Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Snake Oil

One of the well-trodden paths of commercialism is to create demand, then fulfil it. Some things – fashion, new inventions, the latest model BMW, post-Christmas diets – have a market ready and willing to abandon the old and espouse the new. A good chunk of world trade relies entirely on the capricious and frivolous nature of the consumer. But ideas; ideas are often a bit harder to sell, so the vendor of ideology sometimes has to deploy more devious methods than just dangling the shiny trinkets in front of the slack-jawed customer.

To make your ideology more attractive you need to lay the groundwork and sow dissent where there are no genuine grievances, use statistics and surveys and polls to tell a story of the other you wish to counter; to create the impression of damage and then claim to be the cure. Remember when we were told we needed to open the floodgates to immigration because new, fresh blood was needed to do the work, pay the taxes and fund the retired? Now it turns out that older workers are having to retire later so they can continue to pay to support the burgeoning population of young, unemployed but breeding migrants.

Wait, you’ve learned that migration is not a solution but a problem? Shit, we need to counter that poisonous belief. Let me see; bigot, racist? No, that’s been done; people just laugh at you when you call them racist. It has to be bigger. I know, let’s resurrect the notion of ‘institutional racism’. Yeah, that’s it; it’s not you or me who are the problem it is all of us. A blast from the past; the McPherson report had to be returned twice before they managed to do what was intended and come up with the phrase and since then the police have morphed from a bold force into a timid service. 

That’s the ticket then; just like fashion, notions come and go so this season we can say that institutional racism is the new black... as it were. Be ashamed, white people, but here’s how you atone: Look into my eyes... now open those immigration doors wide, like a good boy. Are you seeing a pattern yet? Twitter’s latest predictable clampdown on free expression used the fabricated notion of ‘far right’ extremism to exclude those warning of muslim extremism. And the EU is regularly sold as the solution to the strife cause by the EU itself.

Before you can sell an ideology you have to buy into it; only once you have made your own plunge into darkness will you try and sell that darkness as light to everybody else. Thus the hefty spectre of Emily Thornberry – in her mind the reasonable voice of unity  - trying to convince everybody else that Momentum, the thuggish arm of leftism with their purges, their oaths of allegiance, their takeover of the Labour Party, is the beating and honourable heart of the movement. The deniers of democracy are touted as the embodiment of democracy.

Still working...

And of course, the whole Brexit debacle. David Cameron misjudged the mood when he offered us a referendum he never considered he could lose. He employed all his PR guile into preparing the ground; he spent £millions on pre-campaign propaganda designed to convince us that darkness was light. Now, they are trying to sell the unwanted outcome as divisive and dangerous, cancerous and evil. Have they learned nothing? We bought the other product and now we – like all humans do – will continue to justify that decision until something demonstrably better is offered. It is far too late for fake polls, dodgy surveys and false claims. Telling us we got it wrong is just rubbing us up the wrong way and EU threats will only harden that resolve. To sell us this snake oil, you’re going to have to come up with a whole new problem to pretend it can solve.


  1. Batsby, you just get better and better as a voice for reason and intellectually fuelled common sense. Keep up this excellent work. My only sadness is you do not have a far larger, National platform of followers.