New Labour’s Equality Act embedded identity politics into our public institutions and paved the way for the ideological capture of our schools, civil service and NHS, says Conservative MP Miriam Cates in the Telegraph. It needs a complete overhaul. Here’s an excerpt.
Like all good grenades, these Blairite laws did not explode until the thrower was safely out of range. In 2010, few conservatives understood the perniciousness of a Bill that established in statute nine “protected characteristics” including race, sex, religion and gender reassignment, laying the foundations for a culture that sees people not as equal individuals but as members of competing groups.
Neither was it foreseen that the Act’s Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) would give rise to such strident critical social justice activism within our public bodies. [The Telegraph] has exposed some of the most excessive examples of this, such as hard-pressed NHS staff attending a three day diversity training course at a time of record hospital waiting lists.
It is welcome news that Government ministers wish to tackle divisive and wastelful civil service activism. But in promoting woke causes, public bodies genuinely believe they are fulfilling legal duties under the PSED, which compels public organisations to “eliminate discrimination” and “advance equality”.
It is no longer enough for public sector bosses to ensure they do not discriminate against someone because of their sex or skin colour; they must actively pursue policies to eliminate all potential inequalities, giving rise to the kinds of ridiculous re-education programmes that frequently make the news. In seeking to subvert a British understanding of fairness, these programmes actually introduce discrimination, for example gender neutral policies that discriminate against women.
I am often asked, how has this happened under a Conservative Government? It’s a fair question. But while some now argue that the incoming 2010 Cameron Government should have repealed the Equality Act, this was a political impossibility in coalition with the Lib Dems.
And by the time of Conservative’s outright victory in 2015, Blairite equalities legislation had changed our culture so effectively that anyone who questioned the new creed of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion feared becoming a pariah. Even if Cameron had wanted to push back against these ‘advances’, he would not have had a majority in Parliament to do so.