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The betrayal of white working-class men They've been recast as the elite's salivating attack dogs

'Fuck that.' (JOHN D MCHUGH/AFP via Getty Images)


May 27, 2023   8 mins

Cards on the table: I’m a rampant opponent of white, bourgeois, male privilege. Events such as the Coronation, or another Biden-Trump stand-off, pull this lunacy into sharp focus. Yes, these ludicrous and deranged media-driven circuses may have little to do with women, black, Asian, gay or trans people. But let’s get this straight: they have absolutely fuck all to do with white working-class men either.

According to liberal conventional wisdom, we are in a post-industrial, post-imperial society where shouty (white) men can no longer trumpet their entitled assumptions unchallenged, and perhaps even have to stand in line. Well, if that’s truly the case, thank fuck for it. After all, imperialism and the patriarchy cost a lot of lives, and gave us wars, bad politics and bad art. And nothing’s changed.

Ironically, however, most of those lives lost in Western society were male, white and working-class; basically, those citizens assumed by the paradigm of class-denying intersectionality to be the enemy of progress. White working-class males are now recast as the establishment’s salivating attack dogs; the overseers of imperialism, enforcing the bidding of their wealthier masters. Their role in securing most of our human rights — through workplace struggle in the trade unions, strikes, demonstrations, wars and riots — is to be erased from our collective consciousness.

Because some sections of the white working class bought into the reductive neoliberalism of unrestrained capitalism through the Thatcher-Reagan revolution, so the entire group was written off. In the “hierarchy of the oppressed” so beloved of intersectional theory, a (white) penis in the underpants is more important than the lack of an arse in the trousers in determining your place in the world.

So, what excludes white working-class men from this LGBT intersectional paradigm? It can’t be race, as white women are permitted. It can’t be class, as working-class women and black men are allowed in. It can’t even be sex/gender, as gay or bisexual white working-class men and women are included. But perversely, white proletarian men are lumped in with their bourgeois “brethren”; outsiders in this rainbow-coloured festival of the oppressed.

In this bizarre schematic model, working-class football supporters in Liverpool are deemed on the same side as rabid establishment mouthpieces such as The Sun’s Kelvin McKenzie, who demonised, vilified and lied about them. Conversely, black teenagers in inner London estates, continually the victims of harassment by the Metropolitan Police and at the bottom of Britain’s opportunity pile, are ludicrously deigned to have common cause with the privately-educated colonial elites placed strategically in the media and commerce through “equal opportunity” positive discrimination schemes. There’s something about the bourgeois psyche that produces a visceral reaction to that deadly combination of working-class, white and straight — irrespective of the actual views and life experiences of someone in that grouping.

The decline of class politics and its replacement by the schisms of identity is an integral part of the neoliberal order. After all, one unites and the other divides. The class war was won by the elite in Britain, probably as far back as Orgreave in the 1984 miners’ strike, when organised labour was crushed. Today, capital rules supreme, steadfastly tightening its hold, aided by a rapacious individualism that has now tipped into a demented narcissism, and a technology concentrated in the hands of corporations and its co-opted governments.

Therefore, in the realms of finance and economics, nothing is now contestable, unless it’s national elites using their power (and manipulating the populace) to try to gain more traction and influence at the expense of the interrelated global ones. What is presented to us as politics is a hollow civil war of the super wealthy, with the rest of us as pawns. Silver-spooned, daddy-issue Republicans, like Trump and his ilk, have long presented as comic-book versions of the most vulgar, dumbass versions of redneck USA. This is now Right-wing de rigueur, enabling exploiters to “connect” with a politically and socially displaced white America, which embraces grievance and victimhood as eagerly as any grouping that claims to be oppressed. This folksy affectation is only partly strategic: late capitalism has stupefied its winners as much as its losers. Hollywood has recycled the potty mouth of the ghetto into the boardroom, where the same tropes are now regurgitated in a decontextualised way, with defiant alienation replaced by entitled arrogance, under the depoliticised posturing of “attitude”.

Meanwhile, digital technology and its deployment solely for private profit through capital accumulation has fucked all our attention spans, and our sense of the past, as completely as George Orwell suggested. (Indeed, there’s little point in saying that: the ubiquity of Orwell as just another internet cliché has completely nullified the power of his message.)

In Britain, I believe that the traditional working man — of all colours — has had a bad rap. Recently, I was out with some old pals, and we were talking about how we’ve stayed close friends down the years, despite life, love and work taking us off in varying directions. One friend went on at length about how his partner and her friends were quite surprised at the continuing bond between us all. It’s a recurrent theme with women I know, who ask, perhaps not unjustly: how can you still be bothered with each other?

Men, whose camaraderie can seem frivolous, built on drinking, football and laughing at each other’s embarrassments, paradoxically tend to stick together down the years more than women, who talk of weightier, more emotional subjects. Several years ago, following a relationship breakdown scenario, I went through a phase where I felt like I was done with male company. I decided I could do without the gung-ho nature of the archetypal male response to such events: “Forget her. They’re all the same. Get another round up. I’ve left a line out for you in the toilets.” As a result, I basically surrounded myself with my women friends. Not for the first time, they were the ones offering real support and genuine insight into my predicament.

Then you realise: it’s not about thesis and antithesis. There’s always got to be room for a synthesis of different ideas and values. Once more, I’m appreciating the narrow, lazy affirmation that belonging to a mob of men can offer. The best thing about being a man of my generation is that we’re allowed to get the fuck out of the house. Now I feel for youth who don’t do this so much — they really don’t know what they are missing. When they do, the experience is invariably packaged for them. The biggest indictment you can offer our current dystopia is that we’ve created a society where the old pity the young. That’s just not right.

Masculinity (as well as femininity) is tied to our lost sense of community. As pubs and clubs close down across the country, teenagers are more likely to spend their evenings on Instagram, TikTok, playing video games or on some dubious porn forums than getting drink from the offie and messing around in the park or on abandoned railway lines. A social vacuum has been created at the same time as a dumbed-down visceral communication system has emerged. This creates a place where someone as pathetic as Andrew Tate can gain a limited sphere of influence. The emergence of such characters would have been impossible in the Nineties. They would have been dismissed as ludicrous wankers in a truly contested, democratic street culture, as opposed to the top-down media one we now live in. Now a noncey, supermarket transgression has gained a foothold, appealing to an entire lost generation of anxious, isolated teenage bedroom wankers, brimming with the sleazy narratives of onscreen porn.

While young people are being stripped of their right to be completely irresponsible — i.e. young — those of us who spent a whole chunk of our change in the last century are often unprepared to let go of our unruly youth, still investing in bad behaviour and the institutions believed to encourage it; the pub, the gig, the nightclub, the rave, the football ground and the traditional workplace. I personally thank the higher powers for those declining bastions.

In their growing absence, the neoliberal state has gutted everyone’s lives of meaning — to the extent that we have little to cling to other than a narcissistic, media-constructed sense of who we are and our supposed entitlement to avoid personal discomfort at all costs. Thus, through toxic social media platforms, proponents of various identities get to sling all sorts of mud at each other, devoid of any social setting and real human interaction. Generally, it’s an inconsequential battle, in which people are afforded the keyboard warrior’s licence — rewarded by the dopamine hits — to abuse each other with relative impunity. The objective of the game is to goad the other party into an overreach and a subsequent pile-on, with an attendant Twitter ban or, the great weapon of our times, “cancellation”. Generally, however, in those futile wars, no party claims a feasible victory. Nonetheless, the participants are rarely shy of pompously deploying tiresome, overdramatic dictums declaring their cause or viewpoint to be “on the right side of history”.

This nonsense benefits only the continuation of the current bankrupt system. The establishment’s economic, financial and social elites once starved people into compliance; now it lures them into pointless shouting matches, allowing them to stupefy themselves in the process.

So, white men aren’t the only ones rendered toxic by our culture. Every group and demographic, as evidenced by its social media extremists, are fundamentally unhappy with their lot and in existential crisis about who they are in this changing world. Part of this is the old science of consumer capitalism: keep us feeling bad about ourselves and then give us a product or service or procedure that will make us centred, complete or alive. Ignore the fact that we’re strutting around in a zoo we’ve made for ourselves. Whatever we consume or change or alter, we remain polar bears in the same concrete enclosure, pacing up and down.

The toxicity of white rich men is more consequential than that of the rest of us, which is largely an acting out, a cry for attention. After all, they are seen to have the power to change all this. Only they don’t. The consciousness-crushing machine they’ve helped create and service brings them no substantive life benefit anymore. Can a man with £400 million in the bank really be poorer than one with £500 million? How many lives do you need to live to spend that? It’s the accumulation of meaninglessness; the buying of some kind of dominance and largely imagined status over peers. Checking figures from the spreadsheets on their screens. Seeing how efficient a capitalism no longer tied to production is in taking the resources of communities, monetising it, and transferring it to their accounts. Basically, wasting their lives away in that most futile of pursuits: making non-spendable money, while the years tick by, and dreams of love and laughter are replaced by a rancid resentment and urge to satisfy the ego-driven need for “influence”.

The continuing war of capital upon consciousness, on what makes us human, continues apace. In an economy that can produce everything at zero cost, the wealthy are coming to the end of their ability to control us by paying wages. Now, this can only be done through the steady erosion of human consciousness. AI is a backstop here, just in case our spirits rebel in reaction to this, and we cut up too rough. After all, a robot or a computer doesn’t need food. And crucially, it’s not changed by anyone looking at it. It is not self-conscious. But if the system can’t make robots quickly enough to replace us, it’ll try to make us all into robots.

“We’re not allowed to say that” is the factory bleat that resonates throughout social media from all we older, toxic, white working-class males. How excited we get on our dopamine hits, when some papier-mâché faced ponce seems to stick it to the poker-arsed gatekeepers of neoliberal morality with a racist or sexist quip — while they (quietly) endorse an economic system of gross inequity that now almost literally defecates on us. Our participation in “politics” is reduced to watching a Frank Drebin from Police Squad/The Naked Gun look-and-soundalike clownishly annoy some uptight disapprover.

What we certainly are allowed to do, is to be nostalgic. The system plays on our need to make sense of our existence by processing our past, but only in a way that all conflict is taken out of it. Thus, our need to validate our lives in a fake “golden age” haze becomes a de facto endorsement of a system that has limited the potential of those lives. It encourages us to sit around crying into our beer about how things ain’t what they used to be, reconstructing a collective rose-tinted past designed to sustain us in our dotage, while ensuring this state creeps ever closer as mindless aphorisms — ubiquitous, circular — rot our brains.

Fuck that. Pick up a book instead. Let’s get educated. The smarter we are, the less easy it is for the unenlightened greed junkies to fuck things up for us. The world is changing, let’s change with it, but in ways which make sense to us, not to the blueprint of white-collar fascist controllers or soulless tech nerds who need to get properly laid. (They are the ones who’ve swamped our brains and culture with the shabby dictates of their crass dating algorithms.) If I could make one solitary plea to white working-class men: do not be servile to the upper classes. They are not your amigos. They blithely dispatched your forefathers to the killing fields, and they haven’t gained any greater appreciation or respect for you since. In broader terms, Trump-Biden 2 or 3 or 4 will not do anything for the citizens of this world that the first one didn’t. Probably much less. Toxic masculinity is just that, because it exists within a toxic system.


Irvine Welsh is a Scottish novelist and playwright. He is the author of Trainspotting and, most recently, The Long Knives.

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William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago

There is little to no pressure on young men to read, get and education or even a substantial job these days.
Freed from the expectations of marriage and supporting a family they don’t need much of an education or income… just enough to pay for internet, porn, fast food, and satellite TV.
Society has told them they are toxic and unnecessary so why is it surprising that they have found a new path in life, a path that avoids the burden of supporting a family.
The article is just crude language and pseudo intellectual twaddle by an ego that mistakenly thinks he has something important to say.

Last edited 11 months ago by William Shaw
Emil Castelli
Emil Castelli
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

It is all being engineered.

Soros DAs let the criminals off to destroy – first, Black men, then society. The entire point of this system, the George Floyd thing – is to destroy Black Men. Just as you point out, White men are intentionally being destroyed as well by other means.

All which is decent is under attack by the Progressive Left, they mean to destroy the civilization of the Classical Enlightenment Liberals, the sort who brought us Man’s highest achievements – like the writers of the US Constitution. Their demonic philosophy is Postmodernism and Nhilos.

‘ex nihilo nihil fit” They believe in nothing, and from nothing comes nothing – they are the destroyers of decency and good.
Same attack is with woman – the Education system has them being something like 25% lesbian questioning – because it destroys them, as making them get pubity blockers, or trans male, and to not want children – it destroys them for their function of being in a married family – the Highest state of humanity.

Sexualizing children – this is entirely to mess them up so they do not end up as a married person with a well adjusted pairs of children. Because stopping that destroys society.

All Woke is to destroy Society – it is 5th Generation Warfare. It is the same as Hi* ler – out to destroy the decent world, only not in a kinetic warfare, but by psy-ops warfare, every bit as evil as the 1939 episode. The world survived that narrowly – this war on humanity we call woke is equally close to destroying us all – if we do not struggle against it, we are destroyed..

Look into Gates and Zuckerberg’s eyes – you can see demonic forces laughing out at you…..They and their Ilk bring you this.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago
Reply to  Emil Castelli

I think the denigration of men, and particularly white men, is intentional because they are seen as the most likely opponents of the new world order. So we are told in Canada and US that white supremacy is the greatest threat to society – and the biggest terrorist threat – despite the fact that there a little or no actual incidents of white nationalist terrorism. For the record – I think this analysis is correct. The gun loving red necks of the US are probably going to save Western society because unlike the rest of us – I am looking at you my fellow Canadians – they take freedom seriously – their country was born in revolution – and they are willing and probably capable of fighting off a tyrannical take over by their elites. One of the most interesting videos I saw during the summer of BLM was Antifa trying to intimidate one of the suburbs of a US city. They were chanting – but in a subdued way – and not threatening home owners or vandalizing property as they often did in the city – because outside every house was a man calmly standing watching them with an AR15 rifle in his hands.

Mara
Mara
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

As an American, I think your perspective on this is keen. Something I’ve been seeing a lot too is that the media almost always questions the involvement of white supremacist ideology in high-profile crime stories where the perp is white (and sometimes, even when they’re not), even when there is no evidence yet to suggest it, yet racial motivations are almost never questioned when the perp is black or another race. I live in a predominantly black city, and there have been black on white crimes in the last year where it seemed rather obvious that racial hatred was a factor (for instance, hateful and threatening posts about white people made on social media), yet the news stories said things like, “no racial motivation is known at this time.” It’s become common knowledge in the U.S. that if a photo isn’t shown of a perp, it’s because they’re a minority, usually a black man, and the media is trying to gatekeep to protect the members of that racial group. If the perp is a white male, his photo will be widely published. The establishment is doing everything they can to vilify white Americans, particularly white men, though white women seem to have also been kicked out of the priestly class of the oppressed in the last couple of years. We’re now all hysterical, entitled “Karens,” no matter how under privileged the individual may actually be, and are often told to shut up or that we’re not allowed to have opinions any longer. But you are right – it is the white working class and ‘Merica types that are probably the most equipped and willing to try to save America, because everyone else is being brainwashed to want to destroy it and to hate freedom. To the woke, more freedom for their fellow citizens means more opportunity for people who don’t share their worldview to hurt their feelings, and they’ve been told no one should be allowed to hurt their feelings – that in fact, it should be punishable by law. The anti-woke are seen as animals, so their feelings are disregarded.

Last edited 11 months ago by Mara
Mara
Mara
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

As an American, I think your perspective on this is keen. Something I’ve been seeing a lot too is that the media almost always questions the involvement of white supremacist ideology in high-profile crime stories where the perp is white (and sometimes, even when they’re not), even when there is no evidence yet to suggest it, yet racial motivations are almost never questioned when the perp is black or another race. I live in a predominantly black city, and there have been black on white crimes in the last year where it seemed rather obvious that racial hatred was a factor (for instance, hateful and threatening posts about white people made on social media), yet the news stories said things like, “no racial motivation is known at this time.” It’s become common knowledge in the U.S. that if a photo isn’t shown of a perp, it’s because they’re a minority, usually a black man, and the media is trying to gatekeep to protect the members of that racial group. If the perp is a white male, his photo will be widely published. The establishment is doing everything they can to vilify white Americans, particularly white men, though white women seem to have also been kicked out of the priestly class of the oppressed in the last couple of years. We’re now all hysterical, entitled “Karens,” no matter how under privileged the individual may actually be, and are often told to shut up or that we’re not allowed to have opinions any longer. But you are right – it is the white working class and ‘Merica types that are probably the most equipped and willing to try to save America, because everyone else is being brainwashed to want to destroy it and to hate freedom. To the woke, more freedom for their fellow citizens means more opportunity for people who don’t share their worldview to hurt their feelings, and they’ve been told no one should be allowed to hurt their feelings – that in fact, it should be punishable by law. The anti-woke are seen as animals, so their feelings are disregarded.

Last edited 11 months ago by Mara
Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago
Reply to  Emil Castelli

I think the denigration of men, and particularly white men, is intentional because they are seen as the most likely opponents of the new world order. So we are told in Canada and US that white supremacy is the greatest threat to society – and the biggest terrorist threat – despite the fact that there a little or no actual incidents of white nationalist terrorism. For the record – I think this analysis is correct. The gun loving red necks of the US are probably going to save Western society because unlike the rest of us – I am looking at you my fellow Canadians – they take freedom seriously – their country was born in revolution – and they are willing and probably capable of fighting off a tyrannical take over by their elites. One of the most interesting videos I saw during the summer of BLM was Antifa trying to intimidate one of the suburbs of a US city. They were chanting – but in a subdued way – and not threatening home owners or vandalizing property as they often did in the city – because outside every house was a man calmly standing watching them with an AR15 rifle in his hands.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

You are spot on about the author.
Anyway it is minorities and middle class women who are the the elite’s salivating attack dogs

Last edited 11 months ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago

In fact I will go one further, the author the elite’s salivating attack dogs.
In reality there is not a cigarette paper between them.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago

In fact I will go one further, the author the elite’s salivating attack dogs.
In reality there is not a cigarette paper between them.

Suzanne C.
Suzanne C.
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

I can’t understand how a “writer” needs to use the f word twice in the first few lines.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Suzanne C.

To show he’s a man of the “people”?

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

He turned himself into a rich bourgeoise by penning the Trainspotting movie which made heroin addiction fashionable especially among working class youths in Scotland .

Clownlard Jesus
Clownlard Jesus
11 months ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

This article is actually utterly hilarious. A sexagenarian rich man extolling the virtues of raving (aye, Irvine’s 63 and still gieing it laldy – ya bas) and the the ‘traditional workplace,’ which he has been nowhere near for years. Welsh is a multi-millionaire. How many lifetimes will he need to spend all his heroin chic wealth? As the old Chumbawamba song put it…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6zkiWEfg1w

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
11 months ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

No, he wrote the novel, which if you read any of his work, helps you understand ordinary folks living on the housing schemes in Scotland especially in the 1990s.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
11 months ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

Housing ‘schemes’ sound nefarious. So he interpreted the denizens of these housing schemes to the novel reading bourgeoisie .

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
11 months ago
Reply to  MJ Reid

Housing ‘schemes’ sound nefarious. So he interpreted the denizens of these housing schemes to the novel reading bourgeoisie .

Clownlard Jesus
Clownlard Jesus
11 months ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

This article is actually utterly hilarious. A sexagenarian rich man extolling the virtues of raving (aye, Irvine’s 63 and still gieing it laldy – ya bas) and the the ‘traditional workplace,’ which he has been nowhere near for years. Welsh is a multi-millionaire. How many lifetimes will he need to spend all his heroin chic wealth? As the old Chumbawamba song put it…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6zkiWEfg1w

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
11 months ago
Reply to  Alan Osband

No, he wrote the novel, which if you read any of his work, helps you understand ordinary folks living on the housing schemes in Scotland especially in the 1990s.

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

He turned himself into a rich bourgeoise by penning the Trainspotting movie which made heroin addiction fashionable especially among working class youths in Scotland .

Mike Robinson
Mike Robinson
11 months ago
Reply to  Suzanne C.

It shows he’s angry? No interest in reading after that…

Last edited 11 months ago by Mike Robinson
Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
11 months ago
Reply to  Suzanne C.

It’s a cheap device to signpost his credentials as a writer of gritty screenplays and his allegiance to the subjects of the article (although his reference to them is meagre and rather lost in his article). It seemed an angry rant that overwhelmed and obliterated the subject matter.

Clownlard Jesus
Clownlard Jesus
11 months ago
Reply to  Diane Tasker

It went off-topic in seconds, and mostly stayed there.

Clownlard Jesus
Clownlard Jesus
11 months ago
Reply to  Diane Tasker

It went off-topic in seconds, and mostly stayed there.

Jonathan Brown
Jonathan Brown
10 months ago
Reply to  Suzanne C.

I can’t understand why so many “readers” get their knickers in a twist over Welsh’s use of word “f**k” (or “f*****g”).
A 30-second check reveals that Welsh uses it a total of six times in an article over 2400 words. Shocking!
Yes, there’s a legitimate (though uncovincing) argument that he uses it gratuitously – at least at times – but overall it’s obvious that some of you are just small-minded, overly-sensitive prudes…!
PS The fact that UnHerd has decided to automatically insert asterisks whenever the word “f**k” is used in a comment is both hilarious and pathetic!

Last edited 10 months ago by Jonathan Brown
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Suzanne C.

To show he’s a man of the “people”?

Mike Robinson
Mike Robinson
11 months ago
Reply to  Suzanne C.

It shows he’s angry? No interest in reading after that…

Last edited 11 months ago by Mike Robinson
Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
11 months ago
Reply to  Suzanne C.

It’s a cheap device to signpost his credentials as a writer of gritty screenplays and his allegiance to the subjects of the article (although his reference to them is meagre and rather lost in his article). It seemed an angry rant that overwhelmed and obliterated the subject matter.

Jonathan Brown
Jonathan Brown
10 months ago
Reply to  Suzanne C.

I can’t understand why so many “readers” get their knickers in a twist over Welsh’s use of word “f**k” (or “f*****g”).
A 30-second check reveals that Welsh uses it a total of six times in an article over 2400 words. Shocking!
Yes, there’s a legitimate (though uncovincing) argument that he uses it gratuitously – at least at times – but overall it’s obvious that some of you are just small-minded, overly-sensitive prudes…!
PS The fact that UnHerd has decided to automatically insert asterisks whenever the word “f**k” is used in a comment is both hilarious and pathetic!

Last edited 10 months ago by Jonathan Brown
Albireo Double
Albireo Double
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

“The article is just crude language and pseudo intellectual twaddle by an ego that mistakenly thinks he has something important to say.”

Couldn’t agree more. Too many words, too much unnecessary swearing, too much pretension.

I have an image of the writing looking admiringly at himself as he writes…

Steve Edwards
Steve Edwards
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Willian, your final sentence does it for me!
Irvine, I’m sure Scottish manhood benefits from the Scottish N*zi Party governance of your domain.
BTW shouldn’t you be on the South Coast screeching “For God’s sake don’t come here they are Imperialist, Colonialist, Racist, Sexist, Homophobic, Transphobic, Islamophobic and worst of all, boo hoo, THEY VOTED FOR BREXIT!!!”

Curts
Curts
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Correct. What a pseudo intellectual pretentious mess.
“Conversely, black teenagers in inner London estates, continually the victims of harassment by the Metropolitan Police and at the bottom of Britain’s opportunity pile,”
Actually old sun i can point you in the direction of multiple books and studies that clearly show the band of youth in the UK with the least opportunities, lowest performance in any educational area and worse chances in life are, and have been for some time, young white working class males.
What a load of drivel.
Sticking f**k in every 3 lines doesn’t make you street, it makes you sound a has-been.

Last edited 11 months ago by Curts
Clownlard Jesus
Clownlard Jesus
11 months ago
Reply to  Curts

But he IS a has-been. When was the last time he was relevant? Seriously.

Clownlard Jesus
Clownlard Jesus
11 months ago
Reply to  Curts

But he IS a has-been. When was the last time he was relevant? Seriously.

Stu B
Stu B
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

The disdain for the author and his writing style on show in the comment section is really remarkable. It’s interesting to note that no one has really taken on the substance of what he’s said. If this is the way the intellectually pretentious chattering classes treats a working class white man who’s done well for himself (it seems that disqualifies him from holding his opinions?) then in a sort of meta way you’re demonstrating the problem and are a part of it. What is it, if he won’t talk nicely like you then he’s got no value? Shame on you all, quite honestly.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Unlike yourself, sir!

Jonathan Brown
Jonathan Brown
10 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Whatever you think of this article, claiming that it is “just crude language” is blatant nonsense (and, frankly, embarrassing!)

Emil Castelli
Emil Castelli
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

It is all being engineered.

Soros DAs let the criminals off to destroy – first, Black men, then society. The entire point of this system, the George Floyd thing – is to destroy Black Men. Just as you point out, White men are intentionally being destroyed as well by other means.

All which is decent is under attack by the Progressive Left, they mean to destroy the civilization of the Classical Enlightenment Liberals, the sort who brought us Man’s highest achievements – like the writers of the US Constitution. Their demonic philosophy is Postmodernism and Nhilos.

‘ex nihilo nihil fit” They believe in nothing, and from nothing comes nothing – they are the destroyers of decency and good.
Same attack is with woman – the Education system has them being something like 25% lesbian questioning – because it destroys them, as making them get pubity blockers, or trans male, and to not want children – it destroys them for their function of being in a married family – the Highest state of humanity.

Sexualizing children – this is entirely to mess them up so they do not end up as a married person with a well adjusted pairs of children. Because stopping that destroys society.

All Woke is to destroy Society – it is 5th Generation Warfare. It is the same as Hi* ler – out to destroy the decent world, only not in a kinetic warfare, but by psy-ops warfare, every bit as evil as the 1939 episode. The world survived that narrowly – this war on humanity we call woke is equally close to destroying us all – if we do not struggle against it, we are destroyed..

Look into Gates and Zuckerberg’s eyes – you can see demonic forces laughing out at you…..They and their Ilk bring you this.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

You are spot on about the author.
Anyway it is minorities and middle class women who are the the elite’s salivating attack dogs

Last edited 11 months ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Suzanne C.
Suzanne C.
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

I can’t understand how a “writer” needs to use the f word twice in the first few lines.

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

“The article is just crude language and pseudo intellectual twaddle by an ego that mistakenly thinks he has something important to say.”

Couldn’t agree more. Too many words, too much unnecessary swearing, too much pretension.

I have an image of the writing looking admiringly at himself as he writes…

Steve Edwards
Steve Edwards
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Willian, your final sentence does it for me!
Irvine, I’m sure Scottish manhood benefits from the Scottish N*zi Party governance of your domain.
BTW shouldn’t you be on the South Coast screeching “For God’s sake don’t come here they are Imperialist, Colonialist, Racist, Sexist, Homophobic, Transphobic, Islamophobic and worst of all, boo hoo, THEY VOTED FOR BREXIT!!!”

Curts
Curts
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Correct. What a pseudo intellectual pretentious mess.
“Conversely, black teenagers in inner London estates, continually the victims of harassment by the Metropolitan Police and at the bottom of Britain’s opportunity pile,”
Actually old sun i can point you in the direction of multiple books and studies that clearly show the band of youth in the UK with the least opportunities, lowest performance in any educational area and worse chances in life are, and have been for some time, young white working class males.
What a load of drivel.
Sticking f**k in every 3 lines doesn’t make you street, it makes you sound a has-been.

Last edited 11 months ago by Curts
Stu B
Stu B
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

The disdain for the author and his writing style on show in the comment section is really remarkable. It’s interesting to note that no one has really taken on the substance of what he’s said. If this is the way the intellectually pretentious chattering classes treats a working class white man who’s done well for himself (it seems that disqualifies him from holding his opinions?) then in a sort of meta way you’re demonstrating the problem and are a part of it. What is it, if he won’t talk nicely like you then he’s got no value? Shame on you all, quite honestly.

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Unlike yourself, sir!

Jonathan Brown
Jonathan Brown
10 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Whatever you think of this article, claiming that it is “just crude language” is blatant nonsense (and, frankly, embarrassing!)

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago

There is little to no pressure on young men to read, get and education or even a substantial job these days.
Freed from the expectations of marriage and supporting a family they don’t need much of an education or income… just enough to pay for internet, porn, fast food, and satellite TV.
Society has told them they are toxic and unnecessary so why is it surprising that they have found a new path in life, a path that avoids the burden of supporting a family.
The article is just crude language and pseudo intellectual twaddle by an ego that mistakenly thinks he has something important to say.

Last edited 11 months ago by William Shaw
Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago

Some interesting and useful thoughts buried in there.
There’s no such thing as “white, bourgeois, male privilege”.
Irvine Welsh is every bit as guilty of trying to divide people up into groups, give everyone a label and then claim that those at the top must all be undeserving and are somehow an oppressor class. He’s playing the same infantile game as those he argues against in this rant and no better than them. He claims that class “unites” and identity “divides”. Really ?
There’s certainly effective discrimination and prejudice against the ordinary white bloke now. Welsh’s advice to educate and inform yourself is good. But his divisive and archaic class war attitudes definitely aren’t any solution.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Not realising this is a class war is a problem. Which is why commentators on UnHerd aren’t really going to solve it.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago

All the issues that divide us – Covid, racism, net zero, gender – are the result of corporate and technocratic interests aligning together to preserve their power. The foolish, neoliberal elite that have dominated our institutions for the last three decades have intentionally or unintentionally deindustrialized the west. All these disparate issues are meant to keep the working class from uniting and demanding better governance.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago

All the issues that divide us – Covid, racism, net zero, gender – are the result of corporate and technocratic interests aligning together to preserve their power. The foolish, neoliberal elite that have dominated our institutions for the last three decades have intentionally or unintentionally deindustrialized the west. All these disparate issues are meant to keep the working class from uniting and demanding better governance.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

There is no doubt that if you’ve listened to interviews over the years he a pretty angry take no prisoners kind of guy. I heard him going off about Thatcher in an interview and his visceral hatred of her and the British political class nearly shorted out my radio.

Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
Mr Sketerzen Bhoto
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Not realising this is a class war is a problem. Which is why commentators on UnHerd aren’t really going to solve it.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

There is no doubt that if you’ve listened to interviews over the years he a pretty angry take no prisoners kind of guy. I heard him going off about Thatcher in an interview and his visceral hatred of her and the British political class nearly shorted out my radio.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago

Some interesting and useful thoughts buried in there.
There’s no such thing as “white, bourgeois, male privilege”.
Irvine Welsh is every bit as guilty of trying to divide people up into groups, give everyone a label and then claim that those at the top must all be undeserving and are somehow an oppressor class. He’s playing the same infantile game as those he argues against in this rant and no better than them. He claims that class “unites” and identity “divides”. Really ?
There’s certainly effective discrimination and prejudice against the ordinary white bloke now. Welsh’s advice to educate and inform yourself is good. But his divisive and archaic class war attitudes definitely aren’t any solution.

Neil Buckman
Neil Buckman
11 months ago

I find his language unnecessarily crude.

Last edited 11 months ago by Neil Buckman
Emil Castelli
Emil Castelli
11 months ago
Reply to  Neil Buckman

I did not read it – he presents a thuggish, angry, crude persona in the first paragraph.. I suppose he thinks it edgy, or something. It is similar to going to hear an Unherd feminist writer talk and she just shrieks at the audience – who cares what she says – it is not worth the effort. (stereotypes, haha)

Andy Iddon
Andy Iddon
11 months ago
Reply to  Emil Castelli

You didn’t read it so what you’ve written is an abstract on your prejudices? Somewhat arrogant, no?

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
11 months ago
Reply to  Andy Iddon

No. Completely justified and correct.

Andy Iddon
Andy Iddon
11 months ago
Reply to  Phil Rees

The depth of your argument seems somewhat ironic – swearing may or may not add to emphasis – it is often an adjective, generally meaning “very”. To dismiss content based on nothing more than your faux sensitivity is somewhere between priggish and crass imho.

Last edited 11 months ago by Andy Iddon
Andy Iddon
Andy Iddon
11 months ago
Reply to  Phil Rees

The depth of your argument seems somewhat ironic – swearing may or may not add to emphasis – it is often an adjective, generally meaning “very”. To dismiss content based on nothing more than your faux sensitivity is somewhere between priggish and crass imho.

Last edited 11 months ago by Andy Iddon
Dumetrius
Dumetrius
11 months ago
Reply to  Andy Iddon

“I never read a book before reviewing it. I find it prejudices a man so.”

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
11 months ago
Reply to  Andy Iddon

No. Completely justified and correct.

Dumetrius
Dumetrius
11 months ago
Reply to  Andy Iddon

“I never read a book before reviewing it. I find it prejudices a man so.”

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Emil Castelli

Or listening to male stand-up comics for whom the f word is every second word

Andy Iddon
Andy Iddon
11 months ago
Reply to  Emil Castelli

You didn’t read it so what you’ve written is an abstract on your prejudices? Somewhat arrogant, no?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Emil Castelli

Or listening to male stand-up comics for whom the f word is every second word

J Bryant
J Bryant
11 months ago
Reply to  Neil Buckman

Agreed. That style worked well in Trainspotting but not here. He also doesn’t provide new substantive analysis. He accurately summarizes the plight of white working class men but that’s been done many times before.

Andy Iddon
Andy Iddon
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Hmm, done before equals irrelevance? What changed? Perhaps it is still the root of the problem, that reality has been distorted, dividing people and distracting public opinion from the true nature of our systemic social malaise?

Andy Iddon
Andy Iddon
11 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Hmm, done before equals irrelevance? What changed? Perhaps it is still the root of the problem, that reality has been distorted, dividing people and distracting public opinion from the true nature of our systemic social malaise?

Fred Oakley
Fred Oakley
11 months ago
Reply to  Neil Buckman

Oh I say Mr Darcy, a swearword! How uncouth!

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
11 months ago
Reply to  Fred Oakley

Childish remark. Mr Buckman is absolutely correct, it’s not the appearance of swear words, but their unnecessary use along with crudity such as “a (white) p***s in the underpants is more important than the lack of an arse in the trousers”. I read practically everything from unherd, and I am not used to seeing language remotely like that. In my experience, crudity of language, stems from crudity of thought.

Fred Oakley
Fred Oakley
11 months ago
Reply to  Phil Rees

p***s is a biological appendage last time I checked, not crudity. The Victoria era called and mentioned something about wishing you’d return with their time machine?

Fred Oakley
Fred Oakley
11 months ago
Reply to  Phil Rees

p***s is a biological appendage last time I checked, not crudity. The Victoria era called and mentioned something about wishing you’d return with their time machine?

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
11 months ago
Reply to  Fred Oakley

Childish remark. Mr Buckman is absolutely correct, it’s not the appearance of swear words, but their unnecessary use along with crudity such as “a (white) p***s in the underpants is more important than the lack of an arse in the trousers”. I read practically everything from unherd, and I am not used to seeing language remotely like that. In my experience, crudity of language, stems from crudity of thought.

Andy Iddon
Andy Iddon
11 months ago
Reply to  Neil Buckman

Whilst your content is arbitrarily dismissive? Some contest!

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
11 months ago
Reply to  Neil Buckman

I find our media, politicians, politics, police, teachers and education, social attitudes and most people very crude. Irving Welsh’s prose always spits at you, it’s what he does and just because he says f*** a few times you get upset about it.
How about getting angry?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

Saying f**k that many times loses all meaning.

Jonathan Brown
Jonathan Brown
10 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

A total of six times, in over 2400 words, Grow up Clare!

Jonathan Brown
Jonathan Brown
10 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

A total of six times, in over 2400 words, Grow up Clare!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

Saying f**k that many times loses all meaning.

Gordon Buckman
Gordon Buckman
11 months ago
Reply to  Neil Buckman

To the point though…

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Neil Buckman

I think it lends authenticity. Many working class men use the eff word.

Sharon Hall
Sharon Hall
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Many people say the word f**k you mean, not just working class men. I’m sure that is what you were getting at and that you weren’t being condescending at all.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Not to mention all the middle-class women. This is all to make them seem edgy and down with the people, meaning that they can say or write any dross and we are expected to take it seriously. Not that Mr Welsh’s writing is dross, it is just not that revealing and offers little in the way of solutions. The working class in general, but particularly the male, white, working-class have been reviled for long time now; you remember Gordon Brown and Gillian Duffy, the working-class woman from Rochdale from 2010. I think that the “liberal” left are actually afraid of them; they’re ok when they do as they’re told, but when they get all “uppity” they threaten the values, and even the status, of the liberal middle-class. These “progressives” do not want any form of “progress” that includes the proles; it’s our sort of “progress” and is for our kind of people only.

Clownlard Jesus
Clownlard Jesus
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Irvine Welsh is a multi-millionaire who divides his time between Scotland and America. He hasn’t been anywhere near the working class, or the joyous ‘traditional workplace’ he froths over, in decades.

Sharon Hall
Sharon Hall
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Many people say the word f**k you mean, not just working class men. I’m sure that is what you were getting at and that you weren’t being condescending at all.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Not to mention all the middle-class women. This is all to make them seem edgy and down with the people, meaning that they can say or write any dross and we are expected to take it seriously. Not that Mr Welsh’s writing is dross, it is just not that revealing and offers little in the way of solutions. The working class in general, but particularly the male, white, working-class have been reviled for long time now; you remember Gordon Brown and Gillian Duffy, the working-class woman from Rochdale from 2010. I think that the “liberal” left are actually afraid of them; they’re ok when they do as they’re told, but when they get all “uppity” they threaten the values, and even the status, of the liberal middle-class. These “progressives” do not want any form of “progress” that includes the proles; it’s our sort of “progress” and is for our kind of people only.

Clownlard Jesus
Clownlard Jesus
11 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Irvine Welsh is a multi-millionaire who divides his time between Scotland and America. He hasn’t been anywhere near the working class, or the joyous ‘traditional workplace’ he froths over, in decades.

Jonathan Brown
Jonathan Brown
10 months ago
Reply to  Neil Buckman

That’s almost certainly because you’re a prude.
(There are justified criticisms of this article, but the absurd over-sensitivity of a number of responders here is both sad and hilarious!)

Emil Castelli
Emil Castelli
11 months ago
Reply to  Neil Buckman

I did not read it – he presents a thuggish, angry, crude persona in the first paragraph.. I suppose he thinks it edgy, or something. It is similar to going to hear an Unherd feminist writer talk and she just shrieks at the audience – who cares what she says – it is not worth the effort. (stereotypes, haha)

J Bryant
J Bryant
11 months ago
Reply to  Neil Buckman

Agreed. That style worked well in Trainspotting but not here. He also doesn’t provide new substantive analysis. He accurately summarizes the plight of white working class men but that’s been done many times before.

Fred Oakley
Fred Oakley
11 months ago
Reply to  Neil Buckman

Oh I say Mr Darcy, a swearword! How uncouth!

Andy Iddon
Andy Iddon
11 months ago
Reply to  Neil Buckman

Whilst your content is arbitrarily dismissive? Some contest!

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
11 months ago
Reply to  Neil Buckman

I find our media, politicians, politics, police, teachers and education, social attitudes and most people very crude. Irving Welsh’s prose always spits at you, it’s what he does and just because he says f*** a few times you get upset about it.
How about getting angry?

Gordon Buckman
Gordon Buckman
11 months ago
Reply to  Neil Buckman

To the point though…

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 months ago
Reply to  Neil Buckman

I think it lends authenticity. Many working class men use the eff word.

Jonathan Brown
Jonathan Brown
10 months ago
Reply to  Neil Buckman

That’s almost certainly because you’re a prude.
(There are justified criticisms of this article, but the absurd over-sensitivity of a number of responders here is both sad and hilarious!)

Neil Buckman
Neil Buckman
11 months ago

I find his language unnecessarily crude.

Last edited 11 months ago by Neil Buckman
polidori redux
polidori redux
11 months ago

Odd. My father was about as white working class as you can get – soldier, fireman, raised in East London,couple of years as a pow. I don’t recall him ever talking with the same crass vulgarity as this man

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
11 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Exactly.

polidori redux
polidori redux
11 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

I wonder if this is how middle class novelists think that this is how working class men talk.
I didn’t hear my father swear – ever. He did admit though, that British pows would swear at and mock their middle-aged German guards, driving them into a state of purple-faced rage as they simply didn’t know how to hit back. Well, except with a rifle butt. And you didn’t swear at SS troops – they would shoot people out of hand.
My father developed a low opinions of Germans and novelists.

Last edited 11 months ago by polidori redux
Clownlard Jesus
Clownlard Jesus
11 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

“My father developed a low opinions of Germans and novelists.” Best and funniest line in this whole article and comments section. 🙂

Clownlard Jesus
Clownlard Jesus
11 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

“My father developed a low opinions of Germans and novelists.” Best and funniest line in this whole article and comments section. 🙂

polidori redux
polidori redux
11 months ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

I wonder if this is how middle class novelists think that this is how working class men talk.
I didn’t hear my father swear – ever. He did admit though, that British pows would swear at and mock their middle-aged German guards, driving them into a state of purple-faced rage as they simply didn’t know how to hit back. Well, except with a rifle butt. And you didn’t swear at SS troops – they would shoot people out of hand.
My father developed a low opinions of Germans and novelists.

Last edited 11 months ago by polidori redux
Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
11 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

It’s a generational thing, though – and Welsh is of course Scottish, and probably quite a bit younger than your father. This is explanatory of course, not exculpatory.

Glyn R
Glyn R
11 months ago

Oh yes foul language is now the norm for many just as low aspiration is – why is that? Is it the collective influence of film makers and writers and low expectations of politicians and so-called educators on the public consciousness?

JP Martin
JP Martin
11 months ago
Reply to  Glyn R

It’s the linguistic equivalent of rich people wearing a hoodie and trainers. It’s all signalling.

JP Martin
JP Martin
11 months ago
Reply to  Glyn R

It’s the linguistic equivalent of rich people wearing a hoodie and trainers. It’s all signalling.

Glyn R
Glyn R
11 months ago

Oh yes foul language is now the norm for many just as low aspiration is – why is that? Is it the collective influence of film makers and writers and low expectations of politicians and so-called educators on the public consciousness?

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
11 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Exactly.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
11 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

It’s a generational thing, though – and Welsh is of course Scottish, and probably quite a bit younger than your father. This is explanatory of course, not exculpatory.

polidori redux
polidori redux
11 months ago

Odd. My father was about as white working class as you can get – soldier, fireman, raised in East London,couple of years as a pow. I don’t recall him ever talking with the same crass vulgarity as this man

R Wright
R Wright
11 months ago

While I take issue with certain aspects of this piece, its heart is in the right place. Instead of staying mired in misery young white working class men need to break out of it, get a lust for life, become masters of themselves and tell their lords and masters to f*** off.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

Quite. The “self help” part is helpful. The “class war” part definitely is not.
It was a hard read and a struggle to stick with it and see the value. Or perhaps the author actually wanted to wind us up ?

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
11 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

‘…get a lust for life…’

I see what you did there…

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

If young white men actually did this in a meaningful way, the media would immediately demonise them and the author and most of the writers and commenters on unherd would be terrified of them and the threat they posed to the apple cart with its various entitlements and pensions.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

But if they did so they might reject the views of the author an his friend and sponsors in the elite. That would never do.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

Quite. The “self help” part is helpful. The “class war” part definitely is not.
It was a hard read and a struggle to stick with it and see the value. Or perhaps the author actually wanted to wind us up ?

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
11 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

‘…get a lust for life…’

I see what you did there…

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

If young white men actually did this in a meaningful way, the media would immediately demonise them and the author and most of the writers and commenters on unherd would be terrified of them and the threat they posed to the apple cart with its various entitlements and pensions.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

But if they did so they might reject the views of the author an his friend and sponsors in the elite. That would never do.

R Wright
R Wright
11 months ago

While I take issue with certain aspects of this piece, its heart is in the right place. Instead of staying mired in misery young white working class men need to break out of it, get a lust for life, become masters of themselves and tell their lords and masters to f*** off.

Glyn R
Glyn R
11 months ago

There was a brief glimmer of hope for the betrayed and abandoned white working class when Frank Field was appointed Blue Skies thinker for Blair. He spoke out about the welfare trap, the loss of opportunity and potential by bad education and the need for a major rethink. Blair quickly removed him from that office.

Last edited 11 months ago by Glyn R
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  Glyn R

Yes, Field was one of the most under-rated parliamentarians of his generation. He probably wasn’t enough of a ‘politician’ to really make the difference he might’ve done.

Mark Gourley
Mark Gourley
11 months ago
Reply to  Glyn R

Absolutely. Truly great man whose inputs were sadly disregarded. His recent book is well worth reading.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  Glyn R

Yes, Field was one of the most under-rated parliamentarians of his generation. He probably wasn’t enough of a ‘politician’ to really make the difference he might’ve done.

Mark Gourley
Mark Gourley
11 months ago
Reply to  Glyn R

Absolutely. Truly great man whose inputs were sadly disregarded. His recent book is well worth reading.

Glyn R
Glyn R
11 months ago

There was a brief glimmer of hope for the betrayed and abandoned white working class when Frank Field was appointed Blue Skies thinker for Blair. He spoke out about the welfare trap, the loss of opportunity and potential by bad education and the need for a major rethink. Blair quickly removed him from that office.

Last edited 11 months ago by Glyn R
tr67j6bdww
tr67j6bdww
11 months ago

I think this piece is heading in the right direction but saying patriarchy gave us “bad art” is such a silly nonsensical claim. If patriarchy has been the dominant organizing force for centuries then by inference it gave us all art, good and bad, unless the author is claiming we’ve had no good art.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  tr67j6bdww

I wondered about that. I suspect Welsh has a preference (as in his own work) for ‘transgressive’ art, which challenges perceptions and boundaries.
Much of modern art is didactic – but not all of it. However, one only has to wander through the rooms and rooms of very average derivative artworks in many museums (including the best, such as the Louvre) to consider what Welsh may be referring to as ‘bad art’. The best of the Renaissance and in the intervening period up to Modernism is, of course, civilisation-defining. But there’s an awful lot that isn’t, just copying accepted styles with perhaps a high degree of technical competence but no real insight into the human condition.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Call me philistine, but I don’t think I want ‘real insight into the human condition’ from art.

Rob C
Rob C
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Why in the world should art have “real insight into the human condition”?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  Rob C

If you have to ask, there’s no point providing an answer.
What do you think it’s about, providing pretty little pictures?

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve Murray
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  Rob C

If you have to ask, there’s no point providing an answer.
What do you think it’s about, providing pretty little pictures?

Last edited 11 months ago by Steve Murray
Judy Englander
Judy Englander
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Call me philistine, but I don’t think I want ‘real insight into the human condition’ from art.

Rob C
Rob C
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Why in the world should art have “real insight into the human condition”?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  tr67j6bdww

I wondered about that. I suspect Welsh has a preference (as in his own work) for ‘transgressive’ art, which challenges perceptions and boundaries.
Much of modern art is didactic – but not all of it. However, one only has to wander through the rooms and rooms of very average derivative artworks in many museums (including the best, such as the Louvre) to consider what Welsh may be referring to as ‘bad art’. The best of the Renaissance and in the intervening period up to Modernism is, of course, civilisation-defining. But there’s an awful lot that isn’t, just copying accepted styles with perhaps a high degree of technical competence but no real insight into the human condition.

tr67j6bdww
tr67j6bdww
11 months ago

I think this piece is heading in the right direction but saying patriarchy gave us “bad art” is such a silly nonsensical claim. If patriarchy has been the dominant organizing force for centuries then by inference it gave us all art, good and bad, unless the author is claiming we’ve had no good art.

Peter Kwasi-Modo
Peter Kwasi-Modo
11 months ago

This neat compartmentalization (“white, working-class male”, etc.) is very convenient for lazy novelists who couldn’t be bothered to develop their characters. But for me, each such category masks a huge diversity.
The world view expressed in this article is the hallmark of much of commercially-successful contemporary Scottish fiction. It also corresponds closely to the agenda of the cultural elite, such as the BBC, though they would express it without the four-letter expletives.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago

That’s pretty much my take. It’s an attempt by Welsh to appear relevant. I found it mainly incoherent with just the odd useful point thrown in; for instance around his preferences for male or female friendship groups.

Glyn R
Glyn R
11 months ago

I agree. For example, I grew up in Salford in the 60s and 70s and such liberal use of the f word was not general currency – it might have been the case in Glasgow, I could not say. In Salford that word was generally expressed with a two finger salute if at all. I suppose, back then, it wasn’t felt necessary to prove one’s bona fide social status by peppering every point with bad language.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago

That’s pretty much my take. It’s an attempt by Welsh to appear relevant. I found it mainly incoherent with just the odd useful point thrown in; for instance around his preferences for male or female friendship groups.

Glyn R
Glyn R
11 months ago

I agree. For example, I grew up in Salford in the 60s and 70s and such liberal use of the f word was not general currency – it might have been the case in Glasgow, I could not say. In Salford that word was generally expressed with a two finger salute if at all. I suppose, back then, it wasn’t felt necessary to prove one’s bona fide social status by peppering every point with bad language.

Peter Kwasi-Modo
Peter Kwasi-Modo
11 months ago

This neat compartmentalization (“white, working-class male”, etc.) is very convenient for lazy novelists who couldn’t be bothered to develop their characters. But for me, each such category masks a huge diversity.
The world view expressed in this article is the hallmark of much of commercially-successful contemporary Scottish fiction. It also corresponds closely to the agenda of the cultural elite, such as the BBC, though they would express it without the four-letter expletives.

John Croteau
John Croteau
11 months ago

Hard to get through the unnecessarily crude language. Irvine totally misses white, working-class males’ connection to the Trump phenomenon. To them, making America great again means going back to aspirations of a Capitalist meritocracy where corporate integrity, honest work, fair wages, and family values make everyone — including white males — feel respected and rewarded. Debate any one of those things and you simply do not remember or understand the America of the past. We were/are an imperfect union and constant work in progress, still far better than the corrupt Deep State, FDA, Big Pharma, Big Tech, Legacy Media, DEI that seeks to divide the People and judge them by the color of their skin (or gender, sexual preference or identity) rather than the content of their character. Congress needs to be cleansed, as do the Board rooms of corrupt and woke corporations. THAT is the existential threat Trump presents to the Establishment. How else could you explain weaponized government and legal assaults, as well as zealous support for an otherwise objectionable individual?

Last edited 11 months ago by John Croteau
John Croteau
John Croteau
11 months ago

Hard to get through the unnecessarily crude language. Irvine totally misses white, working-class males’ connection to the Trump phenomenon. To them, making America great again means going back to aspirations of a Capitalist meritocracy where corporate integrity, honest work, fair wages, and family values make everyone — including white males — feel respected and rewarded. Debate any one of those things and you simply do not remember or understand the America of the past. We were/are an imperfect union and constant work in progress, still far better than the corrupt Deep State, FDA, Big Pharma, Big Tech, Legacy Media, DEI that seeks to divide the People and judge them by the color of their skin (or gender, sexual preference or identity) rather than the content of their character. Congress needs to be cleansed, as do the Board rooms of corrupt and woke corporations. THAT is the existential threat Trump presents to the Establishment. How else could you explain weaponized government and legal assaults, as well as zealous support for an otherwise objectionable individual?

Last edited 11 months ago by John Croteau
N Satori
N Satori
11 months ago

Cards on the table: I’ve never been interested in the cult of Irvine Welsh and his Trainspotting novel or flm. This extended rant has all the shallow insight of an angry bar-room-bore revolutionary well into his drinks. Just as with the rantings of boozed up pub demagogue I found myself looking for the exit.
But I made the effort to read on to the end where this gem can be found:

f**k that. Pick up a book instead. Let’s get educated. The smarter we are, the less easy it is for the unenlightened greed junkies to f**k things up for us.

which could so easily be the desperate battle cry of keyboard warriors and keyboard sleuthers accross the worldwide web.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

I respect that you we’re able to wade through what you didn’t like and acknowledge that gem. I know what you mean about the pub-rant self-indulgence, but there is also a measure of substance (2.5 “substance units”?) amidst the pugnacious posturing.
If y’all in the UnHerd flock want a real challenge: Please tolerate wild/over-the-top articles, including ones you dislike. Some of them will be a waste of time or “vanity and vexation of spirit”, but that’s better than a predictable, comfortable sleepwalk…right?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Thoroughly agree with that.

N Satori
N Satori
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

What a very strange comment, AJ Mac! Why should my criticism of an article be met with a the plea for tolerance?! Did I ask for the piece to be removed? Did I demand that Irving Welsh never be allowed to publish here ever again? Nope! I expressed my low opinion of the piece and made a particular point about final paragraph.
Please learn to tolerate criticism of articles, particularly criticisms you dislike! [And that goes for you too Steve Murray!]

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

You totally mistake my intent. I meant to applaud your willingness to see something good in what you mostly don’t like. The second part of my comment was pointed toward the whole commentariat here at UnHerd, advocating for patience and tolerance for views one doesn’t share (which you demonstrated yourself), instead of some particular, oppositional point of view that one might prefer. To be honest, I’m opinionated and snap-judgmental too–but I’m trying to cut down!
(afterthought: And I see I could have made meaning more clear, so I apologize)

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

You totally mistake my intent. I meant to applaud your willingness to see something good in what you mostly don’t like. The second part of my comment was pointed toward the whole commentariat here at UnHerd, advocating for patience and tolerance for views one doesn’t share (which you demonstrated yourself), instead of some particular, oppositional point of view that one might prefer. To be honest, I’m opinionated and snap-judgmental too–but I’m trying to cut down!
(afterthought: And I see I could have made meaning more clear, so I apologize)

Last edited 11 months ago by AJ Mac
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Thoroughly agree with that.

N Satori
N Satori
11 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

What a very strange comment, AJ Mac! Why should my criticism of an article be met with a the plea for tolerance?! Did I ask for the piece to be removed? Did I demand that Irving Welsh never be allowed to publish here ever again? Nope! I expressed my low opinion of the piece and made a particular point about final paragraph.
Please learn to tolerate criticism of articles, particularly criticisms you dislike! [And that goes for you too Steve Murray!]

T Bone
T Bone
11 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

Except for the word “unenlightened.” I don’t buy that reading books is the secret to “enlightenment.” I’ve met plenty of manual labor folks that aren’t well read that can fix things, make a good living and raise their family right. They learn things in the real world and have human interactions that books can never teach. I try to remember that as an “educated person.” There’s people with less formal education that know things I dont.

Last edited 11 months ago by T Bone
Kenda Grant
Kenda Grant
11 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

Exactly, education doesn’t equal learning. In fact, the higher up you go, the narrower the thinking often becomes. And the more groupthink is incentivized. Regardless of how many letters you have after your name, enlightenment comes from asking questions, seeking out all available data/POV (not just that which is delivered to you) and asking “Who benefits from this [insert narrative, ideology, POV]?.

Kenda Grant
Kenda Grant
11 months ago
Reply to  T Bone

Exactly, education doesn’t equal learning. In fact, the higher up you go, the narrower the thinking often becomes. And the more groupthink is incentivized. Regardless of how many letters you have after your name, enlightenment comes from asking questions, seeking out all available data/POV (not just that which is delivered to you) and asking “Who benefits from this [insert narrative, ideology, POV]?.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
11 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

I respect that you we’re able to wade through what you didn’t like and acknowledge that gem. I know what you mean about the pub-rant self-indulgence, but there is also a measure of substance (2.5 “substance units”?) amidst the pugnacious posturing.
If y’all in the UnHerd flock want a real challenge: Please tolerate wild/over-the-top articles, including ones you dislike. Some of them will be a waste of time or “vanity and vexation of spirit”, but that’s better than a predictable, comfortable sleepwalk…right?

T Bone
T Bone
11 months ago
Reply to  N Satori

Except for the word “unenlightened.” I don’t buy that reading books is the secret to “enlightenment.” I’ve met plenty of manual labor folks that aren’t well read that can fix things, make a good living and raise their family right. They learn things in the real world and have human interactions that books can never teach. I try to remember that as an “educated person.” There’s people with less formal education that know things I dont.

Last edited 11 months ago by T Bone
N Satori
N Satori
11 months ago

Cards on the table: I’ve never been interested in the cult of Irvine Welsh and his Trainspotting novel or flm. This extended rant has all the shallow insight of an angry bar-room-bore revolutionary well into his drinks. Just as with the rantings of boozed up pub demagogue I found myself looking for the exit.
But I made the effort to read on to the end where this gem can be found:

f**k that. Pick up a book instead. Let’s get educated. The smarter we are, the less easy it is for the unenlightened greed junkies to f**k things up for us.

which could so easily be the desperate battle cry of keyboard warriors and keyboard sleuthers accross the worldwide web.

Simon Curran
Simon Curran
11 months ago

This article is fairly crap to be honest. More like a drunken rant down the pub (with the course language thrown in) than an attempt at finding the answers. The authors generation are part of our current predicament. The 60’s saw that generation wage a total attack, a revolution on tradition, religion and rules. They destroyed the place. Tore down everything in an orgy of sex, violence, drugs, anarchy without replacing it with anything better. The nation state, the family, communities etc all destroyed in this orgy of revolution. Now we have their spawn. The woke generation, with an almost religious zeal, trying to implement some undemocratic totalitarian left wing “fascism”. The laws have been changed over decades by lobby groups so the majority have no political or legal way to stop their march through each and every institution. Now the white working class are just being trampled over in the mess that they left. So yes, if you’re going to start a revolution against the whole of tradition then don’t complain when you stand in the ruins!

Stoater D
Stoater D
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Curran

But the white working class aren’t responsible for that mess. It was the Left wing (supposedly) educated middle class.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
11 months ago
Reply to  Simon Curran

Welsh’s generation was the 90s not the 60s.

The 60s was a reaction to the world that tore itself apart with two cataclysms. Some historical perspective, please, rather than hand-wrought moralising.