Over at Broadcasting House, you could almost hear BBC bosses murmuring their approval: The wicked West to blame for ISIL and just about every other ill of the Arab world. It had all the sophistication of a fifth former’s hastily scribbled essay on the school bus this.
Notwithstanding, Boyle’s rehabilitation is seemingly complete. A return to TV must be imminent. Instinctively I reached for my red marker pens. I have to confess the desire to correct this quite nauseating piece of obsequiousness was simply overwhelming. And then Clarkson weighed in with his size twentys...
The ex-Top Gear presenter's contention that ISIL are at heart just a bunch of average blokes was a characteristically fumbled attempt to join Boyle on what he perceived to be the moral high ground. It’s our fault, right Jezza?
Virtue signalling, they call it. It’s the latest fad. Everyone’s doing it. Boyle and Clarkson are not alone.
Whether it’s Emma Thompson pouting away on BBC’s Newsnight about the plight of Syrian migrants or whether it’s Bob Geldof offering to fling open the doors of Geldof Palace to same migrants, you don’t have to look very far to find celebrities queuing up to lend their voice to the causes of goodness and niceness.
Only last year a grimacing Ben Affleck appeared on a US chat show where he made the startling declaration that any comments critical of the Islamic faith equate to racism. That Islam is an ideology not a race didn’t worry Ben a jot. Why should it? This was virtue signalling par excellence.
The actor was angry, very angry. He huffed and he puffed and huffed a little more. If you looked very carefully I swear you could almost see one eye searching the studio for the approval rating barometer. Affleck’s antics contrasted badly to the eloquence of fellow guest Sam Harris, a man who offered a very calm and considered appraisal of Islamic radicalisation.
In the UK, yet another actor (just what is it with these thesps?) - Benedict Cumbernatch – has also been engaging in a spot of virtue signalling. Following the actor’s recent performance in Hamlet at London’s Barbican Theatre, audience members, about to vacate their seats, were bemused to find themselves privy to one final ‘performance’ – one not to be found anywhere in the pages of the Bard’s script.
Apparently Cumbernatch harangued theatre-goers for a good fifteen minutes once the final curtain had fallen. His topic? Syrian migrants. Thankfully theatre-going folk happen to be a good-natured gang and thus they listened patiently, clapping politely when the actor eventually finished. Rant over, Cumbernatch, one assumes, returned backstage to bask in the glow of his own humanity.
As a PR stunt, signalling of one’s virtue is a sound investment. It works, it really does. For artistes deemed to have even the mildest of mild right-wing sympathies, it’s but a short walk to the job centre, Starbucks and obscurity.
And lest we forget the left-wing infused media are an unforgiving bunch. A slip of the tongue here, a wrong sentiment here can have fatal consequences especially for those in the entertainment industry. Remember how comrades who expressed ‘wrong’ opinions had a tendency to disappear under the old USSR regime, never to be seen again?
Who then can blame them for toeing the party-line?
Signing up for Equity membership once upon a time was little more than an expression of solidarity among acting professionals. Joining up now is virtually tacit endorsement of just about every left-wing article of faith from multi-culturalism to the islamification of Europe. It’s in the small print.
It was with some amusement then that I noted the recent tweets made by actress Frances Barber. Like Thompson, Affleck and Cumbernatch, Miss Barber is an established member of the luvvie set. As a fully-paid up member of such cornerstones of established libertarianism such as The RSC, National Theatre and BBC, Ms Barber’s politics – at least in the public sphere – can be readily guessed at.
Whether her private thoughts however tally with those of public pronouncements is very much open to debate. The point to note is that for those wishing to climb the luvvie ladder, dislocation between public and private opinion is not just highly advisable, but in this current climate of dogmatic reactionaryism, is absolutely imperative.
For the sake of argument let us assume that Miss
Barber, like her theatrical and TV paymasters, holds all the ‘right’ opinions. Therefore, let us assume that her derision of ‘hegemonic’ western culture is only matched by her enthusiasm for all things ethnic and Islamic. Let us assume that diversity is something she naturally and rightly wishes to ‘celebrate.’
At this point let us leave Miss Barber (waiting for her taxi) and go on a short diversion. I shall return to her later.
Not so long ago, In her book Londonistan, the Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips had the temerity to suggest that the ever increasing islamification of the UK was turning England’s capital city into one of the world’s foremost breeding grounds and exporters for Islamic terrorists.
The signs have been there for a long time, if anybody cared look for them. Only nobody did; officials – not only in Britain, but in countries such as France and Belgian – chose to look the other way. It’s easier that way.
Predictably, the backlash was vicious. Diversity apologists were queuing up to denounce Phillips’ book. That somebody could not only question the wisdom, but also the sanctity of multi-culturalism to them smacked of some form of mental illness. It was lunacy. It was heresy. And it most certainly was ‘racist.’
Londonistan is indeed the kind of book that affronts the Afflecks, Thompsons, and Cumbernatches of this world. For this is a book that lucidly sets out facts – facts that the luvvies would prefer to ignore. It really is so much easier that way.
And so back to that taxi-ride. Miss Barber had attended a swanky show business evening, the type were they give each other awards and tell one another how wonderful they are. It was that sort of evening. As might be expected the actress was dressed to the nines. Then it was time to go home. A taxi was duly hailed.
Once inside the taxi, the 58-year old star of BBC’s Silks casually mentioned she felt a little cold in the chilly night air - a seemingly harmless comment that provoked a rather uncharitable remark from her driver that the actress was "disgustingly dressed," and was, therefore presumably, the architect of her own misery.
It seems the driver was Muslim, and a Muslim furthermore who had expressed his distaste for what he presumably felt to be Miss Barber’s immodest dress.
As is the way nowadays Miss Barber immediately tweeted her outrage. THIS IS LONDON, she tweeted. The implication was clear enough: anti-democratic ideas are alive and well in the UK. And they are here to stay.
At this juncture it would be all too easy to rub Miss Barber’s nose in it: You reap what you sow…. I have no idea if the actress supports mass-Islamic immigration into the UK, multiculturalism, diversity or any of those other barmy left wing policies, but plenty of her ilk do, not least her fellow thespians.
And herein lies the problem with these fervent multiculturalists: while theory is always nice and safe, reality is a somewhat gruffer, ruder, more belligerent little brother. That ethnic minorities may soon become majorities should surprise no-one least of all anyone who has read Phillips’ Londonistan or Ed West’s equally challenging book The Diversity Illusion. But hey why shouldn’t Islam become the UK’s majority religion? It makes perfect sense. Only a white supremacist could fail to see the logic.
Indeed, just like their theatrical and TV paymasters our thespians almost uniformly support the Islamification of Europe, UK and London – at least they seem to. Presumably they also welcome Sharia Law too, for who but Janus could support the spread of Islam yet reject Sharia?
So, what’s Barber’s problem? Hadn’t you heard Frances, Islam has some very rigid beliefs about the roles of men and women. Yep, the fruits of diversity sure can taste very sour sometimes.
What Miss Barber experienced in that taxi was merely a cultural misunderstanding. We’re in transition. The move from Western democracy to eastern theocracy can’t happen overnight. It will take time.
In the light of Miss Barber’s shocking experience in a London taxi I can offer a crumb of comfort to her: Such scenarios should be far from usual in future. If it’s any consolation Frances, a few generations from now, modest dress will not be a choice on the streets of London, it may very well be a requirement.
Such culture clashes will thus be a thing of the past…
The Diversity Illusion by Ed West >>>