The message of the Left to unite the working class and the middle classes, the liberal metropolitan types and the “left behind” of the towns blighted by Tory (or Republican) governments, could be condensed into two words: You matter. Or, People matter.
The Tories lie to set us against each other. It’s all a lie. Few immigrants come here “wanting a hand-out”. They come here wanting to get a fair chance to get on in the world, as most people here do. Benefit claimants would rather be earning a decent wage for a fair day’s work. Tories and the Tory press demonise all kinds of people. There are dog-whistles. People complain about immigrants, and when my white friend says she is an immigrant and the other person says “Oh we don’t mean you”- because she is from North America, and there are no dog-whistles about people from there- she knows what they mean.
As a member of what the Tories would call the “Metropolitan Elite”- remainer, socially liberal, though I live sixty miles from a city, six from a large town, and my income is low- I don’t necessarily talk easily to the working classes. I don’t know someone knows I see them as equals. When nervous I might have a superior air. The film Pride, about Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, may be part of a model.
There are Tory lies. Immigrants/ benefit claimants are on the take. It is natural to dislike people with a different skin colour to yours. Islam is an authoritarian religion. The Metropolitan Elite (Hello!) tell you these things are lies, and that’s because they patronise you, despise you, are not in touch with the beliefs of Real People. We understand you. We respect you, they don’t. When you voted to take back control that was the Will of the People, and the Elites have blocked the people’s will ever since. But now we can Get Brexit Done.
All lies, all reinforced by the Sun and by particular facebook memes enthusiastically shared- on Election night,
MPs off to the Jobcentre!
Wait for the riots and teeth gnashing from the poor remainers
Good Riddance Traitor (with a picture of Mr Corbyn in an electric chair)
Sore Losers Sore Losers Everywhere
Never mind Dad, at least you tried (with a picture of Steptoe and Son)
Even if we disagree about everything we can still be kind to each other
This weekend, please be excellent to each other.
Everyone should have a facebook friend like that. Or, I read this crap so you don’t (usually) have to.
I don’t know how to approach. You matter, even if we disagree, is not the same as I am better than you. Unfortunately the accent and the North London- bien pensant was the slur before Metropolitan Elite- attitudes set off feelings of inferiority in some, leading to an angry response.
However there are people who value you as worthwhile human beings, and want to provide decent public services for all including you, and people who pretend to value you by telling you you want Brexit therefore you should get Brexit and if they deny it they are disrespecting you and being democratic. And because we, the hard right, want it too it can’t possibly be us who blocked it in March. Or telling you yes, equal pay might be a good thing, but the real symbol of women’s oppression is trans women in the loos.
Onywye. That’s part of it. This is a blog post. The Left is about respect for everyone. The Right is about setting everyone against each other. And that includes the working classes, those who think immigrants “treat this country like their own” as if that could be a bad thing, Queers, Guardian readers, people who would pay more tax for decent public services…. none of these can be free unless all are.
I went to the National Gallery again today, and saw three paintings of the Coronation of the Virgin, when Mary rises into Heaven and is crowned by Jesus. In one, she is bowing her head, and he is clearly a Person of the Trinity, God, the one in control. In another, they seem to love and respect and celebrate together as equals. I prefer the latter.
Jesus as God:
Or Jesus and Mary as equals.