Austerity, the David Cameron Way

by Andrew Stuttaford

How serious is the lamentable leadership of Britain’s Conservative party (occasionally cited as some sort of example for the GOP to follow) about turning the page on the overspending and nanny statism of the Blair-Brown years?

This serious:

Tens of millions pounds of public money is being spent on bizarre initiatives forcing organisations to prove that they do not discriminate against minority groups under controversial new equality legislation. The Government has been accused of wasting public money on “politically corrupt drivel” after admitting that the cost of implementing the new Equality Act will reach £100 million in the next 12 months.

Whitehall departments have launched a string of reports and initiatives in an effort to comply with the Act, which came into force three months ago. The Daily Telegraph disclosed last week that the public sector alone will be forced to spend £30 million each year on new equality audits that include asking staff sensitive questions about their religion and sexuality.

An investigation into the implications of the new law revealed that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairs paid consultants £100,000 to produce a report on how groups such as the Chinese, homosexuals and Welsh speakers could be affected by efforts to boost Britain’s coastal fish stocks…

The Equality Act was masterminded by Harriet Harman, the Deputy Labour Leader and former women’s minister, who fought for its introduction before the party left office last year. Theresa May, the Conservative Home Secretary and women’s minister, has also given the legislation her backing, despite widespread criticism over the extra burdens it will place on employers.

New government.  Same political class. Move along, nothing to see here.