“Fashionable” identity politics needs to be pushed aside to make space for more important priorities such as poverty and geographical disparities, Liz Truss will say in a speech today.
The women and equalities Minister will outline Government plans to move away from “identity politics, loud lobby groups and the idea of lived experience”.
The state must not “waste time on misguided, wrong-headed and ultimately destructive ideas that take agency away from people,” she will say.
The famously pro-small state Brexiteer will take aim at unconscious bias training, quotas and targets, which she will describe as “tools of the left” that “do nothing to fix systems”.
It was revealed earlier this week that civil servants will no longer have to undergo unconscious bias training due to its ineffectiveness. It has been suggested that UCT even deepens divisions.
In July, Keir Starmer decided to undergo unconscious bias training himself, which bemused so-called traditional, Brexit-voting “red wall” voters in the North of England the Labour leader is intent on winning back.
Truss will capitalise on Starmer’s misstep – he also took the knee – by attacking Labour’s legacy on equality created by the 2010 equality act, which narrowed the “focus on protected characteristics”, such as gender reassignment, sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, age and disability.
In doing so, Labour abandoned the “equality debate that overlooks socio-economic status and geographic inequality”, which is the flagship policy of the current Conservative government under the “levelling up” agenda.
In a major policy reset, Truss, who is also International Trade Secretary, will lay down a new vision for “Conservative values” led by “facts…not by fashion”.
Rather than focusing on equality of outcome, the Government plans to promote equality by enabling citizens to take greater control over their livelihoods. In her speech, branded “The New Fight for Fairness”, Truss will point to empowering legislation such as the independent taxation of women in 1988 which gave married women control over their finances.
Today’s speech will be seen by many as an attack on civil rights movements like Black Lives Matter.
The Government wants to push “fashionable causes” like BLM to one side to make space for the thousands of projects and charities that have suffered throughout 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A Government source said: “The point is that fashionable causes may be good causes, but it leads to other people and real issues being ignored and neglected.”