AS Steve Jamnik wrote last month in TCW Defending Freedom, the fairytale of the Emperor’s New Clothes offers pertinent lessons for us in these troubled times.
Hans Christian Andersen’s story tells how the emperor is convinced by swindlers that they have tailored a splendid array of garments for him that can be seen only by the discerning and intelligent.
Of course, the clothes are non-existent, but no one will tell the emperor, not least his sycophantic courtiers and citizens. So he parades through the streets to show off his splendid outfit – until a child in the crowd shouts out the truth: The emperor is starkers.
Listening to the daily news, I often find myself feeling like that child in the crowd. An inner voice asks ‘Surely not?’ ‘Am I so stupid?’ ‘What do I not understand here?’ ‘Rubbish. Utter, utter rubbish.’
Increasingly often, we are asked to believe and accept nonsense. The grain of truth in Andersen’s folk tale is the crucial point. The birth of political correctness saw the beginning of the end of truth.
This is now so extreme that our leaders clearly feel they must change their language and policies to please the majority, regardless of what is just or right. It is the quest for popularity which leads them to use terms such as ‘kids’ and ‘our NHS’ and make constant references to football. Language is one thing, but policy is another.
As politics becomes theatre, policy becomes a crowd-pleaser, like the ice cream in the interval. We are told what we want to hear ad nauseam, but watch the opposite state of affairs play out before us.
Covid-19 policy makes a case in point. Doing something, anything in the face of a public health crisis looks good, however futile or harmful. The repeated lockdowns, mask mandates, social distancing and curfews would ‘suppress the virus’. Online schooling for nearly every child in the country would ‘provide education’.
Now, says the Chief Medical Officer, the vaccination of children as young as 12 against this disease to protect adults, will ‘improve their mental health’. Tripe.
The recently-announced rise in National Insurance payments is a tax rise, nominally to pay for social care and the NHS. Regional diversity and inclusion officers in the NHS command superb salaries, roughly twice that of a nurse. The chief amongst these, Prerana Issar, is paid £230,000 a year.
Obtaining an offer to read medicine in the United Kingdom is difficult, even for the most able applicants. Statistics from The Medical Schools Council show that for entry to medical training in 2021, there were 28,690 applicants for 9,500 places.
The number of training places is regulated by the government of the day. It is expensive to train a doctor, but we have lived through the consequences of not having enough of them. This situation is worse than nonsense, it is scandalous.
One of my son’s friends, academically brilliant, warm, witty and dedicated, worked throughout his school holidays as a volunteer health care assistant and achieved straight As throughout his school career. He didn’t receive a single offer to read medicine when he applied.
Shortage of money for training places? Or perhaps, being white, male and well-educated, he wasn’t suitable?
In 2014, Professor Joseph Meirion Thomas explained in an article for the Daily Mail that by 2017 female doctors would outnumber their male colleagues.
There is nothing wrong with this per se. However, the professor pointed out that many, if not most, of these female doctors will work part-time as they raise children. It is true to say that the taxpayer pays for one doctor and receives half a doctor. More home-grown doctors and nurses are urgently needed, diversity and inclusion officers are not. Is this the truth, or is it just ‘my truth’?
The guidance and mandates issued during the grim Covid-19 era to date – some rational and many not – doubtless soothed the terrified majority, if the YouGov polls are to be believed.
An unpleasant side-effect of authoritarian governance during the pandemic has been the birth of a new army of thoroughly uncivil and self-appointed Covid police.
Visit any surgery, either dental, GP or veterinary, to get acquainted with this new breed. A twentysomething in a tabard and shield will order you out of her space as she points a thermometer gun at your forehead.
A recent trip to a branch of the cosmetics shop Lush with my youngest daughter began with a hosing down at the door. Incidentally, I was offered a communal bar of soap. Venturing in, my path was blocked by a teenage shop assistant who asked me in a severe and shocked stage whisper if I had sanitised my hands.
Is this doing good, or does it just look good? I felt thoroughly disgruntled, but perhaps a majority find such rudeness reassuring.
I work with adults with learning difficulties. Our clients pay to attend a small farm where they care for animals, garden, cook and take woodwork and art lessons. Recently, I offered to photograph one of our clients during a cookery session. She quickly whipped out a mask for the photo. ‘Just like the G7 leaders!’ I quipped.
She then explained that the martinet who runs the supported living establishment where she lives wouldn’t let her come to us if she knew she hadn’t been wearing a mask. I explained to our client that she is an adult, and she could decide for herself whether she’d like to wear a mask.
The Covid-19 police are the sycophantic courtiers in the tale of the naked emperor. They are people who choose a ‘truth’ that makes them appear caring of others. This ticks boxes, but is nothing to do with real benefit or actual truth.
Repeatedly we are expected to believe that black is white, or if you prefer, that I’m a Dutchman. I watched the Home Secretary at the Conservative Party conference. Elegant and stern-faced, she declared that she makes ‘no apology for securing our borders’. Has she done this? Is she doing this?
Simultaneous footage showed groups of migrants, having entered the country illegally, setting off on foot through the lanes of the Garden of England.
These people are unidentified and unchallenged. They will melt into Kent and avail themselves of all the resources in that densely-populated and overstretched county. The fact that an estimated 15,000 of them have arrived on our shores this year demonstrates clearly that our borders are not secure. They should be.
Cynicism grows amongst us. I am descended from prominent suffragettes. I believe voting is a vital duty to democracy and freedom. Who should I vote for next time? Who will tell the truth, and offer a believable manifesto that will become reality? Without truth, democracy will die.