Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle has included promoting culture warriors, more right-hangers and a series of his Brexiter ‘companions’, but his supporters say the reshuffle was more about putting in place key repairers to implement the policy before the next election.
Tory insiders point to the promotion of Nadine Dorries – a friend of Johnson’s wife Carrie – to Secretary of Culture and Kemi Badenoch to Minister of State as a sign that Culture Warriors are on the move. taking the ascendancy in government. The new cabinet also includes four more Brexiters than before, with big jobs for Dorries, Anne-Marie Trevelyan as trade secretary, Nadhim Zahawi as education secretary and Simon Clarke as chief secretary in the Treasure.
Dorries, BBC critic and “left snowflakes”, will be in charge of the future of the BBC license fee, the politically sensitive decision on Ofcom chairmanship and the new online damage bill . Badenoch, who is a housing minister with a second portfolio on equality, is seen as an “anti-awakening” voice, who spoke out against schools supporting “the anti-capitalist group Black Lives Matter” or uncritically teaching “the political race theory ””.
With Jacob Rees-Mogg, Priti Patel and Dominic Raab keeping seats at the top table, as well as a promotion to Foreign Secretary for Liz Truss, a free trader and darling of conservative activists, there has been no no change towards the center of the field.
Anna Soubry, a former Conservative who served in David Cameron’s cabinet, called Dorries’ appointment “appalling” but said she thought the reshuffle was as much an example of “buddies” being awarded as victory for the right-wingers of the party.
“There has been a huge shift to the right, which is obviously Brexit related, but it’s actually a cabinet of people doing as they’re told and not rocking the boat, plus he wanted bring her friends over, ”she said. noted.
Zahawi is a longtime supporter of Johnson, while Nigel Adams, a friend of the Prime Minister, has been promoted to the Cabinet Office and another member of his entourage, Conor Burns, has been appointed Minister of State within from the Northern Ireland office.
A Tory MP described the reshuffle as a “mixed bag,” saying there was an element of “satisfaction with culture warriors who want to talk about revival all the time,” but also that the decision to appoint Zahawi to the Above the education-leading Badenoch seemed to reward his “vaccine competence”, rather than prioritizing political battles.
The decision to send Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, to the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government also seemed designed to seek a compromise over planning and delivery reforms, rather than necessarily fueling a dispute.
Conservative opponents of the cultural war’s political approach point to the disastrous argument that England players kneel at Euro 2020, which at one point appeared to pit ministers against Gareth’s popular team Southgate.
The Culture War faction inside Number 10 is led by a husband and wife team of senior advisers, Dougie Smith and Munira Mirza, who former Tory aides say “really believe in this stuff.” .
“These are definitely the two with influential voices around them,” said a former staff member, who also mentioned former BBC editor Robbie Gibb.
However, they said, “sometimes it’s a question of whether Boris can be bothered to fight over this stuff” and it doesn’t seem like a priority or a personal campaign for him.
It is understood that Mirza and Smith had previously defended Badenoch as education secretary, apparently in the hope that she would bring the fight against the liberal metropolitan elite into the classrooms of England. However, she ended up being transferred to Gove County with a promotion.
James Duddridge, a longtime Johnson supporter who lost his post as Foreign Secretary in the reshuffle, said he felt he personally “had a good run and Boris needed to brush up on the team”.
“Like McKinseys, I think there is a bit of a up or down and he had to balance his team as well,” he said. “My take is that some of the promotions are definitely around meritocracy and your performance – like Nadhim Zahawi and Will Quince. There is a lot of talent bubbling up and another generation is biting the ankles even of the people who have been nominated now. And that’s great.
Duddridge said there was an opinion that Dorries had “defended the line well inside and out; she is a good communicator ”.
“I don’t think she was sent to pick a fight or a punch. She has been a very successful minister in a department where there are delicate issues and where we are in a different place from… say the Guardian readers or the left liberals and there has to be a bit of a strong defense of that ” , did he declare. added.
Other Tory MPs said there was an element of trying to promote those who could speak more naturally to Red Wall voters than traditional Tories. Clarke, a hard-line Brexiter who represents Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, is one example, and will hold the purse strings when it comes to money for leveling, as the new Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
A backbench MP said: “You’d think Nadine could relate better to Red Wall voters than Oliver [Dowden], so maybe she’ll give him some more energy. But personally, I’ve always thought that the whole culture wars business was a very minority sport on both ends of the market.