Back in the 1970s when I was growing up, there were a great many thuggish footballers whose main contribution to their team was to physically intimidate the skilful players on the opposing side. While never able to play themselves, they were able to stop others from playing the game. This was known as “playing the man not the ball.”
I’m reminded of this because it appears to have become common currency in what passes for political debate in the 21st century. If you can label your opponent as “sexist” or “racist” or “Islamophobic” then, according to some folks, you win the argument by default. This tactic has been around for a long time as is known as argumentum ad hominem and is very popular with those who can’t bear to have their views challenged.
The current favourite of the BBC and its allies is “far right.” The BBC (a ludicrously self-important, corrupt and incompetent organisation funded by a poll tax) has form with saddling people with labels; I particularly remember the hardline Stalinists in the Soviet Communist Party who tried to overthrow Mikhail Gorbachev in August 1991 being mischievously referred to as “conservatives” by the BBC. Bizarre.
So the BBC is extremely fond of calling people “far right” and by using this label, they are encouraging the public to dismiss people or organisations without listening to what they are actually saying. As someone who believes in the primacy of economics in politics – “It’s the economy, stupid” – I find the current use of this label to describe politicians and political parties with very different economic policies very odd. The BBC and their allies can therefore dismiss the French National Front and its dirigist economic policies and the Farage-Carswell wing of UKIP with their mad Gladstonian, free trade liberalism with the same label. The object of “far right” is not to describe but to demonise; the term is a cudgel designed to limit free speech.
The BBC is at the forefront of using words to silence debate. They are also deeply dishonest in the way they use this term – the French National Front, UKIP and various others groups disapproved of in Jimmy Savile House are routinely described as “far right” but favoured groups never are. If racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia are “far right” then ISIS are the most “far right” group in the world today. Indeed, like UKIP, any misogynistic cleric spouting his Salafi-Wahhabi nonsense must always be referred to as “far right.”
In any sane world, Ayaan Hirsi Ali would be a feminist heroine. This is a person who endured genital mutilation, escaped a brutally patriarchal society and has made a name for herself defying self-styled “clerics”; she was an MP in Holland and is an internationally best selling author. But because she has been labelled an “Islamophobe” Ali is considered beyond the pale; the disgusting anti-Semite Linda Sarsour even tweeted that she wanted to take her vagina away!
I defend no racist, sexist or homophobe, I merely ask for balance. If Marine Le Pen and Nigel Farage are “far right” so are ISIS and the “clerics” who support them in the West.