THE refusal of the Conservative Party to interest itself in the culture wars that have been rumbling on for decades is a strategic error that the public continues to pay for heavily.
The latest battle in the long war – described by Peter Hitchens as the Abolition of Britain – took place last week, with mass protests and the vandalising of statues and desecration of war memorials.
The chain of events which started with the horrible death of George Floyd (who had moved to Minneapolis to start a new life, following release from prison) at the hands of a policeman and ended with the vandalising and boarding up of Winston Churchill’s statue in Parliament Square is the kind of grim farce which could occur only in the mad world our leaders have permitted to evolve.
Even the 1st Baron Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout movement and dead these past 79 years, somehow got dragged into the imbroglio. Which dead person or institution will be named and shamed next? Is there a blue plaque to Enid Blyton somewhere and will it be prised off and stamped on by angry white lefties, as happened to Edward Colston’s statue in Bristol?
Last year the advisory committee of the Royal Mint refused to have Blyton on the 50p coin, so perhaps she has been adequately traduced by the snub. But the catalogue of offending television programmes and films for the chop grows by the day, along with offending monuments, statuary and institutions.
Is all of our common cultural heritage to be cancelled? Are we to know obliterate all knowledge of Victorian philanthropy? Must we, for example, ‘discount the significance to world affairs of so many former Rhodes Scholars’ who include three recent Australian Prime Ministers and an American president?
These days you would not rule anything out. The inchoate resentment and rage of the crowds in Britain will hopefully soon blow over, or at least when schools and universities resume full-time.
However, the revelations of the past week are here to stay: that we, the taxpaying public, are surrounded by a civil administration captured more or less in its entirety by the Left, viz ministers’ craven, ignorant and uncritical support for the protesters’ aims.
We are paying for the dissolution of our own civilisation and its liberties. British policemen, whose conduct regulations bar them from making political gestures, have been photographed ‘taking the knee’, an action fast becoming the virtue signaller’s gesture of choice. Even Sir Keir Starmer and sundry Labour MPs have been photographed doing it. And why wouldn’t they? It is after all in support of a neo-Marxist reading of society.
After police permitted protesters to fell Edward Colston’s statue and roll it into Bristol’s harbour, Superintendent Andy Bennett, who led the Avon & Somerset police operation around the statue, told the Bristol Post that allowing the destruction of the monument was ‘the right thing to do’. He added: ‘Bristol should be proud of itself.’
He also said: ‘People will say we allowed them to roll it all the way to the docks … if you’ve got a police cordon protecting a statue of a man who made his money trading slaves, you can imagine how different things might have been.’
Perhaps Superintendent Bennett is a graduate of Common Purpose, the shadowy ‘leadership training’ group founded by Julia Middleton for senior figures in commerce and the public sector, whose courses Metropolitan Police chief Dame Cressida Dick has attended.
The organisation was described by the Daily Mail in 2012 as ‘the Left’s old boy network’ and elsewhere as an elitist project which urges its members to wield power ‘beyond their authority’. Hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money has been paid to it to train police. Police forces hand £470,000 to ‘left-wing Freemasons’
The extraordinary spectacle of a senior law enforcement officer giving warm approbation to politicised criminality, or cultural terrorism, and excusing himself and his officers from preventing crime and disorder on the grounds that it may have been bad PR to do so, was barely noticed.
This is not the first time the police have shown the extent of Left-wing penetration into their ranks. Officers displaying LGBT activist symbols are now commonplace. I don’t recall the long-serving ‘Conservative’ Home Secretary Theresa May raising objections about this politicisation of the police, a good deal of which happened on her watch.
Just 48 hours after Colston’s statue was toppled, 130 Labour councils announced wide-ranging reviews of landmarks, and Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, announced the deeply sinister-sounding Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm.
This Orwellian group – and who sits on it – will need to be watched very closely, for it is inevitable that it will resume an airbrushing of history and maps which began under the ‘Loony Left’ councils in the Eighties.
It is almost 35 years since market traders took Blackburn council to court over its proposal to change Market Avenue to Nelson Mandela Street. A magistrate saw sense and the traders won. Will any of Mayor Khan’s decisions be legally challenged and upheld? I am not filled with optimism.
It is Mayor Khan who has had Winston Churchill’s statue boarded up, a form of bureaucratic vandalism that gave the protesters what they wanted under the guise of protecting the monument.
Finally Boris Johnson, the Conservative prime minister and Churchill biographer, spoke up with a smidgin of conviction and claimed he would defend the statue to his last breath. Will he get behind TCW’s idea for a Churchill Column to prove it?
Then there is the media. Its affirmative coverage during the George Floyd furore has demonstrated that ‘woke’ thinking – ie radical Leftist social views – are increasingly dominant in the industry.
Fallacies and sophistry go unchallenged, just as they did with Extinction Rebellion. The hard core Marxist background to Black Lives Matter – the old class struggle theories now reframed in race, identity and anti-family terms – goes largely unpicked and unexplained by journalists, many of whom are middle-class ‘social justice warrior’ millennials.
Yes, the outrageously biased BBC needs to have the skids put under it, but the rest of television news is just as guilty of overwhelming ‘woke’ bias. The media conflation of America’s race relations history with Britain’s is as routine as it is profoundly wrong.
Sky News is now prefacing items on the Floyd fallout with a title card saying Race and Revolution. At such a febrile time, this is inflammatory. I have yet to hear any clear-eyed analysis on British television news of the bald facts, stats and counter-opinions behind BLM’s rhetoric, for example put forward by black conservatives such as Candace Owens here or Coleman Hughes here.
The ‘long march through the institutions’ as proposed by the Italian communist Antonio Gramsci seems to have taken place in Britain over the past 40-odd years, 27 of which have seen Conservative governments running the show with progressively worsening levels of capitulation to the Left’s social policies.
As I indicated at the start of this piece, the Tories thought that market economics would see them right. In other words, they knew they price of everything and the value of nothing.
Therefore, by trying to ignore, exploit or ride the tigers of political correctness, mass immigration, climate change extremism and the politicisation of policing and education, they have been midwife to the rebirth of a great beast: Communism. Can Mr Johnson and his team fight this hydra-headed force? I am not hopeful.