Rishi, Liz and Woke

In an attempt to regain the initiative in the Tory leadership contest from the ridiculous and devious Liz Truss, clever Rishi Sunak has apparently decided to play the ‘culture wars’ card, against Leftist ‘wokeness’. Or should that be ‘wokery’? In any case it’s an imprecise term (Google it), which is mainly used by the Right to stigmatise fashionably ‘progressive’ views like de-gendering public toilets, removing politically offensive statues, and generally undermining ‘patriotism’. (See https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/jul/29/rishi-sunak-liz-truss-culture-war-woke-nonsense.) This is meant to stir the prejudices of the tiny number of Conservative party members who at present, and quite ludicrously, hold the fate of the government – and hence of the country – in their arthritic and octogenarian hands. (I feel I can say this, being arthritic and octogenarian myself.)

I don’t have any particular view on toilets; but patriotism is ‘my thing’, especially when it’s founded on views of British history; and so I feel I have a contribution to make here. That contribution is spelled out in my Britain’s Contested History: Lessons for Patriots (published last week), which is a rather more nuanced account of the last two hundred years of British history than those favoured by either self-proclaimed ‘patriots’ or by those who want to ‘do Britain down’; and is also (I hope) an intelligent analysis of what ‘patriotism’ – anyone’s patriotism – should consist of. Both Truss and Sunak ought to read it. Of course they won’t.

I’ve characterised Truss as ‘devious’ because of the totally false picture she’s been painting of her deprived upbringing in Leeds; in what in fact was a leafy and ultra-posh suburb, at an excellent Comprehensive school, with a father who was a Professor of Mathematics, and a mother who was a nurse and a teacher. Leeds people are furious. Several commentators have drawn parallels with the famous ‘Four Yorkshiremen’ Monty Python sketch (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ue7wM0QC5LE). She’s aiming at ‘Red Wall’ voters, of course. But isn’t it worrying that downright lying has suddenly become more acceptable in politics? Another of Boris’s legacies, perhaps.

About bernardporter2013

Retired academic, author, historian.
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4 Responses to Rishi, Liz and Woke

  1. Tony says:

    But why does criticizing her comprehensive, which helped her get into Oxford (or perhaps despite the school and due entirely to own efforts) appeal to Red Wall voters. More likely it’s an appeal to geriatric Tory members and their obsession with grammar schools which with Brexit are now in a Tory political erogenous zone.


  2. mickc says:

    I think the word “downright” is key here.

    “They” have always lied, as in being “economical with the actualité”, but were rather circumspect about it because(?) there were, once, real investigative journalists whose copy would get published.

    Now journalism consists of regurgitating press releases, wholly uncritically. The truth can be found on the internet (as in this case)

    I didn’t know her background, and I’m not much interested in this current pantomime but I’d prefer not to be nuked by Putin’s likely more bellicose successor who fancies kicking America’s poodle to prove a point. America will do precisely…nothing.

    As ever, a free press would be welcome.


  3. John Evans says:

    You are quite right. It is astomnishing that so little is being made of Truss’ evocation of her lowly past (1?), and the lied involved. It is even more extraordinary that the local MP Nick Gibb and a former MP of the constituency can only bvring themselves to comment that ‘she may not be telling the truth’.
    How big does a lie have to be to actually create consequences – The Elders of Zion, the Zinoviev telegram, Sykes Picot agreement – or is it the drip drip of into a web of small “mis-statements” that ultimately weigh down the balance force someone out. Which ones were Johnson’s – the big lies oir the myriad small ones? Is one lot worse than the others?


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