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You can’t blame everything on the British empire

Matty Healy performing in Chile earlier this year. Marcelo Hernandez/Getty

According to the “idiotic credo” of today’s progressive left, says Rod Liddle in The Spectator, anyone who is not straight, white and male shares an “equal burden of oppression” and should thus “put aside footling differences” to unite against the “ghastly and brutal hegemony”. By this view, there are no greater agents of oppression than colonialism and imperialism, which are “solely responsible” for the misery of all persecuted people everywhere. The problem is not just that this is “patently untrue”. It also forces those who believe it to “put their hands over their ears, stamp their little feet, and lie through their teeth”.

Take the “eminent, and in many ways admirable” gay-rights campaigner Peter Tatchell. He was invited on Radio 4 this week to comment on the latest antics of Matty Healy, the “thick-as-mince” frontman of the indie band The 1975. On stage at a festival in Malaysia, Healy ranted about the country’s stringent anti-gay laws and kissed one of his male bandmates. Authorities stepped in and cancelled the whole festival. Commenting on these events, Tatchell failed to mention that Malaysia is an Islamic country, and instead blamed its homophobic laws on the British Empire, implying that were it not for those dastardly “straight white men of imperialism”, Malaysia today would be a “sunlit upland of untrammelled buggery”. No mention of the fact that homosexuals are banned from state TV, or that being gay can get you 20 years in prison and “several strokes of a rattan cane across the backside”. Tatchell must know all this, of course, but he can’t say it. Because to today’s progressives, the only solution to evil is a “vigorous bit of decolonising”.