28 Feb 2017

UK Parliament’s Equality Campaigners Are Hopelessly Detached From Reality

By Philip Davies: There can be no bigger Westminster bubble than the one which surrounds the Women and Equalities Select Committee – which must be more detached from the everyday concerns of the public than any other area of Parliamentary life.
To illustrate the point, we have just completed our inquiry into UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality.
I think it is fair to say that I have never had a constituent raise this with me – maybe Shipley is very different to the rest of the UK in this regard but somehow I doubt it. Not that this deters our intrepid committee.
In our last evidence session, we had two competent and enthusiastic Government Ministers before us – Lord Bates, Home Office Minister, and Equalities Minister Caroline Dinenage.
It is sometimes difficult to take these sessions seriously. The first question to Lord Bates was to ask how high up the list of Government priorities is Sustainable Development Goal 5.
His response astounded me – and how he kept a straight face I will never know! He said in reply: “It is very high up the Government’s list of priorities”. Honestly, he did.

I couldn’t believe what I had just heard. When you put together a list of top government priorities I would think of NHS, education, the economy, getting the best Brexit deal, crime, immigration, the benefits system and employment levels.
Who on earth would ever believe that UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 could be ahead of any of those issues?
I have also made one other observation on the Committee – we only ever seem to hear evidence from people who all have the same (politically correct) opinions and agenda.
On other select committees, we hear evidence from people with competing opinions and perspectives, and then produce a report after weighing up these different views.
On the Women and Equalities Select Committee, we hear from a never-ending supply of organisations in the equality industry nobody in the real world has ever heard from (I would love to know where they all get their money) but we never hear from anyone at all who thinks this agenda is a load of old nonsense.
This was an observation that didn’t go down well with other committee members when I raised it, and was rejected.
I can only suggest people look on the committee website to see who we have had before the committee on Sustainable Development Goal 5 and judge this for themselves.
Our next inquiry will look at the Gypsy and Traveller community.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to find people with different views about that, so we will see if there is more balance in terms of witnesses when we start on this issue.


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