The views expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of APLE as a collective.

(I’ve Got a Bad Feeling About This)

It is a period of fear and unrest.  In Westminster the feared Empire is preparing for another attack on those with limited power, say and democratic means to represent themselves in the ‘British’ parliament.  These attacks have happened sporadically over the last 13 years, however, recently the attacks have been happening more frequently and with increased venom.  These assaults have now come to be known as ‘The Culture Wars’.

However, there is ‘hope’.  This comes in the form of a rebel alliance known as the ‘APLE Collective’.  This alliance comprises individuals and groups willing to stand up and defend those under attack by the Empire. The Empire know their time is limited and, in desperation, is looking for more groups to attack.  This is the story of the battle for justice and equity led by the APLE Collective…”.

Those who know me know that I’m a bit of a Star Wars fan. I’m not that much of a geek that I do the geeky things like collect Star Wars helmets or, heaven forbid, even collect Star Wars figures. (See the foot of the blog for pictures of Star Wars items which I have definitely not collected).

Over the recent weeks and months, it probably hasn’t escaped your notice that the UK Government along with its press enablers have ramped up the attacks on the most vulnerable groups in our communities, from single parents, those on benefits (especially disability benefits) to refugees escaping torture and persecution in their country of origin.

We’ll all have seen headlines such as these over the past few weeks.

Some of the headlined stories have been so vitriolic and public revulsion so great that a storm of protest has arisen.  An article and editorial which appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 2 June 2023 not only attacked those on disability benefits but also provided an online “calculator” to show how much of the UK’s hard-earned wages went to those on PIP/DLA etc.  As the Disability News stated in its online newsfeed on 8 June 2023-

The Telegraph wrote that millions were claiming benefits “without ever having to look for work” and it produced an automatic calculator that allowed readers to discover “just how much of our hard-won salaries are spent on the benefits of those who do not work”.  Disability News Service 8/6/23

Here is a link to the editorial if you’d like to see for yourself –

There was so much anger generated by this article that the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSOS) received 600 complaints from the public. Further, Disability Rights UK – one of many organisations to complain to IPSOS went on to state that there had been “an increase in incitement of hatred against disabled people from some sections of our media….”.

So far, I have only highlighted attacks against the disabled but our colleagues in the protection of refugees groups, the protection of the elderly, single parents et al, will also recognise the parallels within their own movements.

This form of attack is increasingly becoming known as a ‘Culture War’.  I like this definition of Culture Wars to be found in Wikipedia…

“A culture war is a cultural conflict between different social groups and their struggle for dominance in favour of their own virtues, beliefs, and practices over that of others. Culture wars typically persist through attitudes of virtue signalling and self-righteousness” -Wikipedia 2023.

As we get closer to a General Election in 2024 the attacks from the Government and the press on the most vulnerable sections of our communities will increase.  In fact, the Deputy Chair of the Conservative Party (which is the UK Government at the time of writing) has gone on record to admit that they see a ‘Culture War’ as a valid political tactic to use in any upcoming election. In an interview in February 2023 Mr Anderson, Conservative MP for Ashfield, in the New Culture Forum stated that the Conservative Party campaign strategy will be a … “mix of culture wars and trans debate“. 

I can think of another two examples of these Culture War tactics being used.

  1. In the Tunbridge By-Election:  Here the Conservative Party didn’t concentrate on any policies but, instead, focused solely on the ULEZ zones about to be introduced in London.  The Conservative Government has acted on their success in this by-election by restricting their plans for ‘green’ initiatives in the UK, increasing the time to reach Net Zero and granting licences to harvest oil from the North Sea.
  2. In Scotland, the Conservative party have only campaigned on their opposition to any Scottish Independence Referendum.  However, recently they have jumped on the bandwagon of the ‘Transgender’ debate – adding fuel to the fire of an already contentious subject.

So how do we fight back against attacks in a Culture War?

  1. Don’t rise to any ‘ad hominem’ attacks. If someone who doesn’t agree with you resorts to personal attacks, then they have lost the argument…. and they know it.
  2. Treat everyone with respect and make a point of showing them that you are listening to them – repeat back to them the points they have raised – then answer them.
  3. Keep a level, calming voice, and manner.
  4. Remember the Michele Obama quote “When they go low, we go high”.

Some pictures of Star Wars Items I definitely do not have in my collection…

Brian Scott

October 2023