Rishi Sunak is battling Britain’s No1 foe – the Empire of Woke

Rishi Sunak is battling Britain’s No1 foe – the Empire of Woke

AS if he hasn’t got enough on his plate, Rishi Sunak is about to declare war on the most pernicious threat to our freedom and the Western way of life.

Forget, for a moment, about the war in Ukraine, the collapsing NHS and fears of economic meltdown. This is serious.

Rishi Sunak is riding to the rescue of democracy and free speech
Rishi Sunak is riding to the rescue of democracy and free speech

The PM is riding to the rescue of democracy, free speech and the persecuted likes of Harry Potter creator JK Rowling from the screeching cult of woke authoritarianism.

He is appointing a free speech watchdog which will challenge the angry wasps’ nest of students and academics who have turned draconian censorship into a quasi-religious inquisition.

This demented minority has hijacked America’s university campuses and is now seizing control of debate here on race, gender and the radical rewriting of our national history.

No wonder poor Harry, Duke of Sussex, the new Crown Prince of Woke, feels so welcome there.

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Free speech might sound like a fact of life, something we can take for granted, like fresh air and clean water.

But it was hard-won against centuries of bloody oppression.

We only need to glance at thuggish Russia, tyrannical China, murderous Iran and a host of other totalitarian regimes to realise wartime leader Winston Churchill was right.

“Democracy is the worst form of government,” he said after being booted out of office, “except for all the others that have been tried.”

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Yet democracy is nothing without free speech — and a free press to publish it.

America’s Founding Fathers decided freedom was sacred enough to be enshrined in the United States’ constitution.

Now it is being sabotaged by “You Can’t Say That” bullies who are prepared to destroy the livelihoods and careers of anyone who dares disagree.

Countless victims

JK Rowling, who introduced generations of schoolchildren — and adults — to the joys of book reading, is its most famous martyr.

Her crime? To question the trans definition of a female adult as a “person who menstruates”.

“I’m sure there used to be a word for those people,” she told her 14.5million followers. “Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”

For that heinous offence, the billionaire author was ditched by so-so actors Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe, who became mega-rich thanks to her magic way with words.

She is one of countless victims of grievance-seekers bent on purging dissent over the right of 16-year-olds to choose their gender, and the endlessly divisive blame game over racism, slavery or climate change.

Wokery had its origins four decades ago in health and safety, another well-intentioned attempt to save people from themselves, gone rogue.

It has spread to the public sector, the NHS, broadcasters Sky, BBC and ITV and into giant corporations where equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) managers dictate management policy.

It is enabled by the shadowy Common Purpose charity which runs “leadership development” programmes, with a special emphasis on curtailing the Press.

Rishi Sunak’s new Woke Czar is tipped as Cambridge Prof Arif Ahmed, a critic of “cancel culture”.

He has his work cut out. Taxpayers are funding 10,000 EDI jobs at a cost of £557million a year.

The NHS alone, allegedly strapped for cash for nurses, employs 800 EDI officers costing £40million.

Universities employ an average four apiece, at a cost of £30.2million.

Toby Young, founder of the estimable Free Speech Union, says: “Arif Ahmed will be one man facing an army of woke warriors . . . one dove in a field full of crows.”

He is also up against the Church of England, a congregation of the ultra-woke headed by the saintly Archbishop Justin Welby.

Eco loonies

Welby this week ordered the CofE to cough up £100million to “right past wrongs” on slavery.

The British Museum, under right-on ex-Chancellor George Osborne, wants to hand back the historic Elgin Marbles to Greece.

Major art galleries cover up priceless paintings because they depict black faces. Statues to historical figures are torn down.

And eco loonies block the nation’s roads while rainbow-hued coppers stand idle or join in.

Is it too late? Scotland’s SNP has sold its soul on women’s rights.

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Welsh “leader” Mark Drakeford is away with the fairies.

So it’s up to us. Wake up, England!

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Michael Shersby

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