By Ben Pensant
Perhaps it’s the unusually warm weather. It could be my upcoming date with a hot female plumber called Barry. Or maybe it’s the jar of Ambien I’ve been ploughing through like a bumper bag of Skittles. Whatever the reason, recently I’ve become consumed with an uncontrollable urge to…find the good in people. And yes, that includes right-wing people too.
Okay, technically they aren’t people. They’re barely animals. To be honest I’ve as much chance of finding decency in their souls as Rachael-Not-John Swinton has of finding a job that doesn’t interfere with her daily routine of lying about Jews and asking strangers to help buy her son a new Xbox.
But as The Beatles sang in 1972, ‘We all know that people are the same wherever we go/There is good and bad in everyone’. And what separates the left from the right is our willingness to treat them with respect. Even if they are evil fascist bastards. So I decided to play the bigger man and reshape my approach to discourse by focusing on what unites us. Two hours in and it was going terrible, as I swiftly learned that every right-winger on the telly or the internet is so reprehensible it’s impossible to view them as anything other than awkward, unflushable turds.
I was all set to give up and go back to spending my afternoons sending death threats to Esther McVile when something glorious happened: a magical event which reignited my desire to focus on the things we have in common rather than the stuff that makes us better than them. Yep, I’m talking about the minor kerfuffle that occurred in Pittsburgh, Transylvania the weekend before last. Because nothing gets the left and right singing from the same hymn-sheet like politically charged mass murder.
Which isn’t to say we hit the same notes. Far from it: progressives spent the week after the synagogue massacre cooing in harmony like a choir of classically trained angels, while conservatives grunted and growled with all the grace of a fat pitbull wet-farting the theme tune to Love My Neighbour. But while the arguments themselves differed, when it comes to innocent people being shot dead there’s one basic truth upon which Us and Them are in complete agreement: the person who pulled the trigger is NEVER to blame.
Once that’s established the details can be tailored to suit. So the left blamed Trump and Gab, the right blamed migrants and CNN, and we both blamed Israel and The Jews. Because as we know, there is NO despicable act on earth that can’t be linked to Benjamin Netanyahoo. And as anyone who’s spent five minutes reading Buzzkill or Squeakbox is well aware, ALL acts of terrorism can be traced back to the Kingdom of Apartheid. Especially when the victims are Jews.
Which is why the aftermath of Pittsburgh saw the principled elements of the left agreeing with the mentalist elements of the right that the shooting had less to do with the shooter than the religion of the people who got shot. Across the internet the various motives of the killer were quickly established by scores of amateur sleuths who apparently made the selfless choice to forego careers as FBI profilers in favour of spending 12 hours a day winning arguments by tweeting hilarious memes of Jennifer Laurence rolling her eyes.
So the cries of “Trump incited this!’ and “Ban right-wing social media!” were countered with “Illegal immigrants!” and “What about Farrakhan?!”. Now clearly the first two comments make perfect sense while the other two are horse-shit. But at least they’re not blaming the killer, unlike those weird libertarians obsessed with ‘personal responsibility’ who crazily believe humans are capable of making their own choices without the influence of an orange-haired douchebag with a mouth like a balloon knot.
Luckily, while the ‘too many guns!’ verses ‘not enough guns!’ debate bored everyone to tears, two unlikely allies got down to brass tacks and courageously blamed the one group who were undeniably responsible: the people who got killed. Dame Jenny Tongue got in there first, posting this pertinent question while the eleven corpses were still twitching:
“Absolutely appalling and despicable act but does it ever occur to Bibi and the present Israeli government that its actions against Palestinians may be reigniting antisemitism?”
Bravo, Baroness. In one sentence she tapped in to the truth the ZMSM don’t want you to hear. And Jenny’s comment – coming after it had been confirmed the killer was a white supremacist – also shone important light on that troubling vein of far-right bigots who commit murder and risk the death penalty because they care so much about brown-skinned Arabs.
But for further proof that Pittsburgh would never have happened if it weren’t for Israel Jewry or something, look no further than the response of evil troll Katie Hopkirk. KH, of course, is 100% wrong 99% of the time. But even the very worst people occasionally get it right when all evidence points to the hand of Telly Viv:
“Watching pin-the-blame on the donkey after Pittsburgh synagogue: Gab. Trump. White supremacists. The Media. Muslims. Look to the Chief Rabbi and his support for mass migration across the Med. There you will find your truths”
Naturally there is much wrong here, not least the suggestion that Trump, Gab, white supremacists and the (right-wing) media might not be to blame. And while it’s unclear which Rabbi she was referring to, her implication that this mystery cleric is responsible because of his support for migration is completely off: anyone with half a brain knows the Rabbi is responsible because he’s Jewish.
But while Katie fired the wrong arrows she sure as hell hit the right target. And targets are all that matters in this blametastic corner of the left, a place where a professional clickbait gobshite whose entire career is based on deliberately saying stuff to upset Guardian-readers is just as welcome as an ageing bedsit militant who combines a love of socialism with a seat in the House of Lords and a meaningless title that makes her sound like a buxom villain from Dick Whittington.
But this is merely the most recent example of left and right coming together to blame a common enemy for something that had fuck all to do with them. And it doesn’t always have to be the Jews. Take the recent case of the racist who abused an elderly black passenger on an aeroplane. The professionally outraged barely had time to boycott Ryanjet before left and right came together to pinpoint the true perpetrator: the government.
Again, the right’s angle couldn’t have been more fuckwitted but no matter: as long as they’re putting the responsibility for bad behaviour on anyone but the person doing it they’re serving a purpose. So while we blamed the government’s hostile immigration policies and anti-immigrant rhetoric for emboldening the Ryanjet racist, the rightists blamed the government’s lax immigration policies and pro-immigrant rhetoric for turning him into a massive cunt. Again, they couldn’t have got it more wrong if they’d claimed the Tories forced his hand by giving a top job to a Pakistani slaphead but who cares? As long as Theresa May gets it in the neck and the person responsible is absolved it’s all gravy.
Predictably, the massive cunt was afforded airtime on Richard & Judy to deny he is a racist, though thankfully he refrained from pleading: ‘It wasn’t my fault, the Tories made me do it!’. Which was fortunate as we would’ve had no choice but to agree with him thus making ourselves look like total bell-ends. Phew.
Still, once again it was nice to know the left and right were sharing the same airspace: that tiny, upside-down world where 70-year-old men need the government’s permission to be nasty bigots and concern about open borders justifies refusing to sit next to black people on cut-price airlines. And my new outlook looks set gain even more traction with yesterday’s exciting news that a gang of working-class morons burnt an effigy of Granville Tower on Halloween.
So far the left have adopted a straightforward approach: it’s a hate crime, the perpetrators must be prosecuted, and if circulating the video all over the internet results in their windows being smashed or kids getting beaten up at school then tough titty. At the very least they and everyone present should lose their jobs and if you disagree you’re clearly a racist who thinks people burning to death is funny and deserve to be arrested too.
The right went for the predictable line that no crime was committed, what people do in their garden is up to them, and arresting people for being offensive is far more offensive than making a sick joke about a burning building. Add sly references to London’s knife crime epidemic and how hunting down a bunch of pricks for having a naughty bonfire probably isn’t the best use of police resources and it’s as reassuringly wrong as you’d expect.
But look beyond the hyperbole and you’ll see the real narrative. Indeed, as we speak Twitter is awash with people correctly putting the effigy stunt down to Brexit and the wave of hate crime it unleashed; a wave of hate crime so hateful, criminal and wavey that while reports have risen convictions have dropped. Which clearly means hate criminals are walking free willy-nilly and is nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that a lot of things being logged as hate crimes are about as hateful as writing ‘bum’ on a lamp-post.
Similarly, soon enough our opposite numbers on the right will incorrectly declare that the effigy-burning only happened because of all those people who swindled hundreds of thousands of pounds intended to relocate Grenfell Tower residents despite never having set foot in the building. They’ll argue that, coupled with disillusion over the government’s handling of illegal immigration, it’s no surprise the palpable anger of these unthinking fools manifested itself in such grotesque fashion. Which is obviously nonsense but at least it’s logical nonsense.
And it highlights the most useful thing about social media righties: they’re easily swayed. Indeed, for every leftist who’s had their brain rinsed by the right’s evil mind games and turned to the dark side (laughably referred to as ‘growing up’) there are more than enough right-wing loons just as susceptible to being mesmerised by the woke-left and becoming fully paid up SJWs. It’s almost as if most political Twitterers don’t have any ideological convictions at all and just like being part of a group that hates another group.
But if we get to them before the Russians there’s hope yet. And as difficult as it is for decent progressives to entertain the idea, the only way to do this is to reach out to them with empathy and tolerance. It’s not that hard – they’re pretty thick.
As a wise little man said, the fight against murderous white supremacists wasn’t won by sitting around singing Kumbaya. But it wasn’t won by marching the streets singing ‘FUCK THE TORIES!’ either, as beautiful as that sentiment is. So fingers crossed I’ll feel the same in a week from now when it’s bastard freezing, the Ambien’s ran out, and I’ve cooled on Barry due to her lack of breasts, shovel-like hands, and insistence on spending our second date in Dorothy Perkins pretending to be mannequins.
In the immortal words of West Country grunge legends Supergrass Furry Animals:
You’ve got to tolerate all the people that you hate…