A few thoughts on the recent trend of left wing commentators to use the pejorative term ‘Gammon’ to describe a sub section of their patriotic, conservative, Brexit-voting opponents. The Urban Dictionary explains the term here:
The term ‘gammon’ is linked to the unhealthy pink skin tone of such stout yeomen, probably because of high blood pressure caused by decades of ‘PC gone mad’, being defeated in arguments about the non-existent merits of Brexit and women getting the vote.
This definition appears to meet with the approval of the left-wing journalists and commentators who use it.
First of all, I should point out that as a free speech advocate, I will defend to the death the right of anyone to use this rather nasty term. This position, however, does not preclude my right to criticise it, as I will now do. The obvious point to make is that use of this term emerged during a relentless obsession among the left regarding skin pigmentation. How many articles have we seen from publications such as Slate, Vice, The Huffington Post and Salon, condemning ‘whiteness’ over the last few years? Increasingly in academia, the opinions of ‘white males’ have been ascribed a lower validity to those of people of other races, with some University professors leading the charge:
How far we have drifted by Martin Luther King’s historic appeal to judge people not by the colour of their skin but the content of their character.
It seems clear that those who advocate the use of this term rarely ask themselves why patriotic small business owners, the low-skilled working class and the middle aged are so angry in the first place. Consider these milestones, all of which have occurred over the last three decades:
• The Maastricht Treaty, representing fundamental constitutional change, signed after no public consultation;
• Mass immigration on an unprecedented level unleashed on Britain without any mention of its scale in any of New Labour’s manifestos, or any thoughtful assessment on the effect it would have on wages and public services;
• The admission by Andrew Neather, a former adviser to Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Blunkett, that the policy contained a ‘driving political purpose’ part of which was to “rub the right’s nose in diversity” not realising that they were rubbing it in the British people’s faces too;
• Constant demonisation of anyone who objected to these developments as ‘racist’ ‘xenophobic’ or ‘little Englanders’;
• The signing of the Lisbon Treaty, again, after no public consultation;
• The Rotherham outrage in which the mass rape of children was not dealt with due to the Orwellian atmosphere of thought crime created by New Labour politics. ( I suppose this is an example of the ‘PC gone mad’ the Urban Dictionary describes as having caused high blood pressure among ‘Gammons’)
These are just a few reasons why these ‘Gammons’ might just be a little frustrated at the state of modern Britain. The ‘high blood pressure’ and rosy complexion of ‘Gammons’ could perhaps be further understood when these condescending, ignorant and arrogant millennial rants in which they are ridiculed are taken into account. In one piece focusing on this phenomenon, the writer, Matt Zarb-Cousin, pokes fun at ‘Gammon’s’ supposed gullibility in believing everything they read in the ‘right wing tabloids’:
Examples of these alleged false assertions include Corbyn being a ‘terrorist sympathiser’ and that ‘immigration is out of control.’ The author clearly is unaware that this cuts both ways. His glib, casual dismissal of these assertions are also evidence of swallowing partisan spin whole. Corbyn, out of his own mouth, can be seen to describe Hamas and Hezbollah, as “friends” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGj1PheWiFQ
The immigration issue is contingent on one’s own political and cultural philosophy. Journalist and author David Goodhart has thoughtfully identified the two types of people in Britain as ‘Somewhere people’ and ‘Anywhere people,’ ‘Somewhere people’ being those who identify with their place of birth and see themselves as inextricably linked to their country and culture, and ‘Anywhere people’ consisting primarily of university-educated, urban and more uprooted people than their ‘Somewhere’ counterparts. If one is an ‘Anywhere’ person’, I’m sure the prospect of importing a population the size of Newcastle’s every year from around the globe (this figure accounts for those leaving the country, the gross figure is around half a million) does not resemble chaos but a desirable consequence of globalisation and international openness. To a ‘Somewhere person’, it could not seem more chaotic. Last year’s revelation that the Home Office has ‘lost’ around 56,000 illegal immigrants in one year alone, would not suggest that immigration is ‘under control’ would it?
So, even after a cursory examination, we can conclude that the grievances among ‘Gammons’ which this writer attempts to ridicule are perhaps more reasonable than he would admit. His inability to concede that ‘Gammons’ may have a point, I believe, reflects the readiness of the modern left to condemn, insult and ridicule instead of debate, and says more about their own gullibility than anyone else’s.