By Ben Pensant
Like most hyper-sensitive leftists with male sex organs and milky skin (sorry!), I reacted to the recent fury over Ash Starkers’ Islamist oranges with anger, astonishment, and intense arousal. It was vulgar enough of right-wingers to accuse Ash of celebrating the jihadist murder of three white people in Swindon, but to then suggest the killing was a bad thing was beyond contempt. Indeed, I was so incensed by the suggestion that a left-winger supported violence I spent the whole weekend fantasising about garotting Sun-readers.
But then, like that other metropolitan wordsmith with a love of shoes and a taste for cock, I got to thinking. Was this alt-right smear job really such a bad thing? Sure, Nazis spreading lies, accusing leftists of racism, and exploiting the fresh corpses of murder victims is undoubtedly terrible. But let’s be honest, the only thing these bozos got wrong was the target: their tactics were spot on. And we leftists should know, because they’re our tactics too.
For you sad bastards who missed it, two weeks ago luminous Ash posted a photo which showed her eating an ice lolly in a park, accompanied by a tweet featuring three ‘orange’ emojicons. Like most people, my immediate reactions were “Hmm. I hope that lolly is organic” and “Wow! Ash doesn’t just fuck like a champion, she sucks like one too!”, followed by a non-threatening bout of sex-positive self-love, the details of which are private but suffice to say, the eco-friendliness of Ash’s sugary treat made the two minutes spent imagining her inserting it it into my anus even more special.
Unfortunately, on the same day in a different park in a different city, the presence of three privileged white people offended a marginalised Muslim so much he had no choice but to stab them to death. So naturally, people who don’t like Ash decided with no evidence whatsoever that the oranges symbolised the trio of slain Islamophobes, despite the fact that the photo was taken several hours prior to the murder and the picture posted before any details about the killer had emerged.
No matter, the right smelt a theocratic rat and within hours Islamic fundamentalist Ash – so fundamentally Islamic that she drinks, flashes her legs, and fornicates with non-Muslims – was officially a supporter of terrorism. The fact that Ash is a savvy media operator with zero form for openly lauding vulnerable jihadists was entirely irrelevant to the mob, who ploughed on with their deranged fantasy, impervious to facts, logic, or the world outside their ridiculous partisan bubble. Sound familiar?
You bet. Because it’s exactly what we do. Indeed, swap Ash for Julia Hartley Brexit and the method is nigh-on identical, from the inane accusations of racism to the bitchy critiques of Ash’s hair, make-up, and sexual appetite. Equally indistinguishable were the breathtaking mental gymnastics deployed to explain how the oranges represented the murder victims, a complex series of contortions incorporating everything from time travel to Martin Scorsese’s The Godfather. It was all so evidence-free and utterly batshit I almost wished I’d thought of it.
Of course, it was entirely unoriginal, stealing from such greatest hits of left-wing hysteria as Otto European convincing his adoring followers that the Brexshit Party turning their back on the EU was a Nazi dog-whistle, and the Novaru Groovy Gang accusing the BB(astard)C of airbrushing St.Jezza’s hat to make him look like a Russian nonce.
But more than anything it recalled the left’s long-running campaign against Boris Johnston’s foul government, from our anger at the blonde butcher for promoting imperialism by using the word ‘surrender’, to losing our minds over henchman Dominic Radge saying his boss had ‘fought’ Covid 18, implying that everyone killed by the virus didn’t fight, and putting a rich buffoon with the sniffles into the same category as actual fighters, like the courageous perverts who bravely combat transphobia by sending death threats to JK Roland.
It’s clear that with a little tweak here, some reprogramming there, even the most rabid right-wingers – scratch that, especially the most rabid right-wingers – could be valuable assets. Lord Corbyn may have been perfect in every way but ultimately he was just too nice. And there’s no better example of this too-niceness than his attempts to appeal to normal people instead of targeting the lunatics. It pains me to say it, but as thrilling as it was abusing people on the internet for four years, I now realise instead of blocking and despising Tories we should’ve been moulding and converting them.
Because most alt-right fruitcakes are halfway there already, and a far better fit on the Corbynite left than the boring centrists Labour wasted years courting. Conservative loons may be evil but at least their evil can be put to good use. The same can’t be said for those tiresome non-partisan types who think they’re special because they don’t blindly support anyone, value ‘consistency’ and ‘universal values’ (yawn), and judge arguments based on merit rather than who’s making them and how they vote.
No, we should be raiding the BNP for new recruits, not the Lib Dems. Because as we know, most online politics bores are less concerned with ideology than they are with belonging to a group who hate another group. And as your average right-wing nut is as hopelessly obsessed with identity politics as any blue-haired progressive they’re already on the right path. And they have been for some time.
Take the recent furore over Steve Bellend’s Pritti Patel cartoon, which saw the sinister Auntie Tom depicted as a bovine beast, inspiring hordes of fascist ideologues to declare the sketch misogynist and suddenly decide that, actually, mocking certain religions is racist after all, and a Guardianista of all people should know how offensive it is to caricature a Sikh as a cow. Naturally, the fact that she was supposed to be a bull – because the cartoon was about bullying – was studiously ignored, as was the inclusion of Bull Number 2: Boris Johnston, who as far as I can tell is neither a Sikh nor possesses a pair of tits.
A similar storm greeted The Nude European’s infamous cartoon showing Sajiid Javiiid musing about deporting himself on his first day as Chancellor: a blatantly obvious dig at predecessor Amber Ruddy and the Windthrush scandal. Sure enough, hordes of right-wing hall monitors angrily protested that the cartoonist was being racist towards Javiiiid because…well…because that’s what a left-wing hall monitor would do.
Both examples demonstrate how the Twitter right is brimming with joyless literalist ideologues, desperate to see racism in everything the other side does and utterly incapable of understanding how jokes work. In other words: fresh blood.
Because with the culture war heating up, we urgently need reinforcements to make up for all the transwomen, unarmed black men, and middle-class protesters murdered daily by the right-wing establishment. Who better to fill those gaps than people who regularly chastise the left for speech policing despite demanding Katy Brand was fired and arrested for making a joke about throwing acid at Nigel Farrage? The angry right-wing ideologues who last December declared all Labour voters antisemites, conveniently forgetting they’ve spent years attacking angry left-wing ideologues for calling Leave voters racists? The self-righteous prudes who threw a Whitehouse-sized strop when Corbynite rapper Stormzee read a passage from the Bible on the BBC last Christmas, polluting the airwaves and poisoning young minds with his shirtless urban swagger and foul-mouthed lyrics about smoking LSD? Or the dedicated puritans who photographed Diane Abbots sipping a can of gin on a train, accused her of being an alcoholic, reported her to the police, demanded she lost her job, and went blue in their outraged faces about the ‘terrible’ example she was setting by doing something that normal people in the real world do all the time?
Frankly it’s an embarrassment of riches, chockfull of left-wing soldiers-in-waiting. And I’ve no doubt Ash would agree as she’s been endorsing these tactics for years, as demonstrated by her joyous reaction to the sacking of evil eugenicist Roger Cruton after crusading liberal George Eton cynically misquoted him. Because Ash is literally a communist (you idiot!), so she understands that equality means white male righties are as legitimate smear-targets as sexy brown leftists. Luckily, smearing sexy brown leftists will be illegal once Jezza re-seizes Labour from Ken Starmer and cruises to Number Ten. But until then she’ll deal: kicking against the pricks and dreamily anticipating the glorious day when all wrong-think is outlawed and there are no right-wingers left to lie about.
In the meantime she can simply bask in the warm glow of victory, pleased as vegan punch that her latest ordeal gifted her what the modern left always desire: sympathy, victimhood, and crucially, oodles of airtime: the one thing in our gender-neutral locker that the enemy can only dream of. Because unlike the right-wing version, left-wing demagoguery has gatecrashed the mainstream, with virtually every actor/pop star/presenter/thick-as-a-brick footballer now buying wholesale into the grubby Marxism espoused by the likes of Ash, the Extinction Rebels, and everyone’s favourite progressive separatists, Black Life Matters.
Indeed, the fear of being cancelled has seen support for the modern left swell to almost Corbynmania proportions. Sure, the right have the Murdoch press but their pernicious influence only infects actual voters and – urgh – normal people. In the beautiful funhouse mirror of online politics, left-wing ideals are king, with the media, tech, and entertainment industries given no choice but to watch their step and french-kiss our non-binary arseholes. Even evil capitalists like Len & Jerry are going for woke, a wise move considering people who espouse progressive ideas invariably have plenty of disposable cash. All of which means the wonky ideology espoused by Novaru et al may not be in everyone’s living rooms but it’s all over their devices.
Meanwhile, the oppostion make do with fringe racists like David Vancey, with barely a sniff of the mainstream acceptance afforded to their left-wing counterparts. But imagine the wonders Vancey could work on the left? He spreads lies, posts craftily edited videos, and thinks nothing of exploiting dead people to score cheap points on Twitter. Imagine the good he could do if he were on our side? He’s already got a penchant for promoting antisemitic cranks so he’s practically one of us.
Vancey and others like him could become modern day progressive heroes if they utilised their skills fighting fascism instead of piling-on hot Muslim pundits with a thing for frozen confectionary. And DV’s dedication to bullshit is second to none, demonstrated by his devotion to the barefaced lie that Mayor of London Larry Khan once said “Terrorism is part and parcel of living in a big city”, a misrepresentation so blatant, easy-to-disprove, and mystfyingly ubiquitous it’s currently tied with “Toby Jung called disabled kids illiterate troglodytes” in my ever increasing list of Things That Never Happened But Mentalists On Twitter Are Convinced Did. (Good mentalists in the case of the Toby one, obvs.)
Needless to say, Vancey’s opportunistic fury about the triple-homicide was palpable, though unfortunately for him that far-left influence struck once again as the story quietly disappeared from the news cycle once it was revealed that the murderer was an Albanian immigrant and the killing motivated by homophobia. Much like the outrage over Ash’s oranges, which two weeks on have been largely forgotten by everyone but sexually frustrated progressive male bloggers desperate to catch some feminist pussy before their cocks falls off.
Sadly, this failure to keep Ash’s ordeal trending shows they still have much to learn about ideological warfare. If I were right-wing – URGH! – I’d have hammered her for months. And I’d have been all over the tweet she sent a few days later, which featured three pointy hand emojis clearly intended to signal her joy about the trio of girls from Scunthorpe-or-somewhere who were fingered by an Asian – yes, ASIAN – grooming gang in that thing on ITV. Ditto her sweet message to Geordie firebrand Laura Pigcock, in which Ash pissed all over the graves of terror victims by including three kisses to symbolise the 3,000-minus-3 infidels who died on 9/11.
Still, the next time she says something the right don’t like it won’t take long for some fascist footsoldier to recall that time Ash Starkers celebrated white people getting stabbed to death with cyber-fruit. At which point thousands of people who don’t recall it will gleefully retweet it anyway, while thousands who know for a fact it’s not true but are too hopelessly embedded to admit it will do the same. Again. And again. And again.
So I hereby urge my liberal brethrens to stop castigating right-wingers and start brainwashing them. Because if they keep beating us at our own game we might all have to join them. And much as I share their passion for lying and abusing strangers I’ll never be seen dead in a crew-cut and braces. Though having just spent a few seconds reading some of the Ash-related threads on brand new Nazi echo chamber Parlez it sounds like alt-right hipsters are having even filthier wanks about her than I am. Hmm. Perhaps it’s time for a change.
Now where did I leave that tiki torch?