Jeremy Corbyn isn’t unelectable. The Labour Party is.

On the basis of the last three months or so, since the referendum result, nobody in their right mind would want the Labour Party to be in charge of running the country.

They have been a party riddled with disunity. MPs have been intent on undermining and embarrassing their leader. Behind the scenes, effort after effort has been made to ensure that democracy is eroded and Jeremy Corbyn does not remain leader of the Labour Party.

These efforts have failed. That is not to say, though, that similar efforts will not be made again in the future. It is merely to say that – for the time being, at least – the anti-Corbyn wing of the Labour Party has been dealt a substantial blow.

Corbyn’s biggest problem is not gaining the backing of the general public, it is gaining the backing of his own party

Despite the continued efforts of some within the party – efforts which have been sustained from the very first day of Corbyn’s leadership – Corbyn remains leader. And the ordeal he has had to go through will hopefully have made him a stronger, more capable leader.

Corbyn is clearly capable of inspiring – one need only look at the frankly remarkable membership figures under his leadership as evidence of this. His biggest problem is not gaining the backing of the general public, it is gaining the backing of his own party. A problem that is fairly unique and somewhat ridiculous for a leader who has secured some of the biggest leadership mandates in party political history.

And a party that cannot stand behind, defend and help its own leader is not one that can win a general election. The solution for the Labour Party, its members, its supporters and its voters is a simple one. Back Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn is not unelectable. He has just secured an increased mandate from a party electorate that is the biggest in Western Europe. And he secured his backing from every section of the Labour electorate.

who can blame the public for thinking poorly of Corbyn when the very people who should be supporting him have worked so hard to tear him down

Not only this, but the man who ran against him, Owen Smith, effectively ran on a platform of saying that he was just as left-wing as Corbyn, only packaged in a more electable manner.

There is no question that, as things stand, the general public’s perception of Corbyn is unfavourable. In fact, this state isn’t even a surprising one. But it hasn’t arisen because of Corbyn himself, or his policies. The public has been drawn into the idea that Corbyn is unelectable and an incapable leader; an idea encouraged by the actions and words of his own MPs.

So who can blame the public for thinking poorly of Corbyn when the very people who should be supporting him have worked so hard to tear him down?

But the onus of repairing this image of unelectability does not lie with Corbyn – it lies with those within his own party who have helped to create it.

Instead of bringing messages of doom and disparaging the party’s twice-elected leader, Corbyn’s critics must unite behind him

Accepting his new mandate, Corbyn called for togetherness. But it is not only his responsibility to create this unity. Those who sowed discord and disunity should be the first to extend an olive branch, an apology and a helping hand.

All over Western Europe, political change is happening at a rapid rate. People are sick of politics as usual. There is an appetite for change, a hunger for a new type of politics which can be met by a truly left-wing Labour Party that is united behind its leader.

The task for supporters of the Labour Party is clear. Instead of bringing messages of doom and disparaging the party’s twice-elected leader, Corbyn’s critics must unite behind him.

Instead of talking about how unelectable he is, Corbyn’s detractors and the Labour Party as a whole must begin convincing others to vote for him.

Theresa May’s grammar schools policy has killed her facade of working-class appeal

After a honeymoon period extended and enhanced by the currently shambolic Labour Party, Theresa May has begun to show her divisive, outdated and nonsensical leadership with her continuing push for the introduction of new grammar schools.

The policy represents the latest move in the Conservative party’s dysfunctional education strategy. Their tenure has seen EMA scrapped, tuition fees raised (twice), student grants abolished, student loan repayment interest rates increased, and the biggest cut to per-pupil funding since the 1970s. It’s almost as if they don’t care about young people.

The right wing seems to have carried over its fondness for a complete lack of evidence from the Brexit debate, extending a seemingly post-evidence trend that is becoming a growing worry in modern-day politics. See, among other instances, Donald Trump’s unfounded and unfunded policies for more.

May is willingly pushing a policy that she knows will be of no benefit to the working-classes

May has somehow deluded herself into thinking that grammar schools will benefit the masses and increase the poor levels of social mobility in this country. She is undoubtedly wrong. But perhaps the most astonishing aspect of her advocation of this policy is that it seems incredibly unlikely that May doesn’t know she’s wrong

May is willingly pushing a policy that she knows will be of no benefit to the working-classes. And this from the prime minister who pledged to be driven “not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours”; that is, the interests of ordinary working-class families. Who promised to “make Britain a country that works for everyone”. Who assured that her party “will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background, to go as far as your talents will take you”.

But, in fairness, most of us never believed any of that in the first place.

grammar schools are clearly a step backwards for social mobility

The ridiculousness of this policy has recently been put into a damning context. The OECD’s head of education has said that grammar schools benefit wealthy families without raising overall standards. And an investigation by the BBC concluded that, where grammar schools are prominent, “poorer children lag further behind, richer children move further ahead – and the losses at the bottom are much larger than the gains at the top”.

In this light, we can see that grammar schools are clearly a step backwards for social mobility – contrary to the claims of May and and many of her Conservative colleagues.

While the problem of social mobility is not exclusive to grammar schools – indeed, class inequality extends across the whole education system – a selective system certainly does advantage the rich.

the advantages that middle-class parents can exert are myriad

By the age of 11, when children take the test to decide if they have enough intellectual worth to merit a place in a grammar school, class differences have already begun to take their toll on many children. Richer parents have had the opportunity to buy a house in an area with good schools, which often prices out many working-class families. And, in this house, these parents’ children have more space to relax and study in a comfortable home environment.

These parents can afford medicines to ensure days at school aren’t missed due to illness. These parents may have a better standard of education themselves, allowing them to understand and manipulate the educational system and admissions procedures to their child’s advantage. They may be able to better heat their home, better feed their children, get them to school more easily, take time off work to support them, make sure they don’t have to babysit younger siblings or help out around the house – the advantages that middle-class parents can exert are myriad.

And when their child turns 11, middle-class parents can pay for a tutor to help their child pass the 11+. It is no surprise, then, that only 3% of grammar school entrants are entitled to free school meals, compared to 18% in non-grammar areas.

When Jeremy Corbyn presented much of this illuminating and critical evidence to May in their PMQs session, she floundered. And we got a glimpse of what a strong and united opposition can do: highlight the hypocrisy of a Tory party that claims to be for the working-classes; show the inadequacy of May, her leadership and her policies; and, most importantly, defend the working-classes from further disadvantage in society.

If Theresa May and the Conservatives are really interested in social mobility and improving the lives of the working-classes, they would do better to abolish the grammar school system, not extend it.

Expect the unexpected: cricket edition

In times of great upheaval and uncertainty, it is often the small things in life that become the most important, their simple and consistent pleasures giving us the strength to face the day and carry on despite our hardships.

Unfortunately, English cricket is neither a simple nor a consistent pleasure.

Despite recent Test series victories and a steady climb in the world rankings, the England Test team haven’t been overly consistent of late. In fact, they still lie one place behind Pakistan in the rankings at no 4.

Not too long ago they were losing to the West Indies and Sri Lanka. Then they were losing the last Test of virtually every series they played. Then they were thoroughly beaten in the UAE by the Pakistan side that begin their tour proper of England  this week.

And the inconsistency hasn’t exactly been banished since then.

Joe Root’s performance at no 3 has the potential to be the deciding factor in this series.

While the scoreline in the recent series against Sri Lanka paints a very flattering appearance, the reality gives a different picture. Against a distinctly average Sri Lankan outfit, England were 83-5 on the first morning of the tour.

There are deep questions over their top order batting strength. Admittedly Alex Hales seems to have progressed nicely into his role as opener, although his failure to convert steady contributions into match-winning centuries is a slight concern. But the issues for England’s batting are now most pressing in the three spots that follow him.

Joe Root’s performance at no 3 has the potential to be the deciding factor in this series. For the past two years he has been England’s star batter, their most dependable player. His short time at no 3 earlier in his career does not backup this reputation. There is no doubt that he is physically capable of taking on the role – how often has his technique been made to stand facing the new ball from no 4 after an early flurry of wickets? His technique is not the issue.

For England’s sake, let us hope that his mental strength is up to the test of batting at first drop. There is no reason to think it wouldn’t be; he is now one of England’s most senior players, a settled vice captain, a role model, and someone who has dealt with and learned from scuffles with opponents. Did somebody say David Warner?

Then comes the middle order. James Vince failed to make a single contribution during his five innings against Sri Lanka, and given Pakistan’s superior quality bowling attack he will have to find the county form that earned him his call-up sooner rather than later to avoid becoming the under pressure batter in the England lineup.

Mohammad Amir’s skills with the swinging ball have the potential to be deadly in English conditions.

Speaking of county form, let’s hope Gary Ballance doesn’t find his. Despite an average that only climbed to the not-so-heady heights of the mid 30s thanks to an unbeaten century in the County Championship recently, Ballance has – ludicrously – earned himself a recall. It will be interesting, if nothing else, to see how his largely unchanged technique stands up to the test of Pakistan’s pace bowlers. It is hard to believe they will have been quaking in their boots after hearing of his call-up.

It will be fascinating to see how England fit Ben Stokes back into the side once he is fit to bowl again. There are a number of possibilities available – dropping a batsman, harshly replacing Woakes, leaving out the spin option of Ali (and potentially replacing this with a combination of Root and Borthwick) – who knows which one will take the fancy of England’s selectors. Perhaps the only certainty is that there will be a further degree of change to the England side in the coming weeks.

And what of Pakistan’s side?

They come to England a strong team, and a stronger one for the presence of Mohammad Amir. Undoubtedly the senior faces of the team will rally round the quick bowler, and his skills with a swinging ball have the potential to be deadly in English conditions.

But despite their strength, they have fragilities of their own. Many of their batsman have poor records in English conditions. Their own middle order has problems, not least the fact that Misbah-ul-Haq, their 42 (yes, 42) year old stalwart, isn’t exactly as fresh as he was at the start of his career.

Given the relative inexperience of their batting lineup in English conditions, the starting of the series at Lord’s will be a veritable blessing for them. Add on to that the fact that England’s chief destroyer from the Sri Lanka series and no 1 ranked bowler in the world, James Anderson, is missing from the lineup, and Pakistan’s chances start to look a lot better than many people are giving them credit for. Especially when England’s bowling lineup will be completed by a debutant and the recently unreliable Steven Finn.

Make no mistake, England will be challenged by Pakistan. Really challenged. In a series that starts surrounded by unknowns and uncertainties, the only thing to be expected is the unexpected.

 

On the dangers of patriotism, with reference to the referendum

It is five years from now. Economic growth has slowed, prices have risen, wages have fallen. The economic and political climate is unstable. Racism and xenophobia continue to rise. Life is bad.

But at least now we live in Great Britain, ever since we took back control. Control of our identity, control of making Britain great British again. A Great Britain that is about being British. British values. Values of Britishness. The British people. The patriotic British people, who have pride in their country and their heritage and their people. Because pride, after all, is a good old British value.

Yes, life is bad. But we don’t mind. At least we have our patriotism.

You head home from working eight straight hours without a break. It’s hard, but you don’t mind too much – you need the money to cover the petrol costs of the commute, even though you carpool. The buses haven’t run for months, now. Unfortunately, you’re only 23 so you’re not entitled to the gloriously generous National Living Wage. Otherwise life would be a breeze.

The referendum debate was dominated by ideas and ideals of nationality, identity, patriotism

There’s just enough time to pop into the bank before heading home. Your financial situation had a bit of a complication when the last branch moved out of your local area. For some reason a lot of the people who worked there have moved to Dublin now.

On your way to the bank, you see a dirty foreigner being verbally abused in the street. At least, that’s what you would have thought was happening a few years ago, but now that we’ve done away with political correctness the abusers aren’t really doing anything wrong. They’re entitled to their opinions, anyway. The foreigner doesn’t say anything about it. Stiff upper lip and all. The few non-Britons who are left are finally learning our values.

You turn off your windscreen wipers as you pull into a parking space next to a “Nissan” car, whatever one of those is, and you tut loudly at the car opposite that’s taking up two spaces. Isn’t Britain great. You have to wait half an hour to see anybody, but at least everybody waiting knows how to queue properly. But how couldn’t they, after all. They’ve got British values running through their British blood.

The default nature of patriotism is extremely dangerous

The city centre is starting to get a bit rundown since EU funding for projects was withdrawn. On your way back home, you switch on the radio. Your local BBC station was shut down after the Tories cut funding for it. White noise. You consult the depths of your knowledge archives for the best British value to mitigate the situation. Ah, got it. You apologise to the other people in the car.  They say it’s fine, really. You feel good about yourself, your country. You are a Great Briton, and proud to be one. You live in a great country, and you are happy to do so.

/

The referendum debate – and, indeed, increasingly politics in general in this country – was dominated by ideas and ideals of nationality, identity, patriotism. The narrative was created, and created successfully, by the Leave side that they were patriotic optimists, sticking up for Britain and everything that made our country great in the first place.

They invoked ideas of duty and betrayal, of past greatness and future return, of pride and patriotism. People listened.

But why should they have? Regardless of which option was “patriotic”, why should we be patriotic?

please do not use ideas of pride and duty to further ideas of racism and xenophobia

This, increasingly, is not a country that I am proud of. I don’t think I do “vigorously support” my country. Of course, there are aspects of it that I love and that I am proud of, but in its current state and undertaking its current endeavours I cannot call myself a patriot.

In fact, I think the default nature of patriotism – the fact that national pride is something we should all feel, something that unites us, and something that those who don’t feel it should be shunned and stigmatised as traitors for – is extremely dangerous.

There is nothing necessarily wrong with being proud of your country, but when this pride is a default or an expectation or a feeling that comes from a position of assumed superiority, then it moves precariously towards being frightening.

I am perfectly happy for people to belt out the national anthem while waving St George’s crosses or Union flags. Please do queue properly and apologise needlessly. No, really, do, I love it. But please do not use ideas of pride and duty to further ideas of racism and xenophobia. Patriotism easily becomes nationalism. And that only leads us towards a dark, scary road that I thought the world would never travel down again.

the calls for change and the desires for political revolution must be answered more positively

However, it seems to me as if this road is currently under construction.

Of course the referendum was not singly about immigration, but it would be a lie to deny that it wasn’t the main issue for most of the public. And the public attitude appears to be becoming more and more intolerant. Hate crimes rose 500% last week. Across the continent, and, indeed, the world, the xenophobic far right are making ground. The current economic and political instability, coupled with the public’s disenfranchisement and (rightful) mistrust, will do nothing to help this.

But this is a situation we have been in before. And this time the calls for change and the desires for political revolution must be answered more positively.

Hopefully, in true British style, the roadworks will do very little. Hopefully we will choose a different journey.

But if we don’t, then I dread to think what this country will become. There will be chaos. And that definitely isn’t very British, is it?

The referendum result has reveaeld just how divided our nation is

If the referendum result has shown us one thing, it is that our nation is divided.

There is no doubt that the referendum has thrown up some serious questions for our country as a whole to deal with. But it has also brought into contention the issues and the divides within it.

Not only do we see division on the issue of the EU, but on wider issues of the economy and immigration, the latter in recent years having seen a (largely unmerited) huge increase in public importance.

And more than that. The nation is divided with itself.

We see a nation where the people who will have to deal with this decision for the longest period and in the most direct manner, with it affecting not only our future careers but our current study and our future life prospects in a world where such things are becoming increasingly uncertain as it is, were wholeheartedly and unequivocally against our leaving. Unlike in Scotland’s referendum, 16 and 17 year olds were deemed unworthy of deciding their own future. I wonder what number that decision comes in at on David Cameron’s list of regrets.

Our best chance of recovering from this result – and, for that matter, the havoc wreaked by the Tories – is to engage the youth of our nation in its politics

Ironically, for the first time in my life, I feel like I may want to spend my adulthood elsewhere, though my opportunity to do so has likely just been curtailed.

In contrast, pensioners as a whole were largely in favour of Brexit. Clearly there is a generational divide emerging in the UK, with a progressive, socially liberal, and largely left-wing youth emerging – indeed, the General Election showed that votes for Labour and the Greens were higher the younger the voters were. I hope such voters do not feel further disenfranchised by this result, although it would be hard to blame them if they rejected the political establishment afresh after it. Our best chance of recovering from this result – and, for that matter, the havoc wreaked by the Tories – is to engage the youth of our nation in its politics, however defeated they may feel at its current state.

But our nation is not just divided by age. Scotland especially and Northern Ireland as well were both strongly in favour of Remain, with every district in Scotland voting to stay. Surely, depending on the clout they can carry into our negotiations with the EU, a second referendum for Scotland is not far away, and nor is an independent Scotland.

In Northern Ireland, too, Sinn Féin have already put forward a case for reunification with the Republic, and a curtailing of free movement within the EU would surely cause problems for Ireland.

But at least they will have the right to complain if things go wrong. The same will not be possible for the working class districts in England which voted to leave.

Make no mistake, this vote is one laced with concern about immigration

Both my home city, Newcastle, and my adopted home city, Nottingham, have been huge recipients of EU funds over the years, as well as many other traditionally industrial towns and cities across the UK. Ironically, funds received from the EU were negatively correlated to the amount of people who voted to carry on receiving such support; support which is at the heart of the EU’s mission to alleviate poverty and promote equality. In fact, in England, London was the only region to vote Remain.

I fear for the fortunes of the neglected working class, especially in the ignored north of the country. I would be thoroughly unsurprised if George Osborne’s so called Northern Powerhouse, which has done little to help anyway, was cut back as part of the Chancellor’s emergency measures. Perhaps the government’s relative economic abandoning of these areas in the first place is what has led to such a strong showing for Leave there.

But such a vote is not an empowering act of establishment rebellion or a manifestation of chagrin at decades of southern-orientated financial policy, rather an astonishing case of misdirected anger, unjustified scapegoating, and economic self-harm.

Make no mistake, in the east and the midlands, where UKIP polled highly at the General Election, this vote is one laced with concern about immigration, despite low levels in many parts of these regions.

Despite my fears, it is for immigrants that I fear the most in the wake of this result.

But reduced immigration, even if it does come – which, if it does, will certainly take several years and probably trade concessions to achieve – will not be the answer to the working class’s woes.

As we move through our Brexit, the economy will suffer. Funding will be cut. Jobs will go. Support will be slashed. This is the journey we are now embarking on. Yes, immigration may fall, but if it does it will not be to the benefit of the working class and their communities. And it will undoubtedly not make up for the losses they and their local economies will face.

Their disdain should be with the austerity and wage cuts brought by a Tory government, not the EU that funds vital projects in the areas, or the immigrants who contribute to their struggling economies. Any downward pressure on wages that they may bring could be solved by implementing a real Living Wage rather than the government’s phony version, cracking down on employers who pay under the Minimum Wage, getting rid of zero hours contracts, and firmly punishing exploitative employers.

But despite my fears for the working class, the economy, workers’ rights, environmental protection, animal welfare, global security, and much more, it is for these immigrants that I fear the most in the wake of this result.

Scapegoating and xenophobia has just been dealt a massive legitimisation and a huge boost

Throughout the referendum campaign, the Leave side has consistently highlighted immigration and immigrants as a drain on the economy, a pressure on public services. This result is a justification of that sentiment.

We need look no further than celebrations of “Independence Day” for the UK to see the views behind many – not all, of course – Leave campaigners. In a country they see as under attack, traditional values they see as being threatened, their scapegoating and xenophobia has just been dealt a massive legitimisation and a huge boost.

For the sake of the immigrants living here and our country as a whole, I hope we are able to crush this viewpoint. Perhaps, even, Brexit will serve to show that economic policy and not immigration is to blame for many of the problems our country has. Perhaps it will show that we are better cooperating and working with our neighbours, rather than breaking away from them. But until that happens, the scapegoating and ostracizing of immigrants will only escalate. I am afraid on their behalf of the increased prejudice they will face.

And make no mistake, we are the pace-setters and the flag-bearers here. Other countries in Europe will follow, buoyed on by our “success”. A European climate that is already feeling the effects of a far right resurgence is about to change dramatically, unless it is seriously combatted: legitimate concerns on immigration and national identity must be addressed without slipping into nationalism and xenophobia.

Our country is divided, there is no question of that. But we must try to patch up our rifts, not push scapegoats into the chasm that we have created.

Whatever your reasons for voting, leaving the EU would be a huge victory for the right

Regardless of your preference for Remain or Leave, the time has come to look at what the respective campaigns – and, more importantly, their powerful political backers – will do after the result.

While both campaigns have support from a fairly wide range of the political spectrum, it cannot be ignored that the left is largely Remain and the right largely Leave. In fact, the situation is perhaps more extreme than this, with Leave being backed by far right groups such as the BNP and the EDL.

But more dangerous than either of these groups is the identity of those closest to the political power centre on the side of Leave, the likes of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Iain Duncan Smith, and Nigel Farage.

If you vote Leave, you must be all right with the gains it will give to far right, nationalist, xenophobic groups

If the UK does vote to Leave, there will be negotiations between the government and the EU over the terms of this. Negotiations which would involve going over 100+ trade agreements, laws on workers’ right, environmental legislation, free movement plans, and a whole lot more. Negotiations and transitions which would take at least two years.

Such negotiations would surely have to be led, or at least strongly influenced, by someone other than the current Prime Minister, who is firmly behind the Remain campaign. As much as I despise David Cameron, I fear the evils of Boris Johnson and Michael Gove more than I do those of Cameron.

Indeed, Johnson especially, with his self-interested, power-hungry leadership ambitions, would have an awful lot to gain politically by pandering to those on the right both within and outside of his party.

While the Leave campaign may be flattering voters with promises of increased NHS spending and VAT breaks, the voting records of its backers and the continuation of the unnecessary and ideological austerity narrative by the Tories suggests these claims are slanderous.

Undoubtedly, negotiations would involve breaking from EU legislation on workers’ rights, environmental policies, wildlife protection and more, before we even begin to get into trade and migration. And it would all happen under the guise of reclaiming our national sovereignty and fighting the bureaucracy of the EU.

There is yet to be a coherent claim for what should, could, and can change after a Remain vote

Moreover, two years of negotiations would leave the likes of Johnson and Farage firmly in the political spotlight: perfect timing for them to begin their election campaigns with renewed public and media interest.

If you vote Leave, you must accept the fact that such a result will be a huge boost to the political right, no matter your reasons for voting so. You must be all right with the gains it will give to far right, nationalist, xenophobic groups. You must consider the ramifications it will have for a Conservative party currently at war with itself, and the MPs lining up to be its next leader.

For its part, Remain has thus far failed to pin its colours to the mast in terms of post-vote aims. For all the talk of reforming the EU and repeated assertions that nobody thinks it’s perfect, there is yet to be a coherent claim for what should, could, and can change after a Remain vote.

Perhaps the answer is not much. Perhaps Cameron would be happy with his pre-vote reforms. Perhaps the left would have some voice in the matter. Perhaps any possible negotiations would be stopped by the influx of five million terrorists from the new member states that sneaked in when we weren’t paying attention. Perhaps Johnson, Farage and co would be very upset (the poor people, they’d have all my sympathy), and perhaps the xenophobes on the right would take a hit. Perhaps, even, we’d see them making a grovelling apology to the SNP, asking them to team up for a Double-Referendum Super Slam Thursday in another couple of years.

But one thing is for sure. I’d much rather have the possibility of all this than the certainty that a Leave vote would bring to the far right in apparent justification of their xenophobia, their nationalism, and their bigotry.

 

And if you haven’t done so already, then don’t forget to register to vote! It only takes a couple of minutes. Students, make sure you’re registered in the right place for where you’re going to be on 23rd June!

Standardisation is an upper class ideology and txt speak is revolutionary

A couple of days ago I had a discussion about how to pronounce “mayor”. Needless to say, things got heated. My opponents went for mare, I staunchly stuck to my multisyllabic may-er. I know, I’m/they’re [delete as appropriate] disgusting.

But however you might pronounce it, is one way “wrong”? Is there a “correct” way to pronounce mayor?

No. There isn’t. There’s not.

When it comes to language, especially spoken language, there is – for the most part – no wrong and right. There is only standard and non-standard. And the standard version, which so often is equated with “correctness” (think RP/Queen’s English being “proper English” and “speaking properly”), is little more than an outdated ideology that benefits the upper class and paints non-users as stupid, inferior, and wrong. (Note my use of the Oxford comma there, which has now been deemed incorrect by the UK government. Rebel 4 lyf.)

For centuries, probably millennia, some grammarians have attempted to fix the “rules of grammar” at a certain point, under the pretence of allowing communication to be at its most effective and clear. This is a hugely misguided belief.

The entire history of the English language – and probably all languages worldwide – is filled with change. Change in language is good and natural and should not be fought against. Refusals to adhere to standardisation are the reason that we no longer end words like “physics” with a c and a k. How pointless a convention was that? They are the reason that nobody really cares anymore if you say “Turn the light off” instead of the supposedly correct “Turn off the light”, because we all know that Latinate rules proposed by aristocrats have no relevant bearing on how we use language in everyday situations in today’s society. Not that many people ever really cared anyway.

So if you want to keep prepositions away from the end of your sentences, then fine. If you want to pronounce scone so that it rhymes with stone and latte with par-té (that is how the kids say it, right?) then be my guest. But I won’t be joining you, and you shouldn’t expect me to.

Language diversity and change has existed in English ever since it began. It is something that should be celebrated, not stunted and stigmatised.

Not only does the standardisation ideology prevent change and adaptation in language, but it prestiges certain styles of speaking over others. Under the ideology, upper class accents carry more prestige than working class or local ones, despite the fact that the amount of people who truly speak in an RP accent is incredibly low – estimated at 3% in 1974, and surely lower now.

And there’s no intrinsic reason why RP has any more linguistic “worth” than any other dialect. Because that’s what RP is, a select dialect that has been elevated to an invented position of authority. The only reason it has such prestige is due to migration patterns in pre-industrial England, with movements between the midlands and London leading to the creation of an upper class dialect which was then dispersed via the country’s political, economic and power centre.

But there’s no reason for it to have this prestige any more. And while speaking in RP may allow users to adhere to common grammatical “rules”, this is not a constant or an absolute. Grammatical rules, if they exist at all, are not met by RP. Rather, RP creates these rules because it meets them. If you were to speak in any number of other regional dialects, then using “was” rather than “were” would be a “rule” for speaking in that particular dialect, and that would be the standard grammatical construction.

And such apparent deviance from grammatical norms is not wrong, just different; non-standard. English is a language full of irregularities, whether that is spelling, pronunciation, grammar, or virtually any other aspect. There will always be irregularities in English. A “correct” version of English which fully negotiates these irregularities does not and most likely cannot (or should that be can not?) ever exist.

Up until the 19th century, it was entirely common for writers to use multiple negatives. In fact, Geoffrey Chaucer, often held up as one of the greatest British writers of all time and a standard of eloquence to which we all should aim, sometimes used quadruple negatives in his writing to add emphasis to his point. Was he wrong to do this? Was Chaucer obscuring the meaning of his communication and making it more difficult for readers to understand? Do we read a quadruple negative and think, actually, wait a minute, four wrongs do make a right! Of course we don’t.

In a note on standardisation and ensuring that the English language maintained its correct forms and was not corrupted by abbreviations, Jonathan Swift complained of shortenings such as “mob” for “mobile” and “fan” for “fanatick”. Such suggestions seem absurd now, and in centuries to come, students will look back on 20th century literature and think how ridiculous it was that they wrote “information” instead of “info”, and “people” instead of “ppl”.

When Shakespeare invented the verb “to knife”, he was breaking the “rules” of grammar that existed at that time. Today, the process of verbifying a noun is so real that the word verbification is a legit verb. Deal with it.

Language diversity and change has existed in English ever since it began. It is something that should be celebrated, not stunted and stigmatised.

Grammar “rules” and “correct” pronunciation do nothing for the survival, upholding, or improvement of the English language. All they do is paint people who speak in other dialects as inferior and uneducated. Standardisation is a class-based ideology, and a dangerous one. So next time somebody says they don’t know nothing about the local mayor, don’t form an angry mobile to attack them. Just let it slide. You know what they meant.