In the cellars of Kronborg Castle in Denmark (Hamlet’s castle), there broods the statue of Holger Danske, a mythical Viking figure who will awaken from his slumbers if Denmark is ever threatened. A similar figure is said to exist in England in the form of Weyland Smith, who will arise from his hidden forge with his magical sword if the need arises. Was is it just possible that the great mop-haired one, the mythical Boris, of whom so much was expected by so many, had finally awakening from his slumbers? Yesterday, for the first time in a very long while, perhaps ever in public, he spoke with real passion. No bluster, no hyperbole. He was in deadly earnest:
The statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square is a permanent reminder of his achievement in saving this country – and the whole of Europe – from a fascist and racist tyranny. It is absurd and shameful that this national monument should today be at risk of attack by violent protesters. Yes, he sometimes expressed opinions that were and are unacceptable to us today, but he was a hero, and he fully deserves his memorial. We cannot now try to edit or censor our past. We cannot pretend to have a different history. The statues in our cities and towns were put up by previous generations. They had different perspectives, different understandings of right and wrong. But those statues teach us about our past, with all its faults. To tear them down would be to lie about our history and impoverish the education of generations to come.
Yes, and so say all of us.
Boris has not exactly led the field in pointing out the contradictions inherent in the ideology of multiculturalism, the curious asymmetry whereby minority cultures and traditions should be allowed to flourish in the name of diversity, but the host culture – i.e. English culture and civilization – abolished; or in highlighting the dangers to the host culture of mass immigration. His liberal lifestyle might have something to do with it, as might his Turkish forebears, to which he is romantically attached. Like most who have enjoyed the privileges of the elite, he is not personally touched by the demographic and cultural change being wrought in the wider country.
It was the threat to the statue of Churchill that did it. Boris is a patriot in the best sense of the term; and he knows, having written a fine biography of his subject, that Churchill, his great hero, was, and remains, the very embodiment of England. Boris cares deeply about two other things as well. The first is our Western legacy to Rome, which he has also written about with eloquence and passion. Boris has no doubt that Imperial Rome – slavery, crucifixions, lion-mangled Christians, military conquest, and all the rest of it – is, and remains, a great civilization. The second is freedom – the freedom to express one’s thoughts, to utter heresies, to poke fun at ourselves and, yes, others. These are all part and parcel of our cultural inheritance, our civilization, as Churchill understood only too well.
The threat to Churchill, his statue and place in our history and our hearts, is a threat to all that Boris holds most dear.
Surely it was but only a small step to wake up and denounce the ideology that sanctions this deadly threat it, the ideology of multiculturalism and its accompanying paraphernalia – white privilege, white oppression, institutional racism, the diversity and inclusivity fetishes, deconstruction of the dominant culture, unconscious bias, microaggressions etc.
Was it just possible that Boris had seen the light? For if he takes the lead, as Churchill once did, others will surely summon up the guts to follow. Well, today, we have our answer in the form of an article in the Telegraph.
To his credit, Boris says all the right things about our history, our heritage, and our statues. He repeats his message about Churchill. He suggests some new statues might be put up to complement the old Victorian imperial ones. Well, all right. But what of the future? We shall, writes Boris, have ‘a cross-governmental commission to look at all aspects of inequality – in employment, in health outcomes, in academic and all other walks of life.’ We shall build on the existing success of ‘BAME’ students [Afro-Caribbean, Sikh, Chinese, Nigerian – they are all share one distinguishing feature, which is that they are ‘non-white’] and turn this into a ‘universal narrative’. And this, in turn, means ‘addressing racism and discrimination’ and ‘stamping it out’. In short, we keep our statues, but the real fight, the fight against racism, must be taken up with renewed vigour.
But what does this mean in practice? How will equality of outcomes be enforced? How will discrimination be ‘stamped out’? What will be the nature of this ‘universal narrative’ – the one that replaces the old racist and discriminatory one? We can only guess.
The best construction we can put on it is that it is all just blather intended to placate the BLM. The worst is that Boris really means it. But either way, the message seems clear. So long as the lives of the elite, secure in their rural idylls, remain untouched, the goal of a truly multicultural society for the rest of us can be pursued with renewed vigour.
Meanwhile, our schools and universities are already gearing up to enact the BLM agenda. UCL has announced a new plan to combat ‘white privilege’ and ‘intersectional injustices’. The Royal Holloway College has, after much soul searching over its own failure to sufficiently combat ‘structural racism’ in British society and support the BME community, announced that it is to ‘decolonize and diversify’ its collections. Now is the time, it adds, for ‘real and lasting change’.
Never mind Boris. Once again, Nigel Farage is dead on the mark: ‘The book burning has started’.