The official blog of The Social Democratic Party.

Silenced is Not Golden

In this anonymous article, our SDPTalks contributor tells the sorry tale of his brush with cancel culture

By: Anon

You could be forgiven for thinking cancel culture is a luxury affliction, the price celebrities and other high-profilers pay for stepping out of line. That is, until it arrives at your door.

“Tony, can I have a word with you?” And so it begins.

A customer service assistant in the public sector, I’ve just arrived at work and before I can take off my jacket, I’m having to follow my manager as she hurries through the workroom and up the stairs to her office. She tells me I am being suspended on full pay while allegations of misconduct are investigated.

An HR person joins us, via Zoom, to ensure my manager sticks to her script. She does so, and having read it to me, hands over my letter of suspension. Ten minutes later I’m out on the street having complied with instructions to hand in my laptop and lanyard, empty my locker, leave the building and cease all contact with colleagues until further notice.  

My crime? I had recently posted, in a personal capacity, three tweets. Two were critical of the levels of immigration and the impact this was having on public services. One objected to the arrival in this country of what I feel to be that insane phenomenon targeted at young children, Drag Queen Story Time. 

These tweets were neither hateful nor illegal. They didn’t advocate anything other than a review of current policy and practice. They simply expressed my personal opinion on matters that are of widespread and legitimate public concern.  

For the next couple of months, I’m left to stew. It soon becomes apparent my unblemished eight-year work record counts for nothing, likewise the testimony of my manager and colleagues as to my good character. Eventually someone is hired to carry out an investigation. 

Given my faultless work record, this hired offence archaeologist has only one job to do: take a deep dive into my rather shallow social media and wider internet presence in the hope of unearthing more of what these days passes for incriminating material. He will be disappointed, even by his standards. 

Despite this, when I am summoned to an online meeting with this man (and accompanying HR person), to me it’s obvious from their leading questions that minds have already been made up. I am – without a scintilla of evidence – to be found guilty of racism and homophobia, no less. This meeting is merely a formality. Resistance is futile. Injustice will be done. 

My employer is a typically ultra-woke, inner-city local authority, so perhaps I was foolish not to see this coming. Yet still, the shock is profound, the sense of injustice intense.

And sure enough, after a further delay, presumably to encourage my voluntary departure by resignation, I am informed of the investigation’s findings: there is a case to answer and so disciplinary proceedings will follow. 

In an exchange of emails, it is now made clear to me – between the lines – that if I choose to resign immediately, a clean reference will be available. And if I don’t, it won’t be. This I take to be a threat wrapped in an inducement.

Witch hunts have always gone on, the malicious few happy to instigate while others administer. But with every major institution in this country now captured, and the abject failure of the government to do anything about it, today’s cancel culture threatens freedom of speech and thought as never before in modern times. A cultural revolution has taken place, the speed and effectiveness of which would have amazed even Gramsci, the Marxist thinker who predicted it long ago.

Mind you, I doubt Gramsci foresaw the central role that HR departments would play in all this. Like red guards to the revolution, no one intent on staying inside the corporate tent these days, from chief executive down, dares question their spurious authority.  

‘Wrongthink’ and the curtailment of free speech, identity politics and the cult of anti-racism, transgender ideology and the undermining of women’s rights and children’s safety – we live and work under a rainbow of warped idealism.

True, there are campaigning organisations, media channels, and an alternative commentariat challenging the current orthodoxy. But away from the limelight and the affirmation it grants, those with least agency are likely to remain at the mercy of this ‘culture’ for years to come: kids in bog standard schools and colleges, anonymous employees of innumerable bureaucracies and complacent corporate entities. 

Here wokery will linger, if only to avoid the embarrassment of its sudden disappearance. Remember, layers of management, still years from retirement, have built careers on the peddling of this stuff. 

Concessions won here and there are welcome but will not suffice. Call it a liberation from tyranny, call it simply a return to common sense. Either way, the necessary course-correction must be fundamental and all-encompassing. But from where will it come?

Neither wing of the traditional political spectrum, nor the establishment centre show any signs of being able to dig us out of this hole. Short of a spiritual solution to the meaning crisis on whose barren ground these bad ideas grow, it is to the radical centre of British politics that we must look. 

Entirely in keeping with its underlying values and policy programme, the SDP is forthright on these issues: “A free and democratic society must hear different opinions in politeness and respect in order to thrive. We pledge to uphold the values of freedom of thought and speech which lie at the heart of British democracy”.

With a heavy heart, I resigned today. Realising my persecutors were intent on condemnation without even granting me the respect of a meeting in person – where they would have to look me, and, indeed, one another, in the eye – I declined the invitation to attend my disciplinary hearing via Zoom. 

Not even the accused of Salem knew that indignity. 

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All Comments (5)

  • This Country needs a Codified Written Constitution it will protect freedom of speech the United States and Germany have a 1st amendment however distasteful a person’s speech or views are

  • I think you should have named names. Which inner city council is this? Who is the HR person involved? Who does she answer to? Who is the outside offence archeologist, and how much was he/she paid?

    These people are tyrants, and they have no right to anonymity.

  • This woke PC culture imported from the United States to Britain must end perhaps the SDP should advocate as policy that the UK adopts a codified written constitution and become a Federal Republic of system like that of Germany the US Constitution protects freedom of speech however distasteful

  • This stuff comes from America, so a written constitution like theirs will not protect us.

    Nor can we simply trumpet Freedom of Speech because they have already labelled that an extremist tool, a cover for “hate”. Freedom of Speech is sometimes used by people wishing to say dangerous and malicious things and this country has never accepted it should permit defamation, intimidation, or incitement to commit crime. Wokeism is promoted using Free Speech to deny it to others. What is “Drag Queen Story Time” if it isn’t a form of free expression, albeit an inappropriate one and arguably harmful to children’s understanding of themselves and the world. You see, you can’t champion absolute Free Speech and then censor things you think harmful. That would just be doing what the Wokeists do. You can’t achieve justice by reversing the direction of injustice, which is their basic mistake, if you think about it.

    Rather, we needs laws which allow free discussion of ideas but require assertions to be supported by evidence (as defamation laws already do and if extended beyond defamation and prosecuted publicly rather than privately could also protect minorities from being falsely maligned, as well as preventing children or students being taught unproven hypotheses as facts), require criticism to be of ideas and not the people holding them (banning ad hominum attacks on reputations), ban intimidation in all its forms, but clarify what is and isn’t intimidation.

    That would provide an environment where ideas can be discussed but misinformation cannot go unchallenged, where discussion is kept respectful, and where feelings cannot get in the way of facts, a rational society where truth matters more than one side’s wishful thinking.

    As for HR, most of them, I would think, have simply swallowed what they’ve been told by the “experts” organisations have come to accept. Teaching them a better approach to equality and diversity which doesn’t involve allocating rights to specific groups and leaving everyone else out (I call my approach Diverse Diversity) might be the long-term goal there. We need to stop them thinking the worthy aims of Diversity or all-inclusiveness can be achieved through Identity Politics. There’s more to diversity than that.

  • Oh, and as for your own case, have you approached the Free Speech Union or similar bodies to see if they’ll take your case up, perhaps through an Industrial Tribunal? You might have been Constructively Dismissed.

14th December 2022

Family, Community, Nation.