The ministry of bigotry

Many people believe that the Conservative MP Liz Truss is stupid. She may have said many stupid things in her career, but she isn’t thick. She’s much worse than that.

Truss was previously the UK’s Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, where she was responsible for defending the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law. So when the right-wing press began demonising judges and calling them “enemies of the people”, she did… nothing.

As The Secret Barrister wrote at the time, calling for her resignation:

A starker, more blatant attack on judicial independence is hard to conceive. It is one thing to criticise court rulings. Or to draw attention to judicial decisions where they fall into error. But when the legislature and executive join forces with the media to launch rocket after rocket of personal, unwarranted abuse that is intended not to criticise or inform, but to demean, undermine, unnerve, terrify and intimidate independent judges who cannot answer back, we have a genuine constitutional crisis. The separation of powers is not just breached but scorched to the ground.

…so what we have is the Rule of Law being roundly trounced and judges being threatened for having had the audacity to apply UK law to a UK legal question and conclude that the UK Parliament was supreme.

And our cowardly, charlatan Lord Chancellor, cowering in the good graces of her Prime Minister and a rampant, ugly tabloid media, sitting meekly by and watching the world burn.

This time last year, The Guardian’s Zoe Williams described her as a “self-aggrandising, sub-Thatcherite, Ayn Randophile Tory” who “represents the new Westminster at its Trumpian worst.”

It’s hard to imagine a worse candidate for the job of equalities minister, a role that’s supposed to be about protecting society’s most vulnerable people. Naturally, that means Truss was appointed the UK’s equality minister in September.

One of her first announcements was to dismiss so-called “identity politics” – minority groups asking for equal rights – and to suggest renaming her ministry to the “Ministry for Freedom”. That’s “freedom” as in “freedom fries” and “religious freedom”, not “freedom from discrimination.”

You can tell a lot about a politician by the individuals and organisations they follow on social media. Truss doesn’t follow any of the key human rights organisations, organisations representing disabled people, organisations representing muslim people, organisations representing Jewish people, organisations representing Black people and other members of ethnic minorities. She follows just one LGBT+ organisation, the LGBT+ conservatives account; no LGBT+ charities or advocacy groups, no charities representing LGBT+ kids.

She does, however, follow some of the most rabidly anti-trans organisations and individuals – organisations and individuals roundly rejected by the LGBT+ community; organisations and individuals who campaign against equality, who promote dangerous and discredited conversion therapy and who orchestrate campaigns against gay and lesbian people who dare criticise them.

Yesterday, Truss’s office removed government support for schools anti-bullying guidance because it included protecting trans kids. The guidance was designed to protect all LGBT+ kids, not just trans ones; the anti-trans groups are celebrating because to them, gay and lesbian kids are simply collateral damage in their obsessive campaign against trans people.

Truss isn’t stupid. She’s much worse and much more dangerous than that.