Question Time tears a matter of consciousness

LP Columnist Barry Freeman
LP Columnist Barry Freeman
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Easy to pour scorn on the young mum who burst into tears on Question Time last week, having admitted she had voted Tory and now regretted doing so.

‘I thought you were going to be the better chance for me and my children. You’re about to cut tax credits after promising you wouldn’t,’ she said, tears in her eyes, to Energy and Climate Change secretary Amber Rudd.

‘Shame on you!’

Incidentally, must be odd for Tories to end the week with ‘shame’ flung at them after starting it using that very word to try to shut down historic paedophile investigations.

Needless to say, in these angry, pious times, the response on social media and newspaper comment sections ranged from sympathetic to ‘hard cheese, idiot, you voted for others on benefits to get clattered and boo-hoo, you got it, suck it up’.

Which is understandable, as this is precisely what she did do. Happy for others to take the hits so long as her and hers are ring-fenced.

The more pressing question, of course, is why? Why do people of modest means come to believe a party owned by the rich, populated (at the powerful executive end) by minted toffs could ever have any meaningful understanding or even feeling for their plight?

Make no mistake, in terms of material wealth and likely outcomes you, me, the couple next door, are far closer to a tramp than a tycoon.

The writings of Marx and Engels contain an answer. Unfortunately. Unfortunately as in Britain today no thinkers are more harshly judged in the common mind.

But although history has clearly been unkind to the solutions they proffered for the ills of capitalism, their analysis of the system and its likely evolution has over and again proved accurate and prophetic.

‘False consciousness,’ a term coined by Engels, describes the phenomena by which the interests of any given ruling elite reproduce themselves as the interests of the ruled. A range of processes are at work, but in the modern era the most visible would be our news media, notably the Press, a tireless propagandist par excellence.

Millions of pounds and endless hours are invested – across The Sun, The Mail, The Telegraph, The Times, et al – precisely to reach this poor woman, convince her black is white, trick her support.

And it works. So save your scorn for these scumbags. Our crying lass is a victim, not the problem.