Britain is in the middle of a coronavirus disaster. It has one of the highest fatality rates in the world, with at least 52,000 Britons dead from the disease. The UK government’s usual cheerleaders in the right-wing media are eviscerating it on a near-daily basis.
But critics say that instead of tackling the crisis head-on – perhaps with a reshuffle of his ministerial team; a shakeup of government policy; or the announcement of an inquiry – Prime Minister Boris Johnson has engaged in a tactic of an altogether more Trumpian style. He has launched a culture war.
The lead story in Britain’s heavyweight Sunday Times newspaper last weekend was a leak of a plan to block measures that would have made it easier for trans people to change the gender on their birth certificate.
As protests inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement swept across the UK, the Prime Minister condemned the violent removal of a statue of a slave owner, and portrayed the daubing of graffiti on a memorial to Winston Churchill an effort to “photoshop the entire cultural landscape.”