This week the official homicide statistics were released by the Office of National Statistics. In keeping with the trend of previous years, there has been another fall in the murder rate, which is great news of course.
But in breaking the news for the Guardian, home affairs editor Alan Travis picked up on one explanation, which apparently originates with the ONS head of crime stats,
John Flatley, the ONS head of crime statistics, said two-thirds of murders involved partners or former partners or other kinds of family killing.
Now I don’t mean to be rude, but would you liberals just shut up a minute? I’ve given this a lot of thought, and I believe a blog site really can help to bring together and reinvigorate the liberal-left in Britain. But only if it addresses what is not being addressed elsewhere. I, for one, do not need yet another bookmark leading me to yet another argument beginning with the letters L, I and B. Not on libertarianism, liberalism, liberal interventionism, liberties or Liberace.
It’s not that these things aren’t important – they are. It is just that they are well covered elsewhere. The ‘left’ side of the liberal-left equation meanwhile, is feeling a little less loved. I know this site isn’t into tight definitions, but ideological theory aside, I’d like to offer a very personal interpretation of what it means to be of the left. Leftism is about fighting injustice. It is about remembering those who are forgotten, and giving strength to those who are weak. It is about taking sides – and taking action – with the oppressed. It is about giving solidarity. I see very little of that on the blogosphere. It seems to me that the liberal-left online is very big on liberty, but – to borrow from our neighbours – not so big on equality and fraternity.
Is the prospect of tens of thousands of council workers facing devastating pay cuts and upheavals in conditions under the Single Status reforms not worth a thread or two? Not even when thousands of workers in Birmingham are about to walk out on strike? How about (with apologies to CiF readers) the sacking of Karen Reissmann or the impending and shameful deportation of Christian Mbianga. Just maybe, once in a while a despotic regime might think twice about hauling a returned deportee in for ‘questioning’ if they are aware that hundreds or thousands of media-savvy bloggers are on their case. Why not? The same principle has kept Amnesty going for 45 years while the recent case of the Iraqi interpreters showed that the spirit for this type of action is there.
Bloggers could be reporting the fate of the refugees still here but denied benefits; investigating companies and gangmasters that are daily endangering and exploiting vulnerable migrant workers. We’re quite capable of digging up and publishing invoices that refer to the killing of a political party, but not those that refer to the killing of workers.
Of course there are websites that cover most of these issues. For example: the Socialist Worker,Socialist Unity, Indymedia, SchNews and Libcom. However infuriating or amusing we normals might find the factionalism, sectarianism, syndicalism, dogmatism and utopianism of the Marxist and anarchist lefts, they do at least sometimes raise issues that the rest of us too often forget.
Kate Belgrave made a great start here last week but there is so much more bloggers could be doing. We need to look where others are not looking, think what others are not thinking. We shouldn’t just learn a lesson from those to the right of us. We can learn a lesson from those to the left of us, too. Of course as a liberal-left blogger, I am as guilty as anyone. I spend far too much time responding to the headlines in the mainstream media rather than seeking to change them.
I’ll make an effort to put that right. Will You?
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