Rod Liddle

The Lib Dems have revealed the extreme side of modern liberalism

21 September 2019

9:00 AM

21 September 2019

9:00 AM

A friend’s seven-year-old daughter was asked by her school to write something about the NHS. Her only experience of it had been sitting for four hours in A&E while her father, in some pain, waited to be treated for a cricket injury. So she wrote about that. Her teacher deemed it ‘inappropriate’ and told her to write it again and make it ‘more positive’.

I assume this authoritarian hag wanted something along the lines of: ‘The NHS is the only good thing about the UK and would be even better were it not for the Vicious Tory Cuts. It is staffed by thousands of brilliant people who have swum here from Libya simply to attend to our ailments. Boris Johnson wants it closed down because he’s a white supremacist and hates poor people.’

This kind of propaganda is present in every area of the curriculum, every day and across every age group, along with a concomitant intolerance of any divergent view. You dare to wonder if any of the kids, given this daily saturation, will emerge with open minds and a vague grasp of the realities of the world. Perhaps one day soon, when the entire liberal edifice comes crashing down, wrought apart by its own manifest contradictions and lack of logic, we will see a change in our teachers — who were once, remember, solid Tory voters. Until then we will be churning out a procession of slack-jawed, credulous halfwits who are simultaneously woke and sleepwalking.

One of those slack-jawed halfwits is Kirsten Johnson, the Lib Dem candidate for North Devon. Asked on the BBC’s The World This Weekend to explain why such a large proportion of her constituency voted Leave, she reeled off the rote-learned liberal shibboleths: ‘Demographically it’s 98 per cent white. We don’t have a lot of ethnic minorities living in North Devon. People aren’t exposed to people from other countries. They don’t travela lot…’ She then directly linked voting Leave with ‘the rise of hate crimes’.

This interview has since been described as a car crash because Johnson seemed so magnificently thick, like a block of Davidstow cheddar cheese with a perpetually yapping mouth. But she was only voicing the opinion that lies behind the extremist Remain agenda: Leave voters are xenophobic, racist and unworldly. A rather more robust approach to the Leavers was taken by another Lib Dem candidate, Galen Milne, who was standing in Banff and Buchan. Galen suggested that prominent Leavers, including the Prime Minister, should be ‘hung, drawn and quartered’ and then have their divided cadavers flown to the four corners of the UK, where they would be burned. The Lib Dems have since sacked the bloke. And yet in those two comments, from Galen and Johnson, you saw the true face of modern liberalism: an utter contempt for those who disagree with them, a hatred and complete intolerance for those who have different views. And those different views can be explained by a series of lies (they never go abroad), racism (they’re all white) and non sequiturs.

And yet Kirsten Johnson’s viewpoint is crucial to the Lib Dem’s current strategy. Jo Swinson has pledged that her party will revoke Article 50 and keep Britain in the EU, no matter what. No matter if we have a second referendum and vote again to leave. This is a canny piece of election manoeuvring that outflanks both the Tory Remainers and Magic Grandpa’s dithering rabble while at the same time adding a devil-may-care glamour, the slight whiff of fascism, to the Lib Dems’ hitherto boring brand. It may well be successful in taking votes from the Tories in the south and from Labour in and around London. But, as has been pointed out to Mrs Swimsuit many times, it is also explicitly undemocratic. In order to cleave to such a position it is not enough merely to consider your opponents, the Leavers, as being wrong or mistaken. The only way you can justify ignoring their views altogether is by designating them as more than that: they are evil views, based upon racist assumptions.

The depiction of Leave voters as being precisely this has been a continual trope of Remainer arguments over the past three years: not just wrong, but wicked. If you can categorise people in this manner it is much easier to decide that they are not deserving of democracy. The liberals dismiss the Leave victory because it was predicated upon beliefs which, they tell themselves, are not democratic.

I hope the Tory defectors to the Lib Dems enjoyed their new party’s conference and are making themselves at home there, although I have my doubts. Most of the Labour defectors fit in very easily, none more so than Chuka Umunna, who is now and always has been a liberal and will find the Lib Dems’ rank intolerance of divergent opinions easy to bear, as he agrees with them about everything. But let’s see how the poof-bashing former Tory GP Dr Phillip Lee copes, shall we? His arrival has already caused one prominent Lib Dem activist to resign from the party on account of Phil’s opposition to gay marriage.

And then there is Sam Gyimah. It is not so long ago that Sam filibustered the so-called Turing Bill, which sought to pardon all men convicted under sodomy laws. The Lib Dems are terribly pro-sodomy. A man shrieking with delight at being vigorously buggered would make an excellent logo for the party, certainly better than that anaemic fluttering yellowhammer they have now. Gyimah is also on record for having criticised censorship on university campuses and a lack of freedom of speech which, he said, was not ‘just some right-wing conspiracy theory’. I think Sam will find pretty soon that it really was just some right-wing conspiracy theory and that it is high time we pardoned everyone for what they did in the past. Whatever the Lib Dem church is, it ain’t broad.

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