Both Britain and America appear to be lurching into a kind of cultural fascism.
Roy Moore, the controversial Republican nominee in the Alabama Senate race, has been accused by Leigh Corfman and three other women that he made sexual overtures to them when he was in his 30s and they were between the ages of 14 and 18.
These claims may or may not be true. At present, we don’t know. But that hasn’t stopped Moore’s fellow Republicans from behaving as if they’re the regime of a banana republic. Presumption of innocence? Forget about it.
According to one-time presidential hopeful Mitt Romney: “Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections. I believe Leigh Corfman. Her account is too serious to ignore. Moore is unfit for office and should step aside.”
Senator John McCain also had no doubts about Moore’s guilt. He tweeted: “The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying. He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of.”
In Britain, the tsunami of sex-pest allegations is similarly washing away the bedrock principles of justice.
Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke was suspended from the party without being told what he was accused of having done. He told his constituency association last Thursday:
“I received a call from a journalist just after 9pm on Friday evening saying he had heard I was having the whip withdrawn in time for the 10 o’clock news and asked me what was going on,” he said. “I said I had absolutely no idea. Minutes later I received a call from the chief whip telling me that serious allegations had been made against me earlier that week and that these had been passed to the police. I asked what the allegations were and he would not tell me.
“It is also a denial of justice when people who have had allegations made against them, lose their job or their party whip without knowing what those allegations are. I believe this is fundamentally wrong. Wrong because it’s an injustice to those who stand accused, but also wrong because it undermines our values as a country.”
Too right. Not only does this undermine British values, it has destroyed a human being. The former Welsh minister Carl Sergeant, who was sacked from his political post and suspended from the Welsh Labour Party because he was accused of “unwanted attention, inappropriate touching or groping” but without ever even being told exactly what he was supposed to have done, hanged himself last week.
Then there’s the quicksand of gender and sexual fluidity, which is sucking not merely justice and liberty but linguistic meaning and physiological reality into a sinkhole of coercion and bullying.
Joshua Sutcliffe, a Christian maths teacher in Oxfordshire, faces a disciplinary hearing this week on charges of “misgendering”. His crime, it seems, was to tell two pupils who were working hard, “Well done, girls”.
One of the two girls, however, identifies as a boy. Following a complaint by the pupil’s mother, Sutcliffe was suspended. Reportedly, he also faces claims that he breached the school’s equality policy by referring to the pupil by name rather than as “he” or “him”.
The words “mother” and “father” will be removed from Catholic school admission forms after a parent complained the terms discriminated against some families, such as those with gay or step-parents.
The Scottish government has told teachers they should allow primary pupils who wish to switch gender identity in schools to do so without seeking parents’ consent. School staff have also been told to explain the “ethos of inclusion” to parents who “voice concerns” about their child sharing a changing room or lavatory with transgender pupils — and to consider telling the local authority if parents “struggle” with their child’s transgender identity.
This creeping extinction of justice, tolerance and reason by the very people who constantly proclaim that they alone embody justice, tolerance and reason is precisely why my thinking over the past three decades evolved in the way it did – as I record in my personal and political memoir Guardian Angel, which is being published in paperback in the US at the end of January.
Now this onslaught has reached critical mass, the battle lines are drawn and combat is engaged on both sides of the pond. But when the smoke finally clears, who will have won?