Until quite recently it appeared that the United States and the United Kingdom—what the French derisively call the Anglosphere–were running neck-and-neck toward self-destruction, or suicide-by-left. Outwardly, the UK seemed as hard-hit, weakened, and generally compromised as America is by anti-racist and anti-colonialist hysteria, political correctness, and the spirit of general Wokeness. Then, beginning several months ago, British culture and politics began to signal otherwise. First, a palpable reaction set in against the anti-British and anti-white campaign, notably as expressed by the cultural iconoclasm of the National Trust and the BBC. Next, the government’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities—headed by a black man—submitted its awaited report, which—rather unexpectedly—concluded that those disparities have become almost negligible in Great Britain. Finally, the results of the English by-elections last week were utterly disastrous for the Labour Party and a triumph for the Conservatives. The bellwether contest was the council election in Hartlepool, a northern constituency that before Boris Johnson’s election as Prime Minister in 2019 had been a Labour stronghold behind the Red Wall, and that the Labourites hoped to take back this spring—and failed spectacularly to do. No less distinguished a commentator than Charles Moore, a lifelong Conservative journalist and Margaret Thatcher’s official biographer, concludes that this time the Labour Party may be truly and forever done for. If so, the Tories may find themselves in time suffering the wages of over-success, Labour’s death having removed from British politics the necessary oppositional check and balance that a democratic polity requires. For now, however, the possibility need not be a major worry for them. No doubt it won’t be.
Nor were the elections in England the only ones to go the Conservatives’ way. The Scottish National Party, led by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, failed to win a majority of seats at Holyrood, while the Scottish Tories avoided losing seats. As a result, Sturgeon has lost any pretext to hold a second referendum on independence from Westminster, and Johnson gained one to deny her another.
The important thing is that Labour in the post-industrial age lacks its natural constituency, an industrial proletariat, for which the Party has substituted a woke metropolitan elite that scorns and even despises the old working classes—and in turn is despised by them. Consequently, what remains of the Labour Party now owns the radical liberal, scientific, and university classes; while the Conservatives have the lower-, lower-middle, and middle ones—at least for now. The political situation is in stark contrast to the one that currently prevails in the U.S., where half the country across the political spectrum, including a significant part of corporate America, has gone woke, whether from conviction, expediency, or a keen awareness of the social status a university education and academic ideas and opinions confer. In the United Kingdom, large numbers of people, many of them well-placed in society, are recognizing the social, cultural, intellectual, and political destructiveness of the American culture of identity politics. The result could be that, much sooner rather than later, Great Britain at every social and occupational level may become substantially a nation of Orwells —even as the United States grows progressively indistinguishable from Orwell’s Animal Farm.