Tuesday, 23 July 2019

It all depends on where you are standing...

I’m not a big fan of using words like ‘left’ ‘right’, ‘centre’ or ‘extreme’ to describe political positions; they’re far too often used as a term of abuse rather than a serious contribution to debate.  But setting aside my reluctance to use such terms for a moment, there can be few better examples of the way in which what is generally called the ‘centre’ has shifted than the statement last Friday by Sajid Javid praising Nigel Farage for not being an extremist, because he walked away from UKIP and called his former party a bunch of ‘thugs and extremists’.
Farage has never said anything to make one believe that he’s changed his mind about his previous use of anti-immigrant rhetoric, such as his statement that he’d feel uncomfortable if Romanians moved in next door, or that he feels awkward hearing people on a train speaking anything other than English, "because I don't understand them" (although why he feels it necessary to understand a conversation between strangers on a train was left unexplained).  It’s the sort of casual anti-foreigner sentiment which seems to come naturally to the Anglo-British not-nationalists-at-all behind the Brexit project, and Javid has effectively declared that he considers it normal and acceptable.
‘Extremist’ is not an easy term to define, because it’s a relative rather than an absolute term.  Whether someone is an extremist or not depends largely on where you are standing in relation to him or her.  In effect, the closer you are standing to someone, the less extreme that person will appear to be.  Javid’s claim that Farage is not an extremist tells us more about the position in which he and the Conservative Party find themselves than it does about Farage himself.


Anonymous said...

Nigel Farage once said that he felt 'awkward' on a train journey in central London when he heard only foreign languages spoken by his fellow passengers.

I bet that they were all speaking English before he got on the train!

Anonymous said...

Language is such a funny thing. On the one hand we demand to be given 'equal opportunities' but on the other we demand the right to 'speak our language'.

I suspect this tells us more about those that make the demands than it does about our society in general.

This could get interesting!

John Dixon said...

Anon (11:21),

What a strange place in which you reside, where equal opportunities and choosing
which language to use are deemed to be somehow in opposition to each other. Where do you get your supplies of whatever it is that you're taking?