They’re out of time

John Hayes
John Hayes
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During the Second World War the writer George Orwell penned a series of essays detailing his views on Britishness and patriotism. He was particularly savage towards the “Europeanised intelligentsia”, those who devoted time “chipping away at English morale”.

Sadly, in my lifetime the kind of people for whom Orwell developed such distaste have come to dominate much of public life in Britain. A metropolitan liberal elite, drawn from narrow, privileged backgrounds unrepresentative of most of us, feature disproportionately in our national media, academia, the great professions, and in too much of the political class.

At first, it is hard to grasp why these people hold views so at odds with the majority of Britons. Hard, that is, until you realise that these power brokers (amongst the worst offenders being the greedy big banks, soulless corporate businesses, and human rights lawyers grown fat on fees) are both entirely detached from those whose lives they change at a stroke, and assume that what they think should be accepted without question. To disagree with their orthodoxy is seen as either vulgar or sinister.

The most vivid example of the distance between the liberal elite and the people is in contrasting views about immigration - ordinary people’s reasonable doubts about the dramatic change to much loved towns wrought by mass immigration is patronisingly perceived by the fat-cat elite as, at best, foolish, or, at worst, racist.

So, perhaps we should not be surprised that this elite was shocked by the EU referendum result. That more than seventeen million people voted to leave the European Union should be a wakeup call to those establishment voices still in denial; the tide is turning against them.

The long dominant Whig assumption that history only moves in one direction - a myth of progress which defines the past just in terms of a triumphant march towards the ‘all-knowing’ present - has been dealt a severe, hopefully fatal, blow. What people want and value is what they always have. People’s views haven’t changed, it’s just that those at the top became disconnected from the everyday hopes and fears of the hard-working majority.

That’s why I was glad to see our new Prime Minister attacking an out of touch elite who “find patriotism distasteful, concerns about immigration parochial, views about crime illiberal, and attachment to job security inconvenient.”

Building a new united Britain, rooted in the common ground where most people stand, can bring our country together. The guilt fuelled, politically correct liberal establishment have held sway for too long - always out of touch, now they are out of time.