Owen Jones meets Jonathan Pie | 'Identity politics are used to shut down debate'

johnathan pie was actually named tom walker is a cult phenomenon which i know because so many of you have basically begged me to go and interview him here we go against fucking Groundhog Day isn't it Jeremy Corbyn is elected Labour leader and I'm stood here saying oh it won't last long you're initiated Taunton PI's is fictional news presenter who speaks his mind goes on these big rounds let them just get on with their job you know being in opposition but he takes on the left in a way that makes a lot of people in the left feel uncomfortable particularly about things like identity politics I'm gonna get to know him and what makes him tick and basically is there a political project behind it and what's his real beef with the left what was Johnson pile about well he was created what was that character trying to do for a start everyone thinks that I'm trying to push some sort of political agenda it wasn't that at all I was an out-of-work actor I was desperate for work so I created my own work and started writing my own thing the point of the character I suppose was this idea that newsreaders have a very prescribed way of doing things they must get pissed off at the the agenda and the stories that they have to tell it in the way they have to tell it so what do they think when the producer says cut the first one I did was in it was a response to Jeremy Corbyn being elected and I was following Jeremy Corbyn sort of leadership but and I thought you know what I'd quite like him to get there because imagine a socialist in charge of a left-wing party what an extraordinary thing and I watched him win and they cut to outside about 30 seconds after he'd won it the presenter when how long do you think he's got and I thought you there you go you signed sealed delivered his fate knew as you the mainstream media will not accept him and it took them until the last election for him to be accepted and it really annoyed me really angered me that reaction why'd you think Jonathan Parr became such a massive success one I can swear a lot I mean it sounds like he's making up on the hoof believe it or not pi is really quite tightly written you know yeah you know I actually have to write it now those scripts explain the young generation think what I'm doing is new shouting at the Tories wow we've never seen that before the older generation go remember that I mean it used to be mainstream Ben Elton Alexei Sayle you know they were all over the BBC I think the art of satire was lost a bit in the Blair years in the new labor years because they were our team now we've seemed to it's much more healthier politically but it's much more healthier satirically you've got a right wing and a left we're clashing you know where you are know where you stand I mean that last election was fascinating you had two manifestos that were demonstrably different you gonna really say they still do I didn't know people still say abit they're all actively they're not no and that's your gap in our lifetime and that's what's fascinating and whether you like Corbin or not you've got a left and a right and I think that's surely where politics should be free speech define it what was free speech well the the freedom to articulate your opinion if that opinion offends who gives a shit I'm sorry if you were a racist and you genuinely felt that your skin color made you better than that guy over there with brown skin you you should have the right to articulate it but because then I can tell you where it's going wrong you put it on the ground and it becomes dangerous historically there have been these great struggles against racism there have been great victories in says mataji's in the 1950s most people thought interracial relationships were rock this the way that changed wasn't by simply people sitting around having polite discussions yes it was by people organizing on the street and making it clear that it was absolutely unacceptable yes do you genuinely think that racism is something which is a legitimate perspective which can just be debated you know for example on a girl even green ash inhalation of our way somebody else might not agree with nationalization of a way that's a debate to be had as the legitimate debate debating whether or not somebody is inferior because of the color of their skin is simply an unacceptable perspective is it is unacceptable but to shut someone down because of I mean this is shortened down that's what I don't all right but probably a bad example that I gave you that my point is is is that a lot of a lot of debate is shut down these days especially from the left and I get it quite a lot if people disagree with me they imply bigotry they imply racism because in theory if I'm a Nazi I shouldn't be allowed to speak so they shut me down because I say something they disagree with and they do it by inferring that I'm an arts or sexist so this is why I think there's often a misunderstanding about free speech this is where we'll disagree there are some people on the right who think that free speech means the right to say what you want without being challenged if people regard something is racist they have the right to call that out absolutely but as long as you concede that they do have the right to express it if somebody says let's meet up in Soho tomorrow at five o'clock and kill as many gay people as we can okay you would obviously support their arrest surely I would I would as long as we use some limits on freedom there are but but but that's already that's already dealt with in the law because you're a site you're inciting ghosted you inciting violence what about if that person was using irony hyperbole to make a difference for their arrest well someone was recently convicted in Scotland for teaching his dog to do that to do a Nazi salute the judge said context and intent weren't important just the idea that this potentially could cause offence I mean again it just the left often will just call stuff out as racist and homophobic and the Ransom ago while you're being too trigger-happy without you watching you're being seen I think but that is still constantly construed as an attack on freedom of speech I do think it's a problem you know okay for example of late there are a lot of people that have called me a nazi apologist directly a Nazi rape apologists misogynist to call me a Nazi apologist one suggest you don't know really what the horror of that of what real Nazism is and that's dangerous because you you watered down you dilute the meaning of euro misogyny misogynist hatred of women we banned that word about all the time these days been there because we live in a society you know 1.4 million women a year face domestic violence yes there are 400,000 sexual assaults or 95,000 rapes the vast majority of those cases there is no justice women objectified routinely women in the lowest-paid race to secure jobs this is a very sexist misogynistic society it's very difficult for me to accept that we live in a inherently misogynistic or an inherently racist or an inherently homophobic Society now you might say that that's my straight white male privilege but also what it is is that I have I don't think judged anyone by their gender the sexuality or the color of their skin if I was holding hands with another man walking down the street yeah and someone said you fucking posts yeah is that free speech no no but why not why isn't that free speech it seems like you're saying that these are just words and freedom speech is sacred and you know absolute ease but then you have accepted there are very clear limits the freedom of speech that somebody doesn't have the right to say about to gay men but they're you know fucking queers or paths they don't but they do have the right to like for example the Australian referendum over same-sex marriage I heard a lot of people say that we shouldn't have had this referendum that should just happen and of course gay people should have equal rights to straight people now to me that is an absolute given they also they said all but our exposed bigotry again I think I want my bigotry at the top I want it where I can see it would you have supported that over interracial marriage if it was that's a really good question isn't it what a referendum on yeah I mean that's an awful situation pretty mean when we introduced same-sex marriage there was clearly a taste for it in the country where we're rightly or wrongly 15-20 years ago there wouldn't have been I don't think right would you would you concede that that's because people struggle to make LGBT rights possible absolutely but in the end David Cameron realized through amazing work the public was swayed to this point I believe in Australia the public opinion wasn't as swayed as it was here and therefore you have to have a debate about it but you would have done that with interracial marriage I mean you have Steve stump me on that but could because I just can't again or maybe I'm just too naive you just can't imagine not allowing that do you know what I mean to me it's a fait accompli as it was with same-sex marriage please don't get me wrong but all I'm saying is I don't think having a robust debate about something is is a bad thing wouldn't things what about as identity politics to talk about that along what do you mean by identity politics but for me what identity politics means is is this idea that most things or many things are framed with regards to your individual identity things like gender sexuality color right whenever I'm say something that people disagree with it is rare for someone to argue against my argument what usually happens when someone disagrees with me they say you're using your straight white male privilege that's it end of debate the implication of that is that I'm a bigger even if I'm wrong because of my gender sexuality color my skin you still haven't told me what I've got wrong you're just telling me why I've got it wrong it's literally straight white male privilege lalalalala and you get I've never been stopped and searched randomly by the police you know I've never had racist abuse yelled at me in the industry is difficult for me isn't it to understand that experience properly and and it is therefore possible isn't it yeah that I might say things yes sometimes which a lot of people you've had those live degrees and I go may like what the fuck do you know you're absolutely right and I'm not suggesting that it doesn't exist that straight white male privilege doesn't exist what I am suggesting is it seems to be the go-to if someone says something you disagree with what I don't have with it with with you as a gay man is a shared experience of that but I can empathize I can imagine and my experience of the world is as unique as anyone elses on this planet and I am a liberal and I think I'm a good person and and and I'm willing to listen to other people's point of view I'm not suggesting that these inherent privileges don't exist what I'm questioning is their usefulness in political discourse in debate does that make sense there's a huge body of work out there if you read by anti-racism activist women's rights activists trans activist people are either fight for women or offer various minorities who who do genuinely just factually encounter huge amounts of oppression and so of course and and the implication when when you when you when one suggests that I'm wrong because of my sexuality for example in that in those instances the implication is that I haven't bothered to read up on it and I don't know what I'm talking about well maybe I've read everything in the world about it and I've come to this conclusion that you disagree with so I just wonder its identity politics is usefulness so I take word just over there from Parliament yeah women are still a minority in Parliament women a minority in every sphere of public life women in society are concentrated in the lowest-paid most insecure work that is something isn't it which is an injustice that has to be overcome and okay well just let me take you up on that point let's talk about that the gender pay gap right so I just did a piece about that recently a media that that works with with identity politics they don't express it in the terms you just expressed it those headlines are women get paid 87 percent less than men you know that's disingenuous is that's not the debate the debate is why let's talk about why those things you know there was one that was it was at Ryanair pay women 67% less than men now the the implication there is that women get paid less for the for the same work that's the implication with those headlines so I just wrote a piece about it with Andrea about going no those headlines are disingenuous let's have a real discussion about about you know what societally historically why why this has happened I mean I got absolutely slaughtered for it as a misogynist as anti-feminist it's surely it's more adult and more more feminist to be adult about it I do find that that often women are treated and very much as sort of victims and a lot of women that I talk to really don't like being spoken to in those terms isn't it just this a bit just a bit political correctness gone mad isn't it just that cliche but what I'm saying yeah these days about being called a racist or but I mean it's just I mean this is an age-old argument there's a danger of oversensitivity not not with regards to these issues please please don't get me wrong in there there is I believe a culture of offense that was kind of has always been around then it manifests itself in different ways you know if I find it interesting being a suddenly a thrust into the comedy world house and stories it is how sensitive it is not to offend do you think sometimes there can be a lot of punching down rather than punching up but again that's from perspective I like this thing that I did but on the gender pay gap I was accused of punching down you go no I'm punching a cross through the crap disingenuous headlines because I want to have a proper debate about it the to me is not punching down at women whereas I was accused of that but I'm also I'm not convinced by this argument that humor has to punch up down to the side I think it has to attempt to be funny which again I'd fall down there quite a lot as well you're not all right or anything like that a lot of your fucking so you do get do get though when you get all these people retweeting you who are what right and and you have many what does that mean you think though sometimes you bit like why they liking this is bad maybe it should concern me it certainly concerns some members of the comedy world when some shit posters they call it on the right goes our look Jonathan pie has sets one thing I agree with a lot of people ask me do don't you think you have a responsibility to blah blah blah and that usually comes after I've said something they disagree with what they mean is don't you think you have a responsibility to say the world exactly as I think it a lot of other people kind of often say you know it's not quite clear that what you're doing is satire well I'm not gonna write it for stupid people if you can't see that it's a character I think it was a really interesting chat I know that many of you like me to talk to people that I'm not the same page with and have a healthy chat as as he himself said so that's what we did so I'd really like to hear your thoughts do leave your comments come up the other suggestions for people you like me to interview including those I definitely don't agree with within reason we've got loads of videos so just click on the ones we've done and will do loads more interviews and all the videos hopefully so tune in for that as ever subscribe and I will see an example

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Allowing bigots to speak in the open is vital to change minds. Great changes happen through little conversations. If some speech becomes illegal or socially unacceptable those little conversations never happen and society will never change organically. If it changes by government hammer, you create so many many more problems.

  2. I know this is highly anecdotal evidence and not at all empirical, but I have literally never once heard a woman be catcalled, or heard anyone shout any kind of racial abuse to someone else across the street. Is that just me??

  3. Neither of you believe in freedom of speech.
    At 6:46, a person should have the right to say that, personally I wouldn't say it but we should have the right to. However If you do say it you are not free from all consequences, you could face social ramifications but not legal ones.

  4. Europeans don't seem to understand that banning free speech is opening the door to banning unpopular opinion and unpopular expression as we see in countries outside of the USA. I guess I can't expect much from cultures that never fought for independence and still celebrate inbred monarchs.

  5. As an American Citizen, I find it hillarious how these two are debating what people are “allowed” to say.
    The truth is that while the US is full of people on both ends of the intelligence spectrum, our founding ideals were conceived and synthesized by people vastly vastly superior in morality, courage and philosophy of human rights that the kings boot licking brits.

  6. The problem with identity politics is that your identity does not define your experience. While it may be hard for a straight white male to understand the experience of racism, or homophobia, or sexism it may be equally hard for a black, gay woman to understand it as well if she's never experienced it, which she might not have done. Racism, sexism and homophobia are real and a great threat but that doesn't mean that your identity means everything in terms of your experience and understanding.

  7. Wake up. Single white working class heterosexual men are discriminated against the most in the UK and the western world. Bottom of every dogpile for everything. Oh except death at work and suicide. But ok carry on worrying about the fact a minority of less than .5% might get called by their actual pronoun not their prefered!

  8. "There are some people on the right who think that free speech means the right to say what they think without being challenged"

    No Owen, nobody thinks that, we think it means and should mean the right to say what we think without being prosecuted.

    Big difference that you still struggle to grasp.

  9. Call to action is different than just free speech. It's a call to action and in his example a call to violence. Personally I support free speech fully. Even if something is hateful.

    Also "stop and search" can happen to anyone. Yes, it happens more to others, specifically migrants in the EU, and in the US It's perceived that Black individuals get pulled over for no reason (this one is false). But with the statistics for both of these instance it's often cops using judgement based on statistics. And though this may be bad, their jobs are dangerous. Because of this often they will "type cast" the people they interact with.

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