DAN WOOTTON: Was this the weekend Britain’s cultural and sports elites reached peak Woke… or is the worst still to come?
The past 24 hours represent a scary new chapter in the evolution of Woke Britain.
Driven by a cravenly PC media class, in the space of a day our major entertainment and sporting bodies proved they are chronically out of touch with the views of ordinary Brits.
And they don’t give a damn. In fact, they are proud of it.
That madness kicked off on the BBC (where else?) last night with the luvvie fest that is the TV Baftas.
Seemingly, the only way you’re going to win one of these gongs is if you’ve produced a little-watched and relentlessly depressing telly show tackling issues of gender, sexuality, identity politics or race.
It’s quite something when the right-on Beeb drama Call the Midwife can’t even get nominated because it’s not woke enough. And The Crown fails to win anything.
The Must-See Moment was awarded to Britain’s Got Talent’s highly controversial Black Lives Matter-inspired routine by Diversity – which attracted 24,500 complaints to Ofcom
Ashley Banjo and his brother Jordan pick up the Must-See Moment prize at the Baftas last night
But Judy Parfitt, 85, who plays Sister Monica Joan on the hit show, was spot on when she said recently: ‘What’s interesting is that you don’t see it nominated for Baftas. People want to be woke and feel that they can’t nominate Call the Midwife.’
As a result of this breed of epic snobbery, I hadn’t heard of most of the winners and neither had many viewers, who labelled the borefest The Waftas and Woke Academy.
But everyone had heard of the Must-See Moment which was awarded to Britain’s Got Talent’s highly controversial Black Lives Matter-inspired routine by Diversity – mainly because they hated it as proven by the fact that it attracted 24,500 complaints to Ofcom.
At one point in that winning performance, lead dancer Ashley Banjo lay on the ground while a white police officer knelt on his neck, seemingly re-creating the murder of George Floyd.
Now I would argue the TV moment of the year was Piers Morgan’s epic takedown of Meghan and Harry’s Oprah Winfrey interview on Good Morning Britain, which garnered twice the number of complaints.
But such a controversial reaction from the public would automatically see the chattering classes exclude it. So why not the same treatment for the Diversity routine?
It’s far too easy to say, as many left-wing haters do, that the complainers are racist.
Far from it.
Many simply objected to their favourite family TV show being hijacked by a performance that included a re-enacted murder. Parents attempting to shield young children from the nastiness of the news were unable to do so.
The booing of England players taking the knee happened again before their match yesterday
Jack Grealish was among the England stars taking a knee before the match in Middlesbrough
Referencing the complaints while collecting the award during the Baftas last night, Ashley said: ‘In a way, I have to say thank you to the people that complained, to the people that did put all that abuse out there online, because you showed the truth. You showed exactly why this performance and this moment was necessary.’
Then he finished his speech by saying: ‘Let’s keep having those difficult conversations.’
I couldn’t agree more with him on that.
But surely he needs to accept having a difficult conversation means engaging with folk who didn’t believe his performance was suitable for a family entertainment show, rather than using the easy get out clause of suggesting anyone who complained was racist.
That’s the same myth Gareth Southgate has propagated over his team’s unpopular decision to keep taking the knee before matches, including throughout the upcoming Euros.
The booing of them taking the knee – which happened again before their match against Romania last night – represents ‘criticism’ of the team’s black players, the England manager has said.
Again, that’s one of the most divisive positions so-called liberals tend to take these days: Criticism of their trenchant and often extreme positions must equal bigotry.
It’s far too simplistic a position to take.
Many football fans are furious that they are witnessing the sport they love overtaken by politics and virtue-signalling thanks to Black Lives Matter, an extremist organisation that wants to reverse capitalism and defund the police.
Ollie Robinson, the England cricketer, has been cancelled by the woke mob for posting some inappropriate tweets as a teen nearly a decade ago
They’re angry it’s going to continue throughout the Euros and maybe beyond.
And, like me, they’re confused why taking the knee for Black Lives Matter has become a permanent pre-game tribute when other worthy causes, like recognising England’s war dead, for example, hasn’t.
Then there’s the modern-day tragedy of Ollie Robinson, the England cricketer who has been cancelled by the woke mob for posting some inappropriate tweets as a teen nearly a decade ago.
As I wrote last week, Ollie’s tweets were clearly in bad taste and wrong but I don’t for a minute think he is sexist and racist. He was a troubled young lad showing off to his friends, three years before he made his first-class cricket debut.
His apology after his first match was as thorough and heartfelt as you could possibly get. The greatest day in the bloke’s life had been destroyed by some embarrassing and highly inappropriate gags he made nearly a decade ago.
It represented a public flogging and, as far as I could tell, no one with a brain or a heart thought he needed further punishment.
But the utter fools at the England Cricket Board, led by chief executive Tom Harrison, disagreed.
Last night they decided to suspend Robinson ‘from all international cricket pending the outcome of a disciplinary investigation following historic tweets he posted in 2012 and 2013’.
Their terse statement concluded: ‘Robinson will leave the England camp immediately and return to his county.’
There was no acknowledgement of Robinson’s apology and the fact he’s previously opened up about his difficult youth.
It’s a decision that shows a supreme lack of humanity and is giving in to a tiny minority of Twitter rabble-rousers who whip up the woke mob.
The Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden made an important intervention today, tweeting: ‘Ollie Robinson’s tweets were offensive and wrong. They are also a decade old and written by a teenager. The teenager is now a man and has rightly apologised. The ECB has gone over the top by suspending him and should think again.’
Now he’s been backed by the Prime Minister. And they’re right.
This woke culture of extreme virtue signalling followed by brutal cancellations is becoming a stain on society.
It’s good to see the government being bold enough to speak out against it – but ordinary people must too.
Cricket lovers, football fanatics and TV viewers should all be very concerned about these developments over the weekend.
But until we stand up to the mob and be counted, nothing’s going to change.
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