I’m male, pale and trying hard not to be stale. Almost 50 this year. But I find I have more in common with a Nigerian-born young female politician on these cultural/social issues than any other who might be expected to represent my views. This article is spot on – these are not issues of right or left, but are just as important and opposing their impact can’t be left to drift. More power to Kemi as she vocalises opposition to the undermining of family, science, societal cohesion and the dangerous advance of “progressive” ideology.
1972! Great year.
The best vintage ever, ‘72 (although not for Bordeaux, apparently).
While the author correctly notes the appearance of many ‘left wing’ feminists writing for ‘right wing’ newspapers, he does miss something: woke behaviours are very, very rare in anyone who even claims to be a conservative or right of centre; in people who actually are, such behaviour is non-existent. Right/left may be less binary than before, but a schism that sees some, mostly older, leftists finding common cause with conservatives over a specific issue does not render the whole thing redundant.
I’ve given up and embraced my staleness!
Excellent comment apart from the minor point that K.Badenoch was born in the UK rather than Nigeria, although she did spend a lot of her childhood in Nigeria.
We might be able to vote a particular party out of office, but we cannot do anything about the sundry quangos and publicly funded bodies who are in the grip of this ideology.
So stop funding them. It’s the privately funded bodies that are harder to be rid of, which will require reforming the entire ‘charity/non-profit’ and ‘influencing/lobbying’ sectors. But we could do that too, if we put our minds and wills to it.
You hit it on the nail Laura! Withdraw their funding if they don’t do as they’re told.
Question is why Collage of Policing is allowed to ignore ruling of High Court?
Maybe leaders of this institution should be charged with contempt of court.
Then they would have criminal record (assuming that contempt of court is criminal offence, some lawyer or barrister could comment here).
The College needs to be abolished and replaced.
I think renaming it the Collage of Policing would more accurately reflect the utter joke that it, and UK law enforcement in general, has become.
It could be temporarily renamed The Cottage of Policing during Pride Month. To demonstrate allyship or whatever.
Well that just about made me spit out my tea.
Hopefully a stiff application of Cillit Bang will enable you to rub the stains out of the Axminster.
This is the whole “Blairite” system that some hoped Johnson would dismantle.
This argument has been made before, but it obviously needs to be repeated. The quote from Butler confirms her standing as one of the most overrrated blinkered intellectuals ever.
Thank goodness for a coherent argument about the increasingly redundant concepts of “left” and “right”. Like many people in this forum, and in others where I occasionally comment, I have attempted to point out the increasing uselessness of those concepts. However, in none of those attempts, and in none of my many recent discussions with friends about this — have I met with much success. Partly that is because I was not able to marshal the kinds of hard evidence that Andrew Doyle assembles so impressively here; partly it is because I’m not quick-minded enough; and partly it is because those who persist in using these binary concepts seem to be hard-wired to believe that left is good, and right is bad or even evil.
For at least the last ten years, I have tended to think that the issues do indeed cross traditional boundaries. Moreover, the core issues raised by his arguments about where Mrs Badenoch stands on these and other issues, raise a different kind of polarity.
Do we want authoritarian government and governmental policies that poke their noses into as many areas of civic and personal life as they can? Or do we want a government that understands the meaning of liberty, and that economic and social prosperity is best served by small government?
Mrs Badenoch clearly belongs in the latter camp. If I had a vote in the current election for PM, that’s where it would go. She probably won’t win; but she will be worth watching.
She’s not “Right”. She thinks things through. That’s rather different.
These days that does mean she’s Right, actually.
Recently, a friend pointed out that most of these issues are “fringe issues” that bring little real progress or social benefit and, as this article shows, are also “wedge issues” that divide people into camps instead of uniting them. If anyone remembers, there was a very nice campaign by Benetton in the 90’s that celebrated “the united colors of” and showcased a wide range of ethnicities to promote their products. Color was beautiful and the world would be united by it. This new wave of activists have taken their messages too far, destroying the positive goals they were meant to have. It has become a form of blackmail by a dogmatic agenda that runs everything into the ground that stands in its way. In part, everyone has been blindsided by the themes of these activists, opening the door to people like Putin, who until now have been able to invade Ukraine unimpeded. This is the first wake-up call, but will it be enough, or will it take an even worse event before the focus is turned back to the issues that really matter.
Your point is very salient; I, too, fear that all the gains of the past few decade may be undone by these so-called activists, By the way, I would love a glass of that champagne 🙂
Prefer champagne to a campaign any day and yes I do remember United Colours of Benetton …..
I definitely meant campaign not champagne but in all “ray”ality champagne is much better and it’s almost weekend. Cheers
What I remember of that campaign is that it focused people’s attention on identity politics – saying differences are beautiful, yet ultimately divisive.
“Recently, a friend pointed out that most of these issues are “fringe issues” that bring little real progress or social benefit.”
Is it true for example that there is very little benefit to be gained by following MLK”s advocacy that we should judge people not by the colour of their skin. but by the content of their character?
Then how about the continuing catastrophe of the reverse, the demented cult of the woke idea according to Sts. Robin DiAngelo and Ibrahim Kendi X that we should judge people by the colour of their skin and that all white people are born in a state of original sin by being born white. This belief is adhered to by all too many regressive lefty lunatics and has resulted in putting back race relations by a generation or more.
Or how about if you find that your daughter has been identifying as trans for the past six months or so and her teachers have been encouraging it and helping her to obtain breast binders and setting her on the path towards fully transitioning with puberty blockers and HRT.
Still think its a fringe issue?
How about if that tweet you clicked ‘like’ got picked up by one of these lethal lunatics and as a result of the Twitter s–t storm, you lost your job became a pariah with no easy chance for reemployment?
So yes, I agree, very little social benefit, but potentially the reverse, a great deal of social harm, and especially for some people more than others.
Indeed, to suppose that the “activists” of today have any connection to the protestors of the MLK generation is mistaken. We need to keep saying this.
Modern “activists” are primarly motivated by a need to exaggerate and grow the “problems” they complain of. But they are not problem solvers like the pre-70s protestors. Their continued relevance lies in ensuring that their particular wedge issues are never fixed. Whilst they witter on about “equality” and “diversity”, their real agenda in promoting division and unequal legal treatment of different groups. They are a disgrace and parasites on society.
I agree with you.
The real problem is that successive waves of activist movements have now become businesses, with CEOs, offices, marketing support, and a whole host of other requirements to sustain the life of the organizations. This means that you are required to constantly raise money to keep the apparatus going. Once you have successfully completed a campaign, you, as the initiator, are obligated to look for new opportunities that are increasingly rare and obscure. It is a business model designed to create guilt against people and then take their money, most of which goes to the organization and very little to the source of the so-called problem. Activism is no longer a cottage industry, but a highly professionalized industry that has learned to use the media to gain mass market attention and, not least, political influence.
Could we hope that politicians who have experienced difficulties dealing with the Civil Service might find a mission to make it more impartial, by leaving politics and campaigning from the ‘outside’? I guess this means that Civil Service Commissioners – if they still exist – have also been captured. I thought it was up to them to keep the administration on the straight and narrow. Maybe they were abolished for that reason.
Wokeness – like so many other ‘progressive’ ideas – is a child of the Left, adopted by the Right.
Its not just wokeness that has to be expunged from our lives but the entire corpus of the Left. The fact that this is so hard speaks volumes about the degree to which the Left has been successful in muddying the waters, and getting its opponents to adopt their policies. In the words of Lord Peter of Hitchens, the Conservatives are now a Left-wing party.
Wokeness and the alphabet ingress are both children of satan, to prepare the masses for arrival of the antichrist. Nothing new, the people of Lot did the same in ancient history. But now for the final time, before mankind exits.
Given the disgusting wokeness of Penny Mordaunt’s published pronouncements on gender and race, why has she not been summarily expelled from the Conservative Party?
It’s not so much that “Left” and “Right” are meaningless or, as the author puts it “beyond the point of utility”, it’s just that they have changed their meanings.
That is causing many on what used to be the Left, now finding themselves on what is now the Right. Understandably, many of them find that concept/ terminology a bit disconcerting.
The Left is the party of utopianism. Conservatism is the party of “what works”, e.g., women are equal but different from men, not interchangeable; humans have always adjusted to climate change, but cheap energy is the engine of prosperity for all; free speech is the cornerstone of a free society. Those who want a fair society are moving to the anti -woke side because cancelling people just doesn’t work. We need what works.
A good article. Yes, terms left and right do not do justice to the manifold complexity of our time.
The Heritage Site | Adam McDermont | Substack
Of course, Conservatives would have sat on the left in the National Assembly.
I’ve always wondered where left/right came from. Thank you, Andrew. Still puzzled by people who believe either side has a monopoly on goodness.
Is it a surprise when activists try to identify single issues with identity politics? Life is complicated, nuanced and dynamic why can’t issues and politics also be?
It’s a really interesting point. The traditional left/right divide was simple, with the right being on the side of entrenched power and privilege. To that end, the left has always seen structures as oppressive and to be torn down as a means to create a fair society. What has changed though is that ‘the left’ has been taken over – complelety – by its middle class agitators who want to make society perfect. The complication is that what was seen as ‘the right’ – capital and wealth – are quite content with this. The new left then is woke, corporate and wealthy. What then is the opposite of that and is this where Andrew Doyle finds himself?
I get paid over 190$ per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless. Heres what I’ve been doing..
Andrew, you ask “is it really the case that “woke” politics are in any meaningful sense Left-wing? “
I suggest Yes. While I agree with you (and many commentators here) that left/right are overused labels, there is an important sense in which socialism and Woke have philosophical roots.
Both have a collectivist view of society – the individual is identified as part of a group (identity) and the whole group is treated as homogenous.
Stephen Hicks explains it well here: https://youtu.be/gAydErHRJ9w. NAZIs see a struggle between the German group v the Jews etc; communism sees the struggle between workers and capitalist and Woke sees the struggle between white males and women and/or non-whites.
These are not trivial connections. They differ significantly from the British tradition, dating from Magna Carta etc, of the responsible, free individual.
At its most dangerous, Woke post-modernist ideology is what is intellectually undermining the West.
Andrew Doyle is absolutely correct that many on the left are in despair about identity politics. He reprises a familiar plaint to account for this: left and right no longer make sense. But that misses the much more salient point, which is that identity and culture are properly the concerns of tradition fixated, counter-enlightenment conservatives and (paradoxically) liberal individualists. The left was originally born of a rationalist determination to universally reorder society so as to liberate the masses from economic servitude and all forms of obscurantist dogma and constraint. This meant – and should still mean – that appeals to essential, particularistic identities and culture are anathema. To repeat, Wokeness is an unstable amalgam of conservative essentialism and liberal individualism. What has that to do with socialism? Doyle is only correct that left and right no longer matter if there really is no material difference between the kind of austeritarianism that Khemi Baddenoch advocates for and the mild welfare social democracy of the UK Labour Party. The latter, in its official positions, is depressingly in thrall to wokeism. That is clearly a consequence of the takeover of the left (all over the West) by middle-class professionals. It has created a politically homeless working-class – some of whom have moved to the right – turned off by moralism and the perception that their immediate interests are ignored by the left. If anyone can explain to me how the mass of people in this country are served by Tory economic policies (austerity) and their cavalier treatment of democratic norms and freedoms (protest, voting, industrial action) I might be persuaded that left and right no longer mean anything. It’s precisely because I’m on the left that I find the culture war being waged by the likes of Khemi Baddenoch and right-wing authoritarians all over the world so unimpressive. They may have noticed the symptoms. Who could miss them? But their diagnosis and proposed cure is entirely wrong, because, in keeping with their conservatism, it is, and can only be, cultural.
You talk many words, but include surprisingly little meaning. Many certainties, but little reasoning.
The culture war is not conservative! They are barely even aware it’s going on and find themselves 4-0 down in the 88th minute.
Nor is it the result of “liberal individualism”. Quite the opposite. Liberal individualists (like me) are in the forefront opposing the idiotic woke agenda.
Aside from the woke debate & the left/right issue, I for one will be glad when Badenoch is excluded this incoming week. She’s a thoroughly nasty person who’s probably unfit to be an MP let alone a minister, let alone the prime minister (don’t ask how I know)
Well, unless you’re prepared to substantiate it, yours strikes me as just a thoroughly nasty comment
‘Don’t ask how I know’ basically just means ‘I’m making this up’.
It isn’t clear that you know anything.
Let’s not judge her by her character but by your nasty unfounded, uninformed infantile ad hominem screeching.