Esther McVey, the ironically titled Minister for Common Sense, wants councils across the country to spend less on diversity and is threatening to withhold money when they come asking for it
Christopher Reeve has, for me, always been the greatest actor ever to play Superman.
In the 1978 original, the Man of Steel turned back time to save his love Lois Lane and reverse the death and destruction caused by the villainous Lex Luthor.
The superhero classic came to mind as I read the comments of Esther McVey, the ironically titled Minister for Common Sense. Esther – whose attempt to explain her job description on the BBC’s Question Time remains the stuff of TV legend – wants to turn back time.
She wants councils across the country to spend less on diversity. To be more specific, she is threatening to withhold money when they come asking for it unless they scrap schemes set up to teach people about other races, other cultures and other women.
Forget the progress in our society that enabled her and several of her female colleagues to reach influential positions of power. Esther wants to turn back time. Forget empowering yourself with knowledge to understand and respect someone of another culture you work or interact with. Esther couldn’t care less.
She and her colleagues are happy, knee deep in the dark ages, pining for the days when you could joke about a Black or Asian person’s “tan” as her boss, Rishi Sunak did, speaking about himself.
Or when another Tory PM, Boris Johnson, likened women in burqas to letter boxes and refused to apologise. Just to clarify for Esther and her fellow Cabinet clowns, diversity means progress, unity and goes against everything they stand for. Fear, loathing and division remain their calling cards despite their Brexit lies, subsequently laid bare.
How can you keep all that up if people are being educated to realise otherwise?
Supported by some sections of the media industry working overtime to find extreme examples of efforts going too far the other way (you can find people taking it too far in any walk of life) Esther and the Tories might sound a bit like an Eighties Top of the Pops band, but they really are quite dangerous and out of tune.
She claims to be demanding value for taxpayers’ money. What about Black, Asian and Mixed heritage taxpayers with a right to demand likewise? What about those white British taxpayers who embrace their fellow citizens and don’t buy into the nonsense of those who wish to divide us.
It is true to say that diversity is indeed normally the first thing to go when companies want to slash the cash. Staff are quietly side-lined, projects mothballed and issues extinguished.
Similarly, Esther wants the country to move past its phase of self-examination over the past four years. She wants councils up and down the land to turn back time. Hopefully the ballot box will prove to be Kryptonite for her and the Tories.