The few bright spots on the Government's record have not been enough to thwart a woke takeover.
DOUGLAS MURRAY - 9 January 2022
One of the great things about a country with separation of powers is that the government cannot order a court what to do. Yet what both the courts and the government can do is to either affect or reflect the cultural weather.
So a weather warning could be sighted this week when the four young people brought to court for pulling down the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol were acquitted by a jury.
The June 2020 protest at which the Bristol slave-trader and philanthropist’s statue was brought down was a BLM protest. But none of the defendants were black. Rather, as you can tell from their names (including Milo Ponsford and Sage Willoughby) they were almost comically typical of a certain rah, right-on Bristol type.
Since the acquittal there has been much wringing of hands and confusion about what all this means. But it is not complex. It is a continuation of something I have described in these pages before. The embedding through the law of a new, prevailing, national and cultural ethic.
It is the same thing that was on display in April last year when a gang of hooligans from Extinction Rebellion were cleared by a jury for their assault on the headquarters of Shell in London. Despite being told that there was no justification in law for their actions, the jury decided to agree with the defendants that assaulting the headquarters of an energy company was proportionate and necessary.
None of this should be a surprise.
Our own Prime Minister declared in Glasgow last November that we had only “one minute” left to save the planet. So why not use the few seconds left to attack any and all companies that have kept the lights on to date?
There have been glimmers of hope that this Government might actually be conservative. It did not join Keir Starmer and the leadership of the Labour party in “taking the knee” and going along with all of BLM’s other provably fallacious claims and demands in the summer of 2020.
Boris Johnson was robust in condemning the vandalisation of Winston Churchill’s statue, even if he failed ultimately to do what was necessary to prevent Sir Winston from being boarded up.
It was even said to have been an intervention from the highest levels of government that ensured there were enough police in Oxford to prevent a mob from tearing down the statue of Cecil Rhodes on the façade of Oriel College around the same time Colston fell. Worthwhile changes to planning regulations, of all things, have helped to keep him in place since.
But to think that the Government has been resolute in the face of woke ideology would be wrong. Take the ultimate experience of BLM. In response to the outcry, Ministers commissioned a report into “Race and ethnic disparities” in the UK, a classic long-grass tactic.
The trouble is that even to play this game is to lose it. The fine resulting report by Dr Tony Sewell, published in March last year, was panned by the professional agitators of the race relations industry of this country who make a living from pretending that race relations in this country are dire. They immediately attacked Dr Sewell (who happens to be black).
They attacked the board of the commissions (who were almost all from ethnic minorities). Just as they also continued to attack, and use proxies in the Left-wing press to even more viciously attack, the equalities minister Kemi Badenoch.
For the problem was that the Sewell report did not conclude that Britain was an irredeemably racist country. It said that where there are disparities other factors other than racism might sometimes be a cause. The race relations industry did not like this.
Like the statue-topplers, their woke supporters and indeed the green extremists they are totally uninterested in being met with facts. The troubling question is where was the Government in all this? Having commissioned an admirable report from him, Dr Sewell was then hung out to dry, his recommendations abandoned.
As the Mayor of our capital city attempts to rewrite all of British history to suit his particular political and cultural preferences, where are the voices in government or the whole apparatus of state that we taxpayers pay for actually willing to speak for our own cause? Just as conceding to the green extremists makes them act more extreme, so every pitiful begging for mercy from the historical revisionists who hate everything in our past merely eggs others on to acts of greater extremism.
There is a cultural movement afoot that has everything in our country’s history in its sights. Our culture, politics, history and much more. Our Government can’t control a jury. But it could do with acting a little less like an NGO. And a particularly wet, weak and ineffective NGO at that.