Unlike a number of my gender-critical colleagues, I continue to regard Liz Truss as a well-meaning but flaky and disempowered friend to those of us who recognise the danger of extreme gender ideology and who are campaigning to force it into a retreat. The Right Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, who holds the senior Government roles of Secretary of State for International Trade, President of the Board of Trade, and Minister for Women and Equalities – is seen by many as a glimmer of sanity and hope in the slough of despond represented by the UK Government’s strategically-staged appeasement and eventual total capitulation to the demands of Stonewall UK – the nation’s biggest and most powerful extreme gender lobby outfit.
Today, Ms Truss has gleefully announced the creation of a new Government position: the LGBT Business Champion. Yet again, the Government is lending false credibility and respectability to an initialism whose ideology is trampling on the sex-based rights of lesbians, gay people, and women in general, and on child safeguarding, and that has hijacked the lesbian and gay rights movement with its centring of pernicious extreme gender ideology.
The individual appointed by Liz Truss as the Government’s first LGBT Business Champion, Iain Anderson, enjoys the distinguished description of “Stonewall Ambassador”. These “Ambassadors” are people who donate a minimum of £1800 to Stonewall’s coffers annually, and who, by doing so, clearly play a large part in keeping Stonewall’s toxic ship afloat. One cannot simply assume, of course, that Mr Anderson is in agreement with every policy that Stonewall promotes. Perhaps he is critical of some Stonewall insanities … who knows? Nevertheless, without the very generous support that Stonewall receives from its Ambassadors such as him – as well as from Government departments and from captured businesses and institutions across the country – the serious damage being inflicted by Stonewall UK on women’s rights, lesbian and gay rights, and children’s safeguarding, would receive a potentially terminal blow.
Mr Anderson’s LGBT credentials are described gushingly by Ms Truss in the news release she has authorised today:
“Anderson brings a wealth of experience to the role, advising businesses on both a domestic and international level. He is co-founder and executive chairman at Cicero/AMO and focuses on public policy and corporate communications strategy, supporting many global FTSE and Fortune 500 blue chip organisations.
“He has also been named one of the Financial Times / OUTstanding Global 100 Executives, an FT Male Champion of Women in Business, a Stonewall Ambassador, on the Queer Britain advisory board and a trustee of global LGBT rights charity GiveOUT.”
Ms Truss did not hold back at giving clear expression to her own personal enthusiasm in her news release:
“I’m delighted to appoint Iain as our new LGBT Business Champion. As we seek to build back better, his considerable experience working with a range of businesses will be crucial to forming policies that will actually make a difference, improving the workplace for LGBT people.
“We have a responsibility to ensure LGBT people can be themselves at work, not just for their own wellbeing, but also for the best interests of business and the UK economy. Attracting and retaining a talented workforce is fundamental to the success of any enterprise.”
So exciting is this new position created by Ms Truss, and Mr Anderson’s appointment to it, that it has even elicited a reaction from Quiet Lord Herbert, The Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for LGBT Rights. In August, in these pages, I asked why Lord Herbert was silent when LGBT+ extremists were sending JK Rowling violence, rape and murder threats. Lord Herbert’s silence continued regardless. Yet now he speaks – and so fully! In no fewer than six paragraphs of Ms Truss’s news release, Lord Herbert endorses the appointment of Mr Anderson and reminds us of the Government’s “Safe To Be Me” Global Equality (sic) Conference in June 2022. Such a pity he didn’t feel able to speak out earlier, in defence of JK Rowling. “Safe To Be Me” seems to be a paradigm that excludes all those of us who refuse to genuflect at Stonewall UK’s alphabetical altar.
It was only in April this year that Ms Truss disbanded the LGBT Advisory Panel, and in May that she called on Government departments to withdraw from Stonewall UK’s beleaguered Diversity Champions Scheme. This being the case, it may come as a surprise to many that Ms Truss has chosen to promote the voice of none other than Stonewall’s CEO, Nancy Kelley, in today’s Government Equalities Office news release. As mixed messages go, this one must surely get us all wondering what is going on behind the scenes. This is what Nancy Kelley had to say:
“We welcome the news that Iain Anderson has been appointed to the new role of LGBT Business Champion for the Government.
“With over a third of LGBTQ+ people feeling the need to hide who they are at work, there is still much to do to ensure all workplaces are truly inclusive.
“We look forward to working closely with Iain and sharing our advice and expertise to help transform workplaces and unlock the potential of LGBTQ+ people across the UK.”
Please pay especial attention to Ms Kelley’s last paragraph. She says that Stonewall are looking forward to “working closely with Iain and sharing our advice and expertise to help transform workplaces …”. This is exactly what they get up to with their Diversity Champions Scheme, and this is exactly what, only four months ago, Liz Truss was calling on her colleagues to banish from Government departments. From where I’m sitting, that looks like an unequivocal volte-face. As well as an egg-face.
There is no suggestion here that her personal opinions on extreme gender ideology have been wavering. Instead, the evidence points to an imposition of wokeness from above.
Liz Truss has been one of the very few Ministers – indeed, MPs – to speak out in opposition to extreme gender ideology in the service of protecting women’s rights. However, only a month after her call for Government departments to withdraw from Stonewall’s Diversity Champions Scheme, the Daily Mail reported that Ms Truss had “opened an intergenerational divide inside number 10” and that “Ms Truss is understood to have shelved plans to advise Cabinet colleagues to withdraw their ministries from the Stonewall scheme”. Apparently, it didn’t take long for her to be put back in her box.
The first hint of Ms Truss’s tendency to back-track and demonstrate inconsistent behaviour in relation to her opposition to extreme gender ideology appeared when her announcement of opposition to transgender self-identification – a policy Theresa May was intending to wave through – was delayed by several months. There is no suggestion here that her personal opinions on extreme gender ideology have been wavering. Instead, the evidence points to an imposition of wokeness from above.
Many gender-critical people across the political spectrum have been pinning their hopes on Liz Truss as a senior member of the Government who might have been willing and able to encourage the Prime Minister to stop stoking the fires of the clattering train that will carry our society into a misogynistic, homophobic and child-mistreating gender extremist dystopia. It is very possible that Ms Truss’ personal views are still well-aligned with the gender-critical movement. However, her creation today of the new post of LGBT Business Champion, and her appointment of a Stonewall Ambassador to the position, might serve us well as a reality check: albeit a painful one that many of us will not want to acknowledge. It is, in my view, a barometer reading of how weak her position is, despite being one of the few apparent vertebrates in the Government, as an agency to ultimately block the current direction of travel that the Prime Minister is clearly ordaining.
Indeed, the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on LGBT Rights, Lord Herbert, was at pains to announce in his Times interview of 3 July that “[the Prime Minister] delivered a stern warning to his colleagues in Government wanting to join the battle against the LGBT activism. A warning he says that Johnson echoed”, whilst himself offering an exuberant endorsement in that interview of Stonewall UK. It might be fair to say, on the basis of this evidence, that Liz Truss has been warned off.
The fate of Ms Truss as a senior Government Minister is entirely at the mercy of Boris Johnson. Indeed: there have been rumours of a Cabinet reshuffle – rumours, it is speculated, that might well have helped the vote on National Insurance increases pass without a significant rebellion. There is much media speculation and behind-the-scenes chat about the Prime Minister being unduly influenced in Government policy by an unelected individual from his personal entourage, and that the replacement of Liz Truss may even be on that person’s wish-list. Whatever the truth of these rumours, it is clear that Ms Truss’s position in the Cabinet is a precarious one, especially as she seems to be getting muzzled when she tries to protect women’s rights, and especially in this context of a possible impending Cabinet reshuffle.
…if even our senior supporters in Government, few as they are, feel so unempowered and hopeless that they must now even enthusiastically promote the ideology in Government that they apparently decry in private, then it feels increasingly to be the case that the Conservative Party – like most other mainstream parties – will eventually sign up fully to the extreme gender manifesto.
Those who continue to hope that Liz Truss will manage to halt the Conservative Party’s absurd and extremely unconservative journey towards gender ideology orthodoxy might instead, at this point, start to see her as a Queen Canute. Whatever good intentions she may have, she simply does not have the power to stem the tides, and she has to do what she is told if she is to remain in the Cabinet. Perhaps she will be able to appease Boris Johnson and his woke influencers enough to hang on to her Cabinet position as a result of creating this new LGBT Business Champion post and appointing a Stonewall Ambassador to fill it, buttressed by the hostage statement that masqueraded as today’s news release from her department. Some will not regard this initiative as significant, and will frame it as tokenistic, furthermore making no demands on the taxpayer, given that the post is unpaid. However, if even our senior supporters in Government, few as they are, feel so unempowered and hopeless that they must now even enthusiastically promote the ideology in Government that they apparently decry in private, then it feels increasingly to be the case that the Conservative Party – like most other mainstream parties – will eventually sign up fully to the extreme gender manifesto.
At that point, any tenuous claim the Conservative Party may have had to be true representatives of conservative politics will be exhausted, and many real, anti-woke conservatives, like myself, will no longer vote for it. It is a measure of the parlous state of our democracy, our political system, and our culture, that the day may soon arrive when every single party that stands any chance of being elected to government, promotes policies that actively betray women’s rights, lesbian and gay rights, and children’s safeguarding. If and when that day of ultimate sell-out and betrayal arrives, we must hope that a political movement and party worthy of being in government will eventually prevent so many of us from becoming permanently disenfranchised.
Gary Powell is a gay man and has been active in gay politics since 1980. He is the Research Fellow for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity at the Bow Group and the European Special Consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture.
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