Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Rough Men

Much unrest afoot and abroad; the Chinese curse has been realised and we live in interesting times indeed. The population votes for Brexit and is decried as uncivilised, racist, ignorant and in a spectacular inversion of the definition, unpatriotic. (Support for an independent nation state is now the opposite of patriotism, apparently) Meanwhile, over in Italy, the EU demonstrates – yet again – that this institution is the antitheses of democracy, while simultaneously rewriting the general understanding of democracy to fit their actions. There is a pattern.

Here is another pattern. In the movie A Few Good Men, Colonel Jessop says, “I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it.” This is but a variation of a sentiment often, if erroneously, attributed to Churchill, that "We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would harm us." And linked to this is the idea that you are only free to express dissent because people of whom you may disapprove have fought and continue to fight for that right.

I confess, I have never taken to the streets in protest. I have had no need. I have often argued that there is no ‘far right’ to worry about, as the bedwetters of the huddled leftist masses imagine because those they fear wish them no harm; we generally pay them no heed at all. But let me explain: Left and right originally was used to describe the sides in the French revolution; commoners on the left, aristocrats on the right. Now the aristos are few, but the peasants have formed two broadly distinct classes – ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ – and a whole class war has evolved around it.

The nominal rich have no need of association; they wield power and influence commensurate with the depth of their pockets and willingness to intervene. Often, despite all the propaganda to the contrary, the well-off have deep social consciences and are a far greater force for good than the rabble rousers of the ‘lower orders’ will admit. (See how easily the language of class conflict floats to the surface.) So it is to we lower orders that the real duties of society fall. On the one side are those of us who work hard, earn well and pay taxes so that the rest may supplement their perceived penury. For which playing the game we are called ‘right wing’; we shrug and shoulder our burden.

On the other side are the aggrieved, the disenchanted who feel the world has not bestowed its riches upon them, the disenfranchised who feel their voice is unheard and unheeded. The young, the ignorant, the unlucky and sometimes – let’s not be coy – the plain idle, who, no matter the real reasons for their lack of the success they feel is theirs by right, are easily persuaded by meddlesome minds that they have been wronged. This is the flock, the constituency, of the left and everybody who disapproves of their cajoling and bullying ways is labelled ‘far right’ and dismissed as bigots.

The fictional hero James Bond is a killer, a cold-blooded killer at that, but he’s okay; he’s cool, even. The much-admired SAS has a high proportion of actual psychopaths in its ranks, but you are happy for them to mete out summary justice, especially when you don’t have to witness it, or when you can dress it up in glory. But Tommy Robinson? He may be the very definition of an ‘Inglourious Basterd[sic] but your world is a safer place with him in it. Call him ‘far right, call him a Nazi, call him a thug. But just realise that you are allowed to call him all this, allowed to openly despise him, precisely because people like him have stood up to be counted.

Some rough men, doing what they had to do...

And while you are busy spitting your righteous hatred in his direction, you may want to take a moment to consider that Anjem Choudary is being released. So while one rough man, who has practised vocal, often clumsy, but peaceful opposition, is placed in mortal danger by the state (and I don’t give a toss about the legal technicalities involved, I really don’t) the state (you and I) will spend millions to protect a man who is directly implicated in the brutal killing of Lee Rigby and others and who has effectively declared islamic war against all of us. Are you still sleeping safely in your beds?

1 comment:

  1. Bit of a nitpick, but Bond, as created by Ian Fleming, is not a cold blooded killer. Fleming was writing soon after the war and based on his experiences in the war. Bond is basically a soldier, who sees it as his patriotic duty to serve his country, in whatever way required. A widespread view in those days, for instance the training of the SOE. But he was not unaffected by killing. The Bond of the films is a totally different creature and much more shallow.