Side Swept Fringe


There was a boy at school. Without question he was a bully. Each house lunch he’d drown out the other boys in our house year group of thirteen. He’d try and belittle us. He was bigger than us. He had an elder brother a few years older who was a prefect. He’d sneak on us and make sure our fun was constrained.

So we clubbed together and came up with a few strategies to counter this thug. First, as he was thick, we’d converse using long and complicated words. This drove him mad but still he bullied us. Then – to avoid conversation – we’d take books into meals and hope that this shut him up yet still he pestered us. Finally we ignored him altogether, refusing to pass him the sugar or milk or salt and when he spoke, we spoke over him. This strategy was successful although it took some courage. Finally at one meal he began to cry, proving the old maxim that every bully hides a coward. So we told him bluntly why we were behaving as we were and how he had to change. He joined in with the year group after that and became a friend of some of the boys.

These days it is amazing how we let the one in thirteen still bully us when that is all they are – the one in thirteen, if that.

Take the London cyclists with their troll armies and road blocks. Cyclists make up only 2% of the travelling public in London yet are attempting to control and dominate transport policy within the capital. Look at the negative economic impact this is having on so many London businesses. Some would go so far as to call their strategies discriminatory and unlawful.

Take the trans lobby. Stonewall’s estimate at the moment is that less than 1 percent of the UK population might identify as trans, including people who identify as non-binary. That seems like an overestimate. ‘Transphobia’ is considered a no-go area despite the blatantly corrosive impacts of transgender ideologies. Why are they so loud and prominent – feared by some for their cancel culture and blackmailing of businesses and institutions with their coercive ‘diversity’ tactics?

Take the fringe Scottish nationalists. Just 2.43% of the UK population and declining of late. The SNP has forty-odd MPs from 1,242,380 votes yet UKIP had only one MP, Douglas Carswell, despite winning nearly four million votes and 12% of the national vote in 2015. Why do we see so much of the fish war – Sturgeon and Salmond – on our TV screens and in the newspapers? According to Pink News a disturbing 11% of the British population – over four times those who support Scottish nationalism – think bestiality should be legalised but where are the pig pestering and pony passion debates?

Take the Muslims. Meet Muslims across the UK and very few indeed have any time for Hizb ut Tahrir, Al Muhajiroun or other loopy Islamist groups like IS or the MCB. Yet who do we hear from on the most regular basis? Who can muzzle the unrepresentative and medieval loudmouths from that community? It would benefit all British Muslims if these homophobic and misogynistic Islamists were quietened – they are the not-even-one-percent of 2.6 million.

And take the vegans. In 2019, according to a poll commissioned by The Vegan Society, there were just 600,000 vegans – 0.923 percent of the UK population. You’d think veganism was the norm given the recent comments from Blue Peter, Lewis Hamilton and even a steak-chomping Conservative minister. In reality veganism is as fringe a participation as dressing up as a furrie – a form of eating often promoted by loudmouthed crusties whose dumb recipe for handling environmental problems is to revert to a Flintstone existence marked by woodland nymphs, out-of-control pubic hair and infrequent baths.

I could continue with other examples of loudmouthed minority activism. It is easy to forget that the fringe tends to be fringe for good reason.

Let us put these people into perspective, against the backcloth of reality – rather than via the current broken prism which rewards loudness of campaigning.

“You are just one in thirteen!”

My point is that we don’t have to be dictated to by these bullying minorities. Nor do we have to roll over or feel embarrassed when we are threatened by political correctness or other restricting straitjackets. As the Covid prison opens its exits, let us remind ourselves that we are free. And as free men and women we are at liberty to tell these fringe players to shut up, or to ignore them. Until their bullies get into line, we should block them out until we see their tears – until their inner coward is exposed. Maybe then they will join the majority of Brits – as more empathetic creatures who prize fellow human beings at least on a par with their causes and beliefs rather than rudely dismissing the majority as somehow blind and uneducated, as barbarians or unbelievers.  

Dominic Wightman is the Editor of Country Squire Magazine.