Published 22nd October 2021
“It didn’t start with violence, it started with words”. An Auschwitz survivor described the origins of Nazi tyranny. It is easy to forget that despite the unique circumstances in Germany that led to Hitler’s rise, the National Socialists were a small minority of the electorate until economic conditions created a vacuum.
Conflating Cancel Culture with the Nazis may seem extreme. Until you examine some of the victims of this insidious and fast growing phenomenon.
Leo Kearse, a supremely funny man has been all but erased from accessing venues in his native Scotland by the SNP, who along with a small but vocal minority have lost the right to be offended.
Dr Kathleen Stock, a renowned academic and radical feminist based at the University of Sussex has been rendered all but unemployed by student “activists” (hiding bravely behind masks and keyboards) and the local trade union branch alleging (wrongly) transphobia.
A teacher at Batley Grammar School who showed pupils a cartoon mocking the Prophet Muhammad has to had to leave his home, go into police custody, and change his identity. His life has been turned upside down and remains threatened.
Actors and actresses apologise with alarming regularity for accepting parts that others deem unsuitable for them to play and choose to stand down rather than defy the mob. If only openly gay people can play gay parts, Eddie Redmayne, who is heterosexual may not. Presumably no one is allowed to play any dead historical figure by dint of being, well, alive.
Even good and bad behaviour has been cancelled. At Loughborough Amherst, a fee paying school (£14,000 per annum typically), behaviour is now skilful or unskillful.
Immutable biological sex is under threat from gender identitarians. With very few exceptions indeed, we are all born male or female. That is a fact. Sex trumps gender. People are free to identify as they choose but safe spaces must remain sacrosanct.
The writer Sebastian Faulks will no longer use descriptive writing in relation to women as being one is not part of his lived experience.
In the last 6 weeks, Ed Davey, Sir Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson have all been unable to answer the obvious question does a woman have a cervix? I’m no gynaecologist but from a straw poll of all the women I know, I can confirm this to be a fact.
Ah facts. This is where things start to unravel in Wokesville. The moral puritanism of the woke army is a sight to behold. Everything from cultural appropriation through to the removal of statues, particularly those connected with slavery is identified, vilified, threatened and cancelled, usually with a snivelling apology from the establishment responsible for not previously engaging in historical revisionism.
I never cease to be fascinated by the whole slavery debate. This is not to deny slavery occurred as part of the British Empire, nor do I consider it anything other than abhorrent. However, the woke seem content to ignore modern day enslavement of white girls by (often but not exclusively) South Asian or Albanian grooming gangs. Conveniently, they also bypass the reality that the United Kingdom navy did more than any other country to bring an end to the slave trade, at substantial financial and human cost.
Corporate wokewashing is also on the rise. The recent John Lewis advert of a boy dressing up as a girl and behaving like a brat to highlight the value of their home insurance offering is, politely, bizarre.
British Airways, a pension deficit of billions that occasionally flies aeroplanes is scrapping the term “Ladies & Gentlemen” in favour of more “inclusive” language. 93% of the UK population is heterosexual. Less than 4,500 gender reassignment certificates have been issued in 15 years and less than 1% of the population identify as anything other than male or female. Ladies & Gentlemen will be staying in my lexicon for as long as I have breath in my body.
Primark have recently launched a range of clothes for “birthing people”. Let’s be explicit: biological women have children, biological men, and trans women do not. The range should be called maternity wear. It is that simple.
Women fought for years for emancipation, equality and it is little wonder that feminists fight so vehemently not to have the word “woman” cancelled. TERFs (trans exclusionary radical feminists) are a reaction to identitarians attempts to park their tanks on women’s lawns, including the use of the term womxn.
Preferred pronouns are another interesting phenomenon, not least as one never refers to one’s self by one’s own preferred pronouns.
All of which segues into almost Scottish play levels of the taboo that shall unfortunately speak its name: White Privilege.
Imported from the US alongside Critical Race Theory, the assertion is that white people should feel guilty for being white. To be white is to be privileged. Reductive? Just a tad. White working class boys have the worst examination results amongst all ethnic groups.
In a recent study, 28% of black people felt discriminated against in the workplace. In the same study, 25% of white people also felt the same way.
Black people are well represented in ball sports including football, basketball, athletics and musically, dominate the mainstream and niche charts.
The acronym BAME seems to me perverse in that it lumps together Black African, Black Caribbean, Asian (including Chinese, Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani) and other minority ethnic groups. If someone might tell me where the value is in grouping together such a diverse group, I’d be delighted to hear from you.
My libertarian instincts demand free speech and the right to offend without crossing over into hate speech is a common sense position I am comfortable defending.
My natural Conservative instincts put me at odds with those who lean left, including most of the current Conservative Party but just because I disagree with them does not mean it is not OK to do so, or for me (or them) to be offended. I passionately defend the rights of all to speak freely, regardless of whether we agree.
The term “problematic” is making an increasing number of appearances in the recent written and spoken word, essentially to highlight some verbal slight against a “victim” (who may even be conceptual).
Let’s take the problem away. Those who are offended (some by just about everything) are often ashamed of nothing they do themselves, including using hideous tropes such as bigot, racist, homophobe and transphobe.
Instead of looking for “gotcha” opportunities, how about we all dial down the rhetoric and stop looking for rabbit holes as a means of getting to Wonderland?
© justchrisdavies 2021