Woke politics: Expert says it’s ‘painful to be conservative’
Britain is currently embroiled in a so-called “war on woke”. Earlier this year the Government drew up what has been described as an anti-woke agenda. This included plans from the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick to protect historic statues in public places.
The war on woke is now thought to entail a whole range of things from Britain’s history to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.
Sir Keir, the Labour Party’s leader, found himself stuck in the culture wars after he came out in support of Meghan following her and Harry’s Oprah Winfrey interview.
It was here that the pair aimed several allegations at the Royal Family, including on race and mental health.
Sir Keir demanded that Buckingham Palace open an investigation into the claims of racism made by Meghan, with many like Philip Johnston writing in The Daily Telegraph, accusing him of “attacking” the monarchy.
Paul Embery, a leading trade unionist and Labour member, warned Sir Keir about wading into such territory.
Keir Starmer: The Labour leader was urged to be careful in what he publicly backed
Robert Jenrick: The Housing Secretary recently drew up an ant-woke agenda
He urged the Labour leader to consider his words before he publicly backs one side or another, and told Express.co.uk: “Starmer needs to be very careful about making judgements on what he thinks is public opinion when in fact many people disagree.
“On the Meghan Markle thing, since that interview there’s been a lot of sympathy for the royals – most people I’ve come across thought it was an inappropriate interview to give and that it was an open attack on the Royal Family.
“Many working class people are monarchists and I think there’s probably an instinct among people to side with the Royal Family, and to see these two people who have chosen a life of celebrity over a life of service attacking them didn’t go down particularly well.
“So Starmer needs to think hard before picking a particular side in these issues which are not straightforward and actually where there are polarised opinions.”
Last year, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, Sir Keir angered proponents of the cause after he described it as a “moment”.
JUST IN: SNP slammed after plans to introduce BLM-inspired history lessons
Oprah Winfrey: Paul Embery cited the tell-all interview as part of the wider culture wars
Many said it dismissed the campaign’s importance.
This was a month after he took the knee in a photo with deputy leader Angela Rayner and posted it to Twitter.
Mr Embery thinks it was another instance of Sir Keir failing to gauge the country at large, and said: “I think he probably thought that he was appearing to the masses but actually, many people among the masses have got a real problem with the knee taking thing.
“Not because they’re racist but because they see it as some kind of relentless moral lecture and they’re a bit fed up with it.”
He added: “The problem with Starmer is that he’s obviously a leader of a party that’s immersed in this sort of stuff, in this identity politics, it’s constantly banging on about racism and giving the impression that Britain is a cesspit of racism.
Sophy Ridge has Reed squirming as party 14 points behind Boris [REPORT]
Andrew Neil exposed Sturgeon’s EU plan: ‘Won’t vote for euro’ [INSIGHT]
Brexit Britain could soon become sea angling ‘global powerhouse’ [ANALYSIS]
Edward Colston: The slaver’s statue was ripped down and thrown into Bristol harbour last year
Winston Churchill: The former PM’s statue on Parliament Square was vandalised last year
“Naturally many people in the Labour movement would have sided with Meghan Markle, many people in the Labour movement would have sided with the taking of the knee.
“But the reality is that the Labour movement at the moment doesn’t really look or sound like provincial Britain or post-industrial Britain.
“And those are the people in those areas that Labour’s got to win back, so it needs to think hard about some of these statements that it’s making.”
While many continue to disagree over what “woke” exactly means, the historian Robert Tombs characterised it as a “destructive” process intent on creating “division” in society.
Brexit: Starmer’s Brexit policy flip-flopped over the years
He told Express.co.uk: “It’s largely destructive, in that it’s trying to create division and create grievances, or at least exaggerate division, and exaggerate grievances.
“And also to convince people they are unfairly treated and that this is a systematic feature of our society – it seems to me that those things are not true.
“Of course most societies aren’t perfect and ours certainly isn’t.
Christopher Pincher: The Tory MP said Starmer was a “prisoner of woke”
“But the idea that we are fundamentally wicked it seems to me that this attitude is entirely destructive.”
Last month, Conservative frontbencher Christopher Pincher accused Sir Keir of “going mad” and of being a “prisoner of woke”.
He added that the Labour leader should “direct” mayor of London Sadiq Khan to focus on housing and other projects rather than trying to “pull down” statues in parks.