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Left vs Right: Can We All Play Nicely Now?

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When a recent Canadian study claiming left-wingers to be brainier than their righty counterparts made the Daily Mail headlines, much sniggering ensued about - hoho - the irony of the publisher's political persuasion.

According to the Brock University academics, conservative politics serves as a kind of 'gateway' into prejudice against others and basically those with low childhood intelligence were susceptible (read: doomed) to grow-up as racist, God-fearing homophobes.

Leaping at the opportunity to cock a snook, the usually brilliant Charlie Brooker took to his column to pen the hilariously titled, When The Daily Mail Calls Rightwingers Stupid, The Result Is Dumbgeddon. Accusing the Mail of purposely trolling their readership, all Brooker really proceeded to do was lazily single out isolated dumb righty comments left by Mail readers beneath the article. Even as a lefty myself, Brooker's article kinda smacked of smug, "Hehe look at all those stoopid rightys" left-aggrandising.

Instead of cherry-picking comments which supported his rightys-are-dumb agenda, what Brooker could have done well to observe was that most of the Mail's highly rated green arrowed comments were actually in support of the left.

Which brings me to the the seeming decline of newspaper's diehard left-right, black-white readerships. Online newspapers (as opposed to those, you know, old fashioned papery things that flap around on the train and make your fingers grubby) virtually render their reader's political leaning obsolete given their ease of access digitally. In those olden days when one had to consciously schlep to your local newsie to buy your paper you were ostensibly faithful to a single publication. A staunch righty would march out for his Torygraph or Daily Mail and proud lefty his Guardian or Independent, but now one can traverse multiple papers with digital ease and thus: their core readership - whether left or right - is ultimately diffused.

Whilst the papers themselves retain their socio-political paradigm, their consumers don't.

Last month the Mail Online kicked the New York Times off its leading online newspaper perch, reaching 45.3m readers in December 2011. Is this figure entirely made from Bible-thumping, BNP worshipping knuckle-dragging righty's? I think not. Contrary to what much of the media would have us believe, the right aren't all belligerently jingoistic patriots and the left aren't all bleeding heart liberal socialists.

What the Brooker vs Mail vs Their Righty Readership debacle illustrates is that the childish hair-pulling and one-upmanship on both sides of the political spectrum is, unfortunately alive and well and in these unsettled times we operate in, perhaps dangerous.

From the evidence of what our political parties carry out once elected, more and more are awakening to the fact that the left-right wing political paradigm is little more than an illusion to keep us occupied with bickering and squabbling against each other rather than turn our attentions to the corruption that operates within both persuasions.

Liberal Obama was voted in under a euphoric sea of hope and change - we were awed by the propaganda and hearts and minds globally put faith in their new hero. He'd bring home the troops! He'd close down Guantanamo! This was the peace-loving-right-on-hipster-pres' it was cool to love. Nearly four years on and what do we have?

Guantanamo remains open and the Obama administration is haemorrhaging even more than Bush on military spending. While everyone was out partying on New Years Eve he snuck in the terrifying, unconstitutional NDAA act and passed a bill authorising $662 billion in military spending for 2012. A Gallup poll conducted last September saw Obama rated 'same' or 'worse' than his trigger happy predecessor.

When Clegg threw a volte-face on the Lib Dems tuition fee stance after morphing into ConDem coalition, the incredulity of lefties was palpable but given the proliferation of political flip-flopping, Clegg's actions were unsurprising. What have the ConDem coalition as brought us? Cuts to the most needy and vulnerable under the guise of austerity whilst simultaneously safeguarding banking buddies (Fred Goodwin's 'Sir' withdrawal was a token, meaningless gesture) and throwing ourselves gung-ho into imperialist, unecessary overseas conflicts we cannot damn afford.

Despite what their manifesto's may pledge, most Western politicians - Tory, Labour, Republican or Democrat - do not operate for the left or right they claim to represent, moreover their banking and capitalist corporate paymasters and lobbyists. Given how much more apparent this is becoming, at every election we still - bafflingly - show surprise and outrage to politicians back-tracking on promises they possibly never intended to keep.

Cognitive dissonance is hard to overcome but the sooner we collectively do it, the sooner the myopic, right-left mud-slinging stops.