Earlier this year I started watching RT (a.k.a. Russia Today) again. It sometimes provides an illuminating alternative perspective to the globalist Western mainstream media – so long as you take with a pinch of salt their bias and defensiveness when it comes to any criticism of Russia. I found myself getting tired though of many of the, albeit anti-globalist, hard left presenters, particularly the UK-based ones, and one-by-one stopped recording each programme. I even grew weary of Max Keiser’s ridiculing of Brexit and President Trump without providing backup arguments and constantly plugging crypto-currencies to boost his business.
I still have a backlog of old RT programmes on my hard disk recorder which I am working through. A few days ago I watched an episode of Sputnik. This programme is often presented by traitor-unto-his-people and inciter of Muslim youths George Galloway, but on this occasion was presented by his stand-in. While I can’t abide for a moment centre-left globalist politicians and broadcasters, I sometimes think that maybe if you put me in the same room as some of these anti-globalist old commies for long enough, maybe we could come to some kind of agreement.
The first half of the programme was an interview with an almost-Stalinist historian, berating any account of the Second World War which was critical of the Soviet Union and didn’t credit it with single-handedly saving the world from Nazism. The guest in the second half was actress Margi Clarke – best known for her role in the 1980s film Letter to Brezhnev and for presenting late night television programmes about sex in the 1990s. She trades on her image as an endearing working class Scouser and is billed as ‘The Queen of Liverpool’.
The chummy leftie interview ranged across her most famous film, how working class she was, how anti-Murdoch she was and how Liverpudlians invented all modern British culture. In the final moments of the show, the interviewer asked: “So what do you think is the new punk?” She responded: “Tradition, not cultural Marxism.”
This was all the more intriguing for her use of the term ‘Cultural Marxism’, which is normally only used by the right and rarely heard among leftists. (I would have liked to have been able to reproduce this exchange verbatim. However, having deleted the programme off my HDD payer, all attempts to find any reference to it via web search, YouTube or RT’s website have drawn a blank. I have been through every Sputnik episode on the site. I swear I am not going potty and did not dream this.)
On the subject of punks, John Lydon – formerly Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols – a few months ago announced on live television to Piers Morgan and the Strictly Come Dancing woman that he supported Brexit because he was “one of” the working class and that he saw Donald Trump as a possible friend. This was a 180 degree U-turn from some of his previous comments but he had a book to promote and he likes to stir up controversy.
There’s nothing particularly working class about being a much-feted (and presumably quite wealthy) cultural icon who now lives in California – nor in being an arts student in Bromley. Artists, trendies and middle class radicals have always craved the edgy kudos lent by being associated by the working class and the down-trodden. John Lydon was ahead of the curve in recognising it was the left-behind provincial working class who voted for Brexit and for Trump. Right now there is a vicious class snobbery among metropolitan/young/arty/trendy/leftie types of which they have spectacularly zero self-awareness. How long before the penny starts to drop?
John Lydon’s former bandmate in PIL, bassist Jah Wobble, who in the 1990s incorporated flavours from Africa, the Middle East, South America and around the world into his music, describes in his auto-biography how, as a proud traditional East Ender, he noticed the community spirit destroyed and the atmosphere become more threatening as large numbers of Muslims moved-in, but his liberal friends didn’t want to acknowledge it. In the end he moved out to Marple near Stockport to find a community like the one he had grown up with. (I notice Jah Wobble no longer seems to be the darling of the music critics. I saw him a couple of years ago playing to about 100 people in a small club in Reading, no way covering his costs.)
Johnny Marr scrapped plans last year for a Smiths reunion tour in protest at the ever-cantankerous Morrissey’s pro-Brexit stance. Morrissey spoke out after the Manchester attack against the determination by politicians and policy not to clearly describe the perpetrator as Muslim. He has always has a patriotic streak though. When he’s not writing surreal homoerotic songs about East End gangsters or National Front discos, he’s cursing the Channel Tunnel to collapse.
Sadly I don’t see the youth turning en masse to this new punk quite yet – but Paul Joseph Watson quotes some interesting research that the Generation Z starting to come through has more conservative attitudes than the Generation Y social justice warriors in the US at least. He quite rightly points out that liberalism is now the dominant culture – and you can’t be both the dominant culture and the counter-culture at the same time. Conservatism is the new counter-culture.
I can’t help but draw parallels between the 1950s and today – notwithstanding the fact that some readers like my parents may look fondly on the 1950s as a golden age of decent and proud British values. Cultural Marxism has created a new uptight, prescriptive, judgemental, stagnant, uncreative and declining culture in which bad things happen to you if you step out of line. The next generation may, like that of the rock era, overthrow the straight-jacket of the values of the generation which preceded it and fight for the freedom to explore ideas, creativity, natural sexuality, enterprise, individualism and unifying identity.
I fear they may be faced less with the bewildered indignation but tolerant acceptance of post-war Britain and something more like the crushing police state response of the Soviet Union. There is a chance though that my young son may have been born into exciting times.