Features

No golf, no bridge, scared of champagne – it’s tough being a leftie

I used to scorn them. Now I just feel sorry for the poor things

20 February 2016

9:00 AM

20 February 2016

9:00 AM

At a party recently I started talking to a friendly, charming woman and we established early on that she was left-wing. We chatted about this and that and for some reason I asked her if she played golf.

‘Oh no,’ she replied. ‘As I’m left-wing, I am not allowed to play golf.’

I was taken aback. Here was a soul who would go to her grave without ever experiencing the thrill of watching her drive soar into the air and race more than 200 yards down the middle of a fairway. A feeling akin to pity brushed across my mind. Concerned, I asked if there was anything else she was not allowed to do.

‘I suppose I am not allowed to play bridge, either.’

That is not such a heavy blow, to my mind, but still, bridge is a game which I understand gives pleasant times and company to many millions. So this avenue to innocent pleasure was cut off, too.


Those of us on the right often feel a certain defensiveness when in contact with those of the opposite persuasion. We are accustomed to being attacked with self-righteous anger. We sometimes struggle to feel warmly towards those who are calling us selfish lapdogs of crony capitalism. However, perhaps we have had it all wrong. Instead of feeling bulldozed and insulted, maybe we should be offering left-wingers kindness and sympathy. They have to go without a whole range of pleasures. Golf and bridge are just the start. Left-wingers are the puritans of our age.

They are not allowed fine wines. They can have beer, since it is a working-class drink. They are surely also permitted a glass of Pinot Grigio from time to time. But champagne is risky. They don’t want to be called ‘champagne socialists’, do they? So it’s safer to stick to a modest prosecco. As for a glug of Château Lafite Rothschild 1996, it’s out of the question.

Left-wingers are human like the rest of us, so sometimes, when on the south coast or perhaps in Spain, they can’t help thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have a second home here?’ But they must bravely quash such improper ideas. Second homes are not allowed either. Yes, I know Polly Toynbee has a villa in Tuscany — but it has caused her endless trouble. Every time she fulminates about the uncaring rich, some rotter goes and mentions her villa. The left finds her villa so embarrassing and uncomfortable that the first thing that comes up if you search for ‘Polly Toynbee Tuscany’ is a blog debating whether or not the infamous villa is an ‘urban myth’. It should surely be a ‘rural myth’, if anything, but we can be confident it is not a myth at all because her fellow Guardian columnist Zoe Williams has referred to the villa as ‘a matter of record’. Let’s put it this way: lefties can buy second homes if they want, but if they do, they need the hide of a Polly Toynbee.

Some pleasures are so far out of bounds to left-wingers that they hardly need mentioning: polo and fox-hunting. There will be no thrill of the chase across the frost-rimmed fields of wintry Sussex for them. Other activities are borderline, such as skiing. Skiing in a modest resort in Slovakia or Sweden is surely permissible. But no left-winger will ever experience the glorious spectacle of the horse-races on the frozen lake in St Moritz, where the champagne flows and the magnificent mountains look on benevolently — yet another reason to offer left-wingers gentle sympathy.

Do they have any pleasures at all, you may wonder? Yes, indeed they do. It is not all bleakness. They have bicycling. That is wholly allowed and approved. In fact it is so thoroughly approved that it verges on the compulsory. Jeremy Corbyn bicycles. Which reminds us of another of the pleasures of left-wingers: beard-growing. Both Marx and Lenin grew beards, so there can be no possible disapproval of it. They can indulge it to the rim.

Left-wingers are also allowed sex. In fact this is probably their standout pleasure. Sex is democratic and, of itself, costs nothing. The only difficulty arises when a left-winger has such a dreary lifestyle with respect to practically everything else that there is a difficulty finding another person to have sex with.

One of the difficulties of left-wingery is that it is a struggle against nature. There is a part of every human being that wants some fun. That is why the puritans of the 17th century were never going to keep control for ever. They were doomed from the moment they banned Christmas and plays. Similarly, you can’t keep down the lust for life that left-wingers want to obliterate. In Cuba, Fidel Castro banned golf. He ploughed up the courses to make way for schools. But you can’t keep a human urge down. One of Fidel Castro’s own sons, Antonio, has taken up golf and — this is a matter of record, too — he won second prize in the Copa Monte-cristo golf tournament in 2013. Well done, Antonio!

Golf was banned in the Soviet Union and Mao outlawed it in China in 1961. This is one of the less well-known reasons why communism failed in these countries — frankly it has received insufficient attention. Now golf is returning triumphantly to these countries. The number of golf courses in China tripled between 2005 and 2010, and that was despite a ban on golf-course construction during those years. You can’t keep human nature down. But that is exactly what those on the left attempt to do. They quell too many of our impulses towards fun and self-indulgence. The effect on the lefties themselves is not mere speculation.

The General Social Survey in the United States inquires into the political views of respondents and also into their levels of contentment. Year after year, in recession or boom, those on the left are found to be less happy than those on the right. Come on, friends! Put a consoling arm around a leftie. Offer one a quiet round at lovely Littlehampton golf course — and promise you won’t tell anybody.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

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Show comments
  • RingedPlover

    ‘Year after year, in recession or boom, those on the left are found to be less happy than those on the right.’ With all their worries, concerns &c. I suppose they carry the weight of the world on their shoulders.

    • Duke_Bouvier

      It seems more that they luxuriate in the woes of the world.

      But – with a few exceptions – have never had to make payroll.

    • Shazza

      They are the cause of a lot of ‘the weight of the world’.

    • Desperate Dan’s Porridge

      Well as they cause most of those problems…., good!

  • Patrick

    “But they must bravely quash such improper ideas. Second homes are not allowed either”

    didn’t John Prescott own 5-6 houses at one time, Blair rents a number of properties (far too big to be called houses) the tubby one who hates ‘white van man’ has at least two ( ex council houses, very socialist of her) I also remember reading about an “Asian” Labour MP who owned 100’s of houses in the North of England ( he might of been a councillor, but still left wing)

    • Shazza

      The far Left late Michael Meacher had a very healthy property portfolio as well.

  • NickyP

    Littlehampton, eh James? A good course. So is Bognor. If this corner of West Sussex is home to you, we should get a game in!

    • The_Common_Potato

      My mother once rented a sea-front house in Ferring and the owners had left a few dilapidated clubs lying around. Driving balls into the English Chanel was great fun.

      • Todd Unctious

        Getting. Last resting place of Major John Bigelowe Dodge.

  • Lucy

    What is it with lefties and golf? It’s just a game ffs. Lefties have just brought this on themselves with their sanctimonious, hypocritical lecturing of everyone else when they themselves do the same-if not worse. Most lefties I ever knew were alcoholics and smoked a lot of dope-among other things, but are now dead from diseases from doing that. Lefties claim they don’t want to be hugged by a right winger -unless they’re very drunk, then all is well and forgiven as most right wingers funnily enough are working class-which lefties like, something that lefties still can’t comprehend, but they wouldn’t cos they’re mainly middle class, annoying do-gooders.

    • Shazza

      Lefties really are a bunch of hate filled killjoys aren’t they?

      • Todd Unctious

        No. Not the ones I know. Tories are po faced creeps, but then we expect that.

      • Todd Unctious

        No. Not the ones I know. Tories are po faced creeps, but then we expect that.

  • Todd Unctious

    Golf is a land hungry game. It uses up acres of previous land when there are housing shortages, to indulge gin swilling retired bank managers urge to avoid their wives.
    We lefties love our sport. Just not golf. I love cricket and motor racing. I attend the Le Man’s 24 race and the British Grand Prix every year. We enjoy our booze too, just don’t go all pompous and smug about the vintage.

    • Desperate Dan’s Porridge

      That is why I love Golf so much because it irritates leftist idiots like you and it is fabulous game which you can play from 7 to 97 or even older. I pity you leftists with your idiotic, lame brain stereotypes (“gin swilling bank managers” etc) and having to spend every day of your miserable, sanctimonious, virtue signalling, pathetic, hypocritical lives gripped by the crippling, stomach churning terror that somebody, somewhere might be happy.

      • Todd Unctious

        I am not an idiot. I love decent sport. Just dislike a good walk spoiled. Golf is not a sport, golf is a trivial game for tired prematurely old men.

        • Desperate Dan’s Porridge

          Quoting a Tory PM, you are definitely an idiot laddie. You cannot be leftist and sensible.

          • Todd Unctious

            If it makes you feel better. Personally I find most Tories one level shy of mouth breathers.

          • Desperate Dan’s Porridge

            Still better than leftist filth laddie.

          • Todd Unctious

            What a jovial response.

          • HHGeek

            Since when was Mark Twain a Tory PM?

        • HJ777

          I tend to agree that Golf is a bit rubbish – but if people want to do it, why shouldn’t they? How does it harm you?

          What is your real objection?

          • Todd Unctious

            It uses too much land in a crowded nation. I would nationslise all golf clubs and compulsorily purchase half their land for social housing.

          • HJ777

            Are all golf clubs in areas where there is a housing shortage?

          • Todd Unctious

            In SE England they are particular nuisance. Just the car parks for the Jags would give plentiful building land.

          • HJ777

            Jags would be parked somewhere else instead. They don’t vapourise when they are not parked at golf clubs.

          • Todd Unctious

            Of course not. I see the gin swilling toff as the enemy.

          • HJ777

            So it has nothing to do with land use or the need for housing – it’s just down to your prejudice and need to divide people by ‘class’.

          • Todd Unctious

            More a feeling that it is a bit dull.

          • HJ777

            You’re extremely dull, but I don’t advocate getting rid of you.

    • HJ777

      What other sports do you believe to be classist/snobbish?

      • Todd Unctious

        Tennis, Lacrosse, Shooting, Power Boat racing, Horse racing on the flat, Show jumping, Ski-ing, Polo, Yachting and Carriage driving.

        • HJ777

          And how do you know this to be the case? For example, have you ever played Lacrosse, or been (or tried to be) a member of a Lacrosse club, for example?

          • Todd Unctious

            My brother toured Italy with the England Lacrosse team about twenty years ago. They were all toffs, Melissa’s and Camilla’s and Cordelias all had been to toff schools.

          • HJ777

            Relying on second hand impressions from 20 years ago to condemn a whole sport and the people in it, eh?

          • Todd Unctious

            Yes.

          • HJ777

            Then perhaps you should grow up a bit.

          • Todd Unctious

            Do you imply that growing up involves learning to distrust your immediate family? Are you Russian?

          • HJ777

            If he’s anything like you, he’s the last person anyone should trust.

          • Todd Unctious

            The last person anyone should trust is Putin.

          • Rosy

            My 9 year old grandson attends the local primary school and part of his PE programme includes lacrosse. I think you will find there are many state primary schools playing lacrosse.

          • Todd Unctious

            And that is nice for him Rosy. I understand long before the toffs took it over it was only played by Native Americans.
            Is your grandsons primary in a rough part of Doncaster or perhaps Middleborough?

        • Mary Ann

          I have played tennis, one of my sons played Lacrosse, I shoot, but I can’t afford the rest. And I’m a leftie.

          • Todd Unctious

            The exception that proves the rule. Mediocre Tennis player and failed Strictly dancer Andrew Castle once made a protest against the Poll Tax at Wimbledon. But then he went Millfield and lives in Balham.

    • Lucy

      Lefties are the only group of people that discriminate against class – they sneer at people’s backgrounds wherever they’re from whether it’s rich or white van man, lefties are the most hypocritical, snobbiest of them all & I am working class. Lefties are living in their own weird fantasy making up stories like someone called a copper a pleb and arguing with themselves in a deluded world that doesn’t exist.

      • Mary Ann

        You haven’t met my mother-in-law, talked about her county-class friends at the flower arranging club, she was a righty.

        • Lucy

          Lol I guess you get snobs everywhere!

  • seangrainger

    Very funny. However the delectable Caroline Flint and the delectable Harriet Harman both do their skiing in Davos rather than with the oiks in Pas del la Casa.

  • Freddythreepwood

    I have played golf since my football legs gave out, and it is news to me that it is not a game for lefties. I have been a member of my current club, one of the oldest in England, for nearly thirty years and spent 6 years as its Secretary before finally retiring. Politics was rarely discussed, certainly not in the bar, but I can tell you that the perception that golf is not for the working and lower middle classes is entirely false. Spend a day walking the course at the next Open championship if you don’t believe me.

  • Norman Brand

    Let the Left eat cake!

    • Todd Unctious

      Well the right prefer sponge. Sponging off the poor to let the rich off taxes.

      • Desperate Dan’s Porridge

        Idiotic cliche alert.

        • Todd Unctious

          Lack of a coherent response alert.

      • Desperate Dan’s Porridge

        Like Michael Meacher and his property portfolio for example.

      • Mary Ann

        Nice one

  • Vian

    Well hang on, I’m a lefty and it’s not that hard to play golf. OK you need different clubs and can’t borrow anyone else’s but it’s still quite possib……..what? Really? Are you serious? Oh.

  • MichtyMe

    Nah,for the toffs, recreation is murdering wildlife, a bit expensive as it requires land, perhaps horses and servants but golf is for the workers even if they are not lefties. Those with the most modest of incomes can enjoy, the cost of an annual season ticket for all seven courses in St Andrews including the old is about £200.

    • Todd Unctious

      Typical grouse moor 6,000 acres. Typical cost of a day killing 200 tiny barely edible birds £30,000.

  • DJC50

    I’m a Marxist, secretary of a wine club and play Bridge every week. What bollocks.

    • Freddythreepwood

      Don’t be so hard on yourself!

    • Maureen Fisher

      I expect you know that Marx’s family owned a vineyard and he was a great wine lover.

  • ohforheavensake

    You’re an odd chap, aren’t you?

  • William Brown

    The commentators below, who take umbrage with the feature above, will have demonstrated a severely curtailed sense of humour. They will all be lefties. Fact!

    • Mary Ann

      Anyone who writes ‘fact’ at the end of his comment is clearly making sweeping generalisations and knows nothing. Fact.

  • HJ777

    I have no interest in golf and am of the opinion that it isn’t a sport if you do it in knitwear or dressed as Rupert Bear. Golf buggies make me laugh – golf is hardly any exercise anyway, and the idea that you need to avoid what little there is, makes me laugh.

    However, James Bartholomew has a point, which is is that lefties need to see things see a ‘class’ prism – and thus need to look for things to attack because they are perceived to be the preserve of a certain class.

    My own sport (rowing) is often attacked by these class warriors because they imagine it to be socially elitist (the evidence for which, apparently, is the Boat Race and the fact that some rowers wear blazers at Henley Royal Regatta). I remember being told that it costs “thousands” to be a rowing club member (there is no rowing club in the country where annual membership is anywhere near a thousand pounds) and all sorts of ridiculous things by people who have never been near a rowing club – but they insist that they are right and I am wrong when I disagree. The reality, of course, is that it is a pretty inexpensive sport (much cheaper than swimming, for example), attracts people from all backgrounds – as it always has done – and anyone can find a club provided they live near suitable rowing water.

    It just goes to show that many left wing views are sustained by stubbornly believing myths and have nothing to do with reality.

    • Todd Unctious

      You had to stick your oar in.

      • HJ777

        We call them blades.

        Why do you think so many lefties accuse the sport of being socially ‘elitist’ when they haven’t bothered to find out the facts? Why do they not check the evidence first?

        • Todd Unctious

          You confirm my suspicion. ” We call them blades”. Who are we? The special unique people privy to the archane world of manual boat propulsion? Blades. Why use a term really appropriate to kitchens or ice skating other than to signal your membership of a select gang and exclude those who were not in on the secrets.

          • HJ777

            You’re the sort of person who takes everything as confirming your prejudice.

            Rowers have always called then blades (or sometimes sculls, short for sculling, as opposed to sweep, blades). The term ‘blade’ is merely descriptive – they are designed to ‘cut’ cleanly into (and out of) the water. Just like what most people think are called oarlocks are actually known (more descriptively) as gates.

            What ‘select gang’ is this supposed to be? We take adults and juniors as they come and teach them to row and scull from scratch, just as we always have. Nothing is remotely secret.

          • Todd Unctious

            Blades, sculls, sweep, cut, oarlocks. The bizarre language of a cult. How many young black boys from Lewisham or Bangladeshi girls from West Bromwich belong to your special clubs?
            When my boy wanted to try rowing he was refused as his comprehensive would not let him leave school at 3 PM when the wetbobs from the toff schools had their games lessons. The whole thing was deliberately designed to suit the private schools and exclude the ordinaries.

          • HJ777

            “When my boy wanted to try rowing he was refused as his comprehensive would not let him leave school at 3 PM when the wetbobs from the toff schools had their games lessons.”

            What a bizzarre invention. Obviously he was not going to be allowed to leave school early to take part in sports sessions at another school, was he? But he could easily have joined a club. Nearly all have open membership.

            Our juniors train after school and at weekends. They nearly all go to local comps. And they are very good juniors too (some of the very best in the country, in fact).

            My club isn’t in London or Birmingham but we have juniors from all sorts of backgrounds. I recently coached a Sri Lankan girl for two years (she’s now moved to an older group in the club), I have two daughters of a Polish builder I coach, and so on. All completely representative of the local population..

            All sports and activities have technical terms out of necessity. I don’t suppose you would understand most engineering technical terms – is that because engineering is a ‘cult’?

            You are stuffed full of prejudice but very little knowledge.

          • Todd Unctious

            That’s okay then. You are able to list some ordinary folk, relatively poor or ethnic who do a bit if rowing. It can’t be elitist or separate. I’m sure everyone sees a bit if rowing as perfectly normal and everyday. So mundane. So inclusive.

          • HJ777

            I don’t care how you think people see things. You see everything through a class prism.

            I am more interested in the reality.

          • Todd Unctious

            With a diverse range of upper middle class participants. Including a ginger , a Methodist and a left handed rower.

          • Tamerlane

            Good. Don’t want your sort of oily tick fouling up the pedigree. Good show the rowing club and quite right too, and well done your boy’s Comp for knowing its correct place in the pecking order.

          • red2black

            Highly competitive cut-price deals are available at a wide range of down-at-heel gymnasia furnished with ‘rowing machines’, should those of lesser breeding wish to try their grubby hand
            at a pull on the jolly old blades.

          • Todd Unctious

            Lesser breeding?

          • red2black

            The ‘hoi polloi’ dear boy; such as myself.

          • red2black

            An up-tick for the ‘oily tick’ bit. (tee hee)

  • douglas redmayne

    This is a stupid post and James Bartholemew sounds like a boring sanctimonious up himself turd who should be bog flushed.

  • Gergiev

    Happiness is impossible under capitalism. Anyone who thinks themselves happy under such circumstances is deluded.

  • erikbloodaxe

    But, but, but: Kim Jong-il was a superb golfer.

    • Todd Unctious

      Steven Hawking too. Quite a good handicap.

    • George

      But he was (still is?) a Communist god.

      So of course he played golf; he knew the good things of life and saw his underling lefty followers as a bunch of “useful idiots”, as Vlad Lenin put it.

  • mackernally

    Dear, dear James, I presume, by now, your tongue is not only in your cheek but protruding out the other side.

    • red2black

      Either that, or the lady in question saw him coming.

      • mackernally

        Well, if that’s the case, the sooner attempting to mislead a journalist by taking advantage of their naivety and gullibility is treated as a serious offence and finds its way onto the statute books the better our world will be.

        • red2black

          Hearty laughter all round.

  • Tamerlane

    People who have no friends become lefties so they can meet other people with no friends and blame their boring friendless lives on someone else (Tories – who have lots of friends and love drinking and getting into all sorts of fabulous irresponsible fun with them). You won’t ever find photos of Stalin, Lenin, Che Guevara etc out with the lads and that’s because they had no friends. Then you have the Childless Brigade from the SNP with no friends either…and on it goes. Thank God for Bollinger.

    • Todd Unctious

      We have become so used to your childish drivel it just washes over us. All you can come up with is that socialists have no friends and don’t , in your opinion, drink enough. Incisive as ever and smugky pompous.

      • Tamerlane

        There’s no ‘we’ about it Yvonne/Barry, you’re very much on your own, as you always have been.

        • Todd Unctious

          But I thought you liked we. Most of what you write is fit for a urinal.

  • justejudexultionis

    I’m sorry but golf is a game played by people who are frightened of sport.

    • Freddythreepwood

      I’m sorry but you don’t have the faintest idea what you are talking about.

  • George

    There is perhaps no better example of the religious, particularly Christian, roots of the leftist mind-set than this self-denial of earthly pleasures.

    The early Christians, believing in the imminent coming of Christ’s rule on Earth, scorned all pleasures—-including any concerns such as personal hygiene—as distractions from the coming world-shattering event of Christ’s rule on Earth.

    Where the early Christians believed in an eventual paradise in the next world, today’s leftist believes in the coming Communist Revolution and an eventual paradise on Earth.

    The early Christians, being reasonable enough folk, gave up their belief in the Second Coming, but no amount of evidence seems to convince the leftist that he is deluded. In fact It’s always amusing to observe leftists in their belief of themselves as hard-headed secular realists, when in fact they are, as the philosopher John Gray observed, believers in a secularized religious myth long abandoned by more rational religious people.

    • Mary Ann

      You must be a righty, never mind, you can’t help it.

    • Grant Melville

      “The early Christians, being reasonable enough folk, gave up their belief in the Second Coming…”

      This isn’t an entirely accurate statement, because no true Christian has given up the belief and daily expectation of the coming of the Lord for His Church. There certainly were elements within and without the early Christian profession who did deny it, as well as those who didn’t deny it but put it off to some distant future date, as the Bible shows.

      “… there shall come at the close of the days mockers with mocking, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for from the time the fathers fell asleep all things remain thus from the beginning of the creation…” – 2 Peter 3 v 3-5

      “But if that evil bondman should say in his heart, My lord delays to come, and begin to beat his fellow-bondmen, and eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that bondman shall come in a day when he does not expect it, and in an hour he knows not of, and shall cut him in two and appoint his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.” – Matthew 24 v 48-51

  • victor67

    This is nonsense. In Scotland golf is still a game of the working class. I grew up in East Lothian where the local club was affiliated with the colliery near by. During the strike they suspended their fees and still let them play on the course. In the town I grew up in most people played no matter their background. Links golf is also natural and blends in with the landscape and wildlife so it is gentle on the environment as well.
    Sure Muirfield was a few miles down the road for the Edinburgh aristocracy who indulged their elitism and misogyny but nobody really cared about them.

  • balakris

    the bridge part is nonsense.
    it’s axiomatic that leftists have more brains than the righties.
    unsurprisingly a big number of leftists i know are bridge addicts and excellent players too.
    ian macleod’s bridge was world class, a tory in the macmillan mould.
    buffett and gates,bridge afficanodos, are centre left.
    golf-no offence meant to leftie golfers-is for p r mainly.
    like the chaps who rule britain today.

  • Pendrey

    Talk about ‘setting up a straw man’. A disgraceful article, smug and ignorant.

  • gillardgone

    Yes but think about all the leftist damage you could be thinking up while sat musing about yourself.

  • Erebus Black

    They aren’t misguided. Don’t waste any sympathy for them.
    Leftists only deserved to be treated for the vermin they are.

    They will not hesitate to use state power to advance their perverse egalitarian agenda. Do not give them any moral legitimacy.

  • Maureen Fisher

    As a former leftie in days of yore, I can attest that one of their traits is a profound bleeding heart for complete strangers while treating their nearest and dearest callously and quite often even viciously. Don’t feel sorry for them. They are vermin for the most part.

    • Patricia

      I am a former leftie too and totally agree that their sympathy is prejudiced. Had a Guardian-reading friend who, while sympathising with women’s rights, quite happily watched his pregnant wife polish their wooden floors on her hands and knees.

      • Maureen Fisher

        Indeed. It’s not about wearing your heart on your sleeve for someone who lives in a faraway country but how you treat others.

  • David Ross

    Interesting article. Frustratingly coloured by unhelpful tribal political allegiance.
    Corrupt Governance is not the sole preserve of the left right or centre. It is embraced by all. You may find my post on Gove’s Brexit article enlightening. Alternatively if you are comfortable or a net beneficiary of institutionalised corruption you will ignore it.
    George is about to make the situation even worse at the next budget. No doubt the right wind press will ignore any bad news about their “team”. The left wing press will stay silent as usual for fear of upsetting their “team”………and so corrupt Governance continues unchallenged.
    Journalism should be about holding those in power to account. Not serving as the mouthpiece of their preferred political view of the world.

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