Have you heard? It’s in the stars: Next July we collide with Mars. Well, let’s get a move on with that. Puts me in mind of a 1971 ‘Doctor Who’ story in which the Doc’s Timelord nemesis, The Master, invites an alien invader to Earth; the Nestene Intelligence isn’t Martian, but a species that can bring any inanimate object to life as long as it’s plastic. It animates shop-window dummies and uses them to seize power in advance of the invasion with The Master’s assistance. However, at the moment when The Master is poised to finally welcome the alien invader, the Doctor asks The Master if he thinks that once the Nestene Intelligence sets eyes on him, it will instantly distinguish between him and mankind. After all, he doesn’t exactly look very alien. Obviously, the Doctor’s point registers and the invasion is averted. But The Master was playing with fire and labouring under the misapprehension that his obedience would spare him the fate that awaited everyone else – not unlike those on social media who were aghast when the wild animal in their lap suddenly bit them.
Why were Graham Linehan and JK Rowling so surprised? Hadn’t they shamelessly pandered to the Woke consensus? Hadn’t they tried to do the one thing you cannot do with fanatics – appease and please them? Their PC credentials hadn’t guaranteed them the immunity they naively imagined they would and now they’re paying the price as designated un-persons. Both have become targets for the nastiest disciples of the SJW cult – the trans-terrorists. To be honest, it’s hard to be sympathetic. Comedian Leigh Francis of ‘Keith Lemon’ fame made the same mistake a few days ago, apologising for once making people laugh on his early noughties series ‘Bo’ Selecta!’, in which he parodied every celebrity of the day – of all colours and genders; he clearly doesn’t realise the confession-cum-apology demanded still won’t satisfy those he seeks to forgive him. Forgiveness is not an element of the new religion.
In fact, Leigh Francis’s bumbled pre-emptive strike was actually the least nauseating missive launched online in a week that has seen a wave of collective hysteria sweep through the English-speaking world quicker than you can say coronavirus. The faint hope that a global pandemic would put the brakes on the culture wars was to underestimate the width of the polarisation that now exists between the warring factions. Yes, one can cite a certain stir-craziness courtesy of the lockdown, but it hardly excuses the extremities of behaviour on the streets of cities that have absolutely no connection whatsoever with events in Minneapolis. British Police officers who just a few weeks ago were harassing socially-distanced sunbathers and rooting through shopping bags foolishly imagined that submitting to the lunatics now running the asylum would spare them. But adopting a humiliating pose that implied they were about to ask for their hand in marriage didn’t prevent them from being targeted – or even their bloody horses. Again, you cannot appease or please fanatics.
Dancing at Pride marches and making similarly undignified concessions to Instagram culture does not earn Woke Brownie-points when confronted by a toxic brand of politicised anarchy that originated in the US and now sadly has a foothold here. And it has a foothold because the powers-that-be have done nothing to prevent it. Such is the fear of online ostracism after attaching disproportionate volume to the loudest voices on Twitter that inches have been given and miles have been taken, and this weekend saw the inevitable outcome of this spineless compliance. Inaction has opened the door to those whose only cause is chaos. Like the hooligan armies who used to attend football matches simply because they loved a punch-up and didn’t give two shits about the beautiful game, for the worst offenders in London and Bristol the name of George Floyd is nothing more than a convenient buzz-word to hang their intentions on.
A line was crossed in Bristol yesterday. Pause for a moment and think what happened; even if we are coerced into accepting some vague justification on the part of the perpetrators, what happened was the kind of thing we read about in history books when it comes to the streets of British cities, back when we were supposedly more barbaric than we are today. If it happens today, it happens in other countries in specific circumstances. When it happened in Iraq, it was a spontaneous action by people who had just been liberated from a despot; the manifestation of their unleashed relief was directed towards a symbolic monument to the despised dictator who had the blood of their families on his stone hands. That wasn’t the case yesterday. This was a statue to a long-dead local philanthropist whose fortune was derived from a despised historical trade that, lest we forget, the British led the way in abolishing 200 years ago, at a time when it remained a profitable industry. 200 f***ing years ago.
The disturbingly supine attitude towards this by many people I follow on social media, people I otherwise admire, is either a Leigh Francis-like expression of not wanting to be targeted themselves, or it reflects a short-sighted awareness of what it really represents and what it could lead to. Fine if a mob pulls down a symbol of something few could defend, but what happens if they next select a symbol of something you hold dear? Indeed, once these Taliban tactics have succeeded on the streets of one British city, why should they end in Bristol? Some of England’s grandest and most beautiful stately homes were built on the profits of slavery; are they next on the hit-list? So many triggering and problematic publications line the shelves of the nation’s libraries; surely they should be gathered together in a public space and set alight? Now, that would be an anti-fascist gesture!
Name one prominent figure from the past who couldn’t be considered ‘problematic’ if placed in the narrow context of judging everyone and everything through the prism of contemporary discourse; chances are it can’t be done. Indeed, the fast-moving nature of who is and who isn’t acceptable means even characters elevated to icon status this century can be raised and felled in the blink of an eye. Had a statue of Aung San Suu Kyi been erected at the height of her deification, no doubt it would’ve already been pulled down by now – such was the speed of her seamless transition from heroine to villainess. Defacing and vandalising monuments to Churchill or Lincoln is one thing; but when white rich-kids with daddy issues up their game unchallenged, the stakes change considerably. Of course, the shameless applause of the left’s pseudo-intellectuals is no surprise; the far-left foot-soldiers do the dirty work so they can sit back and vicariously celebrate from the comfort of their gated communities. They can wear the slogan of the moment on a T-shirt and write a column about events as they toast the revolution – just like they did with Uncle Joe and Chairman Mao.
The aim of the far-left, of course, is to ‘smash the system’ and sod the rest of us who are just trying to get on with each other; by being able to engage in criminal damage uninterrupted, the provocation aimed at the far-right is blatant. The far-left wants to convince us the far-right is the threat rather than a bunch of hairy-palmed bedroom saddoes playing at being Nazis online; they want to draw them out of their mothers’ houses to engage in the ‘race war’ they so desperately crave to vindicate their narrative. Reinforcing divisions is a hallmark of this regressive movement; and telling one side they are in a perpetual state of oppression whilst telling the other their whiteness is an original sin that must be cleansed is already in danger of becoming perceived wisdom. But naively imagining the mob won’t eventually come for you just because its actions so far chime with your worldview is to play with the proverbial fire; it’s like stroking a tiger and believing it won’t take your hand off because you make a monthly donation to cat charities. Reaping and sowing, eh?
© The Editor