Guest post by Red Spex
James from last year’s Great British Bake Off thinks you should say no to independence. In yet another high point for the no campaign they seem to have struck a deal where they promo this drippy bastard’s book in return for posing next to some bunting and his agent rewriting some of their leaflets. If your gut reaction is ‘why the fuck should I care what some speccy cunt in a shite jumper thinks?’ (and I say that as a speccy cunt with some shite jumpers) you’re probably right, but bear with me. While the cybernats harp on about the legality of it all (BORING) the real point sails over their head (add it to the list): the relentless death march of twee fascism.
The Great British Bake Off is perfect recession TV for the BBC, with the throwback wartime font and the show’s reception in the media, the implication is that we can beat the recession with some cakes, a stiff upper lip and a good old ‘keep calm and carry on’ attitude. This article discusses why that’s particularly reactionary and explains how the nostalgia is totally false as the poster was never mass produced. British glorification of war is not a new phenomenon, with TV presenters set to be replaced by giant poppies for the whole of November 2013. The harking back to this mythical post-war era of ‘making do with what little we had’ is reliant on the unpaid domestic labour of women. Most people don’t have time to get ingredients, bake something and clean up the fucking mess after. That’s before we even look at the cost of baking things from scratch, be it pricey ingredients or the pointless ‘bakeware’ as listed here. In my vision of an independent Scotland anyone found with a glittery Union Jack piping bag will be punted over the border asap.
This problem is not exclusive to the right either, with the media darlings of the British left playing into this narrative. Billy Bragg, yes him with the mansion and who’s probably in the pay of the people gentrifying the Southbank centre in London (judging by this
press release/ Guardian article), demands cupcakes as part of the revolution. On top of this, most liberals seem unable to defend the NHS without making it into an issue of nostalgic patriotism, fighting to preserve what Our Grandfathers Fought For In the War. Turning class struggle into some retro pastiche of itself is not going to win us anything, but neither are votes for Labour and Owen Jones patently doesn’t give a fuck about that.
There was also the huge story that dominated the media for weeks about the Daily Mail, ‘slandering’ Ed Milliband’s dad by saying he hated Britain. Cue outrage from the usual alliance of twitter liberals; how could the paper say such a thing? Apart from the Daily Mail obviously thriving on these campaigns against it, they all missed the fucking point entirely. That great new vehicle for class struggle the People’s Assembly (which looks suspiciously like a re-brand of the failed Coalition of Resistance but I digress) organised a protest outside their headquarters (complete with white-guy-with-acoustic-guitar soundtrack) and called it The Daily Mail Hates Britain. WHO FUCKING CARES. I hate Britain, it’s fucking terrible. It’s obviously wrong to say vote yes and the British empire is resigned to the history books forever, Scotland had a large part to play in the white supremacist hell that Britain subjected the rest of the world to, but the no campaign is playing up the one thing that I will admit Britain excels at: rewriting history to make itself look good. Look at Michael Gove trying to change the history curriculum to show ‘a narrative of British progress’ – boke.
More locally we witnessed Labour students singing ‘the workers have no country’ after teaming up with the
4th international Tory students to win a mock referendum at that institution renowned for being an accurate cross section of Scottish society: Glasgow Uni. I think this refutes that argument better than I ever could but the fact people still sing these dated dirges as victory songs for the left shows how irrelevant they truly are. Give me Starships any day over some dry Billy Bragg version of a song from the French revolution. Well done for making communism into some retro-kitsch interest, keep using it to hark back to the 1930s instead of it being a dynamic force to dismantle the world we live in.
Along with baking and being a prick, tea is central to this British identity. The liberal response to the London riots in 2011 was fronted by an ex-big brother contestant called Sam Pepper. If you can watch this video and not want to punch him you’re probably reading the wrong blog. He went on to create T shirts (pictured above) and did a deal with a posh tea company to sell similarly branded tea with the profits going to helping business owners get some money back and other noble causes. Stephen Fry (last seen subscribing to the Richard Dawkins school of racism) was among the high profile supporters and it was picked up by several news outlets. Stay in and drink tea guys, don’t get angry at decades of racist police repression, the murder of an innocent man and the assault of a child on a protest. Apart from anything else if you think drinking tea makes you interesting you should probably get a personality. Talking about tea as this inherently British thing is just insulting as well, (*cough* Laurie Penny *cough*) as with all the cornerstones of the empire it was stolen from other parts of the world on the back of racist massacre and enslavement of the anyone who got in the way.
We also had the ‘Tea-DL’ story where a mosque in York supposedly offered tea to fascists, they all had a lovely chat and it was great. Again, the BBC were very keen to push that one as fact, when in fact it probably wasn’t true. This is a similar idea to the English Disco Lovers, if we all just drink tea/dance to disco fascism will go away. This is part of the much larger problem of anti-fascism (and the left in general) being full of middle-class liberals. The people that supposedly represent us in the media are only the tip of the iceberg. UAF seem to be more against ‘hate’ itself rather than actual fascism and when the SDL came to Edinburgh recently we had a crowd of lefties singing ‘Help for Heroes hates you’ victoriously over the police constructed barricades. Help for Heroes plays into the glorification of the military which is more effectively fascist than the EDL ever will be. They’re nothing to shout about.
Ultimately UK fascism will not come in the form of Tommy Robinson in a baseball cap. It will be middle class families bearing cupcakes and singing Mumford and Sons on the way to the new Bendydick Cummybunch film. As for our dweeby pal James, in last year’s GBBO final he tried to bake a Union Jack cake but it fell apart and he lost, a fitting metaphor for next year’s referendum.
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