There’s something rather scary about this idea from Mason

What can is a left-led Labour party, combined with the progressive nationalist parties and the Greens, which will institute real change.

Progressive nationalist party” has echoes that I really don’t like. For here progressive means edging towards socialism. And nationalist socialist parties really didn’t have a good 20th century track record.

Britain has had one such quite recently, the BNP, and people like Mason tended not to like that very much. What is it about Celtic progressive nationalism that is therefore to like?

53 thoughts on “There’s something rather scary about this idea from Mason”

  1. @The Sage beat me to it.

    Not English, therefore not “Dominant” or “hegemonic” or whatever.

  2. They are oppressed, and they are centres of resistance to the neoliberal state…like Islam…cont’d p.94…

  3. Bloke in North Dorset

    When the likes of Mason look at the BNP they see what socialism always becomes, a nasty authoritarian regime. However they’ve convinced themselves that theirs will be a happy, clappy paradise where everyone will voluntarily give up their freedoms and wealth in the name of society and live happily ever after as Mason and his commissars rule wisely in our best interests.

    Cos socialism’s never been tried, doncha know?

  4. Celtic nationalism good, English nationalism bad. I’m at a loss to explain the antipathy for one and the tacit support for the other. It may be as simple as Mason alludes, that English nationalism is seen (in England) as a working class affectation, and that as a predominately middle class society we consider ourselves above that sort of thing, are of a more liberal bent. Perhaps it’s a presentational thing, in the same way that swopping Salmond for the Krankie girl transformed the SNP’s fortunes, and Marine Le Pen achieved her breakthrough in France, replacing Farage with a camera-friendly woman would be the answer?

  5. The SNP are brazen socialist tyrants.

    Their “named person” attack on families is the most brazen socialist power grab in the Western world at this time.

    A PM who was not himself a CM prick would–and should–squash the bastards like bugs.

  6. ” What is it about Celtic progressive nationalism that is therefore to like?”

    The bit where Mason gets to tell everyone what to do, or else.

  7. “The SNP are brazen socialist tyrants.”

    Not really socialists in the historic sense. They’re the usual Common Purpose types for sure, but economically they’re not socialist, they’re actually fairly middle of the road market capitalists. They don’t want to control the commanding heights of the economy, they just want to control your thoughts.

  8. Mason is akin to a Seamus Milne, albeit without the icy detachment that would send people to a gulag ‘for the good of society’ – with Mason they’d be coshed round the head, knocked out and dragged onto a train heading East. Obviously his atavistic vision is hugely popular amongst the Corbynites – fortunately in a secret ballot there’s very little chance of this type of thing garnering enough votes to succeed – although in the echo chamber of Twitter his supporters will tend to make a lot of noise!

  9. Bloke in Costa Rica

    David Moore is right: the enthusiasm among the Milnes and Masons for Nazism is directly proportional to how likely they think themselves to be in charge under such a regime. Can we skip that bit and go directly to the Nuremberg phase where we hang him?

  10. Socialists and progressives are different animals.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about models lately, and not just the ones with the nice legs. Seems to me that what differentiates different political and social theory groups is their model of the world. That is, their beliefs about how it works; what the mechanisms are. Most of, probably all of which, models are way too simple.

    Socialists have an economic model. Progressives have a moral model. Socialists think that the way to change society is to change its economy. Progressives think it is to change the morals. That’s why Progressives like Tony Blair look, from a socialist perspective, like Conservatives (who are also moral modelists).

    So now we’re in the Second Progressive Era- of which the SNP are an example- they don’t much care about the economic structure so long as the State can put moral pressure on where necessary. Progressives tax not to change the economic relations, but to fund their moral crusades.

    That’s my take anyway.

  11. I think the other interesting thing about the SNP is the whole Braveheart Nationalism approach, which posits a united Scottish people in the face of the historical reality of division. Not only Highland/Lowland and Catholic/Protestant, but the enormous ethnic tension between natives and Irish immigrants, all of which has gone down the memory hole. Along with La Sturgeon’s blatantly Black Irish appearance, when she had her Bonnie Scots Lassie makeover.

  12. The Hard Left, Scottish head cases and the Western Khmer Rouge; what a delightful prospect for Britain.

  13. It is amazing how quickly Mason abandoned the mask (to the extent he ever wore one) once he stopped being a journalist.

    In a sane world he wouldn’t be employed by any media organisation the state owns a stake in ever again. But I bet he’ll be back at the Beeb in a few years.

  14. “I’ve been thinking a lot about models lately, and not just the ones with the nice legs. ”

    Whilst I respect your intellect and the insights you bring to the table, Mr B, I have never been so conscious of how different you and I are.

    I mean, I’d love to think of things as cleverly as you do, but I’m just not prepared to make the sacrifice.

  15. And to reference another thread, I suspect he’s done this without exposing himself to the risk of a brain tumour.

  16. So Much For Subtlety

    Ian B – “It’s a hard life as a pseudo-intellectual and there’s no denying it.”

    So I am not sure what you are saying but what I am hearing is that I need to look at more models’ legs or I will get brain cancer.

    This seems oddly reasonable to me.

  17. SMFS: you had me at “look more at models legs”. Even if that caused brain cancer, I’d still do it.

  18. I wonder what goes through his brain when he sees his pay check going into his bank from his nontaxpaying offshore owned employer?

    Nothing, I suppose, so at least he’s consistent.

  19. Sorry, IanB, I just don’t understand the models to which you refer.

    People like Mason take a snapshot of the world just before they open their mouth.

    It goes through their internal Photoshop to be morphed into their world view du jour, then they spout their drivel du jour.

    Principles, there ain’t.

  20. Ian B

    “Along with La Sturgeon’s blatantly Black Irish appearance, when she had her Bonnie Scots Lassie makeover.”

    Bonnie Scots Lassie? This is the Kranky with the Wee Lego Heid model haircut?

  21. @IanB,

    If Scotland has actually overcome the centuries of religious and Ireland-related tensions, put the “but what was that you called me back in 1392” behind them, to form some kind of collective identity, isn’t that a good thing? Indeed, the very same kind of collective identity that the Brexiteers feel is under threat from the EU?

    What’s conspicuous about unionist Scots (of the soft tory/centrist rather than Ulster variety) is they are quite happy to have both Scottish and British, and mostly, by extension, a European identity. This seems to be something the English struggle with. Certainly those without a strong (and popular) regionalist identity. Lancastrians can be both proudly Lancastrian and English, people from Surrey or Buckinghamshire don’t seem to be able to cope with wearing multiple hats.

  22. Ian B

    You’ve defined the categories of ‘socialist’, ‘progressive’ and ‘conservative’ too simplistically. There are socialists who hold to an economic model; but there are plenty of non-marxist (very left-wing) socialists who are motivated by their morality. Similarly, not all conservatives are moralists, as many are pragmatists that believe that what has been proven to work should broadly be preserved (v. Chesterton’s Fence, and the law of unintended consequences). And once you accept that the definitions of ‘socialist’ and ‘conservative’ are blurred, how do you define ‘progressive’ at all precisely?

  23. An early comment under that article…..

    I have been a Leftie Outer since way back but we have to listen to the arguments of those we broadly trust and respect. Paul M is a decent and principled writer but I include in the list Monbiot, Simon Jenkins (whose approach to weighing the arguments has been refreshing) and Richard Murphy of taxresearch.org.uk (who has written several excellent blogs over the last few days)

    You know I worry sometimes………………….

  24. Theo, it’s you being blurry not me. But then, all descriptions of the real world are somewhat blurry. Humans are very good at dealing with blurred categorisations. Try defining tall and short. Can’t be done precisely. None the less they are useful categories.

    To clarify, I would say that if two groups have the same type of model, it doesn’t mean they have the same model. For instance both traditional Marxism and (Austrian) Libertarianism are economic models. But the two groups disagree profoundly about the actual economic mechanisms.

    Likewise, while Progressives and Conservatives have moral models, they are very different mechanically. For instance on the family (a Conservative will tend to think that the traditional family is the bedrock of society, whereas the Proggie believes it is harmful and is trying to dismantle it).

  25. “Lancastrians can be both proudly Lancastrian and English, people from Surrey or Buckinghamshire don’t seem to be able to cope with wearing multiple hats.”

    Because in order to get a regional identity you have to have generations born and bred in the same region. If people stay in the same place for long enough, they’ll create an identity for themselves. But the closer you go to London the more people aren’t born and bred there, they move into an area they weren’t born in and away from an area they were born in, on economic grounds mostly. So there is no ‘Surrey’ identity, because very few of the people who live there are from Surrey, and those that are born there soon move away. A regional identity is a sort of shared human experience over centuries. Change the people, it disappears.

  26. I would define the difference between conservative and progressive as follows: a conservative sees the social structures that evolve as bulwarks against human frailty, the progressive sees human frailty and blames the social structures for creating it. Its the original sin vs noble savage argument – conservatives assume people will be bad given half a chance, so structures have evolved to control that tendency, and such structures should be conserved (and strengthened), progressives assume in the absence of any social input people will be good, so all problems in society must be caused by the social structures, so the existing ones should be torn down and replaced with new ones.

  27. I don’t think so. Progressives believe that people are naturally bad. It’s Liberals who believe that people are (mostly) naturally good.

  28. “Progressives believe that people are naturally bad”

    Do you think so? I’ve always thought they were of the ‘If only people didn’t have the wrong social input, they’d be good’ mindset.

  29. I sneeze in threes

    Ian B, only criminals, ne’er do wells and the approved hierarchy of victims are naturally good, the rest of us are naturally bad.

  30. Ian B

    You are waffling. Please can you define ‘progressive’ for me? Clearly and precisely, if you can. So Jim and I can understand how a liberal differs from a progressive.

  31. Theo, if you aren’t familiar with terms, that is no shame. The world is full of knowledge and each of us can have only a tiny part of it. But that is your problem, not mine, and using well known terminology is not “waffling”.

    Liberalism is not exactly some rarefied term. It refers to the belief in the individual, in freedom, in free trade and free markets and the like. Liberals believe in negative rights that restrain the power of the State, and so on.

    Likewise, “Progressive” is a well known term. The Progressive Era in the USA is known by one and all to have been a period of time in which the Progressive Movement sought reform of society by the use of State power, whether in “Trust Busting” or in the prohibition of alcohol, prostitution, gambling and other sinful activities.

    I am happy to explain my opinions if people are interested. But if you’re going to be confrontational in approach, at least do some frickin’ basic research of your own so you’ve got the basic knowledge you need to participate.

    Otherwise you’re like someone saying, “I think your theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs is stupid, and somebody tell me what a dinosaur is anyway because I don’t know what that word means”.

  32. If it’s any more help, Tim Worstall is on the liberal side of the socio-economic debate, and Richard Murphy is on the Progressive side of that debate.

  33. Ian B

    Well known terms are not necessarily easily definable, as Socrates showed long ago.

    The 19thC American use of Progressive is quite different to the use by a Marxist like Paul Mason. And, as I suspected, you can’t define ‘Progressive’ – you can only indicate vaguely what you mean. Like ‘neo-liberal’, ‘progressive’ is a very vague term, and it is often used as a term of abuse for anything left-wing, which is fair enough. However, you use it in a way that suggests you think it is a precise term, and so it’s not unreasonable to ask you to define it.

    You came up with a very simplistic and inaccurate model of socialism, progressivism and conservatism. I pointed out that, contrary to your model, some conservatives take a pragmatic and non-moral view of politics and that some socialists take a highly moral view of politics.

    Moreover, many socialists are social conservatives, while many conservatives describe themselves as liberal or even progressive conservatives.

    It’s all much more complicated than your model suggests. And when I point this out, you respond with waffle, patronising bluster and then insults. Now, can you define ‘progressive’ precisely or not?

  34. “progressive” is an adjective describing something making progress by moving in a particular direction, usually forward.
    It is, however, naive to assume that it is only used to describe forward motion. Most “Progressive” political movements want to take us back to before the fall of the Berlin Wall, some even to the 1940s with rationing and restrictions that made it almost impossible for anyone to build a house for sale.

  35. I just did.

    That’s about as precise as you’re going to get for any movement, since every movement has blurred edges. I merely responded in kind to your rudeness.

    You have yourself pointed out that any category is diverse and hard to define. Philosophers have puzzled over this since at least Plato. What we want are definitions which are useful in understanding whatever we are studying. I am offering what I believe to be a valid categorisation, which is that socialism is an economic model and progressivism is a moral model. Actual left wing movements are a coalition of socialists, progressives and others. The Labour Party being a classic example.

    Or you can take the view that none of these definitions are valid, in which case we can discuss nothing.

    I suspect from past experience though that we are not going to get very far with this discussion, since you don’t really want to accept anything I have to say. I really genuinely don’t understand why you’re so hostile, since I’m trying to develop a useful understanding of people who are common “enemies” of conservatives, libertarians and classical liberals alike.

    The key point being for me that the post-Marxists are quite distinct from the Marxists and are an Anglosphere phenomenon descended philosophically from Progressive reform movements rather than Marx and Lenin. I’m happy to have a substantive debate about that, but it gets tiresome posting answers to your questions which I know will be immediately dismissed.

  36. John77-

    Progressive isn’t just an adjective but a name of a movement, in the same way that “Shaker” described a particular religious movement rather than just anyone who shakes.

    As an aside, it’s interesting to note how as an adjective, it has come to replace “Christian”. Whereas in the past one would say that a person was a jolly decent chap by saying “Bob is a good Christian man”, now “Bob is a good progressive man”. Once people said “we are a christian nation” with reference to high moral values, now it’s “we are a progressive nation” with the same inference. And so on.

  37. IanB

    “What we want are definitions which are useful in understanding whatever we are studying.”

    True; but yours here aren’t. The 19thC/early 20thC American use of Progressive is quite different to the use by a Marxist like Paul Mason. Furthermore, some of these reforms of the US Progressives were conservative in inspiration, some regulatory and not laissez-faire, and some evangelically inspired. It’s lazy and slapdash to suggest that the US Progressives were left-wing busybodies of the sort that infest our polity today.

    “I am offering what I believe to be a valid categorisation, which is that socialism is an economic model and progressivism is a moral model.”

    To repeat, contrary to your model, some conservatives take a pragmatic and non-moral view of politics and some socialists take a highly moral view of politics. And the US Progressives were not simply moralists: they saw the relevance of the social sciences and economics to reform programmes.

    “Actual left wing movements are a coalition of socialists, progressives and others. The Labour Party being a classic example.”

    So what’s the point of your model when it does not accord with reality?

  38. I think it does. In a nutshell, I am arguing that the modern left are the inheritors not of Marxism but of Progressive Reform movements, which appropriated a marxist style of analysis. Calling a post-marxist a marxist is, I think, an error. They share none of the goals of marxism, neither do they share its economic-historical model. Instead they fit a superficially marxist style of an analysis to the pursuit of goals which are moral in nature and can be clearly seen in the 19th century moral reform movements. This is my opinion anyway.

    I am not, also, making a judgement about moral models as I think you are inferring. Every society has morals, they are part of the human social structure. What matters is which morals you have. So I am not objecting to a moral model. I am just pointiing out that some groups use (various) moral models at base, while for instance as I said before marxism and libertarianism are economic models.

    For instance, I share the popularly described “Conservative” view that the nuclear (monogamous) family of Western Society is an excellent structural basis for a stable society, and have discussed that here at length with SMFS and others. In that way, I think it’s a good moral model. I disagree with the morals of the Progressives. I think their model is wildly erroneous and will also achieve disastrous outcomes.

    The point? If you think you’re fighting marxists, you’re going to use the wrong strategies. Many libertarians still do; so fixated on Marxists they bang on about economic structure. The Proggies are interested in moral structure. They are not trying to impose Communism. So the arguments just bounce off them.

  39. Sorry to spoil the debate but who cares?

    If there is to be a future at all we need to smash the bloody lot of them.

    Once the are all off the taxpayer’s tit, sacked without a penny and pensionless the cunts can argue defInItions with each other. When they aren’t working “14 hour days in telesales to pay their monster mortgages”.

  40. IanB

    If you think you’re fighting marxists, you’re going to use the wrong strategies. Many libertarians still do; so fixated on Marxists they bang on about economic structure. The Proggies are interested in moral structure. They are not trying to impose Communism.

    That’s a statement of the bleedin’ obvious. Of course, we all have to target our arguments on the particular assumptions (in general, either Marxist or moral) of the leftists they are confronting. It’s horses for courses. If libertarians of your acquaintance don’t see this, then that says more about their intellectual limitations than about anything else.

    In any event, understanding your leftist opponents assumptions does not require your theoretical model, which is simplistic, inaccurate and quite superfluous.

  41. ” I share the popularly described “Conservative” view that the nuclear (monogamous) family of Western Society is an excellent structural basis for a stable society, and have discussed that here at length with SMFS and others. In that way, I think it’s a good moral model. I disagree with the morals of the Progressives. I think their model is wildly erroneous and will also achieve disastrous outcomes.”

    Yes but surely the nub of the matter is WHY do conservatives think the family is a great idea, and progressives don’t? What is the fundamentally moral map that they each apply to things to decide whether they are (to them) ‘moral’ or not?

  42. Yes but surely the nub of the matter is WHY do conservatives think the family is a great idea, and progressives don’t? What is the fundamentally moral map that they each apply to things to decide whether they are (to them) ‘moral’ or not?

    In my opinion, it eventually boils down to the simplistic difference that the conservatives essentially trust individuals to generally do the right thing (and thus the family will most likely provide the best outcome); and the progressives essentially believe individuals left to themselves will generally do the wrong thing (and so will need constant guidance from the benevolent State.)

  43. I’ve had another idea – progressives are all about power. They regard anyone with power in a given situation as fundamentally bad (bosses, white people, westerners, men in general etc ) whereas anyone without power is fundamentally good (women, ethnic minorities, ‘the workers’ etc). There is no logic to this dynamic – a person can be on the side of the angels one minute and a devil the next. A working class man on strike against his capitalist boss is an angel, the same working class man saying he wants less immigrants is a devil. So the constant is the attitude to the power dynamic in any given situation, and that is the mental map used to decide who to support over the other.

    I would therefore say the most likely source of this attitude to power is the upbringing of the person in question – a person who grew up in a well adjusted family environment where the people with the power (the parents) wielded it justly will not regard power as a bad thing, that enables bad behaviour, whereas a person who grew up with capricious parents who abused their power over their children will as an adult regard anyone with power as fundamentally bad. And thus apply that mental map onto the rest of the world.

    Don’t shoot me, its only an idea!

  44. @ Ian B
    I was saying what “progressive” means, not what lefties *try* to say it means.
    We could spend a thousand years refuting every lefty false claim of the meaning of words and still find more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *