'Rainbow coalition': After the Left lost the economic argument, they realised there was no future in brute force collective industrial action. So they embraced the notion of individual 'rights' as a way of furthering their agenda
By Richard Littlejohn
Back in 1987, Mrs Thatcher was monstered over an interview in which she said: ‘There is no such thing as society.’ The Left seized on this remark as evidence of her heartless indifference to the plight of ordinary people.
What she was actually doing was condemning the use of ‘society’ as a convenient shorthand excuse for individual deficiencies, disappointments and delinquency. A quarter of a century ago, as in some quarters today, there was a knee-jerk readiness to blame ‘society’ for everything from drug addiction to violent crime.
Mrs Thatcher was also criticising the automatic tendency of people to look to the State as a cure for all ills.
She was of the firm conviction that society is the sum of its parts — individuals, families, churches, voluntary organisations, businesses. It was her belief that people expected too much from government, concentrated too much on their ‘rights’ and ‘entitlements’ and not enough on their obligations.
We all have a duty to help ourselves and our neighbours. Hers was a vision of a liberated, bottom-up society, not the bureaucratic top-down version favoured by Socialists.
It is especially relevant to today’s ferocious debate over welfare — safety net versus cradle-to-grave lifestyle option. Labour naturally favours a system in which the State Will Provide, even if it traps people in dependency.
In 1987, Mrs Thatcher was monstered over an interview in which she said: 'There is no such thing as society'
If you make idleness a worthwhile career choice, why should anyone look for a job? It’s not their fault, is it?
After the Left lost the economic argument, following Thatcher’s third general election victory, they realised there was no future in brute force collective industrial action. So they embraced the notion of individual ‘rights’ as a way of furthering their agenda.
Labour decided it could no longer rely on white, working-class trades unionists to secure power. So it set about building what by then had become known as a ‘rainbow coalition’ based on the notion of victimhood.
Rather than ‘society’ the Left fastened on to ‘community’ as their buzzword. This didn’t mean community in its traditional sense, it meant ‘minority’.
It involved carving up society into myriad client groups and stoking their grievances, real or perceived, which could only be assuaged by new laws and lashings of taxpayers’ money.
Mass immigration was also part of the game plan, along with the creation of a vast class of highly-paid public sector apparatchiks to service the ‘community’, all of whom were expected to return the favour by voting Labour.
First you divide people in terms of race, then sexuality, until eventually every single section of the population is sliced up into ever more microscopic sub-sectors.
It is how we’ve ended up with the impertinent absurdity of people applying for a parking permit being forced to fill in a form declaring whether they are still the same sex they were born.
This is in the name of fighting ‘discrimination’ against people with different ‘gender identities’. Having just about run out of every conceivable permutation of racial, religious and sexual classification, the fragmentation of Britain into a million competing client groups is almost complete. Almost, but not quite.
As I wrote on Friday, the police in Manchester are even identifying goths, punk rockers and heavy metal fans as ‘vulnerable’ minorities.'
This week we learn that the Equalities and Human Rights Commission is demanding that everyone from druids to vegans and 'green' activists should be given special treatment at work
This week we learn that the Equalities and Human Rights Commission is demanding that everyone from druids to vegans and ‘green’ activists should be given special treatment at work.
Actually, this is merely codifying what is becoming established as common practice in the public sector. I’ve had fun in the past with the Pagan Police Association and Jedi knights in the prison service.
Now all employers, private and public, will have to make concessions to these poor, persecuted minorities. For instance, druids should be given time off to go on ‘pilgrimages’ to Stonehenge.
Vegetarians will not have to clean fridges which have contained meat. And if Christians are finally to be allowed to wear a small crucifix, then Greens must be allowed to lecture fellow staff about how their cars are killing polar bears.
I’ve been telling you for years that environmentalism will soon be granted official religious status.
Changes: When the Left talks about 'equality' what it actually means is 'preferential treatment'
When the Left talks about ‘equality’ what it actually means is ‘preferential treatment’.
I’ve always considered myself a liberal in the truest sense of the word. As far as I’m concerned people can do what they like provided it doesn’t hurt or interfere with anyone else. But your own lifestyle choices also bring responsibilities. Why would a vegan want to get a job which is likely to bring him contact with meat, for instance?
If people want to dress up as Merlin and howl at the moon, that’s their prerogative. But why should any employer be expected to give them paid time off to pursue it? You may well feel like turning up at work in a loin cloth and a Red Indian head-dress. But surely your boss should have an equal right to insist you wear a suit.
Just as ‘multiculturalism’ means forcing the host society to adapt to immigrants, not the other way round, so ‘equal rights’ mean compelling everyone else to adapt to individual caprice and prejudice.
There’s a difference between ‘liberal’, which means tolerant, and ‘libertine’, which means indulging in dissolute, selfish behaviour.
Sadly, in Britain the pendulum has swung too far in favour of libertine. People think they can do what they like, when they like, where they like. And to hell with everyone else.
Thus the rights of the ‘dogging community’ are allowed to trample over the rights of dog walkers. Parents can’t take their children to the park for fear of stumbling over naked perverts playing daisy-chains in the bushes — with official approval.
Criticise any kind of behaviour, no matter how repellent to most people, and you will not only be howled down as a bigot, increasingly you can be prosecuted for ‘hate crime’ and hounded out of your job.
The idea that anyone ever has to take into account the impact of their actions on their fellow citizens in the wider community has been thrown out with the bathwater in the name of individual ‘rights’.
Mrs Thatcher may have been quoted out of context all those years ago. But now that she has died, her detractors on the Left have finally ensured that there really is no such thing as society.