Misc

PROVOCATION

Stephen Pollard is celebrating 100,000 hits for his weblog and taking some time to explain his personal joy of blogging. I enjoy reading Stephen’s weblog, not because I find myself punching the air in agreement with him – I rarely do – but because he offers a guide to a political outlook that is rare to find in Britain ( a neo-con Labour Party member) and above all else because he is very provocative.

There are some people think being provocative, or or that matter running a weblog, is mere attention seeking. But I am of the view that provoking people is exactly what progressives should be doing. I don’t agree with many of Stephen’s conclusions but I do enjoy being made to think by his arguments.

We all need a bit of provocation – especially those of us on the left. After all we are living in an era of revolutionary change but so many people, above all it seems, on the left have yet to wake up to it.

In contrast to the many depressed voices on the left, for the first time since the days of perestroika and glasnost, I find politics not only interesting but exciting. That is why I started blogging and getting re-involved in political debate. Yet in such a stimulating era, so many are lazily and cynically churning out yesterday’s slogans.

People who proclaimed themselves radical believers in change a few years ago are now the most conservative defenders of the dying old world order. Lefties, so desperate to cling to cold-war certainties that no longer exist have become the reactionary defenders of dictatorship and allies of religious bigotry. The arguments of some have even drifted close to the kind of racism once the preserve of old-style imperialists.

People who once described themselves as ‘internationalists’ now call themselves ‘anti-globalisers’, without, it seems, any sense of irony. So-called Marxists who once claimed to understand the ‘dynamic of change’ have transformed themselves into modern-day Luddites, content to leave the developing world to struggle with neo-feudalism, corruption and despotism rather than recognise the inherent and necessary progress that free trade and globalised democracy can bring. There are middle class professionals who think the most pressing matters in the world are their salaries and expenses when millions in the world don’t have enough to eat and when, even in our own relatively wealthy society, thousands struggle with low pay but have no trade union to help them.

The right has its own fools of course. People who can walk around the wastelands and ghost-towns of the North of England and still believe in laissez-faire economics and fail to see the need for planning and co-ordinated investment. Nationalist-conservatives trying to wish away the European Union, who fantasise about an isolated national interest, as if we still lived in the 19th century. Those who make a fetish out of a unit of currency. Those who mistake tribalism for patriotism. Believers in ancient myths and legends who insist, despite centuries of slaughter in their name and despite all the evidence of scientific progress, that they have a right to ‘educate’ our children in their mysticism.

There are plenty of people who need provoking.

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