From lockdowns, Brexit, tax hikes, energy crises and so on, left wing folk are used to regularly facing denigration and abuse by right wing figures and voters. Constantly denigrated and lazily insulted with buzzwords like SJW or woke, we put forward policies that help huge chunks of the population and reverse the damage caused by extremist right wing political parties- but when do we face the simple fact that the right cannot clean up their own messes, and need to start facing accountability for their own shortcomings?
If i had a pound for every time I’d been called some sort of invective by a right wing person- either face to face or online – I’d have enough to make decent inroads into any national debt. Sheep, remoaner, beard (that’s TERF specific)- the list goes on and is extensive. It always makes me laugh – it comes with a grain of frustration – sorry for wearing a mask so you don’t get COVID off me, apologies for thinking we’re stronger in the EU than out of it, please don’t hate me for thinking trans women don’t deserve a relentless hate campaign. It was even worse during the BLM protests- the amount of my fellow milk white people saying ACTUALLY YOU’RE RACIST because I went to BLM protests and spent a good 8 months reading accounts from people of colour to understand their perspectives in a way my ignorant little self hadn’t done before.
One thing that some of the more vocal racists who constantly denigrated me for weeks kept saying was something to the effect of “why should I feel bad for something I didn’t do”. An understandable perspective- wrong though. When it’s highlighted to you that people of colour suffer under a system you’re part of and you don’t work to change it you do contribute to it.
So let’s take that logic and apply it to a few situations which need to be spoken about.
Millions of the us faced the same situation- loneliness and isolation, and took it on the chin because we knew it was the right thing to do. I’d lost my mother two days before the first lockdown in the UK and spent months completely alone, avoiding any contact with any people near me. We all spent time completely away from others, because it was necessary. It wasn’t fun, it wasn’t nice. It was what we needed to do for the good of other people.
Mask mandates came in and even though we didn’t and don’t enjoy wearing them, we did it and do it because science quite simply shows you that if you are carrying an illness that’s expelled via airway, a mask will help. We accepted the things we had to do based on scientific evidence, which is why when the vaccines were rolled out, even if we knew there might be a risk – a tiny risk- that we could suffer health issues, we realised that the only way to seek normality was to take that tiny risk and have the vaccine. The more vaccinated and the less adverse reactions, the more secure I felt. Then came the “WAIT 2 YEARS TIL YOU’RE ALL DEAD!” – Literally every reputable scientist actually laughed at this claim. But all the time we were being vaccinated we had to walk against the tide of the griping fools who said it was an infringement on their liberties. That wearing masks was akin to a muzzle, that we were sheep.
Abuse for doing what we felt was personally and societally, the right thing to do.
Then came the football rioting. Those of us who actually cared about others sat at home watching scenes akin to the London riots- fighting in the streets, flares shoved up sweaty men’s arses, groups of ruffians breaking into a football stadium- and who was castigated? Oh the “reactionary left” who were enraged by the flouting of rules meant to keep us all safe- and yes, the football did in fact cause a massive surge in cases as predicted- but let’s all focus on how the left were angry about this and frustrated by the deluge of racism. Parliament convened to discuss it, only for the right of the room, the ones who are flippant about or endorse this abuse (see the recent report that states that those who suffer racist abuse are a necessary sacrifice in the pursuit of the rule of law…) to police the tone of women of colour who spoke up.
Then came the anti lockdown riots- just in time for lockdown to have ended the week before. These brave soldiers, out in public en masse in defiance of a lockdown that didn’t exist, potentially causing another mass infection to cause exactly what they were protesting about in the first place. If you don’t want lockdowns, don’t do what makes them necessary!
Further to that, those of us who were exhausted with it all and resolved to just get on with it were again insulted for still wearing masks, for being cautious- it seems like as we are trying to move on we’re still castigated- so who is really the one causing issues? The ones who are back at work in a mask or the ones gathered, sweaty faced and shouting, in the streets of London?
The anti everything crowd are the ones prolonging this heinous situation and those of us who have done the right thing and continue to do so face the abuse, but dare we speak up against those who won’t only to hear the tired epithets of “MY BODY MY CHOICE” (if your body can become the disseminator of a dangerous virus it’s NOT actually) or “SHEEP” or whatever else, suddenly we’re the ones causing the issue – I quite flippantly told someone a fortnight ago that I truly hope they don’t experience illness or death or lose someone they love for their decision which prompted them to tell me they were going to “find me and fucking kill me”. Hmm. I’ve spent 19 months sacrificing for your safety so frankly if you do face consequences for your selfishness, keep an eye out for me waving to you cheerfully.
Project fear, as it turns out, is actually “project we didn’t predict it would be quite this bad but here we are”.
I can understand people who were swept up in the hype sold by the media and the leave campaign – I didn’t agree with it but I understood the allure for those who felt Britain was chained down by the EU, rather than facing facts that industrial Britain, built on the pain of the enslaved or the proletariat, had had it’s day and we were becoming a mediocre power simply because that’s how the world progresses. As time went on and more and more experts- political, economic, societal, scientific, came out as against it we became more aware that brexit could have potentially disastrous implications for our standing as a nation and for our (ever important…) Economy.
Cue the people desperate for independence from the EU insulting us, calling us doomsayers, being anything from sarcastic to openly violent towards us. The amount of doors slammed in my face, threats of physical violence or insults for simply saying I think we would have been better in the EU is bordering on parody levels of ridiculous.
What it is that brexiteers feel like the EU took from us or held us back from, I don’t know but if the covert changes to legislation that protects workers in this country wasn’t enough evidence that we were making a mistake, if the brutal murder of my local MP by a far right brexiteer radical wasn’t enough, and if the current food shortages, the constant UK EU headbutting wasn’t enough, if the increasing bills wasn’t enough, if the vaccine disruption and accusations of selfishness, the lack of action on ventilation, the blatant disregard of foreign scientists, the lack of HGV Drivers and people to cover certain job roles- if all of this wasn’t enough, I have to wonder what would be the thing that makes brexiteers realise that we DID MAKE A MISTAKE.
I tried to find a tweet I saw last week to place here which was to the effect of “why don’t remainers understand that we don’t care if people lose their jobs, industries fold, if the country goes into recession as long as we get our brexit!”
To people who think like that I ask- what the fuck did you gain then? You’re tanking people’s lives and economy in the name of a sovereignty we always had! You talk about how the EU restricted this and that and now we’re free- we still need to trade with the EU, so all you’ve done is remove any say as a conglomerate piece of the union that we had. The freedom you gained is from the EU’s perspective as a united group of countries who have far more influence than we do- and talking about the queen, trade deals that don’t rival the flow of EU goods, or how we are a nation built of strong stuff doesn’t change the fact that people here are in a worse position because of a vote you made based off of what have been demonstrably proven to be lies.
And who suffers for this? Is it the people who voted out? No. We all do- and as a staunch remainer I don’t want anyone to suffer, but we all suffer because of the decision of just over half of us. So we work to continue on, to make the best of the situation as leavers demand- and yet we can’t point out our frustrations or we’re remoaning…
Let me ask you again as I have in another post- who is the patriot- the one who wants their country to face up to it’s mistakes, issues and shortcomings and overcoming them to lead us to a better future, or the one who thinks draping a union jack over the cracks in our culture and economy fixes the problem. And of course, we all suffer together but those “remoaning” are just voicing their issues with the shitty economic position we’ve been put in through the ignorance of those in charge and the spurious claims of a campaign run by a man who has money to spare and access to a European passport should he wish. I know leavers don’t like to be told this but you were led down the garden path by a group of people who can escape any suffering through wealth and they’ll leave you to misery without batting an eye. But enjoy your tarnished sovereignty.
If one more person tells me “BUT IF LABOUR WAS IN”…
Every time someone has said this to me, it’s been about things that are literally happening now.
Empty shelves? Corbyn would have made us have empty shelves
Energy crisis? Corbyn would have priced us out of the energy market
Authoritarianism? The tories took your right to protest and put it in the bin
Terrible handling of covid and the NHS backlog?
Pick your poison. If your response to being told the conservatives are doing a bad job is to say “it could be worse” you’re not focusing on the fact that it could be better. It could be much better, if you’d stop accepting the bare minimum from your leaders- it seems like because Johnson’s marketed himself as an affable fop people will accept that he’s a fucking terrible politician who is as laughable as Trump. But if you speak out against the conservatives you’re in for “at least it’s not socialist Corbyn/ Labour is a terrible party” and on and on and on in a never ending cycle- and not just from the right.
Focusing on the nebulous situations in your head rather than dealing with the realities we’re suffering under is a special talent of all of the above.
I think every person on both sides of the above feels they are the victim- but only one side actually caused these negative situations to come about, and so maybe we are all, or none of us are, victims- but I certainly know who the perpetrators are.
The reason all of this is so frustrating is that I had a video go viral on TikTok recently where I had 30, 40 people telling me over and over that I should go out and DO- stop moaning and SORT SOMETHING, offer SOLUTIONS.
Did I get us into this mess? I campaigned for labour, I campaigned against brexit, I isolated, wore masks, social distanced, washed my hands, vaccinated… and all the while I was called a socialist (as if that’s a dirty word…), I was called remoaner, sheep, test subject. I do what’s right even in the face of all of this, as do so many others- and of course, when the chips are down its US who need to rise up, take back power, fix it, find solutions. Do you understand how exhausting it is to have to carry this huge facet of society along all whilst it’s railing against you and kicking and screaming against progress? I understand why people get so jaded with political activism because it is exhausting to try and simply get people to see your perspective whilst being constantly insulted, threatened and more, and then be told that WE need to do more, we need to undo it all, fix it all.
It’s well past time that the brexiteering anti mask anti vax tory voting weak brained amongst us realise that they have caused untold misery, frustration, pain – death- and face the fact that they are on the wrong side. They can enjoy the victories they amass in the fact of common sense, knowing that it’s at the expense of a worn out group of people who want what’s best for us all as we spiral more. Or they can take the wheel they’ve repeatedly snatched at and try to guide us out of the repeated and worsening messes of their creation.