There’s always a danger of going full circle. You start life dribbling and helpless and that’s how you end it. You travel far enough west, you’ll end up in the east. And if you keep moving further left there’s a danger you’ll end up on the right.
In the last fortnight we’ve seen two very public examples of this manifest themselves in stark relief.
Paolo Di Canio’s appointment as Sunderland manager brought a wave of criticism for both man and club from many quarters, some of which made rabid dogs look meek. Calls for action have ranged from boycotting the club to revoking the appointment, with many other pitchfork and flaming torch options in between!
David Miliband’s decision to resign his post as vice-chairman in light of Di Canio’s ‘past political statements’ was a particularly curious incident, considering his position as MP means he has to work with people from across the political spectrum including far right groups. I can’t help feeling Mr Miliband has missed an opportunity here. It’s a politician’s job to try to sway opinion and garner support for a set of ideals and policies. Choosing to work with Di Canio could have presented him with more than just the challenge of avoiding relegation.
As a liberal ‘live and let live’ type I don’t like Di Canio and what he stands for, or has stood for in the past, depending on which version of the story is to be believed. But surely denying him his right of expression and free speech is demonstrating the very fascist tendencies that he is accused of supporting.
Fascism, racism and other ugly ideologies exist and have always existed in one guise or another. Banning them and hoping they go away won’t solve the problem. In fact, history has taught us that banning something only increases the following and popularity.
The correct course of action is not to prevent him airing his views, but to challenge them and to trust in the public’s common sense to see sense!
Just when I was thinking supporters of the left could not demonstrate more right wing tendencies than with the Di Canio incident, Margaret Thatcher dies. And I’ll say here and now, I’m glad she’s dead. I’m glad in the same way that I’m glad Hitler, Stalin, Saddam Hussein, Ronald Reagan and so many others are dead. And I’ll be as glad when both George Bushes (father and son) are dead, as well as Tony Blair. In fact there’s a very long list and as well as being glad when they’re all dead, the one regret I will have in all instances is that it did not happen sooner… before they committed all their terrible atrocities.
However, Thatcher’s death is not a cause for celebration. It doesn’t matter how much damage she did or how much pain and suffering she caused, there were people who loved her too. They are in pain now and celebrating the pain of others is wrong. It is the kind of gloating trait more associated with the right wing, which the left abhors. It’s not an attractive quality and I’m pretty sure that many will regret their stance in time to come. There is another reason for not celebrating Thatcher’s death – she was a spent force. The damage was already done. A friend of mine, Cath Bore www.cathbore.com, said it best on Facebook when she put forward the idea that we should only celebrate the end of Thatcherism, not Thatcher herself. Her legacy will have a lasting effect for a long time to come and her death won’t change that.
Also, when the dust settles the Tories and others on the right will have a field day. They know that only the shell of Thatcher died on Monday and that the real Iron Lady died a long time ago. They will use the left’s own goal celebrations to win points. I fear those celebrations may have been premature and that the ghost of the wicked witch will prove to be as powerful as the woman herself.
Make no mistake, Thatcherism is alive and well and running 21st Century Britain.