A long, long time ago I wrote a blog criticising an Abi Wilkinson article, so it’s probably only fair that I now write one praising her.
I refer, of course, to her first piece for Esquire, ‘If you don’t like this article you’re a dick’ – that isn’t actually what it’s called, of course, but that’s the gist of it. And fair play to Abi, because I suspect that’s the not-so-hidden sub-title to every article that everybody writes.
What’s more noteworthy is what a transformation we see in this article because, whatever your opinion of Abi as a journalist, you have to admit that she makes an absolutely first-rate propagandist.
This is the watershed moment when the writers of the left, who have long since given up criticising Corbynism, find that they no longer have to even attempt to justify it. Corbyn is offering the only show in town that’s cool, support it wholeheartedly or you’re uncool.
While her male colleagues still flounder trying to explain that New-Old-Labour isn’t a cult, Abi has realised that debate doesn’t even need to happen. If she said nobody treats Corbynism like a cult then critics would find counterexamples. If she said that people are right to to make Corbyn a cult figure then she’d be called wrong or misguided. Instead she simply makes it uncool to mention cultism, and 70 years of teenagers as a distinct social group have done the heavy lifting for her…nobody argues with a younger person about what is or is not cool.
This is truly a brilliant piece of picking the right battleground and not taking on your enemy on their own terms. Make them a figure of fun, so that it no longer matters what they say, they are an idiot just for opening their mouth.
Abi is generous, though. If you don’t want to be an idiot the proscribed subjects are clearly laid out. You can choose to speak with Corbyn on them, or you can shut up about them, and perhaps people will still think you cool. Your old road is rapidly ageing, the article seems to say, so get out of the new one if you can’t lend a hand…this is a radical new thinking, not for the lovers of crusty old dad-ballads.
Ultimately propaganda wins hearts and minds, and political power and Abi has beautifully set the stage for Labour’s triumph. It’s not a political party’s place to debate issues, or win-over critics, the road to power lies in shutting them up, devaluing their contribution, making them unpersons and Abi should, rightly, be very proud of the groundwork she has done today in making that possible.
And, of course, if you don’t agree with this article you’re a dick.