As Oscar Wilde once observed, there are two tragedies in life: one is not getting what you want – the other is getting it. As an astute profiler of human nature, Wilde saw clearly that human beings can go off the rails just as often by getting what we want as we can when we don’t get it. Sometimes we’re like a cat that asks to be let out, only to sit and stare at the open door and wonder what to do. We pine for liberation, but when we get it we don’t know what to do with it.
Such is the case with UKIP. Though they had other campaigns under their umbrella, they were basically a single-issue party set up to push for exiting the EU (as the process was then called.) And they won – and now they don’t know what to do with themselves. Instead of disbanding – or staying around just long enough to supervise the terms of Brexit – they have begun an internecine squabble which has resulted in them electing four leaders in the space of one year:
Basically they don’t know what they’re for any more. They got what they wanted and now they don’t know what to do.
A similar thing happened with Left Unity, a party set up as a response to Ken Loach’s film ‘Spirit of ’45’ in despair of the (then) Labour Party ever doing anything to defend public services:
But when Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader most of us switched back to regular Labour (having found Labour Lite utterly unsatisfactory) and it was thought by many that Left Unity should disband and throw its weight behind a Corbyn-led Labour Party. But once set up, things have their own momentum (pun not intended) and people are often reluctant to let them go.
It is in this light that I am struggling to understand the recent behaviour of Germaine Greer. As one who was hugely influenced by ‘The Female Eunuch’ in the ’70’s, I cannot comprehend the person she seems to have become, making statements that seem to wholly contradict the stance she took back then. OK so she wants women to be strong and to fight back, but to dismiss the #metoo movement as ‘whingeing’ is just plain wrong, as is her insistence that in the old days:
“there were movies – the Carry On comedies, for example – which always had a man leering after women. And the women always outwitted him – he was a fool.”
I have to say that’s not my recollection of the ‘Carry On’ genre at all.
There’s a lot to this debate and this article deconstructs it much better than I can right now: