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Family offices, being woke, and liberty

Family offices were in the vanguard of ESG. More focused on their external investments than their own internal governance. Now they have to be introspective as well. They need to be carbon neutral with proper awareness and implementation of good social and governance standards. 

They also have to be aware of Woke. It’s not even an acronym. It’s sort of the social equivalent to wake up and smell the coffee. Full of pseudo-science and close-minded moralising about which nouns we use to address each other and what nouns we must use to think.

But I do want to try to take this seriously. Perhaps I could turn WOKE into an acronym and use it as pro noun? “White, Older, Kinaesthetic, Englishman.”

I think I am in favour of nouns. I guess you could say I am pro nouns. I like my name as a proper noun. I – the first person singular – live in London. Another proper noun. I prefer proper nouns to common nouns like moron. 

Moron is also an adjective, incidentally. My mother always told me not to be a moron. She told me to speak politely, listen to another point of view, use a handkerchief and never drop the letter H.

Linkedin recently gave me food for thought, when it asked me how I would like to be addressed. I don’t fancy “he” as that’s a third-person pronoun. “They” is a plural pronoun. But there is only one of me. However, that would allow me to embrace my gender diversity. I could take “they” as a third person pro noun, or them if I wanted a collective pronoun. All of which seemed to lack any real meaning or relevance to me.

But I do want to try to take this seriously. Perhaps I could turn WOKE into an acronym and use it as pro noun? “White, Older, Kinaesthetic, Englishman.” If I then added Moron. “Meritocratic, Orthogonal, Rationalistic, Occidental, Noun.” In other words, I can designate myself as a Woke Moron, or the inverse as we so often do in the world of alternative investing –  a Moron Woke.

Being hot on ESG I decided to put this to the family office board. It is fully diversified and includes my eldest son, my gay son. He isn’t really gay but is a redhead and that makes him a minority. My daughter in law, as she is an American imperialist we had to exclude her. As she is a woman we brought her back and gave her Taliban status. 

She must be covered up at all times and say nothing. Then there is my youngest son’s partner, who is sadly also a woman but not a minority. Plus some locals from the community who oppose everything I ever do and a former relationship of specific gender, race and religion who represents everyone else and allows me to deal with my suppressed anger management. 

And, of course, for true diversity, my four-legged companion who I can no longer call dog as that is a term of derogatory patronisation inferring a lower life form caused directly and both consciously and unconsciously by my total failure to understand critical race theory and accept personal and group gender (white males) responsibility for everything that has ever gone wrong in the world. Let’s call it my canine companion and friend – a sentient being with feelings. 

In the event, our board meeting was cancelled as the cat – I have one of them as well – objected to being excluded. Even though she wasn’t – we all just thought she rules anyway and doesn’t seem to care much about ESG or any governance apart from her own. My Taliban daughter-in-law wrote us a note that she had to go into hiding in a safe place as if she was found in a meeting with men then she might be murdered. Has she no sense of WOKE responsibility?! What is the value of a life when compared to getting the pro nouns correct?

We have, in the interim, suspended the board and sought guidance from the new self-elected leaders of WOKE academia, trained by tolerant fascists (a new oxymoron) so that we get to think properly, address people correctly and never say anything that may upset anyone ever. In fact, we have all become women under Taliban rule.

Our pronouns are now correct. But our liberty has been lost. 

Ian Morely is the founder of Wentworth Hall, a London-based family office investment and consulting firm

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