Saturday 30 July 2016

From Animal Farm to Finding Dory Part 1 | Reflections on Politics, Paranoia and Community

I am feeling the need to add some of my own thoughts to a current political discussion. 

I appreciate it's Saturday so if you're tired of it all or need a break please ignore. 

Recently I received an email from the Labour Party confirming my vote in the current leadership election,  as long as I continue to support the aims and values of the party. I have voted Labour at least since my personal political awakening in my mid-twenties prompted by an A Level evening-class in Sociology taken at my local FE college (I’m ashamed to say I can’t remember if I voted at all before then). An undergraduate and postgraduate qualification in Sociology plus 25+ years of teaching, researching and writing have only strengthened by concerns about in/equality and in/justice.

My email reminds me that ‘The Labour Party will not tolerate abusive or threatening behaviour by supporters or members'.  I would never abuse in person or via social media anyone for their political beliefs. I have and will continue to disagree, debate, argue, protest and (attempt to) persuade. Between signing up to be a registered supporter in the 48 hour window the NEC provided and the time of receiving my email I stopped liking or sharing anything on Facebook or Twitter that was supportive of my preferred candidate and what he stands for and/or challenging of the behaviour of the PLP or NEC. Paranoia reminiscent of the fear of Big Brother in Orwell’s 1984 possibly. But the recent challenge to the elected leader by the PLP, the changes imposed by the NEC on who can vote, who can attend meetings and other such restrictions and developments leaves me, and I know others, thinking that, to paraphrase Orwell (Animal Farm 1945) ‘All Labour Party members and supporters are equal but some are more equal than others’.

My discipline training and research experience has resulted in, I think, a healthy questioning of what main stream media (MSM) news tell us is so which just now is bordering on incredulity. Recent academic studies highlight the scale of the anti-Corbyn media bias. the reproduction of obvious untruths alongside selective and clearly biased representation are endemic. Worse still are the blatant attempts to apportion inappropriate blame (e.g. 65% of Labour voters voted to remain whereas only 39% of Conservative voters did and voting intention polls indicated that Labour and the Conservatives were neck and neck before the Labour coup) and or to discredit and deride. There are many, many examples here but I’ll point out two recent ones both from The Telegraph:

  •  The title says it all for this article by Tom Harris published online on the 26th July 2016: ‘The cold place in hell reserved for Labour MPs who back Jeremy Corbyn knowing he is a disaster’
  •  In an article entitled ‘Jeremy Corbyn is divisive, deluded and dangerous . . .’, published online on the 27th July 2016 Neil Midgley describes Corbyn’s views as ‘odious’.

Reflecting on Corbyn’s long-term commitment to human, animal and environment rights, and on issues such as democracy, enfranchisement and political debate all of this makes me want to weep.

If you’ve read this far I guess by now you might be wondering how Finding Dory fits in. In the film's predecessor; Finding Nemo, Dory, the Blue Tang fish who encouraged the Clown fish Marlin to carry on in his quest to find his son Nemo, entreats him to ‘just keep swimming’. I’ve written before about the significance of this advice and how it has been useful to me personally, not least with reference to loss and grief:

  • I am aware that just keep swimming could be perceived to be and/or experienced as a platitude . . . And yet to me Dory’s words feel more like a metaphor; more than a metaphor, as I swim my way to emotional and physical wellbeing. More evidence I guess of how grief is a unique experience for all of us.

Recently, I read a response to a post on a Corbyn supporting Facebook page which included an image from the scene in FN when a shoal of fish caught in a fishing boat net ‘all swim together’ at Nemo’s urging in order to break free. Clearly then I’m not the only one who thinks this film also highlights the value of working together, community and comradeship. You can see the clip here:

I’m off to see Finding Dory later today . . . more soon. 

No comments:

Post a Comment