The New Social Covenant Unit (NSCU) is a conservative think tank founded by Tory MPs Miriam Cates and Danny Kruger. In its about page, the NSCU states its aims as follows:
We believe that the primary purpose of public policy should be to strengthen families, communities, and the nation: the associations that make individuals happy, safe and free. Given the unique threats and opportunities of our age we need a ‘new social covenant’: a restatement and adaptation of these ideas for the 21st century. - NSCU website, About >
Kruger and Cates have both written recent articles repeating Gender Critical (GC) talking points, with Kruger writing in Conservative Home1 arguing against reform of the GRA in order to preserve "the distinction between the sexes" and Cates claiming in the Telegraph2 that legal and social recognition of trans women "erases" cisgender women. The latter of these two articles received strong praise from Maya Forstater's organisation Sex Matters3,4. Cates has also recently spoken in parliament claiming that LGBTQ+ organisations like Stonewall and Mermaids are "promoting dangerous ideologies" in schools by providing inclusive education materials and suggesting that schools are doing something sinister by affirming trans children's stated gender identity5. Cates' speech was later praised by GC organisations including Transgender Trend6 and Fair Play For Women7.
NSCU's politics are stated in greater detail in their manifesto "12 propositions for a new social convenant"8. This manifesto is deeply socially conservative on the subject of marriage and family, claiming that marriage equality for same sex couples "removed [marriage's] physical basis" and that the right of couples to end a marriage had "removed its emotional and practical basis, and voided the marriage vow itself". The 12 propositions refer to the primary purpose of marriage as "regulation of baby-making", implicitly valuing fertile, heterosexual couples over all other forms of families.
The 12 propositions rail against immigration and "globalism", promoting the antisemitic conspiracy theory9 that "cultural Marxism", purported to be an obscure school of political thought originating from largely Jewish academics in the 1950s, has infiltrated political and academic institutions with the aim of destroying the family and Western civilisation.
The NSCU has strong ties to the Christian right, with director Imogen Sinclair also listed as an officer for The Conservative Christian Fellowship on Companies House10, an organisation of Conservative Party members promoting evangelical Christianity in politics. Miriam Cates is former director of The Philadelphia Network11, which operates as Network Church Sheffield as well as St. Thomas Philadelphia12. The Philadelphia Network has been implicated in allegation of "absurd" gay conversion therapy rituals13,14.
Broader conservative politics
NSCU MPs Kruger's and Cates' other public political positions include:
- Anti-reproductive choice, having spoken against decriminalising abortion15 and against liberalising Northern Ireland's highly restrictive laws1617.
- Support for the Police and Crime Bill18, which has been widely criticised both for its authoritarian crackdown on protest and criminalisation of GRT communities19,20.
- Opposing calls for the extension of free school meal vouchers during school holidays for families in need21
Also present on the NSCU's advisory board is self-described "reactionary feminist" Mary Harrington, who believes that "the principal task of feminism must now be to set itself against freedom and progress"22. The NSCU appears to be a deeply socially conservative and authoritarian organisation, aiming to further the bigoted politics of its founders.
The clear anti-feminist, racist and anti-LGBTQ+ politics of the NSCU, as well as its promotion of reactionary conspiracy theories about "cultural Marxism" fit well within the pattern identified by feminist author Judith Butler, wherein the "anti-gender" movement forms a part of a wider right wing backlash against all social progress23.
Conservative Home: Danny Kruger: The distinction between the sexes is real. And the Government must uphold it.
The Telegraph: The cancellation of women is bigger than a "culture war"
Hansard: School-based Counselling Services, 2021/11/09
NSCU: 12 Propositions for a New Social Convenant, archived 2021/10/12
Southern Poverty Law Centre: 'Cultural Marxism' Catching On
Companies House: THE CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP LIMITED officers
Companies House: THE PHILADELPHIA NETWORK LIMITED officers
TheStar.co.uk: Man tells of 'absurd' gay exorcism experience at Sheffield church
Hansard: Abortion Regulations: Northern Ireland, 2020/06/04
Evangelical Times: Westminster MPs give new abortion powers to Secretary of State
Hansard: Free School Meals, 2020/10/21
Gazette and Herald: Danny Kruger: Why I voted for Police and Crime Bill
Politics.co.uk: Policing bill: A step towards authoritarianism
Mary Harrington: Staying Human in the Meat Lego Matrix