It used to be that you could not argue seriously with anyone on the left because they would launch into personal attacks at the drop of the hat. Now one finds the same to be true about an ever larger number of Conservative supporters and activists. The slightest disagreement sends them into paroxysms of rage and really unbelievable personal abuse.
Take the hysteria around Gordon Brown who, according to a number of these great thinkers, "has no popular mandate". The moment one points out that he is the leader of a party that has won three elections, whether one likes it or not, and therefore does have a popular mandate, one is abused for being a nulab supporter or, as I was quite recently, a pinko. Clearly the person in question knows very little about me and, given his hysterical stupidity, I prefer it to remain that way.
No, Brown was not elected to be a Prime Minister. We do not elect Prime Ministers. No, he did not lead the party in the last election when they won the popular vote as well as the largest number of seats. Neither had Churchill, Eden, Macmillan, Douglas Home, Callaghan or Major. These are facts, which are, as Stalin kept saying, stubborn things. (Mind you, they had a more flexible characteristic under his rule.)
There is no disagreement about the fact that the Labour Party had promised a referendum on the Constitution for Europe and reneged on it when it came to the Lisbon Treaty. Whether that makes them filth, traitorous scum, fascists or just politicians in power is questionable. What is not questionable is the fact (that stubborn entity again) that all three parties promised a referendum in their manifesto and all three have reneged. It matters little as far as the Lib-Dims are concerned but it does matter that the Boy-King of the Conservative Party gave his "cast-iron guarantee" that there will be a referendum under a Conservative government, not bothering to qualify the guarantee. He has now made it clear that there will be no referendum on the EU for some time. As for those promises to bring back powers they are not worth the paper they are written on or the disk space they occupy.
This is a family friendly blog and, therefore, I cannot quote some of the abuse that has been flung in my direction by Conservative supporters in response to that very simple fact, which goes a long way towards explaining why the opinion polls and by-election results are all over the place.
This inability to argue vehemently but without nasty personal attacks is very odd. There are a few possible explanations.
It could be as simple as the fear that they will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and they are already flailing round trying to blame everyone they can and vent their fury instead of turning the situation round in the next few months.
It could be that the difference between the Conservative party and the left has eroded to the point of the two being indistinguishable in attitude as well as political thinking.
Or it could be that conservatism is meaningless to the present-day members, supporters and activists of the Conservative party and they think entirely in terms of teams, akin to football supporters, except that if you listen to the latter, as I do whenever there is a match around here, you can distinguish interesting discussions about games, players and tactics. In other words, there is more substance to football supporters than to supporters of political parties.