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The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

Reports, updates, inquiries, paralysis


Instinctively, I am sceptical about public inquiries and the like. Having lived long enough to see successive governments use inquiries as a means to avoid difficult questions "in the moment" and then avoid the same difficult questions when the findings of the inquiry are reported as "it is all in the report and we will learn the lessons from it", nothing I have seen this week has reduced my scepticism, perhaps even augmented it.

The long awaited Sue Gray report into the potential breaches of lockdown restrictions at 10 Downing Street became an update comprising 12 pages, of which one was the front page and another was "intentionally left blank".

With the Metropolitan Police investigating all but 4 of the events that Sue Gray was commissioned to investigate, her "findings" were confined to a general admonishment of the culture of entitlement and mismanagement inside 10 Downing Street and the Cabinet Office.

As all of the events the Met are investigating are over 6 months old, they are either wasting taxpayers money (as any offences would be time barred for issuance of Fixed Penalty Notices) or Gray's evidence gathering has uncovered criminal activity that falls outside the scope of the Coronavirus Act.

When will the Met conclude its investigation? Who knows. What odds by the time it does, the Partygate circus will have long since left town?

The latest whitewash report on Pakistani Muslim male child abusing rape gangs, with chairs of the inquiry lasting in post anything from 6 days to 18 months is another waste of time, money and paper.

Despite the sentencing of "Lord" (hopefully not for much longer) Ahmed to five and a half years imprisonment for his participation in this heinous crime, the ritual abuse of young white girls, often in care, who are groomed into modern day slavery, county lines drug distribution and prostitution in towns and cities up and down the country, continues unabated.

This national disgrace is an uncomfortable subject for the woke dominated mainstream media. Not as uncomfortable as those who are being abused but presumably this is payback for their white privilege.

Apart from as a slogan "Levelling up" is nebulous in the extreme. With around 50% of GDP generated inside the M25, it is laudable in principle to seek to provide the same job opportunities throughout this United Kingdom, regardless of geography.

This week's white paper appears to be little more than box checking. £1.5 billion is being awarded to 20 areas of relative economic deprivation. Improving infrastructure, transport links, housing and other tinkering at the margins rather misses the point.

With education standards in socially deprived areas often coinciding with failing schools dominated by teachers who are activists primarily and occasional teachers delivering lessons parrot fashion direct from a text book, it is progress of sorts that this fact has been acknowledged.

More money? £4 billion (critics will say none of it is new). 90% of children will meet the "required standard" for the "3 Rs" by 2030. 55 new "Education Investment Areas", a new "National Academy" and so on.

Call me underwhelmed, not least as:

  • The Conservative & Unionist Party (so called) has been in office almost 12 years across 4 terms.
  • Michael Gove was the Secretary of State for Education from 2010 to 2014.

If this needs doing now, why has it waited 12 years? All of which brings me back to the last word of the title of this piece: paralysis.

Sir Keir Starmer is no Tony Blair but he is being made to look like a future Prime Minister when he should not be remotely close to 10 Downing Street.

The Tories have developed an "end of days" feel to them since the Owen Paterson debacle as they did for the majority of John Major's full term in office. That led to 13 years in opposition. For a party that won an 80 seat majority just over 2 years ago, they look like a beaten horse who still has almost 3 miles to run.

They don't need an inquiry to know that something has to change (and quickly) to reverse their inexorable slide into electoral defeat. 

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