Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Reader’s comment: The Tories’ pet Lefties


In response to Kathy Gyngell: Safeguarding free speech, the LGBT censor-in-chief, Colonel Mustard wrote:

Well this is one person. I would have liked TCW to take a long hard look at the whole quango and investigate the backgrounds of all its members, analyse its remit and powers, the basis on which it has been created and at whose instigation. The fuss over Toby Young has not been matched by any fuss over this guy. There does not seem to have been much fuss made over the creation of this quango by all the usual suspects of the Left – which is suspicious in itself.

For example, Nicola Dandridge is the CEO of this new quango which amalgamates HEFCE and the Office for Fair Access. The latter’s role was to increase the proportion of learners from under-represented and disadvantaged groups, and to make faster progress in improving access to the most selective higher education institutions by students from under-represented and disadvantaged groups. Dandridge is a lawyer with a background in equality law who in 2015 was appointed chair of the taskforce to examine violence against women, harassment and hate crime affecting university students, with a focus on the issue of violence against women and sexual harassment. The taskforce was instigated by Jo Johnson to tackle violence against women on campus. In that capacity Dandridge supported optional gender segregation in universities.

Is this woman, who seems to be cast in the mould of so many other radical and revolutionary new ‘leaders’, from the RSPCA to the Girl Guides, likely to champion free speech on campus or de-construct the notion of safe spaces? That seems doubtful.

Michael Barber, who has a strong Labour, NUT and Left-wing background, was appointed ‘Chair’ of the new quango. By whom? How? Why? Presumably not without the approval of the ‘Conservative’ minister responsible? And that is Jo Johnson, whose wife is Amelia Gentleman, described as the Guardian’s ‘trenchantly Left-wing social affairs correspondent’. If that has no influence over him then I’m a Dutchman.

The whole thing is another example of how a supposedly ‘Conservative’ centre-Right government appears to be perpetuating and reinforcing New Labour-type Left-of-centre policies by sponsoring and hiring their unelected has-beens.

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