Liberal Language

Liberal Conspiracy yesterday offered an A-Z of Right-wing online commenting. Anton Vowl described it as "a short alphabetical guide for anyone thinking of posting a comment on the Mail/BBC Have Your Say messageboards."

The list runs from

ALCOHOL - benign, harmless substance when consumed by anyone over 45 which is also toxic and dangerous drug when administered to YOUNG PEOPLE or FERAL YOUTH. Should be taxed when drunk by YOUNG PEOPLE but not by others, who are of course responsible and never do anything wrong.


ZERO TOLERANCE - would solve everything. All children found on streets killed would mean no more yobs bothering our grannies. Being flayed alive for theft would stop all thefts instantly. But will this Government do anything? No they won’t!

You get the idea. A rather heavy-handed attempt of satire, if you ask me. In response, here's my guide to the sort of language typically employed by online commenters of a Leftish persuasion. Essential reading for anyone new to Comment is Free - or, indeed, Liberal Conspiracy.

ABORTION: Right-wing term for a woman's right to choose; "Termination" is to be preferred.

ADAMS, GERRY: Great liberal hero

ALIBHAI-BROWN, YASMIN: Used to be an important social commentator, but lately an Islamophobe enabler.

ANTISEMITISM: An unhelpful term used by Zionists in an attempt to deflect valid criticism of Israel. This must be resisted.

BANKER: One of the greedy immoral bastards who control the world's economy

BBC: National treasure which embodies all that is best about Britain. The Licence fee is, however, too low.

BENEDICT XVI: See Ratzinger.

BERCHMANS: CIF's moral conscience.

BLACK: Former umbrella term linking members of ethnic minorities. Now racist (except when used as part of acronym BME).

BLAIR, TONY: Traitor, warmonger, secretly a Tory. "Bliar". Should be put on trial for war crimes. Tony was the best leader we ever had. His resignation was a tragedy.

BLAIRITE: Class-traitor and capitalist fellow traveller.

BLAMING THE VICTIM: Any suggestion that a woman who is too drunk to stand up is statistically more likely to be raped.

BRITAIN: Former slave-owning imperialist aggressor.

BRITISH HISTORY: A series of shameful colonialist aggressions and racist incidents.

BROWN, GORDON: I supported him, but now he has to go, for the good of the party.

BROWNITE: Class traitor and capitalist fellow traveller

BUSH, GEORGE W.:Terrorist in chief. Election-stealing warmonger. Should be put on trial for war crimes.

CAMERON, DAVID: Lying Toff. Secretly drowns kittens. Will abolish the welfare state.

CAPITALIST: All-purpose adjective; synonym of "wicked".

CASTRO, FIDEL: "A Hero of the Left": Harriet Harman

CATHOLIC: Child-abusing Nazi sympathiser, anti-woman

CHAVEZ, HUGO: The most promising leader since Castro. Probably the world's only true democrat.

CHINA: Proof of what can be achieved by a progressive socialist government.

CHRISTIANITY: Religion characterised by right-wing, homophobic, misogynistic attitudes (c.f. Islam)

CLINTON, BILL: The man who brought peace to Northern Ireland.

CLINTON, HILLARY: Rightful US president, robbed by patriarchal capitalist conspiracy

COMMENT IS FREE: Potentially useful forum for progressive debate, ruined by the Guardian's policy of allowing right-wing bigots to post comments.

COMMUNITY LEADER: Wise embodiment of cultural diversity; nice to see so many elderly men with beards playing their full role in society.


CUT: A Conservative policy announcement

DAWKINS, RICHARD: Right-wing Islamophobic bigot

DIVERSITY: The co-existence of incompatible value-systems within a single state; can only be achieved through government imposition.

ELITIST: In possession of financial or hereditary privilege. Classical music, art, Shakespeare etc. are threrfore by definition elitist.

ETHNIC MINORITY: An implicitly racist term, now replaced by the non-racist MINORITY ETHNIC

ETONIAN: Reactionary, Tory, privileged. Being an "Etonian" does not necessarily imply having attended Eton.

EUROPE: The European Union

EUROPEAN UNION: Source of our human rights and environmental hopes. The European Parliament is so much more civilised, democratic and modern than Westminster. Criticised only by chauvanistic Little Englanders unaware that Britain no longer has an empire.

EUROPHOBE: Euro-sceptic

FAITH: A more positive word than "religion", and therefore to be preferred. Roman Catholicism, however, is a religion.

FASCIST: Right of Centre (c.f. RIGHT-WING)

FISK, ROBERT: The world's second best journalist (See PILGER, JOHN)

FOETUS: Any unborn child. A foetus does not become a baby until after it has been born, and sometimes not even then.

FOX-HUNTING: Favourite pastime of toffs, now happily suppressed; also Adj: Right-wing, reactionary, Tory

GAY: formerly approved term for homosexual, now debased. See QUEER

GORE, AL: One of the towering intellectual figures of our times.

GUARDIAN, THE: Former great progressive newspaper, now fast becoming yet another tool of capitalism.

HAMAS: Freedom fighters from Zionist oppression

HARMAN, HARRIET: Will probably become Britain's first woman prime minister (C.f. THATCHER).

HIJAB: Means by which Muslim women liberate themselves from the tyranny of male expectation

HIZBOLLAH: Freedom fighters from Zionist and Western oppression

HOMOPHOBIA: Prejudicial attitude displayed exclusively by white, Tory-supporting fundamentalist Christians. Not to be confused with the ironic, artistic and creative use of language by rap musicians, or the valuable and progressive spiritual perspective as offered esp. by Islamic thinkers.

ID CARDS: Vital tool in enabling delivery of progressive social policies. Opposition to ID cards is a form of middle class right-wing self-indulgence, and thus a dangerous threat to liberty. See "Woolly Minded Liberal", CIF passim.

INITIATIVE: A Labour policy announcement

IRAN, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF: Progressive social experiment, unfairly mailigned by racist, Islamophobic and Zionist propagandists

ISLAM: Oppressed minority faith with progressive and purely peaceful ideals. Motivating force behind positive, modern movements such as Hamas, Hizbollah, Muslim Brotherhood, etc. Among world religions, it is uniquely respectful towards women (See Women)

ISLAMOPHOBE: Someone who believes that terrorist attacks have ever been carried out in the name of Islam (q.v.). This is, of course, a contradiction in terms.

ISRAEL: Zionist oppressive terrorist state. Their policies combine the racial philosophy of apartheid South Africa with the malevolence of the Nazis. "There aren't any gas chambers, but only because they would be found out" - Eva Figes. Tool of American geo-political oppression (See USA)

JOHNSON, BORIS: Toff. Comedian (except not funny). Rightwing homophobic racist bigot.

LABOUR: Once-great party betrayed by capitalist lackeys Blair and Brown. But at least they're not the Tories.

LEFT, THE: Unreconciled old Trots; people with sensible, progressive views

LIBERAL: Left-wing

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS: Right about Iraq, but now dangerously right-wing.

LIBERTARIAN: Right-wing fascist who wants to abolish all laws and taxes. A true libertarian believes that children should be put to work in salt-mines.


MARRIAGE: Right-wing social norm which imprisons women in system of patriarchal oppression; the existence of marriage discriminates against single parents

MARRIAGE, ARRANGED: Valuable traditional custom, sign of a healthy, diverse society

MARRIAGE, FORCED: Arranged marriage which sadly didn't work out; the opposite of an arranged marriage

MEL, MAD: Ranting Islamophobic Zionist bitch

MAIL, DAILY: a.k.a. Daily Hate. Homophobic, misogynistic, Islamophobic. Most evil publication since Mein Kampf.

MIDDLE CLASS: everything I hate (including myself)

MIDDLE ENGLAND: Right wing bigots who read the Daily Hate and the Torygraph

MOORE, MICHAEL: The world's only unbiased filmmaker.

MULTICULTURALISM: The former term for Diversity, now best avoided due to its misappropriation by the Right.

MUSLIM: Peace-loving victim of Zionist oppression.

NAZI: Conservative

NEW LABOUR - A bunch of right-wing infiltrators who are deliberately killing our children. Please use the correct term ‘NuLab’.

NEOCON: pro-American, pro-Western bigot

NIQAB: Means by which Muslim women liberate themselves completely from the tyranny of male expectation

OBAMA, BARACK: Probable capitalist and Zionist stooge. Stole the nomination from Hillary.

OIL: The sole cause of all wars

OXBRIDGE: Inherently elitist and privileged; Oxbridge is an institution that discriminates openly against poor people, e.g. by setting unrealistic entrance requirements. Of the two, Oxford is slightly worse, because Brideshead Revisited was partly set there.

PILGER, JOHN: the world's greatest living journalist.

PRESS, the MURDOCH: Prime source of disinformation; tool of capitalist warmaking propaganda.

PRIVATE: Selfish, greedy, capitalistic, anti-democratic.

PROGRESSIVE: Supportive of the state, high taxes; opposed to traditional values (except those of minority religions).

PROGRESSIVE AGENDA: The policies that I would like to see implemented, but won't be, because of New Labour betrayals.

PRO-LIFE: Right-wing, misogynistic, probably CATHOLIC

QARADAWI, YUSUF: Leading progressive thinker.

QUEEN, THE: Representative of reactionary Tory establishment. Parasite.

QUEER: Gay and politically active

RACIST: Word to use if you want to shut someone up

RATZINGER: Reactionary former Nazi, paedophile enabler, misogynist, Islamophobe

RELATIVISM, MORAL: term of abuse used by right-wingers to stigmatise progressive thought.

RIGHT, THE: People who want to put children up chimneys.

RIGHT-WING: Centrist

SCHOOL: Establishment for the inculcation of progressive ideals. Unless it's a Public School (in which case it should be closed); or a Grammar School (in which case it should really have been closed thirty years ago: the fact that these places still exist is another example of New Labour's betrayal of the progressive agenda).

SCOTLAND: Home of enlightened thinking and advanced social policies.

SOCIETY: What Tories don't believe in.

SPEECH, FREEDOM OF: An important value, best preserved by suppressing and criminalising offensive and non-mainstream opinions.

SUN, THE: Offensive to women, part of evil Murdoch empire. Better than the Mail, however.

SWEDEN: Everying the USA isn't and the UK ought to be.

TERMINATION: Abortion. A woman's right to choose.

THATCHER, MARGARET: Evil, mad bigot. Personally killed every last miner. Basically a witch. Stole three elections. The description of her as "Britain's first woman prime minister" is offensive to women, and therefore untrue.

: An all-purpose adjective denoting badness and the morally disreputable

TOFF: Privileged right-wing elitist buffoon. All Tories are, by default, Toffs.


TOYNBEE, POLLY: One of the great social and political thinkers of our age. Wrong about Islam.

USA: Centre of capitalist geo-political hegemony. Terrorist state. Controlled by Jewish Lobby (See Israel)

VISION: a progressive policy initiative

WALTZ: Reactionary Islamophobic troll. I was hoping she had been banned.

WAR: What the Americans and their British lickspittles do. All other countries engage in defensive military operations

WEST: An oppressive capitalist predatory and reactionary power-structure

WOMEN: Oppressed by capitalist patriarchal hegemony. Unless they happen to be Muslim, of course.

WORKING CLASS: Honest people oppressed by the capitalist system.

WORKING CLASS, WHITE: Fascists who support the BNP, have sexist, racist and homophobic attitudes, and dress badly.


Any additional suggestions welcome - and may be incorporated (with credit, of course).


John B said…
I rather like this; good work. The Tony Blair entry is absolutely top-notch.

(why are New Labour out of alphabetical order, tho?)
John B said… STEALTH EDITOR, you...
Anonymous said…
I thought we would see just a few entries, seems that you got carried away. A bit of fun I suppose and I reckon these lists work due to their at least being an essence of truth.

I was surprised by some of the entries in the Liberal conspiracy as they don't seem to be particularly Liberal. Putting in inverted brackets 'failed experiment' for socialism, Middle Classes -'good kinded,lovely folk who are the best people in the World'. Reality check, the main people in Lewes (E.Sussex) who have elected a Lib Dem MP are Middle Class no need to be Sarky puts us off. i would of expected such inverted class snobery more from a socialist blog, shame.

Your list was better.
Anonymous said…
The worst argument I've got into on CiF was one where a woman argued that homework should be banned because it privileges middle-class children whose parents are able to help them with it. Some on the left can't tell the difference between privilege and opportunity, and would have everyone dragged down to the lowest common denominator.

My worst ever run-in with the left was at university where my digital arts degree featured modules on Adorno and Horkheimer, Jean Baudrillard and Karl Marx but the lecturers never mentioned the existance of Adam Smith or the (provable) idea that economics isn't a zero sum game of exploiting the poor.

The right are no better. Occasionally I look at the Mail's front page and sometimes feel nauseous, so dim is their view of the world. It's this weird idea that Britain is the last beacon of civilisation, but at the same time a seething cesspit of crime and moral decay.

One thing I've noticed from your list is that many of the words have now been rendered meaningless, for example "progressive" and "elitist". It's all in the eye of the beholder.

Some of those words are just too loaded to be used in reasonable conversation: "Zionist" to mean Jewish or Israeli is particularly lazy and ignorant.
Heresiarch said…
You're spot on that the Right are no better. I think that everyone who abuses language should be done to death in a particularly unpleasant way. It's not new, of course: Orwell said what needed to be said long ago. Not that it made any difference. Some of the loaded clich├ęs he complained about are still with us. "Standing shoulder to shoulder" was one of the phrases he singled out for derision.
A rather heavy-handed attempt of satire, if you ask me.

Your lack of self-awareness is quite something!
Anonymous said…
Yeh I had that thought too realalekid - not particularly liberal but then the left isn't particularly liberal.

Apart from a few fine exceptions - Cath Elliot for one, whom I admire unreservedly - we have to keep in mind that many on the left in the British media are privately educated and are working out their demons. When they've exorcised the djinn most of them will go back to mummy and daddy and their children will join the pony club. I remember an NUJ conference at which one old commie said to me 'it's those bastards (Oxbridge socialists) up against the wall first of all when the time comes'.

He was laughing when he said it but he wasn't being funny, alas.

I had no time for him either but I felt his pain, and feel the pain of those on the libcon thread just now also. It is just a fact that the left is usually hopeless at funny and rightwing bastards are usually better at it. It's so unfair!
John B said…
"my digital arts degree featured modules on Adorno and Horkheimer, Jean Baudrillard and Karl Marx but the lecturers never mentioned the existance of Adam Smith"

Whereas most economics degrees talk about Adam Smith a lot but very seldom mention the philosophy of art. Weird, that...

"it is just a fact that the left is usually hopeless at funny and rightwing bastards are usually better at it."

No, it's a fact that anyone who thinks political affiliation is at all relevant to funnyness has no sense of humour whatsoever.

Rod Liddle is funny. Charlie Brooker is funny. Chris Morris is funny. Jeremy Clarkson is funny. Alexei Sayle was funny and now isn't, as with Billy Connolly; Jim Davidson has always been an unfunny dickhead, and so has Ben Elton.

Anton Vowl's list is funny. Heresiarch's list is funny. Nearly all of the other versions in Ian's comments aren't funny, because they're lazy and stupid. Traditionally, indolent stupidity is a right-wing trait (c.f. JS Mill's description of the Tories), but I'm happy to admit in today's society it's become thoroughly equal opportunities.
Anonymous said…
John you say

Rod Liddle is funny. Charlie Brooker is funny. Chris Morris is funny. Jeremy Clarkson is funny. Alexei Sayle was funny and now isn't, as with Billy Connolly; Jim Davidson has always been an unfunny dickhead, and so has Ben Elton.

I cant disagree with the examples but a good many more righties will agree with you than lefties - alas!
Anonymous said…
You left out my favourite which has to be something like:-
DEMONISATION Criticism of any minority group, religion, or school of thought - of which we approve or agree with.
Bill Haydon said…
john b,

Ben Elton is an odd one: I've always found his stand-up and his books to be utterly unfunny, but his episodes of Blackadder are the stuff of total genius.

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