I worked at a printing supplies company in my late teens, an established company, local. They sold printing blankets and inks and other supplies and most of the newspapers you read would have used their products. My job was to create order codes for the warehouse and do customer service, make sure people got printing blankets of the right size. We were a team of five and a few months into the job, sales of film and printing blankets stopped dead in its tracks. By the time I left we would sit around all day waiting for orders that never came. The company were not prepared for the digital revolution and disappeared. Around that time I was downloading music I liked through Napster which was a revelation, Napster were continually fighting lawsuits and I moved to another platform..and another…and another… Napster was never the threat, it was an omen, a portent of what was to come.
The digital revolution came late to political media, and when they moved to twitter in 2009/10 ish, I don’t think they understand the implications. The vicious tribal left right echochamber that formed around the fringes of political media publications, exposing their culture. A culture firmly rooted in one or two universities and by people who have never had to engage with the outside world beyond patronage, demonisation or pity. Is fair to say that that first foray into a digital world has exposed how media democracy was underpinned by a class of people who dont know how to behave with accountability and have never been in an environment where reflection was necessary or criticism welcome.
While they imposed their hierarchies, and fought for dominance within this bubble I dont think they understood it was a bubble bobbing about on a digital ocean.
Twitter is political media’s Napster. An omen, a portent, a sign that things have changed. Twitter is not the digital revolution, its just the first platform this culture used to expose themselves and their inability to compete. The platform where they demonstrated the inequality reflex that creates inequality faultlines mapped out with safeguarding responsibilities, is the same abusive reflex that drives their culture.
I don’t think those within it can reflect on what is happening but I think future generations may look at it with interest. The discussion of inequality does not happen on a left right axis, and the left right axis and the culture maintaining it via political media online and off, has been shown to be incompatible with discussion of how and why our political economy is failing. A dying industry can be spotted a mile off, but those in the centre of it rarely understand till it’s dead.
For reasons that are not even clear to me, I am sat up at 3.21 in the morning reading a Mumsnet Thread about Kids Company.
Those who tolerate my blog will know I have had concerns about Kids Company, which it seems were not just valid but the tip of the iceberg. The environment created in Kids Company, as with most personality cults, appears to have been quite harmful and one doesn’t want to really contemplate the harm this charity has done to the families it exploited.
The whole sorry saga demonstrates why it is that celebrities and their self image should not be the driving force in social policy provision, and the demonstration of how dangerous it is to liquidate accountable services with professionals who are trained, working from an evidence base, to replace them with the cause celebre du jour and occasionally charity for the feel goods. Patrick Butler currently on fine form demonstrating how abuse is covered up, as he uses the Guardian to continue to protect this charity from accountability, claiming he cannot see what the scandal is.
What struck when reading the thread was not actually about Kids Company per se. It was about the standard of online and offline political debate around Westminster and the faux lefty politics that has developed in Westminster focused media cultures. Before I was a gobshite on twitter, before I was a writer, I was a member of a baby website. In the years where I was trying for a baby and those early years when I had one, I used the same online community and argued and debated with a massive variety of women.
I read this Mumsnet thread and am reminded of that. The discussion is wide ranging, eloquent, forensic in places and is a discussion with lots of perspectives coming together and knowledge growing as a result. I have experienced that level of debate in Higher Education Institutions, my own life, work, or in those discussions with all those women but never in the cultures who see themselves as serious politics.
The imposition of left right discussion on what has happened since the financial crisis, has prevented ALL rational debate about the brutal transmission of a financial crisis to a social and political crisis, and of the actual institutions and people involved and affected by that. Several years ago I wrote a piece for the Guardian with Kate Belgrave asking when the real debate about our public services would start.
That conversation never happened. It never happened because in a few small institutions, the Guardian, the New Statesman, the Oxford and Cambridge and London colleges who populate our ‘radical’ left, they dont know how to have that conversation. Instead we get bogus pretend radical left nonsense, because being a lefty is the glass floor for these people. Its what you do when you dont know anything, you have no skills and nothing to offer but you are still ambitious. The glass bubble they live allows us to see how monstrous tribal nonsense supplants rational and reasoned discussion.
The imposition of the left right spectrum on discussion of the exploitation of inequality austerity required, was only ever intended to ensure that culture dominated discussion so reasoned discussion could not happen. THat is the purpose of the radical left.
There is no scope in a male dominated tribal debate for the bringing together of perspectives. That’s not what it’s for.
Today Richard Seymour, faux class warrior from the I Shagged Laurie Penny and know Owen Jones School of left wing politics, had this to say about Simon Weston, a Falklands veteran who suffered serious injuries during that conflict.
This was ok because Weston criticised Jeremy Corbyn and criticising a man who intends to run for Prime Minister of a democratic country is not acceptable to these people. The so called Corbynites he is currently in the same tribe with(any bandwagon will do) decided it was a witchhunt that people would object to this. This toxic bubble are the reason that noone needs to examine Jeremy Corbyns economic, foreign or social policy. This bubble are the reason he will become a funny footnote in the history of the Labour Party. Whatevr the merits of his candidacy for leader.
Tribes using terms like left and right who dont even know the difference between right and wrong define political discourse. And yet on this mumsnet thread, I dont think anyone needed to start a post by identifying themselves as a member of a left or right tribe. Or by declaring they read Lenin at university and therefore knowledge of reality was not necessary. The likes of Richard Seymour and the ‘radical’ lefties who read Chomsky instead of doing their elite degrees before graduating to their places in the political media establishment, and working their way through the ‘radical’ fringes, they dont know how to have this conversaton. So instead we get toxic adolescent echochambers who would fight tooth and nail to prevent a group of women having a conversation lke the one demonstrated in that thread.
Its the type of women involved in that conversation who understand our political economy, they live in it, work in it, raise families in it, and to the likes of Richard Seymour, their eloquence and intelligence is inferior to his sub Wolfie Smith shit. And an entire toxic culture would back him up.
Well, after we all got over the ‘betrayal’ of Labour retaining the position they have retained for decades, and them remaining true to their values of valuing the hardworking by transforming our entire political economy around market orthodoxy for finance…things got exciting.
Labour promised us an interminably long and drawn out leadership contest where nothing would change, as a reward for people deciding they were not fit to govern at the election in May. They served up a fine selection of ex-identispads and then someone had the fucking brilliant idea of Jeremy Corbyn standing for leader so the left could pretend Labour was still their party, and would continue to deliver leaflets and abuse people on their behalf.
Then it turned out that people rather liked the idea of an alternative and out of fucking nowhere hundreds of thousands of people said they were willing to give Labour another go and registered to vote for him. Labour accidentally managed to overcome the problem of democratic legitimacy in a digital age and hit upon a subscription model for their party, any any rational person would have assumed they would be pleased.
Then the implosion began.
The Labour establishment lost their shit. Completely.
Every grandee was rolled out to explain why Jeremy Corbyn was the first horseman of the apocolypse. The entire party establishment came out to explain to the fucknuts who spend their lives telling everyone there is no alternative to Labour, that they had been correct but there was no potential for Labour to move beyond market orthodoxy.
Then Labour responded to thousands of new members, who are clearly not the toxic twitter bubble, with a massive purge. Calling them 3quid trots, hard left infiltrators and an entryist threat. Teams of people going through everything anyone has ever written or published, like the thought police. Demonstrating clearly how socialist discipline is used to protect finance. They do not understand the concept of needing to attract NEW supporters and to take them from other parties to win elections. Combing through the lives of potential voters like they were looking for thought crime while telling the base of their party that they are despised.
The rest of us got to watch Labour cast the twitterbubble who had been responsible for preventing the discusson of political consensus for five years of austerity, adrift. While screaming hysterically at it and finally finding something Gordon Brown and Tony Blair could agree on.
The bubble of fucknuts who spent the last five years insisting to social care users, people on benefits, there was no alternative to Labour have not noticed they have been shown to be liars.
The election result twitter could never have told them to expect hasnt taught these people a thing and the new Labour faction, now called Corbynites, lost their shit too. And the Labour establishment and the Corbynites losing their shit, didnt realise that the rest of us were watching them spew bile at each other. Mostly we are grateful they are not united in spewing it at us.
What has been really lovely about watching the meltdown is that the Guardian have admitted that yes, they do view objectivity as party disloyalty and have been managing media narratives according to Labour’s needs for years. I thought this was useful.
It has been really lovely watching Guardian columnists and Labour politicos explain to us why it is that democracy and the parameters of political debate can only be defined by them, over the sound of the Overton window they invented smashing. I hadnt realised that we were now openly admitting that a paper run using a trust fund, ARE democracy….all useful to witness when you are wondering how what happened to journalism in the UK.
The Corbynites for their part have been very generous in demonstrating how dangerous twittertalitarianism is, and have been letting us all see how their toxic factionalism and inabilty to tell right from wrong protected the Labour Party all these years. They are now busy trying to tell us that they are the rightful dictators of the UK and anyone who disagrees is going to a gulag.
Corbyn seems like a rather reasonable man. The deranged media left kidnapped a nice man in a cardigan so he could be a lightning rod for the stupid and demonstrate how they fulfil the function of hermetic seal around a media democracy. Instead of the myriad of economists out there, Corbyn has chosen an ex tax accountant and twitterati to masquerade as an economist and quite frankly its not worth analysing Corbyns foreign or economic policy, because his biggest problem is the lefty bubble that is sustaining him. That tax accountant is threatening to sue people who discuss what he says.
Open warfare has broken out within this culture, the party, and their newspapers, but luckily they all live on twitter, so its quite contained. Do not approach the factions of this culture for you risk injury.
The hundreds of thousands of people who rejoined Labour to vote for their leader are wondering what the fuck they have done, and I confidently predict that 2025 might be Labour’s 1992. If they are lucky enough to survive.