Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably seen that glorious Stewart Lee sketch where he takes down Paul Nuttall of "the UKIPS", recently appointed leader of the party (and self-appointed righter of the establishment's wrongs.) In sum, Lee's point is to shine a light on the idiocy of UKIP's policy of demeaning immigration, which, he observes in wry fashion, has made a rich and colourful contribution to our country for millennia. What UKIP do isn't funny at all, but you really can't fail to laugh when Lee sneers "Bloody Anglo-Saxons, coming over here, laying the foundations for our entire culture!" Good point, well made.
In a recent column, perhaps unsurprisingly beginning with the words "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS" emblazoned in capital letters, Nuttall of The UKIPS rails against the perceived failures and hypocrisies of the left. His gripe? "Cultural Marxism." According to Nuttall, the left has, over the past thirty years, embarked on a mission to control political discourse by narrowing the scope of acceptable ideas to the point where nothing can no longer be said. According to Nuttall, this has created a topsy-turvy, farcical world where the fear of being offensive prevents people from living their lives and pointing out the truth.
It is a common complaint. It is also wrong. What Paul Nuttall really means when he says political correctness is impinging on his liberties is "I used to be able to say whatever abusive things I like, but now I can't." What Paul Nuttall really means when he says "Political correctness has gone mad!" is "Treating other people with respect has gone mad!" Legislation which has been branded as "politically correct" is not a restriction on democratic expression, rather it enriches democratic expression by making sure it is not tainted by hate speech or intimidation which negates the rights of minorities. Paul Nuttall is wrong to conflate political correctness with censorship, but it's hard to think of a time when being wrong has ever stopped him running his mouth.
In his column, Nuttall even goes as far as to blame political correctness for the police's failure to protect children in Rotherham from systematic abuse by Pakistani men. What he doesn't add is that a significant proportion of those arrested for sex abuse in Rotherham were white. But never mind the truth, Nuttall is more interested in conjuring up the Asian bogeyman to play to the prejudice of his audience. At the core of Nuttall's argument is the implicit claim that he and his compatriots (read: whites) are discriminated against by legislation designed to prevent minorities from being abused or excluded, but the only people it makes an example out of are those who would use their voice to abuse or exclude minorities. So I know whose side I'm on.
Moreover, the crusade against "Cultural Bolshevism" was one of the core tenets of Nazism. That is no smear, only an objective truth. There was a whole chapter in Mein Kampf devoted to the scourge of "cultural Marxism" and Hitler's desire to eliminate "Bolshevism" in culture ("Bolshevism" meaning anything that deviated from the Nazis strict national and racial themes.) If that doesn't set alarm bells ringing about UKIP, what will?! UKIP often invoke the sacrifices made by our forefathers to condemn the political establishment, but what could be more offensive to the memory of our forefathers and foremothers than to advocate for Hitler's ideas, which they died fighting against? I'm not being alarmist to draw parallels between Nuttall and Hitler with their views on cultural Marxism, I'm just pointing out something that ought to be deeply, deeply worrying to anybody who cares about the direction in which this country is headed. My history teachers always taught me the purpose of studying history is to learn the mistakes of the past so that they are not repeated again, but we seem to forget very quickly.
If you really think about it, UKIP are perhaps the most politically correct party in the country. They are predominantly white and staffed by a legion of ex-bankers and other establishment types. They have the sympathy of the hard-right media which controls political discourse in this country. They are old-school traditionalists and elitists. Nothing about them is a protest, nothing about them is progressive.
It's amazing how people on a crusade to call out leftist hypocrisy don't afford half as much zeal or attention to the more plentiful and abundant hypocrisies of the right. A lot of this rampant criticism of the left's pathology is more rooted in unhelpful holier-than-thou posturing than any desire to be earnest anyway. The earnest work of social justice is about more than sitting around accusing people of trying to ruin the country because they have a modicum of sympathy for repressed minorities. No leaps forward were made my people sat around pointing fingers, and I doubt none ever will be. We should have charitable critique of ideas, yes, but it should be charitable, which Paul Nuttall's commentary on the left isn't. Frankly it is puffed-up drivel, and acts as a diversion from the real issues of social justice. You're wrong, Paul Nuttall, but sadly, something tells me you're just not the kind of person to sit and reflect at length on whether or not you may be mistaken. I hope you prove me wrong.