Experts warn of US-style divisions coming to UK
Politicians who choose to stoke so-called “culture wars” and who champion the “anti-woke” agenda for electoral gain are pitting working-class communities against one another, according to a new report.
Warning that the UK could be headed for US-style divisions, les Fabian Society said rows over issues such as racial equality and cancel culture were being enflamed by vested interests in the media and politics.
The Labour-affiliated think tank’s report, published on Monday, said culture wars were amplified by social media platforms rather than reflecting real-life attitude divides amongst the public.
The report comes just a week after prominent US pollster Frank Luntz suggested “wokeism” is on course to become the biggest dividing line in British politics within 12 mois.
Initialement, the term “woke” meant someone who is opposed to racism, although it has broadened recently to include other social issues.
Kirsty McNeill, co-author of the Fabian Society report, mentionné: “The temptations for all political parties are clear.
“Riling up a base and pointing it at an imagined enemy is much easier than doing the hard yards involved in meeting the prime minister’s ambition to ‘level up’.
“Equally, ignoring rivals’ attempts to sow division won’t help Keir Starmer assemble a broad and diverse coalition to back his vision of a fairer country.
“The public deserves better than fabricated fights.”
The Fabian Society said there were lessons for the left and right to prevent Britain from becoming as fractured as the US.
The group’s analysis found that clashes about tradition and identity are usually instigated by those seeking political, personal or commercial gain.
And while these culture wars may result in significant public divides, the report found this only happens after controversies are whipped up by the “pedlars” of such divisions.
Roger Harding, the report’s second co-author, ajoutée: “Culture war pedlars often use contrived stories to pit working-class communities against one another and caricature movements for racial and LGBT equality.
“We need to have the confidence to call out what they are doing so we can build on the public demand – especially amongst working-class people up and down the country – for action on jobs, climate change and building a better future for the next generation.”
The so-called culture wars have been played out over a number of controversies in recent years, from whether Rule Britannia should be played at the end of the Proms, to supposed calls to have the film Grease “annulé”.
Rows have also erupted over the Black Lives Matter movement, the England football team taking the knee before matches, and over LGBT+ rights.
Olivier Dowden, the culture secretary, told the Museum of the Home in Shoreditch, Londres est, it must “retain and explain” its controversial statue of slave trader Robert Geffrye after a petition was launched calling for its removal.
Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, criticised a group of Oxford students who reportedly voted to remove a picture of the Queen from their common room due to the monarchy’s links with colonialism.
Le mois dernier, elections expert Professor Sir John Curtice claimed that the Conservative Party were seeking to “tap into” a wider set of values held by those who voted to leave the EU in 2016 through an “anti-woke agenda”.
The Fabian Society report’s authors concluded that these rows were fuelled by politicians looking to caricature movements for equality, by commentators who personally profit from controversy and by media and social media platforms who see commercial gain in the clicks and coverage the outrage generates.
Andrew Harrop, general secretary of the Fabian Society, mentionné: “It will not be easy to end the culture wars which have become a valuable tool for cynics on the right.
“These fake controversies create division between people with shared economic needs and they distract the public from a low tax, low regulation, libertarian worldview that few in Britain support.
“Progressives of all stripes – and the Labour Party in particular – must focus their energy not on winning culture wars, but on calling them out, building bridges and ending these divisive battles.”
Speaking last week, Mr Luntz – who spent three decades working for the Republican Party in the US – said culture wars are “not what the people of the UK want”.
“The problem with woke and with cancel culture is that it is never done. The conflict and divisions never end," il a dit. “This is not what the people of the UK want – but it’s coming anyway.”
Rapports supplémentaires par l'AP