Thursday, 11 May 2017

45 years on, and the Hard Left is still banging on about gypsies and travellers!

When I were a lad at t'college, many of my friends were members of the Cambridge University Labour Club (or Association - I forget which). This was because the two most charismatic members of our "gang" were student politicians, rather than because the rest of us were particularly left-wing. I wasn't much into politics, and what beliefs I had were distinctly right-wing, but the Labour Club was where all the action was - that was where, in terms of the university, the big political ideas of the day were being thrashed out by the humongously self-important politicians of the not-too-distant future (actually, only one them "made it" - he proved useless). Ted Heath was leading a Tory government at the time (1972-1974), but there was nothing particularly right-wing or conservative about him or his party. Socialism had, essentially, won: the question wasn't whether Britain was going to be a right-wing or left-wing country - it was a matter of how left-wing it was going to be. That wasn't the reason I hung around with lefties and pseudo-lefties: it was because the Labour Club was the focus of a fun...

...battle between two warring factions - the Social Democrats, i.e. the right-wing, and the Far Left, an angry and unattractive bunch of Trots and Stalinists, Berkley-style identity-politics goofballs and a few old-fashioned Labourites who went misty-eyed whenever Aneurin Bevan's name was mentioned, boyo.

The leading light of the Labour Right was a working-class Londoner who'd been the Chairman of the Labour Club (President? Secretary?), had graduated, but was still embroiled in student politics while doing a PhD in Economics (at least, I think he was - I'm not sure when he got any time to do academic work). He was an extraordinary, lovable character who went on to become a private school teacher, joined the SDP, and is now a Conservative councillor. I was reminded of my old friend while reading details of Jeremy Corbyn's 42-page suicide note this morning, especially when I came to the pledge to hand further roaming rights to gypsies/travellers - an obvious vote-winner which should guarantee a stonking win for Labour next month, because, if there's anything that unites the people of this country, it's the belief that members of the travelling community should be allowed to set up camp wherever they want and to do whatever they want without let or hindrance, or being asked to clean up after themselves. It's an honour to play host to these colourful characters, and we should all feel grateful for the wonderful opportunity to experience at first hand their vibrant, alternative lifestyle - and to pay for it, in a whole variety of ways.

During one spectacularly nasty Labour Club campaign, we spent an evening composing an election leaflet purporting to be from the far left candidate, in which gypsies were the main focus - leftists were absolutely obsessed by gypsies at the time. I can't remember what we wrote, but I think we supported the right of travellers to camp in people's gardens if they felt like it, and to treat the owner's house as if it were their own. (We also, I seem to remember) suggested that every Labour Club member should be forced to spend the summer vacation living with a deprived family in a Northern council flat.) Then we visited all the colleges in the early hours, and stuffed a leaflet in the pigeon hole of every Labour Club member. (We lost the election, but we had a lot of fun.) Now, in 2017, 45 years on, with Britain engaged in its most important international negotiations since the Second World War, a malevolent cadre of hard leftists has - bizarrely - gained control of the country's main opposition party, and its members are still behaving like angry adolescents involved in some silly, irrelevant little college political club, and still wittering on about the "rights" of travellers.

One thing I'm certain of is that, during the last four and a half decades, voters have begun to question why so many of our politicians are so obsessed with the rights of an endlessly expanding list of sexual, racial and religious minorities - when the rest of us are far more interested in talking about efforts to ensure that the members of these groups meet their responsibilities to the wider community. The Left, for the time being - for ever, with any luck - has rendered itself utterly irrelevant to the vast mass of voters. I mean, for God's sake - they're even promising to hold an inquiry into the Battle of Orgreave Colliery!!! See? Utterly, completely, wholly, pathetically irrelevant.

Theresa May must fall asleep and wake up laughing.

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