Politics Explained

Why Dorries and Dowden have been awarded top jobs in the reshuffle

More than a few eyebrows were raised when Nadine Dorries and Oliver Dowden came out of the reshuffle with better positions. Sean O’Grady explores their track records, and why Johnson has chosen them for their new roles

Friday 17 September 2021 11:08
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<p>The public will be hearing much more from Oliver Dowden and Nadine Dorries after the reshuffle </p>

The public will be hearing much more from Oliver Dowden and Nadine Dorries after the reshuffle

As a practical result of the cabinet reshuffle, Britain will soon have to get much more used to the voices of two previously relatively low-key politicians – the former secretary of state for culture, media and sport, Oliver Dowden, and his surprising successor, Nadine Dorries, whose announcement was an unusually well-kept secret in this notoriously leaky administration. They highlight two important aspects of what Boris Johnson is up to.

First, then, Nadine Dorries. She has always been an extreme Boris loyalist, and that’s a quality he values (though doesn’t always reciprocate). She’s a former nurse, writes historical novels set in Britain’s near past of Heartbeat, Call the Midwife and a post office in every village, and was a health minister during the pandemic, and mostly managed not to disgrace herself.

More than anything, though, she is a dedicated and sincere populist-nationalist of a kind and to a fanaticism that is still relatively rare even in today’s purged Conservative party. In particular, she is a sworn enemy of the British Broadcasting Corporation and all it stands for (or at least all that its enemies on the right imagine it stands for). Her role will be to terrorise the corporation into a state of subjugation, and it’s precisely her unreasoning demeanour that makes her so well-suited to the task at hand.

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