About ten years ago I thought seriously about becoming a Conservative MP. I jumped through a series of hoops and managed to get myself on the candidates’ list. Had I taken the next step, I might have been selected to fight a marginal seat and, given the party’s success in 2019, could have been elected. But in 2018, when the offence archaeologists did a number on me, I decided to withdraw and spare Central Office the embarrassment of removing me from the list. Probably just as well because if I had won a marginal seat in 2019 I’d now be worrying about how to earn a living after the next election.
I might even have gone woke, which is what a number of Conservative MPs who are worried about losing their seats are doing. At least, that’s the only explanation I can think of for Steve Baker’s bizarre tweet last week, in which he said that one of his new year’s resolutions was to be an ally to the LGBT+ community. ‘We must continue to support the LGBT+ community and continue to work to ensure that our society is one where LGBT+ people can live their lives free from hate.’ I had to read that twice. Steve Baker? The ex-chairman of the European Research Group and leader of the Brexit Spartans who stood firm against Theresa May’s attempts to reach a compromise with the EU? The MP who voted against the gay marriage bill in 2013? The former trustee of the Global Warming Policy Foundation and one of parliament’s leading climate realists? That Steve Baker?
Now, there’s obviously nothing wrong with wanting to be an ally to LGBT+ people. But I was disappointed to see Steve implicitly endorse the idea that members of that community are besieged by hate, which is part of the rationale for employing 10,000 equity, diversity and inclusion officers in the public sector at a cost to the taxpayer of £557 million a year.