TheQueen’s Speech yesterday may have seen the government’s fairly dry visionfor modern Britain but a group of Conservative backbench MPs and peers have nowbanded together to propose their own alternative. Cracking down on immigration,breaking up the BBC and taking aim at woke policing are all proposed in a newbook by the CommonSense Group of around 50 Tory parliamentarians. Titled ConservativeThinking For a Post-Liberal Age, it takes aim at the EqualityAct, Supreme Court, British broadcasters and Extinction Rebellion, proposing amuch tougher line on the forces of ‘wokeism’ and its practitioners.
The group’s chairman Sir John Hayes declares that ‘the battle for Britain hasbegun, and guided by the common sense of the people, we must triumph for thecommon good’. For fellow member Gareth Bacon ‘Britain is underattack’ from a ‘woke ideology’ with ‘no democratic mandate’ but instead an’intense hostility to western civilisation’. Policies to tackle this include’definitive amendments to the 2010 Equality Act,’ tax incentives to encourage marriage,curbs on direct action protests and a requirement for state-fundedinstitutions to ‘promote British values, traditions and history.’
Britain’s top judges are lambasted by veteranEdward Leigh and new MP Sally-Ann Hart in a chapter on judicial activism underminingdemocracy. The pair describe the Supreme Court’s rulingagainst Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament as ‘a naked powergrab, with no substantial legal or juridical justification’. Such ‘a politicalact’ was just a gamble ‘in order to stop Brexit’ — something ‘thepoliticised justices lost’ with ‘legislative reform of the Supreme Court’needed to prevent a repeat again.
The section on media reform co-authored between James SunderlandMP and Express journalistDavid Maddox demands the break up of the BBC, the abolition of broadcast impartiality rules and that big tech companies likeFacebook be treated as publishers. They claim the pandemic has ‘been a salutary lesson’ withexisting broadcasters seeing it ‘as their role to promote the pro-Lockdownmessage’ with reform strengthening ‘plurality of voices and freedom of speech’against a ‘quasi-Marxist movement on the liberal left.’
The police are not spared eitherwith Chris Loder and Tom Hunt calling for an end to the ‘woke’ culture of’middle management’ infecting forces across the country. Reforms include tackling the ‘fear ofconduct investigations’ which means ‘officers are wary of acting accordingto their instincts’ with the Macpherson report being accused ofundermining effective policing: ‘the words “institutional racism” are soterrifying because they attack the very foundation of policing by consent.’
On immigration, red wall MP Nick Fletcher backs a cap of100,000 people a year, arguing ‘it must be made known to the ordinary working man and woman thattheir neighbourhoods and communities will not be treated as dumping grounds foranyone and everyone who wishes to come to the United Kingdom.’
Peers Lord Horam and Lord Hodgsonpropose that all jobs should only be advertised in the UK alongside a cap onthe number of skilled workers allowed into the country and a suspension of the’New Entrant’ route which allows employers to bring in young workers fromabroad earning over £20,480. An Office of Demographic Change — an independentbody established along the lines of the Office for Budget Responsibility — issuggested to undertake a comprehensive transparent analysis of all aspects ofdemographic growth.
It was of course nine years ago that a similarly punchy book bynewly elected members — Britannia Unchained — made the names of some of today’sleading Tory politicians. Four of the work’s co-authors — Priti Patel, DominicRaab, Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng — now sit around the cabinet table havingall co-founded the Free Enterprise Group together. Will similar success greet theco-authors of the Common Sense book too?
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