The one good thing about illness is that you can’t do anything. It’s like an enforced holiday. So in-between barfs, I finished two good books, watched every episode ever made of The Thick of It, and even got around to throwing out the empty Pellegrino bottles that litter my floor. One other thing I did, which I now regret, is I went on The Guardian’s Comment Is Free website. For Americans who are unfamiliar with it, I always describe The Guardian as a Pravda for public sector workers. And it’s a damning indictment of everything wrong with the modern Left.
The Sunday “edition” of Comment Is Free offers the following articles:
1. A priest who simply refuses to wear a dog collar tells us that the super cool redevelopment of South London is unnecessary, because the beautiful deathtraps and plague hovels that the residents currently live in are just in need of a bit of “maintenance.”
2. A South Korean gentleman explains that his fellow countrymen are unhappy because they have to work for a living (I feel their pain).
3. A bizarre woman – with literally no facts to support her case – writes that grammar schools are on the increase and are some sort of threat to community cohesion because they help bright poor kids to get into university. [By the way, the total number of new grammar schools being built? One.]
4. A fellow who says that the police are at war with the communities they serve (in legal jargon: "arresting criminals").
5. And, because The Guardian is keen to break into the shrinking market of American liberals, a hit piece claiming that Rick Santorum burns crosses for fun.
The overarching message that everything is broken, everything is awful, and unless the government spends a lot more money soon, we’re all going to be going to Hell in a handcart. Every piece is leaden with melancholia. And they are least excited about the mean-spirited aspiration of the working poor. Don’t go to a grammar school because you would be betraying the people you grew up with. Don’t redevelop London because that will upset the integrity of the ghetto. Don’t study or work hard because, as the South Koreans will tell you, it just makes everyone sad. Because life is so much gayer in North Korea.
At the top of the page is an article asking what the Labour Party must do to win back the confidence of the British voter. Here's one answer, and it was at the heart of the hugely successful New Labour experiment: admire, embrace, and promote aspiration.
The British Left is at war with the ambitious working and middle classes. They seem to regard them as traitors to the class struggle – selfish snitches because they want to raise and elevate their families on their own dime rather than the government buck. Day after day, this is the message of the Guardian. There is no solution to problems beyond the material largesse of the state. If the money dries up, then we’ll beg, borrow, or steal to keep it rolling on out. And if we must have poverty, then let us all be poor so that no one feels excluded.
But what is worst about The Guardian’s website is its predictability. You know what every article is going to say before you read it. And this isn’t just a facet of the Left’s intellectual authoritarianism, it’s a reflection of the Left’s obsession with endless political campaigning. Never thinking, or discussing, or simply creating good art – no, campaigning. Everything a good Left-wing writes is propaganda for the cause: another blow against the elitist Right. They all think they’re revolutionary journalist Camille Desmoulins (pictured above).
But the difference between Camille Desmoulins and Polly Toynbee is that Desmoulins had a genuine revolution to win. He was the spokesman for a happening movement that would change the world. In contrast, Comment Is Free is an archive to dying and dead thought. It writers are agitators for the past, guardians of mediocrity. No one would bother to guillotine the editor of The Guardian - that's why dear Desmoulins stands head and shoulders above him.