Iain Macwhirter, Scottish journalist and rector of Edinburgh University, made a fleeting reference to our “coconut cabinet”. Predictably all hell broke loose.
That pejorative term is usually used by blacks to describe other blacks who have sold out to the white establishment.
Though black on the outside, they are perceived to be white on the inside – hence ‘coconut’. Another similar term is ‘Bounty’, in reference to the cookie with a layer of coconut paste sandwiched between two chocolate biscuits.
These two terms have more or less ousted the old expression ‘Uncle Tom’, whose staying power has been compromised by its literary origin. People likely to resort to such vocabulary are these days unlikely to have read Harriet Beecher Stowe (which is good) or anything else (not so good).
Though Mr Macwhirter himself is gleaming white, as a man of the left he deplores the acts of racial treason committed by the off-white members of the Truss cabinet. They should be dealing crack instead, to assuage his craving for stereotypical racial propriety.
To emphasise the depth to which these racial traitors sank, Mr Macwhirter pointed out that all the three black holders of the great offices of state were privately educated.
To meet his stringent criteria, they shouldn’t have been educated at all, except in the school of hard knockers followed by Screw U. Only then could they enlist as foot soldiers in the class war so dear to every Leftie heart.
And there I was, thinking that racism was the exclusive domain of people who look, talk and dress like Jacob Rees-Mogg. In fact, it’s the Lefties who subsist on racial hatred and class resentments. Such ignoble emotions feed their powerlust.
Following Marx’s lead they also equate capitalists with Jews, thereby merging racism and class hatred into a single ideology. Hence virulent Labour anti-Semitism, which especially came to the fore during Corbyn’s leadership. ‘Virulent’ is the operative word here, for this little bias is by no means alien to the Tories either.
But their anti-Semitism tends to be more snobbish and less febrile. Conservative anti-Semites want to keep Jews out of Pall Mall clubs. Socialist anti-Semites want to kill them.
All in all, I am as grateful to Mr Macwhirter as I am to anyone who helpfully illustrates my observations and vindicates my thoughts. However, the hysterical screams of opprobrium that followed his careless remark show, paradoxically, that his side has won.
But first he himself unwittingly made that point by issuing a grovelling apology: “I have repeatedly applauded the Conservatives for having the most diverse cabinet in British history.
“Indeed, I tweeted earlier that the Truss cabinet made the Scottish Government look ‘hideously white’. I have always championed racial diversity in my columns and I am dismayed that my cack-handed attempt at humour suggested otherwise.”
An appalled Mail columnist issued a ringing endorsement of our new political demographics, while refusing to accept Mr Macwhirter’s apology: “Twelve men and eight women, six of them from ethnic minority backgrounds, they constituted a powerful snapshot of modern, multicultural Britain. A place where your gender or skin colour is no bar to success.”
Is it not? I’d suggest that such incidentals are clearly a bar to the success of white men. After all, not a single one of them has found himself in a great office of state, for the first time in history.
Both Mcwhirter’s apology and The Mail’s rebuke show the calamitous magnitude of the rout suffered by conservative decency. For, no matter which way the pendulum of political debate swings, its terms, vocabulary and premises are all set by the Left.
As the American left-wing radical Saul Alinsky (d. 1972) put it: “He who controls the language controls the masses”. And the language of identity politics is universally coined by the woke Left and accepted as the common parlance even by those who are themselves neither woke nor Left.
In a civilised conservative discourse (excuse my tautology), the issue of race or class shouldn’t even come up. A government should be neither scolded nor applauded for its demographic makeup. This should be seen as an utter irrelevance.
It certainly shouldn’t be used as a criterion of evaluating the government. I wouldn’t care if the cabinet, along with both Houses of Parliament, were staffed exclusively by Kwasi Kwarteng’s clones or Boris Johnson’s – as long as they get us out of the current mess.
If all government officials were selected solely on the strength of their mind, character and morality, I’d be the first to jump up and cheer. Such a policy would pour balsam on my soul tortured by our woke, inane, anomic modernity.
Alas, no such policy is in operation. Neither can it be because the Left has won the language war, thereby acquiring control of the voting masses. Hence our axiomatic assumption that having women and ethnic minorities disproportionately represented in every institution is a Good Thing.
I don’t need to be a fly on the wall to know that the Conservative Campaign Headquarters have instructed – in the rare cases when such instructions were deemed necessary – the local Associations to maintain a selection balance heavily biased in favour of women and ethnic minorities.
That is bound to produce a unisex, piebald Parliament, giving prime ministers a large field from which to pluck woke flowers. If the balance is “hideously white”, the PM will feel duty-bound to redress it by promoting candidates who would satisfy woke sensibilities, even at the expense of other criteria.
If God smiles on Britain, our unisex, piebald cabinet will throw up statesmen to put Pericles or, closer to home, Margaret Thatcher to shame. But the odds are heavily stacked against such luck because extraneous and limiting requirements were introduced into the selection process.
An analogy from everyday life might be helpful here. Let’s say a brilliant, sensitive and successful young woman decides that she would only ever marry a similarly endowed man. The task is difficult but not impossible – after all, such men also tend to look for soulmates, and they aren’t thick on the ground.
But then the woman begins to expand her list of essential requirements. Brilliant – yes. Sensitive and kind – yes. Successful – yes. In fact, she has met a few men who qualify, one or two recently. But the victorious candidate, she decides, must also be tall, handsome and blond, drive a Porsche and prefer Bach to Beethoven.
The task has become overcomplicated with too many variables. Her chances of finding the mate she wants have dropped precipitously. She now relies on a stroke of luck and the odds are against her.
I hope Britain will buck the odds and end up with a government worthy of the name. But that’s not the way to bet – for the same reason that my hypothetical woman may be looking at protracted solitude.
By far the most successful post-war Tory cabinet was led by Margaret Thatcher. She was the only woman in it, and the only discernible ethnic minority was Jewish.
Maggie clearly selected her colleagues on competence and talent only, and, though not everyone in her cabinet turned out fine, enough of them did to make her tenure a success.
Mrs Thatcher, as she then was, kept it simple. Miss Truss didn’t. Let’s pray things work out for her – and for us.