Tory MP Esther McVey ridiculed for absurd Daily Mail front page splash waging ‘war on woke’

Esther McVey is not at all clear what she will be waging war on

Esther McVey

Tory MP Esther McVey was appointed as minister of state without portfolio in Rishi Sunak’s November reshuffle. Her role was branded ‘minister for common sense’ within the government with a brief of leading the ‘anti-woke’ agenda of the Tories.

You might have been left scratching your head to figure out what any of this means in practice, and why this would require a ministerial appointment. Today’s Daily Mail has given us a flavour of what the government has in mind.

In an extraordinary comment piece, accompanied by a front-page splash, McVey has set out what her so-called ‘war on woke’ has in its sights.

She writes “I’m beginning my own investigations to help root out the waste and unnecessary bureaucracy that plagues too much of the public sector”.

With more than 7 million people on NHS waiting lists and residents worried about the future of public services as an increasing number of councils are effectively declaring themselves bankrupt, this is no doubt designed to spark public alarm about mismanagement in the public sector.

So, what examples of this mismanagement and waste does McVey give? A new NHS IT system and working from home allowances for council staff. Does that sound like the taxpayer is being fleeced? Does it sound like the sort of thing that needs to have war waged upon it?

Elsewhere in the piece, McVey is equally vague about what it exactly it is she intends to wage war on. She wants to “unshackle” workers – although what they should be unshackled from is unclear. She wants to see a ‘new year’s resolution’ for the public sector to “embrace common sense instead of political correctness”. Perhaps what our hospitals really need is not more beds and better paid healthcare workers but a dose of good old fashioned common sense…

Perhaps unsurprisingly, McVey’s intervention has been met with a substantial wave of ridicule.

Director of the Good Law Project Jolyon Maugham tweeted: “Esther McVey is “launching investigations into poor use of taxpayers money.” Funnily enough, she won’t be looking at the billions they gave to their pals for, often dodgy, PPE.”

The writer and barrister Sam Fowles, meanwhile, said: “If Esther McVey wants to cut waste in Public Services she might start with the (publicly funded) “minister for common sense”. How much public money is being spent on culture wars – ie persecuting marginalised communities to distract from real problems?”

The ‘common sense’ verdict on Esther McVey and the Tories is pretty clear…

Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward

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