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Free Speech Union Cautions Against UK Financial Regulator’s “Diversity” Policy, Citing Free Speech Concerns

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UK-based free speech advocates the Free Speech Union (FSU) are warning that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the country’s financial regulator, has come up with a proposal that could end up having a “chilling effect” on free speech.”

The proposal is to start treating what would be perceived as a lack of diversity and inclusion as a non-financial risk, where large companies are concerned.

Proceeding from that, FCA wants that “risk” to be “treated appropriately within the firm’s governance structures.”

And all of this is bad news, as far as the Free Speech Union is concerned.

This is primarily because, if enacted, these new rules would result in what the organization calls politically contentious diversity and inclusion policies getting even more “embedded” in these companies than they currently are – at the expense of free speech, specifically among those who do not agree with “the ideology underpinning those policies.”

In a post on LinkedIn, the nonprofit explains that FCA, along with the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) organizes two consultations to which the Free Speech Union responded.

Between themselves FCA and PRA regulate some 45,000 businesses and 1,500 banks, insurers, building societies and credit unions, respectively.

The post goes on to explain that since its establishment in 2020, the FSU handled over 2,250 cases – “one in 20 relate(d) to inclusion and diversity training schemes in the workplace.”

Other than revealing that the latest proposal is not at all out of character for the authorities, the FSU notes that workplace training of this kind is also not properly regulated, as it employs third parties who insist that differences in employees’ status and earnings are solely down to sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, etc.

The issue the FSU takes with this is that what it says are “controversial analyses rooted in critical social justice ideology” rather than any universally accepted fact.

There is one point where the two “worlds” converge – namely, the need to have less “groupthink” in the workplace. But, unlike the regulator, that goes for methods such as “anti-racism training” and “unconscious bias training” as a means to achieve that end, true diversity of thought is the solution to the “group think problem,” says FSU.

And the group believes that more diversity of experience and that related to demographics is a positive step – but that the way FCA is going about this based on ideology is wrong.

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