THE appointment of Nadine Dorries as culture secretary in Boris Johnson’s latest reshuffle of incompetence drew the inevitable social media reactions ranging from horror to snidery.

Twitter users looked out old tweets from the new culture minister proving her ignorance of cybersecurity (part of her new brief, of course), her inability to tell the difference between one person of colour and another, her hostility to gay marriage (though to be fair she later admitted voting against gay marriage was her “biggest regret” as an MP) and reminding us of her claim that “left wing snowflakes” are dumbing down pantos.

(Little Red Riding Hood is an open goal for a Marxist interpretation right enough, but I’m not sure we can expect it at the Pavilion this Christmas.)

Some went as far as posting the worst reviews they could find of the novels Dorries has written over the years, which was cruel albeit quite amusing.

Dorries, who is probably better known for turning up on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! than anything she has done as a politician is, let’s face it, an easy target for casual abuse. And, frankly, she largely deserves it. But, really, her appointment as Culture Secretary should be seen less as a chance to have a go at the new incumbent and more as a symptom of a government that really isn’t very interested in culture.

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The fact that her predecessor Oliver Dowden was replaced on the day when he was meant to make a major speech on the future of Channel 4 rather suggests as much for a start. The newspapers had already been briefed on Tuesday night as to why Dowden believed the TV channel needed to be privatised.

Instead, former Culture Secretary John Whittingdale gave the speech via Zoom. The general gist of what was said was that new rules will be introduced for public service broadcasters to protect “distinctively British” programming, whatever that means. Presumably they’re worried that Coronation Street is about to be relocated to Lithuania or something.

A Broadcasting White Paper will emerge later this year which may or may not put some meat on the bones of this meretricious guff, but it’s in line with Dowden’s time in the role of Culture Secretary. He was always a man happier to fight phoney culture wars about flags and statues than actually address some off the issues the culture industries were concerned with.

It is worth noting that at the TUC Conference at the start of the week the Musician’s Union put forward motions to call on the government to negotiate a visa waiver agreement for performers and crew with the EU and to establish bilateral agreements with all EU countries over work permits.

This is an issue the government has known about for months and has done nothing to address. Its defence has always been that any visa waiver goes against its manifesto commitments to reclaim British Borders.

Not that manifesto commitments against raising national insurance or breaking the triple lock on pensions were honoured, of course. But a lofty airing of manifesto commitments in this case is an easier option than dealing with the reality of the impact of Brexit.

Frankly, you get the sense that sorting out the financial future of the country’s musicians and performers is a bit too much like hard work for this government. Why put the effort in when you can talk about Britishness and guarantee yourself a headline in the Daily Mail and the Daily Express?

Whether it’s Dowden or Dorries who is culture secretary doesn’t really matter. This is a government that shows every indication that it doesn’t care about the arts. Frankly, it is making quite an art out of that indifference.

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