Monday, August 2

Politicians and the media are asked to stop fabricating culture wars | Identity policies


Much of the focus on so-called “culture war” issues in the UK is based on made-up controversies, a thinktank analysis suggested, with the debate artificially inflamed by politicians and commentators and then amplified by social media.

While some countries fought such battles over more genuine social divisions, the UK’s culture wars simply pitted disadvantaged communities against each other and tended to “caricature” movements for equality, the Fabian Society said.

The left-wing organization’s report traced the trajectory of a series of recent controversies attributed to the culture wars, such as the debate over whether Rule, Britannia! It should be played on the last night of the Proms, and alleged efforts to “cancel” the film Grease, concluding that these do not reflect genuine divisions and are largely fanned by politicians and the media.

He warned politicians on both the left and the right to avoid engaging in such antics, lest the political discourse in the UK become as fractured as it is in the US.

“The public deserves better than made-up fights,” said Kirsty McNeill, a charity executive and former employment consultant who co-authored the analysis.

“The temptations for all political parties are clear. Troubling a base and targeting an imaginary enemy is much easier than doing the tests necessary to fulfill the prime minister’s ambition to “level up.” Likewise, ignoring rivals’ attempts to sow division will not help Keir Starmer form a broad and diverse coalition to support his vision of a fairer country. “

Roger Harding, the other author, who runs the youth charity Reclaim, said: “Culture war hawkers often use artificial stories to pit working-class communities against each other and caricature movements for racial equality and LGBT “.

The Boris Johnson government has been accused of trying to capitalize on the problems of the culture war to agitate its base, with attacks on the so-called “awakening” culture and a campaign to prevent institutions such as museums and galleries from critically re-examining Kingdom politics. United. past.

One of the most vehement criticisms came in June when Samuel Kasumu, Johnson’s former racial adviser, said he feared such provocations could spawn another outrage such as the killings of Stephen Lawrence or Jo Cox.

The Fabian Society analysis warned left-wing politicians to avoid the temptation to engage in such cultural battles, arguing that they tend to simply divide opinion on the prospects for positive change.

Another report on the subject, published last week by the right-wing Center for Policy Studies, based on public polls, argued that while there were genuine differences of opinion on values ​​between Tory and Labor supporters, the majority of voters were more concerned with matters such as paying bills.

The study, compiled by veteran American pollster and communications expert Frank Luntz, uncovered what he called “alarming” findings of discontent about UK politicians. When asked to rank 18 descriptions of how British political leaders made them feel, divided between positive and negative emotions, the top eight options were disappointed, ignored, irrelevant, fed up, betrayed, forgotten, left behind and angry.

Andrew Harrop, secretary general of the Fabian Society, said those on the left “should focus their energy not on winning culture wars, but on calling them out.”

He said: “It will not be easy to end the culture wars that have become a valuable tool for right-wing cynics. These false controversies create division between people with shared economic needs and distract the public from a libertarian worldview of low taxes, low regulation and that few in Britain support.


www.theguardian.com

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