On this week's "So What You're Saying is..." #SWYSI, Peter Whittle has a wide-ranging discussion with The Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe, covering everything from Brexit & Nigel Farage's Reform Party to the culture wars & the Law Commission's terrifying proposal to expand anti-hate speech laws to private residences.
Brexit: Ms. Widdecombe's fear since 2016 has been a "half Brexit", with the UK officially out of the EU, but remaining tied and bound by its rules without any representation. Now, with the Brexit deadline looming, the veteran politician believes any true Brexit is very seriously in peril. From the government of Therea May to Boris Johnson, we have reached this point through a combination of incompetence, lack of will and a degree of institutional resistance.
Boris Johnson: For Ms. Widdecombe, a former Conservative MP & minister, the problem with Boris Johnson is that he is chaotic and entirely reliant on others to keep him and the show on the road. She believes he is genuinely pro-Brexit and a libertarian but has been captured by the other side, especially after falling ill with Covid.
Covid-19: The country requires strong, firm leadership in the face of adversity yet, instead, the Johnson Government has flip-flopped throughout the coronavirus crisis, appearing timid at best.
Whilst she dismisses conspiracy theories alleging there is a plot to permanently remove civil liberties in the UK, Ms. Widdecombe believes Britons' temporary loss of liberties was and is entirely unnecessary as the UK should have followed a Swedish-style approach in its response to Covid.
Ms. Widdecombe believes churches should have remained open in the first lockdown but is pleased that, having had time to get safety procedures in place, the churches have now adopted a more common-sense approach to the second lockdown.
Ms. Widdecombe is extremely concerned about the Law Commission's recommendation that anti-hate speech laws should be applied to conversations in our own homes. This, she argues, is the sort of totalitarian measure one has hitherto only seen in regimes such as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union -- certainly not in a country famed for the old adage: "an Englishman's home is his castle".
Woke Culture Wars: From cancel culture to the toppling of statues, Ms. Widdecombe is deeply concerned about the radical woke iconoclasts who seek to undermine British identity by attacking its history and culture. She does not understand why the Government, police and other institutions are so placid and reluctant to stand up and defend Britain.
Reform Party: Asked about Nigel Farage's new "Reform Party", the former Brexit Party MEP stated that she supports the new party's 2 principal aims: securing a proper Brexit and avoiding further national lockdowns. Once Brexit is concluded and Covid-19 has been dealt with, however, the party's principal aim will be electoral reform -- and whilst she is in favour of a smaller House of Lords and House of Commons, Ms. Widdecombe will oppose any attempt to abolish the "First Past The Post" system."