Help! I've been a proud right-wing Brexiteer all my life – but I fear I might be turning to the left

The wind has gone out of my sails ever since we won Brexit. And it feels like Donald Trump and Breitbart are giving right-wingers a bad name

Milo Yiannopoulos, 'alt-right' columnist and internet personality
Milo Yiannopoulos, 'alt-right' columnist and internet personality

In the last two months, I’ve been feeling dreadful about things. Politics, that is. It starts in the morning, when I trawl through the news and listen to the endless commentary on global events blaring out the TV and the radio. In the evening, when I go out with friends, the conversation inevitably turns to Trump, or the end of the world, and my anxiety deepens. So that I am forced to go home, where I lie in bed, panicking and wondering: Christ, am I becoming left-wing?

I’ve never thought of myself this, mainly because I lived in Kent for six years, which makes it impossible to be completely left-wing. Like going to Italia Conti and coming out without knowing how to tap dance. But it’s more than my Maidstone meanderings that sway me to the right. Most of my politics are underpinned by a basic belief that self-determination is vital in life, and anything interventionist is – well – a bit sissy.

Still, 2017 has done something to me. It has thrown me into a deep and uncomfortable left-leaning political crisis, meaning that my brain is in constant dialogue, as if Liam Fox and Mary Creagh (potentially my favourite Labour politician of 2017) were whispering into each ear.

Some say the first step to getting help is acknowledging you have a problem, which I knew I did with my left-wing crisis when I started nodding along to things. Like videos of Jon Stewart, and John Oliver (why are they all men, incidentally?), and friends at dinner parties who made statements like: “Save the arctic squirrel!” The situation is grave indeed.

I consulted an acquaintance with a politics degree about my sickness.

“Don’t worry, Chaz,” she said, as we sat over lunch. “Very few people become left-wing if they’re already right-wing. You’ll be all right.”

I breathed a sigh of relief and tucked into my kale chips. Until she remembered something: “Oh, but Chaz. If there are dramatic political shifts, your views can change beyond recognition.”

Shit, I thought. That explains my confusion.

Because I know the reason I’m agreeing with lefties is down to Donald Trump, who we both hate – even though he’s meant to be the God of my people: the right-wing. I know I should support most of the things he says, but I don’t. In fact, I find him more anti-realist than right-wing, really.

Thanks to him, the whole right-wing movement is getting a really bad name. People assume that if you’re right-leaning, you must also enjoy “hate” over “hope”, Breitbart as much as Bargain Hunt, and reject climate change.

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage reacts to Brexit ruling

But I just want to be a complicated right-winger, who likes a bit of this and that. I’m genuinely concerned about global warming, and wish more Conservative types would speak out against it (not least because Caroline Lucas and that nervous pigeon Natalie Bennett are giving me a mega headache).

At times I’ve considered whether I’m a centrist, rather than left-wing, though this seems far too wishy-washy for my liking. And I don’t think many centrists voted for Brexit, as I did. My mojo was on fire in the lead-up to the EU referendum, but now Leave has won, the wind has gone out of my sails. Perhaps that is why I have become more moderate. When there is no fight, there is no bite.

I suspect my left-wing crisis will end eventually. Probably when I next hear someone praise the maximum wage, or Tim Farron, or a Tinder date recommends I, Daniel Blake. Because sometimes, if you don't decide things for yourself, then others do.

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