Remember the Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol? The one where the mob tipped the statue into the harbour? In court this week, one of its organisers admitted fraud, after £30,000 in donations from Black Lives Matter supporters went missing.
Those donors will be shaking their heads. But I suspect they won’t be the only ones. Because, three years on, it feels like an appropriate time to reflect on what happened during that mad summer of 2020 – and to ask: what exactly came over us?
We all recall what happened. For almost a month, mass protests raged all over Britain. Outside Downing Street, a policeman took the knee while on duty. The Labour leader, and his deputy, posed for a photograph in which they solemnly took the knee inside Parliament.
Then the England football team started taking the knee, too. In fact, they continued to perform this American gesture long after American sportsmen had stopped. Hence the peculiar spectacle before the England v USA match at last year’s World Cup. The England team took the knee – but the US team didn’t.
All of the above happened in response to a single event: the murder of an African-American man by a white American policeman in the American state of Minnesota, 4,000 miles away. The murder was of course appalling. But how come such huge protests against US cops erupted in Britain, too?
I think it was a subconscious reaction to lockdown. Young people had been confined to their homes for two long months. They’d gone stir-crazy. They were desperate to get out, to be part of a crowd, to feel a sense of community again. And, as they burst furiously out on to the streets together, these protests gave them exactly that.
The woke world of Justin Trudeau
Justin Trudeau has said it’s “deeply embarrassing” that the Canadian parliament gave a standing ovation to a Second World War veteran last week – without realising that the veteran had fought for the Nazis. True enough, it was embarrassing. But then, so was Mr Trudeau’s apology.
The blunder, said the Canadian prime minister in a televised statement, “was deeply, deeply painful for Jewish people. It also hurt Polish people, Roma people, 2SLGBTQI+ people…”
The last item on that list, I imagine, will have brought many people in Britain up short. They’ll be thinking: “Isn’t it ‘LGBTQI+’? What does the ‘2S’ at the front stand for?”
The answer is “two-spirit”. This group is little-known in Britain, because it’s exclusively North American. Its members are indigenous Native Americans who believe that their body contains both a “masculine spirit” and a “feminine spirit”.
As with all minority groups, they of course deserve our respect. None the less, I don’t think it would be unkind to ask Mr Trudeau how many two-spirit people he thinks were persecuted in Nazi Germany.
I’m no historian. But, to my knowledge, Native American reservations were reasonably rare in 1930s Europe. The Apache were seldom to be found hunting buffalo through the streets of Berlin. Totem poles remain an uncommon sight in Vienna.
Why, then, did Mr Trudeau include Native Americans in his apology to the victims of Hitler? We know that the Nazis persecuted gay people. So why didn’t he just say “gay people”?
The reason is that, in the progressive circles Mr Trudeau inhabits, you can’t just say “gay people” any more, because it’s considered insufficiently inclusive. You must always reel off the full list of sexual minorities and gender identities. Which is why the two-spirit community had to be cited as victims of Hitler – regardless of whether Hitler had actually heard of them.
Watching Mr Trudeau, people in the rest of the world may wonder why Canadians keep voting for this simpering ninny. I think I can guess. As anyone who has visited Canada will know, Canadians are the nicest, kindest and politest people on earth. So they probably can’t bear to vote him out, in case it hurts his feelings.
The BBC’s new rules don’t go far enough
Gary Lineker sounds very pleased with the BBC’s new rules for social media use. And little wonder. “Flagship presenters” like him have been told that, from now on, “You are free to express opinions about the issues that matter to you” – including issues that “may be the subject of public and political debate”.
At first, I thought: how pathetic. The BBC has meekly capitulated to its star names. It’s just letting them do and say whatever they want.
Having given the matter further thought, however, I’ve changed my mind. I now think it’s a great idea. In fact, I’ve decided the new rules don’t go far enough. The BBC shouldn’t merely permit its star presenters to tweet their political views. It should actively require them to.
That way, viewers would at last know exactly where they stand. No more suspicion and speculation. Get the presenters’ views out in the open.
What an exciting thought. I wonder what political views the BBC’s star presenters would be revealed to have. Perhaps, apart from Mr Lineker, they’ll all turn out to be true-blue lifelong Conservatives who love Brexit, worship Mrs Thatcher, admire Donald Trump, yearn for lower immigration and despise political correctness.
Well, it’s one possibility.
Way of the World is a twice-weekly satirical look at the headlines aiming to mock the absurdities of the modern world. It is published at 7am every Tuesday and Saturday