Saturday 25 July 2015

James O'Brien: "What does "right-wing" mean?"

Newsnight presenter James O'Brien went to a couple of watering holes in London for last night's programme - the first a pub where Nigel Farage hangs out, the second a posh eating place where left-wingers hang out.

In the process, he offered us his take on a few things, including what it means to be "right-wing".

[Please make sure you've not got a hot drink in your hand while you read it or you might be liable to drop it and scold yourself]:
What does "right-wing" mean? People who tell me they're "right-wing" in pubs like this often seem to think that a problem has been identified and it needs to be solved not by affecting them but by affecting other people, as if almost votes now are being cast in the hope of seeing other people's lives made worse rather than our own lives made better.
So that's what being "right-wing" means then - having the desire to make other people's lives worse. Who knew? 

If Owen Jones and Jeremy Corbyn were ever to write a political dictionary for their New Jerusalem, they might like to make use of that definition. The rest of us are free to simply dismiss it as mere abuse from a left-wing Newsnight presenter. 

We never got James O'Brien's equivalent take on what "left-wing" means, but we did get his views on the present Labour leadership: wonder what the Labour leadership actually does speak for or represent. Increasingly, it seems to be privileged, usually privately-educated people who, in a very well-meaning way, speak for a constituency of voters that nobody wants to admit to being part of, and this narrative of "hard-working" has created, of course, the notion that anybody who supports the Labour Party isn't "hard-working". 
That's a left-wing take too, albeit a more sympathetic one ("in a very well-meaning way"). I don't see how his final statement follows from what preceded it though, despite his use of the phase "of course". I think it's a non sequitur.

His whole report seemed confused. And biased.


  1. Cameron and Osborne are not moving to the 'hard' Right by any stretch of the imagination. Unless, that is, one is so far to the Left that even the center looks extremely far away to the Right. Osborne is moving towards a Statist command economy with his attempts to control housing prices and wages. Cameron wants to stay in the EU, and spends more time denying Islam has anything to do with Islamists than arresting or deporting Islamist preachers and instigators. They're going to raise the tax-paying threshold to help those on low pay. The freak out over the tax credits policy is hyperbole, as Osborne is mostly fiddling at the margins and not doing anything too drastic. Cameron's deal with the BBC will ultimately cost it nothing and will only serve to keep it going in the long term. Nothing at all 'hard' Right, or even somewhat Right-wing about anything from Tory leadership.

    Meanwhile, the schism between Blairite and far-Left Labour (formerly Brownite) supporters at the BBC becomes more an more obvious every time they discuss Jeremy Corbyn's chances. It's hilarious. Corbyn is mainstream to half of them, and to the other half he'll keep Labour in the wilderness for another 10 years. No wonder O'Brien seems confused.

  2. Sorry to be a Language Cop but it's A-ffecting not E-ffecting! :)

    O'Brien is so inane in thought and comment that he doesn't really deserve any analysis whatsoever.

    1. Thank you. I needed arresting for that one!


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