Mainstream media journalists are apoplectic that Jeremy Corbyn has turned up uninvited to the Westminster political party and urinated in the punch. I for one am concerned for their health - it cannot be good to sustain this level of outrage on a permanent basis.
It is not just the right wing media who are so deeply mortified by this turn of events. The Guardian, the far left of the media landscape, are equally unable to come to terms with mainstream public opinion finding expression in democratic politics. Today's Guardian makes clear that Corbyn is obliged to sing the national anthem. This particular crime is inexcusable because it will alienate the population and make Labour unelectable. The Guardian argues that Corbyn must pick his battles, and that this is one he cannot win.
So, rather than the strong leadership we are encouraged to bow down before when the markets demand unpopular policies be imposed on the public, in this case strong leadership is a problem. Instead, the priority is to acquiesce to public opinion, play the game, and keep quiet. No matter that the game is a conspiracy against the values and principles held by the vast majority of the population. The show must go on. There is money and privilege at stake, and this upstart is going to ruin it for all of us. Or at least, that is what I imagine the conversation is like amongst the newspaper proprietors when they retire at the end of a hard morning to their gentleman's club.
So what's all this got to do with the end of the world? Well, underlying the lamentations of liberals over the past few weeks has been the claim that yes, of course we all want a fairer, cleaner and more peaceful world but that can only be achieved by preserving existing inequalities, continuing with the unabated burning of fossil fuels and waging endless war. The public cannot possibly be expected to understand all this, and delivering this better future should be left in the hands of the leaders, experts and corporations who have done such a great job so far.
Let's take one of those issues, sometimes described as the greatest threat facing humanity, namely climate change. No one really talks about climate change very much any more. It's an awkward topic, an issue as welcome in polite conversation as talk of death, religion and the international finance system. It is increasingly felt, by the dwindling handful of people who think about the issue at all, that it is counter productive to talk about climate change in terms of catastrophe, doom and gloom and the end of the world. Nor is it very helpful to focus on all the things people will have to give up in order to limit the amount of damage and harm climate change is projected to cause. Instead if you want people to get on board with climate change then it is better to not mention the subject at all. Instead, the best thing to do is talk about green jobs, energy security, renewable energy and other nice things. Think about the nice clean world we can all build together - everyone will become wealthy from the new green revolution, climate change will go away, and we can all live happily ever after.
Just as Jeremy Corbyn is finding out, there are certain myths, certain stories about who we are and the future that awaits, that are essential for maintaining the legitimacy of business as usual. It is no more acceptable to not demonstrate that you love the Queen with all your heart than it is to speak honestly about what we are doing to do the climate and the radical changes needed to reduce as much as possible the destruction that is already under way.
So we keep marching on, mute, smiling, the rational, modern and reasoning inhabitants of this bright shining city on the hill. Or at least, that is the plan our leaders have for us. No wonder recent events pose such a threat. I only hope Jeremy Corbyn can do for climate change what he has done for the pomp and circumstance of the Westminster charade.