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Collage Maker-07-Sep-2022-05.17-PM

Meet the new Tory elites who are going to destroy your life

Just because things are bad, that doesn’t mean they can’t get worse!

Yesterday, Liz Truss made her debut speech as Prime Minister and announced her cabinet. It is very easy not to care about this. After all, a Tory government is a Tory government – does it even matter who happens to be in charge? Obviously, things aren’t going to get better, but is it possible for someone to be worse than Boris Johnson? But this reflexive cynicism, while justified, misses the point: there is no such thing as a good Tory, but there are ideological differences and competing factions within the party. When it comes to issues like the climate crisis, for example, even a tiny difference of degree could prove significant, and the fact that things are already terrible is no guarantee that they won’t get worse. Truss, who has built her campaign around tax cuts, anti-immigration rhetoric and self-conscious throwbacks to Margaret Thatcher, has pitched herself to the right of her party. This is reflected in her picks for the cabinet: none of the top jobs have gone to liberal or centrist ministers.

With all that in mind, here’s a breakdown of the most villainous and despicable new additions to the Tory cabinet.


Formerly the Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Coffey has long been criticised for her draconian approach to the welfare system. Notoriously, she refused to publish reports into how many disabled people had died as a result of being denied benefits (an external investigation in 2019 estimated this figure at around 17,000). Earlier this year, her plan to move 700,000 people with disabilities, mental health problems and dementia from older forms of benefits onto Universal Credit was criticised by a group of charities: the plan, described as “devastating”, “life-threatening” and “too dangerous to continue,” risked depriving thousands of vulnerable people of an income in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.

 Coffey is also a dyed-in-the-wool social conservative, a staunch opponent of equal marriage who has consistently voted against LGBTQ rights. Given that we are still in the midst of the monkeypox epidemic, which is primarily impacting men who have sex with men, the fact that the new Health secretary gives every indication of being a homophobe is concerning. Her views on abortion have also come under fire: she has previously voted against extending abortion care, including in Northern Ireland, and said that she would “prefer that people didn’t have abortions but [is not] not going to condemn people that do". While she has stated that she will not change the UK’s abortion laws, abortion charities have alleged that she has in the past put her personal beliefs above “expert clinical guidance.” As anti-abortion protest activity is escalating in the UK, it’s a bad time to have a Health secretary who is so ambiguous on the issue.


If you had any lingering hope that the British government is willing or capable of tackling the climate crisis, the appointment of Jacob Rees-Mogg as energy minister should be enough to dispel it. Following backlash from the more environmentally-minded Tories, it’s been confirmed that Mogg’s brief will not include the climate as had been initially reported. But it still doesn’t inspire much confidence that the man now in charge of the UK’s energy is essentially a climate-sceptic, if not outright denialist. He has blamed “climate alarmism” for the energy crisis and consistently voted against measures to prevent climate change; he supports fracking and thinks we should squeeze “every last drop” of fossil fuels from the North Sea, even though doing so will jeopardise the possibility of achieving Net Zero by 2030. Even if he’s not directly in charge of the government’s climate response, his climate-sceptic views will almost certainly impact how he handles energy. 

Beyond his views on the climate crisis, Rees-Mogg is extremely right-wing both when it comes to social issues (he opposes abortion even in cases of rape) and the economy: a committed advocate of the free market, he is unlikely to support the kind of large-scale government intervention required to bring the energy crisis under control. He also once suggested that people who died in the Grenfell fire should have had the “common sense” to escape, making him one of the most despicable people to ever hold public office.


Priti Patel, one of the more cartoonishly evil figures in British politics, has quit her role as Home Secretary. But sadly, this isn’t the time to breathe a sigh of relief: her successor, Suella Braverman is set to pursue an even more draconian approach to migration. According to The Times, she aims to increase the number of detention centres, ramp up border police and double down on the government’s plans to deport migrants to Rwanda. In order to achieve these goals, she wants Britain to leave the European Court of Human Rights, which had previously stalled the Rwanda asylum plan. This measure would be disastrous for migrants, but it would also have troubling implications for everyone's civil liberties, undermining the right to protest, the rights of whistleblowers, and the freedom of the press. Under Braverman, the UK is likely to continue its slide towards authoritarianism.


Don't ask me to explain what the "Duchy of Lancaster" is, because I can't and I won't. The more pressing issue is that Nadhim Zahawi, the new equalities minister, has consistently voted against laws to promote equality and human rights. When he launched his own leadership bid earlier this summer, he was quick to establish himself as an anti-woke culture warrior, arguing that we should “focus on letting children be children, protecting them from damaging and inappropriate nonsense being forced on them by radical activists.” Clearly an attack on LGBTQ+ inclusive education, this echoed Section 28, a Thatcher-era policy which made illegal “the promotion of homosexuality” by local authorities. He has suggested that teachers ought to out trans children to their parents, accused schools of “glamourising” transgender identity, and spoken out in defence of one of the anti-trans movement’s leading voices.

In fairness, Zahawi has generally voted for equal gay rights – a low bar that Braverman, Rees-Mogg and Coffey haven’t cleared – but time and time again he has shown himself willing to throw trans people under the bus. 

To paraphrase Homer Simpson, this is the most right-wing Tory cabinet of your lifetime…so far!