Boris Johnson’s new cabinet puts to shame Labour’s backward, retrograde image of the Tories.
Boris Johnson completed the finishing touches to his cabinet reshuffle last week. It’s a cabinet of more women and people of ethnic minorities than the Tories have ever had. There have been some brutal demotion and some right wing promotions. But the main point is that the diversity of this cabinet puts to shame Labour’s idea that the Tories are out of touch with modern Britain.
Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, has now been replaced by Nadhim Zahawi - a Muslim of Pakistani heritage. Liz Truss is Foreign Secretary - the first Tory female in the role and only the 2nd woman to hold that office after Margaret Beckett held the post for Labour during the Blair years. We have a black business secretary and the new cabinet is over a quarter female. And the current three high offices of state are filled by people of different religions - Javed is Muslim, Patel and Sunak Hindus.
No one can any longer claim the Tories are out of touch with modern Britain. This is the most diverse cabinet in years and, although it doesn’t match the 10 women currently sitting in Keir Starmer’s Shadow Cabinet, there are more people of ethnic minorities evident in Boris’ cabinet than Labour can count for.
Labour have always been desperate to portray their right wing rivals as being retrograde and unprogressive. With this cabinet reshuffle, Keir Starmer needs a slap around the face and be asked to reconsider. On the strength of this cabinet, the Tories are more progressive and diverse than Labour have ever been. I guess the Left just love to act as the embodiment of tolerance, but really just preach hate for anyone that doesn’t fit their warped idea of equality where any other opinions that are not left wing are filtered out.
The Tories have always been more progressive than Labour. They’ve had two female leaders, Labour have had none. They tick the gender equality box there with pride and the first Tory Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is widely regarded to have changed the landscape of Britain and is seen as the most successful peacetime Prime Minister. She was a remarkable woman.
Currently the three most important positions in government are held by Asian politicians all of which are from different religions other than Christianity. Sajid Javed is Health Secretary, Rishi Sunak Chancellor and Priti Patel Home Secretary. What does this say? The Tories who traditionally favour the church and want it to play a bigger role in modern society are accepting and tolerant of other religions.
Let’s remember too that, in 2013, it was the Tories who legalized same sex marriage and resisted pushes to lower the abortion time limit. It wasn’t the righteous, morally superior Labour who did that, but the supposedly wicked, nasty Tories. They made marriage equal and made sure women will have easy access to abortions at 24 weeks.
On a political front, it’s also certainly the most right wing cabinet since the Thatcher years. Liz Truss is a rampant populist with hardline Tory ideologies and a real hunger for self-promotion and individualism which are very Tory traits. Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has a string of politically incorrect remarks worse than that of the Prime Minister to her name and she’s branded the BBC ”a biased left wing organization” which made me very happy.
Perhaps this cabinet puts to shame the idea that the Tories have now become Blue Labour. This is a Thatcherite cabinet if there ever was on that includes Jacob Rees-Mogg who voted against same-sex marriage and is opposed to abortion in all circumstances (including rape). And Priti Patel who is a self-confessed Thatcherite and an anti-immigration hardliner.
I wonder whether the extraordinary right wing, but diverse bunch precipitates the next stage in Johnson’s economic recovery. Blue Labour cannot last forever - at some point difficult decisions and cuts need to be made and we are going to need a period of austerity. Boris needs all the help he can get from a band of rabid right wingers to push through with an austere agenda and return to the Thatcherite rhetoric of small state, free market economics and low taxes that created the most successful economic model in the world.
It has often been said by commentators that Johnson is the most right wing Prime Minister since Thatcher which isn’t entirely unapt. David Cameron and Theresa May were both moderate remainers, but Boris backed leave with a strong anti-immigration agenda. The idea that we now have a Eurosceptic as Prime Minister suggests how far to the right we as a country have swung in recent years. It’s because the Right are willing to make difficult decisions that won’t win them votes, but are best for the country. They have a much clearer grasp of black and white than Labour who are oh so wishy washy and just pander to the masses.
But, despite his status as Thatcher’s most right wing successor, Boris’ economic policy has been anything, but - raising taxes and spending billions. But, as I said, in my previous piece, we live in exceptional circumstances where “the pandemic was in no one’s manifesto”.
We need a period of austerity in the years to come. It was utterly idiotic of Theresa May back in 2018 to announce the end of austerity. Austerity is what’s been keeping the nation’s finances stable throughout the 2010s - it balanced out and levied Labour’s rampant overspending and excessive state intervention.
This new right wing cabinet is the best to push through with this austere agenda. We need politicians with clear ideas of black and white, right and wrong which Labour have consistently failed at time and time again. And they’ve failed again by failing to give us a female leader and an Asian Chancellor, Home Secretary and Health Secretary.
It’s not the Tories who are out of touch with modern Britain, it is Labour. They are the ones who claim to be the defenders of the poor, but there were 2 and a half million unemployed at the end of the last Labour government. Why? Because Labour created an obscene system where people were better off on benefits than in work! But who made the poorest poorer? Who left youth unemployment higher? Who made inequality greater? Not the horrible Tories, but Labour and they can shut up about lecturing us on poverty.
This cabinet bodes well for the next general election. I get the impression that the general public will swing right now that they’ve seen how diverse and BAME the Tories have become. They’re doing a better job at it than Labour ever have and that shouldn’t surprise you.
Freelance film critic, journalist and writer based in Nottingham, UK. Specialises in cinema.
Roshan's Top 5 Films of the Week
1. The Last Duel
2. Everybody's Talking About Jamie (on Amazon Prime)
3. Help (on All4)
4. The Green Knight (on Amazon Prime)
5. The Alpinist
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