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above: protesters and police come together during a Black Lives Matter protest on June 3, 2020 in London, England (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

City of Westminster

A Bit of British Virtue Signaling

Politics is downstream from culture—so said Andrew Breitbart, that somewhat uncouth American media man. Well, for us Brits, culture and politics are downstream from America, and sometimes it feels as if the currents run too fast. In recent days, Britain, taking after America, has been convulsed by a widespread rage against the perception of racial injustice. We’ve just about avoided the looting, so far, but we have had the big marches, in defiance of COVID-19, as well as the vandalization of public statues and the assaults on police officers.

As in America, our leaders, our institutions, our businesses, our sports teams, and our media have groveled before the mob. Politicians, corporations, and journalists played down the violence and talked up the importance of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) cause. One BBC News headline summed up the doublethink: “27 police officers injured during largely peaceful anti-racism protests in London.”

None of this made much sense. For better or worse, the unrest in the Unites States at least had a cause: the viral circulation of a video showing the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, which looked a lot like a vile act of police brutality. But what did that have to do with Britain? Outside Downing Street, near the prime minister’s residence, protestors soon assembled and chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot!” at unarmed British bobbies. They didn’t seem to realize how stupid...

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