The case of footballer John Terry has once again brought the issues of racism and political correctness into the media spotlight. As these pustulent entities sit there baking in the glare, they emit a miasma of side issues and discussion points that the mainstream media dutifully spins in appropriate ways.
This time Terry got off with calling opposing player Anton Ferdinand a "fucking Black cunt." Apparently his lawyers were a lot better than those of Emma West. But he's not out of the woods yet. The Football Association, which got egg on its face when they prematurely removed him from the captaincy of the English national team, is set to reopen its own investigation into the incident, with possible sanctions and stigma beckoning for Terry.
The main reason for Terry's acquittal may have been his actual innocence. It is obvious that the man who has successfully captained the multiracial Chelsea team for several seasons can't be what most people understand to be a "racist." But since when has the thoughtcrime industry been interested in innocence?
A far more probable reason for the innocent verdict was that the establishment picked up signals that convicting Terry of racism would lack credibility and alienate a significant section of football fans even with the mass media dutifully playing its cajoling role. In other words, it would backfire and weaken the weapon of political correctness itself. With no jury to worry about – the trial was heard and decided by a solitary magistrate – a politically expedient decision could easily be arrived at.
But why should the British establishment or any other establishment be so concerned about a bit of verbal unpleasantness in the first place? This is something that needs explaining. Luckily, the history of political correctness in Britain provides a particularly illustrative demonstration of some of the factors that seem to drive the madness.
This being Britain, class is important. In Britain class is always important. Terry, despite the millions he gets for kicking a bit of leather around, is unmistakably and indelibly working class. Middle and upper class people may occasionally fall foul of anti-racism legislation, but it is not designed for them.
The politically correct idea of racism as it is applied in modern UK society is one that clearly disadvantages the working class and benefits the middle and upper classes. In short, it is a continuation of the class war that has been evident in British society throughout most of the 20th century. This is a class war that the working class has clearly been losing, not only economically and politically, as demonstrated by the destruction of their industries and the middle class take over of the party created to defend their interests, but also culturally – and on a massive scale.
Working class people have traditionally earned their living by the sweat of their brows, not by the prettiness of their words. More recently, in these welfare-tinged days, a growing proportion of this class survives by appearing as dysfunctional as possible. Life for the working classes has always been rough and uncouth, and this is something that has left its imprint on their speech, culture, and communication patterns.
In the same way that the Chinese always seem to be shouting and berating each other when they have a polite conversation, or the French rely heavily on their nasal passages to express what's on their mind, so with the British working-class there is a lot of effing and blinding when they talk, even at the best of times. This is even truer of the working class male who demonstrates his intellectual vigour and wins respect from his peers through his ability to comfortably swear. In an antagonistic situation, someone's most obvious visual feature is often combined with a sexually derived expletive to describe them. This is the typical, abrasive and unguarded way of speaking common to the working class – "ya fat c*nt," "ya specky git," "ya big p**f" – and it is also the linguistic algorithm that produced Terry's remark to Ferdinand.
In contrast to this, the members of the middle-class earn their living by developing skills of masked communication. This is the hallmark of many of their professions, such as the legal profession, management, and education, where blunt truths are discouraged and a mealy-mouthed communication style that relies on irony, double meanings, and dog whistle signals is fostered.
In the 1960s and 70s, there was almost a cultural revolution in Britain, and a real possibility of working class culture becoming dominant. The upper class, which provided the models aspired to by the middle class, was routinely ridiculed as effete and outmoded. The TV airwaves were full of strident and domineering working class voices, whether it was in the guise of trade union leaders or the firebrand oratory of the Reverend Ian Paisley. Working class comedians dominated the TV channels, and working class pop stars the airwaves.
This all started to change in the 1980s, with the rise of Thatcherism and the deindustrialization of Britain. The economic assault on the White working class was symbolized by the smashing of the miners in the great strike of 1984-5. But even before this started, a cultural war was already underway.
This movement can be detected in the sit-coms of the period, which started undermining and devaluing traditional working class attitudes and values, and pandering more to a middle class aesthetic. A classic early example was The Good Life, an apotheosis of middle class values that constantly sniped at the Britain of "tradesmen" (skilled manual workers), council estates, and trade unions.
Later, with that sit-com’s most memorable character’s alter ego ensconced in Number Ten in the guise of Mrs. Thatcher, there was the rise of the alternative comedy movement. Although it pretended to be anti-Tory, and may even have been politically anti-Tory, it was essentially middle class and culturally anti working class.
Just at the moment when trade union leaders were becoming marginalized and trade union militants hemmed in by new legislation, so extremely popular and politically incorrect working class comedians like Bernard Manning and Jim Davidson were being expunged from the TV schedules in a cultural Night of the Long Knives and forced to eke out a living on the club circuit and video tape store bargain buckets.
The 90s comedy show The Fast Show epitomized the new cultural environment with the character best known by his catchphrase "I'll Get Me Coat," a working class Brummie who always managed to say the wrong thing in company with his more sophisticated and ostensibly middle class companions.
This movement to contain the raw vigour of working class culture and remove it from any significant role in the cultural and political commentariat went hand in hand with the rise of political correctness and the creation of new crimes and protected subgroups. This created an environment where working class expression was swept from the airwaves, except for programs focusing on White working class dysfunction like Jeremy Kyle and Big Brother, and the world of sport, especially football (soccer).
Football has played a key role in the great emasculation of the White working class. Not only did it provide a perfect conduit for channelling working class energy and interest into a politically sterile realm. It also helped condition the White working class to their ethnic replacement by encouraging them to root for multi-ethnic teams. Instead of seeing non-Whites as "The Other," as invaders and colonizers of their land, the White working class was conditioned to see the increasingly multiethnic teams they supported as part of their extended tribal family. Instead "The Other" became rival teams and their supporters, in other words, other Whites.
The world of football, with its linguistically inept entourage of ex-player pundits and rough-edged managers also provided a convenient paddock from where the occasional fatted calf could be drawn to slaughter on the steps of the temple of political correctness, as with Ron Atkinson in 2004.
What made this particular case more notable was the irony that Atkinson, in his pre-pundit days, was a football manager who had done more than anyone to bring Black players into the game back in the days when the strength of White working class culture in the 1970s made this quite difficult.
The Defeat of the Working Class
The establishment of political correctness places an additional burden on working class people wishing to participate in politics, because it makes it more difficult for them to master the requisite language. Those brought up in working class homes are much more likely to say the occasional thing considered anathema, whether it be about gays, ethnics, Muslims, or women, and once the remark has been made and abjectly apologized for, the public career can be considered over.
But back to Terry: The class war has already been won. The working class has been cowed. Its parties have been trivialized, emasculated, or subsumed into the dominant middle class culture. Its folk heroes have been tarnished and discarded. Its economic power has been diminished, and its dependency status emphasized. Its very existence is now threatened by demographic factors that include the breakdown of the family, miscegenation, and the ethnic cleansing of its traditional neighbourhoods. These are all factors that the middle class, one of the victors in this war, are largely immune to, at least for the time being.
The war is finished and the working class lies prostrate, yet still the machine demands new victims. It’s hard to have any sympathy with the likes of Terry. He seems to be drawn from the kind of London family on which the villains in Minder and Eastenders are modelled. But whether you see him as "scum" or "salt of the earth" it's obvious he's no racist. I would say that he has little in the way of racial awareness and certainly lacks any hint of "White pride."
The real racists are those who drove this prosecution and the post-prosecution prosecution. Be they black or white, they are all part of the establishment and accordingly you can be sure very few of them now live or have ever lived in enriched neighbourhoods, but, not being working class, they know how to mind their Ps and Qs and wrap up their distaste for the ethnic underclass in sanctimonious cant and masked phrases.
They know how to protect the all-important taboo of a dysfunctional society that has made the secret decision to destroy its own indigenous working class and maintain its zombie-like existence by outsourcing its reproductive duties to the Third World.
A version of this article originally appeared on the website of Civil Liberty, an organization in the UK dedicated to fighting the tyranny of political correctness.