Patrick O'Flynn

Britain needs Kemi Badenoch – but not just yet

She will be perfectly placed to slay the modern dragon of suffocating identity politics

Britain needs Kemi Badenoch – but not just yet
Kemi Badenoch (Photo: HM Treasury)
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It seems to many of us that British society is falling apart and that this – even more than our present economic difficulties – is the biggest problem politics has to deal with.

This falling apart is not by accident, but by the design of a new cult of leftism that seeks to divide people into rigid identity groups ranked in a hierarchy of vice and virtue based upon the privilege they are said to have enjoyed or the oppression they have suffered.

In the face of prevailing evidence that modern Britain is one of the least racist societies ever to have existed, the public square has become hyper-racialised, with any disparity in outcome across different ethnicities attributed to some form of racism, either active or ‘structural’ – the latter being a catch-all term for when no actual racism can be detected.

Hence male-bodied people are enabled to go into women’s protected spaces if they feel they are or claim to be women, with those who object to this dismissed as bigots – or as Labour’s David Lammy put it: ‘dinosaurs’ seeking to ‘hoard rights’.

The prize once in sight of a relatively harmonious multi-racial society that has also banished crude male chauvinism to its fringes and become recognised by its go-getting citizens as substantially meritocratic has been snatched away. Many now believe they cannot succeed because an identity characteristic is held against them by malevolent forces of white or cishet privilege.

This balkanisation of Britain is accelerating, with the reductionist thought code that sustains it becoming the only orthodoxy deemed respectable in universities, the broadcast media and across the public realm by armies of fanatical adherents.

In such dire and demoralising times, it does not seem unreasonable for people to look to something called the Conservative party to rescue them. More particularly, to look for a Conservative politician with the clarity of thought and reserves of courage necessary to turn the tide.

Boris Johnson clearly isn’t that person, given that his view on how to define a woman or whether footballers kneeling in support of BLM is a good or a bad thing can swivel 180 degrees according to who has last whispered in his ear or what the latest focus group data purports to reveal.

Johnson is far from being alone in often seeking to appease rather than oppose the new extremists. Across the senior reaches of the Tory party that has been the standard response for many years.

Johnson’s own communications director Guto Harri famously ‘took a knee’ on live television, while his one-time equalities minister Penny Mordaunt last year parroted from the government frontbench in the Commons chamber the anti-scientific nonsense that ‘transmen are men and transwomen are women.’

Fortunately, there could be a saviour at hand. The current equalities and levelling-up minister Kemi Badenoch is made of the right stuff and is creating a buzz in the Tory grassroots with her fearless fightback against the leftist onslaught.

Mrs Badenoch – British born of Nigerian heritage – has lately delivered a series of magnificent parliamentary performances which have left her self-styled progressive opponents gawping like stunned goldfish.

Her take-down last month of the chair of the Commons Women’s & Equalities Committee Caroline Nokes, one of the wokest Tory MPs, was quite something to behold. As Nokes asked her if she was comfortable with the notion of ‘trans pupils in single-sex dorms’, the easiest thing to do would have been to sit on the fence, Keir Starmer-style.

Instead, Mrs Badenoch pressed her inquisitor to ‘define’ trans, getting her to agree that she meant in this context ‘a biologically male child in a dorm with biological females but said he was a girl’ (Badenoch’s words). ‘Would I be comfortable with that? No,’ she added. There then followed a magisterial case against allowing self-ID.

It is important here to stress just how daring speaking this plainly is for a politician in Mrs Badenoch’s position, subject as she is to a constant stream of leftist attempts to hound her out of office.

She has done the same on the equally vexed question of race, horrifying Labour MPs by declaring Britain ‘one of the best countries in the world to be a black person’, being a driving force behind last year’s excellent report by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities that concluded much the same and pushing back against critical race theory.

As a Minister of State, Kemi Badenoch is not yet in the cabinet, but she is surely only one reshuffle away. And that, above anything else, should encourage people to hope Johnson fends off the latest attempts by various backbench Tory factions to oust him this year.

With the launchpad of a cabinet berth behind her she can expect considerable support in making a leadership bid when the post does fall vacant.

Just imagine the agonies her opponents would suffer at the sight of the Tories not only installing a third female prime minister, but also the first non-white premier. Kemi Badenoch would be perfectly placed to slay this modern dragon of suffocating identity politics.

Kemi Badenoch visits McDonalds (photo: @KemiBadenoch)

A few weeks ago, on the very day that Rishi Sunak crashed and burned after being pictured filling up a modest motor car that turned out to belong to someone else, Kemi Badenoch coincidentally put out her own photo. It showed her on a ministerial visit to a branch of McDonalds and recalling her time working for the chain to help support herself when studying for A-levels at a gritty London further education college – the very embodiment of a British Dream that the Conservatives have always struggled to sell.

So hang on in there Boris, just not for too long.

Written byPatrick O'Flynn

Patrick O’Flynn is a former MEP and political editor of the Daily Express

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