SARAH VINE: There's a new type of cultural mafia in town
SARAH VINE: There’s a new type of cultural mafia in town. If we don’t stand up to them, free speech will cease to exist
Let me tell you a story. I knew an old man once, in Italy, who used to work for a management consultancy firm.
It was the early 1980s, a few years after one of the terrible earthquakes that periodically hit the country. Money came pouring in, via an international relief fund.
He was dispatched to visit a remote part of the disaster zone to check progress on reconstruction work that was taking place, funded by donations. But when he got there, there was nothing. Just dust and ruins. He went back to his hotel and rang head office, asking for clarification. They told him to wait for further instructions.
Eventually someone called back. He must have been mistaken, they said. Perhaps, suggested the caller, he should try again. Look more closely. This puzzled him. He was sure he’d gone to the right place, but nevertheless agreed to drive out again the next day, just to double check.
When he got there the following morning, a car was waiting for him. A well-dressed gentlemen got out and greeted him by name. ‘So glad you could come to witness our progress,’ he said, gesturing at the cracked ground. Then he reached into his inside jacket pocket just enough for the man to catch a glimpse of the .38 snub-nose Special nestling in its leather holster — and offered him a cigarette.
When the woke mafia comes for you, they mean business, helped by the fact that they have skilfully infiltrated pretty much every institution in the land
If what you say or believe runs counter to their beliefs, they will come for you. Not in an open and honest way, not by engaging in a debate, or attempting to challenge you intellectually, but by means of intimidation
My old friend accepted. He thanked the stranger, got back in his car — and drove away as fast as he could. Back at his hotel, he filed his report. All in order. Nothing to see here.
This may sound like the opening scene to a Martin Scorsese film, but trust me, it’s a true story. Not just of corruption, but also of fear — and how fear can very quickly throw our moral compass off balance. People will do or say anything when there’s a gun to their head.
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We like to kid ourselves we live in more civilised times, but the truth is these days we all have that metaphorical gun to our heads. There is a new kind of cultural mafia in town, one that styles itself as kind and caring and compassionate and socially sophisticated — but which is, in fact, just as ruthless, just as determined, to bend us to its will.
Every day, in all sorts of ways, they make us offers we can’t refuse, and we find ourselves being asked to say and think things that are manifestly not true.
And so we agree that women can have penises (Lib Dem leader Ed Davey maintained in a radio interview on LBC today that this was ‘quite clear’). And that men can give birth. We applaud as people with thighs like tree-trunks and Adam’s apples accept first prize in female sporting competitions, dwarfing their exhausted and bemused rivals.
We do our best not to flinch as biological males get paid untold sums to advertise tampons and sports bras. We stand back as children are given puberty-blocking hormones and encouraged to mutilate their bodies. We allow convicted rapists to inveigle themselves into women’s prisons.
We watch in silence as those whose views or behaviours don’t comply with the dogma of the impeccably woke are defenestrated, their words and actions twisted out of all proportion.
We nod as our books and plays and comedy sketches are re-written, excised of nuance, purged of meaningful, thoughtful, original or — God forbid — humorous content. We accept our history being re-written out of context and time, sacrifice our heroes to the modern cult of victimhood and blame.
They will undermine your reputation, cast you as a monster, unleash the mob
Home Secretary Suella Braverman, Dominic Raab, the late Queen’s lady-in-waiting Susan Hussey (pictured), JK Rowling… the list is endless
What else can we do? We see the threat, take the hint, keep our heads down. We play the game. Not because we want to, but because we have to. We’ve seen what happens to those who don’t, and it’s not pretty. Most people can’t afford to lose their jobs, their livelihoods, their reputations.
When the woke mafia comes for you, they mean business, helped by the fact that they have skilfully infiltrated pretty much every institution in the land. Schools, universities, arts organisations, public bodies, the civil service, the law, medicine, certain sectors of the media. You name it, they own it. Or if they don’t, they know someone who does.
And you never quite know who they are, which one of your colleagues or friends is going to be the one taking notes, recording your mistakes, totting up your infractions. They are the smiling assassins, the ones who cry discrimination, all the while singling out their targets for elimination.
If what you say or believe runs counter to their beliefs, they will come for you. Not in an open and honest way, not by engaging in a debate, or attempting to challenge you intellectually, but by means of intimidation. They will undermine your reputation, cast you as a monster, unleash the mob.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman, Dominic Raab, the late Queen’s lady-in-waiting Susan Hussey, JK Rowling . . . the list is endless. Their latest target is Baroness Falkner, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, a woman whose only ‘fault’, as far as I can see, was backing legal reforms guarding the rights of biological women in single-sex spaces.
Isn’t it because of her stance — one shared by many women, including myself — that she has been targeted by the woke mob? Her ideology runs counter to theirs, and so she must be removed.
Their latest target is Baroness Falkner (pictured), chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, a woman whose only ‘fault’, as far as I can see, was backing legal reforms guarding the rights of biological women in single-sex spaces
A series of derogatory allegations has been made, in most cases rather vague ones seemingly designed not so much to indict her of any specific crime, as to defame her character.
Falkner is being accused of ‘bullying, harassment and discrimination’, and of ‘politicisation’. In similar vein, they tried to defame Braverman earlier this year after she visited Rwanda to discuss plans to send migrants there — by photoshopping her image onto a picture of the railway tracks leading to Auschwitz.
As I far as I can tell, Baroness Falkner is the victim of all of the above simply for daring to push back against the dogma that biological sex does not exist. Had she given in to this fantasy — and I’m afraid it is a fantasy — you can be certain she would not find herself in the dock.
Likewise, if Braverman had simply given up trying to find a way to curb immigration, no one would give two hoots about her speeding fine.
It takes courage to stand up to the mob, and not everyone has it. Not everyone has Rowling’s deep pockets, or Braverman’s thick skin. Not everyone can cope with having their reputation destroyed, their livelihoods stolen, their words and actions twisted beyond measure. Especially when, as in the case of Falkner, she is simply trying to safeguard vulnerable women in places such as prisons and hospital wards.
But the truth is that if we don’t follow her example, and stand up to the threats of the woke mob, none of us will be safe. Freedom of expression will cease to exist, and we will have no choice but to believe what we are told, regardless of the reality staring us in the face.
Meaningful debate will be silenced, and we will be like my old friend standing in the earthquake zone, staring at the dust and ruins — and watching his integrity go up in smoke.
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