The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Who Gives A Damn What Hugo Rifkind Thinks?

Posted by The Futility Monster on September 18, 2009 @ 06:31

Good to know that talent clearly runs in families. There's hope for all of us (with MP parents).

Good to know that talent clearly runs in families. There's hope for all of us (with MP parents).

This morning, the oh-so-clever and so-very-amusing Hugo Rifkind writes his usual Friday morning fluff piece in which he declares:

Who gives a damn what the Fire Brigades Union thinks about Gaza?


Yes, his columns are usually not to be taken too seriously. But in today’s one, he insists that he’s “not being facetious”.

What annoys me about statements such as this as who gives a damn what anyone thinks about anything? What gives Hugo the right to opine about things but if the Fire Brigades Union wants to take a stance on an issue – well, that is beyond the pale!

The slightly serious point behind it is that maybe unions shouldn’t get involved in anything that doesn’t directly involve their own members.

But, of course, that misses the fundamental principle behind what we might have considered the socialist movement: its internationalism. The idea that achieving socialism for us is not all we want, but that we should have sympathy and support for our fellow human beings wherever they may be in the world.

Socialism has somewhat dropped out of fashion since then. But its internationalist principles now flow throughout many parties, and a great deal of legislation. Consider the European application of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Evidently, a raving right-winger like Hugo does not appreciate such a sentiment. As he says in his piece, all he was interested in when he was a member of the National Union of Journalists was his own back pocket.

Thankfully, life, and people, aren’t all like him. Throughout the nation organisations set up to do one thing – e.g. run a kids football team – frequently do other things for charitable purposes, such as organise a shoebox appeal or collection for children in foreign lands. They might even donate their old football kits to them.

There is still an element of human nature around that wants to look out for other people, that wants to try to alleviate some of the pain and suffering in the world. That, even in the incessant and growing self-centredness of the modern world doesn’t have an “I’m alright, Jack” mentality.

That shouldn’t be something to criticise. If the unions wish to band together to create policies on anything we don’t have any right to get uppity about it.

But – better still – since opinion is what blogs and the internet are all about… there is one last point to make.

Clearly people do give a damn what the FBU thinks. Hugo Rifkind certainly does, or he wouldn’t have wasted his time and effort on writing about it. And a lot of people do care what he thinks too.

In fact, we read newspapers and blogs because we do care about the opinions of others, because we want to see what thoughts exist in people’s minds other than our own.

Perhaps there’s a little bit of socialism in all of us, Hugo. That’s gotta hurt.

One Response to “Who Gives A Damn What Hugo Rifkind Thinks?”

  1. Richard T said

    Still in this democratic age, it’s nice to see that having a famous father works.

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