For the Left, I am the target of deepest hatred. For my trenchant views, expressed in this newspaper, they call me ‘insane’, ‘reactionary’, ‘racist’, a ‘Nazi’, a ‘shroudwaver’, a ‘witch’ and a ‘warmonger’.
I have been accused of ‘unmatched depths of ignorance and bigotry’ and being the ‘queen of mean’.
It was even suggested (in a particularly extreme spasm of hyperbole) that I eat broken bottles and kill rats with my teeth.
This resort to crude insult against anyone who dares to challenge their shibboleths is typical of the Left.
It doesn’t argue its case. It simply tries to shut down debate by bullying its targets and labelling them as extremists and enemies of humanity in order to frighten people away from listening to them.
But they reserve a special loathing for me. This is not just because I refuse to be cowed.
It’s because I was once one of them, one of the elect, a believer.
I come from the kind of family in which it was simply unthinkable to vote Conservative. For my parents, the Tory Party represented the boss class, while Labour supported the little man — people like us.
My father was haunted all his life by the poverty he endured growing up in the old East End of London in the Twenties and Thirties.
His family of six lived in two rooms; he never had enough to eat. He left school at the age of 13.
As a university-educated young woman with hippie-style hair and an attitude, I, too, generally toed the standard Leftist line in the late Seventies and early Eighties.
Poverty was bad, cuts in public spending were bad, prison was bad, the Tory government was bad.
The state was good, poor people were good, minorities were good, sexual freedom was good.
And pretty soon I had the perfect platform for those views when I went to work as a journalist on The Guardian, the self-styled paper of choice for intellectuals and the supposed voice of progressive conscience.
The paper and I fitted each other perfectly. If I had been a character in one of the Mister Men books, I would have been Little Miss Guardianista.
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Those of us who worked there had a fixed belief in our own superiority and righteousness. We saw ourselves as clever and civilised champions of liberal thought.
I felt loved and cherished, the favoured child of a wonderful and impressive family.
To my colleagues, there was virtually no question that the poor were the victims of circumstances rather than being accountable for their own behaviour and that the state was a wholly benign actor in the lives of individuals.
It never occurred to us that there could be another way of looking at the world.
Above all, we knew we were on the side of the angels, while across the barricades hatchet-faced Right-wingers represented the dark forces of human nature and society that we were all so proud to be against.
But then Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979; and although at The Guardian it was a given that she was a heartless, narrow-minded, suburban nightmare, I found myself listening, despite myself, to a point of view I had not heard before.
These Thatcherites were not the usual upper-class squires, but people whose backgrounds were similar to my own.
They were promoting the values with which I had been brought up in my Labour-supporting family — all about opportunities for social betterment, hard work, taking responsibility for oneself.
I always believed a good journalist should uphold truth over lies and follow the evidence where it led.
Trudging round godforsaken estates as the paper’s special reporter on social affairs, I could see the stark reality of what our supposedly enlightened liberal society was becoming.
The scales began to fall from my eyes. I came to realise that the Left was not on the side of truth, reason and justice.
Instead, it promoted ideology, malice and oppression. Rather than fighting abuse of power, it embodied it.
Increasingly, I saw how journalists on highbrow papers write primarily for other journalists or to impress politicians or other members of the great and the good.
They don’t actually like ordinary people — especially the lower middle class, the strivers who believed in self-discipline and personal responsibility.
How many shows or movies can you name where the parents are still married? Of the ones who are still married, how many of them is the dad not an idiot or an abuser?