What did you think, I wonder, when you read that title? Was your first thought that I was about to go off on a racist, white supremacist rant in reaction to the ridiculous revisionist bullshit that’s expressing itself like pus oozing from a rancid boil in our society today?
Sorry to disappoint. I am white, it is true, and I am proud, that is also true, but I m not proud of being white. My ethnicity is a fact, nothing more. I was born to parents of caucasian descent, my father was an Australian of Scottish heritage, my mother from Kent. Hard to be more white than that.
I am proud of several things, I am proud that I have fathered three children, non-white, I should add, and I am proud that they are all turning out to be intelligent, kind-ish, well mannered, free-thinking people. I am proud that, with some help, I managed to walk away from alcohol and drugs and have remained clean and sober for many years. I am proud that for several years I ran in some gruelling long distance events and only quit a few times at many attempts.
This list should give a clue about how I think pride can be justified, but that is just my criteria and is not intended to be a general rule. Others have their criteria and that is ok by me. What is not ok by me is for me or mine to be measured against someone else’s benchmark and found to be wanting, and that is what is happening right now.
There have been some shameful episodes in European history, that is certain, but it is for us to revise and there is a way of doing it. There should be debate, discussion and negotiation, and then the symbols of our colonial past can be integrated or removed. For angry mobs to be permitted to commit damage on a grand scale solely to express nihilism is not the way we do things around here.
I went to visit Kenya a few years ago, and I was privileged to be able to stay in the house of a man who was part of the political process following the war to oust the English. He told me a lot about the ups and downs of that time, and it was a bloody time for their country. The bloodshed that followed the departure of the English was terrible, worse, he said, than the war itself, which was very bad. This was because the politics were run along tribal lines, and the struggle cost many lives before the dominant tribe took power. One thing about Kenya, though, is that you don’t see a lot of disaffected kids with enough time or privilege to run around complaining that life is not working out how they wish, and destroying property that has value to many. That is the preserve of soft countries like England, where we are permissive and weak.
This is not the England of my childhood though, when Thatcher dressed soldiers as policemen who then baton charged on horseback the striking miners at Orgreave. I can’t help thinking that I would rather live with that kind of political leadership than the kind that stands back and allows a small minority of the population to take dominance by acts of violence.
And this is the problem with the identity politics that is so dominant these days. Groups hijack the debate based on their right not to be offended, and make subjects undebatable, just as the Jews have done with the alleged events of the second world war. It is not possible to question the right of a child to say that they are the opposite sex, or the appropriateness of surgical procedures or drug interventions based on the word of a twelve year old boy who thinks he wants to be a girl. It is not permitted to say that every human life has equal value, it is as if a swing in the opposite direction is required before balance can be achieved and now it must be blindly repeated that black lives matter more than white. But it has gone even further than that because now it must be acknowledged that nothing matters as much.
Tonight I received an email from the school that my eldest child has been attending until recently to inform me that the house that my daughter was in is being renamed. The house is named Drake, after the renowned English pirate Sir Francis Drake, and the reason it is being renamed is because they have just found out that Drake, among other things was a slave trader. The fact that he was the first captain to circumnavigate the globe in a single expedition in 1577 can be conveniently forgotten, as can his vice admiralcy against the Armada which prevented a certain invasion by the Spanish. The fact that his history as a privateer was known when I was at school, a long time ago, and the tacit understanding that everyone was moving slaves around in those days has never been a secret, makes the timing of this move nauseating.
Everyone must know that the school governors are caving to political pressure from the identity politics lobby. Either they are in cahoots with the marxist left who dominate education these days, or they are in fear of them, either case is worthy of contempt. That they present such a coherent and logical case for this change means little when the background context is considered. Nothing matters more than not offending some black people, causing offense to any white people doesn’t matter because they probably won’t burn the school down.
And this is the problem with identity politics, it creates division and conflict, which is what the marxists want. It has become clear that the radical left do not like anyone, they just love to destroy those they hate. This could be seen in the last election when the factions of the Labour party had to tear down their leader rather than let him win.
So, it feels like I am being asked to pick sides. The left is a landscape of easily offended groups, loosely allied and held together by bitterness and hatred. The gays, trans, blacks, marxist idealogues are a very unwelcoming bunch squabbling for supremacy like chickens fighting for the top roost so they won’t be shit on by the others. This only leaves the right, and that is just scary. But, it feels calmer there.
The feeling is that if I don’t pick a side I will be left exposed when they come asking what I have done to help a black person recently. What do I do when I am asked to kneel to commemorate a villainous black man who may or may not have died of a drug overdose while resisting arrest? Doesn’t anything that I have achieved in my life mean that I can just be proud, and remain standing next to the many black men I have known as friends in my life? I am sure that none of them would expect me to kneel.