Righteous indignation is one of the most delightful of emotions and that is why I buy the Guardian and Observer newspapers: they guarantee to stimulate me to that delightful frame of mind.
This morning, for example, it was the Observer’s turn to reduce me to impotent rage. It contained a long article about ‘gender inequality’ in politics and society, dull as all such articles are bound to be, reflecting the views of the harridan-and-harpy wing of British politics. Even the use of the word gender (universal now on the forms one has to fill in), rather than that of sex, irritates me. Apart from the view of sex-differences that it insinuates, it represents an impoverishment of the language, for sex and gender have – or once had – different meanings.
But this was only a minor cavil compared with the irritation to come. Below the article, under the rubric, ‘What the next generation thinks,’ were quotations from five young people aged sixteen. Their names were Tasnim Choudhury, Hanan Boudali, Ifunaya Onyekwelu, Caner Aksu and Ebru Calarsoy. The first two were dressed in heavy black Muslim garb, and were of course, much exercised about the situation of women – though not, it goes without saying, in Islam. Only one of the five was a boy.
Even after several years of a government population replacement programme, by means of which a combination of emigration and immigration will produce an enormous vote bank in favour of an ever-expanding government, the five children selected for interview by the newspaper can hardly be statistically representative of their generation.
I am no Freudian, and do not much care for Freud’s terminology, but it is difficult not to see in the selection some kind of wish fulfilment in the selection. The white intellectual middle class, those who write and read the paper, seem actually to want to abolish the country they inherited.
But do they really? They want, I think, to appear more-liberal-than-thou, in the way that Islamists want to appear more-Islamic-than-thou, but I am not sure that, in their hearts, they really want the changes they push with such assiduity. It is rather that they live in so solidly privileged a world, so removed from the world of the changes that have promoted, that they cannot really envisage any real change in their own conditions of life.
It did occur to me briefly that the Observer was written by secret members of the BNP – but then I remembered its readership.