Rod Liddle Rod Liddle

Cancel the Vikings

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A little late in the day, perhaps, it has been pointed out to the intellectual colossi of South Tyneside Council that the Vikings may have been a bit right-of-centre and therefore ripe for a spot of cancelling. There is a statue, you see, of a couple of these marauding Norsemen outside a shopping centre in Jarrow. They are fat, hairy and possessed of aggressive facial expressions. Check out the queue at the nearby Greggs and it is as if that statue had somehow come to life, or a sort of life. The apple hasn’t fallen very far from the tree on Tyneside.

The council, working in conjunction with Northumbria Police, spent an unrevealed amount of money on investigating statues and commemorative plaques in their manor which might possibly cause offence to people with skins thinner than the surface tension of water. The only two they found were an Edwardian statue of Queen Victoria outside the town hall in South Shields and the aforementioned Vikings, knocked up in the 1960s, in Jarrow.

Victoria would, I daresay, be amused to discover that the combined intellects of the Northumbria filth and the slubberdegullions on the council posited the thesis that the Queen had connections to imperialism and colonisation. Did she? Really? Criminy, etc. Anyway, Vicky got an amber warning in the consequent report, which I think means she should desist from conquering foreign lands in future and perhaps go on some sort of course. The Vikings also received an amber warning, partly because of their connections to slavery and also because their legacy is sometimes revered by the millions of people in the UK who are members of white supremacist groups.

I read somewhere that Halfdan Ragnarsson was incapable of taking the concept of misgendering seriously

I think the Vikings got off rather lightly, frankly – but perhaps that is because they enslaved only us Britons and Saxons and we don’t matter. It only really counts if you enslave black people. There has been no mention of the Vikings’ famous propensity for pillage and murder, not to mention their perhaps outdated understanding of the term ‘consent’ when it came to womenfolk and what one might do with them. Our knowledge of the Vikings is limited because so little is written about them, the consequence of very few people being able to read or write back then – another striking similarity with the South Tyneside of today.

But I am sure I read somewhere in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles that Halfdan Ragnarsson, briefly King of Northumbria and a commander of the Great Heathen Army, was incapable of taking the concept of ‘misgendering’ seriously and would fall about laughing whenever it was brought up by any of his HR executives. A little bit more digging by the coppers and the council would surely have resulted in the Vikings being awarded a red warning, rather than amber. The news that the Vikings employed slavery might at least have revealed to the council halfwits that slavery was not invented by a British man in about 1555 but had been employed by just about every powerful group since civilisation began, from the Shang dynasty in the second millennium bc in China to the Native Americans.

It is quite possible that they do not know this, those councillors, such has been the welter of propaganda about Britain’s role in the slave trade and its uniquely wicked behaviour. A Turkish cab driver once told me that the Brits were the most evil people on earth because we invented slavery, apparently unaware that institutionalised slavery underpinned the economy of the Ottoman Empire long before we got our hands on West Africa. I suppose I could have enlightened him – mentioned the Romans and the Sumerians and so on – but it seemed a shame to disturb the world view he had been handed by the grievance merchants of the self-flagellating, idiotic white liberals and the dimbos in BLM. Fester in your pit of stupidity, Engin.

South Tyneside has just announced that it will be raising its council tax for the coming financial year by a little under 5 per cent, so it should have even more money to spend on fatuous investigations which would stretch the credulity of an averagely bright infant. On the other hand, they are also planning to disperse ‘anti-poverty strategy officers’ throughout their fiefdom, who will, I expect, spend their time reporting people who have a strategy against poverty. I think that’s what the afore-mentioned job title means.

Meanwhile, Northumbria Police is having to make large cuts to its budget this year and is on record as claiming to be the police force which has suffered greater underfunding, per head of population, than any other in the country over the past 13 years. Seems to me there’s still a bit of fat left to trim – until such time as when some drongo from South Tyneside rings up with a plan to investigate the racism and white supremacy inherent in a bunch of local commemorative plaques, and the coppers reply: ‘We’d love to. But we haven’t solved a single burglary in the past year and we’d really like to concentrate on that, for a while, thank you.’

The trouble is, expunging our collective history is a congenial project and somewhat easier than tracking down some feral Mackem scrote who has just stabbed an old lady in the head and relieved her of her steak-bake. Neither Queen Victoria, up on her plinth, nor the two Vikings lowering over the good people of Jarrow, are able to flee the police, nor will they scream at them: ‘You’ll never take me alive, copper.’ In this, policing the past is a little like the penchant today’s constabularies have for pursuing real or imaginary hate crimes online. It can all be done very easily, no baton charge necessary. Of course they are not really combating what we might call ‘crime’, but when you weigh it all up, what is the theft of a bicycle or a car when compared to the hurt occasioned by a small blue plaque?