Opened my eyes this morning with a thought I want to take for a walk. It struck me that the wokery, deplatforming and cancelling that the right so love to decry, is not so far from the sanctions and boycotts they love to impose.
I'm thinking of Iran initially, the most sanctioned country in the world until it was surpassed by Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. "A new generation of internet-savvy youth are refusing to be silenced in their fight against Iran’s theocratic, repressive government," intones Lunchtime O'Booze, our middle-aged male correspondent.
Just days later, her broken body was secretly buried by security forces far from her village: the latest victim of Tehran’s brutal crackdown on youngsters demanding basic human rights.
Nika, 16, was one among thousands of brave schoolgirls who have cast off their headscarves, given portraits of the Supreme Leader the middle finger and chased Iranian officials out of their playgrounds.
Take a step back. Take a breath. Don't the three paragraphs above sound rather prurient? What practical things are we doing to help or support these girls? You know the answer. We aren't doing any. Over the years, sanctions have taken a serious toll on Iran's economy and society. Who is to say they haven't taken a similar toll on individuals among the good people of Iran's will, fortitude and initiative? That discontent would not have swelled earlier in a healthier, less bloody incarnation if the rest of the world hadn't pretended to take the moral high ground by averting its eyes.
Remember soft power? The ability to co-opt rather than coerce; shaping the preferences of others through appeal and attraction. If you can reconcile it with boycotts you're a better man - or woman or mermaid - than I am.
Don't even get me started on Russia.