Great Britain

Your gran keeps out of politics, Wills, and yet everyone respects her – it’s no coincidence

SO just when we thought the intensely irritating spectacle of the “Woke Windsors” had disappeared across the Atlantic in the shape of the sulking ­Sussexes, along comes the other brother to disabuse us of that happy thought.

This time it is the heir, rather than the spare.

The Duke of Cambridge — solid, stolid William — has muscled in on Harry’s game.

The future leader of ­Britain’s foremost dynastic institution is lecturing us on his thoughts about equal opportunities.

Specifically, he is upset that too many white people were nominated at Sunday’s Bafta awards, at which he spoke as the organisation’s president.

“In 2020, and not for the first time in the last few years, we find ourselves talking again about the need to do more to ensure diversity in the sector and in the awards process — that simply cannot be right in this day and age,” he ­ploddingly intoned.

Let’s not talk about the films or the performances, then.

And let’s definitely not ask about racial diversity within the royal household.

Instead, let’s have another wallow in divisive identity ­politics shall we, Sir?


Well, here are some facts.

In 2015, just five per cent of Bafta nominees were non-white. This year it was nine per cent.

According to the last census, taken in 2011, 86 per cent of the population is white, 7.5 per cent Asian and just over three per cent black, with two per cent mixed race. The black and minority ethnic (BME) figure is probably up a bit now as it has been on a long-term upward trend. Let’s call it 15 per cent.

Nine per cent of nominations to reflect 15 per cent of the population. A bit low, maybe.

The ­biggest non-white winner on Sunday night was Micheal Ward, the mesmerising twenty-something star of the gang film Blue Story, who scooped the Rising Star award voted on by ­members of the good old, non-racist British public rather than the woke folk of the academy.

Once we also factor in that our BME population is predominantly working class, while the British film scene is notoriously dominated by upper-class types — some of whom, like Tom Hiddleston and Eddie Redmayne, were actually at school with William — then the disturbing idea that people are being specifically excluded because of the colour of their skin takes another knock.

All these characteristics of non-white ethnic minorities also apply in America, which supplies Bafta with many award winners. Not that anyone on stage on Sunday was going to point this out.

Instead we had the ­spectacle of Joaquin Phoenix accepting the award for Best Actor while also slagging off the all-white shortlist he had been chosen from.

Phoenix (actual name at birth Joaquin Bottom, by the way — which seems appropriate given what he was talking out of) turned the rhetoric up to 11, telling the audience: “It is the obligation of the people who have created and benefit from the system of oppression to be the ones to dismantle it. So that’s on us.”

Where was Ricky Gervais when we needed him?

Actress Rebel Wilson got a dig in about the all-male Best Director shortlist by observing: “I don’t think I could do what they do — honestly. I don’t have the balls.”

That was actually witty.

But well-meaning Wills was, I am afraid, witless.

He is president of the ­FA too. But I have never heard him tell ­Premier League managers how many black players they should have in their teams or who they ought to vote for in the PFA awards.


Instead, he has quite rightly spoken out against actual, proven incidents of racism in football and also got leading stars to support his laudable Heads Up mental health campaign.

Though even here he needs to be careful that he doesn’t indulge in excessive wallowing over his own struggles, with the Queen reportedly concerned about unwise levels of “soul-bearing”.

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions and yet it is not too late for ­William to turn his back on the example set by Harry, or even by his father Prince Charles, who once got into trouble for sending rambling, handwritten “spider” letters to ­ministers demanding policy changes.

And this year Charles ­doubled down on the “do as I say, not as I do” approach by taking private planes while telling normal folk to cut their carbon emissions.

Mahatma Gandhi once said that people should try to “be the change they want to see in the world”.

Judged by that yardstick, we must conclude that Charles and Harry would have everybody criss-crossing the globe on executive jets — perhaps with Elton John chipping in a few quid to plant some more trees in recompense.

William, who has hitherto been more sensible and cautious when taking up fashionable causes, does not have to go down this route.

He has another role model to hand — his grandmother, the Queen.

Almost nobody knows what she thinks about most political issues, while almost everyone has the utmost respect for her. That did not happen by chance.

Prince William announces that BAFTA will launch an investigation into the lack of diversity in its nominations

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