HomeInvestmentBritain’s Conservatives Rise Above Identity Politics

Britain’s Conservatives Rise Above Identity Politics

Nadhim, Rishi, Sajid, Kemi, Penny, Suella, Liz.

An Iraqi-born Kurdish refugee, the son of Indian-born east Africans who emigrated to seek a better future for their family; the child of a Pakistani-born bus driver; an immigrant who escaped political turmoil in Nigeria as a teenager and worked her way through school doing shifts in a local McDonald’s; a woman whose mother died when she was 15 and who worked as a magician’s assistant to help make ends meet.

A Buddhist, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Catholic, a nonbeliever or two.

It all sounds like the introduction to an elaborate, and these days very risky, joke, or the cast of characters in one of those ever-so-woke television commercials with which our ultraprogressive corporate image-makers now regale us multiple times an hour.

It is in fact an almost exhaustive list of the candidates to be the next prime minister of the U.K., following the fall of Boris Johnson last week—the next Conservative prime minister.

Ok, I left out a Tom and a Jeremy, who complete the roster of serious contenders (no cat-and-mouse jokes please). But the privately educated white males, who in the media’s cartoonish portrayal supposedly reign supreme, are outgunned by the rising regiment of women and ethnic and religious minorities. The current betting is that the two candidates who will make it through to the final round of voting among all Tory Party members, after members of Parliament have winnowed the field, will be

Rishi Sunak,

the scion of those East African Hindu immigrants, and

Penny Mordaunt,

the former magician’s assistant.

The Labour Party, the U.K.’s nonbinary sibling of the Democrats in the U.S.—standard-bearer of oppressed minorities, scourge of the cisgendered patriarchy—has had nine elected leaders since the Conservative

Margaret Thatcher

became the first female prime minister almost half a century ago. Every one of them—including the current incumbent—has been a white man.

Does any of this have any relevance in the U.S., where the culture wars over race and sex rage even more fiercely than they do across the pond? America’s racial history and current social context differ in many ways from Britain’s, so there can be no easy parallels. But I think there are several wider lessons from this thoroughly modern mix.

First, Britain, like America, is widely caricatured by the media and progressive elites as irredeemably bigoted and racist. Right-leaning voters are supposed to be “deplorable,” yearning for the halcyon days when white men ruled the world.

Read More Free Expression

So it’s striking that the right-wing party in Britain seems entirely comfortable with the idea of a woman (its third) or a member of an ethnic minority as its principal vote-getter at the next election. The proportion of the British population that is black or brown is much smaller than in the U.S.—around 10%—but after three years of leadership by a ferociously blond ambition, there isn’t the slightest evidence that the vast majority of white voters are turned off by a person of color in the top job. America of course has already elected a black president.

A second lesson is a further reminder that the left’s assumption of an inevitable convergence between race or sex and political preference is false.

There is nothing in logic or reason that says someone of darker skin must favor open immigration, soft-on-crime policies or higher taxes. The minority candidates in the Tory leadership are some of the most hawkish on immigration controls, a big issue in the U.K. Similarly in the U.S., the idea that Hispanics necessarily favor a party that seems to want to do away with border controls is contradicted by polling and voting evidence. On both sides of the Atlantic, those who have made it to a country legally are often the firmest believers in limits and rules on who gets there. Similarly with other political questions: There’s no law that says a woman must support abortion rights or that black voters must favor tough regulations on energy production.

A third lesson is the primacy of national identity over subcategories of personal identity of gender or skin color. The Tory contenders all proclaim how proudly British they are. They, like many voters, seem unconvinced by the insistence of the left-dominated cultural institutions that Britain’s history and identity is something to be condemned if you are not white.

But the most important lesson, for which there is welcome and growing evidence, is that most sane, ordinary people simply reject the idea of their mandatory political allocation to some group defined by their birth. Those Tory contenders are arguing about tax and spending, education and international relations. They are attempting to persuade voters with ideas on policy—not by highlighting the number of X chromosomes they have or whether their mother wore a sari.

No one of course would argue that issues of race and sex are irrelevant—especially given America’s history—or that prejudice doesn’t persist.

But if our leaders could just stop insisting that these characteristics are the essential, inescapable determinants of our life chances, the defining aspect of our humanity, we’d all be much happier.

Review & Outlook: Boris Johnson delivered Britain’s exit from the European Union, but then failed to capitalize on the U.K.’s new regulatory freedom, choosing instead to govern from the left, before scandals including Partygate erupted. Images: AFP/Getty Images Composite: Mark Kelly

Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Source link



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments