Notebook

Melissa Kite: When politics replaces morality

‘Horribly self-indulgent’: campaigners protesting against Donald Trump (PA)

While I wait for my house sale to go through, I am staying with a friend in the country. He and I have been watching the early days of Donald Trump on the television news in his cosy farmhouse snug.

From the relative safety of Surrey, it all looks so remote. But we have had our moments of protest. My friend, a farmer, was happy enough with every pronouncement, including the Mexican wall, until the US President mentioned God.

“What!” screamed the farmer, lurching forward in his armchair and almost hurling his mug at the TV in fury. “Why do they always have to ruin everything by bringing God into it?”

“What’s the matter with God?” I asked.

And he ranted for a good 10 minutes about why he doesn’t believe, and why he can’t stand anyone who does believe telling people they believe.

Aside from this small disagreement, however, my friend was pretty much on board the Trump agenda, which is not an unusual position for people outside the metropolis to take, I have noticed.

That is not to say that the silent majority in Britain is flying the flag for The Donald, but the atmosphere in the countryside is a little less febrile than in Lambeth, where I would have been had I not just sold my flat. There, everyone is so anti-Trump that if you whisper his name without spitting ostentatiously you are asking to be lynched.

What fascinates me about the anti-Trump protests is that, no matter how abusive the educated elite become, the consensus is that they must be allowed to maraud because the metropolitan liberal Left is basically well meaning, a sort of self-appointed ethical police force patrolling global morality, even when that means taking on the democratically elected President of the United States.

The protesters’ main excuse for bad behaviour is that it is all aimed at achieving the utopian ideal of a better world where everyone is nice to each other.

In hot pursuit of tolerance, compassion and peace, they are happy to demand an end to democracy and to spill bile on the internet.

What baffles me most is watching the feminist demonstrators. No matter how much I rack my brains I just cannot come up with a logical explanation for why a female activist would don a face veil in solidarity with women who are forced to wear this garment on pain of death.

Privileged women draping themselves in the most obvious symbol of the oppression of under-privileged women in order to demonstrate against a man who made a few bad taste jokes … I’m sorry, I just can’t fathom it.

In supporting the patriarchal, medieval system that subjugates women, the Left is not only being horribly self-indulgent but has also blinded itself with its own self-righteousness.

It can no longer see any further than the end of its nose. In focusing too close up, it has lost the ability to cast its gaze wide, to see true injustice and oppression.

And it has lost the ability to see itself. This is why Lily Allen forgot herself completely and tweeted the F-word.

What would happen to me or any other right-wing commentator if I tweeted the word ‘fags’ to describe the gay community, even if I was quoting someone else?

By the same token, what would happen if Nigel Farage said he wanted to ban jobs in Britain being advertised abroad to bring down the number of people travelling to the UK?

I suspect a barrage of protest would denounce this as a fascist utterance. But that policy is not a policy of Nigel Farage’s; it is the immigration policy of Jeremy Corbyn.

We are getting towards a situation where it no longer matters what is said, but who says it.

Morality has shifted. There is no longer a standard by which we are all judged, but one rule for the Left and another for the Right.

If you are on the Right then the highest scrutiny, standards and expectations will be applied, so you may not squeak for fear of your views being misconstrued.

If you are on the Left, you can be as offensive as you fancy – go ahead, make that tasteless joke – because the world will give you the benefit of the doubt.

You can demonstrate against “hate” by pouring forth the most frightening hatred of all: the hatred of democracy.

I hope that Trump, despite every prediction, somehow finds it in himself to treat his enemies magnanimously. I hope he also keeps his promises about rescuing the downtrodden working classes from poverty, and succeeds in clamping down on the extremism that subjugates women. For the Left have abandoned all these causes.

He may be many things, but as an undoubtedly shrewd businessman, Trump is no doubt well capable of spotting a gap in the market.

Melissa Kite is a journalist and author