inequality‘Baby, I’ve been 
Breaking glass in your room again’ 

We start with two quotes: 

Firstly, Lee Anderson, ‘……. , I believe in free speech and have 100 per cent respect for people of all backgrounds.’ 

This is fundamentally rubbish. The Tories only believe in free speech if it suits them and their views, E.G.,  Conservatives have been accused by human rights experts of hypocrisy after cracking down on climate and Gaza protests while celebrating and endorsing farmers’ protests in Wales, this came after Sunak joined a farmers last Friday, during which they obstructed a road while campaigning against the Labour government’s new farming subsidies scheme.  

Only days later he vowed to crack down on protests, referring to them as ‘mob rule‘. The next day, Welsh Conservative leader, Andrew Davies, along with many of his colleagues greeted and posed for photographs with farmers who formed a large group outside the Senedd and blocked a main road with tractors. 

Meanwhile, climate protesters were arrested while marching through the City of London to demand insurance companies stop insuring fossil fuel projects. At a climate protest outside the London headquarters of Axa insurance, police told protesters who stood in the road they would be liable for arrest for interfering with vital national infrastructure, a new offence under the Public Order Act 2023 that allows them to criminalise anyone blocking a road. 

‘Tories only believe in free speech if it suits them and their views’

The public order act, is just another example of legislation specifically to stop climate protesters from blocking roads, and dozens have been imprisoned as a result. This week, Sunak announced a range of measures to stop protesters from obstructing the homes or workplaces of politicians – including their parliaments.  

Ruth Ehrlich, head of policy and campaigns at Liberty, said: ‘The messages coming out of the government this week on protest have been riddled with hypocrisy and inconsistencies.’ 

Secondly, ‘PM Sunak, ‘…..’In recent weeks and months, we have seen a shocking increase in extremist disruption and criminality. What started as protests on our streets, has descended into intimidation, threats, and planned acts of violence.’ 

Sunak’s issue is based around what he views as ‘mob rule’. There has always been an undercurrent of this, but it has become far more prevalent in recent years, especially post-Brexit and the murder of MP Jo Cox. Populism, Brexit, UKIP/Reform, GB News, the Daily Mail and Tories such as Suella Braverman use incendiary language designed to inflame the masses. Brexit gave the barbarians credibility, and now we are seeing the cost. 

Equally this isn’t the language expected of a PM. Or, perhaps Sunak has been studying Trump’s playbook, and is seeking to gain advantage through fomenting fear, being divisive and toxic to justify undermining on democratic process. 

Without doubt targeting MPs, their homes and families has no place in any democracy. In addition, there’s a need for a reasoned debate about the conduct and management of all demonstrations, not just the ones that go against government policies. 

By Friday his rhetoric was less incendiary and more befitting of a PM. There was the even-handed acceptance that both ‘Islamist extremists‘ and ‘the far right‘ were culpable, and the acceptance that people were seeking to use the Israel-Hamas war for their own ends. 

There are, unfortunately too many examples of this from within his own party. 

Suella Braverman’s comment that, ‘The truth is that the Islamists, the extremists and the antisemites are in charge now. They have bullied the Labour party, they have bullied our institutions, and now they have bullied our country into submission.’ Apart from being inaccurate, regarding Labour, is designed to do nothing else other than promote dangerous bigotry and garner headlines for a future leadership campaign.  

In ‘Look, It Wasn’t My Fault!’ I referenced Liz Truss’s attendance of a ‘Maga-fans’ conference in the US Maryland, where she blamed everyone bar herself, including ‘the deep state’ and urged Nigel Farage to join the Conservative party. She following this by looking-on as Steve Bannon, Trump’s former henchman, described Tommy Robinson, the founder of the far-right English Defence League, as a ‘hero‘. As deluded as she might be, Truss was elected leader and de facto became PM, she is dangerous and keeping dangerous company. 

‘Truss was elected leader and de facto became PM, she is dangerous and keeping dangerous company’

We, of course, mustn’t exclude the party’s former deputy chair, Lee Anderson, who we covered in ‘Fruitcakes’, ‘loonies’ and ‘closet racists‘. Nor, for that matter should exclude the former minister for London, Paul Scully, who was also mentioned in the article.. 

All the above serve to highlight the toxicity that appears to be spreading through the Conservative body politic. 

The PM does appear to be above all of this. However, as we have noted before as right-wing extremists become more influential, mainstream parties adopt their language and politics, thus giving extremism credibility. Whilst he did sack Braverman as home secretary, he has done little to rein in her comments, or for that matter, Liz Truss’s. Lee Anderson was a well-known rabble-rouser, perhaps promoting him to deputy chair, gave him a platform to promote his noxious prejudices. 

Only last week, at PMQ’s Anderson walked into the Commons without a care in the world. All smiles, backslapping his mates, as he headed to his normal place between Andrea Jenkyns and Dean Russell. They could not have looked more pleased, either. Soon, other Tory MPs gathered round to celebrate the return of the prodigal son.  

‘Anderson walked into the Commons without a care in the world. All smiles, backslapping his mates’

Unfortunately this whole sorry saga only serves to endorse the influence of the far-right of the Tory party, and bring their policies into the mainstream. If Brexit opened the door to the barbarians they have taken full advantage of it. 

An example of how extremism can become normalised can be found in Sunak’s flagship plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. Whitehall’s official spending watchdog has disclosed that it will cost taxpayers £1.8m for each of the first 300 people the government deports to Kigali,  

The overall cost of the scheme stands at more than half a billion pounds, according to the figures released to the NAO. Even if the UK sends nobody to the central African state, Sunak has signed up to pay £370m from the public purse over the five-year deal. 

Diana Johnson, Labour MP and chair of the home affairs select committee, said: ‘These are staggering figures. Huge initial outlay and ongoing costs raise serious questions about how this can be cost-effective, even compared to high hotel accommodation costs. 

‘What we are left with is a very expensive programme the government hopes may offer a deterrent to those seeking to cross the Channel in small boats. Yet, there is little evidence for this either. 

‘Unless the government deals with the realities of the situation and focuses its energy and the public’s money on fixing the real issues in the asylum and immigration system, it will achieve nothing.’ 

We appear to have agreed to pay to the economic transformation and integration fund (ETIF), which is designed to support economic growth in Rwanda; and make payments to cover asylum processing and operational costs for individuals relocated to Rwanda. 

The Home Office has paid £220m into the ETIF since April 2022, and it will pay further amounts of £50m in 2024-25, £50m in 2025-26 and £50m in 2026-27. 

A ‘five-year processing and integration package’ for each relocated person, which covers accommodation, essential items such as food, medical services, education and other integration programmes has also been agreed, the report said. This will cost up to £150,874 for each deported person. 

The figures mean that if the UK sends 300 people to Rwanda, it will cost the taxpayer £490m under the partnership; an extra £6m in individual payments; plus £45m for processing and operational costs over five years. The total costs would be £541m, which works out as £1.8m per asylum seeker. 

‘The total costs would be £541m, which works out as £1.8m per asylum seeker’

The Home Office has spent £20m setting up the Rwanda scheme, which has survived the tenure of three prime ministers – Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak. Four home secretaries – Priti Patel, Suella Braverman in two separate terms, Grant Shapps and James Cleverly – have overseen the scheme. 

Officials expect that £20m to rise to £28m by the end of 2023-24, the report said. The Home Office estimates that it will incur further costs between now and the end of the scheme. 

If the UK activates a break clause in the deal, it would stop further payments under the ETIF, but would still have to pay for any deported people’s living costs and no past payments would be recoverable, the report said. 

If the Rwandan government breaks the deal, the UK can ask for a reimbursement of payments from that year, but not previous years. 

Of course, no right-wing state is complete without an oppressive police force, and the met seems to be keen to step-up. A 71-year-old legal observer (1),Lesley Wertheimer (2) , who was wearing a hi-vis bib with ‘legal observer’ on the back has accused a group of police officers of deliberately knocking her over and leaving her bloodied and unconscious on the ground during the first pro-Palestine demonstration of 2024 

No person should be charged, knocked over and harmed by the police and then have to rely on strangers helping them,’ said Wertheimer, who has been monitoring the policing of protests since 1990. ‘Legal observers are there to do a piece of work as the police are there to do a piece of work. The police have no right to try to intimidate us.’ 

Video footage shows officers running towards Westminster Bridge on 6 January. At least two male officers appear to knock into Wertheimer as they pass, apparently causing her to fall face-first into the road. No officer stops to check if she is injured, even though at least two of them look down at her lying prone and motionless. 

Wertheimer said; ‘If I had done that to a police officer I would have been in court the next day. ‘They cannot go on treating the public like this.’  

‘no right-wing state is complete without an oppressive police force, and the met seems to be keen to step-up’

Campaign group Netpol, which monitors policing, said that assaults on legal observers appeared to be on the rise. ‘We are seeing more and more police aggression towards legal observers. It is being driven by the growing hostility towards protest from the police and the Conservative government‘. 

Unfortunately, when it comes to woman the police do have issues. 

Last week’s report by Lady Elish Angiolini, confirmed that the rapists and murderer, Wayne Couzens, was armed with police powers he should never have had, after an official report revealed new and damning failures by police who missed his prolific sexual offending dating back almost 20 years. 

He was a Metropolitan police officer and entrusted with a gun as part of the parliamentary and diplomatic protection command. 

The report damns police culture, finding Couzens showed colleagues extreme porn; was the subject of reports to police for indecent exposure, with investigations being bungled by Kent police in 2015 and the Met in 2021; and that routine checks that could have flagged his unsuitability to be an officer were not done. 

It also finds ‘red flags’ were ignored, such as reports of Couzens indecently exposing himself in 2015, 2020 and 2021 – days before the murder – and being in debt even before he joined the police. 

The report comes only 6-months after Scotland Yard apologised and paid ‘substantial damages‘ to two women arrested during the vigil for Sarah Everard, the woman he raped and killed.  

The Metropolitan police commissioner, Mark Rowley, had hoped that this would draw a line under what has been, even by the Mets Low standards, a shameful episode. The force acknowledged that it was ‘understandable‘ that Patsy Stevenson and Dania Al-Obeid had wanted to attend a candlelit vigil at Clapham Common because they felt women had been ‘badly let down‘. 

The women both attended the vigil for Everard, who was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a serving Metropolitan police officer, in March 2021, when Covid restrictions on large gatherings were in place. 

The image of Stevenson being pinned to the floor by officers as she was arrested sparked widespread fury and distrust among women, while the Met’s actions at the vigil saw it and its then commissioner Cressida Dick widely criticised. A 2021 police inspectorate review into the event called the Met’s conduct ‘absolutely right’. Those to words sum-up much that is wrong with our police forces.  

‘Police on my back 
They will catch me 
If I dare drop back’


  1. Legal observers are trained volunteers who monitor protests and provide basic legal advice to protesters. While they have no special status, the Met acknowledged in 2021 that they had an important role to play in the independent scrutiny of policing. 
  2. A Jewish surname 

A powerful piece from Philip highlighting two quotes that come close to explain the predicament we find ourself in; free speech, as long as it’s been vetted by the management:

We start budget week by considering quotes from Lee Anderson and PM Sunak.

Lee was Islamophobic, but then he is. The only real surprise is that he became a voice within the Conservative party, and one that enjoys considerable support. In truth the party is Conservative in name only, as it continues to track right, attracting eccentrics, pondlife and populists.

Sunak, is a technocrat more at home with a spreadsheet, than trying to herd wild beasts attempting to trash everything in their path. Whilst he might be more right-wing than originally perceived, he has been pushed and pulled in so many directions that I don’t think he knows what he stands for anymore.

As this column has said time and again, as extremist politicians’ views gain support, the mainstream often picks up their policies, further adding to their appeal and credibility. This is perhaps the case with Sunak and Rwanda. Rishi is many things but he isn’t a fool, he can surely see that not only is it doomed to fail, it will be a costly failure.

Moving on there is the Met police, what’s there to say that hasn’t been said before. Another damning report, to add to institutionally racist and misogynistic. Unfortunately, they still can’t admit their problems, therefore they are no closer to overcoming them.

Still, with the government’s cock-eyed idea of free speech, which amounts to the freedom to say whatever we approve, I guess a police force of the same ilk is to be expected.

Lyrically, we start with Bowie and “Breaking Glass”, dedicated to all those politicians who make deliberately incendiary comments. To finish we have the Clash and “Police on my Back”, dedicated to all the demonstrators who have suffered police brutality.

Philip Gilbert 2Philip Gilbert is a city-based corporate financier, and former investment banker.

Philip is a great believer in meritocracy, and in the belief that if you want something enough you can make it happen. These beliefs were formed in his formative years, of the late 1970s and 80s

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