Photo by Andy Andrews
Artillery Row

The idol of the age

The right should grasp the nettle of equality

If Britain has a national mission, it is to flatten and reduce itself. Over decades, Britain has guaranteed to all comers that they can enjoy equal rights and even equal outcomes. The words “inclusion” and “equality” are the touchstones for all that is good in our society. We don’t care for valour or excellence anymore — these things are troublesome relics of a bygone age. Today, value is measured only against the will to tolerate and include.

Objectives around equality, diversity and tolerance are now amongst the chief motivators driving every organ of the state. Assertions about the human species and the social world which underpinned Stalinist regimes have become plain facts of our reality. Whether it is the RAF compromising its battlefield capability to discriminate against white men, or the NHS holding maternity classes for “pregnant people”, our institutions are in lockstep as they march toward an end of total and unrelenting sameness.

Our political class surrendered in the face of this long march some time ago. They allowed what Elon Musk would term the mind virus to at first incubate within and then capture the culture. No part of our society can credibly claim to be clean of it — it is now endemic. The coining of the phrase “mind virus” was a helpful one, because until it was minted we did not have the grammar to describe the change happening around us. Words like “woke” and “politically correct” lacked the acidity to describe the virulence of reducing, socially and politically, the native founders of the country to a thing to be moved out of the way, in favour of every other group.

Take for example the Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Police, Sarah Crew, who recently declared her force was institutionally racist, then added it was probably homophobic, anti-disabled and misogynist, too. She made the statement whilst relying on a report by Desmond Brown, now chairman of the force’s scrutiny and oversight board.

Conservatives are slaves to law and order, but the law is left-wing

His 65-page report mentioned equality 59 times. It described the desecration of Bristol’s Colston statue not as a crime but as a protest that “sparked a new wave of resistance towards colonialism, its history and legacy worldwide”. It approvingly quoted Doreen Lawrence in her assertion that the disproportionate impact of Covid on black people was due to “inequality and discrimination” — as opposed to vitamin D deficiency and massively higher rates of obesity than is found amongst other groups. Brown’s report described the disproportionate impact of Stop and Search on the black community as “disturbing”, without acknowledging that black men are disproportionately likely to be carrying and using weapons.

The report — which more closely resembles alchemy than scientific inquiry — made 83 recommendations to Avon and Somerset, of which several are being implemented. Its central thesis won a total endorsement from the Chief Constable who said the force must “accept it and say sorry”.

The policing area is served by a Conservative party Police and Crime Commissioner. PCC Mark Shelby is a retired army officer of 32 years’ experience, who boasted to voters he would be a cheerleader for the police and adopt a “no-nonsense” approach. On the news of the mad ramblings of Ms Crew and Mr Brown reaching the commissioner, he folded like a cheap tent. Shelby responded: “I fully support the Chief Constable’s acknowledgement of Institutional Racism and continue to have full confidence in her leadership.”

Whilst it is clear the instincts of Ms Crew have been abused, Mr Shelby, I am sure, is quite aware that this report and the recommendations therein are unreconstructed bullshit.

My diagnosis is that he is not a victim of the mind virus. Instead, as with the right at large, Shelby is at a loss for how best to respond to it. For decades, as the egalitarians stepped forward, conservatives pulled back. That incremental withdrawal has since spiralled into an all-out rout — and they lack the courage or the capacity to turn on their heels and fight. The so-called conservatives cannot even understand what has happened to the country, let alone begin to articulate why they disagree with it.

This state of affairs appears confusing. The Conservative party won its fourth consecutive election victory just a few short years ago, by a landslide no less. Yet our culture is more egalitarian, politically correct and self-hating than at any time during the Blair or Brown years — a period when hippy G8 protestors could be given a summary hiding without much fuss. To be confused is to lose sight of the fact that power has been syphoned out of these halls of power and into the palm of the hidden hand of NGOs, lobby groups and pathological activists.

Just five years ago the idea that the RAF would discriminate against white men would have been the stuff of an Armstrong and Miller sketch, designed to prod the sort of boomer who thinks health and safety has gone mad. Now, it is reality, and there is nothing funny about it.

They could not have won such a crushing victory without the collaboration of our leaders. Politicians and judges enshrined radical values in the law, in the Communications Act, the Equality Act and even in the statement of British values that prizes tolerance above all. The impact is to impress a soft mandate on every person and group to supplicate themselves beneath this moral code. After all, how could a patriotic conservative argue against the fundamental British value of tolerance? They must tolerate drag queens in schools, Stop Oil protesters and illegal migrants.. This is what being British is all about now — definitionally.

The codification of the mind virus in the law results in a subconscious internalisation of radical precepts. We then unwittingly reproduce them simply by abiding the legal and social framework that reigns over our thoughts and speech. Conservatives are slaves to law and order, but the law is left-wing.

The question of whether equality is desirable must be asked

On the rare occasion a conservative stands up to this or that precept of the ruling ideology, their deference to cheap and easy tactics, trying to out-left the left, only serves to empower the ideas they are attempting to oppose. Out of naked self-interest, arguments are mounted through the prism of the dominant value system, from the safe redoubt of whataboutism and via accusations of woke hypocrisy. A typical TV debate sees conservatives claiming to be “real feminists” when debating gender, or arguing against immigration not because it undermines the foundation of our world but because it creates a brain drain abroad.

At their core, conservatives believe in inequality, which is the inevitable outcome of free will and human genetic variation. Otherwise, the role of Monarch ought to be put out to tender, hereditary peers should be selected by lot and inheritance tax be set at 100 per cent. Conservatives wouldn’t support these policies, but they don’t know, or can’t explain, why.

The question of whether tolerance and equality are desirable must be asked — and answered. The Olympics, to give one example, explicitly rejects equality, compassion and tolerance in place of excellence, heroism and hard work. In this event, the limits of human physical accomplishment are advanced. For this reason, the Olympics could not be invented today.

Inequality is speed, vitality and momentum. It is conflict and discovery, momentum and advancement. Its opposite, equality, is stagnation, the void, death — the ultimate end of total and uncompromising egalitarianism. When Britain ruled the waves, when it was the workshop of the world, when it was worthy of being called “great”, when it was vital, it was unafraid of being unequal. All the advancements that could yet be made will be ventures led by an unapologetic elite who will show the way. We will not map the stars with the spirit of equality in our hearts.

The time remaining for the right to run on its heels is fleeting. They should say, without equivocation, that they are intolerant: of the sexualisation of children by LGBT groups and others, of mass migration, of illegal immigration, of crime and of protestors who blockade roads and desecrate art. If equality means the people who built the country being dragged down in the name of equal outcomes, they must come out in favour of inequality. Then they must understand that these words are weapons in the hands of their ideological opponents. If the power of such people extended further, they would still preside over a society that would be radically intolerant of everything that remains good about Britain.

Wrangling over representation is the disposition of decline. As great powers pass us by on our way down the league table, we measure British success by the wages of female footballers and the number of lesbians in parliament. If things can be turned around, it will be by re-aiming the national focus on excellence, by being unapologetic in the pursuit of victory and by making virtues of heroism and pioneering once again. It will be by being brave enough to tell the truth.

Enjoying The Critic online? It's even better in print

Try five issues of Britain’s newest magazine for £10

Critic magazine cover