Sunday, March 20, 2005

James Hamilton

Ok, so he's a trick-cyclist (the old British Army slang for a psychiatrist), a profession I've always regarded as fundamentally useless (otherwise why is the amount of mental illness proportional to the number of therapists and amount of therapy ? Or are they both symptoms ?).

But he's posting some great stuff at the moment. Try this post, in which he addresses some of the issues that were bothering Paul Anderson at Gauche a week or two back - most of which boil down to 'what's happened to the Left ?'

Hamilton takes as his theme this US piece by Lillian Rubin. It's highly relevant to the UK, and will become more so. Sample quote :

Back then there was a saying that "A conservative is a liberal who got mugged on his way to the subway." When I first heard it, I was outraged by those flip words; now it seems to me that they weren't entirely wrong. So today I wonder if a conservative isn't a working-class guy who heard the "liberal elite" (as the right has effectively labeled us) tell him he had nothing to fear when experience told him otherwise-not just on crime but on a whole slew of issues that have turned the country into a cultural and political battlefield.

I think the piece, and James Hamilton's comments, are directly relevant to the questions asked by Paul Anderson. My view is simple - that somewhere at the height of Thatcherite hegemony the middle class UK left jettisoned, with a sigh of relief, the white working class, put a couple of five-skinners together and concentrated on the politics of race, gender and sexuality. The process continues.

As racial and identity politics became increasingly strident, we were right on economic issues but tone deaf to the cultural and emotional sources of white working-class fear and anger. They objected to what they saw as minority privilege, and we called them racist.

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