The Tory war on woke

The spiked team discusses Munira Mirza, BLM and the corona crash.

Topics Politics UK

Is identity politics now just racism by another name? What does Black Lives Matter mean for schools? How much does the economy have to suffer before the lockdown will end? Tom Slater, Ella Whelan, Fraser Myers, and special guest Katharine Birbalsingh, discuss all this and more on this week’s spiked podcast.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.



25th June 2020 at 8:08 pm

o neill a horrible far right tory sympathiser , he never learns but gets air time on talk radio alongside another tory cheerleader trying to come across as a pseudo intellectual with al the answers , the bullisht from o neill is nauseating , fook you you tory fanboy

Alan Savage

22nd June 2020 at 2:55 pm

‘War on Woke’…this inflammatory phrase doesn’t help anyone or any cause. We have to stop reporting and talking online in terms of ‘war’ and ‘battle’. This is not the trenches of WW1! We need to listen to each point of view and find a sensible compromise. A lot of the so called ‘woke’ concerns are not mere tokenist ‘politically correct’ stances. They are the result of decades of trying to advance awareness of racism – and sexism too – that exist on pernicious and often, sub-conscious levels of society and in the media.

steve moxon

21st June 2020 at 9:21 pm

The ‘Conservatives’ (ha!) have long bought ‘identity politics’.
I met Bowis 15 years ago and as his editorship of the Spectator indicated, he was not far short of Clintonesque on ‘the deplorables’ re immigration.
He’s as spineless a ‘PC’ ‘useful idiot’ as any of the green leather mites.
Why don’t politicians actually look at the polling on the overwhelming opposition to ‘PC’?

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Michel Houllebeq

20th June 2020 at 11:03 pm

Multiple dead at the place BLM had a “protest” in Reading – how will this be covered in the media? Looking at the footage all victims were white – eyewitness saying a “brown man” was the attacker.
Last weekend in London multiple lone white men were attacked by large groups of BLM blacks.
The only racism I’m seeing is anti-white.
Still think this is about George? Or an anti-white violent Marxist movement funded in Billions from corporations to the Premier League. What do you think this money will be spent on? More “protests” to destabilize.

David Johnson

20th June 2020 at 9:27 pm

Tory war on wokedom? Where exactly?
I’m afraid this Maoist-style cultural revolution, this expunging and trashing of British society, culture and history is not only taking place on Johnson’s watch, but also with his government’s tacit approval, or at best effete acquiescence.
Seriously, all the nightmare scenarios I’d associated with a Corbyn victory and now turning into stark reality as Britain degenerates into a quasi ochlocracy.

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20th June 2020 at 7:39 pm

There is no Tory war on ‘woke’ because the Tories are not in charge: they take their orders from King Mark Sedwill, CEO of the banksters who really run Britain.


20th June 2020 at 6:17 pm

According to their go-fund page BLM’s aims are to dismantle imperialism,capitalism,white supremacy,patriarchy and state structures that disproportionately harm black people in Britain and around the world. They especially want to abolish the police ,close prisons and detention centres. They are opposed to various thing including biphobia ,transphobia,enbyphobia, ableism,Islamophobia,fatphobia ,stereotypes,respectability politics and stigmatisation of addiction (?) In other words these are the updated versions of Black Power, Nation of Islam, anarchists etc of the 1960’s who now politicians and police kneel to and support . I wonder if these politicians have read the small print as they are agreeing to cancel themselves and this country?

James Conner

20th June 2020 at 11:21 am

If Black Lives Matter so much, I wonder why dem boyz from da hood spend so much time killing each other?

Andrew Shaughnessy

20th June 2020 at 1:10 pm

Good question. The most constructive things BLM could do are:
1. Tell young black men and boys to stop carrying knives and guns.
2. Tell them that being “disrespected” is no excuse to kill someone.
3. Tell them that wanting to do well at school doesn’t make you gay (back in 2011 the head of the Jamaican Teachers’ Association pointed out that boys in Jamaica deliberately under-perform in exams due to the homophobia prevalent in Jamaican culture).
4. If they ARE gay, tell them that’s fine, because they’re wonderful just the way they are.
5. Tell fathers that being there to help raise their children and give them a good start in life is the most important thing they can do with THEIR lives (black children are far more likely to come from one-parent families).
Sadly, it’s much easier to blame other people than it is to put your own house in order.

Mark Houghton

22nd June 2020 at 12:36 pm

Tell useless Black women to stop getting pregnant to useless Black men.

Christopher Tyson

20th June 2020 at 8:33 am

Faddism is nothing new amongst the intellectual elites, no-nonsense British empiricism doesn’t set the pulse racing. In the 1930’s fascism was quite appealing to sections of British ruling class, around that time Cambridge university became a prime recruiting site for Russian spies. During the 20’s and 30’s Negrophilia was a craze amongst the Paris elites.
Oxford University might as well hand itself over to the National Trust and become a full-time part of the heritage industry. Picturesque settings are very nice if you can get them, but a book is a book, you can take it out of your antique bookcase in your oak-panelled study or out of a box in your small flat, but it’s the same book. I have previously sloganized ‘autodidacts of the world unite’ but there are other universities too, the formally derided red-bricks, can now be proud of their radical beginning in the post-imperial age, in opposition to and untainted by the colonial legacy, sweet revenge (I went to Warwick).
Where do BLM go from here, the national religion (football) now kneels before you, the old religion (Christianity) now kneels before you, the leader of the opposition now kneels before you (in the hope that this will help to propel him into government), the civil service, the BBC, Oxford University now kneel before you.
The leaders of BLM will move on to careers in the media, think-tanks, diversity consultancies and academia, the young marchers will return to their day jobs, and the young marchers chant in unison ‘day job, what day job?’.

Andrew Shaughnessy

20th June 2020 at 10:59 am

I find it hilarious that it’s the supposedly intelligent, well-educated middles classes who fall for these fads. Most working class people recognise that Marxism’s a busted flush. The middle class? Not so much.

Andrew Shaughnessy

20th June 2020 at 10:59 am

Sorry for the typo!

David J

21st June 2020 at 9:16 am

Sure. Then again, being intelligent – especially at the level of Oxbridge academia – promotes snobbery and feelings of superiority toward the lumpen proles.
And nowadays, replacing logical thought with a need to be part of the herd.
Greta and BLM – one step forward!

Michael Thompson

20th June 2020 at 12:37 am

The claim that black lives matter is an attempt to emotionally manipulate society into giving them what they want.

They may experience injustices and prejudices and police intimidation but none of these things mean that their life does not matter. White people also experience these things or other types of offensive behaviour but they do not cry out that their life does not matter because of them. These things are all problems to be solved and problems are solved by reason and debate leading to positive action.

‘Black lives matter’ is a slogan aimed at exaggerating the results of injustice and aggression towards some black people. Those who make this statement show a lack of human dignity. Humans solve their problems in rational and civilised ways. Resorting to emotional manipulation lowers you and any attention to your claims for justice.

If you want justice then use all the civilised means at your disposal but resorting to emotional manipulation should be exposed and eradicated before any real attempt to deal with the problems. White people should not stoop to involvement in issues where such manipulation is present. They should refuse to engage with those who demand justice until such time as a rational debate can be established. Such debate is the cornerstone of our civilisation. Sloganneering, placard waving and statue destroying are not worthy of the attention of any human being.

Linda Payne

20th June 2020 at 2:14 pm

White people ARE stooping to this if the marches and the media are anything to go by

Mor Vir

19th June 2020 at 10:29 pm

The post-shut down economic environment will offer the opportunity for a snapshot of how well the UK is doing in equalising opportunities and outcomes across ethnicity.

Periods of high unemployment have in past decades involved disproportionately high levels of unemployment among ethnic groups. Will that be avoided this time around? Will whites share equally the burdens of unemployment or will they again be dumped on inner city ethnic groups? Bearing in mind that initial setbacks in employment can have lifelong consequences.

There are disparities, and objective bias, in the outcomes of some ethnic groups when their educational achievements are compared with their occupational success. There are blocks to social mobility, where some ethnic groups and persons, who do well in education still do not enjoy the same improvement of occupational outcome, with the same degree of consistency, as their white peers.

The objective bias does seem to imply that there is likely some subjective bias in play in recruitment practices – not necessarily malice, but some sort of bias. It is not necessary to ‘moralise’ a situation to spot issues that need attention.

There is not really any need to use the ‘r’ word at all, so in vogue of late, for the society to take practical steps to address objective bias of outcome, and the post-lock down scenario will offer an opportunity to do that. Ideological and moral posturing are of no use to anyone.

Of course, ethnic parity of outcome is not really a solution to the more general problem of social mobility in our society, which has anyway collapsed, or to the lack of an improvement in living standards across the board over the last decade. If 20 jobs out of a hundred pay well, that still leaves 80 workers with poorer paid work, whoever they are. There are longstanding problems of productivity growth that cannot simply be ignored.

> Integration Journey: The Social Mobility Trajectory of Ethnic Minority Groups in Britain
Published: 2018

This article studies the processes of social mobility by the main ethno-generational groups in Britain. We compare the origin-education-destination (OED) links between the first- and second- generation ethnic minority groups with those of whites, with a particular focus on whether the second generation are getting closer to whites than do the first generation in the links, hence becoming increasingly integrated into the socio-economic lives of British society. Using data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study and adopting structural equation modelling (SEM) methods, we find strong evidence of first-generation setback, and some signs of second-generation catch-up. Indians and Chinese are making progress, but the two black groups and Pakistanis/Bangladeshis are lagging behind. The analysis shows persisting ethnic disadvantages in the labour market in spite of their high levels of educational achievement, and it also shows an emerging order of ethnic hierarchy, running from Indian, Chinese, black Caribbean, Pakistani/Bangladeshi to black African groups.

nick hunt

19th June 2020 at 11:49 pm

So do mass immigration and multicultural ideology serve or oppress British culture?

Mor Vir

20th June 2020 at 12:48 am

British culture is whatever culture British people have, it is not a static or insular thing, never was. I am listening to psychill, fusion music as I type, from somewhere in the world, do not know where – do not really care – although it clearly has pronounced Indian and Western influences.

I just had chicken seekh kebabs with rice and salad for supper, quite Mediterranean with olive oil, coriander and lemon juice. The coffee that I am sipping is south American and my pipe tobacco is sourced from various continents and mixed by Dunhill. I am not sure that there is much specifically British culture that I am missing out on.

The introduction of fresh workers was always motivated by the needs of the economy not culture, initially to help rebuild the economy after the war, after simply to expand the workforce and to grow GDP to keep the capitalist system going. The Empire was the same, the motivation was economic but a lot of culture came with it.

George Whale

20th June 2020 at 10:33 am

They don’t oppress culture, they eradicate it from the collective memory. For evidence of this, see Mor Vir’s ramblings on kebabs as British culture.

Mor Vir

20th June 2020 at 3:03 pm

Seekh kebabs are as British as fish and chips. You do realise that battered fish is Portuguese in origin, and chips are Belgian? Potatoes come from Peru. And that cup of tea originated in China. Want salt and vinegar on that? The Romans introduced vinegar into Britain. Some ketchup? That is Chinese. Culture has always been a fusion. British culture is whatever culture British people have.

Michel Houllebeq

20th June 2020 at 6:42 am

“Periods of high unemployment have in past decades involved disproportionately high levels of unemployment among ethnic groups. Will that be avoided this time around?”

LMFAO Impacted? I’ve worked processing benefit claimants previously – Understand that many ethnic groups do not want to work here and just claim benefits. In my personal first-hand experience Africans, Arabs and Pakistanis/Bangladeshis not so much Chinese and Indians – data backs this up also.

Dominic Straiton

19th June 2020 at 10:20 pm

Mura Masa ” deal wiv it” now theres a tune!


19th June 2020 at 9:14 pm

o neill the once self styled revolutionary Marxist now playing the libertarian right wing briietbart /bannon nutter every trip he waffles on about the tories and Bullingdon , eh brendan if you loove them that much join em and im sure they would welcome a fascist like your good self


19th June 2020 at 9:39 pm

LOL well said. BON and S pi ked say nothing about the utter failure of this Tory government to implement a rational anti-corona policy. Instead they continue to obsess about the divisive identity politics that they themselves are doing so much to exacerbate.


19th June 2020 at 9:40 pm

indeed no aplogies about 10 years of tory austerity , have the alt right , tea party nutters overlooked that , seems so eh brendan

Alexander Kinnaird

19th June 2020 at 8:48 pm

ZP live’s in a private world without the usual mirrors on life that most sentiant beings are accustomed to, to be so obviously more obsessed about someone who by their own admission they think is an obsessed person is surely pot kettle black thinking and as will always happen the snake will devour itself.


19th June 2020 at 9:36 pm

Just because someone disagrees with you?

Michel Houllebeq

19th June 2020 at 7:32 pm

What a mess, looking at BLM actions on the streets and manifesto they hate whites while living in the countries whites built. Unworkable – you might as well bring on the repatriation and spare more decades of increasing violence, hatred, and misery.


19th June 2020 at 9:40 pm

I suggest your hatred of ebonic people is somewhat greater than their (alleged) hatred of you.

Michel Houllebeq

19th June 2020 at 10:09 pm

True, I hate the ebonicsz

nick hunt

19th June 2020 at 11:52 pm

His irony certainly appears somewhat greater than your perception.

James Knight

19th June 2020 at 7:32 pm

What Tory war on woke? All I see is institutions on their knees at the altar of BLM wokedom. I used to wonder how on earth Trump got elected in the US. But recent events make the success of a Trump maverick – even if it is a complete buffoon – much easier to understand.


19th June 2020 at 7:25 pm

BON’s tragic obsession with identity politics is like Captain Ahab and the whale. Like Ahab, O’ N eill will be destroyed by his own pathetic obsession.

Constantine Sotiriou

19th June 2020 at 7:49 pm

Says the obsessive, supposed oxbridge graduate that spends all her time waiting to sneer on articles on a website she clearly doesn’t like very much.

Graham Southern

19th June 2020 at 9:08 pm

Yes, Zenobia’s obsession is bizarre.


19th June 2020 at 9:37 pm

Constantine Sotiriou only reads articles from websites that he thinks will confirm his prejudices.

nick hunt

19th June 2020 at 11:53 pm

your love of identity politics won’t save leftists from ridicule and obsolescence

Brandy Cluster

20th June 2020 at 1:07 am

The game’s up on identity politics; it is poison and has fractured society. This is evident to anybody with an IQ higher than room temperature.

George Whale

20th June 2020 at 10:54 am

It’s mass immigration that has fractured Britain. Identity politics is merely a symptom.

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