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  • Sara Chitseko

Boris Johnson's new cabinet


Boris Johnson has been appointed Prime Minister and has completely overhauled the cabinet. Among those included are Sajid Javid, Priti Patel, James Cleverly, Kwasi Kwarteng and Alok Sharma. Boris has claimed his new team is "a cabinet for modern Britain" (Hills and Rogers, 2019), referring to the diversity which on face value, better represents the ethnic make up of the UK population. Although his cabinet looks more diverse, their voting records reveal their contribution to the marginalisation of Black and Brown communities.

It is abhorrent that the new Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has previously expressed her support for the death penalty, arguing that it can act as a "deterrent" to serious crime. In addition to this, she recently said that she "wants criminals to feel terror" (Kentish, 2019). Boris has promised to recruit 20,000 more police officers and to relax stop and search restrictions (Grierson, 2019). The link between police numbers and rising violent crime has been repeatedly disproven. In 2008 when police numbers were at a high, teenage deaths were also the highest they had been in over a decade (Shaw, 2019). Moreover, research shows that Black people are eight times more likely to be on the receiving end of stop and search than white people (StopWatch, 2019). Boris's plans legitimise a "different policing for different communities" approach to justice and will further exacerbate relationships between Black communities and the police.

Overall, wider ethnic representation does not equate to structural change which is essential for equality. In this era of political uncertainty and rising right wing nationalism, we must hold those with power accountable and collectively fight to dismantle institutionalised racism, prejudice and oppression.


REFERENCES

Grierson, J. (2019). Will PM's police hiring spree make streets safer?. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jul/30/boris-johnson-promises-will-police-hiring-spree-make-streets-safer [Accessed 8 Aug. 2019].

Kentish, B. (2019). Priti Patel denies previous support for death penalty and says she wants criminals to 'feel terror'. [online] The Independent. Available at: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/priti-patel-death-penalty-capital-punishment-home-secretary-boris-johnson-a9037651.html [Accessed 5 Aug. 2019].


Shaw, D. (2019). The key facts about rising knife crime. [online] BBC News. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42749089 [Accessed 8 Aug. 2019].


StopWatch (2019). [online] Stop-watch.org. Available at: http://www.stop-watch.org/uploads/documents/The_Colour_of_Injustice.pdf [Accessed 8 Aug. 2019].


Zatat, N. (2019). Resurfaced video shows Ian Hislop completely shredding Priti Patel's argument for the death penalty. [online] indy100. Available at: https://www.indy100.com/article/priti-patel-death-penalty-ian-hislop-question-time-video-home-secretary-9020006 [Accessed 5 Aug. 2019].