It’s not a culture war when we do it

Labourites wage deranged culture wars then call you a bigot for complaining.

Tom Slater

Tom Slater

Topics Identity Politics Politics UK

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Did you hear the news? The ‘era of culture wars is over’. Lisa Nandy, the UK’s new Labourite culture secretary, said so. In a speech yesterday to her new staff at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Nandy tossed all that ‘division’ and ‘polarisation’ into the dustbin of history, all in a few short lines. ‘In recent years we’ve found multiple ways to divide ourselves from one another’, she said. ‘Changing that is the mission of this department.’

Well, if the culture wars really are over, if the period in which politicians seeked to carve us up by race, gender and sexuality and foist values on us from on-high is actually done with, then Lisa Nandy should probably tell the Labour Party. Hell, she should tell Lisa Nandy. For with typical, blood-vessel-bursting hypocrisy Labourites are once again condemning those awful ‘culture wars’ while continuing to wage several of them themselves.

This has long been the story of Britain’s ‘culture war’. Labourites, the woke left and the metropolitan elites have embraced ludicrous, regressive ideas – from the insistence that ethnic minorities be treated like easily offended children to the conviction that a man should be able to identify his way into a women’s refuge or maybe even a soft play – and seeked to impose them on a puzzled population. Then, when we complained, or when a few Tories awkwardly tried to complain on our behalf, the dissenters were the ones labelled bigots and loons.

So it is today. Keir Starmer’s new (New?) Labour government has been desperate to draw a line under all those tetchy debates about trans rights, racial identity politics and free speech – not least because it is clearly on the wrong side of public opinion on these matters. But Starmer has shown little indication that his party has actually ditched the reactionary wokeism that has repelled so many working-class voters away from Labour.

On the contrary, the manifesto was full of the stuff, filling the gaps where any substantial economic policy might have been. Starmer wants to introduce a Race Equality Act, which would institutionalise racial identity politics dolled up as old-fashioned anti-racism. He wants to crack down further on what we can and can’t say, via an expansion of ‘hate crime’ laws. He wants to relax the gender-recognition process, making it easier for men to enter women’s spaces. Even after watching the SNP blow itself up over a similarly outrageous and deranged suite of policies, Starmer simply cannot help himself.

Nor can Lisa Nandy. For all her studied reasonableness, Nandy has said things that even a few years ago would have had you drummed out of any mainstream political party. Perhaps even the Greens. She was once asked by a gender-critical campaigner if a man who had raped young girls should be put in a women’s prison, just because he’d suddenly started identifying as a woman. ‘Trans women are women and trans men are men and should be accommodated in the prison of their choosing’, was her response. She actually said that. Worse, she said that feminists who oppose her view on trans should be excluded from the Labour Party.

So, to recap, if a Labourite politician says a rapist should be housed in a women’s prison, the safety of the most vulnerable women in society be damned, then they’re being enlightened and liberal and should be applauded. But if you say so much as ‘hold on, you want to do what?!’, you’re waging a ‘culture war’, want to ‘erase’ trans people and quite possibly should be arrested. There is only one group that is trying to force its divisive, bigoted views on society here, and it isn’t the people who fall on the anti-woke, pro-reality side of things.

Pointing out this hypocrisy has become pointless. Not to mention repetitive. Deep down, they know they started this culture war. They know they are out-of-step with ordinary people on gender, racial politics and much else besides. They just don’t care. They’ll happily go along with their demented identitarian project anyway, doing with compulsion and coercion what they cannot do with persuasion and argument. The constant gaslighting is essentially a flex – a way of saying, ‘yes, we are full of it, but what are you going to do about it?’.

When Lisa Nandy says ‘the era of culture wars is over’, what she’s actually saying is: we’ve won. Woke ideology has taken such deep root within our institutions that even 14 years of Conservative, occasionally anti-woke government has barely put a dent in it. Now, the Labour Party is back to finish the job – to further entrench all the most poisonous ideas of our age.

But there is hope. Society really has changed this past decade or so, and not in the way ‘progressives’ think. After Brexit and the trans debate and BLM, ordinary people now know how much politicians hold them, their values and their liberties in contempt. From the Cass Review to the free-speech fightback in universities, principled people are beginning to stand up and be counted even within their captured institutions. The culture war is far from over. Long live the resistance.

Tom Slater is editor of spiked. Follow him on X: @Tom_Slater_

Picture by: Getty.

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Topics Identity Politics Politics UK


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