When Millwall football supporters have become icons of free speech, we have to recognize that 2020 has been a year apparently scripted by Lewis Carroll. When Eton College, in a similar transformation, has become a byword for censorship and nannying of supposedly snowflake pupils – whose forensically crafted letter condemning the intolerance of their headmaster in sacking a staff member showed them to be anything but the timid group-thinkers his action had presumed them to be – that impression is reinforced.
Across the whole institutional spectrum, the “woke” virus has reached pandemic proportions. The BBC plans to make homage to Black Lives Matter the focus of the Christmas Day comedy special edition of “The Vicar of Dibley”. How very humorous. Laugh? I nearly cancelled my licence fee. In fact, I did. In fairness, we expect that from the BBC, with its tired leftist obsessions, but in recent months it has been joined by an unending procession of other institutions, virtue-signalling corporations and NGOs.
The Football Association, the National Trust, the British Library – just about every household name apart from the Chelsea Pensioners – has seemingly joined in the lemming stampede to embrace the agenda of a political movement whose programme, if ever implemented, implies the elimination of every last one of them. Across the water, Amnesty International Ireland has joined other NGOs in signing an open letter demanding that politicians should “no longer provide legitimate political representation” to people with critical views on transgenderism and gender ideology.
That’s right: Amnesty, which was established to defend those stripped of political representation by totalitarian societies, is now campaigning for people who do not agree with an extravagant woke theory to be denied political representation. One of the grounds on which Amnesty says offenders should be stripped of political representation is opposition to “affirmative medical care of transgender people” – that’s wokespeak for putting children on hormone therapy to “change” their sex, the subject of a recent British court decision.