Another historic loss for Jolyon and his learned friends today, as the High Court of Justice has thrown out the Good Law Project’s claim that Dido Harding’s appointment as interim chair of the National Institute for Health Protection was the result of nepotism on the grounds that “the evidence provides no support for this at all”:
“The Claimants’ next point is the requirement for personal or political connections with the decision-maker. The evidence provides no support for this at all. Baroness Harding had previous relevant experience of senior positions in large retail businesses and in the NHS. Mr Coupe had vast experience of managing complex public-facing organisations.“
The judge goes on to make it clear just how pointless and unsubstantiated the GLP’s challenge is:
“The collective effect of the conclusions set out during this judgment is that the claim brought by Good Law Project fails in its entirety. The claim by the Runnymede Trust fails on Grounds 1 and 3; it succeeds on Ground 2 only to the extent that the decisions on the process to be used when appointing to the positions of Interim Chair of NIHP in August 2020, and Director of Testing at NHSTT in September 2020 were made without compliance with the public sector equality duty.”
The last part is crucial: Jolyon is now trying to spin this narrow victory for the Runnymede Trust – not the Good Law Project – as his own win. Hancock’s appointment of Harding was found unlawful only in the respect that it failed to comply with public sector equality laws, which were of course of secondary importance in the pandemic emergency. That wasn’t the Good Law Project’s claim, that was Runnymede’s. Jolyon is now trying to take credit on his blog for a judgement he wasn’t responsible for, while conveniently ignoring the fact that his own claim completely failed…
The Good Law Project is over-egging the judge’s ruling in favour of one out of three of the Runnymede Trust’s claims with their headline, “High Court rules Dido Harding and Mike Coupe appointments were unlawful”:
“It is the process leading up to the two decisions which has been found by this Court to be in breach of the public sector equality duty.”
Essentially it was the process, not the appointments themselves, which breached equality law. Guido suspects the millions of people who have had their lives saved by the vaccine so far may not be that concerned about this process-obsessed court conclusion…
UPDATE: Government spokesperson smacks down the Good Law Project, saying the “judgment is clear that all claims raised by the Good Law Project were dismissed and the ruling itself stated their claim ‘fails in its entirety’.
“The Court also found that the Good Law Project had no standing to bring any of its grounds of challenge.
“We used the skills and expertise of both the public and private sector to rapidly build a world-leading testing infrastructure, speeding up the delivery of tests and ultimately saving more lives, especially amongst the most vulnerable.”
The fun and games in woke Whitehall continue. After revealing earlier this week how FCDO mandarins were receiving lectures on “trans and intersex inclusion” during working hours, Guido has now been sent another internal document showing that the DHSC held an “intensive five-day training course” last month in which officials were given talks from “senior speakers” with “top level advice on policymaking“. Not only were staff treated to lectures about “intersectionality” and “health inequalities“, one of these “senior speakers” was Nannette Youssef from the Runnymede Trust: a Green Party councillor and self-described socialist who accused the government of having “far right backing”, “anti-Muslim” policies, and just months ago, tweeted “Fuck #PritiPatel”.
There’s a lot of (white) people on here commenting about how clever they are to have never plucked their eyebrows.— 🍉 Nannette Youssef 🍉 (@NannetteYoussef) March 27, 2021
For many of us non- white people our facial hair is something we have been shamed for all our lives. It’s no fucking surprise we pluck
P.S Fuck #PritiPatel
According to the document, Youssef was invited on behalf of Runnymede to “provide a perspective from an external organisation“. The online talk lasted a full hour, and once again, taking place at the start of a working day. Presumably the perspective of a self-described socialist and “intersectional feminist” is exactly what health department officials need at 9am on a Tuesday – not to mention in the midst of a pandemic.
A government source tells Guido:
“With backlogs building up, DHSC should know better than clocking off for this nonsense. But doing it in the name of diversity and indulging someone who maligns one of the most senior British Asians in public life, and a close colleague of their boss, is a bad joke.”
Doing it at the taxpayers’ expense isn’t a great joke either. The document also stresses – in caps – that the event programme was “NOT SEEN BY MINISTERS” and “NOT A STATEMENT OF POLICY”. That the civil service is being trained in this gobbledegook nonsense leaves Guido with little hope that the advice they go on to give will be sound…
Read the full document below…
David Goodhart has little good to say about the Runnymede Trust’s new report into racial discrimination today: writing for UnHerd, Goodhart unleashes on both the trust and its research, claiming it’s “deeply flawed”, “highly polemical and one-sided“, and “draws completely unjustifiable conclusions”. Ordinarily that wouldn’t be a surprise, given how gung-ho Runnymede have been in their desires to declare the UK institutionally racist. The difference this time is Goodhart happens to be a commissioner of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which funded Runnymede’s research in the first place:
A glowing tribute, to which Goodhart returns in kind with:
“The Runnymede Trust is an activist organisation and is duty-bound to be biased. But it has to remain reasonable and not just cherry-pick the worst possible data. It now seems to be staffed by a highly ideological mainly younger generation of people with little experience of the real world.”
No wonder Goodhart’s appointment attracted criticism from the usual suspects last year. Guido also notes that UnHerd are quick to point out that his article is written “in a personal capacity”…
While Westminster waited on the government’s racial disparity audit, the trailed findings were unsurprisingly slammed by the left – furious that their belief in the UK’s institutional racism. The Runnymede Trust, despite not having read the report, was first out of the gates, with their chief executive saying she’s “deeply, massively let down” by the report, and that the government did not have the confidence of black and minority ethnic communities:
“Institutionally, we are still racist, and for a government-appointed commission to look into (institutional) racism, to deny its existence is deeply, deeply worrying.”
It looks like the Trust is less-than-confident their objections to the substance of the report will cut through, however. Guido’s seen an email sent from their Chief Executive Halima Begum, who is privately trying to undermine the commission’s author Tony Sewell:
“Tony Sewell was not considered a suitable person to chair such a commission, because of his previous damaging comments on race and other equality issues.
Those “damaging” comments being his belief that evidence of institutional racism is “flimsy”…
The email also says the Sewell report is expected to downplay the role of structural and institutional racism, and:
“repeat the myth that the ‘white’ working class are being disadvantaged because there is too much focus on the disadvantage faced by ethnic minority communities.”
Readers will be astonished to learn Halima Begum stood to be Labour’s 2019 candidate in Poplar and Limehouse…