BY JAMES BEMBRIDGE
It would take either a fool or a fascist to witness the growing casualties of cancel culture and still deny its existence. But as I will go on to describe, there are deniers out there quite capable of displaying both these disorders in equal measure. Then there are those who recognise it but will nonetheless tacitly agree that the censored ‘had it coming’ lest the inquisitors then come for them. If you think this sort of cowardice is in any way a benevolent condition of our society then I ask you to think back to 2015 when it took its most pernicious form in the passivity of many commentators towards the Hebdo massacre: ‘well, the cartoon was offensive’.
If, like me, you have an interest in truth and an inveterate disgust towards cowardice, then I recommend pointing these cancel culture deniers in the direction of a video now doing the rounds on social media. Having sniffed a man out to be a free speech advocate, members of the Socialist Workers Party naturally take him to be a fascist. His only crime is holding a sign that reads ‘the right to openly discuss ideas must be defended’, but he soon finds himself mobbed by the malodorous Marxists and charges such as ‘dirty little fascist’ are hissed his way through foam-flecked lips. These denouncements then take on a melodramatic quality through backing heckles of ‘shame, shame, shame’. Any attempts made by the mild-mannered fellow to discuss their differences are swiftly shot down with arguments as reasoned as: ‘I don’t care what you have to say, fascist!’ The vagrants then go in for the kill, tearing the heresy from his hands and tugging his small-boned body in every direction, all the while observed by two placid police officers. This ends with a chanting benediction of ‘Nazi scum off our streets, Nazi scum off our streets’ – the irony of calling a Jewish man a Nazi whilst simultaneously trying to close his art exhibition is clearly lost on these halitotic souls.
That video is now three years old but given the recent letter signed by 150 left-wing intellectuals against the scourge of cancel culture, you’ll appreciate its renewed interest. Perhaps the most amusing attempt at cancel culture denialism came from trans activist Parker Molloy who took to Twitter to assert that none of the 150 writers (Salman Rushdie being one) have ever faced cancellation. Well, it may not have been a successful attempt, but I’d say Iran gave a pretty good go of it when they offered $6 million to cancel Rushdie in the most terminal of terms.
It’s no surprise that one of the biggest cancel culture deniers also happens to be one of its biggest proponents, the half-pint turncoat Owen Jones. I say turncoat as he will reliably change allegiances between left-wing figures based not on merit but political mileage. If we were to be charitable to the near-forty going on fourteen Labour activist, then we may say it is only due to all his attempts at cancel culture having so spectacularly failed that he doesn’t believe in its existence. But after the Corbyn saga and the shameless attempts to defend the bigotry and despot reverence that went with it, I personally don’t have much charity for the boy. After claiming cancel culture didn’t exist, evidence then emerged of Jones calling for Oxford University to fire a member of staff which in turn prompted Andrew Neil to speak of the many (failed) attempts by Jones to get him fired.
If only all cancellers would fail at their craft in this way, but there have been enough successful cases to recognise cancel culture as an effective tool to purge one’s political enemies from polite society. The process often starts with a few Twitter accounts shouting about some perceived unorthodoxy which the activist-ridden media will then reliably turn into a roar. It seems the BBC’s output is now made with the sole intention to subvert British society. Who can forget the BBC clip featuring a coven of lesbianic looking middle class women pontificating on white privilege and concluding that white women should just ‘move out of the way’ – if only they would set the example. This segment ends with them parroting what has become the refrain amongst fools and fascists everywhere: ‘educate yourself’. When uttering this, you may notice that some postmodernists will be blunt enough to attach the stipulation ‘re’. Sorry, if I want to re-educate myself then it won’t be via the demented scribblings of race theorists or whatever pseudo-science it is these fringe cranks are pushing.
For those wise enough to shun both Twitter and the licence fee, here are some other recent BBC beauties that may have passed you by: a transvestite teaching children via BBC Bitesize, an article speaking of the surprising ‘progressiveness’ of Islamic slavery, and comedians mocking the concept of free speech. Thankfully, the Conservative Party are not without mercy and it would appear that the BBC’s death wish has been granted as the non-payment of its licence fee is rumoured to soon be decriminalised.
I wonder if what the oikophobic left most hate about Britain is our tradition of fair play. Having not won by honest means in over 15 years, cancel culture is the only weapon they have left. They are desperate. Perhaps what angers me more than the out-and-out enemies of our state are the bereft moderates who will solemnly crow ‘didn’t the Left used to believe in free speech?’. No, and whatever gave you that idea? Look to any state soused in socialism, past or present, and you can’t help but notice the privation of free and fair debate.
Despite most intellectuals being of the left persuasion, much left-wing activism now takes the form of a rat race to ignorance. It’s remarkable how many of the ‘educate yourself’ crowd are keen to rid us of the tools necessary to do so: book burning, statue toppling and judging films retrospectively are now all mainstream tenets amongst the British Left.
This rot has even set into academic subjects previously thought impervious to such left wing perversions with alarming reports from America of students being taught that Western mathematics is in some way racist. Pair that with the new fashion of ‘right on’ teachers dismissing literary giants such as Shakespeare and Dickens as mere dead white men –presumably meaning they are of no relevance to modern times – and conservatives can no longer dismiss the culture wars as something confined to Dave Rubin’s garage. Make no mistake, cancel culture will only end once it has cancelled our own.
James Bembridge is Deputy Editor of Country Squire Magazine.