed question, but does encapsulate a serious concern felt by, I’m sure, many Lib Dem supporters.

Before the election, Clegg’s contemptuous way of dealing with questions he didn’t really want to answer had a certain charm. I remember the scornful disregard he had towards Adam Boulton’s shameful heckling during the second leaders debate. At the time, this worked for him. He wasn’t going to play the media’s silly game. Oh no. This was a dude who was totally anti-establishment. Rage against the machine, man.

Of course, the Mighty Clegg now IS the establishment, so when asked a question he really needs to give a straight fucking answer and stop being so arrogant. This isn’t like during the days of the “Old Politics”, when nobody really gave a shit about what he had to say, just so long as it was vaguely radical and idealistic. He’s now propping up a government making dodgy decisions for contested reasons and yet he remains stubbornly reluctant to account for his actions. A good example is his rationale for making a U-turn on economic policy. His explanation for which, it transpires, seems to have been an outright lie. Furthermore, he later claimed to have changed his mind before the election – without bothering to tell the people who voted for him.

Clegg quipped in response to media coverage during the election campaign that he went from being Churchill to a Nazi in less than a week. Without apparently changing at all in the past 100 days, he’s also gone from being cheeky rogue to, let’s be blunt, smug twat.

This may all be just me. Although, with a OnePoll survey of 3,000 Newsnight viewers revealing that Nick Clegg is the politician they most want to see face the interrogatory wrath of The Paxman, it could be that many other people have noticed this. And they all want to see that smug smile wiped off his face.

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Amazongate: why it matters (as seen through a bullshit filter)

This post is a rewritten version of Delingpole’s latest, as filtered for bullshit. I don’t know if the recent implosion of “Amazongate” has affected him, or if his traffic’s dropped, because this screed is even more pathetic than usual.

In the war for spreading doubt about the near-universally accepted science of AGW, the resoundingly debunked “scandals” of Amazongate and Climategate (none of which actually challenged the overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change) were the best attacks deniers could muster.

They cling to these shallow “victories” because the last three or four months have seen every assault on climate science the deniers could muster collapse under scrutiny. Despite their efforts, due to the scientific consensus and extensive evidence of climate change (as well as a more general need for energy security), Britain is investing £50 billion into a Green Investment Bank, which will create almost a quarter of a million jobs, generate much-needed energy and pump money back into the economy.

And what has been the deniers reward for their constant efforts? Their complaints have triggered a string of official inquiries, including three into Climategate, a Penn State one into Michael Mann, a Dutch one into the IPCC, plus the Press Complaints Commission one which led to a climbdown by the Sunday Times over its reporting of Amazongate – every one has exonerated the climate scientists involved and the science of global warming remains unchallenged.

It’s no wonder that promoters of AGW can claim to have right and truth on their side, and that their enemies are just vexatious kooks with no evidence to support their outrageous claims against decent hardworking honest scientists like Michael Mann and Phil Jones.

However, it is a big mistake to think deniers will go quietly.

They honestly believe virtually every respected institution in the world is involved in a climate change conspiracy.

They honestly believe that in a straightforward battle between truth and lies, the deniers have the facts on their side.

Unfortunately, it is likely they will continue to have success in the battle for hearts and minds. In the case of the Amazongate saga, they know that the minutiae is complex, involved and slightly dull. They know that their readers think it is complex, involved and slightly dull, which is why they won’t bother going into detail. They will link to other voices in the denier echo chamber who repeat the same debunked claims, sometimes with passion and sometimes with what appears to be sciencey sounding language.

However, they know their followers won’t go to the effort of reading all those other articles. They only use these other sources to give the impression of credibility before spouting their misleading (and sometimes outright dishonest) claims.

This is why they can say black is white with impunity and confidence.

They will say the Amazongate retraction by the Sunday Times is the result of activism on behalf of the AGW conspiracy and the pro-Warmist bias of the Press Complaints Commission (of all things!). They will, without irony, accuse climate change scientists of employing the same tactics deniers have been using for years.

Why do they do this? If the close of Delingpole’s article is any indication, narcissism is just one of the psychological problems motivating the leaders of the denier movement. As this special report in a May issue of New Scientist explains:

[Seth Kalichman, social psychologist at the University of Connecitcut] believes the instigators of denialist movements have more serious psychological problems than most of their followers. “They display all the features of paranoid personality disorder”, he says, including anger, intolerance of criticism, and what psychiatrists call a grandiose sense of their own importance. “Ultimately, their denialism is a mental health problem. That is why these movements all have the same features, especially the underlying conspiracy theory.”

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What’s black, white and has a vagina? The US presidential race of course! (part two – Hillary Clinton)

Belatedly continuing my ongoing series detailing the three potential candidates for the next US presidency, it is the turn of Hillary ‘Insert stereotypically tenacious creature here” Clinton – aka The First Female President, Question Mark – to receive my disinterested appraisal.

Despite repeatedly being victim to resounding losses, Mrs. Clinton has continued to campaign with all the vigour of someone who clearly doesn’t give a fuck about public opinion – exactly the type of person America is used to voting into office. Despite this apparent advantage, the senate’s most fistable lady of a certain age still seems to be struggling to be heard. Maybe it’s because her accusations that the media ‘has it in for her’ are true, or maybe it’s because she’s a woman? But maybe it’s simply down to the fact that she’s a bit of a twat whose website is littered with pictures like the one below.

Hillary Clinton primed for some photoshopped porn action

On a side note, I always found it interesting how famous American women are praised when they stand by their spouses after they’ve been found to be cheating bastards. I’m sure it’ll be the same in the UK, but I can’t help but think that, in a perfect world, they’d be encouraged to beat the sleazy fuckwits in the groin with a weight that corresponds with their own ego. Oh, Dante how much I could teach you about sweet irony…

Regardless, Clinton is the woman I would vote for if I could. I can’t help but feel that the inevitable lack of any meaningful change after her victory would be far less disappointing than if her fresher-faced competitor should win. It’s a moot point, however, as the entire buzz around this Obama/Clinton face-off is largely driven by the excitement felt by the Democrats for a contest they can’t help but win. At the end of the day, if the average American is faced with a choice between a black man and a strong woman, they’ll chose a gun.

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Michael Bay commercial makes me want to punch a baby panda

Michael Bay loosely strings together several set-pieces of unemotional, effects-laden action into feature-length movies. Because of this, some people call him a film director and, subsequently, he has become rich and famous.

Apparently, such success was not because of an effective reach-around style. Rather, Bay demands awesomeness – but not just in film, in every aspect of his life. By a strange coincidence, US broadband and telecoms corporation, Verizon, supply awesomeness. I guess it was simply fate (and a garbage truck full of cash) that brought the two together for this commerical.

Now, I’m not sure whether this commerical is just a spoof of how much of a twat Michael Bay is, or simply an example of how much of a twat Michael Bay is. One thing’s for certain though – the man is a cunt.

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Pretend you’re cool with the Grabit Pack

Grabit Pack

The latest innovation from that vast, faceless super-corporation responsible for making all the pointless crap used by macho idiots is this: the Grabit Pack. If regular pockets or a rucksack simply aren’t enough to contain your testosterone-heavy goodies, strap on this baby and strut around like you’re Snake from Metal Gear Solid. The cock-airing stance above is mandatory when wearing the pack – due to the power of your huge throbbing meat-cannon, obviously.

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