Sorry to get all Richard Littlejohn on you in the title there, but I’m moving through the stages of General Election grief: The steps are ‘first, before the exit poll, hope, then massive confusion, drunkenness, furious anger, incredulity and then, eventually, hope again’. I’m currently at ‘incredulity’ but also well on my way to ‘hope again’. But incredulity first: Have you seen the list of Cabinet members in David Cameron’s new Tory government?! If you haven’t, here’s the list in full. I’ve picked out a few notable mentions, inspired by my current step in the grieving process.
First off, we have Michael Gove – he of wonderful cartoon on the internet fame – appointed as Justice Secretary. This is Michael Gove who earlier this week ruled out an independent inquiry into the activities of an alleged paedophile ring operating (historically?) within Westminster. The same Michael Gove who has advocated bringing back hanging. I wonder if he still thinks capital punishment is something to think about reintroducing in a civilised society?
But the madness doesn’t end there! In fact, we’re just getting started. Also newly appointed is Nicky Morgan as Secretary of State for Education, Women and Equality. She’s not the only member of the Equalities team to have voted against equal marriage. How on earth can this woman be trusted to oversee equality?!
And there’s more! Jeremy C- I mean Hunt has kept his job – somehow – as Health Secretary, despite his attempts at pushing already rejected studied into homeopathy onto the Chief Medical Officer, and being a vocal advocate of the benefit of this laughable, dangerous nonsense. What next? A Culture Secretary waging a war on culture?!
Yes. John Whittingdale hasn’t been anywhere near as shy about his views on what culture is as most Tory voters have been in their Conservative support. According to many sources, “War” has been declared on the BBC – Britain’s bastion of culture, unarguably. I fear this is a bad time to be… well, anything and anyone.
It’s all well and good me sitting here complaining about the unsuitability of this man or that woman in such-and-such post but there’s a more damaging conclusion to be reached here. This isn’t just unsuitable people in untenable roles, but an attempt (and an unchallengeable one at that) to redefine what each of these roles mean.
The role of a Conservative Equality minister isn’t to instil and ensure equality but to redefine equality in the Tory image, and instil that. Same for Justice; it’s not about Gove upholding the true values of British Justice but his warping and relabelling of such to fit a cruel, ideological agenda.
Speaking about new laws for combating extremism and radicalisation – and paving the way for the rebirth of Theresa May’s ‘snoopers’ charter’ and her apparent new obsession with ‘upholding proper British Values’ – David Cameron, our Prime Minister, in 2015 AD, said this: “For too long we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone'”. If that doesn’t scare the hell out of you, you must be made of lead. It sounds like something from a terrifying dystopian novel, or the kind of thing an evil dictator would say to grind his people into subservience on his grasping power. I’m afraid! You should be too.
But, as a wise old man once said, “Dark and dangerous times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy”. Never has this been more true. It would be easy to turn a blind eye to those suffering under this government, as many are and will, but is it right? No. Hell no! We – on the left, and decent human beings generally – should put our differences aside and show a united front against this cruel, damaging cancer currently growing in its seat at Westminster before it damages this country and its people beyond repair.
We must do this, before it’s too late. Organise, oppose, but never, ever give in. Remember the steps? I’m moving onto hope again. We must have hope because, once hope passes, there are no more steps.