UK: The case for a culture warrior PM

UK: The case for a culture warrior PM. By Tom Slater.

To say that Kemi Badenoch is the best bet for the Tories is a profound understatement. It’s not even close.

In this Conservative Party leadership race, among a parade of grinning Blairites and tragic Thatcher tribute acts, the former equalities minister and MP for Saffron Walden is the insurgent candidate who most seems to ‘get it’. Namely, that the culture war is very real and needs to be fought.

That it is the key dividing line in modern politics. That those seeking to divide Brits by race and gender and identity are not well-meaning progressives but are among the most pernicious people in public life today. That the erosion of freedom of speech and the derangements of gender ideology cannot continue to take hold in our institutions unchallenged. And that all this is not some fiction, cooked up by ‘right-wing’ pundits to amuse men who look like Peter Bone of an evening. It is all very real. And the more politicians ignore it, or just chortle at it from the sidelines as so many Tories do, the worse it will get.

While Boris Johnson’s government often caved in on the culture war, his long-time equalities minister was a noble exception. …

Badenoch — born in London but raised in Nigeria — railed against the post-Floyd importation of America’s racial psychodrama and made clear that ethnic-minority Brits are those who suffer most under woke identitarianism. They are cast as inescapably oppressed, as permanent outsiders to our national story. That she happens to be a black woman is besides the point. Badenoch is easily the most eloquent and sophisticated critic of wokeness the parliamentary Tory Party has so far produced. …

In the final days of Boris Johnson’s disintegrating government, she pushed through the abolition of gender-neutral toilets in public buildings, reportedly in the face of bitter civil-service opposition. …

She had a pop at those who insist cancel culture is a myth: ‘[Y]ou often hear… that the debate on free speech is a conspiracy whipped up to spark a culture war, or it’s a cover for bigoted middle-aged white men to spout politically incorrect nonsense. Well, I’m not middle-aged, I’m not white and I’m not a man…’ At which point someone shouted ‘are you sure?’ from the floor. ‘I know what a woman is’, Badenoch shot back, sparking a big cheer.

She’s in the final five under consideration, but the conservative party are just a bit too woke to elect her.