Columns

When did we give up on the truth?

6 August 2022

9:00 AM

6 August 2022

9:00 AM

During that rather strange summer of 2020 I used the phrase ‘the gentle armed robber George Floyd’ in several articles for various publications, but the phrase was often taken out. I had thought it a mild corrective to the seeming beatification of a man who, while having been wrongly killed, was not, to my mind, quite worthy of the retrospective adoration being poured upon him. Nope, there would be no corrective – not about George. Indeed in that summer of lockdowns, hand sanitiser and existential angst it was pretty much impossible to challenge the programme of Black Lives Matter, full stop. Hence it was swallowed whole by the establishment and we saw coppers going down on one knee, TV pundits (and footballers) pressured to wear BLM badges or insignia, the police watching in admiration as statues were toppled and so on.

This all happened under the shroud of Covid, of course: the public did not get a say. We heard a little of what they felt when small numbers of fans were later allowed into football grounds and booed, resoundingly, when the players dropped to one knee. My take on it was that BLM’s claims in this country (but also largely in the USA) were demonstrably false. There was – as Tony Sewell’s report for the government later confirmed – no institutional or structural racism in our society, aside from the racism inherent in supposedly positive discrimination. There were still, of course, some racists knocking around, but our society was not riven with racism.


In other words the BLM programme was based upon a series of untruths. But it was not really possible to say that then and instead, unchallenged, all of our institutions began ‘decolonising’ themselves and – as a bizarre and unforeseen development – within a year almost it seems everybody in a TV advert was of mixed race or black provenance. All based on a series of falsehoods which in the mainstream media it was almost impossible to challenge. Only much later was there a little push-back against this programme (which has, I suspect, greatly worsened race relations in this country, as it has in the USA). Too late, I suspect. The colleges are already searching for a system of musical notation which wasn’t dreamt up by whitey and making maths a more, uh, ‘intuitive’ discipline. That is what happens when debate is closed down and institutions become terrified.

The effects of the BLM propaganda are comparatively minor. We lose a few statues and 300 years of history, black and white relations worsen and hideous phrases like ‘check your white privilege’ and ‘silence is violence’ get bandied around. But it is nothing compared with what happens when white liberals cleave to other arrant falsehoods and close down debate around them. This happened, strikingly, in Rotherham, Telford, Blackburn, Oxford and many other British towns and cities, especially in the north-west of England, when young white girls were subjected to rape and sexual assaults at the hands of primarily South Asian men (largely from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh). As we now know, this went on for more than a decade without social services, the police, politicians or the media daring to touch the issue with a bargepole, so frightened were they of appearing racist. In this case the falsehood surrounded the concept of multiculturalism (rather than multiracialism, to which we can surely have no objection). It was ill-advised to poke around in the affairs of a tightly knit and in some cases often somewhat fractious minority of our population: it was not for social services or the police to intervene. Those abused girls came fully to understand who predated upon them: for the rest of us, we kept shtum, because we knew the sort of howl-round that would be occasioned if we raised one or two questions.

And now we have the Tavistock Clinic, which has at last been closed down. I am very happy about this and will be all the more happy when the writs come pouring in, which they surely will. This is a case of our institutions – in this case the NHS, under a Conservative government – becoming deranged in their attempts to abide by a series of falsehoods which, I suspect, they know well to be a series of falsehoods, but cleave to nonetheless. That falsehood is that there is a scant relationship between sex and gender and that as a consequence many, many young people are trapped in a body which is somehow not really theirs and lastly, crucially, that once the Frankensteinian medical practitioners have gone about their grisly work, a man who transitions into a woman actually is a woman (and vice versa).

These patent, clear, transparent lies – which deny science and as Lionel Shriver points out in her column, reality – have been swallowed whole once again. They are taught to our children, via Stonewall’s propaganda. They are given expression by at least one of the politicians who attempted to become leader of the Conservative party. Corporations spout the same idiocies through their social media sites. Once again, to challenge this new absurdist orthodoxy is to get oneself into very bad trouble indeed – to the extent of being hounded out of your job, in the case of the academic Kathleen Stock, or finding, bizarrely, that you are being excluded and written out of the works which made you famous in the first place, in the case of J.K. Rowling. I am glad that the Tavistock has been closed, at last. But the clinic is only a symptom – and the horrors which took place there were facilitated by the real disease – of the lies we are still required to uphold. Whenever I write about a man who has transitioned, I always use the pronoun ‘he’ – and some publications I’m writing for change it to ‘she’.

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