So given the events of the last month, it's probably worth noting a jarring difference in the way that we deal with notional problems, and how we deal with actual real problems.
August is the silly season for press coverage and I think it certainly lived up to the billing, given it's mostly consisted of a rampant Jeremy Corbynzilla smashing through buildings and pissing radioactive whizz onto the nation's cornflakes.
To reiterate: there's been a lot of focus on Jeremy Corbyn's long history of speaking to very unsavoury characters. I think the debate about that is fine, generally - there's lots of room to criticise and ask
questions of Corbyn for the various headbangers that he's hung about
with in the past.
Most of his previous behaviour, I'm willing to put down to the old desire to
speak at the opening of a can of lager tendency - basically, being happy
to speak anywhere they'll have you - but that's not really a very good
excuse. Who knows, maybe Corbyn wants Hamas to run inner-city schools? I have no idea, but I suspect not.
Still, it's fine to do the whole "Oh, we're not saying he's a
racist, but questions must be asked" routine, to a certain extent.
is very notable though that while we've now had three weeks-worth of
"asking questions" about Jeremy Corbyn's supposed insensitivity to racism, often in the most spectacularly overblown terms, the
current government's policies on asylum and immigration are literally
contributing to thousands of needless deaths.
That's to say,
the government's deliberate decision to cut rescue operations in the Med
is actually helping to immiserate and/or kill large numbers of men,
women and children right now and in large part, this is the direct consequence of
the dominant racist and spiteful bile in Parliament and the press over a
period of around twenty years. This is the product of years-worth of angry Question Time debates and Daily Mail front pages and office rammies.
Meanwhile, the actual,
real-world effect of Corbyn's supposed racism-tolerance is that some
racist nutters - people who were mainly racist nutters before the Labour
election and will continue to be so afterwards - have sent some foul
tweets to Hugo Rifkind and Stephen Pollard.
Let me point out
here that while both of these situations are terrible, one is
considerably more costly in terms of human lives, and that the general hatred of immigrants has grown with the complicity of
mainstream politicians, commentators and members of the public in
exactly the way that the anti-Corbyn camp claim to be very alarmed
Again, people absolutely shouldn't send racist tweets to
journalists, or harbour racist conspiracy theories, or just generally be horrible racist shits. Fuck those people, I
say, get 'em into the dock and let them face justice for their crimes.
it's really, really obvious that as a nation, we've spent most of the
month freaking out like idiots about the supposedly terrifying racism of a man that
even his accusers don't claim is racist, while an actual humanitarian catastrophe has emerged directly out of the very mainstream of British politics.
And that reflects quite badly upon us all.