Virtue-signalling is now a clue that an institution is failing to deliver - by Nick Timothy

From politics to the police, and from football matches to theatre, the skewed priorities of our public institutions are having a corrosive effect on the very people they're supposed to serve, according to Nick Timothy in this week's Telegraph. No longer confined to university campuses or media wonks, this toxic culture, masquerading as virtue, now seeps into every corner of our national life and threatens to destroy it in the process. Inoculated against Covid it seems we're now infected by a cultural pandemic instead.


"Amid the factionalism at the Labour conference, the sanctimony and virtue-seeking is visible for all to see. Keir Starmer kicked off by promising to reform the Gender Recognition Act. Saying only women have a cervix, he declared, “is not right” and “something that shouldn’t be said”.


Starmer’s intervention is a case study in progressive politics. He promises legal changes to make it easier for men to declare themselves women and access single-sex services and spaces, which will jeopardise the privacy and safety of women. He not only denied biological reality – for of course only women have cervixes – he also claimed the right to tell us what to think and say. "


It's not just the political parties which have succumbed. Business is at it too:


"HSBC, which appears to kowtow to a Chinese regime that has crushed Hong Kong and presides over the Uighur genocide in Xinjiang, runs campaigns in Britain lecturing customers that “we are not an island”. Companies wade into rows about gender fluidity, promise to “educate” their staff about critical race theory, give opinions on the Arab-Israeli conflict, and invite employees to make clear their chosen pronouns."


As are the police:


The pursuit of virtue is a particular problem with the police, who make very clear the next problem it causes: that it gets in the way of delivery. In recent weeks, we have seen officers dancing with Extinction Rebellion protesters instead of arresting them, and pleading pathetically with Insulate Britain activists – hypocritical middle-class virtue-seekers themselves – instead of getting tough with them.


Not to mention government itself, caught between green virtue on one hand and the practical needs of its citizens on the other:


"For the past two decades it has been beyond obvious that Britain lacks a credible energy strategy. We have too little nuclear power, too few gas-fired power stations and too little gas storage. But instead of getting serious about energy infrastructure, ministers in successive governments have focused almost entirely on making promises to reduce emissions without a plan to keep homes warm, lights on and bills down.


Concerns about the intermittency of wind power, and the effects on price and supply, were dismissed as “climate change denialism”. In the battle between the pursuit of virtue and getting the job done, virtue-seeking won out, and the unintended consequences of immature policy-making are now with us."


He concludes with these words: "In the end, real virtue comes from serving the public and getting the job done."



The full article can be read here with a link to the original beneath it:



Article for the Telegraph by Nick Timothy - Virtue-signalling is now a clue that an instit
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