loony left

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loony left (uncountable)

  1. (Britain, Australia, New Zealand, pejorative) Left-wing politicians or activists whose policies or ideas are considered to be ridiculous or too politically correct.
    • 1986: Headline in The Guardian, 18 Nov 1986
      Tories Play Loony Left Card
    • 1988: Michael Urben, Biography and Education
      The Earl of Halsbury ([Hansard] 1986 p310) spoke of how he had been ‘warned that the loony left is hardening up the lesbian camp and that they are becoming increasingly aggressive'.
    • 1988: John Twitchin, Introduction to The Black and White Media Book
      The term ‘anti-racist' has become associated with ‘left-wing sentimentality', not to say ‘loony left extremism'.
    • 1989: Fred Sedgwick, Here Comes the Assembly Man: A Year in the Life of a Primary School (referring to an event in 1988)
      I sold the story to The Sun for school funds. They led with TROUBLESOME TOT over another piece about LESBIAN LOONY LEFT IN RIOTS.
    • 1992: Kenneth (EDT) Plummer, Modern Homosexualities: Fragments of Lesbian and Gay Experiences, referring to "leaflets distributed by the Conservative Party local constituency association in Surbiton before the May 1991 elections":
      They claimed that the London Boroughs Grant Scheme should be eliminated so that ‘public money' would no longer be spent on ‘"loony left" projects such as black lesbian groups'.
    • 1995: Peter Dorey, British Politics Since 1945
      The exaggerations of the Thatcher [Conservative] governments, and the fabrications of the tabloid press, concerning the measures invoked by certain Labour councils in order to tackle discrimination and disadvantage led to coinage of the term 'loony Left'. The Government and its allies in the media ridiculed and reviled the principles and policies of such Labour councils, leading people to believe that one would not be allocated a job or house unless one was a disabled vegetarian single-parent lesbian from an 'ethnic minority' background.
    • 1996: Mark McKenna, The Captive Republic: A History of Republicanism in Australia 1788-1996 (quoting Dr John Hewson, Leader of the Opposition)
      The republican resolution was an example of the influence of the 'loony left' in the Labor Party.
    • 1996: John Wilson, Understanding Journalism
      [Political correctness] flourished for a while in what became known as ‘loony left' local authorities where public policies passionately favoured minority needs, the dubious as well as the deserving.
    • 1998: Julia Sudbury, Other Kinds of Dreams: Black Women's Organizations and the Politics of Transformation
      [Linda] Bellos, who was active in promoting lesbian rights as well as supporting black community initiatives, was depicted as the embodiment of the ‘loony left' and her commitment to opposing racism, sexism and homophobia was caricatured.
    • 1999: Barbara Olsen, Hell to Pay: The Unfolding Story of Hillary Rodham Clinton
      The Christic Institute, the looniest fringe group of the loony left, which publicised a number of bizarre conspiracy theories in which virtually every ill on earth could be traced to "secret teams" at the CIA involved in the narcotics trade.
    • 2006: Peter Schrag, California: America's High-Stakes Experiment
      In most cases, they follow not the loony left in the Legislature, but Bush's biggest California backer, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

Usage notes[edit]

The following quotation describes the context of the original usage in the "popular press" in the UK in the late 1980s to disparage anti-racist initiatives. It was used similarly by them to disparage anti-war, feminist, gay rights and other equal opportunities agendas:

2006: Alison M Jaggar, in Feminist Alliances (ed Linda Burns), p. 29 →ISBN

As in the United States, multiculturalism was equated with disparaging British and European culture and this theme was taken up with enthusiasm by the popular press who rejoiced in examples of supposed fanaticism on the part of what came to be called the "loony left". In the late 1980s, the Sun, the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday ran a seemingly endless series of anti-anti-racist stories. They alleged for instance that left-wing London Education authorities had banned the nursery rhyme, "Baa Baa Black Sheep," along with black garbage bags, and all references to black coffee in staff canteens. Similar reports were associated with councils' plans to multiculturalise London street names. The Sun reported that Hackney council, in East London, was going to transform Britannia Walk to Shaheed-E-Asam Nhagot Singh Avenue.
Retractions sometimes followed these blatantly false reports but their cumulative impact was to create an atmosphere of immense public hostility to the "trendy" educationalists now believed to be teaching Britain's youth to despise "British" culture.