Uppity

BY FRANK HAVILAND

I’m not a gynaecologist, but I know an uppity countess when I see one. I’m also shrewd enough to realise when the Twitter feeds of Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Owen Jones and Afua Hirsch look a little anaemic, it’s a sure sign we haven’t hit our “racism” targets for the week. With pretty much everything racist by default these days, it must be hard to come up with new material. Fortunately Eamonn Holmes (daytime TV’s answer to Adolf Hitler) was available to step into the breach.

Even so, they had to dredge up an episode from July where Holmes singlehandedly jammed the Ofcom switchboard (one complaint in total). Speaking to Canadian journalist Lainey Lui on ITV’s This Morning, Holmes observed that Meghan Markle was ‘uppity’:

If you have an uppity attitude, you’re only through the door two minutes, and suddenly you’re sitting at Wimbledon, and your royal protection people are saying “no photographs”, you do know. If that was somebody in Canada, you would be writing [that] they’re right up their own backside.

The anonymous complainant was reportedly irate at use of the term, claiming it has historical racist undertones in the US – though I can find no reference to this in the several dictionaries I have to hand. Besides which, what pejorative term could be entirely free from negative connotations?

Uppity does not deserve the bad press it is getting. Furthermore, Holmes would not have got away with calling Meghan ‘arrogant’ or ‘snobbish’; he’d merely have been accused of using the synonyms as code. It seems far more likely that objection to the term stems from a desire to deflect legitimate criticism, as was the case with the Obamas. And speaking as someone who still derives his moral compass from the Mr Men books, if Mr Uppity is good enough to share a bookshelf with Messrs Tickle, Chatterbox and Topsy-Turvy, he’s good enough for me.

In terms of Markle herself, it strikes me that ‘uppity’ is about the best thing you can say about her. Unlike Princess Diana who had the grace to fit in and endear herself to the nation, Markle has done her utmost to put royal noses out of joint from the get-go.

She routinely breaks protocol; holds the nation to ransom over property renovations yet refuses photographs; lectures us plebs on carbon emissions while jet-setting across the globe; refuses to be politically neutral, and worst of all merely ‘threatens’ to emigrate. Far from an asset to Harry, she’s a serious PR error. God I miss his Nazi costume days!

Whatever your views on the monarchy, its elder statesmen have paid their dues. Markle not only refuses to serve, she appears determined to undermine the institution itself. As a woke, feminist, limousine liberal accused of anti-white bias, Meghan could be Jeremy Corbyn if she ditched the Gucci dress and stylist.

The identity-politics obsessed left has become a parody of itself. Painting a royal, privately-educated multi-millionairess as a victim because she’s half-black, ought to be a stretch even for them. The real issue here however is not immunity from criticism according to victim status, but the left’s blatant assault on language; and by extension, meaning itself. Words discriminate, that is their purpose. Increasingly, our lexicon is being denuded for sinister purposes.

Boris Johnson is not allowed to use the word ‘letterboxes’, while David Cameron is on a ‘swarm’-free diet. Anthony Horowitz is dissuaded from expressing concern that Idris Elba is too ‘street’ to play Bond, while JK Rowling is advised not to create ‘exotic Asian’ characters. Michael Gove is forbidden from quoting Stormzy’s lyrics to Stormzy, and primary school children in New Jersey are automatically accepted into the Ku Klux Klan, after daring to call brownies ‘brownies’.

Whatever you say, the left wilfully interpret you as discriminatory. Refer to someone non-white, you’re racist; someone non-male, you’re sexist; someone foreign, you’re xenophobic. It’s a cheap shot to avoid legitimate criticism, and they are masters of it.

If the left get their way (and they are), we will soon be in the position where only state-mandated opinions are valid, and you will need a supercomputer to calculate the ramifications of who’s allowed to say what to whom. Had Eamonn Holmes or David Lammy called Kate Middleton uppity, there would have been no story. But because Markle has a black mother we are discussing this nonsense; we need to stop.

One pathetic complaint was all it took to make headline news, force Holmes to be ‘spoken to’, and extort an apology from ITV. That is farcical. The fact that ITV have denied banning the word uppity outright (strongly suggesting they have) is frightening:

It is incorrect to state that there is an ITV ban on the word uppity. There is no such ban on the word “uppity” per se, rather care will be taken regarding the context of its use.

I charge every citizen to now recall this beautiful, browbeaten word back into their everyday speech. Were I Boris Johnson, I would also petition the Queen to alter Meghan’s official title. I always assumed her majesty would have a codename for Markle – might one suggest ‘Little Miss Uppity’?