Fight for Fairness – real translation
Updated: Dec 22, 2020
On 17 December 2020 the Minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss, set out the Government's new approach to tackling inequality across the UK. (https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/fight-for-fairness)
And with every sentence she managed to lie and twist half-truths to create a vision of society which, if implemented successfully, will destroy the most vulnerable and marginalised in the UK. She wants to shift the blame for failure onto the individuals, completely exonerating the system from any responsibility, which those like her benefit from. For her, there should be no society and no talk of disadvantage along raced, classed or gendered lines - only individuals, and any evidence that shows to the contrary will be ignored.
Here is the sentence by sentence translation of what she really meant in her speech and what threat it poses (in first person to give it more authenticity).
In black - original speech
In blue - what she really meant (with evidence)
No matter your skin colour, sexuality, religion or anything else, the United Kingdom is one of the best places in the world to live.
The UK is the best place to live for some (white, Christian, straight) more than others, and our government will make sure of that. I know that comparing how much “better” your life as a Black, Muslim, Trans person is here than in other countries rather than concentrating on what it should be like in your own is a red herring but I still chose this as an opening statement because, frankly I have nothing better to do but to insult your intelligence.
The British story has been driven from its earliest days by the desire for liberty, agency, and fairness.
That is to say the desire to take away liberty and agency by invading lands, enslaving people and keeping them at the bottom of the societal ladder. And by fairness we mean paying out reparations to slave owners in 1835 for which we took a massive loan and we didn’t stop paying the loan until 2015 (so chances are your taxes contributed to paying off slave owners).
It is the notion that in Britain you will have the opportunity to succeed at whatever you wish to do professionally, that you can be whoever you want to be. Dress however you want to dress. Love whoever you wish to love and achieve your dreams.
That is to say you will have a formal (de jure) opportunity but not a substantive (de facto) one – and we will blame you for your failures, as I’m about to do throughout this speech. This doesn’t apply to those wearing burkas or hoodies - we will discriminate against you regardless.
But we must be honest. Our story is not yet complete. Our equality journey is not yet finished.
And in the spirit of honesty – we are here to make sure that equality is never achieved.
For too many people, particularly in places beyond the South East, opportunity is diminished.
Not least because our government has been making massive cuts since 2010 to public services in the North. We made sure we made the biggest spending cuts in local councils with the highest deprivation index and/ or run by Labour.
There are still too many cases where your destination in life is decided by where you started it. So today, I am outlining a new approach to equality in this country.
And we want to make sure that if you were born into a rich postcode you die in one too, without the fear of people born in poor postcodes invading your spaces through social mobility.
It will be about individual dignity and humanity, not quotas and targets, or equality of outcome.
Stronger than ever before we will destroy any efforts to fight systemic injustice and we will individualise the debate so that eventually we can blame you for your failure. Equality of outcomes is bad because it means more people would have a good life.
It will focus fiercely on fixing geographic inequality, addressing the real problems people face in their everyday lives using evidence and data.
We will focus on real problems such as our white fears of losing our dominance. To this end, we will choose which evidence we listen to and use only if it supports our agenda.
Things must change and things will change.
Things will change for the worse for most of you and for the better for us and our corporate donors.
This new approach to equality will run through the DNA of this government.
As it has run for centuries with many of our front and back benchers being in privileged positions for generations.
For me, it is a moral and practical mission.
Just as our forebears fought for change, we must fight for change again – challenging what is unfair and unjust today.
It is not right that having a particular surname or accent can sometimes make it harder to get a job. It is appalling that pregnant women suffer discrimination at work. Or that women may be encouraged to dress in a certain way to get ahead. Or that some employers overlook the capabilities of people with disabilities. It is outrageous in the 21st century that LGBT people still face harassment in public spaces.
Of course, these things are bad so I’m saying this to win some easy brownie points because no one with morals can disagree with that. I will make sure that we concentrate on individual prejudice rather than the system of which my party is a fully benefiting member.
As well as being a moral problem, it is shameful we are squandering so much talent.
That is why I wish to show my true colours now and tell you about all the ways in which the capitalist system, and in particular my CEO friends (rather than the actual diverse individuals) can benefit from more diversity.
If women opened businesses at the same rate as men – we could add £250bn to the economy.
If people of every ethnic group were fully represented across the labour market, that would mean an extra £24 billion of income a year.
If businesses were fully accessible for disabled consumers, they could benefit from an estimated £274 billion a year in spending power.
We can ill afford to waste this potential as we recover from Covid and build back better.
Now more than ever we need diverse talent to be included in the capitalist machine to make more money for the CEOs and to make sure that our electoral base are not too disenfranchised as to vote for other parties.
Our new approach to equality will be based on the core principles of freedom, choice, opportunity, and individual humanity and dignity.
Because all these sound great and no one can object to such a simple slogan.
We will move well beyond the narrow focus of protected characteristics and deliver real change that benefits people across our United Kingdom.
We will make sure that we don’t concentrate on Black people because we think that they have already had too much attention.
We will do this in three ways.
First, by delivering fairness through modernisation, increased choice and openness.
These words don’t mean anything and have nothing in common but are good catchphrases.
Second, by concentrating on data and research, rather than on campaigning and listening to those with the loudest voices.
We will not listen to BLM when they tell us about their horrible lived experiences (which is of course data, but we don’t like that data) and instead we will choose which data we look at as I will outline later on. We don’t care about the loudest voices we care about the richest voices
And third, by taking our biggest and broadest look yet at the challenges we face, including the all too neglected scourge of geographic inequality.
Which we made sure we created in the first place through our successive governments
Now is the time to root the equality debate in the real concerns people face, like affording a home, getting to work, going out safely at night, ending discrimination in our offices, factories and shop floors, and improving our schools so every child has a good chance in life.
Of course we made sure affording a home was an issue in the first place
It is our duty to deliver, because if right-thinking people do not lead the fight for fairness, then it will be led by those whose ideas don’t work.
By right-thinking people I mean right wing thinking people. We’ve had enough of listening to those who want to make a real change but are being stopped by us, so we need to kill off their voices altogether.
In addition, this focus on groups at the expense of individuals has led to harmful unintended consequences.
It has been very harmful focusing on exposing systemic injustices affecting the underserved and we will not do this anymore because it threatens our privilege.
Study after study has shown that unconscious bias training does not improve equality, and in fact can backfire by reinforcing stereotypes and exacerbating biases. That’s why this week we announced we will no longer be using it in government or civil service.
And while unconscious bias training has never been designed to change behaviour only to make people aware of the processes of inequality, we know that people don’t want to change how they do things so why would we tell them they need to change.
Too often, the equality debate has been dominated by a small number of unrepresentative voices, and by those who believe people are defined by their protected characteristic, and not by their individual character.
That’s why when people from oppressed groups show us the strength of their individual character we object to it.
This school of thought says that if you are not from an ‘oppressed group’ then you are not entitled to an opinion, and that this debate is not for you. I wholeheartedly reject this approach.
Because we believe that the most advantaged in the society should have a say on how to further mess up the most disadvantaged.
Equality is something everybody in the United Kingdom should care about and something all of us have a stake in.
Of course, some more than others – I personally never had to face hunger or racial prejudice.
So, I am calling time on “pink bus” feminism, where women are left to fix sexism and campaign for childcare.
Because I don’t want women to fight for their rights. It’s good enough the way it is.
Rather than virtue signalling, or campaigning, this government is focused on delivering a fairer and more transparent society that works for all and that delivers genuine equality of opportunity.
The work of American academic Iris Bohnet shows that modernising and making organisations more transparent is the best way to tackle inequality.
When things are opaque, it benefits those who know how to game the system.
That is to say - it benefits us.
We know that when companies publish their wage ranges, it leads to more equal starting points for men and women.
But we are not concerned with actually paying women equally for their work, we are OK with penalising them for “choosing” to go on maternity leave.
We know that automatic promotions based on performance help level up opportunities for women in the workplace, overcoming the barriers that make women less likely to put themselves forward for promotion.
Because it was women’s fault they weren’t getting promoted.
And we know that evidence-driven recruitment in a clear and open structure is more effective than using informal and ad hoc networks.
On the other hand, techniques like unconscious bias training, quotas and diversity statements do nothing to make the workplace fundamentally fairer.
Except for when they do, as shown through Disability confident scheme and many others. But we choose to ignore it.
By driving reforms that increase competition, boost transparency and improve choice, we can open up opportunities.
Because free market is the best driver for everything – it drives poor poorer and rich richer - see Jeff Bezos - pure fairness, after all he works billions times more efficiently and billion more hours per day than his average employee.
This is the approach we will be taking across government.
It is fundamentally important that the role of Equality Minister is held by someone who also has another Cabinet job, as I do with Trade.
This ensures equality is not siloed, but is instead the responsibility of the whole government and all our elected representatives.
Our entire government will work together to make sure things get worse for the oppressed and that we blame them for it.
For example, the Academies Act 2010 meant good free schools were established across England and more children had the opportunity of a great education. The 1980 Housing Act empowered over two million people to get on the housing ladder, and the independent taxation of women in 1988 gave wives control of their own money.
The same Housing Act also meant that no new council houses were built so present day generations cannot afford decent housing. The Academies Act created schools which are failing students more than ever. But we changed the exam metrics so that you can’t directly compare the results.
All of these reforms promoted equality by giving people greater agency over their own lives and making systems more transparent.
And allowed us to shift the blame on you for your failure.
For example, we know that students from poorer backgrounds are more likely to achieve better grades than they were predicted, and they lose out in the current university admissions system which is based on predicted grades.
That is why Gavin Williamson is right to base the university admissions system on the actual grades students achieve, making sure that students from lower income backgrounds have a fairer shot at university.
That’s why we introduced an algorithm that makes sure poor people have worse outcomes.
In the workplace, we know that flexible working improves productivity and helps people to combine work with other responsibilities.
That is why I will be working with Alok Sharma, the Business Secretary, to enable more flexible working – not just as a necessity amid the Covid crisis but to empower employees.
More working from home means less money spent on office maintenance, more money for companies and more hidden expenses for employees (electricity, internet, mental health).
The best way to reduce unfairness in our society is through opening up opportunities for all.
This is the level playing field we should be talking about.
And we are going to make sure that this level playing field is properly enforced.
That is why I am appointing a new chair and a wide variety of commissioners to the Equality and Human Rights Commission to drive this agenda forward.
I am proud we have Baroness Kishwer Falkner, David Goodhart, Jessica Butcher, and Lord Ribeiro, all of whom are committed to equality and ready to challenge dangerous groupthink. Under this new leadership, the EHRC will focus on enforcing fair treatment for all, rather than freelance campaigning.
With Baroness Kishwer Falkner having a great record of islamophobia, David Goodhart opposing migration and diversity, Jessica Butcher who believes that the gender wage gap is women’s choice and opposes the #MeToo movement and Conservative Life Peer Lord Ribeiro – making sure that Equality and Humans Rights Commissions becomes our puppet organisation to advance all causes – such as those of rich white men who have been disadvantaged by all the Black Lives Matter talk.
To make our society more equal, we need the equality debate to be led by facts not by fashion.
Time and time again, we see politicians making their own evidence-free judgements.
And I will continue in this proud tradition.
My superb colleague Kemi Badenoch is leading work on the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, established by the Prime Minister.
She proudly objects to recognising the sad reality that race is a significant factor in our society despite all the evidence to the contrary and objects to decolonising the curriculum because saying we discovered Australia sounds much better than saying that we invaded it as there were people there already.
We should heed the warning from its chair, Dr Tony Sewell, who wrote last month that they have uncovered “a perception of racism that is often not supported by evidence” and that “wrong perceptions sow mistrust”.
This does not mean we don’t recognise people’s stories about their individual lives or believe that their experiences of discrimination are not real. It means that we can and must have an equality agenda that is driven by evidence.
Today I am announcing that the Equality Hub will embark on the Government’s biggest, broadest and most comprehensive equality data project yet, and it will closely coordinate with the work of CRED (Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities).
Because we already have multiple race equality audits and we don’t like what they are telling us and we most definitely don’t want to do anything about it so we will stick to collecting more data rather than taking action.
Over the coming months, we will look across the UK to identify where people are held back and what the biggest barriers are.
We will not limit our fight for fairness to the nine protected characteristics laid out in the 2010 Equality Act, which include sex, race and gender reassignment.
While it is true people in these groups suffer discrimination, the focus on protected characteristics has led to a narrowing of the equality debate that overlooks socio-economic status and geographic inequality.
This means some issues – particularly those facing white working-class children – are neglected.
And here is exactly how I can demonstrate how we manipulate, I mean use, data and intersectionality to protect whiteness.
In 2019 GCSEs (school exams for 16 year olds) ‘white’ kids did better than ‘black’ kids (see below - the higher the score the better),
'White boys' did better than 'black boys’ (see below),
It’s not until you break down the data to the level of ‘white working class boys (FSM)’ vs ‘black working class boys (FSM)’ that you see white working class boys doing worse (see below).
And I will make sure to concentrate on this! I will completely ignore the fact that when we break it down even further to ‘white British working class boys’ vs ‘Black Caribbean working class boys’ the former do better, and that ‘Gypsy, Roma and Irish Travellers’ – no matter how you cut the data – do the worst out of all of them (see below).
This project will broaden the drive for equality and get to the heart of the barriers people face. It will report its initial findings in the summer.
In addition to race, sex, disability and religion, it will also look at issues around geography, community and socio-economic background.
But only as far as it serves our purpose of keeping the things exactly as they are or even better – reversing them to the good old days when White people had all the power without the pesky BLM complaining.
It will deliver a new life-path analysis of equality from the perspective of the individual, not groups. Using longitudinal data sets will help us understand where the real problems lie.
We will miraculously invent a new statistic that will look at individuals, making sure that any statistics that indicates that people may suffer because of their ethnicity, gender or religion is discredited.
There is a deeper wage gap between London and the regions than between men and women, with an average full-time salary a third higher in the capital than the North East of England. There are lower employment rates, pay packets and life expectancy across the North than the South. At the same time, average median hourly earnings in the South West are only just over two thirds of those in London.
So, we will stop bothering with gender pay gap and instead look at other issues that we created in the first place. We will penalise people in London for earning so much but we won’t do anything about the fact that the house prices there are 1500% higher than the average income, the highest ratio in the country, rendering house ownership a possibility only for our wealthy buddies.
That is why the equality agenda must be prosecuted with fierce determination and clarity of purpose up and down the country, not just in London boardrooms and Whitehall offices.
Whether that is making the case for free schools in deprived areas or using data to help regional businesses attract investment.
We have consistently been cutting school funding in the most deprived areas so that we can make a case for free schools there. Our data tells us that free schools allow pupils to do better – that is because free schools were set up in already privileged areas in the first place and we have absolutely no data to tell us that this would also be the case in deprived areas.
We will use the power of evidence to drive reform and give people access to the facts so they can push for change.
But we will not listen to them unless they are White, preferably middle class, Christian, and cis-het-normative.
We will drive this action from the North of England, where we will be moving the Equality Hub.
And I am delighted to announce that we are also taking on sponsorship of the Social Mobility Commission, to give this agenda real teeth and coherence.
We will further politicise even more agencies/institutions that are supposed to be helping the most disadvantaged.
The whole of government will be – and is – totally committed to this agenda. The Treasury is revising its Green Book so that it judges infrastructure investment fairly across the UK, no longer seeing – for example – faster broadband as a better investment in Surrey than South Lanarkshire.
Moreover, we are investing to connect the North with the South through HS2 which is the world’s most expensive railway cash-dump… I mean investment, and is London-centric, and therefore will not help the North who need better connections among northern cities rather than with London, contrary to what we want you to believe.
The Department for Education is going to extra lengths to create academies and free schools outside London. And in housing, we are working to increase opportunities for home ownership across the country.
That’s why we have delivered exactly zero out of 200k affordable homes that we pledged in 2015 and we will continue with our track record.
This is just the start. There is much more we will be doing to make our country fairer and give people agency over their own lives.
This fight for fairness goes beyond our shores.
We will bomb democracy into other countries like we did with Libya.
Next year, the United Kingdom will use its presidency of the G7 to ramp up its work worldwide with like-minded allies to champion freedom, human rights and the equality of opportunity.
But we will continue signing trade deals with countries that are known for violating human rights
The UK is co-leading the new global Generation Equality Action Coalition on Gender Based Violence, and co-chairing the Equal Rights Coalition.
In that role, we will be holding our International LGBT conference, on the theme of Safe to Be Me.
Despite fighting tooth and nail to take the UK out of Human Rights Convention you can count on our commitment to equality.
We are working internationally to bring an end to child marriage and are supporting international programmes to end the abhorrent practice of Female Genital Mutilation.
We need to make progress across the world and at home as a fairer world and a fairer Britain go hand in hand.
We have not lost hope that we will be an Imperial power again
At this vital time in our country’s history, we must make sure everyone has a chance to succeed in modern Britain.
It doesn’t have to be an equal chance – just a formal chance so that we can blame people for failure.
That is why we cannot waste time on misguided, wrong-headed and ultimately destructive ideas that take agency away from people.
And those who show their agency will be rewarded, unless they are speaking against racism like BLM, those will be penalised.
Instead, we will drive an agenda that empowers people and actively challenges discrimination.
We will use evidence to inform policy and drive change.
And we will focus on increasing openness and transparency, fixing the system rather than the results.
Together, we will build back a better society and lead the new fight for fairness.
We will redefine fairness. It will be fair that some are filthy rich while others are starving because we can blame them for their own failure, while we fix the system to work for us not for everyone.