Two years ago this week I wrote a piece for Coffee House entitled ‘Corbyn may be a goner but his ideology is as strong as ever’. The thrust of my argument was that gloating over the demise of Magic Grandpa and his Momentum mob was premature, and what we call woke culture was ‘no passing middle-class fad that will blow over in a year or two.’
Blow over, it didn’t. On the contrary a cultural storm swept in across the Atlantic that upturned ideals and, quite literally, toppled statues.
There was far more to last week’s by-election shock in North Shropshire than sleaze and Ms Stratton; it was a cri de coeur from conservatives who feel betrayed, who believed the landslide victory of 2019 was the start of the fightback against the world view that has dominated Britain since New Labour came to power in 1997.
Instead they have watched in horrified bemusement at Boris Johnson’s administration. Who in North Shropshire would have imagined in December 2019 that 18 months later their leader would refuse to say that only a woman has a cervix? The old Boris would have roared with laughter at such an absurd question; the new Boris dodged it and mumbled some inanity about treating people with dignity and respect.
In 2019 I mentioned a former KGB defector, Yuri Bezmenov. In an American television interview in 1984 he explained how for many years the KGB had waged a war of ‘ideological subversion’ against the USA exploiting the self-loathing of the counter-culture generation. The long-term objective, he explained, was ‘to change the perception of reality of Americans to such an extent no one is able to come to sensible conclusions in the interests of defending themselves, their family, their community and country’.
Mission accomplished. America is now an ideological basket case, and Britain isn’t far behind. The evidence is everywhere: vicars gluing themselves to motorways, a police officer chanting pro-Palestine slogans, a university professor hounded from her workplace for stating that people cannot change their biological sex, the head of the UK Border Force belittling borders ‘as a pain in the… arse’, the chief of the defence staff prioritising diversity above efficiency, a best-selling author ostracised because she believes only women can menstruate, and, most disturbing of all, an entire political class that blamed the diabolical murder of one of their own on social media instead of Islamic extremism.
In the last two years Britain’s ideological subversion has seen institutions from the Ministry of Defence to the Royal Opera House to the National Trust to the Imperial War Museum submit to this spurious dogma that puts progressivism before patriotism.
Those who don’t yield are targeted. The East German communist party had a name for this strategy: Zersetzung, literally ‘decomposition’, whereby ideological dissidents accused of ‘subversive incitement’ were publicly discredited. Today we call it being ‘cancelled’.
I ended my article in 2019 with a warning: that those in Britain crowing over the ignominious defeat of Corbyn at the ballot box were naive. Corbyn may have been vanquished but his ideology ‘will continue to grow until the Conservatives take back control of Britain’s education’.
Alas, in the last two years the left’s grip on education has further tightened. This year alone has seen schools drop houses named after Churchill, Nelson and Drake and rename them in honour of people who aren’t even British, such as Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg. Johnson’s Alma mater, Eton, hasn’t escaped the ideological cleansing with an English teacher sacked for challenging the idea of toxic masculinity.
And what has been the response of Johnson to this concerted attack on Britain’s heritage? A half-hearted defence of Winston Churchill, via twitter, and an undergraduate gag about Insulate Britain. He may laugh them off as ‘irresponsible crusties’ but the family of the woman who suffered a paralysing stroke because Insulate Britain blockaded motorways probably don’t see the funny side.
Johnson appears to have no stomach for this culture war fight, unlike his nemesis, Emmanuel Macron, who has ridiculed the radical progressives and made it clear that there will be no revision of French history.
Lord Frost resigned at the weekend because he could no longer tolerate the government’s ‘direction of travel’. The people of North Shropshire share that sentiment. So do millions of other Britons, a great many of whom ‘loaned’ Johnson their vote in 2019 because they recognised that Corbyn did not have Britain’s best interests at heart and so rejected him.
Boris’s political career will go the same way as the former Labour leader’s if he doesn’t ditch this world view and begin to do what’s best for Britain. He could start by revisiting the cervix question. Surely a man who has fathered seven children should know the answer.
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