WEEKLY WANKER #044: RUPERT READ

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Cambridge Green Party candidate and frequent donor, Rupert Read.

A Guest Post by @donAlvar

Heard about single-wanker politics? If you read this quickly enough, you might have read “single-issue politics”, which is also what we are talking about here.

In Wikipedia’s definition of single-issue politics they mention Green Parties, which are usually focused on not messing too much with the environment. However, a look at the Green Party of England and Wales shows that they are not only worried about polar bears and bees but also inequality and exploitation, and care about social as well as environmental welfare. It does not look too much like a single-issue party then. Does it look like a single-wanker party, though? Maybe. I am not a member but seen from outside, all of its politicians, but one, seem sound.

The odd-one-out amongst the Greens is Rupert Read. Rupert is a prolific academic whose main interest is philosophy, which makes it harder to forgive his single-issue narrow-mindedness when it comes to political attitudes. He has devoted a decade or so to studying Wittgenstein, and, as usual amongst experts-in-someone, is probably weary of quotes shorter than a few pages, and would not pay attention to his hero’s advice “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one shuts the fuck up”  Instead our eco-dudebro took to Twitter recently where he expressed his unease with the distinction between cisgender and transgender.

I’m a feminist, get me out of here

Many Green Party supporters were willing to believe that this was an uncharacteristic gaffe, but it soon became clear that it was the tip of an iceberg of dodgy attitudes. One of his first reactions to the outrage was making clear that “he is a pro-feminist philosopher.” He immediately produced a number of “unreserved” apologies, each one more unreserved than the last (the first one explained why it was OK for cis women not to allow trans women into women-only toilets). In his last apology, he is still juggling with what his party position is and what his personal position is, making it difficult for the party (which is not him, according to many) to issue its own apology/statement/whatever they decide to issue.

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We’d make wankers use separate bogs

When you have a hammer, everything seems like a nail

Looking back at the list of Weekly Wankers, we will find out that most of them clearly outwank our Rupert. Especially since he at least repudiated the “help” he was getting from an obscure transphobic organisation called “Gender Identity Watch”, who, as soon as people on Twitter started criticising his tweets about trans women, started attempting to raise funds for him. Although, it can hardly be said that he’s short of cash, given that he’s donated £57,501.69 to the Green party over the years.

Rupert may try to seem like a good sort but he has a philosophical mind, forged in the crucibles of academical debate (I tried to write like him there) and will approach any issue as he approaches discussions about Wittgenstein, only with less experience. For a sample of this, try to read his review of Melancholia.

In academia you don’t consider the fact you are a white, straight, cis male, educated at Oxfordbridge or at Ivy League Universities, able to donate a handsome amount to his party, as a relevant fact. And you can nicely pick an issue which looks important enough to base your single-issue politics on. I will give you an example: what do you think of an African immigrant trying not to drown near the coast of Malta? My online research suggests what Rupert’s answer would be: Carbon Footprint! I stumbled upon an article our eco-feminist dudebro wrote called “love migrants, hate immigration”, where he explains us how migration is bad because…carbon footprint. As is, of course, the fact that more people in Asia eat enough proteins and use gadgets. He also claims that immigration “reduces social cohesion” and harms solidarity within society, endorsing an idea quite alien (and with alien I mean opposite) to the Green Party ideology, called “the progressive dilemma.”  You can get a good idea of the ideological background of Read’s article by contrasting it with this entry of Left Outside.

Just another Clegg

So while he might not be THE worst wanker, I put my conscience at ease by remembering Nick Clegg. Remember the days when the Liberal Democrats had a chance to turn the UK into a fairer, less unequal and less cleptocratic country? When many (amongst which I count myself) forgot to see a bad omen in the fact that Nick Clegg was the son of a banker, and a descendant of Russian nobility? Well, if we are still playing the game of political parties and representative democracy, we should be better at keeping an eye on our leaders.

The Green Party of England and Wales has been recently booed by the Daily Telegraph as a threat to all things good and pure (like the war on drugs, prosecuting prostitutes, criminalising ideologies and hating immigrants). If we are going to hang our hopes on the Green Party, we should keep an eye on Green politicians going rogue, and make sure the party’s one-wanker politics doesn’t spread.

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Further reading:

WEEKLY WANKER #019: DAVID ATTENBOROUGH

WEEKLY WANKER #017 : WINGS OVER SCOTLAND

Intersect This: White Cis Feminism in Scotland

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Follow us on Twitter @unsavourycabal

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2 responses to “WEEKLY WANKER #044: RUPERT READ

  1. From the evidence given here, I would wholeheartedly support the judgement of his poor record on issues of gender and the absurd take on immigration. Where I have reservations about the article is the final comparison. Clegg created his fifteen minutes of fame before the last General Election and effectively betrayed everyone who voted Lib Dem as an alternative to Labour and the Tories. However, he was (and is) the leader of the party while Read is ‘only’ a councillor and a candidate in the next General Election. As the article makes clear, these remarks are contrary to the policies and practices of the Green Party of England and Wales so, while a close eye should be kept on all politicians, the comparison is not like with like. Finally, for voters in Scotland, it is a different party, an independent party, albeit one with a close relationship with Read’s party.

    • All fair points. My comparison with Nick Clegg is quite far-fetched, even though it is possible that Read or others like him get to high places in any of the Green Parties and give us nasty surprises. I was trying to be fair to Read, but the comparison is a bit of a low blow.

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