The Left Who Cried Wolf

06/09/2016 10:03 | Updated 06 September 2016

Do the political left know the story of the boy who cried wolf? I feel it could do with being reminded. Because recently the 'controversies' and 'outrages' emerging from the left, or at least the more ardent and vocal leftists, are often so trivial and fatuous they not only obscure the important issues on which the left actually has some points to make, but actually work against them.

If Jesus was resurrected tomorrow and fed hundreds of impoverished people, like the five loaves of bread and two fish parable, there would probably still be a load of morons on Twitter accusing him of being sexist, racist, 'Islamophobic', not 'inclusive' enough or all of the above.

Imagine you've got a granddad, who you obviously love because he's your granddad, but who it can't be denied is...a little bit...'traditional', let's say, in his social attitudes (this may apply to your actual granddad). And imagine he's (somehow, maybe for laugh at the 'yoof of today) started to follow Twitter, Vice, the Guardian's Comment is Free and such like. Do you really think he's going to suddenly be converted to the case of equal maternity and paternity in the workplace by women calling the alphabet sexist or converted to an outspoken activist in the fight for racial equality by people calling BBQs racist? No; the writers cried wolf when there was no wolf at the door. Their credibility has been undermined. It's more likely our granddad is going to sigh and mournfully mutter under his breath: "what is the world coming to?"

To see just counter-productive the ridiculous rhetoric from the identity politics on the left is, just look at how it's lapped up by the right. See the vicarious glee a windbag like The Mail's Richard Littlejohn gets from ranting about the failings - however exaggerated or plain untrue - of the left. His and his paper's (I think part genuine) idea of the left is essentially: 'GAY BLACK LESBIANS HATE US AND DEMAND WE CAN'T SAY 'BLACK' COFFEE OR 'BENT' RULER'. The sad thing is, this is becoming, albeit marginally, less inaccurate by the day.

The right love it because it distracts from the important arguments, just like they love controversy about the way Jeremy Corbyn dresses because it's far easier - and sells far more - to mock him over that than it is to critically analyse what he actually has to say on big issues like housing and the economy. For there are good arguments on the left - on issues such as equal rights, social mobility, income inequality, the excesses of globalisation and capitalism. It's just that now you often have to wade through a lot of rubbish to get at them, like a contestant on I'm a Celebrity... going through all the awful insects to get the gold star. If your fellow contestants are morons you lose motivation to go through all the shit.

As Stephen Fry, a life-long leftist, said about Twitter upon leaving it: "Oh goodness, what fun Twitter was in the early days, a secret bathing-pool in a magical glade in an enchanted forest. It was glorious 'to turn as swimmers into cleanness leaping.' [...] But now the pool is stagnant. It is frothy with scum, clogged with weeds and littered with broken glass, sharp rocks and slimy rubbish. If you don't watch yourself, with every move you'll end up being gashed, broken, bruised or contused. Even if you negotiate the sharp rocks you'll soon feel that too many people have peed in the pool for you to want to swim there any more. The fun is over."

As the vote for Brexit (Brexit always come up eventually!) and the rise of Trump shows, the revolution will not be meme-ified. People have tough jobs, demanding kids, stressful commutes - there's a finite amount of fucks many people are prepared to give - and much of the left is exhausting them on fairly - or utterly - trivial issues. If we're trying to create social justice and solve inequality by penning 850-word thinkpieces on offhand remarks from Coronation Street characters about their hair, we're not just standing still; we're going backwards.