For every post-war generation, there has been an overriding political issue that forms a narrative. In the 1960s, this was clearly the issue of race. In the 1980s and 90s, it was Capitalism.
For my generation, it seems that, as in our music, television, fashion and film, a cheap knock off of 60s politics will do. Anti-racism is a hand-me-down cause that we tackle with characteristic half-heartedness. Our chosen medium, facebook, adds a certain narcissism to the mix. We snidely chide the older generation for being out-of-touch, from the safety of our digital devices.
This generation has not found its own political voice. Instead, we are merely hiding in the shadow of our parents’ generation, which dictates the causes we may fight for. Race, gender and class (also known as Identity Politics) were the defining political causes for that generation. They are very proud of that, and never miss an opportunity to let the world know it. Perhaps this is why we are so eager to “fight” racism on Facebook and Twitter. Perhaps it makes us feel like 60s radicals or something. We want a piece of that righteous pie for ourselves. A riot of our own.
Unfortunately, when we rail against bigotry and prejudice, our fight has the whiff of prejudice itself. “Sad, scared old men” proclaimed the man who attacked Nigel Farage with an egg. “I’m voting UKIP because I’m uneducated, uncultured, white and old ” says a Twitter user, in a moment of biting satire. Presumably, prejudice against the old is excusable now, especially if they are white and male. Any time a story about racism gets into the media, some see it as an opportunity to self-promote which, however you look at it, seems a deeply inappropriate response to these difficult issues. Are we so wrapped up in ourselves that we don’t notice how bigoted we are being? Anti-racism, for the facebook generation, becomes merely another way to grab attention. This type of self-important sneering doesn’t help anyone.
Worse than this, all of the yelling about racism drowns out other issues that are just as important. There’s no doubt that racism is a repellent ideology, but let’s get some perspective. We have almost lost our democracy and are rapidly losing our liberty as well. This is what happens when you leave a democracy alone – it rots away. There is an urgent need to address these issues, and young people should be at the forefront of the debate. Doesn’t the issue of how our country is governed trump the story of some celebrity muttering an offensive nursery rhyme on TV clip that was never aired? Yet this topic was debated up and down the land by people for whom Identity Politics is the only politics, while the issue of the European Union goes relatively unheard.
The defining issue of this generation should not be Racism but the creeping Totalitarianism that has infected our society. It will be difficult for people to accept this, when Capitalism and Racism have been forefront in our minds for so long. But we must recognise it. If we don’t we will simply have been on the wrong side of history. Do you want to be part of the generation that complacently harped on about Jeremy Clarkson on facebook, while your civil liberties were being deliberately eroded? Are you happy that our three party system has effectively become a one-party state?
UKIP are now the only opposition to that one party state. By smugly dismissing them, you delude yourself that you are more privileged than you actually are. You have options. You are cosmopolitan. You are forward thinking. You are going places. Well, guess what? You’re not. None of us are. Not in this post-democratic society. Like many people, I wish there was a viable Left-wing alternative to UKIP. But there isn’t.
UKIP are the only (albeit slim) chance to get back some semblance of democracy. Yes, they are amateurish. Yes, they have picked up some crackpots along the way. But they are all we’ve got.
The times they are a-changin’ and this time, young people are not the agents of change but the conformists. What will it take for us to crawl out of our own rectums and figure out which way the wind is blowing? It’s no wonder that many of us practice this facebook anti-racism half-heartedly. How much better would it be if we found the cause that was truly ours?
With that in mind, let us turn to the most important issue facing our country today: Totalitarianism. And who better to explain it to us than former UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom? Though his views on race leave a lot to be desired, he nevertheless grasps this issue better than most. VG 28/6/14