As the Same Sex Marriage result shows, the doctrine of Equality now carries all — family, religion, tradition, freedom — before it. Lots of Conservatives prate in favour of it without realising that Equality is the most essentially left-wing of all doctrines and will do for them in the end.
Watching the Derby on television on Saturday, I found myself treated to ten minutes of how wonderful Emily Davison was for throwing herself under the King’s horse at Epsom 100 years ago. Dr Helen Pankhurst, of the suffragette dynasty, was interviewed at the racecourse by Clare Balding. She praised the racing establishment for putting its ‘tribute’ to Davison on the big screen there, thus recognising its own past error and saluting ‘acts of militancy … by incredibly courageous women’.
No one said that Emily Davison’s ambush was an act of cruel selfishness towards the horse and its rider. (It was not mentioned that the horse’s jockey, Herbert Jones, eventually committed suicide.) My great-aunt Kathleen, who was a suffragette and once helped hijack a horse-drawn fire engine and drive it fast, bell clanging, to protest outside the Home Office, always said that Emily Davison was regarded by most suffragists as a menace who had perpetrated wanton violence against the innocent. What struck me most about the Channel 4 coverage was its hypocrisy. Suppose that, on Saturday, someone — an Islamist, say, or an animal rights activist — had hurled him- or herself at the horses, would Clare Balding or anyone else present have saluted his ‘courage’?
This is an extract from Charles Moore’s Spectator’s Notes in this week’s magazine. Click here to subscribe to the Spectator.