Have we finally passed peak woke?

May 31, 2021 by

by Simon Heffer, Telegraph:

The public’s rejection of PC brainwashing at the National Trust suggests common sense is starting to prevail.

Last December an attempt to impose upon members of Cambridge University a requirement to “respect” the views of others was defeated by a landslide (86.9 per cent to 13.1) by those who wished merely to “tolerate” those views. You shouldn’t need a Cambridge PhD to understand the difference, but it had to be explained to the University’s high priests of woke: reasonable people are quite happy to tolerate the expression of views by those with whom they violently disagree but, in a free society, they cannot be commanded to respect them. That, too, was a turn of the tide, for universities have led the cancel culture: not least with half-educated students screaming blue murder every time somebody expresses an alternative opinion on some aspect of transgenderism and dons too terrified to disagree with them.

And Cambridge’s archbishop of woke, its increasingly eccentric vice-chancellor Professor Stephen Toope, had to execute a rapid reverse last week after approving a website where students could anonymously report “micro-aggressions” by dons: these included referring to a woman as a “girl”, turning their back on a student or delivering a backhanded compliment. Prof Toope was forced to order the website to be taken down after dons complained Cambridge was becoming a police state. The Free Speech Union threatened to take him to court and it would serve him right if they did. The government is proposing a free speech law to force universities to repudiate the cancel culture; the howls of outrage extremists in those institutions hoped would be provoked have not occurred. Most people have had enough of this dangerous foolishness.

The murder of George Floyd last year, which triggered an international spasm of woke, was and remains a horrific crime. Sadly, much of the bandwagon-jumping that followed was nauseating in its self-righteousness and cringe-making in its virtue signalling. It was also hijacked by extreme anarchist groups for whom respecting the lives of black people was a lesser consideration than overthrowing international capitalism. The censoriousness of these militants has now provoked a backlash: sportsmen have given up the stunt of “taking the knee”, not because they are happy about the murder of black people but because it became an empty gesture.

The BBC, which became almost paralysed with adoration for the Black Lives Matter organisation and sought to take a lead role in brainwashing the nation into believing we are all guilty, learned its lesson about overdoing the woke when hit by a tsunami of rage after attempting to “decolonise” the Last Night of the Proms. The perception of woke obsessions in broadcast news – not least since the Murdoch organisation surrendered control of Sky News – has directly led to the creation of a new channel, GB News, due to launch next month. Aware of the enormous popularity of television channels that show unwoke programmes and films from the last half of the 20th century, the recently-installed BBC director-general, Tim Davie, has reminded his senior staff that the Corporation must serve everyone.

Yet nothing has done more to make people to rise up against this totalitarian attempt at social brainwashing than the incessant posturing and bleating of the Crown Prince and Princess of Woke, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Their titanic self-regard, vacuous and self-pitying pronouncements, and consequent rudeness to the most admired person in Britain, Her Majesty the Queen, have bred ridicule and contempt.

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