The hysteria of the Boris-bashers

The ‘people of talent’ storm suggests Boris’s critics have gone mad.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill

Topics Politics UK

A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting its boots on. How much truer that is in the era of social media. Consider the mad ‘people of talent’ storm. At a campaign rally yesterday, Boris Johnson said he is happy for ‘people of talent’ to migrate to the UK so long as the immigration question is subjected to democratic debate and control. But Channel 4 subtitled him as saying ‘people of colour’ and the internet exploded. Almost literally. Boris-haters everywhere were slamming the PM for wanting to restrict the movement of non-white people. This was proof, at last, from the fascist PM’s own mouth, that he is a racist and virtually a British Hitler, yada yada.

The lie spread like wildfire. Commentators, politicians and – hilariously – self-styled warriors against fake news were propagating the myth that Boris said ‘people of colour’. Labour MP turned Change UK MP turned Lib Dem MP Chuka Umunna clung for dear life to the nonsense claim that Boris said ‘people of colour’. He said he ‘listened to the clip several’ times and heard ‘people of colour’ every time. Which suggests his hearing is as crap as his ability to stay in a political party.

Anyone who listens to the clip – try this version – will hear Boris say ‘people of talent’ very, very clearly. It makes perfect sense, too: Boris often talks about his preference for talented foreigners to come to the UK. And yet, remarkably, there are still some people-of-colour truthers out there. With astonishing speed they have become a new breed of conspiracy theorist. ‘He did say “people of colour” and the mainstream media should stop covering that up’, they say, insanely, coming off like leftish versions of Obama birth truthers.

Why is this happening? Because the anti-Boris brigade has gone mad. It’s been brewing for a couple of weeks and now it has exploded into public life. The ‘people of colour’ conspiracy theory confirms how unhinged the Corbynista wing of politics in particular has become. The more polls suggest that the Tories will do well next Thursday, and that Labour could be on for a pretty historic drubbing in its working-class heartlands in particular, the more desperate they become. They dredge up every old daft article Boris has written, claim the Tories will cause the deaths of loads of disabled and poor people, and now hear the PM saying things he literally did not say. They have no idea how ridiculous they sound to normal people.

The colour / talent controversy reveals something else, too: how today’s virtual leftists now see racism everywhere, even where it doesn’t exist. They’re convinced all Tories are racist, that all Tory voters are a little bit racist, that Brexit is racist. The great irony to their spying of racism in every opinion they disagree with, and in every community they view as too pro-Tory or too pro-Brexit, is that they are exposing their own prejudices. Indeed, this hysterical and phoney ‘anti-racism’ that spots racial hatred in every nook and cranny of mass society is the key prejudice of our times: it views voters and tabloid newspaper-readers and old people as the dim imbibers of hatred and stupidity who must be re-educated by young woke graduates. The middle-class left’s feverish obsession with racism is its own kind of hatred.

It gets worse. These people see racism where it doesn’t exist, but not where it does. So the leaking yesterday of the Jewish Labour Movement’s devastating submission to the EHRC’s investigation into Labour Party anti-Semitism was either ignored or pooh-poohed by these self-styled woke warriors against racism. They don’t want to know about anti-Jewish racism. They ignore it or deflect attention from it. ‘Look, Boris insulted people of colour!’, they lie, while encouraging us to ignore the now systemic hatred for Jewish people in sections of the Labour Party. Despicable. These people don’t challenge hatred – they facilitate it.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

Picture by: Channel 4 News.

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nick hunt

9th December 2019 at 12:43 pm

Like sexism and ageism, racism is a form of bigotry, and bigotry can only arise after categorising and dividing people into those like us (good) and those unlike us (bad). Aside from religious zealots dividing people into believers and infidels, which group today most obsessively labels and sorts other groups into race, religion, politics and gender, and then creates a social heirarchy in which conservative white men are the untouchables? I suspect today’s leftist hysteria and insanity arises in part because divisive labelling so totally contradicts the old goal of spreading more equality and tolerance (as the joke goes, if Trump cured cancer, leftists would accuse him oif destroying the medical profession). But a related reason is that superior leftists always need inferior non-leftists in order to preach equality and pursue their calling. This deeply-suppressed elitism must also be driving the mental breakdown and hate now tragically gripping so many well-intentioned people.

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