We all know a bigot when we meet one, or at least we think we do. The reactionary old gent, set in his ways. The stubborn old woman, distrustful of everything and everyone ‘different’.
But in recent years the face of bigotry has started to get a lot younger and, oddly, a lot more socially and politically liberal.
You know the type: Remain voters who refuse to accept the result of the Referendum; militant cyclists screaming abuse at motorists; Corbynistas; Extinction Rebellion; the trans lobby; certain elements of Black Lives Matter.
Those who follow Extinction Rebellion are one of the groups who have an evangelical belief that those who oppose them are morally wrong
These sorts of people are not content to allow the rest of us to rub alongside with our slightly opposing views. They want us to join their cause. They are determined – in fact they insist – that we embrace their ideology and rewire our hearts and minds accordingly
People and organisations who would consider themselves and their causes highly socially progressive, but whose methods are precisely the opposite and, in many instances, brutally ruthless.
These types approach their mission with an evangelism that stems not so much from a desire to improve the world around them but from the absolute certainty of the superiority of their convictions and the unshakeable belief that anyone who dares to question them is an inferior human being. That their opponents are not just wrong, but also wicked and must be destroyed.
More from Sarah Vine For The Mail On Sunday…
These sorts of people are not content to allow the rest of us to rub alongside with our slightly opposing views. They want us to join their cause. They are determined – in fact they insist – that we embrace their ideology and rewire our hearts and minds accordingly.
And if we don’t – either because we’re just not sure they’re as right as they think they are, or because we have an opposing view or even because (whisper it) we don’t really care all that much, they will use their proselytising zeal to bring us to our knees. In the case of BLM, quite literally. The great irony about these people is that they don’t see themselves as bigots at all; it is everyone else who is prejudiced for not agreeing with them.
The even greater irony is that the majority consider themselves to be supremely kind, tolerant individuals – even though when it comes to opposing views they’re about as understanding as Anna Wintour might be when the intern brings her the wrong kind of coffee.
The latest example of such modern bigotry is the case of the school chaplain who was fired for preaching a sermon about how important it is that everyone should respect each other’s ideologies, however much they might disagree with them.
Speaking in the context of a recent visit to his school by an organisation called Educate and Celebrate, whose aim is ‘to make society a more welcome place for everybody’ by providing LGBT+ inclusion training for staff and pupils, the Reverend Bernard Randall said that while he accepted the facts put forward by the speaker, there were nonetheless certain ideological aspects of her lecture – such as, for example, the belief that a person’s gender is independent of any biological factor – which pupils were entitled to question. ‘You should no more be told you have to accept LGBT ideology than you should be told you must be in favour of Brexit, or must be Muslim,’ he said, adding: ‘You are perfectly at liberty to hear ideas out, and then think, “No, not for me.” ’
The great irony, is that these groups, like some of those involved in the BLM movement, don’t see themselves as bigots at all
For this he was reported to the Government’s anti-terrorism programme, Prevent, by the school’s ‘safeguarding lead’.
Because he had dared to challenge the dogma being presented in no uncertain terms to pupils as fact – as all these things are these days – he was accused of being a potential terrorist.
The irony is breathtaking. Because it is not people like Mr Randall who are the terrorists here.
It’s those who, under the banner of kindness and inclusivity, shut down anyone who disagrees with them. They are the true bullies and bigots in society today.
Cry foul play at filthy dog owner
As I walked my dogs in my local park in the rain yesterday morning, once again I found myself clearing up other animals’ mess. A little eccentric, perhaps, but I pride myself on being a responsible dog owner, even if others don’t.
Especially since, with the explosion in pandemic pups, it’s a problem that’s only getting worse. If we’re not careful, councils will start banning dogs from more and more public spaces, and quite honestly who can blame them?
So next time you catch an owner deliberately turning a blind eye to their dog’s doings, give them a piece of my mind, will you?
Meanwhile, maybe the task force being set up by the Government to tackle the rise in pet thefts can also turn its attention to this other sort of foul play.
Why this photo fills me with sadness…
I think there’s something really sad about this picture of little Archie Mountbatten-Windsor on his second birthday.
It’s the fact that he’s standing all alone with his back to the camera in a colourless, isolated landscape.
Where’s the fun, where are his cousins, where’s Colin the Caterpillar, where’s Granny and Grandpa with their piles of presents and whiskery kisses?
They’ve even managed to make the bunch of balloons he’s holding seem utterly joyless. Poor little chap.
I think there’s something really sad about this picture of little Archie Mountbatten-Windsor on his second birthday
Many have been left scratching their heads as to why ‘Wallpapergate’ had little or no effect on Boris’s polls performance.
My theory is that his behaviour actually makes him more relatable, not less.
Spending beyond your means and borrowing to pay for it is a familiar pattern.
Messy relationships, love affairs, fallibility: it’s how humans actually live.
What matters is getting the big stuff right and, broadly speaking, he has.
If you want further proof, look at Starmer.
Smug, squeaky-clean, holier-than-thou – and as electable as wet lettuce.
I’m sure Laurel Hubbard, the 43-year-old trans weightlifter from New Zealand, is a perfectly lovely person.
But it seems to me hugely unfair that she should be allowed to compete against biological women at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.
Weightlifting is all about strength, and there’s no doubt that someone born male and who has matured into a man, which Hubbard did (she transitioned in her 30s) has a natural advantage in this respect.
Some gender characteristics, such as muscle mass, are simply irreversible.
However sensitive the Olympic committee may – quite rightly – be to the rights of trans people, that is a truth that cannot be changed.
If you want a sweet little bit of poetry (as opposed to another attempt to exploit her Royal status by the Duchess of Sussex), may I recommend Pam Ayres’s The Last Hedgehog?
First published a few years ago, it’s a delightful elegy to that most beloved inhabitant of the British countryside, the common hedgehog.
As this is the end of Hedgehog Awareness Week, and as these spiky little critters still face terminal decline, it’s a much better use of your money.