Sarah Sands: We are right or left wing to the core, even at bathtime

Share
Related Topics

During a discussion about BBC bias at a lunch last week, a brainy woman remarked that the organisation was admirably positioned and she hoped that David Cameron would note that this was the country's centre of gravity. Thus she revealed her political colours. According to Donald Rumsfeld, who I think we agree is a little to the right of the BBC, a characteristic of a leftie is someone who regards a difference of view as a sign of stupidity because they cannot imagine "how anyone intelligent could possibly disagree with them". I think the BBC is scrupulously neutral, except that many of its staff believe that there is a sane world view, and then there are the crazies.

Left and right are not always at odds. In Rumsfeld's autobiography, we see him strike unstereotypical positions, pro civil rights, pro Kennedy. He admiringly quotes a Belgian ambassador: "What one needs in life are the pessimism of intelligence and the optimism of will." Doesn't that describe Ronald Reagan, and Winston Churchill, heroes of the right? Yet the quote originally comes from the Italian communist Antonio Gramsci.

Politics can coalesce – the Iraq war even united William Hague and Christopher Hitchens. But culturally, emotionally and socially, you are right or left wing. The response to different institutions is telling. On the latest Any Questions on Radio 4, Polly Toynbee expressed a generic joy in revolution, and a reserve about the Egyptian army being in charge. The pro-Israel Conservative lobby has been nervous about the composition of a post-Mubarak government, but cheered that at least the American-trained and supported Egyptian army is in charge.

It is right wing to support Middle Eastern democracy in nostalgic reference to Eastern Europe and as an endorsement of Western values. It is left wing to feel that the west, particularly Britain and America, has nothing to teach the Middle East, and that its historical record is purely shameful.

I was recently invited by a right-left married couple to a party. It was held on a Saturday night in London, quite a leftie social rebuke to the Conservatives who feel country weekends are sacred. This couple disagree about everything, yet are supremely happy. Politics is about the means rather than the end. We all want a strong economy and for children to be properly educated and for people to be loving. We just separate politically on the means. For a start, it is right wing to say "children". The left wing says "kids". Valentine's Day is a tense mix of left and right. Sex, I would say, is left wing (although kinky sex is quite right wing). But romance demands the resolution of marriage, the territory of the right.

From the top of my head, here are some daily divisions. Baths right wing, showers left wing. Cars right wing, except for the Prius, cycling left wing, except for the Pashley. Rambling self-righteously left wing, country walks right wing. Potatoes right wing, rice left wing.

Non-fiction right wing, fiction left wing. Blondes tend to be right wing, in the manner of Margaret Thatcher or Anna Nicole Smith, being instinctively game and seeking self advancement. Yet the even more iconic tragic blonde Marilyn Monroe is a left-wing icon, because she regarded herself as a victim. See how simple it is? We are right wing and left wing in everything except politics.

Sarah Sands is deputy editor of the 'London Evening Standard'

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron faces the press as he arrives in Brussels for the EU leaders summit on Thursday reuters  

On the Tusk of a dilemma: Cameron's latest EU renegotiation foe

Andrew Grice
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959  

Stephen Ward’s trial was disgraceful. There can be no justification for it

Geoffrey Robertson QC
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas