JUNE 2017 – after Corbyn’s surprise upset for Theresa May’s election miscalculation, Guardian hacks and right wing Labour were desperately rowing back on their traducing of the man. Of the myriads of conditional, hedged and qualified, small hearted, partial and phoney mea culpas uttered in that brief aftermath, none surpassed that of Jess Phillips, whose vanishingly tiny emotional intelligence quotient1 saw her over the finishing line in record time to snatch gold.
I’ve said more than once that right wing Labour will always prefer a Conservative over a Left Labour government.2 Now see Phillips react to the exit polls on Thursday night. Unaware she’s on camera, she’s all smiles and laughter. Then the truth dawns – and Jess is “devastated”.3
Only the prospect of her becoming the next Labour leader4 can lift her devastated spirits.
I’d be lying if I said millions of people haven’t asked .. I know that people like me because I have a personality …
- It takes spectacularly low self awareness to so relentlessly promote oneself – her sole noticeable talent – as to write a book with the title, Truth to Power.
- The clearest though by no means only evidence for this was in 1987 when Frank Field, Labour MP for Birkenhead, urged Labour supporters in neighbouring Wallasey to vote Tory against left Labour candidate Lol Duffy. Tory Lynda Chalker scraped back in by 279 votes.
- This video capture of inadvertent reality deserves the widest possible circulation.
- See Kit Knightly’s excellent take down of Jess Phillips and her underwhelming CV in OffGuardian, March 2019.
Jess Phillips is so utterly charmless that the title of her book “Truth To Power”, through its undoubtedly unwitting absurdity, makes her momentarily interesting. Once again, I feel an insight into that odd world of sheer self-absorption these media celebrities and sycophants inhabit. What you have here is the total lack of self-awareness and irony demonstrated by those who have access to the most prominent channels where they never shut up about how they’re never allow to express themselves. Or those American ‘shock jocks’ railing at the establishment that pays them to rail.
I think the ultimate in self-deception came when I overheard the end of one part of a radio series on Cliff Richard where the announcer said, “And next week we will be examining an area of his life that Cliff doesn’t like to talk about…” And I pricked my ears up and thought, “What’s this? Does he wear suspenders? Has he a secret stash of ‘Naughty Nudes 1905’?” The announcer then revealed the big issue: “His religious beliefs” at which point I guffawed. It’s the one thing he always blabs about.
Re your first paragraph, the rise in our techno-managerial age of mediocrities like Umuna and Phillips has its counterpart in the corporate world. My surest experience of this world comes from three stints in academia – in the eighties, nineties and noughties – each with intervals in industry in the meantimes. I saw not only its degeneration as marketisation took hold, but that same rise of mediocrity and philistine contempt for real learning. It is just such qualities – plus mastery of the babblespeak of ‘strategy’ and ‘human resource’ – which unites today’s brave new managerial class with its brave new poilitical class. Phillips is a construct that has truly found its time.
Re your second, what’s significant is the extent to which mainstream media – a little like the US Empire – create, to coin a phrase, “their own reality”.
Your comments about the degeneration of intelligence, civility, and compassion makes me think of a conversation I had today with a workmate. I live in Dumfries and Galloway – which is a traditional Tory region with a large farming community. The workmate is a farmer who is indeed a Tory and I generally avoid political discussion with her – since it is obviously necessary to have a healthy respect for your colleagues and I don’t want to create bad feeling. Today we were discussing religion and it veered into a bit about Greta Thunberg media manipulation but there was a brief detour to a snide remark about Corbyn manipulating the media. It was a momentary remark and I just ignored it since it would have led to something unpleasant – and it wouldn’t have been worth it anyway. I would never talk her round to my point of view (indeed that matter of always sticking to your prejudices was one of the things we were discussing) and the whole issue of Corbyn was irrelevant now anyway. But I only mention all this to say that she is a decent sort who has a quaint old world view about honesty, decency etc. It’s just that she has swallowed the gospel according to Adam Smith. And it saddened me to think that all over the country decent, hardworking people are being conned by a degenerate system of deception and greed.
I usually keep up with yours and the Zelo Street blogs for something more penetrating and insightful, but was alarmed to read this about Phillips today: https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2019/12/in-defence-of-jess-phillips.html?m=1
What can he be thinking? Answers on a postcard please.