Rod Liddle Rod Liddle

The Establishment wins again


There is something a little spooky about writing off one’s car and wrecking one’s shoulder by driving into a tree and then, suffused with codeine and alcohol, watching incredulously as the government does kinda the same thing a week later, except faster and with a bigger and more intransigent tree. Metaphorically, I should add, for the more literal-minded of you.

On Monday morning I had been asked by TalkTV to guffaw at Rishi Sunak’s decision to sack Suella Braverman and disinter David Cameron from whatever shiny morgue he has been resting in and make him Foreign Secretary. I duly guffawed and suggested that nobody north of Letchworth would vote Conservative in 2024, given that the party had retreated to its pro-Remainer, public-school, patrician base. Following me on the programme was a sack of meat with mittens called Tobias Ellwood MP. Tobes took exception to the sneering and said that the Conservative party never won elections when it was perceived as being right-wing.

The people who are almost always wrong about almost everything will always have their way in the end

My Zoom call had been disconnected so I didn’t have the chance to say Tobes, how very, very right you are. Except of course for 1979, 1983, 1987, 1992 and 2019. In fact, only twice in the past 53 years have the Tories won with a non-right-wing leader-ship: in 1970, when the public made a dreadful mistake and elected Ted Heath, and in 2015 when they elected Cameron. On both occasions these were very surprising victories, against the drift of the opinion polls and counter to what everyone predicted.

I suppose we could argue about the 2017 election: Theresa May did indeed win with a platform which was leftish in tone if not substance. But she did so by the skin of her teeth and lost the Tories their majority against someone who might reasonably be described as a lunatic. My point holds, then, I think. Tobias, you may remember, got into hot water a couple of months ago by suggesting that the Taliban were really rather marvellous and the Afghan people had never been happier than when they were in the embrace of these good-natured, kindly, gentle figures. The World According to Tobias would be an interesting documentary series.

As a member of the Social Democratic party, I am of course delighted that the Tories have decided that disembowelling themselves is probably the wisest course of action: our meagrely staffed HQ has been jammed with tearful Tories these past few days, waving five quid in the air and asking if they can join. But in truth, this was always going to happen: one way or another, via chicanery, or a palace coup, or through the weakness of leadership, the Establishment will always impose its will upon the mass of people who are largely antithetical to its aims and aspirations. It very nearly happened with Brexit, if you remember – and frankly, may still do. They – the people who are almost always wrong about almost everything – will always have their way in the end.

The problem, though, is more existential for us as a country, rent between two very conflicting views of society. Boiled down, it is a case of Suella Braverman vs the Metropolitan Police. On the one hand there is the view that multiculturalism is a failed experiment (a thesis which I think would find agreement with 60 per cent of the electorate), that those who come here should make an effort to adapt to our norms and our cultural values, that too many people averse to our culture have been invited in and that Britain has a proud history not least for the tolerance that we show those who arrive from overseas. The other view – the Metropolitan Police view – is that multiculturalism is desirable and would work just fine if whitey would cede the reins of power, that Britain is by and large a ghastly, racist place, that we have a duty to let in as many people as wish to come here and that showing tolerance is not enough: we should abase ourselves.

From this abyssal cleft spring all the problems we have seen regarding those marches in London, with the Met far more bothered by the handful of morons in the English Defence League than they are by jihadis demanding the liquidation of Israel. In the past three weeks, two people associated with the Met have been outed for their extremist views on the subject of the Middle East. The first, Amina Ahmed, suggested that anyone who defended Israel was guilty of a hate crime. This little madam is apparently the Met’s ‘leadership programme facilitator and project manager’. Then there is the lawyer Attiq Malik, who heads an organisation advising the Met, and was filmed leading the obnoxious chants of ‘from the river to the sea’.

If you cleave to the sunlit upland of multiculturalism, you will be happy these awful people are advising or working for the police. Their presence proves we have gone beyond that passive redoubt of ‘tolerance’ and towards full engagement with the sort of people who loathe everything we stand for. Much as does an acceptance of critical race theory and a consciously partisan approach, as a consequence, towards demonstrators. There are good demonstrators – the Just Stop Oil lot, the jihadis and so on – and there are bad demonstrators – those on the right.

If, like me, you are on the other side, you wonder why Mr Malik was invited to tell the police how to go about their business, thinking it as absurd as if the EDL had a regular tête-à-tête with our top coppers. You wonder how Ms Ahmed slipped through the interview procedure or why she has not yet been sacked, well aware that anybody who suggested that the principal problem facing far too many Palestinians was their own genocidal, racist hatred for Israel would not last long at New Scotland Yard. It is not just the Met, of course, but pretty much every Establishment institution which adopts these fashionable but paradoxically very unpopular values. And as we have seen this past week, they always win.