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9th March 2020
Recently, a curious member of the public went along to a Hope Not Hate meeting…. and here is what he discovered.
A few days ago I attended a talk by Simon Murdoch of Hope Not Hate in which he outlined the findings of their latest Report, “State of Hate 2020: Far Right Terror Goes Global”, in which Murdoch explained that the aim of the organisation was to understand the threat from extremists and to find out “what’s going on that’s leading people to scapegoat immigrants.” It turns out that what’s going on is something called “The Far Right”. I’ll get to them in a minute.
The talk itself was given in a functional, soporific tone that resembled the disinterested drone of a factory manager explaining the manufacturing process of Bakelite to the new staff intake. The effect of this was to deprive the topic of any notion that it might be controversial or that there was any room for a different opinion. The political worldview was thus rendered no more contentious than the physical properties of thermosetting plastic. This impression was aided by vocabulary carefully chosen to avoid any suggestion of actual concerns on the part of political activists. The talk instead was all of calculation and strategy, of rising and declining, of processes and movements.
Amid such dry language monstrous absurdities can be embedded and pass quite unnoticed by an unwary audience. Thus the “Far Right” label was extended all the way from sections of government, through Tommy Robinson, the BNP and all the way to such neo-Nazis as may still be lurking in unlit basements without anyone noticing how silly that is. The massive support for Tommy Robinson following his unlawful arrest and imprisonment was transformed simply into “the largest Far Right gathering since the Second World War”, apparently unexpected and “hard to understand”. The so-called “Manosphere” (he means the Men’s Rights Movement) is in no way animated by the injustice of Family Courts, the neglect of boys’ education, the air-brushing from view of female perpetrators of domestic violence and a dozen other gender inequalities; no, they are just pawns that have been got at by the Far Right.
Stand back from this dreary stuff and you see a disturbing picture. Apparently, there is a small, shadowy group of people identified as “The Far Right” who run around causing mischief and mayhem for no reason other than simple malice. This secretive group seems to have tentacles everywhere, seeding little movements of “hate” in all sorts of unlikely places. In short, we see a vast conspiracy theory in which everything is explained by the action of one dark agency that by devious means leads the impressionable to dangerous folly. In this way, Hope Not Hate explain away the inexplicable: the relentless rise of populist politics. Populism cannot, after all, be allowed to have its own agency and be driven by genuine concerns such as mass immigration and Islamic encroachment, or political correctness and those “hate speech” laws that prevent people from freely discussing these things.
Can Hope Not Hate really be so clueless when it comes to populist movements? Do they really believe in conspiracies? Of course not! For this is no ordinary conspiracy theory but one carefully constructed to hide the truth behind a wall of stupefying nonsense. Thus by a combination of conspiracy theory and anaesthetised language, Hope Not Hate seek to deny that any opposition to the narrative of the Left can even exist. Contentious issues are simply hidden from view through deplatforming and the silencing of social media. All is just the wicked promptings of the awful Far Right.
“They don’t really believe in free speech” says Murdoch, echoing the policy stance of Hope Not Hate. That is a monstrous lie. But the lie has turned full circle, for now we see that it is Hope Not Hate that does not believe in freedom of speech. Indeed, they believe the suppression of speech has not gone far enough. It must be extended all the way back from those basement-bound neo-Nazis (if they even exist), through the BNP and Tommy Robinson and right up to the fringes of the Conservative Party, for surely all are encompassed in that opaque and endlessly elastic term, “the Far Right”. I came away from the talk feeling more than ever that the Left have become a ridiculous but nevertheless dangerous parody of themselves.