Common Sense Champion: Trevor Phillips

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Mark Lehain
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Trevor Phillips is this week’s Common Sense Champion, and we’ve chosen him for a whole number of reasons.

There’s his ongoing promotion and defence of free speech. He’s also long been a forceful proponent of genuine, as opposed to tokenistic, diversity. More recently, he’s become one of the most articulate and thoughtful opponents of “woke” and its impact on people. And he goes about all of this in a compelling, upbeat, and politely assertive fashion.

Trevor has been in the public eye for ages. He spent time in student politics, and was President of the National Union of Students in the late ‘70s. He then worked at LWT in the 1980s and 1990s, and through his friendship there with Peter Mandelson he became quite close to the New Labour project. 

Indeed, the Labour years were very good to him. He was awarded an OBE in 1999, was considered as Labour’s candidate for London Mayor, and was a member of the London Assembly from 2000 to 2003. He was then appointed head of the Commission for Racial Equality and then Chair of its successor, the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

As you can see, he had carved out well-remunerated roles in the quangocracy, and he could have continued to enjoy the status, profile, and lifestyle this brought but for one very important attribute: his almost compulsive desire to say things as he sees them, even if they don’t align with what our political and cultural elites profess.

Whether it’s disagreeing with Ken Livingstone over multiculturalism, opposing 42-day detention, thinking aloud about Islam and free speech – indeed, free speech generally – or defending people who he thinks have been treated harshly, like Alastair Stewart… Trevor will say what he thinks, and damn the consequences.

And consequences there have been.

Roles and opportunities that might have come his way have gone elsewhere. He’s currently suspended from the Labour Party due to allegations of Islamophobia. (Somewhat ironic given he helped to draft the first law that explicitly gave Islam legal protection.) And he’s been called everything under the sun this year because he repeatedly refused to join the mob when it came to BLM, and has upped his criticisms of “woke” ideology and the various practices and outcomes that come with it.

In spite of all of this, he’s continued engaging with issues and making a practical difference in his own way – as well as advising others on how to do the same instead of virtue signalling.

We live in anxious and often angry times. It’s so important to have someone like Trevor around to calmly cut through the nonsense, tell people how it really is, and then make practical suggestions as to how we can really make things better.

For this, and all of the above, we think Trevor Phillips is a worthy Common Sense Champion!

Mark Lehain


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