The End of Appeasement in Britain?

Article published by the Gatestone Institute, 14 October 2020. © Richard Kemp

‘This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.’ Winston Churchill’s words following the British victory over Germany in the Battle of Egypt in November 1942 might also describe recent political developments in Britain’s modern-day culture wars. For many decades, British society has been subjected to an almost continuous assault on our history, our way of life and our national institutions by the hard left.

The centre and right became so demoralised by this highly successful campaign that for years their response was appeasement, the very policy Churchill warned against so frequently when the fascist mirror image of this ideology threatened us in the 1930s. Now there are the glimmering signs of a fightback against the progressive liberal consensus that resulted, engulfing many mainstream politicians, the judiciary, civil service, much of the media, big business and education.

The inspiration for this fightback came when the voice of the no-longer-silent majority, exasperated by the progressive erosion of national sovereignty and the very fabric of democracy by the European Union, finally made itself heard in the Brexit referendum of 2016. The victory was narrow, but it should be remembered that the referendum was dominated by a campaign of fear and disinformation by every mainstream political party, virtually all national and international institutions and much of the media. Even the President of the United States, Barack Obama, came to London threatening to send us to ‘the back of the queue’ on trade if we dared cast off the EU. As planned, this onslaught intimidated huge numbers into voting remain. In reality, therefore, far more than the 51.9% who had the courage to vote leave were in favour of rejecting the plot to turn our country into a mere province of the putative European superstate.

Implementation of the referendum result faltered under Prime Minister Theresa May’s government, which seemed intent on ignoring the democratic will through BRINO — ‘Brexit in name only’. But last year, the peoples’ voice again thundered in her successor Boris Johnson’s landslide general election victory. It saw the collapse of the ‘red wall’ in northern England, with numerous long-held Labour constituencies defecting to the Conservative vote.

Despite the immense damage being inflicted by the Coronavirus pandemic, these developments seem to have begun to restore confidence among the centre and right. In recent days, the government announced plans to appoint conservative figures to two roles: the chairman of the BBC and the head of the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom. Why do these seemingly trivial nominations matter? British broadcast media has long been virtually the exclusive preserve of the left. This is particularly true of the BBC, a taxpayer-funded body with political neutrality enshrined in its charter, and by far the most influential of all British media. The widely recognised institutional bias of the corporation was re-affirmed when news of the potential appointments was greeted by outraged BBC employees warning of shattered morale and mass exodus of staff. The very idea that their fellow travellers might be supplanted by people with divergent views was enough to trigger left-wing elites everywhere, apparently not quite the champions of the diversity they constantly trumpet.

Following the well-trodden revolutionary precept that to take over a country you must first seize the radio and TV stations, the media has been the top priority for domination and control in the long march through the institutions by the left in Britain. Education has also been at the forefront. A recent survey for the think tank Policy Exchange showed that 75% of British university academics voted for left-wing parties, leading to a ‘structural discriminatory effect’ against the minority of academics who identify as being on the right. This extends into high schools as well. Many university students and school pupils to whom I have spoken in recent years confirm that political indoctrination often reaches into the classroom, where they are obliged to keep any politically incorrect views to themselves. This goes back decades; I have similar recollections from my own schooldays, now more than 40 years past.

The left’s stranglehold on education is potentially even more far-reaching than its grip on the media. This seems to be playing out today in the products of that education, an increasingly politicised and vocal civil service, once considered a beacon of professional impartiality. According to Nick Busvine, a former diplomat, ‘the vast majority of serving and retired civil servants I have spoken to have told me that the [Brexit] referendum was a misconceived exercise — and that the result was wrong’. My own extensive experience of working in government supports that finding, as does a glance at the medium of Twitter which throws open a window onto the hitherto more opaque political views of so many in the civil service, media, education and the other institutions.

The struggle against an overbearing progressive liberal consensus that opposes the interests of the mass of the people has perhaps been galvanised by the recent orgy of self-hate inspired by a revolutionary movement thinly-disguised, inaccurately, as anti-racist, imported from across the Atlantic into one of the least racist countries in the world. Efforts to create and widen division in Britain, destroy our history and denigrate our culture have spread from schools, universities and media to the National Trust, the British Library, museums and art galleries. As part of the fightback against this vandalism, a new political party — comparatively rare in Britain — is being established by Laurence Fox, an actor who was himself cancelled as a result of insufficient wokeness. A TV channel is also being set up that promises to challenge the biased consensus enveloping the broadcast media.

The importance of this fightback goes beyond battling the culture wars that have ravaged British society in recent years. Forced to confront the so-far largely unopposed aggression against the West by the Chinese Communist Party and Vladimir Putin’s Russia, we are on the brink of not just one but two cold wars. Standing up to their hostility will have to become the linchpin of a new grand strategy, comparable to the successful struggle against global communist encroachment over several decades. Building alliances alongside the US and mustering the resolution to confront these threats will require the restoration of Britain’s patriotic spirit and national self-confidence that have been so gravely and deliberately undermined. If that is to succeed, we must see no more appeasement. This week’s media nominations, important though they are, can only be the end of the beginning, with much more to come.