Re: Intention and devisiveness
Had a chat with a Corbyn-supporting friend of mine the other day. Well ex-Corbyn supporting - he gave up on him over Brexit policy early last year. But he's still deep in the social media bubble - and still a committed lefty, just thinks Corbyn is useless.
There's a thing with nasty words and in-groups. So you get "Remoaners" and "traitors" from one side - and the other react with "gammon" and "quitter" and the like. And it's all terribly unhelpful and polarising - but does help to entrench people into their identities. So it works to get your side all nice and motivated - but is a massive turn-off to the uncommitted and helps the other side to build their identity and ignore your arguments.
But how would it help if we legislated to make "gammon" hate speech? How long would it take to come up with something new? Rather like we dropped the term educationally retarded because kids were calling other kids retards. And now we have kids calling each other "special needs". It doesn't matter how hard you try to make your euphemisms - kids will be kids and adults who know better will find labels to use against people.
Being in the social media echo chamber also starts to reinforce your view of things - i.e. groupthink. I've fixed his computer, and have seen his Facebook feed. And it's full of angry people calling Tories murderous vermin and then calling people on the right of the Labour Party Blairite scum who are no better than Red Tories - and therefore by extension also supporters of murderous vermin. It's awfully depressing. Both to watch and for the effect on his mental state.
But people stop realising they're doing it. I remember a piece in the Guardian after the 2015 surprise Conservative win. There were several on how Labour needed to understand people who voted Conservative, not demonise them. Else they'd keep being suprised by election defeats - when it was self evident to them that they were the good guys and deserving of everyone's vote. There was an advert on the piece for the Guardian's own online shop, fundraising for the paper. Selling a T-shirt with the slogan, "Tories - Worse Than Vermin!" Hmmm, self-awareness...
In the end it all comes down to intent. If you mean to be horrible and bully outsiders to reinforce your in-group you will. There was a report of a Labour students group calling people "Zio's" and shouting them down in meetings - because they couldn't shout "Jew" obviously.
The only hope is the self-defeating nature of this. UKIP and the Brexit Party are dead, and were never successful at anything other than European elections - which have always been seen as a way to kick the government and not a serious election in this country. Labour's Left will hopefully learn the lesson that telling people in the centre of politics to fuck off and vote Tory might actually cause the ungrateful buggers to go and do just that. And maybe a few working class Conservative MPs in marginal seats will help persuade the more Thatcherite-than-Thatcher headbangers on the right of the party that calling people names alienates a lot of people whose support they might need once Labour sort themselves out.
Meanwhile in the USA perhaps the Democrats could stop putting potential voters into the basket of deplorables and clean up some of the more egregiously rancidly corrupt practises of both parties in Washington - so we don't get lumbered with another term of that arse Trump. I'm happy to be rude about him, because he's a truly awful human being with few redeeming features - but that doesn't mean I can't understand why some people vote for him.
As is the message to my Labour-voting friend. If Boris Johnson really is basically Trump with better hair (which by the way he isn't because he's really a hyper-ambitious social and economic liberal) - then how shit must your lot have been for him to increase his vote and for you to lose all those seats that you've held for 80-100 years?
Sorry - I think I've gone off-topic here. But I think it's relevant enough to still post it.