Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Social Attitudes Survey: Angry Mobs More Likely To Lynch Anyone, Except The Gays

The new British Social Attitudes report suggests people have become more reactionary, right-wing and generally cunty on many issues.
Obviously The Daily Mail is over Titan, Saturn's largest moon.
'Britain Turns To Conservative Values As Recession Bites: We want the State to stay out of our lives and sympathy for benefit claimants has evaporated'
They picked out the ones that made them spunk everywhere;

More than half of us - 54% - think unemployment benefits are too high up from 35% in 1983
Workshy parents are to blame for child poverty, say 63%
Rise of climate change scepticism: 37% say environment threat has been exaggerated - up from 24% a decade ago
Only 31% want tax rises to pay for health and education, while it was 63% of us in 2002

Oh dear. The Mail hasn't just picked out some that suit its own political agenda - okay, it has, obviously - but this trend really is apparent in the survey; you can read it and weep here.
The introduction concludes gloomily;

"We're living in a society where a sceptical public appear unconvinced by our current collective responses to key social issues like welfare, housing, inequality or the environment. And although people do see child poverty as something for government to tackle, it is seen as rooted in poor parenting. Less engaged or willing to make sacrifices for the common good during challenging times, the British public increasingly sees it as the responsibility of the individual to get through. If that's true, what hope for the Big Society?"

Should we be surprised? From Thatcher to Blair the Neo-Liberal project has been "inducing a philosophy of despair".
The phrase is Chomsky's, who has argued* that one way consent is manufactured is;
"to destroy the institutional basis for social support systems, try to eliminate things like schools and Social Security and anything that is based on the conception that people have to have some concern for one another. That’s a horrible idea, which has to be driven out of people’s minds. The idea that you should have sympathy and solidarity, you should care whether the disabled widow across town is able to eat, that has to be driven out of people’s minds."
Gramsci must be spinning in his fun-sized coffin.

Oddly, there is one issue that people appear to be more liberal and progressive.
Rather naughtily I edited it out of the Mail's greatest hits, but here it is in their own words;
"Just 29% think same-sex relationships are wrong - down from 46% in 2000"
This is hardly a great call for celebration if one in three people think we are "always/mostly wrong", but the shift is clear.
You can read the report's section on attitudes to same-sex relationships here (And note, people are also becoming more liberal over abortion and couples "living in sin").
In fact the figures have pretty much reversed over the last decade.
In 2000 in England, 46% of people thought same-sex relationships were always/mostly wrong, and 34% of people thought they were "not wrong at all".
In 2010, 29% thought same-sex relationships were always/mostly wrong, and 44% thought they were "not wrong at all".
Strangely - though other surveys have suggested something similar - the change is far greater in Scotland, who are now far more gay-friendly when they used to be less.
In Scotland, the always/mostly wrongs have dropped from 48% to 27%.
And the "not wrong at all"s have shot up from 29% to 50%.
So what does all this mean?
I really have no idea - but, you know, swings, roundabouts (other fairground attractions are available).

* Interview with David Barsamian 2003.


  1. Don't get too cocky about favourable attitudes to gays, that could all change extremely quickly, especially if religions gain influence.

  2. Alan Yentob on a radio programme the other day said the Jews of Iraq went from being co-founders of the nation to pariahs in less than 20 years. That should be a warning to us.

    If you read John Boswell's book ('Christianity, social tolerance and homosexuality' ) about gay love during this horrible christian period we're living through, so far 1,500 years of it, he points out that there have been periods of thaw during the long ice age of christian homophobia, in which gay relationships have been pseudo recognised and tolerated, followed by dark periods of savage persecution.

    Likewise during the long night of islamic homophobia, there've been periods of thaw when arabic gay poetry has been permitted, followed by taliban style repression.

    Best thing is to be atheistic and ensure the whole vile sky pixie nonsense is put to the sword (metaphorically not literally !)

  3. And the change from Weimar Germany to Hitler, of course...
    You don't need religion to be a gay-hating fuckbag.

  4. True, but Hitler's anti-semitism and anti-gay attitudes didn't arise spontaneously from nowhere, these bigoted attitudes sprang fully formed out of the ground tilled by christianity. Fifteen hundred years of bigotrt- The Result, Adolf Hitler.