Jonathan Freedland of the Guardian proves himself once again the master of cognitive dissonance. He berates the progressive left for its failure to match the emotional power of the political right’s slogans. The left lacks an answer, he says, to the rise of a Donald Trump.
It is hard (for once) not to agree with Freedland when he writes that the left must have
a response to the globalisation and automisation [sic] that has left so many millions feeling as if they, and the once flush towns they live in, have been consigned to the scrap heap. It means taming globalisation so that both its costs and benefits are shared more evenly. Right now, those at the top get the rewards while those at the bottom pay the price.
There are policy answers, starting with putting people back to work in jobs that pay decent wages. Spending billions to repair the fabric of the country – whether that be the bridges, tunnels and roads that are falling apart in the US or giving a lick of paint to towns that have been neglected for 50 years in Britain – is the obvious place to start. …
This is the challenge now. To realise that in the battle of hearts and minds, it’s never enough to win just one. You need to win both.
But weren’t Freedland and most of his colleagues at the supposedly progressive Guardian the ones who preferred Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders for the Democratic party nomination, and are now preferring Owen Smith to Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership? Are Clinton and Smith really the answer to our hunger for poetry and emotion? Do they speak to our hearts and minds? Or are they just yet more dull political automatons thrown up by a system desperate to put a gentler face on a cruel neoliberal order that benefits a tiny elite indifferent to the fate of the planet and most of those on it?
Somewhere deep in the recesses of his mind, battered long ago into silence by decades of liberal training at good schools, top universities and prestigious Guardian jobs, Freedland knows the answer.
Poets of emotion are to be found on the left. But for decades they have been “kettled” into the side alleys of the media landscape by enforcers of the corporate status quo like the Guardian. They are slowly making their voices heard through social media. They are creating a quiet political revolution. And Freedland and his ilk are doing everything in their power to try to stop them.