March 23, 2015
Suppose Labour leader Ed Miliband had been out yesterday for a quiet bacon sandwich with his wife and kids only to be harassed and terrorised by a bunch of protestors from the Daily Mail. Can you imagine the coverage it would get on the BBC and in the Guardian?
And what about if Green party leader Natalie Bennett had a few friends round for a vegan barbecue, only to be driven from their supplies of tofu and mung beans and cucumber dip by a crowd of Spectator journalists dressed in pin stripe suits and bowler hats?
There’s a reason you can’t imagine these scenarios, except in jest. It’s because the right-leaning media just doesn’t promote or engage in political activism in the way that the left-leaning media does, especially not the kind of direct action stunt we saw yesterday being carried out against Nigel Farage by a mob led by an activist (and occasional Guardian columnist) called Dan Glass. (h/t Bishop Hill)
The Guardian clearly loves Dan Glass. Here’s what it had to say a few years back about his work “fighting to stop the injustice of climate change.”
Dan Glass, 27, activist
“Whenever anybody sticks their head above the parapet they’re seen as a lunatic, but we need to show the inadequacies of the legal system for protecting the earth.”
Dan was recently named one of Attitude Magazine’s 66 new role models for his work on bridging the gay rights and environmental justice movements. He revels in creating militant but cheeky ways to be a “thorn in the side of those destroying the planet”; he has stuck himself to a former prime minister, occupied Aberdeen airport, danced with old ladies blighted by flightpaths, and worked in deprived inner-city communities with So We Stand. Dan has spent much of 2010 in court, over action he took with protest group Plane Stupid at Aberdeen airport, and is now on trial for allegedly conspiring to shut down Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal-fired power station (the verdict is expected today). You can read his article on the disproportionate effects of climate change on marginalised communities in December’s Attitude magazine – it’s the one with lots of naked men on the cover.
Besides having run three columns by Glass, the Guardian has also given space to the Trotskyite burblings of perma-revolutionary Eva Jasiewicz – another member of the fancy dress mob who harrassed the Farages at the weekend. And also to this woman, Pennie Quinton who was also boasting on Twitter about her involvement in the anti-UKIP renta-mob. See also Guardian contributor Emily Churchill (no relation, one imagines), who crowed about having helped ruin the Farage family lunch with the phrase “We are family!”
Now you could argue that the Guardian can’t be held responsible for the actions of a few idiots who have written for it in the past. Maybe not. But what you can most definitely blame it for, I think, is the uncritical coverage it gives both to them individually (see flattering profile of Glass above) and collectively at protests everywhere from Kingsnorth to Balcombe.
Whether these protests are about breast-feeding or coal-fired power or fracking or neonicotinoids or bankers or air travel, what you find time and again is the same hardcore of activists at the heart of each protest. The cause seems to be almost an irrelevance. What counts far more is the intensity of their shrill self-righteousness and the corresponding passion of their hatred for whichever particular target they happen to be protesting against on that particular day.
You can see that self-righteousness in some of the comments below the Guardian’s report on the Farage affair. Here’s one from a charmer calling himself “Postcolonial”.
Well I suppose they could have tarred and feathered him. But we can still dream.
And here is the Guardian’s columnist Suzanne Moore telling us that the protestors who had Farage’s children fleeing in fear were just a lovely, harmless, playful bunch really and that the Farages over-reacted…
Those protesting against Farage were in fancy dress, which is why the pub owners thought it was some kind of birthday party. They called themselves “a cabaret of diversity” and were seeking to represent some of the groups Farage has offended: “Migrants, HIV activists, gay people, disabled people and breast-feeding mothers.” No doubt this boisterous group may have seemed a bit scary although, to be honest, it all looked harmlessly theatrical in the pictures.
The worst thing that Moore can find to say about the incident is that it may play to Farage’s advantage.
And actually, it may backfire for other reasons too, because increasingly Farage plays the victim. And this allows him to. He can present himself as the innocent victim of attacks by fruitcakes, when, in fact, he spends most of his time attacking the vulnerable.
(If Moore had wanted to make the point with the charm and wit of which unfortunately she is incapable, she might have nicked this, much funnier analysis from a Guardian commentator called Boynamedstu: “Because nothing will make people considering voting for UKIP change their mind than a coachload of inner city dwelling, unemployed drama graduates and soap dodgers intimidating him and scaring his kids while he is out for a Sunday lunch. These arsehats have probably done more to increase the UKIP vote than a front page picture of a Romanian eating a swan while shitting on a Princess Di commemorative tea towel.”)
Read the thrilling, insightful, moving pay off at Breitbart London