Britain’s Tories Are Drawing Inspiration for Sick and Spiteful Policies From Florida

by | May 20, 2024 | Opinions & Commentary

Hundreds of protesters marched from Downing Street to Hyde Park, 21 January 2023, to demand real equality for trans people. Photo: Alisdare Hickson, Wiki Commons

Britain’s Tories Are Drawing Inspiration for Sick and Spiteful Policies From Florida

by | May 20, 2024 | Opinions & Commentary

Hundreds of protesters marched from Downing Street to Hyde Park, 21 January 2023, to demand real equality for trans people. Photo: Alisdare Hickson, Wiki Commons

Florida’s mini-Mussolini has inspired the Conservatives to embrace stupid schemes, such as a rule forbidding schools to teach about where babies come from to any kid under 9, which apparently doesn’t happen anyway.

Republished with permission from Florida Phoenix, by Diane Roberts

However hard they try—and try they do—the British cannot beat Americans for dysfunctional, embarrassing, weird, indeed criminal, politics.

They haven’t witnessed anything like a former “adult film” star conjuring a picture of the 45th president in his underwear, telling her right before they had sex that she reminded him of his daughter, an encounter she describes as “brief.”

Maybe if Prince Andrew had been forced to listen to one of convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s teenagers discuss her, um, “date” with His Royal Highness in a public courtroom, it might come close to this cringe-making awkwardness.

But the prince settled out of court, so no points there.

Still, while Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak can’t begin to compete with Donald Trump’s epic vulgarity, and members of Parliament insist on speaking in sentences complete with nouns and verbs—unlike many in Congress (looking at you, Marjorie Taylor “peachtree dish” Greene) who could use some English lessons—that doesn’t mean they aren’t giving it their all.

The sitting Tory government knows it’s likely to lose the next election bigly, so for some reason best known to themselves (or attributable to the subsidized booze in the House of Commons bar) they’ve decided to copy every stupid, crazy, hateful hairball of an idea puked up by our own Republicans.

You’re welcome, Britain.

Diversity initiatives in government? No mas.

No more networks for Muslim staff in the Civil Service. No more support of LGBTQ employees.

And no more attaching official IDs to “rainbow lanyards” or other displays of supposedly “woke” tendencies.

Studies show that most Britons support diversity and inclusion in the workplace, but who cares what the voters want?

Define a Woman?

The sick and spiteful policies of Florida’s own mini-Mussolini have inspired the Conservatives to embrace a bunch of lousy schemes, such as a new education rule forbidding schools to teach about where babies come from, contraception, consent, etc. to any kid under 9—which apparently doesn’t happen anyway—and bans discussion of gender identity.

Don’t say “gay,” don’t say “sex,” and certainly don’t say “trans.”

Rishi Sunak, who likes to say “a man is a man and a woman is a woman,” wants it made clear to the Youth of the U.K. that being trans is bad.

He’s fond of accusing Labour leader Keir Starmer of being “unable to define a woman” (a favorite talking point among U.S. Republicans) and recently added to his image as a jerk of the first order by making a transphobic “joke” in the House of Commons.

He made said “joke” on the day the mother of Brianna Ghey, a 16 year-old trans girl murdered by two teenagers, was sitting in the Commons gallery.

Sunak refused to apologize.

Ronald Dion DeSantis would be proud.


Top Gov would not, however, be proud of how the British government is handling pro-Palestinian protests at universities.

Not once have the police been summoned to break up the encampments which have sprung up on the silky lawns of Oxford and in the hallowed halls of the London School of Economics.

The Tories would much prefer the approach of Columbia’s president, Minouche Shafik, who didn’t seem to mind how the cops treated her students and has categorically refused to divest from Israel.

Fun fact: Not only is the dual U.S.-U.K. citizen Shafik a distinguished economist, she was awarded a life peerage by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, he of the hair and the endless scandals.

Baroness Shafik sits in the House of Lords—when she’s not screwing up a major educational institution, that is.

In contrast to Columbia and other seats of learning across the country, many British universities are actually discussing divestment with student demonstrators.

Trinity, the richest college at the very rich Cambridge University, has agreed to give up its stock in arms companies that supply the Israeli military.

Gaza protests across the U.K. have been almost entirely peaceful, but that’s not stopping Rishi Sunak from scaremongering, summoning university heads and demanding they take “personal responsibility” for the safety of students, especially Jewish students, some of whom feel understandably uncomfortable about their classmates’ vehement opposition to Israeli policy.


It’s undeniable there’s a fair amount of antisemitism in the U.K. , some on the left, some on the right. “Free Palestine” has been spray-painted on buildings in London neighborhoods known to have a substantial Jewish population and Jewish kids verbally harassed.

Some Jewish students say the academic environment is hostile, making them feel vulnerable; others, such as Jews for Justice for Palestinians, have joined the protests.

A group of rabbis, lawyers, and other prominent British Jews have called for a ceasefire.

It’s not that Sunak really likes Israel; it’s more that he really dislikes universities, even though he has degrees from two of them (Oxford and Stanford).

Universities teach young people to question authority, especially the Conservative Party, and often encourage students to pursue what he has called “useless” degrees, the kind that don’t lead to high-paying jobs providing a good “return on investment” to society.

Sunak means degrees in subjects such as the arts and the humanities.

(He himself studied philosophy at Oxford).

Kind of reminds you of Top Gov (Yale and Harvard), doesn’t it?

Brown Folks

Then there’s immigration: Ron DeSantis, Donald Trump, and the rest of their whole sick crew despise immigrants—unless they’re rich, conservative and, ideally, from Norway or some other white country.

Brown folks are not welcome.

Dislike of foreigners is also a core value of British Conservatives; they don’t like brown people, either.

They are, however, pretty ecumenical in their xenophobia: Brexit was fueled by pissed-off Britons wanting to throw those dang Poles, Italians, Germans, Filipinos, and other not-English types out of this green and pleasant land.

Never mind the fruit rotting on the vines for lack of farm laborers and the dire shortage of nurses and other health care workers.

I have to admit that on immigration policy, the Sunak government may have Florida and Texas beat.

You will recall Top Gov sent planes to collect asylum seekers from Texas and flew them off to Massachusetts to keep them out of Florida (makes zero sense, I know).

The Tories are more ambitious: They mean to catch the boatloads of desperate refugees when they arrive from France and dispatch them to Rwanda to be “processed.”

Yes, Rwanda, which the Tory government has declared “a safe country,” despite strong rulings to the contrary by the British High Court, and despite what the U.S. State Department calls “significant human rights issues,” i.e. targeting journalists, violence against LGBTQ people, and extra-judicial killings.

The British government has, to date, paid the Rwandan government £370 million pounds.

So far, they’ve flown exactly one guy there.

Slow Start

Sunak allows that, sure, it’s a slow start, but it’s not his fault, it’s those human rights groups, high court judges, and flaming liberals in the House of Lords.

He boasts the government is poised to export pesky asylum seekers any day now: Commercial charters have been booked and planes are waiting on runways ready to take off.

Problem is, of the 5,700 refuges deemed “eligible” for removal, more than half of them have disappeared, blending into the general British population, probably working and contributing to the economy.

While the Sunak government has yet to go so far as to claim asylum seekers are rapists and murderers “poisoning the blood” of the nation, their xenophobic rants are nonetheless reminiscent of Trump’s.

Priti Patel, a former Tory cabinet minister, warned that immigration would destroy the U.K. from within.

MP Suella Braverman utters dire warnings about the cross-Channel “invasion.”

Braverman embraces the Great Replacement conspiracy theory, railing against threats to “the West” and dilution of “English culture” from too damn much diversity.

Racist Snark

For months, Rishi Sunak seemed to like her racist snark, but then she went too far, accusing the London police of “playing favorites” and being too nice to pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

That was too much for a law-and-order suck-up like Sunak and he fired her.

Unrepentant, she is now the darling of fascist-adjacent groups such as Britain First.

(That name sounds kind of familiar … .)

More fun facts: Sunak, Patel, and Braverman are all the children of immigrants. Their parents came to Britain from Uganda, Mauritius, and Tanzania, children of immigrants from India themselves.

Apparently British Conservatives are so eaten up with prejudice and paranoia they wouldn’t recognize irony if it slapped them upside the head.

Barring some almighty intervention, Labour is going to beat them like a rented mule, and while the party of Keir Starmer isn’t going to bring about the New Jerusalem, they’re unlikely to spend their time in government tormenting the weak and the vulnerable.

They might even do some good.

Meanwhile, the Tories might want to stop taking their cues from Ron DeSantis and his master, the Beast of Mar-a-Lago.

As Rick Wilson, the smartest (ex) Republican in the U.S., reminds us, everything Trump touches dies.

Florida Phoenix

Florida Phoenix

The Phoenix is a nonprofit news site that’s free of advertising and free to readers. We cover state government and politics with a staff of five journalists located at the Florida Press Center in downtown Tallahassee.

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