Loaded terminology has polluted political debate

The labels left and right have no value when attached to extremists, argues Bob Britnell.

I’ve always thought of myself a bit of a “right-winger”. That is as a dyed-in-the-wool believer in the small state, low taxation, limited government interference in our lives and carrying the belief that we should be able to say what we want, without fear of the thought police turning up on our doorsteps.

Of course, I’m also of an age group that believes in politeness and that, therefore, whatever you think or feel, you express your views in a way that doesn’t give offence to any listener.

And yes, I believe that Margaret Thatcher, an unashamed right-winger, was our best post-war Prime Minister. How differently we are governed now.

Now we read that an Islamophobic gunmen who murders Muslims at prayer was a “right-wing” extremist.

I suppose that follows from the fact that thugs like the English Defence League are called right-wing extremists, although I’ve yet to hear that they have any political philosophy at all, let alone a right-wing one.

I can even recall the Muslim Ayatollahs of Iran being described as right-wing extremists, which creates the interesting paradox that fundamentalist Muslims are right-wing and people who go around murdering Muslims are right wing – how can this be?

Of course, the answer is that neither group are “right-wing”: it’s just that the media, which is dominated by people whom one could reasonably suggest have soft “left-wing” political views, have seized on the phrase “right wing” and weaponised it in their fight against the forces of the political right.

The objective is clear: if you label every extremist of whatever hue as “right-wing” eventually “right wing” becomes pejorative and provokes a knee-jerk reaction in the listener.

Thus anyone with traditional views on politics, family life, international relations, or whatever can be labelled “right-wing” and by a process of guilt by association, they can be associated with the sort of people who murder Muslims or create carnage on our streets.

It is a sad fact that for years now the left of politics has managed to win the propaganda war because of its infiltration of the media.

Typically listen to the news on the BBC but concentrate on the adjectives used and you will see how news can be reported and given a slight anti-right slant. It’s not what they say, it’s the way that they say it.

Talking to my youngsters, I can see the effect of this. They perceive that everything has a right and a left wing and that everything right wing is automatically bad, evil, at the wrong end of the spectrum. Right and left is no longer about politics – it is about the difference between good and bad.

Hence perhaps the support of the young for Jeremy Corbyn. He is of the left and therefore must be ok because he is by definition anti-right and as right equals extremism, Jeremey must be one of the good guys.

It helps that he is seen to be an antidote to normal politicians by keeping his own views under wraps, but if you look at the kinds of people he has associated with in the past many of them would meet today’s definition of right-wing extremists!

It should never be forgotten that left-wing extremists have killed far more people than any right winger has ever done.

The biggest mass murderers in history are Josef Stalin in Russia and the Ukraine, Mao Zedong in China and Pol Pot in Cambodia.

Those are the realities of socialism in action, not smiling avuncular grandad Jeremy.

Are some so blind that they really think that next time a socialist leader will not turnout to be an ogre? Can they understand the truths of Venezuela?

Let’s stop labelling extremists right or left wing unless that is their political philosophy.

Islamophobic mass murderers are not right-wing nor left-wing. They’re just Islamophobic mass murderers. Please don’t give them political credence and don’t associate them with anybody’s political beliefs.


  1. Only a “right winger” like you could link Jeremy Corbyn with right wing extremism. The “exremists” that you label, have been people that he has said many times he may not like; but has met and spoken to them in his lifelong quest for peace.


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