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The moral vacuity of Katie Hopkins

Katie HopkinsFour years ago, I wrote about the functions of bigotry in the mass media, and the ever charming Melanie Phillips was my case study. Then, somewhat counter-intuitively, The Daily Mail made use of Mel to get the lefties in and boost their clicks per second average. Every idiocy that tripped off her keyboard was then, in the infant days of social media, pounced upon and shared by the angry, which in turn help push those page views through the roof. This now is 2015, things are more settled now. Our audiences are sophisticated and savvy. The media bigots have had their day, or have they?

Bidding for the title of vile personage of the year is the execrable Katie Hopkins, a woman so toxic that Sellafield wouldn’t touch her. The now notorious article, Rescue Boats? I’d use gunships to stop migrants in your snore-away currant bun is probably the most disgusting, stupid, stone-hearted and cretinous piece published by the Murdoch press this century. It’s no exaggeration to say you’d find a more compassion toward refugees fleeing violence in Libya and Syria in the BNP rag, Freedom. Advocating the shooting up rafts full of helpless people, leaving kids to drown, and that’s before you start likening human beings to cockroaches. Now there’s an expression without any historical baggage at all.

Unlike other right wing celebrities, such as Clarkson, Hopkins doesn’t have a fan base as such. There won’t be anyone tweeting death threats on her behalf as she cowers in the basement while the outrage howls overhead. Everyone hates her, and that’s the basis of her celebrity. Beginning in The Apprentice as the contestant everyone detested, she has only been able to maintain her fame since – and therefore her income – by becoming ever more objectionable. She’s by means not the only one. However, there does come a point when one cannot go any further before getting into really dodgy territory. Hopkins has made a career mocking the unemployed, the disabled, the overweight, the mentally ill. The only way is even further down into the black hole of racism and xenophobia.

The thing with Hopkins is it’s (mostly) an act. To have made a lucrative career out of booting the voiceless and powerless demands a cunning of a certain kind. She has a rabble rouser’s nous for issues that, framed in a certain way, would appeal to the most backward and bigoted. Politics-wise she’s no different to the hardened Tories who spend their retirements propping up the bar at the precious few Conservative Clubs still trading. A little bit racist, perhaps; but not a dickheaded blood-and-soil fascist. And yet here we are. The ability to sit there and pen something so incredibly offensive that you don’t even take it seriously yourself, that takes a special kind of cynicism and one only possible after all traces of humanity have been liposuctioned out. What Hopkins has done by sharing her ghastly pearls with us is to bare a void where a person should be.

When you exercise your right to speak freely, you have to accept the consequences. When I write critical things about the Tories or my erstwhile comrades I don’t expect speaking invites to come from those directions. Similarly with Hopkins. The point is not to ban her or get her prosecuted – not that such an action would succeed, except to make another tedious free speech martyr – but to pressure the BBC and ITV studios to ensure This Morning, This Week, Loose Women, and whatever are closed to her. Our society is too indulgent of those who seek to whip up hatred and fear, and its only right the platforms from which their bullshit is promulgated can and should be closed to them.

And that brings me to The Sun, the paper that published Hopkins and stuck her article under a headline of their devising. They too are responsible. They didn’t have to ask her to write a provocative column. They didn’t have to publish it in this form. And they certainly can’t plead the “she’s a columnist guv, nothing to do with us” defence given decades-long effluvia flow to have dribbled from its pages. It thoroughly deserves to haunt news agents’ store rooms in unread, unopened bundles, and a plunging circulation suggests that happy future might not be too far away.

Yet consider their position for a moment. Since Uncle Rupert squirreled away his titles behind a paywall, The Sun’s popular cultural relevancy has taken a huge hit. The Telegraph, Mail, Graun, even The Mirror, while also suffering, find their content regularly shared and talked about over social media. The Sun cannot do that, and their ridiculous mini-me – Sun Nation – is lousy with Johnny-come-lately and reeks of the same desperate-to-be-relevant that attends the Desmond press. To be in the national conversation, they have to throw their own dead cat in from time-to-time. Last time it was the will they, won’t they over Page 3. This time it was Hopkins. The problem for them, however, is this can only work the once. When they employ her or some other vacuity in human skin to say something outrageous next, The Sun faces the ignominy of getting ignored. It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.

This article first appeared in All that is Solid

You can sign a petition at Change.org for The Sun to remove Katie Hopkins as a columnist. It already has over 110,000 signatures

 

11 Comments

  1. John.P reid says:

    If she’s put illegal immigrants,and gun ships to be used to search, in case they were potential terrorists I’d understand it,
    Didn’t Blunkett say when there were Asylum seekers who’d hijacked a Plane took it to Russia, then flew over to land in the UK, while avoiding the Taliban

    That the plane should have been shot down, the second it entered British air space,
    But yes this article is appalling,

    1. Robert says:

      Then why not just say it’s appalling.

  2. Katie Hopkins has provided yet further proof of something that we had all known for quite some time. The Sun is demob happy.

    Once the Hillsborough Inquest has come to its conclusion, then The Sun will set, certainly within a month, probably within a fortnight, and possibly within a week.

    Its readers have in any case started to see that their paper has only ever been a gigantic public school joke at their expense. Have you ever met anyone from The Sun?

    Speaking of such circles, the war in Libya absolutely disqualifies David Cameron from office.

    Yes, most Labour MPs voted for it. But most Conservative MPs voted for the war in Iraq. That was still Blair’s war, Blair’s fault. And this is still Cameron’s war, Cameron’s fault.

    1. gerry says:

      David – good point: by removing Gaddafi and Saddam, and helping the fanatics to try to remove Assad, Cameron is much to blame for the current migrants-in- the- Mediterranean crisis.

      The people smugglers however are probably the lowest form of life on the planet apart from ISIS, Al Qaeda and Al Shabaab and the rest…it is they who are the “cockroaches” profiting from human suffering and misery, and it is they who should be targeted as much as any terrorist.

      In the midst of all this, we must also be vigilant – ISIS and others have openly said that their supporters and other extremists are amongst the migrants on the boats: we urgently need a coordinated and robust screening system to make sure that they don’t have a back -door route into Europe too.

  3. Fergus Hashimoto says:

    This denunciation of racist rabble-rouser Katie Hopkins would be more persuasive if the author had refrained from inserting misleading information such as the disingenuous phrase “compassion toward refugees fleeing violence in Libya and Syria.” It seems pretty clear that the great majority of migrants sailing from Libya to Italy are not Libyans (or Syrians!) but citizens of African countries south of the Sahara who are fleeing poverty in their home countries and are consequently not refugees at all but economic migrants.
    Migration from black Africa to Europe has been steadily growing for decades and reflects the steady deterioration of living standards caused by environmental degradation and overpopulation.
    The solution obviously is neither migration nor gunboats but halting overpopulation and environmental decay in Africa.
    Echoing Hopkins, a different European Fascist, Jean-Marie Le Pen, recently suggested that epidemics (“Lord Ebola”) are the solution to African overpopulation. A positive aspect of Fascist brutality and heartlessness is that Fascists do not hesitate to address underlying issues that compassionate leftists somehow seem unable to notice, and sometimes even try to conceal. While denouncing their callousness, we should pay attention to the underlying issues that they address in their tasteless tirades. (However I grant that often they invent issues with no substance.)

  4. Dan says:

    2011 the infant days of social media? Try 2004 or 2005.

  5. gerry says:

    Phil – why don’t you – and the rest of us – stop feeding this uber-Tory troll? No more articles about her – it only raises her profile even higher!

    I – as I am sure you have – have heard other people express similar hard-right comments about migrants, disabled people, etc : her views are not unique to her, and secretly many people broadly agree with her: but don’t add to her fame, just ignore her. And don’t compare her to people like Melanie Phillips either – Ms Phillips is a once-left now right wing journalist in a long tradition but is by no stretch a neo- Nazi of any stripe, although of course I disagree with most of what she writes!

  6. David Pavett says:

    It easy to object to the provocations coming from political low life and condemn the offensive material they produce. I am not clear as to the point of doing so – at least in this instance. It seems unlikely that anyone visiting this site would be attracted by the appalling views exposed in this piece.

    It is more difficult to propose solutions to the mass migrations in question. Very few articles, if any, dealing with the issue come anywhere near doing that. The problem is likely to become more acute. It would be really helpful to have considered thoughts on how we might best respond.

  7. Jim Denham says:

    These arguments that the “war” (it wasn’t a “war”, of course) in Libya has caused the present migrant tragedies in the Med, make some sense when they come from the isolationist right (eg Farage). They make no sense coming from the internationalist left:

    1/ No-one argued against the western bombing at the time, on the grounds that it would cause a migrant crisis (“left” opposition was simply “anti-imperialist”);
    2/ “Left” opponents of bombing almost all claimed, at the time, that they supported the anti-Gaddafi rebels and that the bombing was not required as the rebels could win without it;
    3/ If the anti-bombing/pro-rebel “left” case was correct, and Gaddafi had been overthrown without the bombing, then the situation today would be exactly the same.
    4/ Therefore, blaming the western bombs for the present crisis only makes sense if you actually opposed the uprising and supported Gaddafi at the time – a position that almost no “leftist” critics of the bombing took at the time.

    1. David Ellis says:

      I certainly did not oppose the bombing but urged the Libyan Revolutionaries to take advantage, which they did, but to beware false friends, which they didn’t. Imperialism’s sole motivation for intervening in Libya was to prevent all that lovely oil that it had just gained access to from disappearing back behind sanctions should Gadaffi obliterate an entire city in full view of the world’s media. It cared not a jot about the Libyan people or the Arab Spring as can be seen by the fact that it completely turned its back on the Syrian people in their hour of need. There was insufficient oil there to make it worthwhile upsetting their Russian friends or derailing the rapprochment with Iran. Imperialism is entirely self-serving and happy to see the Middle East suffocated under semi-colonial tyrannies or torn to shreds by sectarian civil wars. It didn’t set up the sectarian, land-grabbing, murderous religious state of Israel for nothing.

      If Bush’s invasion of Iraq planted the ISIS seed then Obama’s turning of his back on the Syrian Revolution provided the manure in which it germinated. How could it be otherwise?

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