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Welcome to April’s Newsletter.
I’m writing this about a week before the end of the month and already it’s a challenge knowing what news to bring you, it’s been a busy month!
Let’s start with the usual round-up on podcasts, articles and videos since the last newsletter.
Firstly on the official Wellington Project Youtube account we saw episodes 9 and 10 of our fortnightly podcast. Episode 9 deals with a variety of topics such as universalism and taxation. Episode 10 covers some of our views on the UK-Rwanda immigration deal, which will see so called ‘boat migrants’ being transported to Rwanda in order to have their asylum applications processed, as well as discussing Elon Musk’s attempted buy-out of Twitter.
Harry has been busy as usual and put out a number of videos dealing with current affairs in the UK (in addition to his fortnightly ‘Laughing at the Guardian’ stream) covering not only the torrid time the tories are having at the moment, from party-gate to paedophilia, but also The Family Sex Show, a family focused stage performence for children and adults from as young as five (yes, five).
And Callum brings us another perspective on the Twitter/Musk saga
As usual this is just a small selection of some of the content put out by our founders and more is available on their respective channels.
Turning now to articles, firstly John outlined his views on where the conservative right needs to focus in order to bring about long lasting change in Influence, Institution and Incrementalism which originally featured in January’s edition of the Mallard magazine, good friends of the Project.
Harry, not content with putting out his usual plethora of videos, managed to find time to knock up our most popular article to date. This one is on The Present and Future of Energy in the United Kingdom which, rather unsurprisingly, takes a broad look at both the current state of affairs against the backdrop of a global cost of living crisis and fuel price increases as well as what we can possibly do to alleviate some of these pressures in the future.
And finally Callum contributed his first article to the project, describing what paleolibertarianism is as well as the origins and history of this movement.
Turning now to news from Westminster we have the troubling revelation that over 50 MPs, some 8.5% of the entire House of Commons, including 3 cabinet ministers are reportedly facing allegations of sexual misconduct, having been referred to a parliamentary watchdog. These allegations come after Imran Ahmad Khan, former Conservative MP, resigned after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in 2008, triggering a by-election in Wakefield, Yorkshire. This week allegations were made regrding an MP having been observed by at least one other female MP viewing pornography in the Commons. It would later transpire that this MP was Neil Parish who is expected to resign before the month is out. Whether his actions were accidental or intentional, it adds fuel to the bonfire.
Given the ongoing police probe into the so called ‘partygate’ scandal, which not only goes right to the heart of government, concerning the PM himself, but also implicates those senior advisors around him who are paid, specifically, to ensure propriety in government and also the suggestion of improper conduct relating to covid contracts it begs the question whether the people who are standing for MP understand the level of transparency and professionalism that is required of them.
In a recent Parliamentary select committee on lobbying and transparency, which delved into second jobs and favours from companies specifically relating to the scandal surrounding Owen Paterson, MPs were left red faced by Ian Hislop, of Private Eye magazine. Over the course of the meeting it became apparent that the standard of understanding regarding what is appropriate or required of MPs by the public is sadly lacking and the House of Commons Standards Committee lacks teeth. As people who work in a professional capacity, many of whom have worked in licensed professions such as law and accountancy prior to entering politics, and who ought to be very familiar with professional ethics and the greater standards of compliance which they are likely to have expected of them, one is left wondering whether we have the right people for the job.
In Parliament itself we have been bombarded with scenes of Nadine Dorries defending her dyslexia, having been mocked for muddling words together such as ‘downstreaming movies’, unfortunately what we did not see so much of was a critical review from the alleged truth seekers, journalists, of the Online Safety Bill that she is currently seeking to progress through the HoC. Whilst there are many things in this bill that could find purchase among cultural Conservatives, a number of MPs on the more liberatrian spectrum, such as Steve Baker and David Davis, have rightly highlighted the potential for abuse of freedoms presented by the Bill in it’s poorly defined requirement that companies remove ‘legal but harmful’ material which carries an implicit threat to freedom of speech. Naturally journalists will have protections, perhaps that is why they care so little to probe the details?
We suggest you contact your MP regarding the Bill to discuss their understanding of it, what concerns they have, whether they intend to raise those concerns and if so, how. Additionally you could enquire as to whether they intend to propose any amendments and what their initial impression of the Bill is.
New laws should not be passed without due care and scrutiny, we are still drowning in the sea of laws passed under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s New Labour and adding new, ill thought, and potentially easily abused, laws should be avoided at all costs. Perhaps instead time might be better invested in righting the wrongs of the past and repealing laws rather than adding new laws to the statute books?
We are continuing to work on ways we can expand our influence and hope to have some exciting new features available on the website in the coming months as well as interviews with well known guests but really the Wellington Project is you, our subscribers and followers. As always we’d love to hear from you on Twitter regarding any of our content or, if you have a burning issue on your mind, why not take the time to put it down on ‘paper’ and send it in to the Wellington Project contact email with a view to having it featured on our website.
We hope you had a wonderful Easter with family and friends this month and are looking forward to a once in a lifetime June where we will mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, please make sure to get involved in the celebrations over the coming month or so which will be going on up and down the country, we’d love to be tagged in any pictures you take of the events you attend. If you’re unsure of what’s going on you can use the Platinum Jubilee map of events to find something going on near you.
Yours, as ever,
The Wellington Project