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DOUGLAS MURRAY: It feels like Britain is suffering a mental breakdown

Riot police chased out of Brixton by teenage thugs. More than 20 officers injured, with two treated in hospital. 

The Home Secretary describing the criminal mayhem as ‘utterly vile’. Meanwhile, lockdown parties and illegal raves erupt into violence elsewhere across the country.

No wonder former Metropolitan Police commissioner Lord Blair says we need an urgent ‘public conversation’ about the amount of violence being directed towards the men and women who we entrust to keep law and order. 

If the forces of law and order behave like a kitten rather than a lion, then it is no surprise that those minded to cause trouble feel they have the upper hand. Protesters are pictured in London earlier this month

It’s simply not right that they should fear being badly hurt in their daily working lives.

Depressingly, what is happening to our police is symbolic of wider social unrest. It is as if Britain is suffering a mental breakdown – with all the values and links that bind us together being torn apart.

In the first weeks of the coronavirus lockdown, we were a people united. We followed the advice of the Government and respected unprecedented measures to protect the NHS.

Now, however, as the lockdown has started to lift, we are witnessing a terrifying outbreak of noisy and dangerous disharmony.

It may be the effect of weeks stuck at home or the exceptional summer heat. But it feels as if we are living in a pressure cooker, with tensions and anxieties threatening to spill out. If things do not calm down, I dread to think where we are heading.

Riot police chased out of Brixton by teenage thugs. More than 20 officers injured, with two treated in hospital

Riot police chased out of Brixton by teenage thugs. More than 20 officers injured, with two treated in hospital

The violent lawlessness last week followed disturbances across the country as protesters acting under the banner of Black Lives Matter brought the worst and most divisive aspects of American identity politics to the UK.

They ushered in the disturbing sight of it seeming to be completely acceptable for people to get away scot-free with defacing or destroying any public monument that isn’t to their liking.

Despite strong words of condemnation, Ministers shamefully stood by and allowed this to happen. Unprotected by the Government, police chiefs felt obliged to hold back – or even in some cases watch as their under-attack officers ran away. 

Is it any wonder that this is what happens when some officers are seen to ‘take the knee’ and back down.

As former Home Secretary David Blunkett has said, the gesture of kneeling, ‘though prompted by the best instincts, might give the perception of undermining the role of the police in such situations. They are there to ensure a safe demonstration, not to make political statements.’

Protesters are seen throwing a statue of slave trader Edward Colston into the docks in Bristol. Everywhere I look, there seems to be an attempt to present modern Britain as something that it is not

Protesters are seen throwing a statue of slave trader Edward Colston into the docks in Bristol. Everywhere I look, there seems to be an attempt to present modern Britain as something that it is not

If the forces of law and order behave like a kitten rather than a lion, then it is no surprise that those minded to cause trouble feel they have the upper hand.

At the core of this pressure-cooker atmosphere is, I believe, a shocking failure of nerve by almost everybody in a position of authority –from politicians, the police, our religious leaders and broadcast media. 

While church services – which for many provide a source of great comfort and community – remain prohibited until July 4, the vacuum in moral leadership has been replaced by political virtue-signalling.

For example, the Archbishop of Canterbury seems obsessed by ‘white supremacy’ and has suggested that some statues in his cathedral ‘will have to come down.’ Many would be forgiven for thinking that, rather than trying to expiate a sense of privileged guilt, such leaders ought to be trying to find more practical ways of mending our society.

Everywhere I look, there seems to be an attempt to present modern Britain as something that it is not.

At the core of this pressure-cooker atmosphere is, I believe, a shocking failure of nerve by almost everybody in a position of authority –from politicians, the police, our religious leaders and broadcast media. Demonstrators are seen in London

At the core of this pressure-cooker atmosphere is, I believe, a shocking failure of nerve by almost everybody in a position of authority –from politicians, the police, our religious leaders and broadcast media. Demonstrators are seen in London

The radical Leftists who run Black Lives Matter (the group’s founders are self-declared Marxists) claim this proud nation is a uniquely racist and unfair society, with historic sins unlike any other.

They then build on this lie to try to impose a whole new set of values on our country. Like lemmings, major corporations and once-great institutions have paid lip service and more to these demands.

We are told, too, that we must all be re-educated and reprogrammed to atone for our ‘awful’ past. But there is never any positive or practical proposal for addressing the past – only ever a malevolent insistence that everyone agree with the activists who seem determined to shut down anyone who questions their extreme demands.

Against this background, a Cambridge academic called Priyamvada Gopal sent a message on Twitter saying, ‘white lives don’t matter’. Previously, this student of colonial and post-colonial literature has been notorious for tweeting incendiary material.

So how did her university bosses react? They immediately sent out a message supporting her and presenting her as a victim because of the negative reaction that she had received. Next, by Gopal’s own account, the university promoted her to a full professorship.

Against this background, a Cambridge academic called Priyamvada Gopal sent a message on Twitter saying, ‘white lives don’t matter’. Previously, this student of colonial and post-colonial literature has been notorious for tweeting incendiary material

Against this background, a Cambridge academic called Priyamvada Gopal sent a message on Twitter saying, ‘white lives don’t matter’. Previously, this student of colonial and post-colonial literature has been notorious for tweeting incendiary material

When people wonder what is happening to our country and watch in despair as the glue that holds us together becomes unstuck, they ought to realise that what they are witnessing is the result of decades of figures in authority pandering to political activists instead of doing their job.

And it doesn’t seem to matter how destructive the process becomes, they never learn.

The more woke the police become, the more they lose control. The more they dance with protesters, take the knee or run away from them, the more that those who want to destroy our way of life believe they are free to do so.

How ironic that police chiefs are now complaining that they might not be able to cope on July 4 when the British public is allowed to go back into the pubs. It is a case of you reap what you sow.

The fact is that Britain needs to return to normality as swiftly as possible. And that includes allowing us to regain some semblance of ordinary life again.

The madness of a lockdown in which half a million people descend on to the Dorset beaches. The stupidity of children being kept out of school. The disgraceful way that some cynical bosses are using the Government’s furlough scheme to keep on employees only to sack them when the Treasury pulls the plug.

It’s not just the Brixton mob who have gone feral – the country seems to have been poleaxed by a virus other than Covid-19 that has infected our national nervous system.

Most important of all, we need strong leadership from all society’s institutions. We await Boris Johnson to address the nation – as perhaps only he can – in a spirit of optimism and positivity.

It’s time to be reminded of all the good things about this country.

The malcontents, rioters and anarchist activists must be told that Britain will not be changed by violence or intimidation. That we live in an unusually fair country, not a bastion of racism that we have kept being told about in recent weeks.

After a week in which this country seems to have been losing its head, it’s imperative to restore some sense of sanity.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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