Political Cultism – Is it akin to religious cultism?

Jeremy Corbyn is often referred to as having a cult following and the same is said of Nigel Farage of course. Brexit itself seems to be cultish too but our view of cults is often more likely to be connected with religious extremism rather than politics. So the question is do political cults have a commonality with religious cults?

According to Wikipedia in sociological terminology, sects are products of religious schism and therefore maintain a continuity with traditional beliefs and practices, while cults arise spontaneously around novel beliefs and practices.

Well Brexit certainly fits the ‘novel beliefs and practices’ definition as it is based very much on belief rather than facts/reality and it’s proponents (Brexiteers) can be fanatical in their following of it despite strong evidence challenging their often seemingly emotional based stance.

But what of Corbynism? Is it akin to say Thatcherism or Reganism in that its followers see themselves as the true believers whilst they look upon the scepticism of others who do not subscribe to their beliefs as being, in religious terms, heathens? Certainly, in my experience Labour Party members and supporters who see themselves as Corbynistas will often refer to anyone else, even fellow Labour members who are not in the Corbyn sect, as ‘Tories’, the political alternative terminology to the religious heathen I guess. Subscribers to the political sect known as Blairism are particularly hated by Corbynistas yet both Blairism and Corbynism have both been the majority view within the Labour Party in the past 20 years. I’ve heard it said that some Corbynistas hate Blarites more than their traditional ‘enemy’ Thatcherites!

Interestingly though, Johnson, whilst probably being more of a Brexiteer than any members of the Brexit Party, does not seem to have a cultish following. Indeed, he seems to be widely unpopular other than with extreme right wingers. Is that because he switched from being an EU supporter and because he is seen to be a politician who follows the crowd. In other words not a true believer in Brexit?

What makes some of us look upon Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters as being akin to cultists is that they will back their leader no matter what. No criticism of him is acceptable in any form from any quarter and they ‘know’ that anyone who does question Jez is a ‘Tory’.

As a Liberal who likes to hold a healthy scepticism of all political leaders, often particularly Liberal ones, this defence of ‘The leader’ come what may is hard for me to get my head around. I think I smelled something worryingly like cultism with the people who surrounded Nick Clegg during the Coalition Government days. They, like Jez Corbyn’s backers, were not for hearing the noise outside of their seemingly closed group and the consequences were dire for liberalism as it is now starting to prove for Labour too.

To conclude I think it is perfectly possible for political cultism to exist as an extreme form of the political sects which clearly exist within some political parties. The other interesting point to consider here is that those who look to be backing what seems to others as being a cult will probably deny that they’re cultists. Is that because they don’t see themselves as cultists? Is it only those outside of a cult who can see cultism for what it is?

And finally when does a sect, political religious or otherwise, become a cult?

Politicians who evade or fear scrutiny are not the kind of people we should be electing

The Scotsman has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/columnists/farage-s-dislike-of-scrutiny-is-a-warning-to-the-electorate-leader-comment-1-4925761

Scrutiny of those in power whether they be running a Parish Council or the UK Government is crucial in a healthy functioning democracy. If you ever notice a politician trying to evade scrutiny then alarm bells should be ringing whomever they are.

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting

PS – As if to remind us all of this matter a Liverpool Echo article from 17th May had this line within it regarding Knowsley Borough Council:-

‘And changes to Knowsley’s constitution put forward by Labour were heavily criticised by opposition councillors who said they would reduce scrutiny of the council.’

BBC – Why it’s lost it and become the Brexit Broadcasting Company

Like many I have long been one who has defended the BBC but because of it’s appalling coverage of the EU Referendum and subsequently it becoming little more than the Brexit Broadcasting Company I have lost all confidence in it. It’s obsession with Nigel Farage has done it great harm so as a consequence those of us who voted Remain and who were once backers of the BBC have just about given up all hope of it ever returning to informative and independent reporting.

And why do I say this now? Well the Radio Times 1st – 7th September edition carries a ‘Viewpoint’ article in the name of well known BBC reporter John Simpson and frankly it made me very angry.

Whether John was asked to write the piece or volunteered it, due to the pressure the BBC has been coming under?, I don’t know but he clearly and utterly fails to understand why the BBC is now looked upon in a very negative way by the very people who used to defend it from attacks of the mad right or left of UK politics.

John says in effect that the BBC has not changed but that those of who have turned against it have. In other words we are the problem and the BBC is not! No John, it’s not that we are upset because the BBC is presenting arguments that we disagree with, we are upset because the balance of the BBC’s news and current affairs output is heavily pro Brexit. That some of the BBC’s prominent presenters are seemingly pro-Brexit simply makes things worse from our perspective. Ignoring some pro-Remain events, attended by big crowds also mitigates against the BBC.

I’m sorry John but from my point of view and I suspect from many others too you are sadly defending the indefensible.

We don’t want a BBC that presents big issues on a one side says this the other says the opposite basis. We want the lies and the liars exposed, no matter who they are.

Brexit – Is the BBC weakening on its refusal to cover protests?

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-43756531

The BBC has the story on it Scotland web site page – see link above

I’m wondering if the BBC may finally be weakening in it pro-Brexit approach to news and current affairs coverage? To date, more or less since the EU Referendum, the BBC has been heavily biased in its reporting towards the pro-Brexit camp in my view. The number of Times Nigel Farage has appeared on Question Time has become a national embarrassment for our supposedly impartial national broadcaster to whom we all have to pay a license fee.

But pressure has been building on the BBC to set the record straight after months of its biased reporting – biased by it effectively ignoring any pro-EU/anti-Brexit events. So is this small step an acknowledgement of its sins even if only in Scotland? Would the BBC be brave enough to do similar in England where the Brexit dominated Tory and Labour Parties would surely attack it if it went back to being balanced in its reporting of Brexit?

That the once hugely respected BBC is in this position is desperately sad in itself but the reality is that BBC news is now probably 3rd or even 4th in terms of its reliability and impartiality behind Channel 4 News, Sky News and ITN. Who’d have thought it would come to this?

General Election – Reflections of a radical lefty

Brexit – Well it now seemingly has huge support as both Labour and Tories were backed to pursue it. What happened to the 48% who voted against Brexit because many of them must have effectively voted for it this time around?

Nick Clegg – Probably for the best that he lost his seat. In many way he was one of the most intelligent and knowledgeable MP in Parliament but because of his poor judgement over tuition fees (he said he would oppose them and did the opposite) he found himself in a place from which there was no return. Indeed, he ended up being blamed for tuition fees when in fact they were brought in by Labour who, in this most recent election, pledged to abolish their own previous policy!

Diane Abbott and Teresa May – They had terrible campaigns, end of. Diane was seemingly incapable of fielding incoming fire whilst submarine commander May kept ducking under the waves to avoid the fire. Has any Prime Minister/Party Leader been so detached from an election campaign before?

Jeremy Corbyn – Well he did not implode as the hostile press said he would, in fact did reasonably well as a 1970’s socialist with a love of nationalisation. Maybe Labour kept sending in Diane Abbott because they knew she would be terrible so taking the pressure of Jeremy? If they did it was a well thought out move.

Ulster Unionists – Oh dear what will become of us now the fate of the Government is probably in their hands? Yes, they will get the blame for supporting the Tories when unpopular things are done but then again on Brexit and Welfare reform the Tories may be relying on Labour backing/abstaining based on recent history. It certainly makes me feel very uncomfortable that our country will in effect be in the hands of a political party which promotes sectarian politics! What’s the chances of it not ending up in tears?

Polarised UK? – Well yes when viewed from some angles but on the biggest issue of the day – Brexit – the Tories and Labour were actually united over pursuing what will inevitably be a disastrous economic process from which the poor will suffer the most.

Pensioners – How many pensioners actually voted Conservative despite their triple lock pensions (brought in by the Lib Dems) being under threat from the Tories? And what about the Conservative’s Dementia tax and their promised cuts to Winter Fuel Allowance? Did some pensioners vote Tory because they still want Brexit at any cost.

Young People – Many voted Labour because of their promise to abolish tuition fees but in doing so they also voted for some Labour MP’s who in effect support the restriction of freedom of movement, via Brexit, which is in no way in the interests of young people. And how on earth did Labour MP Kate Hoey survive? She has been the female bookend to Nigel Farage, representing a constituency which voted heavily (76.6%) against Brexit, yet she was re-elected with a thumping majority?

Tim Farron – He had a decent campaign with the limited exposure he got on TV and radio. He lacks the charisma of Charles Kennedy or Paddy Ashdown but he made a good fist of it.

Conclusion – Not a good election for us radical lefties but then again are they ever? Each time the deck chairs get moved around but the government of the day is always too right wing!