Remainers say ‘woke’ is a compliment as UK baffled by cancel culture and identity politics


    Just 21 percent of remainers say they would interpret the term as an insult, according to a study by the Policy Institute at King’s College London and Ipsos MORI. However, the remaining figure don’t actually know what the term means. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, woke originally meant well-informed and up-to-date. However, the word is now chiefly used to describe an individual who is alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice.

    Moreover, the majority of the UK public have heard little to nothing about the phrases “cancel culture” or “identity politics” according to the survey.

    This is despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson cracking down on cancel culture as historical statues, Shakespeare, and the Union Jack have all come under fire over the past year with many Britons feeling free speech is being suffocated by cancel culture.

    In the Queen’s Speech, ministers outlined plans to bring forward the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill, with universities forced to compensate those silenced by left-wing militant students.

    The legislation will look to ensure there is free debate on university campuses across England.

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    In spite of this, research also found that there is limited awareness of the culture war debate more generally in the UK – notwithstanding a huge surge in related media coverage in recent years.

    There were just 21 newspaper articles focused on the issue in the UK in 2015, which rose to more than 500 in 2020.

    The KCL study also found 36 percent of Labour supporters consider the phrase woke “a compliment”.

    The left-wing voters are three times more likely to take the phrase as a compliment compared to Conservatives.

    Overall, the UK public are slightly more likely to think being “woke” is a compliment  than an insult.

    The study found that 26 percent of the UK public see the turn of phrase as a positive, while 24 percent find it insulting.

    Majorities say they have at least a little awareness of some key concepts in the culture wars debate – but when it comes to others, most people know very little or nothing about them.

    Of those asked, 72 percent report they have either never heard of the term “microaggressions” or have heard of them but know very little, while 61 percent say the same about both “cancel culture” and “identity politics”, and 54 percent are similarly unaware of “trigger warnings”.


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