Confessions of a non-violent radical

Why should peaceful radicalism need to attract violent repression?

If you ever wonder what happened to Nick Clegg, then I can tell you that between naps today, he has been rude about a footballer who plays for Sheffield United, and moaned on LBC Radio that the Conservative Party has “torn up the Manifesto promise” to devote 0.7% of the gdp to foreign aid. That’s it.

Even in the most easy-going of worlds, it would be hard to call Cleggie’s daily schedule punishing, or what he has to say remotely interesting. One could argue that Ed Miliband works far harder (and he does) but is equally unconvincing….thus Slick Nick is more efficient. However, all things are relative: Miliband and Clegg are simply totally and largely pointless respectively.

Before new readers dismiss this as fatsmugtory writing in the style of Toby Young or Daniel Hannan, let me make it clear that I find the Labour and Libdem leaders guilty of failing in two key areas: first, convincing us of their ability to get rid of Camerlot and all her Knights of the Top Table; and second, having credible policies to reform a Britain that has progressed doggedly onwards from financial to ethical bankruptcy. To return to my broken record, the United Kingdom lacks a real Opposition, and the sort of brave leadership with real, fresh ideas that can inspire a populace sick to death of accepting economic sufficiency, social sociopathy. and political mendacity.

If there are three things I want less than Miliband or Clegg as Prime Minister, it’s Avid Cameldung, Faisal Naraj or Doris Jobsdone as Prime Minister. Now you can point the finger, dismissing me as a picky curmudgeon: but that would be rather like forcing Man U supporters to choose between Long John Silver, Eric Pickles or the third pigeon from the left as the man Van Gaal should go after as United’s next big striker.

All this is merely another aspect of what makes this NVE nonsense the most brazen excuse for emergency powers since the luckless Communist Van der Lubbe was conveniently found running round the Reichstag with his hair on fire in 1934.

Observe: I merely want the right at the next election to vote for someone I believe…or, failing that, to write ‘none of the above’ on my voting slip. But in so doing, the Camerlot Coalition will brand me (a) an ungrateful swine for not using that vote for which our forefathers fought tooth and nail; and (b) a non-violent extremist because looook roit, we given you five choices an’ you don’t like any of them you truculent old git.

Even were I to write something of searing wit on the ballot paper, it would go down in the statistics as ‘spoiled paper’. Ah…ok, so it woz me wot spoiled the paper was it? It’s my fault that the choices open to me are a Party founded before the French Revolution, a Party representing a working class that doesn’t exist, a breakaway from that Party, a Party that wants me to recycle my farts, and a sparkly new Party that wants more City spivs, more bar-bores in golf clubs, and a more Right-wing Tory Party? Just so long as I know.

I’m reminded of that great scene in The Blood Donor where Tony Hancock is handed a list of diseases by nurse June Whitfield, and asked if he’s ever had any of them.

“No,” says an affronted Hancock, “And especially not that one“. Too self-absorbed to realise that he is giving blood to another potentially frail human being, Tony insists that his right to unlicensed privacy is sacrosanct.

It’s the same with Parties at Westminster. But where, pray, is the Mutual Capitalist Party? The Community Entrepreneurs’ Party? The Feed our Nation Party? The Vapourise Fractional Reserve Banking Party?

If the chaps at the top currently sitting on us think such a notion extreme pipe-dreamism, perhaps they’d like to tell me what’s balanced about the growing inequalities of wealth in Britain and the US. For example, although the abject poverty of ancien regime France was truly obscene – fully 10% of the population needed charity to avoid starvation – wealth distribution in the United States is now as skewed as it was in ancien regime France, according to Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

And that sort of extremism is anything but non-violent: look at the way US police forces are stocking up on anti-riot gear, and our fine London Mayor Borisconi the Barbarian is long in water cannon, short on City regulation.

In my youth, we had lots of minority nutters with obviously dangerous ideas – typified by the Moscow-admiring Trade Union shop steward Fred Kite, unforgettably created by the flawed genius Peter Sellers in the Boulting Brothers classic I’m alright Jack. But let’s not forget that the Boultings were also keen to show what lying spivs British management were at the time. You see, they had a positive, balanced and constructive vision of how things could be better than just Left, Right, Left, Right all the time. These same two vested-interest tendencies are in charge nearly sixty years later. Now that’s what I call extreme.

I suppose the point I’m making is that I find myself faced with the violent extremism of cronyists, corrupt liars, increasingly politicised cops, disgraceful perversion of justice and profoundly nasty people in all corners of the British Establishment. The response of these reptiles is to call me a non-violent extremist, and threaten me with violent repression.

I am most emphatically a non-violent radical. That does not now – and never will – make me an extremist. The really terrifying thing is that, had I constructed such a counter-argument to fascism when at University, it would’ve been dismissed as superficial Marxist fantasy of zero applicability to mature British liberty.

Whereas now, it’s Orwell v Brecht….and the referee is Goering. I’m not that hopeful of a fair fight.

Earlier at The Slog: Juncker, Brooks, Morgan & Partners face liquidation – tears all round