When austerity started, I was naiive. I stumbled across an elite left wing media entry ground. Instead of ‘fighting the cuts'(a facile term for challenging an acceleration of an economic and social policy transformation, triggered by a financial crisis, which actually indicated the wisdom underpinning that particular type of political economy was over) I found myself in a situation where I had to rapidly learn about a bit of the system that exists for a reason. And has existed for a long time.
Like many others, my illusions about our democracy shattered and not only was there never a chance of ‘fighting the cuts’ but I got to find out why.
My blog, which has never been anything but my own personal perspective growing as I learn, ended up being a year of frustration. I learned that a blockage in our democracy rooted in two elite universities, and a few media institutions, quite literally exists to prevent change.
To construct an identity they spend their days imagining versions of a working class they are entitled to treat as political capital, while the actual working class sit there and wonder where democracy went. Everyone I know, complex and different as they are, seen as nothing but the ‘base’ upon which a few privileged men and women can base their media and political ambitions.
A culture with no connection to anyone or anything I know, just assume they have the right to spend this political capital. On the basis of fairy stories about the history of everyone and everything around me. The more misery experienced by that political capital, the more fuel for their careers.
I learned there has always been political consensus on those austerity hit hardest and that consensus came not only from political parties, but from the political cultures that protected and underpinned them and claimed to speak for us. This has been the case since at least the end of World War 2.
Not only do they have the right to speak for anyone they choose, acting however they choose, but unlike other political forces, they do not need to earn that right. It is theirs for the taking and we should be grateful.
I watched as austerity unfolded, fairly straightforward to understand, and learned that our elite left wing media and the protective radical fringe around it, are the electric fence to change. The culture that disenfranchises the working class.
Working very hard at it and protecting the status quo with dangerous and nasty behaviour, designed to put anyone off the idea that change is possible. Existing solely to prevent any discussion which might lead to change.
I had to drop every illusion I ever held about institutions I thought I understood. Learn that ‘left’ is a culture and not the ideas and causes they claim as theirs. A class, who protect their self image viciously and cry victim should anyone threaten that.
Learn that The Guardian and The Telegraph sell exactly the same product, with exactly the same effect, for political parties motivated by exactly the same thing. Only one of those newspapers, and one of those parties, sell it with graphic depictions of the misery it causes, and demand the right to be seen as saving those people. The other is just fulfilling their natural role in our democracy. Representing who they say they represent.
I needed a way to demonstrate how this radical protective fringe and media culture protected and sold austerity, and I needed a way to send this culture a message that this had been noted and is unacceptable.
One of the benefits of writing in a digital age is that writing an article is not just about the words you use. You can reliably use the reaction to an article to demonstrate it’s premise, and you can use the left as they are used by the right. So I approached the Telegraph and asked if I could write an article for them. They said yes.
I wrote just over 700 words about this toxic culture that had been preserved at the expense of everyone I knew. Nurtured in elite university bedrooms, to maintain a status quo that has to change.
The last paragraph of that article did not need writing, it was to be written by those it described. I crossed my fingers and hoped I would get a demonstration of how the radical fringe of our left wing culture, protect the ability of one political party and one political paper to disenfranchise everyone I know, while they learn to live under this acceleration of a political economy that is nearly dead. I needed a demonstration of how the left wing of our political culture disenfranchise the working class now. To demonstrate how they always have.
Thankfully they obliged. In spades. The left are a bit predictable like that.
As the torrent of predictable responses demonstrated the premise of the article, and they fought for the only thing they have ever fought for, self image, the niche culture I wrote about finished my article for me.
As they demonstrated the accuracy of what I wrote, I was able to send a message directly into the political party and the publications who support them, that this was no longer acceptable. This is quite a new power dynamic available in our political economy. One brought about by the internet.
In a country where the left wing press dance entirely to the tune of the right, I was able to demonstrate that a revolution has already occurred. The days of faux tribalism being able to sell absolute political consensus, disenfranchising millions of people, are nearly over. Along with the healthy livings the left make doing so.
When the only difference between the product sold by the Guardian and the Telegraph is the tone, it is liberating for those it is being sold at the expense of, to be able to do this. No-one is required to protect the self image of those who want to sell austerity by preventing us discussing it, even if they want to believe they are doing it for our benefit.
The only difference between what the Telegraph sell and what the Guardian sell, is the Guardian like the misery it causes to fill their pages. I was able to demonstrate that the faceless poor demonised Chavs, are not only the most educated working class in history, but new media dynamics mean we can walk freely through the walls of the press and will eventually break them down.
Readers of this blog will know that I don’t write regularly enough for it to be considered my profession, nor do I make any money from it. My butchery of the english language knows no bounds. I can’t have a job where I have to notify my daughters school and the local police station every time I work, so I don’t write for publication, or interact with the left at all.
I would like to thank Damian Thompson at Telegraph blogs, for giving me the opportunity to send that message to our left wing media culture, and I hope he didn’t get too much stick for allowing me to do so.
Here is my piece for Telegraph Blogs. The most effective piece of political writing ever to emerge from this battered old craptop.