When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, journalist Peter Hitchens went searching for the missing statue of Pavlik Morozov, a young pioneer who, according to legend, denounced his father to the secret police and was murdered in revenge by his grandfather.
For betraying his parent to the state, Morozov was revered as a martyr by Soviet society, a role model for the communist youth.
‘The thing which really differentiated Soviet society from the West was the worship of Pavlik Morozov,’ Hitchens told John Anderson in 2018. Hitchens’s search for the teenage supergrass was unsuccessful.
As the West increasingly resembles a cosseted, wi-fi dependent version of Soviet society, it would appear that Pavlik Morozov is everywhere. One hears of mediocre Gen-Zers taking to TikTok to shame their parents for holding non-woke views.
In a recent BBC feature called Coronavirus: How my mum became a conspiracy theory influencer, Comrade Morozov re-emerges in the form of 21-year-old Sebastian Shemirani denouncing his mother, Kate, for thought crime.
In a dimly lit room, Sebastian tells all to BBC apparatchik Marianna Spring: ‘My brother rings me, and he says, “Sebastian, I think we’ve got a problem . . .”
The incidental music becomes ominous and suspenseful.
‘“Mum’s got 40,000 YouTube followers.” And at that point, my face just dropped.’
From the build-up, you would have thought his mother had travelled to Syria to become an ISIS bride.
But no, her crime was voicing anti-government opinions on YouTube, specifically anti-lockdown opinions.
In post-Cameron Britain, there is no distinction between violent and non-violent ‘extremism’. There are only heretics, who can now expect to be condemned as ‘dangerous’ by their own children.
‘What she’s doing is dangerous . . . this is her five minutes of fame,’ Sebastian bitches in the four-minute video. ‘I wish I could tell them all [Kate’s followers] my Mum is not the person that you think she is. She’s someone with a massive amount of self-interest and loves being the centre of attention.’
Sebastian describes growing up in ‘a nice big house in a good town’ as ‘hell’ because his mother ‘exposed him’ to YouTube conspiracy theories about Rothschilds ‘planning to go live on a space station’ (I’ve never heard that one before) ‘and how there’s going to be a mass genocide . . . I’m ten or eleven years old, and I’m bricking it.’
Since when was frightening children with doomsday scenarios a problem for the BBC?
In a cheap ploy, Spring attempts to link anti-lockdown protests with the far-Right: ‘He [Sebastian] was also shocked to see far-Right people in her crowds.’
As Spring says this, we are shown a panoramic view of an anti-lockdown rally in Trafalgar Square, but nothing in the footage implicates the presence of the far-Right.
Sebastian continues: ‘My Dad’s Iranian, all of her kids are mixed-race, and she’s out there getting all this clout and attention from people who don’t think I should exist.’
What a load of nonsense. I was at one of those protests, and it was ethnically and religiously very mixed. As it happens, the only person I came across there who mentioned the Rothschilds was, er, Iranian.
As for the two men who were spotted representing the ‘British Union of Fascists’, an organisation that was dissolved in 1940, I wonder who dug them up. Central Casting?
Asked about the future, Sebastian answers coldly: ‘I’m never going to have a relationship with my Mum again.’
In other words, if your parents don’t love Big Brother, you can’t love your parents.
I hold no brief for Kate Shemirani, whose ravings about 5G undermine her wholly justified opposition to the lockdown. But I have to assume that she is a well-meaning person with a disloyal son.
There may be other stuff going on that we don’t know about, but as with the legend of Pavlik Mozorov, the specific details of what happened are not so important. What matters in both cases is the state’s disturbing sanctification of family betrayal.
The state and its broadcasters know that loyalties outside party needs can lead only to thought crime, which is why it prefers families to be divided as well as physically separated by decree. This is intolerable, yet people tolerate, and in some cases welcome it.
The British public needs to be reminded that blood is thicker than water, and there is nothing worse than a grass.
This article first appeared on Harry Dougherty Blog on October 28, 2020, and is republished by kind permission.