It has become received wisdom among Westminster pundits that the new winning formula in politics is to “move left on economics and right on culture”. Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle looks like an attempt to put this lesson into practice: forcing Sajid Javid, an advocate of strict spending limits, out of the Treasury suggests that the prime minister wants to strategically splash money around – however superficial this moving “left” might prove to be. At the same time, Johnson’s government has sent a series of clear signals to the right – on immigration, on perceived liberal bias at the BBC, on the “free-speech crisis” in universities – the latest of which is the appointment of Suella Braverman as attorney general. This suggests that the government intends to pursue the pantomime authoritarianism displayed by the home secretary, Priti Patel, at last year’s party conference: an ostentatious cruelty, directed at people who supposedly threaten public safety, and waved like a taunt to the liberal elite that stands in the government’s way. Braverman comes from the hard-right milieu that has increasingly set the tone in the Conservative party since the EU referendum. Last year, she drew criticism from the Board of Deputies of British… Read full this story
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