The demagogic statement by the Shadow Chancellor, Mr McDonnell, that the residents of Grenfell Tower were murdered by political decisions, is proof that he is unfit for public office. It was a grossly inflammatory, as well as erroneous, thing to say; no doubt he would defend it in his own mind as conducing to a Leninist heightening the contradictions.
As it happens, Mr McDonnell has, in his career, been at the very least equivocal on the subject of political murder; the question for him appearing to have been who is being murdered and who is doing the murdering. It is a subject that he would be well-advised to leave alone in future.
But murder in any case does not cover the case of Grenfell Tower, because murder is the unlawful killing of someone with malice aforethought. To murder, one must either intend to kill, or at least seriously to injure, the person thus injured subsequently (within a year and a day) dying of the injuries inflicted.
Therefore, even if the deaths occasioned by the fire in Grenfell Tower were the result of bad decisions taken (incidentally, many by the very officialdom in whose honesty and competence many people appear to have such faith), they were not murder – unless it is maintained that there was actually a design to kill or seriously to injure the residents. If anyone believes that, he needs to see a psychiatrist.
Needless to say, however, Mr McDonnell was not aiming at truth in his statement, but at a kind of incitement: an incitement to a gratifying sense of moral outrage among his audience that would assist his accession to power. He was appealing to an uncritical mob mentality, and it appears that at Glastonbury, where he spoke, he found one.
What is alarming about this is that the Glastonbury mob was probably above average both in intelligence and educational attainment, as well as in long-term economic prospects. In other words, a mob mentality is gaining ground in this country, and all that stands between the rest of us and it is Teresa May, a nullity’s nullity; and even if she were replaced by palace coup, it would only be, most likely, by another nullity.
Our choice then, is between people who do not even have the courage of their lack of convictions and dangerous demagogues: not a happy choice, perhaps, but I know on which side I stand.
I would like to watch these kids at Glastonbury weep when they finally find out, like the rest of us have found out before, that Jeremy Corbyn & his cronies have no answers.
P.S. Are these people at Glastonbury really intelligent & educated?
Dalrymple doesn’t say that they’re intelligent and educated. He states that they were “probably above average both in intelligence and educational attainment”, which is not quite the same thing.
You’ve lost me, Mr James, even though I’m above average, both in intelligence and educational attainment.
I’m also nonplussed (OED meaning, not North American) by Dalrymple’s last statement: “Our choice then, is between people who do not even have the courage of their lack of convictions and dangerous demagogues: not a happy choice, perhaps, but I know on which side I stand.” On which side is that, friend? I’m not sure you will be as high in my estimation as you used to be whichever side you favour.
Dalrymple surely means that in Britain the average level of intelligence and educational attainment is appallingly low (a theme he frequently refers to in his work). Therefore to be above average does not make anyone intelligent and educated in any meaningful sense.
Rumour is a pipe
Blown by surmises, Jealousy’s conjectures…
That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,
The still discordant, wavering multitude,
Can play upon it. (2HenryIV)
Shakespeare knew the danger mob mentality presented. Writing at a time when London’s population was 200,000 mostly uneducated & ill-informed people, rumour, surmise & conjecture satisfied the hunger that newspapers satisfied in a later age. The attendant risks, of course, are obvious.
How bitter then the irony that in an age when the chances of being well-informed were never higher that ‘the blunt monster with uncounted heads’, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Glastonbury to be born?