Tuesday, April 20

The culture war is a matchbox the UK government can’t help but play with | Conservatives

CLassical liberal, thought leader, guitar-nagging divorce meme Laurence Fox thrown out his campaign to be mayor of London this week, standing up for the Reclaim party. What are you claiming? It’s probably not your deposit. Surprisingly, the actor read his great launch speech on some paper, which is surely the equivalent of not being off the books for opening night. You can’t help but feel like I would have taken the edge off you Henry V by Laurence Olivier if he had to draw a couple of cards before heading to the troops at Agincourt.

Still, I hope we get the Laurences we deserve. “I’m here to claim your freedom,” Fox read. Again, learning his lines for Braveheart allowed Mel Gibson to make a similar promise, at the same time that he controlled the skittish horse he was riding and still had a free fist to lift him into the air at the end. Unfortunately, not being perfect in words closed that avenue to Laurence Fox. Any British politician who raises a fist full of crumpled A4 seems to have just appeased Hitler.

He used to look unspeakably lame, how far would David Cameron’s conservatives go to avoid being flanked by a man of Nigel Farage’s caliber. That now seems like an era of lofty idealism, given that it appears Boris Johnson’s conservatives are trying to avoid being flanked by a man of Laurence Fox’s caliber.

But this is where we are. Every time some cabinet minister anxiously rushes to the forefront of culture wars, he is adopting a policy indistinguishable from that of an absurd tit having a midlife crisis. However, they are still rushing. It’s starting to look like the government wants a culture war more than anything.

This week’s race report seems to be a good example, with the way its post was seemingly deliberately designed to produce the least conciliatory or even thoughtful headlines on an extremely sensitive topic. It turned out that this was also the time that Samuel Kasumu, Boris Johnson’s senior adviser on ethnic minorities, confirmed his resignation to his colleagues.

Despite Downing Street’s attempts to cheer up this news, there is no way to read it more than adversely. Kasumu had previously tried to resign because he believed the government was pursuing a “policy of division”; And confirming that you were doing it right when they were reproducing their great career report in the divisive way they chose will never seem like a stamp of approval.

Needless to say, the housing secretary, Robert Jenrick, was straight from the traps to explain that racism is something that happens on social media, not in Britain’s institutions. Perhaps he was thinking that Equality Minister Kemi Badenoch instituted a Twitter showdown against a black journalist, which, unsurprisingly, led the writer in question to massive amounts of racist abuse. As Kasumu had written in his previous resignation letter: “I believe the ministerial code was violated. More troubling than the act though, was the lack of response internally … I waited and waited for something from the senior leadership team to even point to an expected standard, but it didn’t materialize. ”Clearly it never did.

The expected standards have not bothered Robert Jenrick either. The first rule of the government’s culture war is that it must be fought by those who appear to have been given a pair of pants with it at school in their first relationship with the flag. Jenrick, Oliver Dowden, Gavin Williamson, Milhouse Van Houten – this is the group your generals are drawn from.

These are guys intensely laid back about giving the appearance that they care more about statues than women who introduce new laws to make the penalty for disfiguring the former worse than the average sentence for violating the latter. Reminder: precisely one statue in the country, itself long contentious, was brought down last year. Those accused of logging it must now be tried under current law. So when the permit ends in the autumn, and the scale of the UK’s road to recovery is clear, let the record show that the current secretary of state for communities decided to spend on such utter nonsense. Let the record show that the royal secretary for culture diverted his thoughts from a collapsing arts sector to choose some fantastically childish and irrelevant. fight with the National Trust. Dowden even went on TV to demand that the television drama The Crown include a disclaimer saying it is fiction. Is the culture secretary honestly saying she’s not the real Princess Diana up there on my TV box? Like any other viewer whom he apparently considers a complete jerk, I refuse to believe him.

The problem with culture wars is that the entry requirements are very low, but the stakes are very high. For a supposedly large government in the past, it doesn’t even understand recent American history. To simplify, for your benefit: turning everything into an incredibly polarized binary ends badly. Whether you play with this matchbox because it’s cheaper than real policies, or because it “energizes your base,” or for some other reason, it always ends badly. Do you remember the orange man? It ended badly. It remains a mystery why British politicians should be fueling culture wars just months after one of their logical conclusions was laid out for the world to see. Absolutely nothing good comes out of this, and governments should be bigger and better than that.

If they are not, then perhaps a disclaimer should precede each minister’s increasingly futile and incendiary forays into the culture wars: “The following scenes contain no public service.”

Marina Hyde is a columnist for The Guardian


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