Perhaps you’re as irritated as I am by the story of the Border Morris dancers who, as from next year, will be banned from performing in traditional “blackface” at one of Britain’s biggest folk festivals because of pressure from an obscure local campaign group called FRESh.
Even FRESh have admitted that the “blackface” tradition – dating back to the 16th century – has nothing to do with racism. But, damn it, they’re Social Justice Warriors, so they’re not about to let facts get in the way of a nice bit of kill-joy bansturbation.
Jonathan Hyams, secretary for equality group FRESH said: ‘From Fresh’s perspective, it is good news.
‘We entirely understand the argument from Morris dancing communities that this is something that goes back to tradition.
‘Our understanding is that it comes from traditional disguise when for different reasons Morris dancers were subject to persecution if they were dancing or protesting against different things.
‘However, there are other ways of celebrating this other than blacking up, which has very strong connotations of racism.’
Who is exactly is this grisly twonk? And how the hell did we come to value England’s culture and history and traditions so lightly that we’re prepared to scrap them at the merest sniff of a complaint from some cry-bully professional offence-taker?
Have a look for yourself at the activists who campaigned for this ban. FRESh (it stands – ugh! – for Fairness, Respect, Equality Shropshire) has a tiny membership, all of whom, you can fairly safely bet, are the kind of tofu-eating libtards you’d cross the road to avoid or chop your arm off rather than get stuck next to at dinner.
Its key members include:
The programmer responsible for lesbian films at the Shropshire Rainbow Film festival, who is also “founder member of SAND (Safe Ageing No Discrimination), focusing on the hopes, fears, needs and expectations of old and older LGBT people for their health and social care.”
A “freelance Equality and Diversity worker” with a background in “Urban sociology.”
A Gay Liberation Front campaigner “who in 2013 won the Midlands Zone Readers’ Life Time Achievement Award for his dedication to lobbying for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender rights”
A member of the Safer Communities team on Shropshire Council, among whose duties are “supporting the Shropshire Hate Crime Reporting Group, which provides a major input to Shropshire’s Hate Crime Initiative.”
An “equality, diversity and community development worker and activist for more than thirty five years. He has been part of local, regional and national initiatives and organisations, including Cardiff Law Centre, three Racial Equality Councils, the Federation for Community Development Learning and Disability Arts in Shropshire.”
The founder of “Wave-length CIC Social Marketing” whose purpose is “to improve access to employment and services for those facing social challenges, and to ‘disable disability’.
Below this, they print a rather terrifying list of all the local public organisations which they have persuaded to sign up to their “equality and diversity” code, including the Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, Shropshire Council, Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital, Shrewsbury College.
This is classic Local Agenda 21 style entryism in which the radical left specialises.
Oh, and guess how many actual black people there are in the group. It’s hard to be sure from their rudimentary website but as far as I can tell there’s just one – a chap called Steve Cunningham who, you won’t be wholly surprised to hear, makes his living in the race victimhood promotions industry.
Or, as his biog puts it:
Steve Cunningham is a Senior Community Enablement Officer for Shropshire Council. He has a large network of contacts in Shropshire and extensive experience in community work. He is also Shropshire UNISON’s Equality Officer, and supports the Shrewsbury Interfaith Forum with their initiatives and events. Steve does a lot of work on hate crime, especially in schools.
(Gosh, can’t you just imagine the excitement over the Fair Trade tea and soya milk when the FRESh membership committee managed to get Steve on board? “Comrades, I’ve got the most fantastic news for you. We’ve finally managed to bag ourselves an actual black person!” “What? Here? In Shropshire? But we’re about as white as a Ku Klux Klan rally” “I know, it’s amazing, isn’t it? It’s going to really empower us in our diversity campaigning because now, instead of just being white people deciding to take offence on behalf of black people, we now have a real black person who can do the offence-taking for us. Plus, it’s going to look great in the photographs on the website, if we ever manage to get that up and running properly….”)
There was a time, not so long ago, when meddling, ignorant, posturing twerps like the people at FRESh would have been told by the organisers of a festival celebrating England’s folk traditions precisely where they could stuff their silly complaint. Not any more, apparently.