Political grifting is more prevalent in Britain than professional political activism. Careers as opinionators are plentiful, lucrative and, via a little flexibility now and then, long-lasting.
The entirety of far-right and/or conservative activism, including elected politicians, is grift for the participants. Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, Toby Young, Isabel Oakeshott, Andrew Neil, Julia Hartley-Brewer, Matt Chorley, Darren Grimes, etc. are in it for the money. Their warped anti-human philosophies are insincere and are tools to attain income.
It isn’t just the right who enjoy grifting. There is more than one reason why the centrist gloop attacked Jeremy Corbyn relentlessly. Corbyn and his colleagues opposed the Tories and presented alternative policies and ideologies. Such behaviour sidelined the centrists; their vacuity was exposed. Having contributed to Tory success in the 2019 general election and following the election of ideologically abstinent Keir Starmer as The Bystander, centrists crawled back into the limelight and reactivated their most reliable grift: Apolitically bemoaning the Tory government.
Criticism of capability of the government is a favoured pastime of the self-dubbed “moderates.” They protest haughtily against perceived “mistakes” by and “incompetence” of the Tories, occasionally going as far as calling ministers “lazy,” alongside theories that depict malevolent “undemocratic” individuals, often with the surname Cummings, leading the poor Etonians astray.
What the centrists do rarely is criticise Tories for being Tories. The intrinsic nature of being Tory – ingrained antisocial selfishness and focus on feeding the few at the expense of the many – is eschewed by centrists as a viable target. They forego such analysis because they share Tories’ ideology. Their complaints are about style and presentation, not about content or intent.
Centrists competing with Tories is a battle between two tentacles of conservatism. The former posit no opposition to the latter but they pretend to do so because that pantomime is a good earner. If genuine opposition to Tories exists then centrists lose both their opportunity to be in government and much of their income stream; if Britain is bereft of opposition then it’s a win-win scenario for centrists because either they are the government or else they are the professional pseudo opposition.
Free from their assumed responsibility to pound Corbyn-led Labour with fraudulent smears and abuse, centrists amuse each other with clumsy witticisms about Tory ministers’ foibles, snigger conspiratorially at endless contradictions, hypocrisy and mayhem of Tory on-the-hoof policy, and bang the doom drum of Brexit while sidestepping their associated blame for devastating consequences of a Tory government.
It’s a game. Starmer and Johnson or Dunt and Murray, politicians or commentators, dancing off against each other, none interested in challenging exploitation or improving lives and both groups raking it in. Centrist grifters are not worse than their Tory counterparts but there is a smidgen more dishonesty. They pretend to oppose and pretend to disapprove.
The grift needs frequent orgies of mutual masturbation. Guardian articles by Crace or Hyde, TV appearances by Miller and twitter threads by Dunt are greeted by campadres with ecstatic organ-destroying frenzies of appreciation wholly at odds with quality or usefulness of the words written or spoken.
The persistent group-cheer is detached from analysis, information and impartment of knowledge. There are small pockets of adequateness: Dunt’s assiduousness, Miller’s knowledge of law and Hyde’s speckled success at humour, but embarrassment of flaccidity is the overriding reaction to their work.
By far the most deeply embarrassing ongoing episode in the centrist jerkfest is the veneration of parody person Matt Forde. Forde, an opponent of wit and an opponent of cogent political analysis, has a career in television and, more recently, in authorship that has no basis in talent, no component of originality and an absence of likeability both in product and in personality.
It would seem perplexing that Forde has any public career at all if one were unaware of the group fellation nature of centrist grifting. Unaquainted with shame, Forde prostitutes himself and his work without regard for how poor it is, and his fellow grifters assist him because they know he’ll respond mutually with invites to his TV show or mentions in his book. Forde’s shamelessness aids him because it encourages him to be permanently enthusiastic about his awful work, enthusiasm that extends to appreciation of other centrists’ mediocre output who respond with enthusiasm for him that leads to positive reviews of his book and many opportunities to promote the book.
Allegorically, at a centrist Bacchanalia Forde would be a small dog running betwixt revellers’ handjobs as he performed amusing doggy tricks in exchange for biscuits.
Today, October 13th 2020, Forde’s tantric wank book is launched with assistance from seminal centrist grifter Alastair 45 Minutes Campbell; thus, simultaneously, Forde attains both pinnacle and nadir in the world of moderate grift. Although the launch is online, not in person, Forde is charging £7 to people who “attend” the event.
Centrist grifters are astroturfers on political opposition. They are distractors, time-wasters and gluttons. They consume space. They rid parliament of genuine opposition and fill up newspapers, TV studios and book shelves with inanity and waffle. They add nothing. They are in the way.