How Not to Celebrate the New Year
England’s celebrated black poet turns down a knighthood to protest evil, racist England.
There lives in London a certain George Mpanga, age 29, who is the son of Ugandan immigrants and who calls himself George the Poet. Unlike most poets, he has been widely celebrated for his work. He was nominated for a BRIT Award (the UK equivalent of the Grammys), elected to Arts Council England (rather like the NEA), and chosen to read a poem at the beginning of the BBC coverage of Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle. In 2019, his podcast was nominated for the British Podcast Awards (yes, that’s a thing) in six categories.
A strong supporter of Black Lives Matter, George the Poet (pictured above) accuses British society of being systemically racist. He’s complained about “the stubbornness and resilience of racism within the British psyche and the psyche of a lot of rich white countries” and calls for black “liberation.” Improving black life in the UK, he says, “would involve distilling all of the knowledge about racism into some sort of curriculum that can be implemented across the educational careers of our kids in a way that can be used to help build their articulation on where they’re at and why they’re learning the things that they are.” (With eloquence like that, it’s no wonder his career as a poet has been so successful.)
Now, what to do when you’re the British government and there’s this high-profile guy who thinks your country is racist?
Why, you offer him a knighthood. An OBE – an Order of the British Empire.
That’s what happened In May of 2019. But George turned the honor down. Why? This is how he explained it to the Guardian:
Your forefathers grabbed my motherland, pinned her down and took turns. They did that every day for a couple hundred years and then left her to treat her own burns. Now all of her children are born with a set of unique concerns and gaps in the information that we really do need to learn and none of us know why, why we got absorbed by a “higher entity”, why I have to fight for my identity.
George – people know me as this – the name of some old colonialist and you are so conceited it doesn’t even occur to you how lonely this is. What they did was pure evil and you can’t see it because that was your people.
OK, so what do you do when you’re the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and this prince of a man has turned down the OBE because he thinks the British Empire was pure evil?
What else? You make him the centerpiece of London’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.
And so it came to pass the other night. Collaborating in secret with Scotland Yard and the BBC, Khan concocted a New Year’s Eve light display over London that cost taxpayers £1.5 million and was plainly designed to rub radical-left politics into their faces. On the very night when the UK’s divorce from the EU went into effect, “Thames bridges were turned blue and yellow in a tribute to the EU.” Sir David Attenborough bloviated about climate change. Three hundred drones formed the image in the sky over London of “a turtle with Africa on its shell,” whatever that was supposed to symbolize. The drones also formed the letters NHS – standing for National Health Service, the object of worship of the British state religion – inside of a big heart. And instead of “Auld Lang Syne,” the London event, just to ensure total confusion, included a live stream from Los Angeles of Alicia Keys singing her song “New York.”
But that wasn’t all. The drones also formed a Black Lives Matter fist. And at that moment, George recited his text, which was harmless enough – in fact, utterly vapid: “The future holds unexposed danger, but no stress. Humankind is no stranger to progress. And as we have proven, when we collaborate, progress follows fast.”
Afterwards, Mayor Khan was apparently happy with the results of his efforts. “Our New Years Eve show,” he tweeted, “just sent a loud, proud message to the world: London stands together against racism – tonight and always. #BlackLivesMatter.”
But the response to his light show was blistering. The running theme of the criticism was that, far from uniting the British people, Khan, a notorious lefty, had once again pushed all the hottest political buttons in an attempt to divide them: Leave from Remain, black from white, NHS lovers from NHS critics, the warming faithful from warming skeptics, Commies like Khan from lovers of liberty.
For Khan to pull such a thing, in cahoots with the BBC no less, was the very height of audacity, especially given that it wasn’t so long ago that the Beeb tried to use the COVID epidemic as an excuse to strip one of its most popular annual offerings, The Last Night of the Proms, of the beloved patriotic music that had been a part of it for decades. The public reaction to that sneaky move was so explosive that the Corporation was forced to reverse itself. But anyone who thought the BBC had learned a lesson was mistaken, for here it was, on New Year’s Eve, once again displaying its contempt for the rabble who fund it with their obligatory license fees.
Meanwhile the Royal Palace released its annual New Year’s Honors List, telling Brits which of their fellow subjects they‘re henceforth going to have to address as “Lord” and “Lady.” It was a very long roster, containing scores of names – scientific researchers, economists, a make-up artist, Members of Parliament, the artistic director of an opera company, the former chairman of the Royal Botanical Gardens, the chief executive of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, various business executives and heads of charities, and so on.
Skimming the list, I didn’t recognize anybody’s name. That doesn’t mean anything: I’m sure many of these honors were well-deserved, assuming you buy into the idea of awarding aristocratic titles in the first place. But one name that was missing was that of Nigel Farage. How appropriate would it have been to see him elevated to Sir Nigel, or even Lord Farage, on the very night of his triumph? After all, he all but singlehandedly founded the movement to win back the liberty of Britons from the EU leviathan, and while spearheading the campaign he endured decades of abuse and ridicule, a David up against the Goliath of Brussels and its myriad minions in the media and elsewhere. No Brit of our time has had more of an impact on his country. None has given his fellow Brits more reason to hope for a freer future. He’s the man of the moment.
But no, he didn’t get a knighthood – and the reason is obvious. While the New Year’s Honors are awarded in the name of the Queen, the recipients are actually chosen by a main committee, chaired by the Cabinet Secretary (currently one Simon Case), and by nine subcommittees, each focused on a different area of expertise. The committees are dominated by members of the British political, academic, and business establishment – precisely the kind of people who fiercely opposed Brexit. If the British public had any say in who got a knighthood, Farage would easily have been at the top of the list. But the kind of people who would love to give an OBE to George the Poet, who hates Britain, are not about to offer one to Nigel Farage, who saved it from tyranny.
There’s nothing new about any of this, of course. Mayor Khan’s celebration of the terrorists of BLM and his promotion of the execrable George the Poet are entirely of a piece with Hillary Clinton’s dismissal of Trump supporters as “deplorables,” with Obama’s plot to unseat Trump, with the Senate Democrats’ smearing of Kavanaugh, with the harsh punishment by Democratic mayors and governors of storeowners who breached illogical COVID restrictions (even as those same Democrats coddled Antifa thugs), with the Democratic steal of the 2020 vote, and, of course, in the UK itself, with the years-long attempt by the political establishment to thwart the will of the voters by keeping the UK in the EU fold.
London and New York are the planet’s only two Alpha++ cities – meaning that they’re more globalized than any other cities on earth. On New Year’s Eve, even as the petty despotism of London’s globalist master was dramatized in that propagandistic light show, the autocracy of the big boob who runs the Big Apple, Bill de Blasio, was captured in another unforgettable tableau: in an all but empty Times Square, Hizzoner and his wife danced to a recording of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.” I submit that it takes a certain kind of utterly disconnected genius to come up with such striking ways of telling the people you govern that you consider them garbage.
So it goes. Across the Western world today, it’s all the same. The contempt of the Clintons, Obamas, Bidens, Cuomos, de Blasios, and Khans of the world for the honest, hard-working citizens who pay their salaries is as boundless as their twisted admiration for the likes of Antifa, BLM, and George the Poet. Even as our elites shower malevolent mediocrities like George the Poet with undeserved opportunities, privileges, and accolades, they treat decent, ordinary folks like offal on the heels of their shoes and, what’s more, insist repeatedly that those poor saps are cruel oppressors while George and his over-rewarded ilk are the long-suffering victims of their oppression. Nothing could be more wrong, more delusional, more duplicitous, more totally upside-down. These people’s motto might well be that of the nation of Oceania in 1984: “War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.”
It can seem, indeed, that Biden is right to warn that we’re headed into a bleak midwinter. As we tiptoe into 2021, the good news, as exhibited by the widespread and enduring devotion to Brexit, in the UK, and to Trump, in the U.S., is that ordinary citizens balk increasingly at the arrogance of the ruling elites. Perversely, instead of taking the hint and understanding that they’re supposed to be public servants, not grand dukes or tsars or doges, those elites have reacted by doubling down on their disdain. The only response to which, of course, is for the people to resolve, in this new year, to push back even further – and to keep pushing and pushing back until they finally get the message and we get our countries back.