Mark Mardell certainly tried to stamp his mark on today's The World This Weekend. He tried to go large, intellectually-speaking, seeking an overarching explanation for the rise of UKIP by setting it in a global, indeed globalised, context.
The fascinating central discussion between Conservative MEP Dan Hannan and Labour's Lord Glasman was preceded by a report from Mark Mardell himself where this attempt was made most clearly.
His chosen experts were former Labour advisor (now pro-European think tanker) Mark Leonard and Prof Montserrat Guibernau of Queen Mary's, London. Their thesis, essentially, cited growing inequalities, due to globalisation, as the prime driver of the growing disillusionment of voters with the established political order.
Being Mark Mardell, he attempted to compare UKIP to America's Tea Party and then, albeit with caveats, connect both to the rise of 'hard-right' parties across Europe - parties like the Swedish Democrats. Labour's Lord Glasman later forced him to re-state that he wasn't linking UKIP with such 'nasty' parties of the European 'hard-right', describing any such comparison as "unfair".
He also reached back in history for what he's sees as an early parallel to parties like UKIP:
We have, perhaps, been here before: The small man standing up against a gale of economic change, railing against the state. Pierre Poujade, the French bookkeeper behind the populist movement of the 1950s - anti-tax, small business, xenophobic - but at its heart resentment of the elite.
Mark Mardell came in for frequent criticism at Biased BBC for his repeated insinuations that the Tea Party is a racist movement. Is that use of "xenophobic" there an example of him trying to play the same game with UKIP?
And, interviewing Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller in Margate about multiple identities and Englishness, did we not get another bite at that very same cherry from Mark Mardell?:
But this is so fascinating because our interest in the idea of multiple identities, that identity is a mask, and yet here, the coastal towns where we are, the people in a sense are saying, "We want a closer sense of identity. We want a sense of identity that is about being English, not even British, and that we resent people with other identities."
Mark Mardell always needs watching closely. His language so often gives his biases away.
Mardell is an intellectual lightweight. He doesn't even understand the Humpty Dumpty quote properly, but still thinks he's got a firm grasp of the big picture. To him, everything not Left of Gramsci is "hard right". And yes, "xenophobic" is a euphemism for "racist". This is just another classic example of how he thinks. For Mardell, there can be no legitimate objection to any part of his personal ideology. All opposition must be driven by a nefarious motive.ReplyDelete