Mark Wallace, Senior Account Manager at Portland Communications and author of the Crash Bang Wallace blog, on how even some Conservative councils have adopted "Diversity" extremism
Thirteen years of Labour Government will take a long time to get over. Just look at the public finances – with a deficit of £150+ billion, costly PFI commitments, and malfunctioning public bodies the books alone will take a Herculean effort to balance.
The cultural harm that Blair and Brown did, though, will take even longer. I'm talking about the presumption towards snooping, the invasion of privacy, the boom in victim culture, the corrosive effects of political correctness and the general busybodyness that they nurtured. All of these factors served to extend the state, to oppress the individual and, of course, to waste money.
Ample evidence of this problem was unearthed by the Mail on Sunday last week. Through Freedom of Information requests (undoubtedly Blair's most positive policy initiative) they have uncovered a rash of hectoring, politically correct questionnaires and training courses that councils are using on their staff.
Sample questionnaires are designed to make people experience the kind of questions they might be asked if they were a minority group, such as "What do you think caused your heterosexuality?" Other councils ask things that are simply irrelevant such as "Can you sing a few lines of a Supremes song?"
This is at best pointless and wasteful. At worst, it encourages a culture of being nosey and hyper-sensitive to every potential difference between people. Instead of training local government staff to consider everyone by their gender, ethnicity, sexuality or anything else, we should be training them that it is none of their business how people live their lives. They are there to serve regardless of who the customer is, and being judgemental or cosseting should be equally forbidden.
It would be easy to assume that this kind of nonsense goes on at trendy lefty councils. But that would be to underestimate the depth of the cultural rot that has gone on. Councils that the Mail on Sunday identified as culprits include Conservative-run Buckinghamshire County Council and Cheshire West Council. Hopefully their leaders will go public on this issue – not to defend such a waste of time and money, but to announce it is being scrapped.