by Henry Hill
Tuesday, 23
August 2022
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11:52

Will Truss or Sunak really defeat the woke blob?

Conservative rhetoric requires conservative action
by Henry Hill
Sort it out Liz (Photo by Clodagh Kilcoyne-Pool/Getty Images)

One of the factors driving support for Liz Truss in the current Conservative leadership contest is a sense of frustration among activists that, after 12 years in office in one form or another, the Tories have not done much to make this a more conservative country.

Few stories capture the essence of this frustration as much as the recent furore over diversity targets in the Royal Air Force. Sky News reported that the Force’s head of recruitment resigned rather than implement a potentially unlawful freeze on hiring white men. This would have been bad enough on its own, but sits especially badly alongside an apparent crisis in flying training, which persists despite Ben Wallace ordering the Air Chief Marshal to make fixing it his “only priority” more than two years ago.

For its part, the RAF seems unrepentant, with the Times reporting the Air Vice Marshal in charge of recruitment has defended the decision to “slow” recruitment of certain candidates in order to try and hit the service’s diversity targets. Naturally, Rishi Sunak’s leadership campaign weighed in to criticise the RAF’s decision, while Liz Truss has made earlier promises to crack down on an alleged “woke culture” in the Civil Service.

But driving institutional change doesn’t happen overnight. That not only means that any programme to change course will take time to deliver, but that two politicians who have spent several years at the top of government have tough questions to answer about why they haven’t taken action sooner. The single biggest thing driving this sort of attitude is the Equality Act 2010. Rushed through by Labour as it prepared to get booted out by the voters, it places legal requirements on private and especially public-sector bodies which push them towards the sort of policies we see in the RAF.

That doesn’t mean that every out-there policy to emerge from the nation’s human resources departments is drawn directly from the Act, of course. But if legislation lays down a compliance regime and mandates the hiring of people to police it, something quite predictable happens.

First, those diversity officers and so on will, in the manner of all bureaucrats, adopt an expansive interpretation of their responsibilities and strive continually to expand their role. Second, the posts will attract sincere believers in the objects of the legislation who are prepared, on their own initiative, to go above and beyond — up to the point of potentially unlawful orders, in the case of the RAF.

Politicians can rail against this all they like. But such talk is cheap without concrete action. If the next prime minister is serious about making operational readiness the military’s only priority, there is nothing stopping them exempting the Armed Forces from the public sector equality duty by removing them from the list of organisations subject to it in Schedule 19 of the Act.

Of course, perhaps the new prime minister won’t think this the right thing to do. That’s a perfectly honourable position. But if so, they should be honest about it, and not wail about woke recruitment practices they tacitly endorse.

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Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 month ago

The Conservatives would do well to abolish Equality and Diversity legislation. Appointments should be entirely colour blind where skill and competence is the primary criteria. By all means interview behind a screen and remove names from applicants so that skin colour clearly has nothing to do with the outcome. But to reject technically well qualified white applicants to the RAF simply to achieve a colour balance is completely mad. We don’t sack a lot of our doctors and nurses because the proportion of ethnic minorities in the NHS exceeds the national average. Nor should we. The only criteria that matters is competence anything else is divisive racism. No conservatives government should have anything to do with it and Kemi Badenoch is more than capable of dealing with any fallout from abolishing the Equalities Act.

Matt M
Matt M
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

I don’t even think they have to abolish the Equalities Act. A writer on UnHerd suggested a few months ago that you only had to close a couple of loopholes in the act itself and it would be illegal to attempt this “positive discrimination”. If that is true, it should be at the top of the list for the new government. Straight after firing the Air Vice Marshall in charge of recruitment or re-deploying him to The Falklands for a couple of years.

Mike Bell
Mike Bell
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt M

Agree. See my comment.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 month ago

I sometimes wonder if politics is not downwind from woke ideological thought i.e. that it comes from a centralized point and is disseminated to certain politicians and political parties who have little animus to fight against it.
https://nypost.com/2021/02/13/how-corporations-surrendered-to-hard-left-wokeness/
As former academic I have been on the frontlines of wokeism. Its foremost purpose in universities is to uproot students from their past and religion and supplant these with a collectivist mindset that captures susceptible and idealistic minds through racial guilt, sexual proclivities, and cancel culture.
One of the most disturbing features about woke thought is how its adherents see themselves as loving and inclusive while quite easily able to dispense harsh judgements on those who may disagree with them on certain points. Wokeism is a childish form of morality that universities should be combatting rather than promoting. The fact that wokeism has long gone unchallenged by institutions and other state actors suggests to me that there is a very powerful group of people whose long-term interests lie in reducing overall levels of thinking to that of credulous serfs.

Last edited 1 month ago by Julian Farrows
Jim Jam
Jim Jam
1 month ago

The rot is now perhaps too deep for any meaningful change to take place without first tearing down each and every infested institution and starting afresh, which is unfortunately an undertaking fraught with its own myriad dangers.

It cant be denied that the long march through the institutions has been a stunning success – easily on par with the greatest of military campaigns – and now, sadly, we must all endure the idiotic and dangerous fruits of this labour.

I’d be tempted to give the Tories some leeway considering what an immense underataking it will be to turn the tide, but it also must be bourne in mind that the acceleration of this woke lunacy has blatantly happened on their watch – standing passively by and even enacting legislation that provides cover for a tiny minority wishing (quite openly by the way) to radically transform the cultural and even moral landscape. The radical leftists have completely outmanouvered all opposition and are by the day reinforcing their gains by capturing the minds of youngsters through their heavy influence at all levels of education, while the adult world is infested with a beaurocracy designed exclusively to channel their often deranged and damaging goals.

At the risk of being pessimistic, my only hope now is that the catastrophic wider consequences of blanket radical, shallow reflexive faux compassion and leftist cultural puritanism blows up in everyone’s face sooner rather than later so we can put this period of history in a box marked ‘f*****g idiocy’.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago

It’s up to the rest of us to withdraw all cooperation from wokedom. Tell your kids not to go to university. Tell the companies you do business with that any woke nonsense will result in the loss of your custom. Tell your kids’ teachers that Black Lives Matter is a racist hate group and that men can’t become women. Tell men in dresses to get the fark out of the women’s toilet. Boo loudly when footballers “take the knee”. Tell writers who capitalise “black” while not capitalising “white” what disgusting racists they are. Police the language of the woke. Complain about them to their employers and get them fired.

Henry Haslam
Henry Haslam
1 month ago

A first step towards understanding and progress would be to stop using the word culture, as in ‘culture wars’ and ‘woke culture’. The issues concerned are moral issues, not cultural ones.

Owning a slave is a moral issue. How to talk about and behave towards a slave owner, living or dead, is a moral issue.

Whether to have a diversity target in the RAF is a moral issue. Whether to allow this target to impair the fighting fitness of the RAF is a moral issue.

How society treats transgender people is a moral issue.

How we respond (personally, socially or politically) to people whose views we disagree with is a moral issue.

Over many matters of personal morality there is general agreement: murder and theft are wrong; kindness is better than cruelty; etc. When it comes to social and political morality, however, there is often disagreement (assisted dying; abortion; etc). Some of the issues covered by the term woke are generally agreed (black lives do matter; men should treat women with kindness and respect), With other issues, there is room for legitimate debate. The debate doesn’t need to follow party-political divides.

Last edited 1 month ago by Henry Haslam
Jim Jam
Jim Jam
1 month ago
Reply to  Henry Haslam

Whilst there are in my opinion many moral absolutes, more often than not moral judgements are dependent on the cultural climate in which they are taken – we can see this demonstrated throughout history; the perpetrators of what we now consider to be morally reprehensable acts fully convinced at the time that their actions were morally justified.

Culture is therefore an enabler, and as such a worthy – not to mention tangible and practical – battleground.

Yes – ‘culture war’ is a tiresome expression, but thats exactly what is being fought, and with respect I don’t think its particularly useful to shift the emphasis to wooly and fruitless armchair debates about its deeper meaning even if the arguments do have a certain interest and merit.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 month ago
Reply to  Henry Haslam

But surely thete is widespread agreement that the murder of unborn babies is a good thing and indeed the entire economic system is based on legitimate theft from those who produce wealth to the owners, politicians, banksters etc? You may well find that the “general agreement” that illegal theft is bad is more nuanced when the wealth generators find themselves hungry, cold and up sewage creek without a paddle: especially when they look at the legitimate thieves raking in huge profits and obscene salaries. Morality is quite like culture: it is very malleable in the right hands!

N Forster
N Forster
1 month ago
Reply to  Henry Haslam

” Owning a slave is a moral issue. How to talk about and behave towards a slave owner, living or dead, is a moral issue.
Whether to have a diversity target in the RAF is a moral issue. Whether to allow this target to impair the fighting fitness of the RAF is a moral issue.
How society treats transgender people is a moral issue.
How we respond (personally, socially or politically) to people whose views we disagree with is a moral issue.”
You seem to have a very unusual understanding of the word “moral”. Can you expand please? Is yours based on a particular religion or philosophy or something you’ve come up with yourself?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 month ago

Swift answer.. ” No, she will not”

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 month ago

The Government has an 80 seat majority. What exactly prevents them simply repealing the Equalities Act?

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
1 month ago

The Blob is a law unto itself. Resistence is futile.

M. M.
M. M.
1 month ago

Henry Hill wrote, “Sky News reported that the Force’s head of recruitment resigned rather than implement a potentially unlawful freeze on hiring white men.”

At 87% of the British population, Britons of European ancestry still have sufficient political power to halt this type of blatant discrimination.

Once non-Europeans exceed 20% of the population, Western culture will noticeably fade. The fade-out magnifies two effects. First, the border can never be closed. The open borders will accelerate the growth of the non-European electorate. Second, enhanced non-European political might will increase or expand government programs or procedures which discriminate against Europeans.

A case in point is Hispanics in the United States. By 2040, the United States will cease being a Western nation, due to open borders. By 2040, most Americans will reject Western culture, and Hispanic culture will dominate. In California, 40% of the residents are Hispanic. Most residents of the state already reject Western culture, and Hispanic culture dominates.

Hispanic political might (along with the African electorate) empowered Democratic politicians to add a special provision to the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021. The ARPA pays off the loans provided by or guaranteed by the United States Department of Agriculture if the farmer can prove that he has non-European ancestry. Specifically, a farmer who has only German ancestry would be denied this financial assistance. (See the reference.)

After becoming prime minister, Liz Truss must immediately implement and enforce the spirit of Brexit. That means immediately halting further immigration, including specifically non-European immigration. All illegal aliens must be promptly deported to Rwanda.

If Truss and the other Tories do not immediately enforce British borders, Great Britain may be condemned to the fate of the United States.

Get more info about this issue.

Last edited 1 month ago by Matthew M.
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 month ago

The piece says …”after 12 years in office … the Tories have not done much to make this a more conservative country”. I would have thought Brexit trumps all other possible efforts to achieve a conservative UK?
Granted the pandemic required uncharacteristic Leftie ideas to be implemented with maximum state control and handouts but that couldn’t be helped or could it? I suppose a Swedish solution would have been more Tory-like but the pressure was enormous! BJs let the bodies pile high was proper Tory but perhas a tad too much so?
The piece then goes on to deal with proper Toryism by attacking equality legislation suggesting Labour rushed it in as it knew it was going to lose the election? Would that be to tie the hands of the Tories or did Labour believe the best way to tackle racism was with “positive racism”? We rarely hear criticism of the more common gender-based positive discrimination although the same unfair principles apply there: except perhaps in the armed forces where, by sheer coincidence (?) this current issue has also arisen.. mmm

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Brexit was more a political issue rather than a cultural one. It wasn’t so much about preserving ‘Britishness’, but more about not having unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats making unpopular decisions like what is happening now in Greece and Italy.

Iris C
Iris C
1 month ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Don’t forget that the LibDems were part of a coalition with the Conservatives up until 2015. This constrained policy decisions.. Nevertheless it had its upside. The LibDems voted against us getting involved in Syria in 2013. This decision was reversed when the Conservatives got complete power in 2015 with the resultant death and destruction which we all witnessed on the TV..

Mike Bell
Mike Bell
1 month ago

My reading of the Equality Act 2010 is that isn’t so much the Act which “places legal requirements on private and especially public-sector bodies which push them towards the sort of policies we see in the RAF.” but the Guidance. This can be amended without further legislation and so it’s a more likely route to get this change.
The EHRC, whose job it is to enforce the Act, are certainly taking the line you identify – but they don’t need to. It’s (IMHO) an over-interpretation of the Act and so, even a change of policy by the EHRC would be effective.
If I remember correctly, the Act ‘allows’ rather than ‘promotes’.

Frederick Dixon
Frederick Dixon
1 month ago

Would the great grandsons of The Few now be admitted to the RAF, or are they the wrong colour/gender?

David Harris
David Harris
1 month ago

I noticed this ‘ratchet’ effect some years ago. Despite more right-wing govts than left in power over the last half century, rarely do left-wing laws, quangos and senior appointments get overturned or even questioned when right of centre govts get in. Look at the BBC as a great example of that. We have two political parties that are in effect a uniparty and that in the FPTP system the electorate has in reality no real choice in the direction of the country (Brexit Vote excepted, but only just).