Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Political correctness gone very wrong

No - this blog hasn’t turned into a Daily Mail editorial written by Jeremy Clarkson.

I haven’t written anything previously about the Defend The Four campaign because in all honesty I had nothing original to add. The disciplinary charges brought against the Four were all too obviously a politically-inspired use of use internal procedures to discredit, and more importantly remove from office, left activists who dared challenged the UNISON leadership.

The UNISON leadership know it, the Four certainly know it, and so do the vast majority of trade unionists: The barring of the Four from holding office has nothing to do with the supposed racism of using an image of the three wise monkeys in a leaflet attacking the leadership and everything to do with their campaign for democratic reform of the union and for disaffiliation from the Labour Party.

But just for the benefit of anyone who genuinely doesn’t know, or for apologists of the UNISON leadership (some of whom disgracefully claim to be on the Left) the origin of the ‘three wise monkeys’ is in Japanese Buddhism. The monkeys actually have names; Mizaru, Mikazum and Mazan. They are commemorated at the Eighth Century Tisho-gu shrine and their cult is honoured elsewhere in the East. In fact Ghandi had a particular devotion to the three monkeys, and a statute of them has been erected in Gujarat to mark the site of his famous salt march protest.

In recent times the image of the three monkeys has been used satirically to symbolise ‘looking the other way’ in order to preserve a clean conscience – in Christian terms ‘doing a Pontius Pilate’. This may be from a misunderstanding of the image – of it may be from a subversion of the sanctimony of religious authority. Possibly Buddhists could feel aggrieved by its misappropriation but in absolutely no fucking way can it be said, as the UNISON leadership claims, to be a racist image of black people.

From Stalin to Neil Kinnock and Tony Blair, the recourse to organisational and procedural measures in a witch-hunt to remove your opponents from the fight is a sign of political and ideological bankruptcy and failure. (I now await accusations of insensitivity on my part from any witches and other Wiccans).


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