Equalities minister Liz Truss has pitted minorities against the working class in a bizarre column littered with dog whistles.
In a column published in the Daily Mail on Sunday (27 December), Truss claimed that efforts to advance the rights of minority groups amounts to people jumping on the “woke bandwagon”.
Truss said the real issues affecting the UK today are poverty and disadvantage, but completely ignored the disproportionate poverty and disadvantage faced by many within the LGBT+ community.
The equalities minister reflected on her upbringing in Leeds during the 1980s and 1990s, claiming lessons about sexism and racism were considered more important than teaching children numeracy and literacy skills.
“Since then, I have witnessed the spread of misguided, wrong-headed, and ultimately destructive ideas, which, sadly, have become steadily more prevalent in many aspects of British life,” Truss wrote.
She slammed Birmingham City Council, which recently voted to give streets names such as Diversity Grove, Respect Way and Humanity Close, and questioned whether councillors think the names will bring about “real change”.
Truss wrote: “Too many people have jumped on this woke bandwagon and lost sight of what most people want: a life in which they can live happily in a secure home, work in a good job and send their children to a decent school.”
“Rather than engage with these priorities, the Left has been swept up by a warped ideology and all its bizarre obsessions.”
Truss went on to claim that there is a “misguided emphasis on policing our vocabulary so as not to offend, rather than policing our streets”.
She went on to claim that the “woke brigade” – a dog whistle which apparently refers to minority groups – is more concerned about the “sins of historical figures” than it is interested in improving life for people around today.
Truss lambasted “quotas, diversity agendas and so-called ‘unconscious bias’ training” – all initiatives designed to wipe out discrimination and prejudice – saying they “crudely treat people as part of groups rather than as individuals”.
The minister went on to argue that minority groups have written off “the white working class” because they do not fit into their “cultural box-ticking”.
Truss accused minority groups of pushing “dehumanising, disempowering and dysfunctional ideas”, saying equality initiatives “do nothing in practice to make life fairer”.
“Those behind this pernicious woke culture see everything in terms of societal power structures,” she wrote.
“To these zombies, truth and morality are merely relative.”
Liz Truss dug her heels in on single-sex spaces in the bizarre column
The equalities minister – whose job is literally to wipe out discrimination – also used her op-ed to allude to the endlessly toxic debate around trans people’s right to access single-sex spaces, such as public toilets.
She accused “the Left” of allowing “insidious practices to threaten equality”, adding: “For example, it has failed to defend the single-sex spaces that were won by the hard work of women over generations.”
Liz Truss branded efforts to advance equality for minority groups as “empty gesture politics”, adding: “Compared with very many other countries, we can be proud about how far society has developed. Britain is more colour-blind and less sexist than ever.”
The equalities minister closed out her article by hitting out at “identity politics, virtue signalling or any other kind of right-on posturing”.
“Equality must be for everyone, not just whoever might be among the Left’s current set of obsessions.
“Our mission is to improve people’s lives across the country, no matter who they are. That’s the only fair way to build a better society.”
Truss has been widely condemned by LGBT+ people and others from minority groups on social media.
Others pointed out that Truss was actually educated under Section 28, the homophobic law introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government that prohibited schools and local authorities from “promoting” homosexuality, creating a chilling effect for any kind of LGBT+ representation for years.
LBC presenter Natasha Devon tweeted: “Name me ONE person less suitable to be minister for equalities than Liz Truss. I’ll wait.”
Truss’s column comes just days after she was roundly criticised for saying she wants to turn away from the “fashionable issues of race, sexuality and gender” in a bizarre speech.
The equalities minister announced a policy overhaul at the Centre for Policy Studies think tank on 17 December in a speech titled “The New Fight for Fairness”.
In the speech, Truss said the government will focus on “Conservative values” based on “freedom, choice, opportunity, and individual humanity and dignity” rather than “the narrow focus on protected characteristics” in the Equality Act 2010.
Critics were baffled as she claimed that the result of this thinking saw children in her class at school left unable to read or write because too much time was taken up learning about discrimination.
“While we were taught about racism and sexism, there was too little time spent making sure everyone could read and write,” she said.