This article, republished with permission, originally appeared in Britain’s The Critic on February 17, 2022.
The Good Law Project is pestering the British Government again. True to form, it has failed.
It argued at the High Court that the Government had not adopted an “open” process when hunting for talent to urgently fill posts “critical to the pandemic response.”
The project’s claims were dismissed, but the Runnymede Trust — which joined the legal activist group in its battle with the Government — successfully won its claim that then-Health Minister Matt Hancock failed to comply with equality rules over Dido Harding’s appointment as head of a public health quango.
Their partner in crime, fox-bashing lawyer Jolyon Maugham, said that the Charity Commission’s decision to investigate the Runnymede Trust last year was “barking mad.”
Tory MPs who called for the commission to launch the investigation argued that the think tank criticised a Downing Street-backed report into race relations “in bad faith,” adding that it was breaching the regulations used to prevent charities from being politically motivated.
The commission threw out the complaint, but those MPs were right to raise it. The trust is one of many blobbish institutions that produce highly partisan work under a veneer of independent objectivity.
But with a director like Dr. Halima Begum, a former Labour parliamentary candidate with a litany of pointedly anti-Tory public speaking appearances, that facade is fading.
In September 2019, she protested outside Downing Street alongside Diane Abbott and activist-journos Ash Sarkar and Owen Jones. Slanting the prime minister several times by name, she even agreed with a speaker who shouts “fuck the Tories.” Last year, she claimed that the presence of female police officers in protecting the Churchill statue from “KillTheBill” protestors was an “apartheid” tactic.
And it’s not just the leadership and their quotes that betray their broader political direction. A brief review of the trust’s finances exposes plenty. In the year ending December 2019, their income was £483,895, which included two government grants, and funding from the Barrow-Cadbury Trust and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, two significant blob-supporting outfits. Income from donations and legacies was just over £11,000, so almost all of their financial support comes from big foundations that support progressive campaigns and politics.
The Runnymede Trust is a pristine example of the blob’s rampant domination of our national priorities and conversations because it has championed some of the bodies and discourse-driving terms that smoothen the path to progressive victory.
It launched the term “Islamophobia” into popular discourse in a 1997 report, championed by then-Home Secretary Jack Straw, before a year later calling for the creation of the Equality and Human Rights Commission in a paper that paved the way for “tolerance” and “openness” becoming key “British values.”
That these creations have inhibited Conservative aims and actions is true as a grave understatement, and yet progressive activist groups such as the Runnymede Trust are still cashing in thanks to Government policy that allows huge foundations to pour cash into leftist causes at will. This creates an activist class that exists to punish conservative ambitions before they even have a chance to get off the ground.
As Sam Ashworth-Hayes noted last month, “the infrastructure of British politics is not designed for the right.” The lazy failure to burn down much of this progressivist cladding has hampered conservatives at every turn. And yet they still do nothing to react against the laws, groups and funding sources that they control and suffer from.
The Runnymede Trust’s success in court is a classic example of a Tory defeat of their own making. The public sector equality act that has tripped up the Conservatives came into force in 2011 as section 149 of the Equality Act, which the Tories were pushed into supporting.
In the decade that has passed, the Tories have sat by as the legislation’s stifling effects on conservative action have run riot. Few dare to openly question or challenge these structures due to a mixture of fears over accusations of discrimination and hate and those who are simply unaware that progressive groups benefit from systems that Conservatives tacitly support.
The battle with Maugham’s Good Law Project should have been yet another home run victory for the Government. The judicial review obsessive is taking money from decent but misguided people for utterly hopeless causes. The project’s instigator is using that cash to launch challenges that are as pointless as they are egotistically vainglorious. But by doing nothing to tackle the infrastructure that serves to hinder their causes, the Tories have allowed the GLP to sneak in a minor celebration through its association with the Runnymede Trust.
It won’t take much to turn the tide. Chief scourge of the blob Ashworth-Hayes is instructive on the medicine needed to treat this infection of the British state, arguing that organisations listed as charitable enterprises should not receive more than a given percentage of income from public bodies, which would allow government-funded institutions to be controlled, rather than the current approach of simply giving the cash only for it to be spent attacking their lifeline. If conservatives are ever to win power, rather than just being in power, they must divest government from the charity-industrial complex.