MP Andrew Bridgen writes for the Pavlovic Today on the rise of Woke culture and 10,000 slaves in Leicester. He provides PM Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel with the solution for modern slavery and illegal immigration.

As a Member of Parliament who studied Biological Science at University (Nottingham 1986) and specialised my degree in Genetics and Behaviour I have always been interested in considering not only the intended outcome of the actions. policies and legislation, but also and equally importantly the actual effect of these Government, Local Government or Government body’s decisions on the behaviour of those affected by the changes. Where actual changes in public behaviour are not the same as those for which the legislation or action was envisaged or designed, these are known as unintended consequences.

A simple example is: the Government policy of reducing the number of people smoking and young people taking up smoking.

The suggested policy solution: increase the tax on cigarettes making them more expensive to dissuade people from purchasing them and young people from taking up smoking.

Unintended consequences: the higher price makes illegal cigarette smuggling more attractive as it is more profitable and the more illegal cigarettes smuggled reduces the Government’s control of the market, allows unregulated purchases by minors, and reduces the tax take.

All of these factors need to be considered and balanced against each other when policy and legislation is being formulated, debated, and changed.

People are rightly asking how can it be that there are 10 000 modern slaves working in the garment industry in Leicester and certainly many more enduring similar conditions in other parts of our country? How can this happen despite all the protections, laws, regulations, and agencies set up to ensure that this does not transpire and how could it be occurring in 2020 on such an industrial scale?

As I explained to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Home Secretary Patel this week, if the Government were to decide, but not inform the public, that from tomorrow the Government were to effectively remove those engaged in the manufacture, retail, and repair of bicycles from the regulatory control of agencies such as HMRC, Trading Standards, Health and Safety the Police etc, then within a few months standards in these businesses would drop.

Within a year or so organised crime would have realised that this was effectively an unregulated market and would have moved in and taken control, driving down safety and standards for those employed in those activities and consumers alike. Also, these businesses would become fronts for other criminal activities such as money laundering, VAT fraud, people trafficking, drug dealing, and all other aspects of organised crime.

The rise of Woke culture, racial sensitivities, political correctness and the fear of being accused of racial prejudice has led in our country on a steady slide to a position where we now have the selective implementation of the law and regulation. This coupled with the strong identification and affiliation of certain communities with a specific political party and you have what we see today in Leicester and elsewhere, a whole part of society or a sub-culture engaged in or turning a blind eye to illegal and all aspects of criminality.

The situation is compounded when the locally elected politicians are complicit to at least, if not the criminality itself, the policies that allow it to thrive. In this situation can we be surprised if the law-abiding majority give up and feel powerless to stop what they see happening in their own neighbourhood?

In my opinion the Labour Party only presides politically over the city of Leicester, as it is now, actually effectively run by organised crime gangs. This was witnessed this week, by a national journalist who interviewed me after spending the morning in Leicester East. While meeting modern slaves being paid just £3.50 per hour outside the sweatshops, he was followed and harassed by a man driving a brand new open top Lamborghini.

Until we get back to a situation where we have real equality in our country, where the law and regulation apply to every citizen in every community these appalling situations will continue and multiply.

The Home Secretary Priti Patel has tasked the National Crime Agency with investigating the endemic Modern Slavery in Leicester. As I pointed out to the NCA when I gave evidence to them on Monday, just dealing with the symptoms in Leicester is not enough we also need to deal with the cause and that will require considerable political courage, fortunately, in Boris and Priti I think we have the best chance to achieve this.

The rise of Woke culture

It is the unintended consequence of the rise of Woke culture, political correctness, and the fear being branded a racist by those that promote cancel culture that has abandoned some of our communities to lawlessness and organised crime.

It is the unintended consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic that has brought this situation under the spotlight and given us an opportunity to confront it.

After all, the majority who are suffering because of this are those in minority groups who are being oppressed by immoral opportunists whose sole motivation is their own greed and gratification. This is an opportunity which we must not miss, for the welfare and wellbeing of all of our citizens whatever their background.

By vastly reducing the incidence of modern slavery in our country we will as a consequence reduce the level of illegal migration, the rate of people trafficking, and organised crime. The unintended consequence may be that you have to pay a few pounds more for a new dress. The choice is yours. 

Andrew Bridgen is a Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire.

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