Hello, my name is Ben Cobley. On this blog I hope to share some of my better thoughts on politics, philosophy, society, and the Left, in addition to some other interesting stuff.
The name A Free Left Blog comes from a concern that the political and cultural Left is dominated by forms of ‘group think’ which shut down free thinking rather than encourage it. I want to challenge this while promoting a Left which is genuinely liberal but rooted in time and place.
“Part of what it is to be courageous is to see reality accurately and to respond well in the face of it." ~ Jonathan Lear
We wanted to let you know that we understand you and
your concerns. We have been looking at the polling and it proves that you are
all white, male, ageing, ignorant, hypocritical, working class racists and
This makes us feel very
smug and superior, and we thought we would write you a letter to show how
things really work around here so you might get with the programme.
Firstly, it seems you
have not read the memo which says no one is allowed to speak truth if it is the
wrong truth. It has been decided that all immigration is beneficial both
socially and economically, so any evidence that some immigrants or communities
are causing social problems or abusing the welfare system must be suppressed
immediately or detached from any association with immigration. We are also
seeking to establish that it is people like you who are the real cause of social
problems and who abuse welfare, so it has been necessary for us to make
allusions and associations of these bad things with the white working classes.
This may not be fair, but life isn’t fair: just so that you know.
Secondly, we thought you
should be aware that we have an formidable coalition waged against you, ranging
from far left fruitcakes and Greens to shiny New Labour types and Conservative
liberals, Lib Dems, academics, and also a business elite that wants to import
unlimited cheap foreign labour without having to move abroad. (They also
think democracy is a terrible drag, but so do the rest of us if we’re honest!)
Thirdly, all positive
associations involving UKIP have been banned with immediate effect. It has
become clear that rather a lot of you out there really don’t like us, so we’re
going to have to play dirty. Thankfully, some of you are genuinely racist and
these are the ones we have chosen to represent you, so watch out.
If you are not white-skinned
yet are attracted to UKIP or some of its messages, what on earth are you doing
not conforming to the stereotype? You are an aberration and we laugh
(uncomfortably) at you; but beware our attack dogs. They don’t mess around and
are coming to get you for betrayal – as a race traitor. As it says in the memo,
ethnic minorities should get into line and do what they are told, even though
you are almost as likely to be concerned about immigration as white people.
Failure to comply could have serious consequences on your social status: be
If you have white skin
and are English by birth, you should really have understood by now that you are
not allowed to exist as a community. ‘Communities’ are foreign or
immigrant-based, not ‘English’. If you gather in groups of only white-skinned
people, some of us will have to ‘call you out’; even more so if you are mostly
male. Gatherings of this kind are discouraged and will meet with the full force
of liberal opinion, however illiberal that may be.
Now we need to get on to
the subject of ‘home’. It has been decided that feeling ‘at home’ is irrational
and has no meaning in a world of fast change, facts, logical arguments and
carefully-chosen economic data. This is progress, as you will recognise if you
are not stupid enough not to understand the data. In any case, you must come to
terms with this improvement in your circumstances and recognise that the place
where you live becoming less familiar and less welcoming for you is not really
that important. Indeed it is progress.
If you persist in not
welcoming these changes, you will either have to be re-educated or maybe we can
push you off into a corner where no-one will notice you. It is an open secret
really so we may as well admit it: you are of no use and no value to our world
of change; you are expendable and many among us think we should basically
For, far from being nice
and liberal as many of us claim to be, ours is a harsh, unyielding belief
system that demands everyone changes to make way for our brave new world. This
‘new world of change’ is inevitable, like Tony Blair has said - and also like the
Marxists used to proclaim about their Communist Utopia.
One of Blair’s former
speechwriters John McTernan said it best, “There is nothing wrong with Ukip voting
parts of England that a solid dose of migration wouldn't fix. Nothing.” If
you live in one of these areas that have been voting UKIP but has not yet seen
large-scale immigration locally, you either must be racist or have not realised it is illogical to be
concerned about immigration, even if you have seen and heard of the effects
elsewhere. It’s a bit like the Great Plains Indians of North America being
afraid about the waves of white settlers coming from the East: their fears were
irrational; all they achieved by resisting was to hold back progress and resist
Like them, you don’t fit
and you don’t belong. This is a culture war, and you have the misfortune to
have become the enemy. The people that are most against you are not immigrants
of course – they are too busy establishing themselves, and in many cases
sympathise with you. Rather your enemy is us: a political, business and media
elite that makes its money and retains its power by going along with the way
things are done – with progress. We can’t stop the world and get off; we are on
a runaway train, and it's about time you got back on.
Yours, The 'Liberal' Establishment
N.B.Just to clarify that I as the writer of this am
not a UKIP supporter: indeed I share many of the general concerns about them,
not least that they are basically a right wing party. If anything though I am
more concerned with the way the dominant liberal-left and wider liberal
Establishment is so aggressively marginalising and disparaging the concerns of
people who might vote for UKIP. This alienates me and drags me away from my
natural home in politics. It also increases the intensity of the ‘Culture Wars’
in our country, which polarise opinion for the benefit of no one, except
perhaps the headbangers on either side.