BLM and the DWP: the Equalities Minister and the Permanent Secretary
Dear Department for Work and Pensions,
In October 2020, the Equalities Minister (Kemi Badenoch) made the following statement in the House of Commons setting out the UK Government's position on the Black Lives Matter organisation and the Black Lives Matter movement:
"What we are against is the teaching of contested political ideas as if they are accepted facts. We don't do this with communism. We don't do this with socialism. We don't do it with capitalism. And I want to speak about a dangerous trend in race relations that has come far too close to home to my life, and it's the promotion of Critical Race Theory, an ideology that sees my blackness as victimhood and their whiteness as oppression. I want to be absolutely clear: this Government stands unequivocally against Critical Race Theory. Some schools have decided to openly support the anti-capitalist Black Lives Matter group, often fully aware that they have a statutory duty to be politically impartial. Black lives do matter, of course they do, but we know that the Black Lives Matter movement, capital B-L-M, is political. I know this because, at the height of the protests, I have been told of white Black Lives Matter protesters calling, and I'm afraid I apologise for saying this word, calling a black, armed police officer guarding Downing Street "a pet n******". That is why we do not endorse that movement on this side of the House. It is a political movement, and what would be nice would be for Members on the opposite side to condemn many of the actions that we see of this political movement, instead of pretending that it is a completely wholesome anti-racist organisation. There is a lot of pernicious stuff that is being pushed, and we stand against that. We do not want to see teachers teaching their white pupils about white privilege and inherited racial guilt. And let me be clear: any school which teaches these elements of Critical Race Theory as fact, or which promotes partisan political views such as defunding the police without offering a balanced treatment of opposing views, is BREAKING THE LAW."
Perhaps, when setting out the Government's position, the Equalities Minister was aware of the following remarks made in 2015 by one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement and Black Lives Matter organisation, Patrisse Cullors, about herself and her fellow BLM co-founder, Alicia Garza:
"We actually do have an ideological frame. Myself and Alicia, in particular, are trained organisers. We are trained Marxists. We are super-versed on ideological theories. And I think that what we really tried to do is build a movement that could be utilised by many, many black folk."
The DWP's People directory, on the DWP's intranet site, allows civil servants to join staff intranet 'Groups' relating to subjects they are interested in.
(1) Please advise how many intranet 'Groups' the Permanent Secretary is a member of, as shown within his staff profile on the DWP's People directory on the DWP's intranet site.
(2) Please provide the names of the intranet 'Groups' that the Permanent Secretary is a member of.
(3) Please provide any published guidance within the DWP that may help to guide civil servants employed by the DWP who care passionately about the Civil Service Code as to what course of action they should take when government ministers publicly state that the policy of HM Government is to oppose something (e.g. the Black Lives Matter movement) but Permanent Secretaries of government departments and other senior civil servants within them appear to indicate that the departmental policy is to support the very thing that HM Government opposes and even go so far as to allow the intranet pages of their publicly-funded government departments to host and promote controversial content relating to that thing.
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