Sunday, April 11, 2021

Analysis: The culture war gives Boris Johnson and his government a quick and easy high. They are no substitute for governance


Sir Humphrey Appleby, an Emerald civil servant who served his lazy minister in the long-running BBC series, would have allowed himself to smile this week when he released a report on racial disparities, coming from an independent panel Despite was strong. The UK government said about the issue. Like many of Sir Humphrey’s fictional schemes, it risks a great deal of problems that it addresses.

Report, Released on 31 March The last fall was faced by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, following opposition to Black Lives Matter (BLM) and the frustration and frustration of their supporters – who still sought to consider and address racial disparities from the government, Society troubles the British.

The staggering release of the report began on Wednesday morning with a summary of the findings looking at the front pages of the country. The report noted that this report found no evidence to support the “well-informed ‘idealism’ of many young people who claim that the country is still institutionally racist.” In fact, the successes of some of the UK’s ethnic minorities “should be considered as a model for other white-majority countries”.

Once published, there was plenty for critics to get their teeth out of. Was accused of putting the report A positive spin on Slavery and the Empire, with its fiery suggestion, says that children are “taught about the Caribbean experience that describes the slave period not only about the benefits and suffering but also how culturally Africans reinvented themselves Changed to modeled African / UK. ”

‘Cheap piece of work’

Policy experts also noted sinister holes in its analysis. Inequalities – such as ethnic minorities dying due to Kovid-19 as well as labor market discrimination – were explained away by other factors such as geography, living conditions, and social income. Ignoring the role The race played in determining these factors.

Jonathan Portes, a public policy professor and chief economist at King’s College in London, chief executive professor in the Cabinet Office between 2008 and 2011, said, “It was very universal for everyone credible in these areas, who All said. ” What they are trying to do is justify a particular rhetoric about racism in Britain, ”he told CNN.

Campaigners say the report politicized legitimate concerns about racism and how to address it. “The entire structure of the commission was to fit the worldview that they had right at the beginning of the report,” said Simon Wolley, founding director of Operation Black Vote and chairman of the government’s race inequality advisory unit in July last year.

“The way it has been spun is policy-based evidence, not evidence-based policy,” Wolle said.

While the commission is independent to the government, experts said the report’s findings echo the “war on war” mentality by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his administration.

This included a December speech by Women and Equality Minister Liz Truss, who said that tackling inequality should not be limited “Gender, race, and gender reassignment.“She complained that too much time was spent in her school during the 1980s” instead of talking about racism and sexism “to make sure that everyone could read and write.” “The following month, Housing Secretary Robert Genrich introduced legislation to protect historic statues.” To protect monuments from extremists and awaken worthy people, “he wrote Right-wing newspaper, Daily Telegraph.
Only one statue – Long source of controversy – BLM dropped to height of protest; Those accused of its downfall have been charged and will go on trial under the current law.

CNN has contacted Downing Street for comment.

The government has launched legislation to protect historic statues, such as the one at Winston Churchill in Parliament Square, London.

No accountability

Another reason has prompted the report to be so critical that there is a growing feeling that the government is Your own identity Homework. A report of it was released days later Britain’s police watchdog, His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), allegedly absolved the Metropolitan Police of any wrongdoing Massive spread Alarmed for the murder of Sarah Everard, a London woman.
The Nonprofit Index on Censorship, which defends free expression worldwide, questioned the sentinel’s freedom the next day, Issue of excerpts from a whistleblower Complaint questioning the fairness and independence of HMIC.
Whistleblower complaint related to a report released in HMIC early March Supporting the Home Office’s proposal to prevent protests through the new law, later known as the Police, Crime, Punishment and Courts Bill. HMIC report was launched by Home Secretary Preeti Patel following last year’s BLM and extinction revolt climate change protests, HMIC wrote.
But HMIC whistleblower, Alice O’Keefe, whom the index is endorsing on censorship, claimed the inspector decided to back the government’s proposals before fieldwork [had] Has been completed, ” According to a press release. It added that O’Keefe feared that the HMIC report “may have contributed to a crack in vigilance for Sarah Everard on Clapham Common in south London.”
The report was released after the director general of police misrepresented a policeman in connection with the murder of another woman.

Martin Bright, the editor of the index on censorship, said, “It is absolutely necessary that a government watchdog … appears independent and impartial.” “It is a matter of serious public concern if it reached a convenient conclusion for ministers before looking at all the evidence, as suggested by whistleblower Alice O’Keefe,” he said. CNN has reached out to HMIC for comment.

Even in cases where independent bodies produce important findings of government, they are regularly brushed under the carpet. The most prominent case is related Home Secretary Patel And its allegations on the treatment of civil servants. Patel, in a Cabinet Office investigation, violated the Ministerial Code for “behavior that can be described as bullying”. Independent consultant alex allen Wrote in his findings last year.
Allen resigned after Johnson was elected. Defend patel, Stating that he was “fully confident” of the Home Secretary – who later apologized for his behavior. Allen’s resignation indicated “a trend – a government that is indifferent to constitutional norms and conventions and which views self-sanctions as inconveniences to prevent it,” legal commentator David Allen Green Wrote in my blog.

Social division

The storm is not yet indicating damage to the popularity of Johnson and his ruling Conservative Party. Have enjoyed it Lead the election Despite the reaction to widespread criticism over the past year, it has seen 127,000 people die from Kovid-19 in the United Kingdom.

Tim Bell, a professor of politics at Queen Mary, University of London, said the “race report” was always going to provoke such backlash.

By ignoring the arguments of Black Lives Matter protesters and playing into the debate of culture wars, the government is appealing to its traditional conservative base and new working-class voters from northern England, many of whom have worked with the opposition Labor Party for their long-term Abolished allegiance. 2019 general election

It also has some reductions with older generations. Polls show that more ethnic minority citizens agree that Britain Is systematically racist Compared to the white population. British future director Sundar Katwala said, “People under 35 say the answer is ‘yes’ (Britain is systematically racist), and over 55 ethnic minorities think ‘no'”. , A think tank specializing in integration and migration, told CNN.
The storm has so far shown little signs of damage to the popularity of Boris Johnson and his ruling Conservative Party.

Therefore, denial of institutional racism will 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 what the government is saying , Criticized him a lot on seeing him. ” Warriors, ” Bell said.

The long-term risk with this approach, however, is further disintegration of young British people, many of whom are suffering amid epidemic-induced recession.

“Many young people, from ethnic minorities or from the white majority, feel very strongly on these issues and will remember this report and take it as a sign that the Conservatives have no understanding of their values,” Bell he said. It will also play into widespread concerns that the party “doesn’t get what they want on housing, benefits, education and jobs – it’s probably not as good” [electorally] In the long term, ”he said.

For cynic “Yes Minister,” Sir Humphrey A good investigation was always one that kicked off a problem in the long run, while doing nothing to address the real issue. According to this report – it will probably do little to remove the drivers of the protest. Inequalities are no longer recognized and addressed, the longer the so-called independent bodies are considered to be partisan, the further Britain may be fully with its division.

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