Sunday 27 September 2020

Laurence Fox's Fake New Party

I had a moan about repetitive politics the other day, and the cyclical grind continues. Though, on this occasion, we're talking about farce, not tragedy. Laurence Fox, famous for playing the sidekick of a sidekick and marrying Billie Piper has announced he's launching a political party. Under the working name of Reclaim, there's apparently a million quid of donations in the bank and has no purpose other than fighting the culture wars. To quote Fox, "Our politicians have lost touch with the people they represent and govern. Our public institutions now work to an agenda beyond their main purpose. Our modern UK was borne out of the inclusion of so many individual voices. We can reclaim a respectful nation where all are included and none are ashamed to have somewhere to call home." If past behaviour of racist and transphobic trolling is taken into consideration, readers can make their minds up about the sincerity of Fox's words.

Between 2018 and 2019, followers of political minutiae will remember it as a springtime for new centrist parties. The much-missed Change UK got founded and quickly floundered, but this was one product of a moment that birthed half a dozen petty centrist outfits. Forwarding to Autumn 2020 there is persistent talk among former Labour members about setting something up, and indeed we had George Galloway's Stalinoid Worker's Party of Britain founded early this year, and in the past fortnight Chris Williamson's Resistance Movement, and the Socialist Party announcement of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition's return. We're also seeing similar moves around the edges on the right. The Brexit Party has drifted into abeyance while Nigel Farage decides what to do with the party's reputed £10m - the idea of rebranding the fan club as the Reform Party still tickles him, but there's no point if he can't hold remunerative public rallies. And so, other chancers are trying their hand. The London AM David Kurten has, for some reason, sat on the registration of his new party for two months and announced the arrival of the Heritage Party on Friday. Social conservatism and free markets are the boring fare on offer, and sounds no different to Reclaim.

The boom in petty party formation on the left is pretty straight forward. The election of Keir Starmer presents a clean break with Corbynism. It's totally understanable. But on the right? A Brexit-oriented Tory party is in power peddling right wing identity politics, and is always looking for new angles to cement its advantage. The political space is entirely squatted by Boris Johnson. This isn't like the Dave years that allowed UKIP to flourish to the Tories' right. How then to explain? In the first instance, politicians without parties tend not to last very long at any level of British politics. For someone like Kurten for whom there is no other vehicle and (probably) isn't about to be admitted into the Tories, it's a desperate roll of the die. But "Lozza" Fox?

To stand out in the crowded field of right wing punditry requires some originality - especially if one is a relative newcomer. Having made himself unemployable as an actor thanks to repeat public displays of prejudice and stupidity, Fox can - and does - position himself as a crybaby picked on by nasty liberal thesps who refuse to have anything to do with him. Therefore Fox is the perfect victim to feed the grievance culture of the right, and confirms all the suspicions about his profession throught repeated "truth-telling". But this can only get you so far. When this is the limit of your shtick, and one's musical efforts aren't pulling in the reddies, what is a privileged boy to do? Well, why not launch a political party? With a platform designed to tickle the fancy of Tory editorial offices and antagonising Fox's opponents on Twitter, it secures a new wave of attention and a justifiable excuse for inviting him on the politics programmes. And the (alleged) money bankrolling the project ensures some interest when parliamentary by-elections roll around. It's not actually going to do anything though. The prospects of electoral success range between nothing and nil, but this isn't the point. It's a vehicle for the person of Laurence Fox, a device for keeping the appearance fees and column offers flowing in. This is a non-party, a pure fake. Its substance is entirely grift.


Anonymous said...

Trivia point: The TUSC actually came in ahead of the Women's Equality Party (a centrist feminist project?) in the Merseyside mayoral elections. Mind you, that meant the TUSC were third from last overall.

Anonymous said...

Douglas Murray - Eton
Laurence Fox - Harrow

These poor disadvantaged and marginalised voices, upset that the sense of entitlement they were raised with is not being fulfilled.

What is interesting is that this comes when there is a resurgence of privilege - two ex-Etonites running the country, Brexit, which was wholly in the interests of retaining narrow ruling class power... Now Fox wants to ride on the coattails of this wave.

It is probably true that his trite outburst on QT got him blackballed, but at least he did it to himself - 99 per cent of the country spend their entire lives excluded from the club simply due to an accident of birth. Shame he doesn't speak up about that.

Kamo said...

Part of this is aided and abetted by the left's willingness to accommodate a strand of commercialised grievance just as long as it signalled suitable virtues. There are plenty of professional 'social justice' activists out there who have built lucrative careers by taking genuine concerns and stretching them out tenuously and absurdly to underpin their business models. These new developments may be a new flavour of grievance and aimed at a different market segment, but they share much in common with the endless grievance porn found in The Guardian and similar publications, where any and every event demonstrates the selected bete noire of the activist and conveniently justifies investment in services provided by said activist or their associates (the same events often monetised from a variety of different angles). These right wingers are following a trail blazed by the left.

BCFG said...

The reason there is still space on the political right is because the Tories have basically taken the leftist political correct ball and ran with it. So the department of education will no longer allow any anti capitalism to be taught in schools, its hate speech to criticise the rich etc. And the Tories have no problem with keeping all the Blairite political correctness because political correctness is a stick to beat to beat the poor. I mean we live under a Brexit Tory government yet identity politics is more pervasive than ever, this is because it totally serves the right.

It’s just a way of telling the unwashed masses, we know you live in a system that dehumanises, where relations between people are relations between money, where if you turn your back someone will stab you it, where cheating is in its DNA, we know all this but please plebs shut the fuck complaining and mind what you say, it’s not good for business.

So what the left offered was, and to quote Blissex, Thatcherism with gay marriage. Or what the left said is this, capitalism may not be perfect but you better act like it is.

This is why the leftism of the noughties is very much Middle Class, because it wants its cake and to eat it. It wants massive inequality, it wants an army of servants but it doesn’t want any of the social consequences of this. So what does it do, it tries to suppress hate. But suppressing hate doesn’t eradicate it.

Hate speech is perfectly natural in a capitalist society and to quell it is oppressive, whether you think it necessary or not.

This attack on free speech is perfect for the right; they have simply grabbed the ball from the left and taken it to its natural conclusion.

I just wish the left would stop bleating about it. Because I blame them!

When I say left, I mean of course the abysmal left we see in many Western nations, arrogant, self aggrandising and utterly in love with capitalism (yes I am thinking of you boffy).