The Stupid Party

Pathetic London

February 16, 2010

Pathetic London

“€œProgressive London Conference”€: the phrase is simultaneously gruesome and narcoleptic. It hints at almost illimitable tedium, wishful thinking, a tincture of vitriol and much more than a soupcon of sanctimony.

It carries bland and bathetic connotations”€”like a recurring nightmare of rainy Friday afternoons in school combined with Sunday School lessons as excruciating as they are esoteric.

It conjures up visions of a hot and airless room (perhaps in a 1960s building) over-filled with blank-eyed or frankly dozing “€œdelegates”€, slide shows full of meaningless statistics and spelling mistakes, adenoidal or heavily-accented voices reading from looooong papers cut and pasted from sociology books and Wikipedia, puerile and poorly-delivered perorations, fake bonhomie and over-affirmatory applause.

There are desks at the back strewn with plates smeared with the remnants of vegetarian and halal food, in amongst mountain ranges of NGO handouts, barely-literate trade union bulletins, Labour News, Liberal Democrat and Green Party “€˜literature”€™, the Independent, Guardian, and Mirror “€˜newspapers”€™, and beautifully produced “€˜academic”€™ texts dripping with clichés and non-sequiturs. Beyond this superficially sane material comes heavy-duty lunacy”€” Socialist Worker, secularist newsletters, deep ecology screeds, Muslim manifestos, Christian Socialist journals, Respect Party forms, Sinn Féin’s An Phobhlacht, Gay News, Black Student Union literature, Tribune, Gay Scottish Socialist, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!……and so interminably on in a beyond-satire stream of indignation-heavy, information-lite agitprop.

There are government ministers (!) in that madcap room, and MEPs, and even His Excellency the Venezuelan Ambassador, moving amongst the multiracial, multicultural, multilingual, multisexual melée, pretending they are best friends with London’s most egregious monomaniacs and all the capital’s “€œcommunity activists”€”€”the kind of people who lean too close when they talk at you, and wear plastic shoes, and £99 suits with black shirts and white ties.

I snap awake with a shiver”€”but this is (or was) a real conference, which took place in London on 30th January, under the auspices of former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, and addressed by no less a personage than Harriet Harman (AKA Mrs Jack Dromey), the shrewish earl’s niece who is Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the House of Commons”€”and Ed Miliband, the piscine Energy Secretary and younger brother of Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

The protagonists were all too real too, with their proudly-borne titles, which when run together make a kind of anti-poetry of amiable or not-so-amiable eccentricity (plus a few items of furniture):

   —Director, Jewish Council for Racial Equality
   —Vice President, Pax Christi
   —Spokesperson, British Muslim Initiative
   —Chair, Stop the War Coalition
   —National Secretary, Anti-Academies Alliance
   —GMB National Equalities Officer
   —Chair, Compass Youth
   —Former adviser to the Mayor of London on women’s issues
   —Director, Boris Keep Your Promise
   —Chair, Defend Council Housing
   —Founder, Campaign for Clean Air in London
   —Director, 10:10
   —Chair, Palestine Solidarity Campaign
   —Organiser, Hope and Remembrance Vigil Trafalgar Square 2009
   —Chair, Imaan”€“Muslim LGBT support group

Then there are some who need no title, because their organizations”€™ names proclaim their purpose and outrage to a sadly indifferent world. There is the delightful double-entendre “€œUpRise”€, whose founder clearly does not watch Carry On films. There is “€œLove Music, Hate Racism”€ (as though these unrelated activities were inextricably conjoined”€”like, say, Eat Sausages, Treat Eczema). There is “€œLiberal Conspiracy”€, which has a proudly defensive ring, as if the group’s Sunny Hundal was endangering his life or liberty in the cause of greater liberalism. There are representatives of, Socialist Unity, and the Abortion Rights Executive. And to add a frisson of edgy excitement to the proceedings, there is one Azad Ali, Community Affairs Co-ordinator, Islamic Forum Europe”€”who when he isn”€™t too busy with this worthwhile job moonlights as a civil servant. The racist authorities suspended him from this job last year for blogging that Osama bin Laden’s favorite theologian, Abdullah Azzam, was “€œone of the few Muslims who promote the understanding of the term jihad in its comprehensive glory”€ as a doctrine “€œof self-purification”€ and “€œwarfare”€. He went on to cite approvingly Azzam’s son’s considered view that, “€œIf I saw a British man wearing a soldier’s uniform inside Iraq, I would kill him because that is my obligation.”€

“€Pity, oh pity the ultra-Left—because this Kafkaesque gabfest is their idea of fun. But pity the rest of us much, much more—because these are the ludicrous people who govern British life.

He has now been reinstated in his job, so sadly has less time to impart his intelligent opinions to the world”€”which means he must have been doubly delighted to be asked to share a platform with Mrs. Dromey and a roll-call of Britain’s leading feminists and homosexual activists”€”of whose lifestyle choices he no doubt approves wholeheartedly.

The themes, too, were a delight for connoisseurs, including as they did “€œOne Society, Many Cultures”€, “€œThere is no Progressive Imperialism”€, “€œCapitalwoman”€(no relation to Wonderwoman), “€œGaza—1 Year On”€, and “€œProud London—Stopping Homophobic Hate Crime”€.

There was an unfortunate occurrence when a man was ejected for asking the Sinn Féin speaker whether party leader Gerry Adams would be arrested for being an accessory to child abuse (Adams”€™ brother is facing pædophilia charges in Ireland). This goes to prove the terrible dangers and disabilities under which radical and controversial activists are forced to operate under the present New Labour fascist regime.

The good news is that those who were unable to attend this notable event can read reports online. When they have savored the accumulated wisdom, a veritable goldmine awaits them on the Links page, where they can click on the link for the London Socialist Film Co-op. This is unfortunately the only listing under the “€œCulture”€ heading, despite the conference’s “€œOne Country, Many Cultures”€ theme, but then who could be disappointed by celluloid classics like Memories of Underdevelopment and Only a Bookseller?

Pity, oh pity the ultra-Left—not only because they know not what they do, but because this Kafkaesque gabfest is their idea of fun. But pity the rest of us much, much more—because amazing though it may sound these are the ludicrous people, and this the agenda, which govern British life.

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