Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Yorkshire Cricket (1863-2021) RIP


AFTER a long and glorious innings, Yorkshire County Cricket Club is out. Not bowled, not caught, not stumped. Yorkshire has been woked out.

Yorkshire cricket has been part of my religion for nearly 70 years. My baptism was the Roses match starting on a sun-drenched Whit Saturday at Headingley in 1953. Yorkshire won the toss and elected to bat. Len Hutton hit the first ball through the covers for four. He looked set for a century but was out for 44. A great sigh was exhaled by the huge crowd – even the Lancashire supporters were sorry to see the back of this most elegant master. Willie Watson and J V Wilson, the tall red-faced farmer from Malton, made a century stand and, as the shadows lengthened across the green and pleasant ground, the young Brian Close came to the crease and knocked off a quick 50.

In 1955 I was taken by my grandparents for a week’s holiday in Scarborough. Yorkshire were playing Nottinghamshire. They gave me my sandwiches and orders to behave and said they would collect me at close of play. A kindly man in his club blazer overheard as I was being given my instructions and said, ‘I’m a member. I’ll take Peter into the pavilion with me.’

This was in the days before everyone in a pair of trousers was regarded as a potential paedophile. I sat in the best seats and feasted sumptuously all the day long. The highlight was Fred Trueman’s hat-trick.

Such glories are at an end since Azeem Rafiq accused the club of racism. Yorkshire officials believed him and he was awarded a six-figure sum by way of compensation. As we all now know, that wasn’t the end of the matter. Roger Hutton, former chairman of the club, resigned declaring Yorkshire Cricket to be ‘institutionally racist’ – a meaningless phrase invented in 1999 by Lord Macpherson in which a racist incident was defined as ‘anything so claimed by the victim or any other person.’ This is a judgement so tendentious it simply begs to be abused, and so stubborn it couldn’t be flattened even by the heavy roller.

Rafiq is a moderately talented cricketer but agile when it comes to parroting the approved slogans of sentimental wokery. Tearfully, he informed MPs he is ‘a voice for the voiceless’.

Come off it, Azeem! The voices of the so-called voiceless resound everywhere. In fact they are the onlyvoices allowed a hearing. Professional victimhood rules OK? No, it’s not OK but, as a Yorkshireman, I might say there’s bugger all we can do about it.

So, declared institutionally racist, Yorkshire will be allowed no international cricket at any of their grounds. Sponsors are withdrawing their support from the club, which is already on the verge of bankruptcy.

What has happened at Yorkshire is spreading rapidly as similar accusations are being made throughout the national and international game. Thus first class cricket – the game of Hutton and Bradman, of Botham and Warne – faces extinction.

There is nothing unique or even surprising about this. The catastrophe that has befallen Yorkshire is only one more example of what is taking place throughout our national life as the neo-Marxist iconoclasts and their wokery continue their long march through all our institutions – the law, parliament, the church, the university, publishing and popular entertainments – destroying them as they go.

It’s not as though we were not warned. I signalled a small warning myself in my book The Secular Terrorist (2009). As long ago as the 1960s Charles Reich, a much more authoritative voice than mine, said:

‘There is a revolution coming. It will not be like revolutions of the past. It will originate with the individual and with culture, and it will change the political structure only as its final act. It will not require violence to succeed and it cannot be successfully resisted with violence. It is now spreading with amazing rapidity and already our laws, institutions and social structures are changing in consequence.’

Close of play has just been called for Western civilisation.

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Peter Mullen
Peter Mullen
Peter Mullen is a Church of England clergyman, writer and broadcaster

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