Laurence Fox is terrorising the Wokerati, and it’s brilliant
BY TIM DAWSON
They simply cannot cope. Since Laurence Fox opened his mouth on last Thursday’s Question Time, Twitter has been in meltdown.
“Racist!” they shout. “Racist! Sexist! Homophobe!” And, the coup de grâce: “Privileged white man!”
It has been absolutely joyous to behold. Fox, meanwhile, has responded with trademark insouciance, and found himself with a ballooning fanbase – delighted and amazed to hear from someone in the Arts who isn’t actually mad.
Oh, it’s chucklesome. Deliciously, beautifully chucklesome. But, behind the noise, is a serious point.
Our cultural gatekeepers can no longer expect to maintain a landscape which excludes 90% of people, and demonises – to the point of trying to destroy – anyone who deviates from Equity and Stephen Fry and Predictable BBC Stand-Up and Emma Thompson’s ‘approved’ political views.
It didn’t used to be like this. Writers, performers, actors – they held, and were allowed to hold in plain sight, a plethora of political opinions. John Barron, comic actor and one-time President of Equity, was very right-wing. Charlie Drake was a Socialist. Corin Redgrave was a Communist. Bob Monkhouse was a Thatcherite; so were Morecambe and Wise. Jonathan James-Moore – former BBC Radio Comedy Executive – even went so far as to have a portrait of Margaret Thatcher on his wall. Bill Owen was Labour through-and-through… Do you see the point? Everybody was allowed to exist; no one set of views held precedent – and nobody faced career termination because they had the temerity to deviate from the Ascribed Consensus.
Culturally, we need to return to this. A far richer, far more complex landscape of opinion and attitude – one that reflects ordinary people, rather than constantly seeks to preach at and control them.
The election result sent a clear message: things have to change. And the change we need to see must rebalance our Cultural mainstream towards Laurence Fox, and away from the howling Wokerati who are doing very-nicely-thank-you from excluding everybody else.
Now is the time to do this. The BBC’s current Director General, Tony Hall, is stepping down. The Conservatives have nearly 5 years in government. And – perhaps most importantly of all – ordinary people (the type of people who just took their metaphorical mallets to Labour’s supposedly-impenetrable red wall) are demanding it.
A monstrous Culture War is the last thing that anyone wants. The shrillness of the seething Twitter-Left is the shrillness of an Elite under threat. They will try to turn this into an issue of race or gender or sexuality or class – anything which protects their position and absolves them of responsibility – but it isn’t that.
It’s about listening to people. It’s about re-embracing genuine equality; and re-introducing genuine diversity of thought and opinion. For the Conservatives, the key will be to manage this restitution in a moderate, constructive but determined way. The electorate – or, as an artiste may say, the audience – demand nothing less.
Let’s make racism, sexism and homophobia a thing of the past; let’s make shouting it at people to bully them into silence a thing of the past, too. And let’s make our cultural sphere vibrant, engaged and universal again.
Tim Dawson is a writer and journalist and the Editor of Free Market Conservatives. Follow him on twitter: @tim_r_dawson