In the 2017 UK General Election Jeremy Corbyn came, if not a whisker, then a badly-cropped beard from becoming Prime Minister. On the eve of his second attempt in 2019, I published a book reflecting on what the end result might be like.
I called it Land of the Superwoke. It is a tale of a future Britain run by a Labour Party that has regenerated its roots from the bad old days of the 1970s, when Britain was the “sick man of Europe.” Society’s money-makers and taxpayers are drained dry, the unions are unfettered and running rampant, and the economy has been trashed. The shocking old list of workforce restrictive practices has been reassembled in full. Meanwhile, bands of Hard Left fellow-travellers in the ‘Army of Woke’ have been let loose, disrupting and debasing and dismantling any institution or organisation or even way of thinking that gets in its way.
There is plenty of room for comedy in such an audit. Indeed, the only way to remain sane while contemplating it is to laugh, just as Moscow’s citizens (discreetly) did whenever they saw a Zil speed by. That is why I invented the Merthyr Tydfil Annual Happening, put on by the Kim Philby Peace Foundation; the Museum of Postdoctrinal Art with its intellectually safe but rather insipid paintings; a passing mention of the latest gender-fluid James Bond movie; and up at Hadrian’s Wall the new museum that distinguishes between good walls (East Germany) that keep people in and bad ones (Mexico) that keep people out.
Shortly after it came out, the 2019 general election was called. Corbyn lost, and, so it seemed, that was that.
However, while cultural revolutionaries and Marxist economists march side by side, like insurgent cells their efforts can also advance independently. So, it has proven of late. The anti-Conservative, indeed, now openly anti-liberal, revisionist socio-historical narrative is running rampant.
Consequently, I’ve had to put out a second edition of the book now on ebay. Alarmingly though, I’ve had to change remarkably little. The cull on statues was already in there. So too was the cult of colonial guilt, the stereotypical anti-Americanism, and the mission to decontextualise the past. I had previously included a few gingerly-crafted pages that anticipate the vicious infighting of the ‘plus’ in LGBT+, now tellingly exemplified in the pile-on of J. K. Rowling. As for JezzSpeak, a while back I uncovered a handbook called Gender Neutral Language In The European Parliament requiring staff to stop talking about “manpower”, “man-made”, “statesmen”, “stewardesses” or “headmasters”, so language policing was already included in some detail. No need either as it happened to redraft the idea of the state throwing free money around.
A few years ago, there was a controversy when an historian looked at the history of the Channel Islands, claiming it revealed the UK would have behaved no better than continental counterparts had it too been occupied during the Second World War. It seems we are now being gifted with the realisation of how our own pretended intellectuals and marching youth would have responded to the Cultural Revolution, had they been dropped in the middle of it.
The Left has its heroes. You can see them on T shirts you can buy in good capitalist shops. It’s why the Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany put up a statue to Lenin in Gelsenkirchen just a couple of weeks ago. Not content with these, it also needs to destroy everyone else’s. Smash the system first and find the cement at a later date. Unless it’s been nationalised.
The proponents of Cultural Marxism have had a more successful war than its economists. How so? The Church and its adherents have been weakened by aggressive anti-theologians, masked by human rights claims for nihilistic egalitarianism. Swathes of academia were subsumed by the growth of inherently radical fields, especially those including the word “Studies” in them. Established change campaigns, in particular the gay rights movement, have suffered traditional Marxist-Leninist entryism by small groups commandeering linguistics to parse their own world view. Merely to question is to risk being named a non-person in this glorious world post Year Zero, especially from within the ranks supposedly so represented.
These agents of change have their allies too. Like Health and Safety before it, we can witness an Industry of Woke emerging. Training to become Politically Correct needs trainers. Monitoring of Woke Speech needs monitors. There is money to be made in quotas.
And then there are the useful idiots. Not those individuals who spot an issue of genuine concern well before the bandwagon came up; but those who jumped in the clown cars to chase after it and then failed to park up. There has been more virtue signalling going on of late than the family trying to turn off the roundabout in National Lampoon’s European Vacation.
The BBC’s going rate for “diverse and inclusive content” we now learn is an additional £100 million, announced even as it was cutting staff and programmes elsewhere. I seem to recall the Corporation lobbied against EU quotas when it involved geographically European production figures on the basis that it was restrictive, proscriptive, and damaging to creativity.
Or take Google, whose staff have reportedly been at the front of the class in politically correct language instruction. We are now at the stage where Google Doodle (the search engine’s ‘graphic of the day’) has recently picked a Marxist Leninist cover girl to the Squatter’s Handbook (quite literally), who visited China in 1977 and in the words of a biographer “seemed impressed with what China had accomplished, which was due, in her view, to the role of the people in nation building”. That was a year after the Cultural Revolution. Given the choice, perhaps there is still some critic squirreled away in Google who has a sense of sharp mischief and dark irony.
Such tides in democratic societies eventually reach their high-water mark of absurdity. Then the waters tend to recede, leaving the intellectual pond life of political correctness beached and floundering.
Conservatives everywhere across the world will need to step into the muddled and muddied morass the charlatans of the Woke Left will soon leave behind. Because the next wave, packed with Marxist eco-loons and enviro-reality surfers, is already on its way.