Boris Johnson’s ‘diverse’ cabinet hides some worrying truths

Editorial: Diversity of thought doesn’t get a look in – and the real power may lie elsewhere anyway

Friday 26 July 2019 14:12
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A “cabinet for a modern Britain” it has been spun as – and superficially, at least, it is shaping up to satisfy that boast. With a massacre of the old guard, and virtually every position up for grabs, the opportunity has been seized: in terms of women and Bame representation, it is certainly the most diverse in British history. When the traditional cabinet group photograph is published, it will be in stark symbolic contrast to the older order.

Perhaps stung by the claims he is “Britain Trump”, as Donald Trump calls him, and by the endlessly recycled stories about his references to “letterbox” veils and “watermelon smiles”, Mr Johnson has set out to confound his critics. It is, after all, entirely right that everyone in modern British society can look towards those at the top of politics as examples of what can be achieved.

There are at least two striking appointments, in this respect. Sajid Javid as chancellor at least has the intellect and background to know what needs to be done. During his leadership campaign he even talked about a £100bn plan to close the north-south divide. He is, however, also a devoted believer in the small state, and an instinctive libertarian. As a lukewarm Remainer – he is the only one at the top of government to have voted that way in 2016 – he has become a convert to the Brexit cause. In which case, expect some radical thinking about the way to make Britain prosper in a post-Brexit world.

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