TheMorning Star’s editorial of 13 July, defending and promoting English “patriotism” (aka nationalism) against “those on the left who turn their backs on their own nationality” and listing “good reasons why English people can rightly feel patriotic” was no one-off aberration.
In the edition of 21 July, one Harry Dobson (almost certainly a pseudonym) pursues the patriotic theme, with an added element of psycho-babble: “people like to feel like their identity is distinctive... Refrains such as ‘We’re the worst drinkers, aren’t we?, or ‘I’m so embarrassed by English people abroad, we’re a nightmare’ are always said with a peculiar mix of self-pity and a grubby kind of pride: deep down, a lot of people want it to be true...”
Who these strange, masochistic people is not specified by amateur shrink Harry, but he goes on to identify a “second factor” he calls “Anglo-pessimism”, which “seeks to posit English racism and English fans as the most diabolical to be found anywhere, despite statistics that are directly contrary to this.” And Harry has no doubt about where “Anglo-pessimism” comes from: it’s “exhibited almost exclusively by people who consider themselves to be on the left and specifically anti-racist.”
Disappointingly, Harry chooses not to share his (no doubt in-depth) research into this phenomenon with his readers: who, exactly are these anti-racist people “who consider themselves to be on the left” (i.e., aren’t really) who think English racism is more “diabolical” than any other form of racism — as opposed, perhaps, to being especially concerned by it simply because it’s happening where we live and we can do something about it?
But comrade Harry’s in full Daily Mail mode now, and continues: “Denouncing racism is not controversial any more — to get noticed why not denounce your own nation, and yourself in it? [...] At its worst, this nihilistic standpoint enables the afflicted to... remain an online pundit, awakening intermittently only to tell people they can’t support England or that they ‘can’t wait to move away from this racist island’.”
Again, one has to ask, who are these extraordinary people? How many of them does Harry know? And is that “can’t wait to move” quote something a real person actually said in Harry’s hearing, or wrote somewhere that he could identify for us?
But, one suspects, none of this detail really matters to Harry because he knows where this madness comes from: “This woke syndrome shares an interesting amount of similarities with another online subculture: the conspiracy world...” Leaving aside the preposterous idea that internationalism and anti-racism is characterised by a predilection for conspiracy theories (Harry even, sarcastically, refers to the David Icke theory about lizards being “in charge”), the use of the word “woke” represents a new low for the Morning Star.
As is well known, this is the favoured term of derision against liberals, leftists and — especially — anti-racists, regularly used by splenetic right-wing commentators in the Mail, the Telegraph, the Spectator and Spiked. Andrew Neil’s GB News even has a regular feature entitled Woke Watch. As far as I’m aware, the Morning Star has never used the word before (certainly not in this negative context) and supporters of the paper should be worried.
In the following day’s Morning Star (22 July) Emily Weir (women’s officer of the Edinburgh CPB) argued that “the left” shouldn’t “obsess over [Johnson’s] use of offensive language” and that we “rely on misrepresenting an article he wrote nearly 20 years ago...”
The article that Comrade Emily feels has been “misrepresented”? The one in which Johnson described African people as “flag-waving piccaninies” with “watermelon smiles.” Taken in context, argues Emily, Johnson’s words were merely “provocatively parodying” Tony Blair (!) and “could easily have appeared under the byline of many left-wing writers...”