Lefty-baiting is a hilarious fun game for all the family - we all know that. But what are the rules, and how do you do it? Here's a simple step-by-step guide to getting it done - right first time, every time. Your Cohens, your Burchills, your Littlejohns, even your Moirs - they know how it's done. If you want to have a go at a lefty but aren't quite sure where to begin, then worry no longer. That smug comment you want to write at Harry's Place will soon be flowing from your fingertips. You'll be using the word 'hypocrite' as if it's second nature.
1. The Left. Yes, the Left. Capital L preferred. That means everyone from Castro to Polly Toynbee to Tony Blair. Everyone. All of them. They're all doing the same thing, because, well, they all think the same way. This is a useful way of getting things started. If you want to have a crack at Robert Fisk but don't know where to start, why not criticise him for something Gordon Brown did? They're both The Left, so therefore one is responsible for everything the other does.
2. The Left is doing X because of their so-called liberal values. This has a twofold purpose: you get to be supercilious and knock up a cheeky strawman in the meantime. Oh look at them with their so-called liberal values; I daresay they do think they're doing the right thing, but of course they're misguided because they're not as clever as me! Now that you've established the apparent motivation for X, regardless of what is actually motivating it, you can show later on that this is actually inconsistent and therefore worthy of the 'hypocrite' label.
Let's use an example to illustrate this. Say someone on the Left - it could be Johann Hari or Kim-Jong Il, they're pretty much interchangeable for our purposes - has said that it's not a terrifically good thing for people to be prejudiced against Muslims. At this point you can roll your eyes and say "Well, I suppose they would think they're doing the right thing, what with their misguided sense of soi-disant liberalism..." before you move in for the kill.
3. The Left is doing X because of their so-called liberal values, but they're actually being the very thing they're complaining about! Nearly there now. You're almost ready to get furiously typing in that box on the Comment is Free website, but let me walk you through this bit first. Remember when we talked about the Left's motivation for doing whatever it is they're doing? Now that you've established that strawman, you need to use it against them by showing them to be just as incorrect as they're accusing others of being.
Remember our example about so-called liberals wanting to be so-called tolerant of so-called Muslims - here you would say "Oh, I suppose these liberals are happy for our Muslim friends to hate homosexuals and stone women to death? That doesn't seem very tolerant towards women!" - what you've done there is perfect. First, you've linked all of Islam with extremism; second, you've accused lefties of being intolerant through their very tolerance. Job done? Well, not quite...
4. The Left is doing X because of their so-called liberal values, but they're actually being the very thing they're complaining about! The hypocrites. It's vitally important to get the H-word out. You need to spray it (ahem) liberally around your column / blog comment to point out (a) the horribleness of the Left in being so stupid they can't understand why they're being hypocrites and (b) the horribleness of the Left in saying some people are 'more equal than others' in their desperation to be politically correct.
Congratulations! You're now ready to get that boilerplate lefty-baiting attack done. Once you're feeling comfortable repeating the same tedious arguments again and again and again and again, never listening to anything anyone else ever says, you can move on to advanced lefty-baiting. Here are some themes you might want to develop once you've seemingly exhausted every option:
"I was a bit of a lefty once, everyone supported the IRA and wanted to boil Jews alive, that's why I stopped being one."
"What the Left appear to want is to capitulate to Osama Bin Laden..."
"Of course, they talk a lot about freedom, but they're the first who want to shut down debate (by which I mean lying racism)..."
Have fun! And remember: try not to think too much. It'll only hurt!