by Chris Draper
HAS there ever been a greater gap between politicos in the London bubble and the politics of real people in the real world? As a lifelong anarchist I’d be celebrating ructions in both Tory and Labour parties if it didn’t mirror a similar Anarchist disconnect.
I was born in Warrington and have lived roughly a third of my life in the North, a third in London and a third in the Midlands. No matter how bizarre your opinions if you live in London you’ll be able to attract similarly silly believers to your soapbox. As your unrealistic ideas are echoed by new-found friends, prejudices are reinforced and soon you all start thinking it’s reality!
The further you move from London the more you find everyday life involves talking to people who don’t agree with you. In Llandudno, my partner and I are the only anarchists for miles so our ideas are constantly challenged. In London it’s easy for even the tiniest of sects to meet frequently, for members to pat each other on the back and reassure themselves of their sensible opinions. Ironically, the very fact that a multiplicity of sects exist in the capital strengthens Metropolitan arrogance that its inhabitants are the most open-minded individuals in Britain. The truth is that most of the time Londoners mix with their own kind and have little awareness of how life is lived in communities far from the capital.
Jeremy Hardy, the Guardian’s favourite comedian, considers it amusing to ridicule the assumed inbreeding of East Anglian communities. Like most metropolitans he chooses to paint East Anglian communities as static, closed and unchanging. In reality East Anglia communities have been hugely affected by the arrival of agricultural workers from Eastern Europe. Struggling to cope with inadequate social resources, depressed wages and increasing unemployment it’s no wonder local people resent such arrogant metropolitan ignorance.
The Brexit map demonstrates a marked disconnect between London and the rest of England. Whilst the London working class followed the political lead of the metropolitan elite, outside the capital those who’ve suffered most from globalisation rejected the advice of the London bubble. Predictably the losers (whether Tory, Labour or Anarchist) still refuse to admit they were wrong and put it down to poor presentation (rather than an inherently weak case) and widespread racism (ignoring EU exploitation of cheap labour).
Only fools think that CLASS is the sole political determinant. I consider AUTHORITY is THE political problem and it comes in many guises. London presents a problem that extends beyond CLASS. When I lived in the capital I was part of a collective that published the anarchist journal, “LibEd”. To offset the London effect we rotated ALL meetings between London, Leicester and Bristol. Now, as a member of a group campaigning to relaunch the anarchist journal FREEDOM we propose moving meetings of the existing Friends of Freedom Press group from London to Birmingham.
It’s a self-serving conceit that metropolitan elites possess a monopoly on radical ideas but their arrogance is essentially authoritarian. I don’t believe any organisation campaigning for radical change should be headquartered in London, to do so reproduces political inequality, fosters elitism and further reduces the influence of the dispossessed.
For Peace, Love & Anarchy
Christopher Draper, Llandudno