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Analysis: Culture wars give Boris Johnson and his government a quick and easy high. They're no substitute for governing

April 4, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 21.1%. 2 min read.

"Two basic rules of government: Never look into anything you don't have to. And never set up an inquiry unless you know in advance what its findings will be." The words are from "Yes Minister," a 1980s television satire about the dysfunction of British politics, but they could equally apply to the Westminster of today.

Sir Humphrey Appleby, the amoral civil servant who served his lazy minister in the long-running BBC series, might have allowed himself a wry smile this week on the release of a report on racial inequalities that, despite coming from an independent panel, had strong echos of the UK government's stated view of the issue.

The report, released on March 31 by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, was commissioned last fall in the aftermath of the pent-up frustrations of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests and their supporters -- who demanded the government seriously consider and address the racial inequalities that still permeate British society.

"The whole structure of this commission was to fit in that worldview they had right at the beginning of the report," said Simon Wolley, founding director of Operation Black Vote and chair of the government's race disparity advisory unit July last year.

While the commission is independent to the government, experts said the report's conclusions echoed the "war on woke" mindset by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his administration.

The whistleblower complaint related to a report HMIC released in early March backing the Home Office's proposal to clamp down on protests via new legislation, later known as the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

HMIC's report was commissioned by Home Secretary Priti Patel following last year's BLM and Extinction Rebellion climate change protests, HMIC wrote.

Therefore, the denial of institutional racism would directly appeal to socially conservative "voters across the country who feel anxious about cultural change; feel defensive -- in terms of their attitudes towards race; and feel unduly criticized by what the government has been calling the 'woke warriors,'" Bale said.

"A lot of young people, be it from an ethnic minority or from the white majority, feel very strongly about these issues and will remember this report and take it as a signal that Conservatives have no understanding of their values," Bale said.

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