The new threat of corporate wokery
In his regular Hayes in the House column,MP Sir John Hayes addresses 'political correctness'.
Our great wartime leader, Winston Churchill, said that “an appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile – hoping it will eat him last”. Now, almost a century later, extremists have realised the power they hold over spineless corporate executives, by rallying their ferocious, unrepresentative, social
media followers to bully businesses into appeasing them by pulling advertising from anyone they label as ‘politically incorrect’.
The latest target of their petty wroth is GBNews, the venture by veteran broadcaster Andrew Neil to offer the British public a news channel that, rather than trotting out the same, tired-old metropolitan liberal viewpoint, prides itself on breaking with that cosy consensus by airing the views of the ‘silent majority’.
For the sin of being insufficiently PC, Neil and Co. have become the target of left-wing group 'Stop Funding Hate', who have bombarded firms, including Kopparberg and IKEA, into pulling their advertising. Thankfully, GBNews has the financial and moral substance to stand strong against this kind of intimidation, but ordinary employees and smaller enterprises are not so fortunate. The campaign to use the financial power of big business to shut down open discussion and fair public debate is schemed to mean that only those with the ‘correct’ opinions can speak freely.
Whether this is a cynical ploy to feed the ‘woke crocodile’, or deliberate ‘thought policing’, such menacing power has far-reaching ramifications. With the free exchange of honestly held contrasting opinions undermined, our open society is at risk.
As ‘woke’ crony capitalist monopolies continue to antagonise and sideline millions of ordinary Britons who would otherwise be customers, the marketplace of both goods and ideas is being inhibited a little more each day. The fears for the survival of free speech are persistent. Just as Churchill rallied our nation against the Nazi tyrants, so George Orwell,
informed by his disgust at the ideological zeal of Spanish communists, wrote chillingly in his novel ‘1984’ of the spectre of Big Brother.
Public bodies have always been susceptible to waves of political hysteria, whipped up by activists shielded from real world concerns. What is startling in our brave new ‘woke’ world is that this most recent bout of extremist ideology has infested the normally cold, calculating world of big business.
The demands for ‘safe-spaces’, gender-neutral changing rooms and Maoist-style hate sessions against ‘wrongthink’ have wormed their way from leftist local authorities into boardrooms, imported by twentysomething employees fresh from their unworldly university bubbles. What is surprising is how readily some experienced and commercially-savvy bosses have drunk the Kool-Aid and now sing from the same radical, globalist hymn sheet.
The consequences of this capitulation range from ludicrous to laughable. ‘Reverse Mentoring’ schemes whereby recent graduates take older employees ‘under their wing’ to coach them about diversity issues; unconscious bias training, which leaves participants more, not less, prone to racial and gender stereotypes; and the hypocritical differences between the Western social media
accounts of corporates which parade their ‘allyship’ during Pride month, while at the same time approaching markets abroad excluding such virtue signalling.
Despite the absurdity of this performative wokeness, the influence wielded through big business in servitude to Maoist cultural norms presents a clear and present danger to individuals and society at large.
Decent people have been fired for expressing an opinion which goes against the orthodoxy of ‘woke’ warriors, while mandatory diversity training seeks to instil the dishonest – and now discredited– ideas of ‘white privilege’ and ‘unconscious bias’ in the minds of employees. The attempt by powerful corporates, with no democratic mandate, to dictate what is acceptable public discussion is just as sinister as any dystopian nightmare Orwell envisioned.
- Sir John originally referred to the group 'Hope Not Hate' as campaigning against GB News. This has now been changed to 'Stop Funding Hate', which is the actual group involved.