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The fantasy of Britain’s liberal elite Our ruling class is too apathetic to be woke

A culture-war bogeyman?(Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

A culture-war bogeyman?(Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)


April 6, 2023   4 mins

This week, I witnessed a Twitter row between commentators about whether the UK is governed by an out-of-touch liberal elite. The subsequent discussion was heavily dominated by middle-aged men with solidly middle-class English names like Matt, Dominic, Philip, Andrew and David. As usual with discussions about Britain’s elites, nobody involved was willing to admit they might be part of one.

The pretext was the publication of Matthew Goodwin’s Values, Voice, and Virtue, which argues that Britain is now ruled by a class of university-educated, urban-dwelling, liberal cosmopolitans, heedlessly imposing their luxury beliefs about race, gender, and Gary Lineker upon everybody else. While working-class people are supposed to be fondling their Union Jacks lovingly, worrying about mass immigration and looking baffled when you call them “cis”, Britain’s institutions have allegedly been captured by a bunch of Oxbridge-educated she/her types who equate any disagreement with fascism, and who are gripped with existential dread whenever they glance at their post-Brexit blue passports on their way to the Italian lakes.

I’ve had many brushes with exactly this type of horror show, and I agree that they are overrepresented in certain sectors, such as academia and NGOs. Still, I am not sure I agree that the ranks of the elite are brimming with them generally. And neither does Goodwin, at least sometimes. In his book, he alternates between the safety of a relatively banal motte (our institutions are dominated by the professional-managerial class), and the exhilaration of a much more controversial bailey (our institutions throng with radical progressives, calling for compulsory pronoun rounds and telling anyone who dislikes mass immigration that they’re a Nazi).

In a more sober moment, Goodwin acknowledges that “these radical progressives are a smaller group within the new elite”. Much of the time, though, he equates the radical part with the elite whole. In The Sun, for instance, he writes that: “Routinely, the New Elite demand things which signal their status to other elites, such as open borders, a relaxed approach to dealing with the small boats, or the sexualisation of children, which they will not have to suffer the effects of themselves.” In his book, meanwhile, he writes that “By portraying their political opponents as an assortment of fascists, racists and close-minded reactionaries, the new elite seek to shut down the conversation and exclude them altogether”.

Whatever the new elite is, I’m probably a member of it. I went to Oxford and then made a career out of talking about whether the external world really exists independently of the mind or not, so I don’t think there is any way out for me on this. The majority of my university contemporaries are now at the peak of successful and lucrative senior careers. To my knowledge, only one person from my college year group is unemployed — and that’s Dominic Cummings. The idea that any of these people sit around performatively extolling the joys of open borders or the sexualisation of children to each other is simply not true.

Today, most of them work long hours in finance, business, the civil service, or the law. They earn large amounts of money, live in nice houses cleaned by other people, and send their children to private schools. They aren’t on Twitter; they don’t have the time or inclination. They are often cultural philistines and rarely talk about politics. They are as baffled as most of the rest of the country about the ideological capture of major institutions, and just as disconcerted.

Back at university, in the early Nineties, most of these people were not protesting the poll tax or joining Greenpeace. They were drinking pints until they were sick, watching Neighbours all day in the JCR, and taking movement instructions from the jukebox (sit down for “Sit Down”, jump around for “Jump Around”). Lads from up North were pretending to be Liam Gallagher; boys from the South were evenly split between Damon Albarn and Sebastian Flyte. There were hardly any girls, and their (our) sexual activity was obsessed over pruriently. Activist types were roundly laughed at, ambitious types decried as hacks. Most people were moral relativists but couldn’t say why. The Bosnian war was raging and I don’t recall a single conversation about it. The only newspaper columnist I regularly read was Mystic Meg.

Thatcherism was on the way out and New Labour on the way in. As Goodwin notes, there was also a “depoliticisation” as Right and Left alternatives merged. If the neoliberalism of those years did anything for my peers, it loosened the bonds of group identity but put nothing else in their place. It made every kind of serious political effort something to be laughed at. This political and moral apathy, I think, is still the dominant tendency of the liberal elite in the UK, accompanied by an ironising and distancing humour gained from watching too much Fantasy Football League or Never Mind the Buzzcocks at a formative age.

It is not that neoliberalism made the new elite woke, then, but that most of them never really had an overt politics at all. The middle-aged, middle-class version of British masculinity inherited from that period dictates that there’s something faintly embarrassing about being seen to care strongly about any sociocultural issues, let alone anything as fraught as race, immigration or gender identity. This version of the elite is not anti-tradition — it just doesn’t positively value it. It is not, as Goodwin claims, particularly “supportive of abortion, homosexuality, casual sex, prostitution, divorce, gender equality and immigration”, but rather mostly indifferent. And it is not intolerant of political disagreements; it’s just that people don’t really have them at dinner parties.

Still, many of our institutions were captured by a small number of radicals nonetheless. And this happened partly because the elites running the institutions didn’t have a clue how to stand up to the incoming wave of moral cant, guilt-tripping, and bullying from younger and differently socialised generations. On what firm ground might they have stood in order to see this off? They don’t have a political vocabulary with which to counter the wild rhetoric, and nor do they have the convictions or earnestness to make it stick. What they do have is a suppressed sense of guilt for being so rich, a vague fear that they might make the wrong joke, and a fervent hope that the moralising will stop soon so they can talk about the football or cricket instead. Many of them also have children who lecture them about social justice. They can’t stand up to them either.

In other words, I think it’s simply wrong to imply that the majority of the liberal elite are now rampantly woke. The culture wars don’t need any more stoking. When it comes to traditional working-class values, assuming there still are any, most of the elite are in no man’s land, not enemy trenches. Their political inarticulacy has made the organisations they run ripe for power grabs but they are not directly waging any war.


Kathleen Stock is an UnHerd columnist and a co-director of The Lesbian Project.
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Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago

I think this article makes some good points. However it fails to mention the key reason why staff are so afraid to stand up to their activist colleagues, is that the legal system is very much on the side of the activists thanks to misguided Equalities legislation of this country and how it has effectively removed equality before the law.

I’d be more than happy to call out a white male colleague who was incompetent but I wouldn’t dare challenge a female colleague of an ethnic minority, because if a dispute escalated, I fear I’d be fired in an instant if they were willing to weaponise their protected characteristics, because they have a legal privilege that is denied to myself and others. Though it should be noted, that many of the worst offenders in this new legal regime are not those with protected characteristics themselves but those who use the law to build up networks of patronage and privilege by abusing them. Shaping institutions to their ideological biases by using the discriminatory power they have under the law to hire and fire without merit.

It is an irony of ridiculous proportions that in order to fight invisible privileges (which in truth are nothing more than socioeconomic disparities with no clear discriminatory basis) dreamt of by left wing academia, the solution has been literally to reintroduce the kind of unequal legal privileges which liberal democracies fought so hard to expel from society due to their pernicious effects.

I think to dismiss this issue as just another facet of the culture war is misguided. If there is no equality before the law the very concept of a stable legal order is undermined. Look at the increasingly febrile atmosphere of American politics. If that becomes the case here, a culture war will be the least of our worries.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matthew Powell
Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

“these radical progressives are a smaller group within the new elite”.
The size of the radical group is less important than the ferventness of the members radicalness. The elites are mostly Professional Managerial Class, but those folks are mostly weakly political technocrats with little ideological spine. The radicals are religious fundamentalists who view every slight as a heresy against their new god. There’s a reason the PMCs have folded like the cheap suits they are — we educated them to be bureaucrats not heroes.

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago

I think the fundamental issue that Stock does sort of pinpoint but doesn’t really elaborate on is that it isn’t her generation who are the issue, it is my generation that are.

Stock is around 51, so she’s gen x, and gen x were raised and socialised and educated prior to the information revolution. I am nearing 40, and the oldest millennials are now 42-43, so we are of an age to be slowly but surely taking over the elite managerial positions of society from Stock’s generation, the oldest of whom are fast reaching retirement.

Stock is unfortunately in a poor position to elucidate why this is, because her childhood and adolescence was very different to that of my generation. We were raised with a combination of a new approach to parenting that sought to coax us to do better by rewarding everything and making everyone a winner, in spite of this running counter to the indifference and unfairness we would inevitably have to manage, a new level of paranoia about children’s safety that led to us being less free to experience the world without reams of parental bubbble wrapping cushioning us, followed by an unprecedented change to information technology that our parents didn’t have the experience to shelter us from that gave us access to more information than ever with little resilience and experience with adversity to shelter ourselves.

Whilst the earliest parts of my childhood bore strong similarities to those of Stock, by my teenaged years, mobile phones and the internet had begun to dominate social interactions, and the sexualisation had gone off the deep end, with everyone suddenly clamouring to label themselves as bisexual, and a teenaged pregnancy epidemic snowballing in seemingly every school. Then, before we were really emotionally matured and adult, 9/11 happened, and we were thrust into a world that suddenly seemed to be much scarier and more extreme with less resilience and maturity than previous generations. It is little wonder we were such easy targets for radicalisation when we reached universities, and those who excelled with those ideas had little incentive to change perspectives as they aged and climbed up workplace hierarchies.

Last edited 1 year ago by AL Crowe
Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

Thank you. You have helped me better understand my children!

m3pc7q3ixe
m3pc7q3ixe
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

I suspect the sharpest division is between Gen Z university graduates and all others. Even Millenials got off lightly. Academics say they noticed the change in their students about 2013 – possibly reflecting changes in social media around 2009. Today about 13% of the UK population is “woke” but 30% of those born after the mid 90s and over 50% of Gen Z students. It is the biggest generational shift in values since the 1960s. (Back then we used to say “never trust anyone over 30”; it is perhaps poetic justice we are now on the receiving end. I find myself empathising more and more with my grandparents whose horror at our views and values I found amusing at the time.)

Last edited 1 year ago by m3pc7q3ixe
AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  m3pc7q3ixe

I’d agree that millennials as a generation are stradddling a deep chasm of changing values, we have one foot in each kind of childhood, and our exact age does make a fair bit of difference as to how much weight goes on each foot. For example, I was 13-14 when everyone started getting mobile phones, but for a millennial just five years younger, that would have occurred when they were 8-9, and there’s a massive difference in cognitive development in those five years.

I tend to think about how much time has mellowed many in my generation politically though, and live in hope that the 50% figure is more demonstrative of the naivety and desire to be radical that typifies youth that will drop as they age and come to terms with the real world outside of education, but I suspect that we’re going to be stuck with a higher level of wokeness in them for the long term.

Last edited 1 year ago by AL Crowe
Rupert Carnegie
Rupert Carnegie
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

(Also known as m3pc7q3ixe apparently.)

I agree. The current pushback against woke excesses may last a year or two but the “progressive” grip on education and HR departments suggests that woke attitudes will reassert themselves thereafter even more vigorously. But it could take different forms. If one is into historical precedents then three possibilities are
1/ Radical change then mellowing cf. 1960s
2/ Assertion of a new rigid morality that lasts a long time cf. rise of evangelicals in 1820s and 1830s leading to Victorian bourgeois morality 1840s-1960s
3/ Abrasive and intolerant puritans trigger violent politics cf. original puritans 1590s-1630s leading to the English Civil War in 1640s.
If in Britain we suffer only a rerun of the 1960s I will be content. I fear that in the US the third possibility is a real risk.

Last edited 1 year ago by Rupert Carnegie
Richard Parker
Richard Parker
1 year ago

That makes good sense and I share your misgivings. The careful entrenchment of specific attitudes into the mainstream discourse does seem to be more of a feature than a bug.
Also, thanks for clarifying the unusual “handle”: nice that the mods (or other crepuscular agents) gave you your identity back!

Last edited 1 year ago by Richard Parker
Stevie K
Stevie K
1 year ago

Very nicely presented and superbly chosen historical examples. I agree with your speculations on UK and US outcomes.

Richard Parker
Richard Parker
1 year ago

That makes good sense and I share your misgivings. The careful entrenchment of specific attitudes into the mainstream discourse does seem to be more of a feature than a bug.
Also, thanks for clarifying the unusual “handle”: nice that the mods (or other crepuscular agents) gave you your identity back!

Last edited 1 year ago by Richard Parker
Stevie K
Stevie K
1 year ago

Very nicely presented and superbly chosen historical examples. I agree with your speculations on UK and US outcomes.

John Dellingby
John Dellingby
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

Agreed about the chasm. As a Millennial born in the early 90’s, I would likely identify with older Zoomers more than older Millennials and I don’t doubt our upbringings would be more similar.

I’d say there’s reason to hope though. People aged between 25-34 are the most lockdown sceptic age group and I dare say, more likely to believe in free speech, thoughts and action than their younger Zoomer counterparts. If there’s one thing I can remember about my youth, our respect and trust for authority was minimal, we just didn’t make a big thing of it.

Rupert Carnegie
Rupert Carnegie
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

(Also known as m3pc7q3ixe apparently.)

I agree. The current pushback against woke excesses may last a year or two but the “progressive” grip on education and HR departments suggests that woke attitudes will reassert themselves thereafter even more vigorously. But it could take different forms. If one is into historical precedents then three possibilities are
1/ Radical change then mellowing cf. 1960s
2/ Assertion of a new rigid morality that lasts a long time cf. rise of evangelicals in 1820s and 1830s leading to Victorian bourgeois morality 1840s-1960s
3/ Abrasive and intolerant puritans trigger violent politics cf. original puritans 1590s-1630s leading to the English Civil War in 1640s.
If in Britain we suffer only a rerun of the 1960s I will be content. I fear that in the US the third possibility is a real risk.

Last edited 1 year ago by Rupert Carnegie
John Dellingby
John Dellingby
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

Agreed about the chasm. As a Millennial born in the early 90’s, I would likely identify with older Zoomers more than older Millennials and I don’t doubt our upbringings would be more similar.

I’d say there’s reason to hope though. People aged between 25-34 are the most lockdown sceptic age group and I dare say, more likely to believe in free speech, thoughts and action than their younger Zoomer counterparts. If there’s one thing I can remember about my youth, our respect and trust for authority was minimal, we just didn’t make a big thing of it.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  m3pc7q3ixe

The other thing that happened was called Blair. He wanted everybody to go to university. This is the real disaster. Those who graduate expect to have something to look forward to, especially if they are in debt. The original aim of university was to train young people to become managers – not pen-pushers or key-clickers. Now the managerial level is disappearing.
What is there to do with your special training but try to be a better key-clicker or photographer or video maker? You spend hours on the internet doing so-called research, find a few interesting stats, draw a couple of graphs and what do you get? A Social Scientist. Of no use to man nor beast.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Sadly it was John Major who initiated the enormous expansion of Universities NOT the wretched Blair creature.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

ahh ” Corporal” Major ( apologies to The Household Cavalry!) whose razor sharp mind, and towering financial achievements were limited to failing his arithmetic tests to be a London bus conductor…

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Don’t forget the ‘hanky- panky’ with Edwina Currie!!

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

” Oh yes” as he would say!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

” Oh yes” as he would say!

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

And knocking off Currie.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

” Oh yes,” as exciting as the cones hotline, I imagine..

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

” Oh yes,” as exciting as the cones hotline, I imagine..

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Don’t forget the ‘hanky- panky’ with Edwina Currie!!

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

And knocking off Currie.

Kieran McGovern
Kieran McGovern
1 year ago

Moved centre stage under Blair. I worked in further education throughout his regime and it was obvious that huge numbers of unsuitable candidates were being pushed onto degree courses on false terms. The claim was always that a university education improved earning potential. In reality this was only true for certain courses and a limited number of professions.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

I appreciate a skilled worker far more.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

I appreciate a skilled worker far more.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

ahh ” Corporal” Major ( apologies to The Household Cavalry!) whose razor sharp mind, and towering financial achievements were limited to failing his arithmetic tests to be a London bus conductor…

Kieran McGovern
Kieran McGovern
1 year ago

Moved centre stage under Blair. I worked in further education throughout his regime and it was obvious that huge numbers of unsuitable candidates were being pushed onto degree courses on false terms. The claim was always that a university education improved earning potential. In reality this was only true for certain courses and a limited number of professions.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I don’t think the original aim of universities was actually to train young people to be managers. And nor should it ever be. It should teach them speciliased knowledge in their chosen field and develop their thinking skills so they can put into practice what they have learnt in real situations with some confidence and authority. It should also equip students to continue to learn after university – many fields develop so quickly (technology) that you simply cannot rely only on university learning after several years.
University should also make you aware how much you don’t know – i.e. push you far enough along the Dunning-Kruger curve that you realise that you aren’t an expert.
Unfortunately, I suspect that there’s a large chunk of students from modern universities who are still at the point on the Dunning-Kruger curve where they think they are experts.
In my experience, management should not be seen as a career or something you can be trained for and move straight into. Rather, you should get some real hands-on experience in a field before doing any management so you have a proper feel for and understanding of the work.

Chris Cope
Chris Cope
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Sandhurst, Dartmouth and Cranwell would think otherwise.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Cope

But those aren’t unversities are they ? Office training colleges for the Armed Forces.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

The forces are in a class of their own and if they have to use their skills it would br crucial for our country.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

The forces are in a class of their own and if they have to use their skills it would br crucial for our country.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Cope

But those aren’t unversities are they ? Office training colleges for the Armed Forces.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

A lot of good workers are promoted into management above their skills. Not all have management skills no matter how good their work is.

Stuart Adams
Stuart Adams
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Born at the cutting edge of the baby boom (1946), I grew up with the quaint idea that the whole point of a first degree was to give students a broad liberal education and teach them to think and debate ideas. We strongly resisted the idea that undergraduate courses were meant to give us job skills in specialist fields but, alas, we lost the argument. There was nothing radical about what we expected of our universities. It was what our parents and grandparents had expected of their universities, too. They routinely earned B.A.s in The Classics before they went on to earn degrees, diplomas or other qualifications in medicine, law, engineering, teaching, social work or whatever. Now I’m pretty sure you can spend three or four years at university and emerge with a degree that makes you an first rate critic of basket-weaving but unable to weave a basket yourself.

Chris Cope
Chris Cope
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Sandhurst, Dartmouth and Cranwell would think otherwise.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

A lot of good workers are promoted into management above their skills. Not all have management skills no matter how good their work is.

Stuart Adams
Stuart Adams
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Born at the cutting edge of the baby boom (1946), I grew up with the quaint idea that the whole point of a first degree was to give students a broad liberal education and teach them to think and debate ideas. We strongly resisted the idea that undergraduate courses were meant to give us job skills in specialist fields but, alas, we lost the argument. There was nothing radical about what we expected of our universities. It was what our parents and grandparents had expected of their universities, too. They routinely earned B.A.s in The Classics before they went on to earn degrees, diplomas or other qualifications in medicine, law, engineering, teaching, social work or whatever. Now I’m pretty sure you can spend three or four years at university and emerge with a degree that makes you an first rate critic of basket-weaving but unable to weave a basket yourself.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

The original aim of university most definitely was not to train people to become managers (perish the thought).

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

So, what else can they do with their degrees? The Civil Service perhaps – another waste of space.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

What do they “do” with them? You mean apart from the many obvious examples of the degrees being required training and knowledge for a profession? I guess they enjoy broadening their minds and learning deeply about a subject they enjoy.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

Hopefully but a lot of them appear more concerned with woke policies unfortunately.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

Hopefully but a lot of them appear more concerned with woke policies unfortunately.

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Fodder for NGO’s/international development sector.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Yeah the civil service or some other public entity. They will reward them for their degrees but not their work. The private sector is what earns the money and prospers the economy not the public sector which is often a cushy ride with gold plated pensions taken from our taxes.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

What do they “do” with them? You mean apart from the many obvious examples of the degrees being required training and knowledge for a profession? I guess they enjoy broadening their minds and learning deeply about a subject they enjoy.

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Fodder for NGO’s/international development sector.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Yeah the civil service or some other public entity. They will reward them for their degrees but not their work. The private sector is what earns the money and prospers the economy not the public sector which is often a cushy ride with gold plated pensions taken from our taxes.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

So, what else can they do with their degrees? The Civil Service perhaps – another waste of space.

Chris Cope
Chris Cope
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I’m sure the odd social scientist is fine, but you are totally right about too many going to university and earning pointless degrees. When junior management trainee jobs at fast food outlets require a degree, something has gone badly wrong.

Far better to focus on apprenticeships and teach real skills. It also saves the Young from excessive debt they can’t often afford.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Cope

The German system offers parallel track degrees, one track is academic, the other more practical, but both involve university/college attendance, and both award degrees. Then there is the ausbildung, or apprenticeship scheme, which offers excellent practical training for professional careers. It would never work here. There is too much class snobbery towards “trade” and little appetite for the kind of funding and organisation required to make it work.

Last edited 1 year ago by William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Cope

The German system offers parallel track degrees, one track is academic, the other more practical, but both involve university/college attendance, and both award degrees. Then there is the ausbildung, or apprenticeship scheme, which offers excellent practical training for professional careers. It would never work here. There is too much class snobbery towards “trade” and little appetite for the kind of funding and organisation required to make it work.

Last edited 1 year ago by William Edward Henry Appleby
Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

There are quite a few university educated idiots in the workforce today. A lot of them don’t work well as they spend their time dreaming that they should be doing something better because of their degree. I have worked with them and know the type. One of them was studying under the table hoping to get something better but wan’t bothered about doing a good days work for his pay. Better to join the public sector as they reward you for your degree but not your work.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tony Conrad
Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Like Blair, Obama pushed ‘university for all’ but one can’t help think that he was saying ‘university for all blacks’. Clearly, he wanted ‘improved lives’ for the black community, but a one-size or one-type of education didn’t and doesn’t fit everyone. In the 1970’s more black kids got into schools via ‘affirmative action’ (think DA Alvin Bragg, Trump’s Tormentor and pundit Joy Reid both AA Harvard). Many kids never made it through higher education programs for lack of preparation – in a few instances some never made it back to campus a they were shot or imprisoned during breaks. Obama never mentioned vocational education or how to ensure better college preparation, nor has he addressed (or cared) about the issue in his retirement. He among others in the black community have failed their own youth.

Last edited 1 year ago by Cathy Carron
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Sadly it was John Major who initiated the enormous expansion of Universities NOT the wretched Blair creature.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I don’t think the original aim of universities was actually to train young people to be managers. And nor should it ever be. It should teach them speciliased knowledge in their chosen field and develop their thinking skills so they can put into practice what they have learnt in real situations with some confidence and authority. It should also equip students to continue to learn after university – many fields develop so quickly (technology) that you simply cannot rely only on university learning after several years.
University should also make you aware how much you don’t know – i.e. push you far enough along the Dunning-Kruger curve that you realise that you aren’t an expert.
Unfortunately, I suspect that there’s a large chunk of students from modern universities who are still at the point on the Dunning-Kruger curve where they think they are experts.
In my experience, management should not be seen as a career or something you can be trained for and move straight into. Rather, you should get some real hands-on experience in a field before doing any management so you have a proper feel for and understanding of the work.

William Edward Henry Appleby
William Edward Henry Appleby
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

The original aim of university most definitely was not to train people to become managers (perish the thought).

Chris Cope
Chris Cope
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I’m sure the odd social scientist is fine, but you are totally right about too many going to university and earning pointless degrees. When junior management trainee jobs at fast food outlets require a degree, something has gone badly wrong.

Far better to focus on apprenticeships and teach real skills. It also saves the Young from excessive debt they can’t often afford.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

There are quite a few university educated idiots in the workforce today. A lot of them don’t work well as they spend their time dreaming that they should be doing something better because of their degree. I have worked with them and know the type. One of them was studying under the table hoping to get something better but wan’t bothered about doing a good days work for his pay. Better to join the public sector as they reward you for your degree but not your work.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tony Conrad
Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Like Blair, Obama pushed ‘university for all’ but one can’t help think that he was saying ‘university for all blacks’. Clearly, he wanted ‘improved lives’ for the black community, but a one-size or one-type of education didn’t and doesn’t fit everyone. In the 1970’s more black kids got into schools via ‘affirmative action’ (think DA Alvin Bragg, Trump’s Tormentor and pundit Joy Reid both AA Harvard). Many kids never made it through higher education programs for lack of preparation – in a few instances some never made it back to campus a they were shot or imprisoned during breaks. Obama never mentioned vocational education or how to ensure better college preparation, nor has he addressed (or cared) about the issue in his retirement. He among others in the black community have failed their own youth.

Last edited 1 year ago by Cathy Carron
Daoud Fakhri
Daoud Fakhri
1 year ago
Reply to  m3pc7q3ixe

The boomers were the woke generation of their day: the outright rejection of their elders’ values and the social and cultural revolution they instigated bears many similarities with the present situation. And of course the 60s upheaval was no passing fad – it led to permanent and far-reaching changes in society, just as the woke revolution will in turn become similarly entrenched.
And now the boomers are on the receiving end of the very same treatment they were meting out to the wartime generation in the 60s: they are being blamed for destroying the environment, the housing crisis etc. by the woke, who are just as convinced as the boomers were that they have all the answers. And they in turn will become just as discredited and hated.
I fear we doomed to live in a world of permanent revolution, with the cycle endlessly repeating itself.

John Dellingby
John Dellingby
1 year ago
Reply to  m3pc7q3ixe

There’s merit to your view in regards to things changing around 2013. I was at university from 2010-2013 and of course towards the end of my final year, Margaret Thatcher died. Being one of the more openly conservative people on the politics course, I was invited to a debate about her legacy. I was used to being in the minority, but could still be friends with and go out for drinks with hardline socialists, pro-EU liberals etc. In this debate though (mostly attended by first year undergrads), according to the audience, I wasn’t just wrong as an opinion, but also in a moral way too. Alas, things seem to have only got worse since then.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

It just shows you how deceived people can be.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

It just shows you how deceived people can be.

Simon Baker
Simon Baker
1 year ago
Reply to  m3pc7q3ixe

Should be noted though that even in GenZ 60% don’t go to university. In time too the most radical of GenZ students will be working, have a house and a mortgage and become more conservative, especially in relation to the students emerging then. Was ever thus

Last edited 1 year ago by Simon Baker
AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  m3pc7q3ixe

I’d agree that millennials as a generation are stradddling a deep chasm of changing values, we have one foot in each kind of childhood, and our exact age does make a fair bit of difference as to how much weight goes on each foot. For example, I was 13-14 when everyone started getting mobile phones, but for a millennial just five years younger, that would have occurred when they were 8-9, and there’s a massive difference in cognitive development in those five years.

I tend to think about how much time has mellowed many in my generation politically though, and live in hope that the 50% figure is more demonstrative of the naivety and desire to be radical that typifies youth that will drop as they age and come to terms with the real world outside of education, but I suspect that we’re going to be stuck with a higher level of wokeness in them for the long term.

Last edited 1 year ago by AL Crowe
Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  m3pc7q3ixe

The other thing that happened was called Blair. He wanted everybody to go to university. This is the real disaster. Those who graduate expect to have something to look forward to, especially if they are in debt. The original aim of university was to train young people to become managers – not pen-pushers or key-clickers. Now the managerial level is disappearing.
What is there to do with your special training but try to be a better key-clicker or photographer or video maker? You spend hours on the internet doing so-called research, find a few interesting stats, draw a couple of graphs and what do you get? A Social Scientist. Of no use to man nor beast.

Daoud Fakhri
Daoud Fakhri
1 year ago
Reply to  m3pc7q3ixe

The boomers were the woke generation of their day: the outright rejection of their elders’ values and the social and cultural revolution they instigated bears many similarities with the present situation. And of course the 60s upheaval was no passing fad – it led to permanent and far-reaching changes in society, just as the woke revolution will in turn become similarly entrenched.
And now the boomers are on the receiving end of the very same treatment they were meting out to the wartime generation in the 60s: they are being blamed for destroying the environment, the housing crisis etc. by the woke, who are just as convinced as the boomers were that they have all the answers. And they in turn will become just as discredited and hated.
I fear we doomed to live in a world of permanent revolution, with the cycle endlessly repeating itself.

John Dellingby
John Dellingby
1 year ago
Reply to  m3pc7q3ixe

There’s merit to your view in regards to things changing around 2013. I was at university from 2010-2013 and of course towards the end of my final year, Margaret Thatcher died. Being one of the more openly conservative people on the politics course, I was invited to a debate about her legacy. I was used to being in the minority, but could still be friends with and go out for drinks with hardline socialists, pro-EU liberals etc. In this debate though (mostly attended by first year undergrads), according to the audience, I wasn’t just wrong as an opinion, but also in a moral way too. Alas, things seem to have only got worse since then.

Simon Baker
Simon Baker
1 year ago
Reply to  m3pc7q3ixe

Should be noted though that even in GenZ 60% don’t go to university. In time too the most radical of GenZ students will be working, have a house and a mortgage and become more conservative, especially in relation to the students emerging then. Was ever thus

Last edited 1 year ago by Simon Baker
Sam Hill
Sam Hill
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

I’m not sure I totally buy that. Looking back to my Dad he was able to walk out of school as an unqualified 15 year old and walk straight into production lines for secure work. Sure – when he was alive he would have happily taken issue with anyone who thought that a 1960s production line was some gilded existence. But my parents (I am I would guess 5-10 years older than you) had an environment that simply is not available to the young today and the production lines, cheap housing, strong unions, cheap oil, suspicion of debt (personal and public) and the like aren’t coming back. And, of course my Dad was not competing for work with the East European reserve army of labour. It just feels at times as if the young now are expected to come of age in an environment that simply doesn’t exist.
For all the criticism of the young today I would make two observations. Firstly, the society they are confronted with is hardly their fault. And secondly I do feel that there should be some sort of ‘soft landing’ between the ages of (say) 18-21. For sure the current ‘student experience’ is not good. 30 years ago the student experience was about the end of adolescence and entry to independent living, now our universities too often are a gateway to an adolescence that extends into people’s 30s. If there is no route to a secure transition to adulthood then juvenilisation is what is left.
We saw some of this in covid where there was an expectation that the state would bubble wrap us. Compare that to AIDS in the 1980s.
Where I very strongly agree with you is about online technology – indeed I’m rather surprised that Stock doesn’t discuss that because it seems to me to be critical. Your comment about my generation’s naivety on the advance of internet is, if anything, too kind. Looking back we should have seen the very obvious downside coming and we certainly should have seen big tech for what it is. Worse, some people seemed to think that what you call ‘bubble wrapping’ was totally unnecessary online. If anything I am quite happy to say that I am, for now, bubble-wrapping my daughter online. I do believe that my cohort rather let yours down. I am very glad that neither I nor my daughter had to face the advance of the internet in the way your cohort did. As you rightly say if not my cohort then who else would really give thought to online things.
I would also, gently, take some issue with Stock about my generation’s politicisation at university. We had a short-lived anti-globalisation movement. We took issue with mass migration and globalised corporate interests as being a race to the bottom. I think we were right, we just gave up being right and started tapping our keyboards.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Sam Hill

Interesting, but i’m not at all sure you’re disagreeing with AL Crowe. You both seem to be pretty much on the same page, albeit from slightly different perspectives.

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  Sam Hill

I’ve actually made another comment further down the thread where I actually point out that the sheer number of degrees is essentially devaluing them.

So I think Steve is right, that we’re concerned about the same things, we’re just aiming our comments t different facets of the same situation. I do think that wokeness is attractive to the young precisely because it enables them to keep blaming the world around them, but once we’re adults, the buck has to stop with us for making the best of life as it is rather than daydreaming about distributive justice.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Sam Hill

You were right indeed but we need a bit more than just being right to change the way our country is toppling.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Sam Hill

Interesting, but i’m not at all sure you’re disagreeing with AL Crowe. You both seem to be pretty much on the same page, albeit from slightly different perspectives.

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  Sam Hill

I’ve actually made another comment further down the thread where I actually point out that the sheer number of degrees is essentially devaluing them.

So I think Steve is right, that we’re concerned about the same things, we’re just aiming our comments t different facets of the same situation. I do think that wokeness is attractive to the young precisely because it enables them to keep blaming the world around them, but once we’re adults, the buck has to stop with us for making the best of life as it is rather than daydreaming about distributive justice.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Sam Hill

You were right indeed but we need a bit more than just being right to change the way our country is toppling.

R E P
R E P
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

Great insight…see Jonathan Haidt for US experience a decade later.

Kevin R
Kevin R
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

Simon Sinek made a very entertaining account of that same point in this interview:
https://youtu.be/hER0Qp6QJNU

Last edited 1 year ago by Kevin R
Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin R

Great link, thanks. An accurate and entertaining dissection of the toxicity of the world we ‘adults’ have created (albeit with the best of intentions) for our children to have to deal with. The (student?) audience clearly identified with his observations.

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin R

Great link, thanks. An accurate and entertaining dissection of the toxicity of the world we ‘adults’ have created (albeit with the best of intentions) for our children to have to deal with. The (student?) audience clearly identified with his observations.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

Thank you. You have helped me better understand my children!

m3pc7q3ixe
m3pc7q3ixe
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

I suspect the sharpest division is between Gen Z university graduates and all others. Even Millenials got off lightly. Academics say they noticed the change in their students about 2013 – possibly reflecting changes in social media around 2009. Today about 13% of the UK population is “woke” but 30% of those born after the mid 90s and over 50% of Gen Z students. It is the biggest generational shift in values since the 1960s. (Back then we used to say “never trust anyone over 30”; it is perhaps poetic justice we are now on the receiving end. I find myself empathising more and more with my grandparents whose horror at our views and values I found amusing at the time.)

Last edited 1 year ago by m3pc7q3ixe
Sam Hill
Sam Hill
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

I’m not sure I totally buy that. Looking back to my Dad he was able to walk out of school as an unqualified 15 year old and walk straight into production lines for secure work. Sure – when he was alive he would have happily taken issue with anyone who thought that a 1960s production line was some gilded existence. But my parents (I am I would guess 5-10 years older than you) had an environment that simply is not available to the young today and the production lines, cheap housing, strong unions, cheap oil, suspicion of debt (personal and public) and the like aren’t coming back. And, of course my Dad was not competing for work with the East European reserve army of labour. It just feels at times as if the young now are expected to come of age in an environment that simply doesn’t exist.
For all the criticism of the young today I would make two observations. Firstly, the society they are confronted with is hardly their fault. And secondly I do feel that there should be some sort of ‘soft landing’ between the ages of (say) 18-21. For sure the current ‘student experience’ is not good. 30 years ago the student experience was about the end of adolescence and entry to independent living, now our universities too often are a gateway to an adolescence that extends into people’s 30s. If there is no route to a secure transition to adulthood then juvenilisation is what is left.
We saw some of this in covid where there was an expectation that the state would bubble wrap us. Compare that to AIDS in the 1980s.
Where I very strongly agree with you is about online technology – indeed I’m rather surprised that Stock doesn’t discuss that because it seems to me to be critical. Your comment about my generation’s naivety on the advance of internet is, if anything, too kind. Looking back we should have seen the very obvious downside coming and we certainly should have seen big tech for what it is. Worse, some people seemed to think that what you call ‘bubble wrapping’ was totally unnecessary online. If anything I am quite happy to say that I am, for now, bubble-wrapping my daughter online. I do believe that my cohort rather let yours down. I am very glad that neither I nor my daughter had to face the advance of the internet in the way your cohort did. As you rightly say if not my cohort then who else would really give thought to online things.
I would also, gently, take some issue with Stock about my generation’s politicisation at university. We had a short-lived anti-globalisation movement. We took issue with mass migration and globalised corporate interests as being a race to the bottom. I think we were right, we just gave up being right and started tapping our keyboards.

R E P
R E P
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

Great insight…see Jonathan Haidt for US experience a decade later.

Kevin R
Kevin R
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

Simon Sinek made a very entertaining account of that same point in this interview:
https://youtu.be/hER0Qp6QJNU

Last edited 1 year ago by Kevin R
R E P
R E P
1 year ago

And the Bolsheviks were a tiny minority…Unfortunately, every time there is a push back – say the recent “free speech” on campus legislation, they bungle it. Frankly, the Tories do not understand what is happening and are easily legged over by the civil service, or are onboard with, what they are told, is being nice.

Last edited 1 year ago by R E P
Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  R E P

They have to fall the way they are now. My tory MP lives in cloud cuckoo land.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  R E P

They have to fall the way they are now. My tory MP lives in cloud cuckoo land.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

SRB Corps as in “sorbo rubber backbone”…

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago

I think the fundamental issue that Stock does sort of pinpoint but doesn’t really elaborate on is that it isn’t her generation who are the issue, it is my generation that are.

Stock is around 51, so she’s gen x, and gen x were raised and socialised and educated prior to the information revolution. I am nearing 40, and the oldest millennials are now 42-43, so we are of an age to be slowly but surely taking over the elite managerial positions of society from Stock’s generation, the oldest of whom are fast reaching retirement.

Stock is unfortunately in a poor position to elucidate why this is, because her childhood and adolescence was very different to that of my generation. We were raised with a combination of a new approach to parenting that sought to coax us to do better by rewarding everything and making everyone a winner, in spite of this running counter to the indifference and unfairness we would inevitably have to manage, a new level of paranoia about children’s safety that led to us being less free to experience the world without reams of parental bubbble wrapping cushioning us, followed by an unprecedented change to information technology that our parents didn’t have the experience to shelter us from that gave us access to more information than ever with little resilience and experience with adversity to shelter ourselves.

Whilst the earliest parts of my childhood bore strong similarities to those of Stock, by my teenaged years, mobile phones and the internet had begun to dominate social interactions, and the sexualisation had gone off the deep end, with everyone suddenly clamouring to label themselves as bisexual, and a teenaged pregnancy epidemic snowballing in seemingly every school. Then, before we were really emotionally matured and adult, 9/11 happened, and we were thrust into a world that suddenly seemed to be much scarier and more extreme with less resilience and maturity than previous generations. It is little wonder we were such easy targets for radicalisation when we reached universities, and those who excelled with those ideas had little incentive to change perspectives as they aged and climbed up workplace hierarchies.

Last edited 1 year ago by AL Crowe
R E P
R E P
1 year ago

And the Bolsheviks were a tiny minority…Unfortunately, every time there is a push back – say the recent “free speech” on campus legislation, they bungle it. Frankly, the Tories do not understand what is happening and are easily legged over by the civil service, or are onboard with, what they are told, is being nice.

Last edited 1 year ago by R E P
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

SRB Corps as in “sorbo rubber backbone”…

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

“the legal system is very much on the side of the activists thanks to misguided Equalities legislation of this country and how it has effectively removed equality before the law.”

Indeed, and one must ask the question why this wretched so-called Tory Government has done absolutely NOTHING to repeal this pernicious legislation, despite being ‘in power’ for more than a decade?

Perhaps they actually agree with it? In which case we should prepare for the destruction of our society as we know it.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

They had a massive majority because of a promise of Brexit and have largely squandered it because of their wokery.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tony Conrad
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Spot on, well said Sir!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Spot on, well said Sir!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Have you ever looked at the names of those listed in The Telegraph as passing Bar finals? The percentage of those with ” British surnames is under 20%.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

They had a massive majority because of a promise of Brexit and have largely squandered it because of their wokery.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tony Conrad
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Have you ever looked at the names of those listed in The Telegraph as passing Bar finals? The percentage of those with ” British surnames is under 20%.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

I read the essay on James Mill published today in Unherd first and so it struck me that your observation on the pernicious effects of the Equalities legislation in providing for protected classes very much mirrors the separate legal systems of traditional Indian colonialism that James Mill railed against and argued in favour of equality of all races before the law. As I observed in the comments under that article the radicalism of James Mill in that respect has become regarded as deeply conservative and right wing while the inequalities of multicultural protected classes is regarded as progressive and philosophically virtuous rather than traditional conservative colonialism of the pre-James Mill approach. It highlights how meaningless the concepts of right and left and radical and conservative have become. Like the old white colonialist in India we have managed to erected a legal structure to advantage some races above others but in this case it is the native British that are disadvantaged.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Just on the implied ‘management’ challenge related to ethnic staff and the perceived inability to manage performance because of ‘fear’ of being labelled racist – good managers, following fair, transparent process, particularly about how you judge performance, won’t have this problem and will be appreciated by their staff. Poor managers will have problems.
We need to be a little less ‘snowflakely’ about what good management entails and requires. We’ll always find a v small cohort of work colleagues trying it on and using every angle they can to avoid their responsibilities.

Last edited 1 year ago by j watson
polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I take it that you are not required to manage anyone.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

He is still right about management though.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

He is still right about management though.

Stevie K
Stevie K
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

It varies substantially by industry/sector. Some sectors, with high customer interaction, in particular are hugely game-able by bad actors. They know from experience that they can successfully appeal to HR and get the managerial decision overturned. It doesn’t take many cycles of that event to destroy competent management.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I take it that you are not required to manage anyone.

Stevie K
Stevie K
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

It varies substantially by industry/sector. Some sectors, with high customer interaction, in particular are hugely game-able by bad actors. They know from experience that they can successfully appeal to HR and get the managerial decision overturned. It doesn’t take many cycles of that event to destroy competent management.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

“wouldn’t dare challenge a female colleague of an ethnic minority”
There is a substantial error here – you assume a) all ethnic minorities are “victims” and therefore protected and b) victimhood privileges are additive.

If you are Indian Hindu or (in smaller numbers) Vietnamese or Lankan, there are no privileges to being “ethnic”.

And, this lack of “victim privileges” is irrespective of male or female.
Thus, if you are an India female, you are fair game for racism AND sexism because even your women privileges don’t apply fully.

Similarly, if you are a lower class, non college educated deplorable white, you lack “victim privileges” – irrespective of male or female – as thousands of female white grooming gangs victims have found out in labour dominated councils (the party of choice, incidentally, for the vast majority of college educated, upper class women aged 25-30)

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

The labour councils wanted the votes over the sexual rights of the raped white girls. It figures.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

The labour councils wanted the votes over the sexual rights of the raped white girls. It figures.

Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

You make a valid point about how “… misguided Equalities legislation of this country … has effectively removed equality before the law.”
The infusion of human rights legislation into every facet of society by ‘human rights’ lawyers, coupled with the concomitant domination of law-making in this area by unaccountable judges who have trumped the sovereign process of parliamentary governance has not only undermined the foundations of democracy, but has served to invert the law so that it now serves minority rights at the expense of those of majorities. This inversion is an incredibly powerful weapon that has been ruthlessly exploited by activists, usually driven by Marxist ideals that divide the world into the oppressed and the oppressors. In a democratic system weakened by such diminution, even removal, of the rights of majorities, it is not surprising that those majorities find themselves increasingly powerless to fight back – not least because the new Woking Class (as distinct from the the former Liberal Elite) has infiltrated every nook and cranny, vertically and horizontally, of the fabric of our existence and social interaction.
I have great respect for Kathleen Stock and value her writing. But on this occasion I believe she has significantly understated the depth and breadth of the ‘woke’ revolution that has overtaken western civilisation.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Pellatt

You have nailed it.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Pellatt

You have nailed it.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

It’s hilarious that the author of this piece is completely oblivious to her own membership in the liberal academic elite.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

But doesn’t she say Whatever the new elite is, I’m probably a member of it.?

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago

Preemptive plausible deniability for the inevitable suspicion.
She might as well have written “I know what you’re thinking but I’m not like that, honest.”

Last edited 1 year ago by William Shaw
Phil Mac
Phil Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Right, so the fact she said she is part of it really meant she was completely oblivious to being in it but said that to throw you off the scent, even though she was oblivious to being the thing you say she was trying to pretend not to be part of.
Yes, it’s so clear now.

Phil Mac
Phil Mac
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Right, so the fact she said she is part of it really meant she was completely oblivious to being in it but said that to throw you off the scent, even though she was oblivious to being the thing you say she was trying to pretend not to be part of.
Yes, it’s so clear now.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

Perhaps a mistaken member of it because of privelege. She was saying that it doesn’t really exist amongst the so called elite. She is probably right and if she is then the source of it is somewhere else.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago

Preemptive plausible deniability for the inevitable suspicion.
She might as well have written “I know what you’re thinking but I’m not like that, honest.”

Last edited 1 year ago by William Shaw
Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

Perhaps a mistaken member of it because of privelege. She was saying that it doesn’t really exist amongst the so called elite. She is probably right and if she is then the source of it is somewhere else.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Perhaps you did not notice that she wrote this:-
“Whatever the new elite is, I’m probably a member of it. I went to Oxford and then made a career out of talking about whether the external world really exists independently of the mind or not, so I don’t think there is any way out for me on this.”

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

How very smug of her! But she is correct, there is NO redemption!

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

There is always redemption for the righteous once they see their failings as with the rest of us.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

An admirable sentiment with which I must beg to disagree.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

An admirable sentiment with which I must beg to disagree.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

There is always redemption for the righteous once they see their failings as with the rest of us.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

How very smug of her! But she is correct, there is NO redemption!

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

She was saying that they were not woke just rudderless without a passion to change things.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

But doesn’t she say Whatever the new elite is, I’m probably a member of it.?

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Perhaps you did not notice that she wrote this:-
“Whatever the new elite is, I’m probably a member of it. I went to Oxford and then made a career out of talking about whether the external world really exists independently of the mind or not, so I don’t think there is any way out for me on this.”

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

She was saying that they were not woke just rudderless without a passion to change things.

John Mattingley
John Mattingley
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Indeed. As Neema Parvini points out in his seminal book “The Populist Delusion” culture is downstream of law. It is activists changing law (particularly under Blair, but not exclusively so) that has ruptured society beyond repair.

In summary the article takes the long way round to get to the fact that an affluent managerial class will always take the route of least resistance to career success. It is merely a question of financial and social incentives.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

For some reason I have to latch onto a post to post myself, I can’t just start a new thread, so if this appears at odds with your post you know why.
The above article strikes me as not much more than a “Not me Guv” response to a book I’ve yet to read. However, the whole concept of ‘Woke” is intriguing. Sometimes our intellectuals delve to deeply into something. I don’t bother much about the science behind the fusion reactor known as the sun when I’m enjoying a sunny day. Or possibly more to the point if lying on the grass watching the clouds on such a sunny day, I find it amusing that the deeper mechanisms in me can identify the clouds as rabbits, faces etc. None of it is true, and I know that but I can accept the interpretation and enjoy it because it is harmless. However when I see a real rabbit, the mechanism works well. The nuts and bolts in terms of psychology of the Woke maybe interesting but more of interest is to my mind the wilful ignorance of the large real perception, if Ms Stock is to be believed, and how the elite keep their consciences quiet.
Trans ideology for a start is the driving force behind one new child abuse. Then we have Drag Queen Story time, which a major union (apparently) demands.
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/773af654-d3b3-11ed-b1cd-5223fe349502?shareToken=ccd348dd761f2361f2c85c96819a145a
is it too going to be seen for what it also is, another form of child abuse?
Mentioning the P word seems to upset the Unherd moderation. How ironic
if the labelling of the facts is Unherd here while the argument for them
isn’t!
Drag Queen story time strikes me as being a shiny cover for Paedophilia. The fact that Labour is up to its neck in both these philosophies should not be surprising, at least if you have ever read this BBC article.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26352378
Not that the Tories are blameless. The fact is the Tories are basically New Labour and the Labour Party an older Labour (circa 1970’s? That is the era of the article.)
Sometimes what you see is actually what you are getting, and the + in LBGTQIA+ perhaps really is then new love that dare not speak its name and Ms Stock and her ‘cohort’ prefer not to delve too deeply into discovering that?
Who would have thought after Savile that the BBC and our Establishment would not only willingly accept, but actually promote even worse abuse and in greater numbers. I wait with interest for the day that Muslim parents start to experience such educational practices. Mind you the current Scots FM seems happy with them.
As an aside, I once met Jimmy Savile in a private capacity and it beggars belief as far as I’m concerned that none of the BBC hierarchy ever felt uncomfortable in the man’s presence. I found him a very disturbing personality even on a very short acquaintance, and that long before he was exposed for what he was. Though I must use Ms Stock’s excuse as to why I didn’t spread my concerns more widely – I was too busy with other more interesting things.

Last edited 1 year ago by Bill Bailey
Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Bailey

On the subject of Saville and the BBC, I, and many of my school age friends in Leeds, were well aware that he was ‘a creep’ to be avoided. He was given the keys to Leeds Infirmary and left to his own devices to ‘pester’ anyone who took his fancy. It was an open secret in Leeds that he was a pervert so when I was admitted to the hospital and was unfortunate to find him sitting on my bed leering at me, I ‘gave him the shoulder’. He got the message and slunk away. The BBC, who no doubt had a Northern correspondent in Leeds at the time, would surely have known about his predilection for young girls. However they nipped their nose and feigned ignorance – desperate for viewing figures!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Diane Tasker

So no Jim’ll fixit badge for you then?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Diane Tasker

So no Jim’ll fixit badge for you then?

Diane Tasker
Diane Tasker
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill Bailey

On the subject of Saville and the BBC, I, and many of my school age friends in Leeds, were well aware that he was ‘a creep’ to be avoided. He was given the keys to Leeds Infirmary and left to his own devices to ‘pester’ anyone who took his fancy. It was an open secret in Leeds that he was a pervert so when I was admitted to the hospital and was unfortunate to find him sitting on my bed leering at me, I ‘gave him the shoulder’. He got the message and slunk away. The BBC, who no doubt had a Northern correspondent in Leeds at the time, would surely have known about his predilection for young girls. However they nipped their nose and feigned ignorance – desperate for viewing figures!

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

“these radical progressives are a smaller group within the new elite”.
The size of the radical group is less important than the ferventness of the members radicalness. The elites are mostly Professional Managerial Class, but those folks are mostly weakly political technocrats with little ideological spine. The radicals are religious fundamentalists who view every slight as a heresy against their new god. There’s a reason the PMCs have folded like the cheap suits they are — we educated them to be bureaucrats not heroes.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

“the legal system is very much on the side of the activists thanks to misguided Equalities legislation of this country and how it has effectively removed equality before the law.”

Indeed, and one must ask the question why this wretched so-called Tory Government has done absolutely NOTHING to repeal this pernicious legislation, despite being ‘in power’ for more than a decade?

Perhaps they actually agree with it? In which case we should prepare for the destruction of our society as we know it.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

I read the essay on James Mill published today in Unherd first and so it struck me that your observation on the pernicious effects of the Equalities legislation in providing for protected classes very much mirrors the separate legal systems of traditional Indian colonialism that James Mill railed against and argued in favour of equality of all races before the law. As I observed in the comments under that article the radicalism of James Mill in that respect has become regarded as deeply conservative and right wing while the inequalities of multicultural protected classes is regarded as progressive and philosophically virtuous rather than traditional conservative colonialism of the pre-James Mill approach. It highlights how meaningless the concepts of right and left and radical and conservative have become. Like the old white colonialist in India we have managed to erected a legal structure to advantage some races above others but in this case it is the native British that are disadvantaged.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Just on the implied ‘management’ challenge related to ethnic staff and the perceived inability to manage performance because of ‘fear’ of being labelled racist – good managers, following fair, transparent process, particularly about how you judge performance, won’t have this problem and will be appreciated by their staff. Poor managers will have problems.
We need to be a little less ‘snowflakely’ about what good management entails and requires. We’ll always find a v small cohort of work colleagues trying it on and using every angle they can to avoid their responsibilities.

Last edited 1 year ago by j watson
Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

“wouldn’t dare challenge a female colleague of an ethnic minority”
There is a substantial error here – you assume a) all ethnic minorities are “victims” and therefore protected and b) victimhood privileges are additive.

If you are Indian Hindu or (in smaller numbers) Vietnamese or Lankan, there are no privileges to being “ethnic”.

And, this lack of “victim privileges” is irrespective of male or female.
Thus, if you are an India female, you are fair game for racism AND sexism because even your women privileges don’t apply fully.

Similarly, if you are a lower class, non college educated deplorable white, you lack “victim privileges” – irrespective of male or female – as thousands of female white grooming gangs victims have found out in labour dominated councils (the party of choice, incidentally, for the vast majority of college educated, upper class women aged 25-30)

Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

You make a valid point about how “… misguided Equalities legislation of this country … has effectively removed equality before the law.”
The infusion of human rights legislation into every facet of society by ‘human rights’ lawyers, coupled with the concomitant domination of law-making in this area by unaccountable judges who have trumped the sovereign process of parliamentary governance has not only undermined the foundations of democracy, but has served to invert the law so that it now serves minority rights at the expense of those of majorities. This inversion is an incredibly powerful weapon that has been ruthlessly exploited by activists, usually driven by Marxist ideals that divide the world into the oppressed and the oppressors. In a democratic system weakened by such diminution, even removal, of the rights of majorities, it is not surprising that those majorities find themselves increasingly powerless to fight back – not least because the new Woking Class (as distinct from the the former Liberal Elite) has infiltrated every nook and cranny, vertically and horizontally, of the fabric of our existence and social interaction.
I have great respect for Kathleen Stock and value her writing. But on this occasion I believe she has significantly understated the depth and breadth of the ‘woke’ revolution that has overtaken western civilisation.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

It’s hilarious that the author of this piece is completely oblivious to her own membership in the liberal academic elite.

John Mattingley
John Mattingley
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Indeed. As Neema Parvini points out in his seminal book “The Populist Delusion” culture is downstream of law. It is activists changing law (particularly under Blair, but not exclusively so) that has ruptured society beyond repair.

In summary the article takes the long way round to get to the fact that an affluent managerial class will always take the route of least resistance to career success. It is merely a question of financial and social incentives.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

For some reason I have to latch onto a post to post myself, I can’t just start a new thread, so if this appears at odds with your post you know why.
The above article strikes me as not much more than a “Not me Guv” response to a book I’ve yet to read. However, the whole concept of ‘Woke” is intriguing. Sometimes our intellectuals delve to deeply into something. I don’t bother much about the science behind the fusion reactor known as the sun when I’m enjoying a sunny day. Or possibly more to the point if lying on the grass watching the clouds on such a sunny day, I find it amusing that the deeper mechanisms in me can identify the clouds as rabbits, faces etc. None of it is true, and I know that but I can accept the interpretation and enjoy it because it is harmless. However when I see a real rabbit, the mechanism works well. The nuts and bolts in terms of psychology of the Woke maybe interesting but more of interest is to my mind the wilful ignorance of the large real perception, if Ms Stock is to be believed, and how the elite keep their consciences quiet.
Trans ideology for a start is the driving force behind one new child abuse. Then we have Drag Queen Story time, which a major union (apparently) demands.
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/773af654-d3b3-11ed-b1cd-5223fe349502?shareToken=ccd348dd761f2361f2c85c96819a145a
is it too going to be seen for what it also is, another form of child abuse?
Mentioning the P word seems to upset the Unherd moderation. How ironic
if the labelling of the facts is Unherd here while the argument for them
isn’t!
Drag Queen story time strikes me as being a shiny cover for Paedophilia. The fact that Labour is up to its neck in both these philosophies should not be surprising, at least if you have ever read this BBC article.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26352378
Not that the Tories are blameless. The fact is the Tories are basically New Labour and the Labour Party an older Labour (circa 1970’s? That is the era of the article.)
Sometimes what you see is actually what you are getting, and the + in LBGTQIA+ perhaps really is then new love that dare not speak its name and Ms Stock and her ‘cohort’ prefer not to delve too deeply into discovering that?
Who would have thought after Savile that the BBC and our Establishment would not only willingly accept, but actually promote even worse abuse and in greater numbers. I wait with interest for the day that Muslim parents start to experience such educational practices. Mind you the current Scots FM seems happy with them.
As an aside, I once met Jimmy Savile in a private capacity and it beggars belief as far as I’m concerned that none of the BBC hierarchy ever felt uncomfortable in the man’s presence. I found him a very disturbing personality even on a very short acquaintance, and that long before he was exposed for what he was. Though I must use Ms Stock’s excuse as to why I didn’t spread my concerns more widely – I was too busy with other more interesting things.

Last edited 1 year ago by Bill Bailey
Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago

I think this article makes some good points. However it fails to mention the key reason why staff are so afraid to stand up to their activist colleagues, is that the legal system is very much on the side of the activists thanks to misguided Equalities legislation of this country and how it has effectively removed equality before the law.

I’d be more than happy to call out a white male colleague who was incompetent but I wouldn’t dare challenge a female colleague of an ethnic minority, because if a dispute escalated, I fear I’d be fired in an instant if they were willing to weaponise their protected characteristics, because they have a legal privilege that is denied to myself and others. Though it should be noted, that many of the worst offenders in this new legal regime are not those with protected characteristics themselves but those who use the law to build up networks of patronage and privilege by abusing them. Shaping institutions to their ideological biases by using the discriminatory power they have under the law to hire and fire without merit.

It is an irony of ridiculous proportions that in order to fight invisible privileges (which in truth are nothing more than socioeconomic disparities with no clear discriminatory basis) dreamt of by left wing academia, the solution has been literally to reintroduce the kind of unequal legal privileges which liberal democracies fought so hard to expel from society due to their pernicious effects.

I think to dismiss this issue as just another facet of the culture war is misguided. If there is no equality before the law the very concept of a stable legal order is undermined. Look at the increasingly febrile atmosphere of American politics. If that becomes the case here, a culture war will be the least of our worries.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matthew Powell
Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

They don’t have a political vocabulary with which to counter the wild rhetoric, and nor do they have the convictions or earnestness to make it stick.

It’s because the language of politics is too weak to fight against wokeism. I believe many people are becoming woke not just because they are earnest believers in a wokeist world view, but because it affords them the same level of righteous power as a religious fanatic who cannot fathom that their extreme views are evil.
Contrary to popular thought, Christianity was designed to resist the excesses of this religious impulse and channel it in a way that benefits others. By dismantling the guardrails of Christianity we have left ourselves exposed to those who espouse a far more vicious and spiteful version of religion.
At the end of the day it is a matter of faith. We have lost faith in ourselves as parents, teachers, and leaders. Heck, we don’t even know if we are men or women any more. No wonder our children are desperately looking for absolutes and moral certainties. By placing them in a historical and cultural vacuum we stopped teaching them how to live and now they hate us for it.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Your comment precisely distils the problem, its causes, its effects.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

It is the failure to replace waiting Christian belief with extensive ethics education in schools that disappoints me most.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Do you not mean waning?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Do you not mean waning?

T Bone
T Bone
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I think your cultural premise here is correct and the argument is very wise.
I would contest two things though.

First, Wokism isn’t like a religion, it is a religion. In fact, its the oldest Religion which posits that the Snake in the Garden was telling the truth and Human bodies are a Prison of the Soul. It’s Gnosticism 101. Every Leftist movement at least since Rousseau has been led by Gnostic practitioners that believed Christianity was the prison that trapped the Human from unleashing his/her God traits and once everyone realized they were Gods, everyone would think the same (collectivism) and either the True God would reveal himself or Heaven on Earth would be Achieved (Secular Utopia). The Hivemind is a necessary condition which is why all Communist movements demand conformance.

Second, Britain unlike the US was serially infected with Anti-Christianity via the Fabian Society and because Britain unlike the US had a State religion. Christianity was imposed on Britain. Christianity is not meant to be imposed. If you don’t believe Christ was God, you’re not a Christian. It’s that simple. If you believe Christianity’s enduring value is grounded in a particular system of ethics founded on a Santa Claus/Easter Bunny type myth and not genuine Faith than you fundamentally misunderstand Christianity. I understand Materialism and I understand why most Brits don’t believe in God but I don’t understand why so few have read Chesterton and Lewis.

Anyhow, good points in general.

Last edited 1 year ago by T Bone
Simon Baker
Simon Baker
1 year ago
Reply to  T Bone

The Church of England is actually the religion most would still closest to in England, even agnostics. Plus adding together Christians, Muslims and Jews over 50% in the UK still do God. More too adding Hindus and Sikhs

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Baker

mmm but Allah and the Christian God are different so believing in God is not enough. One has to decide which is right.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Baker

mmm but Allah and the Christian God are different so believing in God is not enough. One has to decide which is right.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  T Bone

I’ve never heard of the Fabian society but your point is well made. Truth or deception has always been the battle and always will be.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tony Conrad
Stevie K
Stevie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Ah yes, The Fabian Society, the late British Victorian elite shock troops of bohemianism and collectivism. . They are a big part what created the self-hating intellectual class George Orwell so perceptively skewered in the 1930s.
We still live deeply under their shadow.

Stevie K
Stevie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Ah yes, The Fabian Society, the late British Victorian elite shock troops of bohemianism and collectivism. . They are a big part what created the self-hating intellectual class George Orwell so perceptively skewered in the 1930s.
We still live deeply under their shadow.

Euphrosinia Romanoff
Euphrosinia Romanoff
1 year ago
Reply to  T Bone

Very enlightening. Especially given the record of the Catholic church which, unlike the zealots the UnHerd cohort likes to single out, did not cancel its opponents but actually burned them.

Simon Baker
Simon Baker
1 year ago
Reply to  T Bone

The Church of England is actually the religion most would still closest to in England, even agnostics. Plus adding together Christians, Muslims and Jews over 50% in the UK still do God. More too adding Hindus and Sikhs