The Daily Express‘s attack on Professor Brian Cox isn’t part of Boris Johnson’s “war on ‘woke'” – it’s an endorsement of the Johnson government’s fascism.
Normally This Writer wouldn’t leap to defend Prof Cox; he knows the score on the social media and he’s big enough to stand up for himself – but this non-story by a right-wing rag demonstrates an important topical point.
It refers to the broadcaster’s response after Priti Patel said – way back in August last year – that denying refugees access to the UK was the will of the British people.
It isn’t – it isn’t even the will of the majority. And even the minority who support Johnsons fascists might be divided after learning how Patel treats people who manage to get here.
We’ve all heard the horror stories about the concentration camp that turned into a Covid-19 breeding ground, and last week we learned that she had tried to deport a witness to a death in another Home Office facility, in an attempt to undermine an investigation that would show that the government had contributed to the death.
But there it was in black and white. Patel stated: “We need the cooperation of the French to intercept boats and return migrants back to France. I know that when the British people say they want to take back control of our borders – this is exactly what they mean.”
Professor Cox responded: “I’m so sick of this ‘the British people’ nonsense.
“It’s inflammatory and divisive and also errant vacuous nonsense with no meaning in a multi-party democracy.
“The phrase should be banned from political discourse.”
There is a valid criticism to be made about these words – and it is that they do not address exactly why those words are problematic.
Fortunately, he followed up with a further comment, in order to remove any doubt:
“The point is that invoking ‘the will of the people’ or derivatives in promoting policy is a well-rehearsed propaganda technique and has no place in our democratic dialogue.”
(Here’s the proof of what he said)
#ImWithBrian Brian Cox is quite right. Evoking 'the British People' is shallow nationalism, along with 'the will of the people' meaning 'a sake dear majority of folk'. Not in my name, Home Secretary. https://t.co/DflafrvI7H
— Willy Gilder (@WillyGilder) April 16, 2021
He was right; it is; it has.
But because the Express dredged up this moment in a current news story, suddenly he has been on the receiving end of a huge gammon-flavoured dogpile by the kind of “British people” who think that their far-right views are shared by everybody.
Wetlipped permagrinner Brian Cox wants to erase the term "British people" from political discourse (although happily uses the term "European citizens").
British people – I see you. I hear you. You are valid. You are loved.
— Leo Kearse – political comedian/comedic politician (@LeoKearse) April 16, 2021
That’s not what “right-thinking” really means, folks.
Fortunately, plenty of genuinely right-thinking people have stood up to defend Professor Cox, and to point out that the Express article is built around a misinterpretation of his words that is no more or less than a lie.
The fash are out for Brian Cox today as he criticises Patel's illegal immigration and refugee strategy.
The people of Wales, Scotland and NI did not vote for the Tories, so how can Patel claim 'what the British people want'?
I want this corrupt Tory regime in jail. pic.twitter.com/p4RNngTRCC
— Michael Abberton (@MichaelAbberton) April 16, 2021
Sorry to the those that disagree with the *take* Brian Cox has on the term British People, because he's correct in this context. As a British person I'm sure I've got far more in common with the poor buggers trying to cross the channel that with Priti Patel!
— karen Cooper (@i_am_k_cooper) April 16, 2021
Billionaire instigated pile-onhttps://t.co/ynht69IcVN
— Politically Homeless #ShockDoctrine #NHSPay15 (@respeak_uk) April 16, 2021
I want to know why the article’s writers and editors of the Express were trying to distract us with this dead cat. What have the Tories done that needs this to take our minds off it?
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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