Oliver Dowden ...
And that’s before the possibility of protests from Extinction Rebellion, the Anti-Vax wackos, and other variously unhappy interest groups. There is also the ever-present problem with the Government talking tough on migration, then having to look on as more of those small boats rock up on the south coast. So some kind of deflection appears to have been called for. The problem is that Oliver Dowden looks like he’s the one doing the deflecting.
Dowden, a typically immodest Tory nobody with much to be modest about, represents the ultra-safe Home Counties seat of Hertsmere, where this successor to “Shagger” Parkinson garnered 62.5% of the popular vote in 2019. He appears to have taken this as a sign that his electorate approves of whatever guff he chooses to spout to the press.
The latest example of that guff came in the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph, under the headline “It’s time to get Britain’s charities back on track”, which should not be difficult, as he presents no example of them not being so. Instead, the sub-heading, “We cannot allow our fantastic philanthropic institutions to become subsumed by wokery”, tells you what this is about: Ignorant, pejorative, dog-whistling deflection.
Take this gem: “Earlier this week … the Churchill Fellowship, sparked debate with a controversial rebrand which appeared to airbrush Sir Winston Churchill from its public profile”. One, the Churchill Fellowship sparked nothing - it was Dowden’s press pals. Two, the only controversy was manufactured. Three, Churchill was not airbrushed.
... and the by-product of his latest claims
He then follows up with “The Churchill Fellowship has now stated that it is not seeking to disown the reason that they exist, which is welcome. But I found it quite extraordinary that it got to the position where this clarification was required”. ASK YOUR PRESS PALS, PAL.
Then comes another slice of stupid. “Sadly it is not an isolated case. Just last week the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation overruled legal advice to move a statue of Thomas Guy from its main forecourt”. IT’S AN NHS TRUST, NOT A SODDING CHARITY.
But he does want readers to share his concerns. “This is just another example of a worrying trend in some charities that appear to have been hijacked by a vocal minority seeking to burnish their woke credentials”. WOKE WOKE WOKE WOKE WOKE. Dowden clearly either does not know what WOKE actually means - “alert to injustices in society, and especially racism” - or is deliberately using the term as a dog-whistle pejorative.
Worse, it appears that he would rather his audience does not know the meaning of the word: all the better for to rile them up, to manufacture faux outrage at a confected culture war, rather than he and his fellow Tories being arsed to actually run the country.
Or perhaps he intends to wage war ON culture? The BBC Proms - culture accessible to all - just completed its latest season. The Tories want to pull the Beeb down. QED.
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