I write about Jeremy Corbyn a lot, pretty much all of it negative in the extreme, so I get a lot heat on Twitter from his supporters. I want to be clear right off that I’m not complain about this fact – I have to be able to take as good as I give in this regard. The reason I bring it up today is that of late, the tweets from this group of people have changed a little in one terrifying aspect: British leftists are starting to use Trumpisms. A lot.
The most prevalent are “fake news” and “alternative facts”. These pop up all time in my Twitter notifications now, always from leftist supporters of Corbyn. There is so much to say here, it’s hard to know where to begin.
Clearly what kicked this off was Corbyn himself using the phrase “fake news” on television. That was idiotic in the extreme by the Labour leader, but I would have thought that antipathy towards the Republican president – you know the pussy grabbing, Muslim banning, refugee rejecting, builder of walls, that guy – would have been strong enough to resist any siren call to the Left. Apparently, if Jeremy says it, so be it.
Of all the things about Trump not to like (and there is a lot to choose from) top of the list is surely his attempts to warp reality around his personality in a proto-fascistic manner. That’s what the term “fake news” is actually all about – all news is fake unless it has something great to say about him. “Alternative facts” is another way of saying that all of reality is subjective and that objective reality is a falsehood, thus allowing Trump to say that he had more people at his inauguration than any previous president. The idea that the British Left has taken to copying Kellyanne Conway directly is both hilarious and repugnant in equal measure.
Kate Malby wrote an article in the Guardian yesterday entitled “The Tory failure to take on Trump is not just shameful: it’s bad politics” which contains the phrase “The party will regret letting the left be Britain’s moral conscience”. This is wishful thinking by the Left: as much as you can say about the Tories cosying up to Trump in a manner that’s more than a little squirm-inducing, at least the Right is not aping Trump directly by using his own, idiosyncratic language. You can’t divorce phrases like “alternative facts” from their consequences; they are as much a part of Trumpism as that stupid white elephant of a border wall is. You want to talk about bad politics, try this: embrace the worst parts of Trumpism while taking out the few parts bits of the British public think aren’t too bad. That’s bad politics.
I’ve written previously about how Trump becoming synonymous with Brexit is bad for Labour; them going and cementing the deal by using Trump’s language makes the whole thing even worse.