Well the comment in Rachel Sylvester's Telegraph column yesterday that Jack Straw threatened to punch Ed Balls has gained a little traction this morning with the Times following it up. The Times is also reporting that,
Baroness Ashton of Upholland, the Leader of the Upper House, is said to be barely on speaking terms with Baroness Scotland of Asthal, the Attorney-General.This has of course been hotly denied, as you'd expect, but I am reminded of a Darcus Howe documentary yet again where he looks at the phenomenon of inter-ethnic racism and also reverse racism towards white if I recall correctly.
Lady Ashton is said to have taken offence when Lady Scotland, who is black, leant over to an Asian lobbyist at a meeting on forced marriages and said: "Don’t worry, these white people don’t really understand what we have to go through."
This sort of comment, whilst being denied, is not an unusual thing in the wider world, and it is, arguably, the inevitable endgame that happens when identity politics has such a foothold in the cultural consciousness.
There is somewhat an irony here. After all, identity politics is the synthesis result of applying Hegel's dialectic to the master/slave, oppressed/oppressor relationship. What it has created as a consequence though is a role reversal of that relationship, philosophically at least. That is why the so-called "Culture Wars" are so important I think.
We need to break ourselves away from this view of the world that places people into special interest groups based upon different aspects of their identity. It actually creates more problems than those it is seeks to remove.
I'll give you an example to illustrate the point. I know of someone at a place I once worked that is known to be utterly incompetent at their job, and is also known to have skirted around dodgy ethical areas as well.
However, no one is willing to even dare to pull her up on it because she ticks so many identity politics boxes that they just fear the possibility of bad PR and a tribunal. She's not white, she's disabled, she's a single mum, and she has to take time off because her kid is often in hospital.
The problem is, not one of those things makes a difference or is a contributing factor in her just being utterly rubbish in the role that she has. The risk however of those things being cited as the "real" reason for action are just too scary for anyone to do anything. That is not a very good state of affairs for a political culture to be in I think.