‘London’s strength lies in its diversity,’ George Osborne’s London Evening Standard editorialised last week upon the unveiling of its 2018 Progress list of the 1,000 most influential people in the capital. It is a long list of Remainers and liberal Lefties, and Osborne is gushing in his praise.
Diversity is strength sounds like Orwellian doublethink to me. Large groups of people in overcrowded areas would do well to share widespread agreement on many important things, yet doctrinal diversity policy encourages the reverse. Practised observers of multicultural London will recognise that big D Diversity has little to do with attracting ‘the best and brightest’ – a laudable aim – and everything to do with the political and social leverage of the liberal Left. Decades of ever more bitter public debate and argument about immigration and perceived racism does not look like strength; at best it looks like a rabble of competing factions. That is to say nothing of rapidly changed and divided districts, the ghettos, and, of course, the terrorism. However, the chattering classes do not like to talk about that particular nasty consequence of their immigration crusade.
Of course, the real purpose of Osborne’s list is the promotion of globalisation, the cynical religion of the world’s elite: open borders, tax avoidance, the squirrelling away of corporate wealth from the clutches of the taxman and last, but by no means least, the enabling of easy movement for cheap migrant labour armies, aka unsustainable immigration. Indeed, the Progress list is sponsored by Citi, a bank which does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions.
Ironically, given its roots in academic Marxism, political correctness has become the rulebook of globalisation: a set of specious nostrums to be deployed against any objection to the plan to bring an end to the nation state. Indeed you are not allowed to believe in the nation state any more because the PC rulebook will declare you a nationalist. See Arch-Remainer Osborne’s dog-whistle jibe against Brexit in his editorial (my italics): ‘There are those in our parliament who would close our country off from the world and shut the door to newcomers. Today’s list of talent is a refutation of all that poisonous nationalism . . .’
How extraordinarily corrupted our political language is. The facile and erroneous use of the term nationalism needs some correction. There is no better writer to quote on this subject than George Orwell. In 1945 he said that nationalists placed their country beyond good and evil and recognised no other duty than advancing its interests. He contrasted that with the patriot, who is devoted to a particular place and a particular way of life ‘which one believes to be to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people’. Orwell said the two should not be confused, but today the media deliberately and shabbily confuses them to smear opponents of globalisation. It is a low trick.
Let us look at some of this talent Osborne extols. One of the big hitters is Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. London has seen a huge surge in knife and gang crime on Ms Dick’s watch. Murders in our ‘progressive and exciting’ capital are at a ten-year high. That looks like a basic failure of the job description to me. The mothers of the more than 100 murder victims this year may be interested in the lionising of Ms Dick.
She has blamed the crime surge on middle-class cocaine users. One might reasonably ask why Ms Dick is not breaking down doors at North London dinner parties the better to curtail the trade she deplores? If wealthy professionals seriously thought for one minute that an evening of snorting drugs could land them in Wormwood Scrubs and cost them their career, many would think twice before ringing their dealers. However, Osborne’s nonpareil of policing went on to say that London’s cocaine problem was one ‘which goes well beyond the police’ with ‘high demand . . . causing many of the challenges’. That looks like an admission that illegal drugs in London are now out of control.
Another on the talent list is the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. During his election campaign in 2015 he echoed our lamentable prime minister Theresa May with the pledge: ‘I will do everything in my power to cut stop-and-search.’ A bloodbath followed his election to office and he now quietly says there should be more stop-and-search, a frankly outrageous failure and humiliating volte-face. When he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, Osborne used to refer to former prime minister Tony Blair as ‘the master’. Khan is an arch-Blairite. His inclusion is more evidence that Cameroonian high command was simply New Labour with small variations in spending policy.
Another name on the list is Mark Carney, the Canadian governor of the Bank of England and leading light of Project Fear, the Government and civil service propaganda campaign to bully the public into voting Remain. After the Brexit vote his predictions of financial Armageddon failed to materialise; he admitted he got it wrong amid concerns that his interference and lack of objectivity in the Brexit debate was endangering the credibility of the Bank. This is talent?
Geordie Greig, the new editor of the Daily Mail, makes Osborne’s list for ‘his more circumspect coverage of Brexit’. Greig is clearly charged by Lord Rothermere to sell Theresa May’s crypto-Remain plans to Mail readers. Good luck with that. The Mail’s circulation was falling fairly precipitously before Paul Dacre, its previous editor, stood down.
The founder of the bicycle food delivery firm Deliveroo, William Shu, features. Osborne is a great believer in the ‘gig economy’, which uses the self-employed on zero hours contracts, freeing bosses from the provision of basic workers’ rights and, through the happy miracle of migrant oversupply, keeping the wage bill at rock bottom. Call me old-fashioned, but it is not a business model I would wish to boast about.
The list is a clear illustration of the parallel reality our ancien regime political elite live in. If the Brexit vote did not wake them up, I wonder what will.