The British left are an odd bunch. They all went to the same schools. They all went to the same universities. They all work in professions dominated by other liberals. This is important because we form our opinions from our social network. We also base our view and perception of the world based on what we pick up from the comments, fears and attitudes of the people around us. If that social world is only filled with people who believe what you believe, it can often mean you misread the way the world is going.
One of the most famous examples of this was in 1972, when Richard Nixon won a crushing 48 state victory in the Presidential Election. The uber-liberal New York Times journalist Pauline Kael bitterly wrote than she couldn’t understand how this had happened because she didn’t know anyone who had voted for Nixon. That’s the whole point; SHE almost certainly didn’t know anyone, because her social world was only populated by Nixon-hating leftists. Her office only had liberals in it. Her apartment complex only had liberals in it. The parties she went to were hosted by liberals. But in reality, out in the vast hinterland of the USA outside Manhattan, people turned to Nixon in massive numbers. She would have known this had her leftist world not been so short of people with opinions beside her own.
A similar phenomena hit the British left in 2014. UKIP made political history, sending record numbers of sceptics to Brussels, winning 4 million votes and becoming the first party apart from the Labour and Conservative parties to win a national election in 100 years. Yet there was genuine bewilderment amongst Britain’s left-wing journalists. How could this happen? We don’t know anyone who voted UKIP! And in the North London luvvies social and professional circle that was almost certainly true. But like the New York Times journalist with Nixon, they were blinded by their incestuous, closed circle to opinions in the wider world. Ever since Nixon’s victory, American liberals have spoken derisively of ‘fly over country’ i.e. the USA that lies between the trendy liberal cities on either coast of the USA. It would appear our own leftists are developing their own version of this narrative, that denounces whole parts of the country.
This narrative holds that London is better than the rest of the UK. Given UKIP did much better outside of London than within in, this makes sense in their narrative. Arch-leftist Dan Hodges could barely hide his smug satisfaction at just how civilized and trendy-lefty London was, and held this up as why UKIP’s vote in London was not as strong as outside it. This has helped spark a narrative amongst leftists that London is a Shangri La of liberalism, but outside the M25 is a howling wilderness of knuckle dragging savages. Matthew Paris, a London-liberal if ever there was one, perpetuated this when he made withering, derogatory remarks about Clacton. In his views, the place must be ghastly if UKIP voters lived there.
The leftists view themselves as the summit of the human race. Obviously more educated, enlightened, tolerant and liberal than the great unwashed. A natural flip side of thinking you are superior to others is thinking people not like you are inferior. They must be dumber than we are. They must be more racist than we are. They must be more homophobic than we are. All of these things cause two things to happen. Firstly, it heightens the left’s hatred of the UK and its people. It must be hard to think that outside of one city (London), your country is a bubbling mass of intolerance and wickedness.
The second and natural outgrowth of this is a belief they need to control those same evil non-London dwelling troglodytes. If they are evil and wicked, you couldn’t possibly allow them a referendum on the EU. Just think how they would vote! On issues like capital punishment and mass immigration, the left would never allow a referendum because they know they would lose given the sharp difference in opinion between trendy London and everywhere else. Rather than entertain the thought this is because they are wrong at the rest of the country right, they assume the rest of the country are dumb savages who must be denied a voice.
This hatred amongst the Notting Hill elite is so strong it even leads to them hating people in other parts of London. I recall years ago being at an event with a number of snotty London liberals whose company I never enjoyed. A new colleague had joined the team and was introduced to them. “This is James” said one colleague, who barely able to contain his snorts of derision, added “And he is from….I don’t know, somewhere in the North”. He was from Manchester, the colleague knew it, but couldn’t be bothered to check. The senior manager said “I don’t like the North” curling up his face in obvious contempt, “In fact, I don’t even like leaving North London”. I still remember how amazed I was at this, not just that he could be so classless and unpleasant, but also that he could be so closed minded as to not even like other parts of London.
It is true that the North London Notting Hill ‘elite’ do hate the rest of the UK, and even hate the less trendy parts of London. But this presents us with an opportunity. Only 11% of Westminster seats are in London constituencies, and reminding voters in the remaining 89% that the left hate them means we win more of those seats. Secondly, the left’s claim that London is a mountain fortress of liberalism is not the case. As I have pointed out in the past, UKIP’s performance in London is much better than Dan Hodges would like to believe. If the left want to console themselves with the narrative Brits outside North London are vile bigots unworthy of being engaged with, let them. This frees up time for us in the British equivalent of fly-over country to win more votes.
Photo by viking_79