They never learn, do they? Lisa Nandy, the dark horse candidate in the Labour leadership race, has demanded the word ‘empire’ be expunged from OBE honours and replaced with ‘excellence’ because the reference to Britain’s imperial past offends people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME). This would mean its full name would become the Most Excellent Order of British Excellence. ‘The self-confident, empowered country I will lead will be one that is different,’ Nandy announced at a hustings in Bristol. ‘Where people like Benjamin Zephaniah can accept the Order of British Excellence, not reject the Order of the British Empire. That celebrates those who built us, not seeks to alienate them.’
Doesn’t Nandy realise that one of the reasons Labour did so badly at the last election is because working-class voters believe the party under Jeremy Corbyn has become anti-British? These were people who’d either served in the Armed Forces or were related to someone who had, and they were disgusted by Corbyn’s habit of siding with Britain’s enemies. (To read more, click here.)
Click here to listen to the latest episode of London Calling in which James Delingpole and I discuss the BBC’s woeful Brexit coverage, Boris’s ‘Green Conservatism’, Prince William’s conversion to Wokeness and whether the word ‘Empire’ should be replaced by 'Excellence' in OBEs.
It’s short but it’s oh so sweet. Click here to listen to James Delingpole and me broadcasting from the Spectator's office in London on the eve of an evening of revelry to celebrate Britain's departure from the EU. Raise a glass with us!
Sometimes, the veil is whisked aside and the diversity, equity and inclusion advocates who claim to be on the side of the poor and the dispossessed are revealed as the purse-lipped kill-joys they really are. It’s not about giving the least-well-off a fair shake – it never is. Rather, it’s about making sure white heterosexual men aren’t enjoying themselves. As HL Mencken once said, puritanism is the haunting fear that someone somewhere may be happy.
I’m thinking of the moment earlier this week when Ann Francke, head of the Chartered Management Institute, told the Today programme that men shouldn’t be allowed to talk about football or cricket in the workplace.
“A lot of women, in particular, feel left out,” she said. “They don’t follow those sports and they don’t like either being forced to talk about them or not being included.”
When I first heard this I thought it must be a joke. I’d never heard of the Chartered Management Institute, obviously, but it sounded made-up. Was “Ann Francke” the latest fictional persona of master satirist Andrew Doyle, creator of Titania McGrath? (To read more, click here.)
I was slightly surprised when Greta Thunberg announced at Davos that we had eight years left to save the planet. As long as that? Admittedly, that’s four years less than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who put it at 12, although, come to think of it, that was last January, so presumably she now thinks we’ve got 11 years left. But some doomsayers have been much less optimistic. According to Peter Wadhams, a Cambridge professor interviewed in the Guardian in 2013, Arctic ice would disappear by 2015 if we didn’t mend our ways, while Gordon Brown announced in 2009 that we had just 50 days to save the Earth. Then again, playing the long game can also catch up with you. In 2004, Observer readers were told Britain would have a ‘Siberian’ climate in 16 years’ time. We’re supposed to be in the midst of that now.
On the face of it, we should be grateful that these gloomsters make such oddly precise predictions. It’s like putting a sell-by date on their credibility. After all, when the soothsayer in question is proved wrong, they just shuffle off with their tail between their legs, never to be heard from again, right? In eight years’ time, when the planet hasn’t disappeared in a cloud of toxic gas, presumably Greta will throw up her arms and say: ‘Sorry guys. Looked like I was wrong about you ruining my childhood. I’m now going to become a flight attendant.’ (To read more, click here.)
James Delingpole and I discuss the Huawie deal, the cancellation of Little Britain, the banning of football chat in the office and Andrew Adonis's bizarre reaction to the new 50p Brexit coin. Click here to listen.
I’ve been reading a new biography of George Orwell that’s been published to coincide with the 70th anniversary of his death. Many books have been written about him, including at least six biographies, so there isn’t much new to say. Instead, author Richard Bradford focuses on what Orwell would have thought about the contemporary world and which aspects of it he would have disliked.
Some of the items on Bradford’s list are predictable: China’s surveillance state, Donald Trump’s ‘-alternative facts’, Islamo-fascism. But the thing that would have really got Orwell’s goat, apparently, is our departure from the EU. The world ‘Brexit’ occurs 35 times in Bradford’s book, while there are only 16 references to ‘Isis’. Whole passages are devoted to telling us how ‘rabid’, ‘feral’ and ‘racist’ Leavers are, with scarcely a reference to Orwell. And when Bradford does quote him, it’s in an attempt to show how prescient he was in anticipating the ‘dim-witted materialism’, ‘brainless nationalism’ and ‘xenophobia’ of the Brexiteers. (To read more, click here.)
In this week’s London Calling podcast James Delingpole and I heap praise on Laurence Fox, the new anti-woke anti-hero. Also, what snake oil are Meghan and Harry going to hawk under the Sussex Royal banner? We think ‘Wellness Clinics' might be a bit of a stretch. Click here to listen.