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Like herpes simplex, Johnson’s ministers had begun to seem like a lifelong condition | Marina Hyde

Like herpes simplex, Johnson’s ministers had begun to seem like a lifelong condition | Marina Hyde

9/17/2021 7:09:00 PM

Like herpes simplex, Johnson’s ministers had begun to seem like a lifelong condition | Marina Hyde

Some of the most enduring quarterwits have gone. So who’s been added to the bestiary, asks Guardian columnist Marina Hyde

that Nadine “will oversee a more punchy attitude to the culture war aspect of her brief”. Sorry, but what culture war aspect of her brief?! Psychologists say that if you give a child a present and they end up playing with the box, then the toy you gave them was too complicated for them. If you give a minister a brief that encompasses the entire media, the UK’s data strategy, regulating big tech, 5G rollout, cyber-security, the charity sector, the whole of sport and the £100bn-plus creative industries, and they spend so much as ONE NANOSECOND fanning up some culture war nonsense about panto, that isn’t so much playing with the box as taking a shit in it. And nobody, other than fellow infants, wants to see that.

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Dorries replaces Oliver Dowden, who always looks like he’s laughing nervously along with the bully’s joke about him, making it hard not to see his move to party chairman as prime ministerBiff Tannengiving him an as-yet-unclear form of wedgie. I guess it’s fitting that Dowden’s back in a party job. He has never had a proper job outside Westminster except for about five minutes at a PR firm, which has denied him the commercial experience that should have rung alarm bells as far as the

planned sale of Channel 4is concerned.If the government does push ahead with this culturicidal stupidity, they’ll kill the very indie sector the channel largely built – which you’d think would be a massive bollock-drop, but will probably win them public support from Britain’s vast and coveted no-clue-about-business demographic. headtopics.com

And so to thesupply chain crisis, a problem which this week was gifted by Johnson to his old backstabber Michael Gove, shortly before Gove was also moved to housing to solve that crisis too, and to work out what in the name of crap you just say to get elected the phrase “levelling up” actually means.

Who else? Ah yes: thenew foreign secretary, Liz Truss. No prime minister wants to look in their magic mirror and see that someone else is more popular. Truss is slightly more positive than Snow White, twice as likely to be involved in a musical number with some birds and squirrels, and generally adored by all the many denizens of the Conservative forest. Boris Johnson has moved her from signing trade deals with remote territories to visiting them.

For all the excitement-effect reaction, though, there were an awful lot of non-movers, from Priti Patel at the Home Office to negotiating masterbrain Lord Frost. Many of them seemed to have spent the first part of the week playing not to get sold. Take Thérèse Coffey at work and pensions, whose Who’s Who entry lists her interests as “delivering bad news”, and who

rushed out on Mondayto defend the planned removal of the £20 universal credit uplift with some nonsense about it being just two hours’ extra work, which indicated that the actual secretary of state had no clue about how the benefit is even designed. Of course, Thérèse knows that it doesn’t matter if what you say is true or not; you just have to come up with any old mad cobblers to draw attention. Is this why the general aesthetic is “Carl Beech in a nice chiffon scarf”? One to consider. headtopics.com

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Whichever way you shake it, though, it was all taken very well by theConservatives, who have spent much of the summer unable to work out if they’re in the shit or in clover. This week was very much clover. As for the electoral black site to which Labour has long rendered itself, that shows no sign of being escaped. Shuffling ministers is vastly preferable, but it remains very difficult to envisage Starmer shuffling anything other than deckchairs.

Marina Hyde is a Guardian columnist Read more: The Guardian »

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