The social liberalism of the 90s is crumbling, and the people who hated it all along are finding their voice again.
BBC Question Time made a brief foray onto the national news agenda recently after panellist Laurence Fox accused an audience member of racism when she described him as a “white, privileged male” during a discussion about the media’s treatment of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. The exchange set in motion a predictable chain of events: Fox began a tour of Britain’s TV and podcast studios, making a series of increasingly reactionary and attention-seeking statements. Across left-leaning social media, meanwhile, Fox was mocked with a mix of amusement, disdain and pity.
But focusing on the shallowness of Fox’s opinions elides the most important element of the Question Time spectacle: the fact that a significant chunk of the audience groaned as soon as the phrase “white privilege” was uttered. Fox was not the only person in that studio who was weary of contemporary antiracist discourse, and he wasn’t the only person willing to show it.
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