The literary sensation of the season is apparently a book called The Constant Rabbit, by Jasper Fforde. In brief, a spontaneous and unexplained anthropomorphic event which occurred 55 years ago has left Britain with a population of more than one million human-sized rabbits who can speak, read, watch television etc. They live among us. The Guardian called the book ‘chilling and realistic’, which perhaps gives you an insight into the level of general insanity that pertains in that institution.
The book is of course a satire. The poor rabbits are victimised by right-wing thugs and subjected to all kinds of horrors. The government is led by the United Kingdom Anti-Rabbit party, headed by a man called Nigel who plans to build a giant warren somewhere so that all the rabbits can be bundled inside. So, somewhat heavy-handed satire, no? A book from a pleasant middle-class private schoolboy about our nasty reaction to immigration and why we should be a lot nicer to incomers. You can see why it was published: it is exactly what our liberal elite thinks, and the easier the target, the more they like it.
By contrast, my own novel The Lucky, Lucky Rabbits has not yet been published and I doubt very much that it will be. My plot concerns a spontaneous and unexplained anthropomorphic event which has left the UK with a population of eight million human-sized rabbits. There is very little leporiphobia on behalf of the human population — indeed, when one rabbit is called a ‘carrot-munching little bastard’, the victim’s story is front page in the newspapers and the lead story for a week on the BBC. Rather than being discriminated against, the rabbits are given quotas on shortlists for parliamentary seats, favoured in job applications and university places and their own somewhat thinnish history of achievement as a species shoehorned into the national curriculum.
Almost every advert which appears on our television screens now features rabbits rather than humans and the supposed injustice faced by rabbits is debated endlessly on the airwaves — not least by Radio 4’s angry, campaigning programme, Does He Eat Lettuce? Previous examples of rabbitsin human literature are expunged from libraries and cinemas for their leporiphobic portrayal of the creatures as being pleasant, furry, but rather stupid and sexually incontinent. The banned works include Watership Down, Beatrix Potter and the Cadbury Caramel Bunny.
The human population does not even get angry when the England football team, before the start of each game, go down on two knees and hop about a bit in solidarity with rabbits. Whole communities in northern England are undermined — quite literally — by rabbits but even when a right-wing rabble rouser in The Spectator magazine predicts that the rabbit population will eclipse our own by 23 October 2021, nobody gets terribly agitated.
For sure, in a basement somewhere near Luton a deranged right-wing human extremist may be busy shovelling myxomatosis into large canisters. But 99 per cent of the population feel no such animus, although they resent some of the ‘affirmative action measures’. They also suspect that the establishment covers up rabbity misdemeanours, not least the Great Rabbit Grooming Scandal in which young human girls were kept for weeks in hutches. But by and large these objections are directed towards a liberal elite which the man in the street believes is obsessive and partisan and has taken leave of its senses. Mind, it is true that there is some disquiet when the next Doctor Who is announced as a transgendered rabbit with a bad limp.
I think my scenario is a rather more accurate portrayal of our attitude towards immigrants than the one depicted in Mr Fforde’s nonetheless likeable book. But the chances of getting it published are zero: increasingly books, whether they be works of fiction or non-fiction, must conform to the fantasy land shibboleths of the bien pensants who run the publishing houses. Fair enough, though — Mr Fforde’s pleasantly flawed account will suffice.
I would much rather a little more publicity be given to Charles Murray’s latest book, Facing Reality: Two Truths about Race in America. This slimmish volume was published on 1 July, but I have yet to read a review of it in any of our national newspapers. The reason for this, I suspect, is that they are scared stiff to review it.
Murray demolishes every argument advanced by the proponents of affirmative action and, especially, Black Lives Matter — and does so with simple recourse to statistics, to hard facts, to data — i.e. that stuff which the liberal left cannot abide. Murray is a highly respected social scientist, of course, but the problem is that he is seen to come from the right. The Southern Poverty Law Center in the USA habitually implies that he is a white supremacist for his work on IQ differences between races (misreading the book, presumably: he would be an east Asian supremacist if they had read it properly).
In this latest book, Murray refutes, with facts, the affirmative action programmes which place some black students in top universities despite the fact that their grades do not merit such elevation. Bad for these students and bad for society, Murray argues, because these black students then find college life something of a struggle. He also refutes — again, with the stats — the idea that black students are institutionally down-marked.
But it will be to no avail, for Murray has presented the world with an inconvenient truth and the thing to do with inconvenient truths is ignore them or simply insist that the person delivering that truth is a racist and there’s an end to it. Maybe Mr Murray’s next book should be about rabbits.