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I've been thinking on that - the rationality aspect.

I remember growing up in Tory heartlands and having my Mother spit with fury whenever Neil Kinnock appeared on the tv.  She was totally irrational in her hatred of him and couldn't come back with any reasonable argument to justify it. It was just fact that he was a vile, evil man. No questions.

But my early introductions to 'the left' gave me the impression that they too were over emotive and irrational in defending their causes.  Demonstrations and marches just for the hell of it, to be disruptive, to have an excuse to shout and rant.  Trade unions striking and bins burning. No room for being reasonable. That's all the left were capable of in my Mother's view and it is a perception that the right still use to vilify the left with.

Certainly with trade unions that perception prevails and it is a big factor in declining membership, especially for younger workers. Perhaps with a 'left wing' Government, these perceptions have been eroded somewhat. Now we are in a better position to have our arguments heard and there is less need to rant and shout and wave placards around because we aren't currently in opposition here.  It seems like we can't win either way.  We mobilise and we are too emotive, we argue coherently and we aren't emotive enough.

And the right continue to be two faced.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Mar 22nd, 2008 at 06:35:25 AM EST
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Again, that can be seen as a framing issue.  The right are usually far better than us at framing the debate in their terms.

What was the term applied to all those placard-waving, Russki-loving, Trade-union-bootlicking hysterics? The Loony Left.

Can you think of an equivalently derogatory and repeated phrase for the right wing of that period?  You can't.  It was a masterpiece of framing by the right wing press.

But there was more than that.  Look again at my last-but-one paragraph.  Placard-waving.  Is your first thought "Countryside Alliance"? Every phrase in that sentence is loaded with anti-left associations via frequently repeated references to the Cold War and Winter of Discontent.

That's not to say that the left has always been saintly and victimised.  But there is no equivalent phraseology for the dismantling of our society and infrastructure that took place under Thatcher.  We have failed to create and propagate our own frames.

And the right is still better at this than us.  Could any left-wing demonstration display the spittle-flecked hysteria of the anti-choice brigade without making the national news in a really unhelpful way?

We might not want to play the manipulative frame game.  But we do need to be aware of it so that we can deal with it.  "Pro-choice" was one good counter-step.  

by Sassafras on Sat Mar 22nd, 2008 at 07:19:53 AM EST
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Great points and very true.  Thanks.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Mar 22nd, 2008 at 07:47:30 AM EST
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