Culture wars 

Keir Starmer’s magical thinking

We have now been treated to the absurd spectacle of the Labour party leader, Sir Keir Starmer, trying to wriggle out of supporting Black Lives Matter.

Astonishingly, he and his deputy, Angela Rayner, were pictured “taking the knee” in support of the BLM demonstrators, regardless of the fact that their protests had given rise to violence against the police and attacks on the statues of historical figures in an attempt to erase Britain’s history and cultural identity.

Tweeting this picture, Starmer wrote: “We kneel with all those opposing anti-black racism”. Well, we should surely all oppose racism whoever its target may be. What Starmer ignored was that some of those “opposing anti-black racism”, if not the majority, were guilty of anti-white racism since they were slandering an entire society by claiming it was “institutionally racist” and guilty of “white privilege”.

So to see the Labour party leader, a potential prime minister of the United Kingdom, actually kneeling in submission to this racist and anti-western ideology was simply sickening.

Yet now that even some broadcasters, sporting figures and others are starting to acknowledge BLM’s anti-capitalist, anti-white and anti-Jewish agenda and are rowing back from supporting it, Starmer has tried to duck any such ordure that might be coming his way by the extraordinary tactic of suggesting that BLM is somehow totally separate from the cause it leads.

He told BBC Breakfast yesterday: “The Black Lives Matter movement, or moment if you like, is about reflecting something completely different – what happened in America, dreadfully, just a few weeks ago”.

See that? A movement has become a “moment”. Have the last three weeks been a “moment”, do you think? Were the toppling of all those statues, all the rioting and arson and looting and attacks in America and Britain, the tactics of the BLM movement, nothing to do with this “moment” that caused Starmer to sink to one knee? He went on:

“It is a shame it is getting tangled up with these organisational issues, with the organisation Black Lives Matter, but I would never have any truck with what the organisation is saying about defunding the police or anything else. That’s just nonsense”.

So this “moment” had most unfortunately somehow got “tangled up” with this suddenly dreadful BLM “organisation” which was anti-police (who knew??) and which had clearly come out of nowhere, by some totally unforeseeable coincidence, to organise the toppling and the vandalism and the violence.

Starmer’s intellectual legerdemain is so patently risible that you wonder how he can produce it with a straight face. The assumption is that he is being cynical and slippery. After all, how could this former Director of Public Prosecutions possibly have been so ill-informed that he wasn’t aware of the BLM agenda of de-funding the police and destroying capitalism and western society?

But actually, I think something much worse is going on here. For time and again, you find that many people on the left genuinely just don’t see or hear factual evidence that totally undermines their moral or political position. Even when you present it to them with chapter and verse their eyes glaze over, they look away and they change the subject. Or else they may resolutely deny the overwhelming logic of position A in order to argue that it can combine with its diametric opposite, position B, and still remain position A.

I had some small personal experience of this magical thinking with Starmer himself. This was at a fairly early stage in the three-year Brexit crisis, during which Remainers in parliament tried every trick in the book to reverse the referendum result without being seen to do so.

We were both on a BBC TV show where he argued that his proposed solution to the impasse, which involved keeping the UK linked to the EU in some way or other, was “soft Brexit” and preferable to what he called “hard Brexit”. I was astounded by this, since it seemed to me that his “soft Brexit” was patently a form of Remain by stealth; and what he called a totally unacceptable “hard Brexit” was in fact… just Brexit, and in fact the only form of Brexit.

He wouldn’t have it. He maintained his “soft Brexit” position and seemed affronted by my argument. And it suddenly dawned on me that he genuinely thought his proposal for continued linkage to the EU was indeed a form of Brexit. He had found a way of avoiding the hard and politically dangerous choice between Remain and Brexit by convincing himself that you could have a form of Remain that was Brexit.

I think we see a similar form of denial on the left over their support for the Palestinians. Having alighted on this cause as the signature motif of progressive conscience, they will not, cannot acknowledge that it is in fact an agenda of exterminating Israel based on profound, religious-based hatred of the Jewish people. Consequently, they just don’t see or hear the voluminous evidence of the demented, Nazi-style antisemitism that pours out of the so-called “moderate” Palestinian Authority in its educational materials or TV broadcasts; they don’t register at all the history of the region and the fact that the Jews are the only people with a legal, historical or moral right to the land; and they shut their minds to the evidence that the only people who have refused a Palestinian state over the past ninety years are the Palestinian Arabs themselves.

The point is that all these facts about these and other issues, all the evidence that is plain for all to see, all the inescapable logic of a situation, all of this is simply invisible to the dogmatic leftists who are so prevalent today. And that’s largely because of their great, overpowering fear that if they admit any of it, if they allow reality to chip away at any of their beliefs, their entire moral and political personality will be smashed to bits and they will become… right-wing.

No greater horror can there be. And so the the whole fantastic edifice of destructive, often vicious and sometimes murderous fantasies grows ever larger and more monstrous – while sad-eyed realists and truth-tellers are defamed, harassed, censored and fired, and the statues of a civilisation crash to the ground.

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