There was a time when the British were known for their stoicism, their ability to battle through hardship, no matter the odds. The so called ‘blitz spirit’ of eighty years ago, that saw the nation ‘pull together and carry on’, regardless of the Nazi bombardment of our cities, characterised a generation that had suffered two world wars yet could not be bowed.
During the Covid pandemic, however, this ‘blitz spirit’ has been noticeably absent. There has been certainly very little in the way of a nation pulling together; in its place, there has been just a lot of bickering, mud-slinging and name calling-among politicians, activists, and the increasingly fragmented populace.
Predictably, Covid-19 was quickly turned into a divisive political issue by many in the oppositional media. The assertion now — that anyone against face coverings, vaccines, or testing is assumed to be on the extreme right, while those obeying the safety rules, are on the left — is as simplistic as it is loopy. One might have imagined that a deadly pandemic would act as a great uniter, finally bringing an end to the squabbling that has characterised UK (and US) politics for the last few years. Instead, we have been baked in identity politicking, making an already turbulent time more turbulent than ever.
Some malcontents have taken their vitriol to new levels of malice, publicly hoping, for instance, that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson would not recover from the coronavirus. No pulling together there. No blitz spirit. No compassion. Just bitterness, feuding and ever-deepening separation.
The fertile, if airy, ‘soil’ of cyberspace has become the perfect breeding ground for radicals of every stripe to spread their doctrines of division amongst the young, politically ripe millennials during lockdown. Pitching everyone against everyone — left against right, young against old, black against white, women against men, trans (seemingly) against everyone — appears to be the aim. All of that successfully seems to be driving a wedge of seething resentment between communities.
It has become an almost daily occurrence to find news stories of parents being ‘called out’ by their newly politicised children for expressing on social media ‘wrong’, ‘unwoke’ views, or of people being fired for something they may or may not have said years ago. Anyone who openly dares to emphasise the ‘Great’ in ‘Great Britain’ is simply asking to be labelled a ‘racist’. For those naïve enough to believe in basic biology — that the anatomy of women and men are different – the gulag awaits you. If you dare to utter the unthinkable, that ‘all lives matter’, prepare to leave town.
Many agitators — unconcerned by either civility or tolerance — continue perpetuating the notion, developed by precocious two-year-olds, that if you shout for long enough, your wishes might be served up. This sense of entitlement has come to characterise a group whose younger demographic seem to have no comprehension of the horrors of a war — or indeed, of many authentic hardships — in their own relatively comfortable lives. This lack of respect for, or understanding of, history, along with an apparent need to invent, import, or re-animate grievances from the past, then lead them to advocate inflicting what they decide is the appropriate revenge for a grievance on people who have had no part in causing it. Tolerance is to be expected only from others. For many ‘progressives’, there is no such thing as a two-way street. Agitators now seem to put their energy and focus into prioritising pet causes to which they feel everyone else ought to acquiesce. These might include men who have changed gender competing in female sports; defunding the police so that the most disadvantaged communities will be even further unable to protect themselves; expanding censorship in academia and Big Tech, or paying billions in taxpayer funds to other countries for promises to stop using fossil fuels at some far-off date and with no means of enforcement. Oh, and by the way, there is no debating anything. Just do what you are told.
While the Remainer-disruptors dragged out their opposition to Brexit as long as they could, seeing off two different prime ministers in the process, they may have relished their power. It was only after the Tories’ landslide victory in December 2019, that they finally let go of their dream of overturning Brexit – but not before having branded all those in favour of leaving the EU as bigoted xenophobes.
That slur is a particular slap in the face to the people of this patient nation. For decades, they have done their best to move in step with the creeping, ‘progressive’ times in which we live. The acceptance of a variety of often controversial societal changes, such as the ever encroaching desires of various sexual lobbies, ushered in under the banner of ‘human rights’, seems lost on the liberals, so intent are they on pushing their identity politics agenda. If this is how appreciation is shown for the British public’s quiet, respectful acceptance of often controversial, ‘tipping point’ changes within society, then no wonder much of the public may have decided that they have had enough of this new orthodoxy.
Although the coronavirus outbreak, with its restrictions of movement, briefly muted woke activism for a short time, it was not long before the extreme, activist milieu became restless. Until the death of George Floyd, a black American seemingly killed by a white policeman, these individuals had been busy berating figures on the right for not taking Covid-19 seriously enough. Suddenly, none of that mattered anymore. A frenzy of orchestrated Black Lives Matter protests erupted across Britain, despite the incident bearing absolutely no similarity to anything happening on Britain’s streets, and despite the relative anonymity of the BLM movement in Britain until that point.
Many in the media, nevertheless, made sure that the message was loud and clear: protesting against perceived racism — even if on another continent — was more important than any pandemic.
Thus, after months of being told we would be prosecuted for breaching the Covid rules, we then had to observe on television thousands of protestors, not just flouting the safety rules, but tearing down historical monuments — all off the back of a grievance that felt largely imported.
Even as the protests turned violent, no one was arrested. Up until this point, the government had made clear that any breach of lockdown rules would be met by the full force of the law — no caveats, no exceptions. Probably no one was happy about it, but still we complied — for the greater good.
Then, all of a sudden, chaos was erupting in towns and cities across the UK. There on the news, amidst the violence of civil unrest, not only were the lockdown rules being flouted, but, under the banner of Black Lives Matter, a raft of widespread anti-social behaviour was being tolerated. When the statue of Winston Churchill in Trafalgar Square was vandalised, the police, evidently held hostage to political correctness, stood by and watched as their role was publicly undermined by open disregard for the law.
The protestors’ dismissal of British heritage, a bid to ‘cancel’ history, appears a threat to the nation. We supposedly have nothing to be proud of. Our achievements have presumably been little more than the spoils of an evil, bigoted patriarchal system. These malcontents, by pledging allegiance to the Marxist architects of that narrative, not only insult the memory of those who have fought and died for the freedoms we now take for granted; they are also two-stepping towards totalitarianism.
While the rights of sexual and ethnic minorities appear to be immovably written in stone, the freedom to visit our families, the pub, or the library can be withdrawn by the state at a moment’s notice. Thousands of protestors marching through cities on the same day: no problem. Crowds flocking to the seaside on a summer day: the risk of arrest. One man’s freedom, it seems, has become another man’s cause for resentment.
So what will we be left with, as we try to reclaim our post-Covid lives in a not yet post-woke world? An increasing atmosphere of distrust and walking on eggshells. People are increasingly afraid to speak their minds. Even law enforcement is in a state of politically correct paralysis (here, here, here and here) .
While the UK was busy promoting multiculturalism and demoting choices such as Christianity, the nuclear family and a cultural heritage caringly assembled by people frequently written off as white and dead, we seem have failed to notice the societal divisions it has caused. According to reports, for example, about 19,000 of our children have been groomed and gang raped. The coronavirus pandemic, rather than bringing us together, has served to highlight divisions that are transforming the United Kingdom into something regressive, unevolved, and unrecognisable. Sadly, the United Kingdom is anything but united at this time.