Much fun is made of old men like me who constantly moan that everything is getting worse and worse. We were to be found, it is said, in every generation. But life goes on. Our complaints always come to nothing. Life, indeed, gets better and better, not worse and worse.
I daresay there is an element of truth in that. I ask myself, for instance, whether, in as few as ten years, anyone will worry, as I do every day, about the illiterate use of the word “gender” to mean “sex”, something which has become more and more widespread. I know, though bitterly regret, that the notion that gender and sex have two different meanings will be completely forgotten very soon, and we will carry on living happy or sad lives which will be entirely unaffected by that mutilation of our language.
But it does not follow that every concern which old men like me have should be ignored. Sometimes the great rush and force of modernity does more damage than mere concern about infantalizing the English language. Let me give you an example from this week’s news.
A Detective Superintendent of the Metropolitan Police was briefing his team of anti-corruption officers. In the course of his talk he emphasised that the officers should be whiter than white in all they did. Excellent advice, you mutter to yourselves. But not everyone agrees with you. The problem is, you see, that white, in that well known saying which goes back to Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis, is now seen by our lords and masters as meaning only one thing: the colour of skin of some people. To suggest, as has been done for hundreds of years, that it is good to be whiter than white, must now be taken to mean that the speaker considers that white people are superior to those of other colours. Therefore, the Superintendent who gave the good advice to his officers has been put on “restricted duties” as the powers that be muse on whether he should be subject to disciplinary procedures with a view to dismissing him for gross misconduct. He has been told that a decision may not be made for a year or so.
Now for some caveats. First, this story comes from the Evening Standard newspaper. Newspapers are not as reliable as they used to be when their reporters made inquiries other than via the Twitter. And the Evening Standard has had particular problems since the former Chancellor, George Osborne, became its editor. But the story about the Superintendent has nothing to do with Brexit or Mrs May, which suggests that Mr Osborne’s liking for what is now called “fake news” will not have affected it. And Evening Standard journalists, unless reporting on Brexit or Mrs May, are not only permitted but encouraged to report the truth. And the clincher is that the police kangaroo court which has to decide the Superintendent’s future has admitted that it is investigating this serious allegation.
Next, of course, I have not seen a transcript of the Superintendent’s talk. I have a lively imagination, so can just about picture his using the expression whiter than white and going on to say something like “not like Muslims”. But that does seem to be very unlikely. Anyway, the allegation is that he said “whiter than white”, nothing else.
Even though the kangaroo court has said it may take a year to decide whether to take proceedings against the Superintendent, it could well be, especially with all the publicity, that it will move more quickly and conclude, possibly only in months, that there is no case to answer. But, even if that turns out to be the case, a decent man will have gone through hell and, almost certainly, will have been deprived of future promotions despite his having done nothing wrong at all.
I take the caveats seriously. But the time must come when these gross injustices, carried out in the names of “diversity” and “equality”, must be tackled when they are committed, not years later. I hardly have to say this to an intelligent readership, but I suppose I had better do so. What the Superintendent is reported as having said was good, not bad. Inevitably, (most commentators on this sort of thing are horribly weedy), supporters of the Superintendent in the press will come out with pathetic assertions like “I would never say anything like whiter than white but …”. They do that because they are terrified of our new masters who care nothing about destroying the lives of innocent people if it is done in the Orwellian names of equality and diversity.
Justice is a concept which is entirely alien to the equality and diversity industry. I fear there will even be comments on this piece from “modern” people saying that the Superintendent’s career is nothing compared with the perception of some idiot that whiter than white is a racist expression which caused offence to the idiot.
Sadly, the public services have now been completely taken over by people who assume that the word white should only be used to describe evil, never good. “As pure as the driven snow” is another phrase which owes its origins to Shakespeare. My guess is that the equality and diversity freaks (by the way, they don’t know what diversity means) would have no hesitation in trying to ruin any good man or woman who used it. These horrors will go on and on.
But all is not lost. I am constantly amazed by the way our judges, despite having to demonstrate their allegiance to the views of Tony and Cherie Blair in order to be appointed, put their judicial oaths ahead of political correctness. I am confident that, if the police kangaroo court convicts the Superintendent, his appeal to the courts will be successful.
Yes, not all is bleak. But I would be foolish not to acknowledge that the modern enemies of justice will press on with their campaigns. Is it too late to stop them? If we don’t stop them, will our descendants, ignorant of such things as liberty and free speech, care a jot?