Personality politics is a problem. It means instead of ideas we get people, and while I appreciate the our left press like to set political media personas up as infallible so everyone can be devastated when it turns out they never were, this is not the best way to develop ideas. It’s fairly nasty for those actually placed on the commentariat coconut shy as Johann Hari found out and Laurie Penny finds daily. It is fairly nasty for those challenging, and it isn’t that useful in a functioning democracy.
This is not a system anyone uses to develop knowledge outside a political media who would prefer we did not develop ideas. It isn’t a good system at all, one most of us are powerless to change that removes any right of reply when what those commentariat say is damaging. Luckily it is crumbling.
I have no problem with Owen Jones as a person, I do not know him. At all.
I did not create a political system where a small pool of commentariat, are nominated to create the appearance of nonsense political discussion that doesn’t upset party narratives. I did not write a book which erased 33 years of history and replaced it with the broadsheet discussion which was used to keep its subjects invisible and then use that spot in the commentariat to ensure discussion never addresses why. I did not write women out of communities which ended up headed mainly by women, as a result of the economic and social policy approach which has been the centre position and subject to consensus for decades, and come to the conclusion that their children could be saved from the demonization that caused it, if they just follow the part of the political system that ensured this would always have happened.
I did not write a book that completely ignored real intersecting race, gender, class and and measurable inequality rooted in disability repeatedly exploited and hidden by a media focused political spin culture, preferring instead to regurgitate the spin of the side who demand to be seen as the saviour of those hidden. I did not do this in the year where that structural invisibility was exploited to ensure that deleveraging was borne by the same people, by cross-party, cross Europe consensus, while my friends worked to ensure that the people bearing the brunt remained invisible on the platform I claimed.
I did not rewrite 33 years of other people’s history because it did not suit my ideological position or political media career needs. And I don’t believe Mr.Jones did intentionally either. If Mr.Jones had gone back to the Beveridge settlement he may have found more concrete answers and I hope that his work develops in future. He is a young writer, with a great deal of skill and I didn’t expect him to be infallible. None of us are.
I have repeatedly tried to discuss the flaws in the ideas in that book, and it is not possible without being attacked. I do not approach Owen, as there is no reason to do so. He will never discuss the way his book erased the communities he talks about, he can’t, I don’t want to put him in that position. So I don’t.
Owen regularly discusses how the political media class have subsumed democracy, and this would seem to be a situation that is resulting from a shift away from that. If you feel like emailing me to tell me how mean I am being to Owen Jones, because I dared ask him politely to discuss how he managed to erase 33 years of history for that medias benefit, when the position he occupies in the media class removes any right of reply to his disenfranchised subjects, I suggest you take a moment.
Lefty fanboys out there, you can abuse me or send me hate mail because you believe political change will only come if no one ever says anything you disagree with. I may well be a meany for challenging your rewriting of history at a time when it is coming to its conclusion and it needs to be discussed, I’ve been meaner. Given the culture of intimidation and threats that define the left and right our our political media and their fringes, I am surprised your feelings are so sensitive.
You want to tell your grandkids you fought for change by emailing hateful abuse to a woman you don’t know for pointing out she exists outside a narrative sold by someone you like- go ahead. Good luck with that, because I can guarantee you, that whatever my problems might be with the book Mr.Jones wrote, that kind of behaviour is not likely to be behaviour that he would sanction or desire, even if the culture he is part of depends on it.
And while it is fairly common behaviour, the delusion that it is about making change exists entirely in your head. To the rest of us it’s just weird, go find a band of likeminded people on twitter and froth about the Daily Mail. Or perhaps take up something more constructive, like needlework or making a placard to maintain the status quo. There are more important things to discuss this year than the irrelevant left.