That’s how a recent article in millionaire white male Dacre’s Daily Mail reported the row over Farage calling for anti-discrimination acts to be scrapped. Anti-discrimination laws are elitist, after all, and protect the powerful.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Clarkson’s suspension from the BBC sparked the age old accusation that the BBC is full of pinko-communist liberal intelligentsia intent on a repressive PC agenda. A PC agenda that threatens old rich white men from contributing their racism to a national discourse created and chosen by rich white men, like Dacre, like Farage. A PC agenda, in whatever form it actually exists, that has only been legislated into existence because of white male MPs.
Both Farage and Clarkson portray themselves as mavericks, foxes to the liberal hens, outside ‘the establishment’, some sort of gated community where liberal intelligentsia live in a state of nature, refusing to come out to speak to working people who like to talk about motoring and/or how much they’re getting screwed over by their Romanian neighbours, repressed to say anything because the gated community is threatening to impose on them bans on the right to be racist. Or something. To these daring folk, ‘the establishment’ can be summarised as the socially liberal metropolitan elite, telling white working class people that are clearly all homogenously in possession of racial anxiety (no working class ethnic minorities, or women –probably- exist in this world).
But in reality, there are two consensuses that established British political culture has absorbed, two conceptions of ‘the establishment’. But only one could conceivably be ‘elitist’.
The first is the social liberalism borne firstly out of Wilson’s reforms but modernised under Blair’s cool Britannia that Farage and Clarkson, the two rich white men, are so oppressed by. It is the same liberalism that suggested maybe the ‘N’ word isn’t okay and poor widdle employers shouldn’t be allowed to discriminate by pigmentation or vaginas. The second is the economic liberalism borne of Thatcher that favours Farage and Clarkson as rich white men. And you see, the latter, to continue and preserve itself, ricochets off the former. In order to not give concessions to the losers of economic liberalism and globalisation –by, say, having to build social housing or retain the integrity of the welfare state- the economic elite and the powerful people they are trying to protect redirect anger to the socially liberal ‘elite’ and the vulnerable people they are trying to protect. They overlap occasionally, of course, but the latter concessions to the vulnerable have only came about as the result of centuries of grassroots activity from women and minorities, lobbying their rich white male representatives who sometimes feel generous.
But let’s not talk about wealth inequality that saw a sharp incline when the top rate of tax was slashed under Thatcher, let’s instead normalise the scapegoating of The Immigrant as a caricature. The establishment, this ‘arrogant political elite’ to which RICHARD LITTLETON belongs as a wealthy white male journalist, relies on attacking immigrants and other vulnerable people, and the arrogance of white men in Parliament who one day decided to wear a bit of empathy on their sleeves.
The true Establishment is the very concept of rallying against the PC brigade that remains the only defence of those outside the elite; minorities, women, the LGBT community, public sector workers -who Clarkson would prefer to be shot, and should be allowed to say that because how DARE the elite not let him retain the right to contribute to the demonization of trade unionism and the right to assemble.
The true Establishment is the neoliberalism wherein Clarkson as an employee of a white male dominated corporation has accumulated wealth or Farage as a former stockbroker has managed to cross the revolving door from finance to politics.
And of course, the media is integral to this. The former –social liberalism- can be held very much to account and reinforced as a ‘bad idea’ in the national consciousness by the media monopoly whereupon 70% of the press is Tory affiliated and all is owned by rich white men. They can decry that the PC agenda stops them talking about such not-talked about issues as immigration and race, crying out in headlines read by and influencing millions, even sometimes elections, about their ‘silencing’. “At Last!”, the Mail recently bellowed, “A Man who dares to tell the truth about race”. Their right to be racist and to normalise racism is being threatened, probably by Red Ed. Politicians like Red Ed and ‘compassionate conservative’ Dave never talk about immigration –or say, put ‘Go Home’ on the side of vans in an attempt to neutralise a party that has capitalised on enunciating immigration as the number one issue of the 2015 election. I’m being sarcastic.
On the other hand, neoliberalism is a shady, alleyway deal. Even when the tax avoidance of HSBC was made evident to The Telegraph, they refused to report on it. Instead of its allies in the press, the Mails and the Suns and the Expresses, talking about how their largely working class readership has been monumentally screwed by welfare reforms while the rich are given equally monumental tax cuts, or honestly reporting on the sentiment that 70% of the public favour rail nationalisation or a similar amount endorse the mansion tax, they instead skip to the immigrants claiming benefits living in mansions with 300 children. They also don’t speak English and have the cheek to regularly use the NHS. An NHS that should really be privatised by the way. This is the real enemy Clarkson must be able to speak out about. His plentiful platforms to speak out about this utterly voiceless immigrant must be preserved. And they are, by self-preservation. They have successfully manufactured the cyclical situation where you can say and do whatever you wish to beat down the vulnerable and no-one will challenge them for fear of being accused of ‘political correctness’. Ingenious, ironic, snigger-inducing.
The past few weeks have showed this to be the most ingenious method of preservation and protest at even the slightest potential change in political history, with the ultimate achievement: the establishment redefining itself to be anti-establishment.
The rich white man as a rebel against the omnipotent, working class, gay, communist, Muslim woman who’s had it too good for too long. Her voice is always heard, never challenged.
Except of course in government, and the media, and finance, and the BBC, and pretty much every social institution in the country.