Covid-19 has buried ‘kinder politics’ once and for all
The cranks on the British left will not come out of the crisis well.
The left once promised the country a kinder politics, based on humanity, care and compassion.
Instead, over the past few years, the Labour Party has joined the British National Party as the second party ever to be investigated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission for racism. Jewish MPs have left the party over anti-Semitism concerns – including Dame Louise Ellman, who was a party member for 55 years and an MP for 22 years.
Labour members responded to last year’s General Election defeat with acrimony. After the party’s disastrous fudging of Brexit, many of its traditional working-class voters who lent their vote to the Conservatives have been dismissed as ‘traitors’. Non-white Conservatives have been branded ‘turncoats of colour’. Home secretary Priti Patel has been accused of having ‘internalised whiteness’ and a ‘Raj Complex’. The reality is a world apart from the kindness, tolerance and inclusivity which was promised.
Some of the left’s responses to the Covid-19 pandemic have laid bare this shameless hypocrisy. When news emerged that prime minister Boris Johnson had tested positive for Covid-19, crank social-media leftists, predictably, responded with delight. Similarly, media commentators such as Ash Sarkar of Novara Media and Remain cheerleader Femi Oluwole took to Twitter to express their glee at the fact that the PM’s adviser, Dominic Cummings, had also caught the virus. To take pleasure in someone contracting a potentially deadly virus, because he or she holds different political beliefs, is a disturbing way to approach politics. But it is hardly surprising for the contemporary British left.
Many had persuaded themselves that Johnson’s government had no interest in protecting the sick and the vulnerable, despite the extraordinary measures that have now been put in place. The hashtag #BorisTheButcher trended on Twitter. Apparently some even believed that Boris was encouraging the vulnerable to die.
But while conspiracy theories about the UK government’s handling of coronavirus have run amok, criticism of the authoritarian regime in China has been much more muted. Much of the left has sought to downplay China’s potentially devastating mishandling of the crisis.
Even Blairite globalists like David Miliband have made excuses for China’s attempts to cover-up the Covid-19 outbreak. Miliband tweeted that the West has been equally engaged in ‘denialism’ while sharing an article which blames Trump’s turn against China for the US underestimating the impact of the virus. This version of events minimises Beijing’s conduct. China has ordered the destruction of incriminating evidence, has silenced medical professionals who warned the authorities of the new coronavirus, and has used the World Health Organisation as an instrument to push out its Covid-19 propaganda.
The British left finds itself in a sorry state. Its worst elements have been reduced to wishing disease on the British PM and are spreading wild conspiracies. This bizarre response to the pandemic has confirmed what many of us have known for some time – the contemporary left has descended into a farcical state of total irrelevance.
Dr Rakib Ehsan is a research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society. Follow him on Twitter: @rakibehsan.
Picture by: Getty.